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Dr. Char Smith Receives 2019 Szarejko Faculty Information Literacy Award

April 3, 2019

Lavery Library selected Dr. Char Smith, DNS, MSEd, WHNP, RN-BC, CNE, ANEF, as the recipient of the 2019 Dr. Mark Szarejko Faculty Information Literacy Award. The award honors faculty members at St. John Fisher College who serve as an advocate for information literacy, promoting it both on campus among students and faculty, and beyond.

Charlene Smith

“Given her leadership in promoting information literacy among her students and peers at St. John Fisher College and within the health care community, Lavery Library and the Library Committee are pleased to recognize Dr. Charlene Smith as this year’s Dr. Mark Szarejko Faculty Information Literacy Award recipient,” said Melissa Jadlos, director of the Library.

Smith, a professor in the Wegmans School of Nursing, has been advocating for information literacy competency development for students and practitioners in the health professions throughout her nursing career. A registered professional nurse since 1976, Smith has worked as a staff nurse, charge nurse, nursing supervisor, school nurse, clinical instructor, and clinical care manager. As a nurse educator in both practice and academics since 1989, she has advanced the purposeful integration of information literacy competencies in nursing courses across all program levels at Fisher.

According to Smith, students and practitioners in the health professions need to develop competency in information literacy. “They must understand health literacy to promote safe patient care,” she said.

In an effort to ensure health literacy among nursing students, Smith integrated information literacy across the curriculum through specific assignments in three different courses. In collaboration with the nursing liaison librarian, Michelle Price, first semester junior students learn about health related databases, search strategies, and differentiating popular, trade, and research articles for their assignments.

As the co-chair of the 2009 Wegmans School of Nursing Undergraduate Curriculum Revision Committee, Smith also provided guidance and structure to faculty to intentionally map information literacy, in addition to other competencies, across the curriculum. Since that time, annual faculty course evaluations ensure learning outcomes, assignments, and evaluation methods maintain a focus on scholarly writing and information literacy. Additionally, she spearheaded the adoption and coordinated training of an evidence-based, online nursing clinical decision tool for student and faculty to access e-resources.

Smith consults with and advises students, faculty, and practitioners on scholarship activities, and published her own article describing the use of mobile devices in the classroom to support nurses’ competency in information literacy.  Her article “Harnessing mobile devices in the classroom,” was published in The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing in 2012.

Smith was nominated by her colleague, Tara Sacco, who said that as a prolific author in nursing, fellow faculty members often to turn to her for guidance.

“One of the first recommendations Char will make is to work with our librarians to assist with literature searches and to recommend journals and keywords prior to submitting a publication,” Sacco said. “Char’s expertise in publication and writing, and thus the use of information, assists faculty in the School in contributing to practice.”