Instructional Collaborations

Librarians at USC possess subject expertise in many disciplines in addition to Library & Information Science.
As faculty, librarians at USC provide reference services, conduct collection development, teach, and publish, among many other responsibilities.

Supporting our USC students and instructors is our number one priority. 
Therefore, we always seek out instructional collaborations with schools and individual instructors across campus.

Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.

Instructional collaborations offered:

The USC Libraries Teaching & Learning Department:
Who we are & what we do

Our Mission

The mission of the USC Libraries Teaching & Learning Department is to lead and provide structural support for teaching excellence in information literacy and other scholarly literacies within the libraries and throughout the USC curriculum. We are dedicated to fostering innovative, experimental, and sustainable library instruction throughout the disciplines, prioritizing equitable and accessible learning experiences, and a collaborative, respectful, and fun learning environment. 

Our work is grounded in critical library practice, learner-centered teaching practices, and profession-wide standards for evidence-based and inclusive information literacy instruction. We believe that teaching well is the best way to help facilitate learners thinking critically about themselves and the world around them. Our work therefore incorporates sound pedagogical practices for innovative and inclusive instruction from research in teaching and learning more broadly. The department serves as a teaching resource for library and university-wide faculty looking to incorporate engaging, innovative, and intrinsically motivating practices into their instruction. We believe that teaching well is a skill, and that teaching expertise can be developed through deliberate practice. The USC Libraries Teaching & Learning Department is therefore committed to a continuous process of reflective practice, meaningful assessment, exploration of emerging and ongoing trends and tools, and open-mindedness about the learner experience.  This ongoing commitment to excellence in teaching and learning therefore informs all that we do and is core to both our department’s mission as well as the USC Libraries Definition of Excellence in Teaching more broadly. 

At the USC Libraries, we use the Association of College & Research Libraries‘ Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education as well as discipline-specific standards as guiding documents for our instructional collaborations.

Our Areas of Expertise:

ARIANA VARELA, Information Literacy Instruction Librarian

Ariana Varela

Ariana's areas of expertise include information literacy, critical pedagogy, and incorporating digital learning objects. She received a B.A. in History with an emphasis in Latin American Studies from the University of San Francisco and her M.L.I.S. from San José State University. 

Contact Ariana for questions about:   

  • Information literacy instruction at USC Libraries
  • Instruction for the History department 
  • Primary source literacy instruction
  • Designing library tutorials




KEVIN KLIPFEL, Instructional Design Librarian

Kevin Klipfel

Kevin is the Instructional Design Librarian at the USC Libraries. His areas of      expertise include information literacy instruction, learner-centered instructional    pedagogies, the cognitive science and psychology of motivation and learning,    and critical thinking. Kevin holds a B.A. with Honors in Philosophy from SUNY    College at Buffalo, where he was awarded “Outstanding Philosophy Major” of    his graduating class. He received his M.A. in philosophy from Virginia Tech,        where he was subsequently a Lecturer in Philosophy, teaching moral, political,  and existential philosophy; in 2009 he was a “Favorite Faculty” nominee, a     university-wide student nominated award. He received his MSLS from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where his project “Authentic Engagement: Assessing the Effects of Authenticity on Student Motivation and Information Literacy Learning” won the “Dean’s Achievement Award” for the best master’s paper of his graduating class. 


Contact Kevin for questions about:

  • General questions about instructional pedagogies and information literacy instruction
  • Designing high-impact research assignments
  • Incorporating critical thinking strategies into teaching
  • Maximizing student engagement and motivation around research
  • Social-emotional learning around the research process
  • Research support for students and faculty in the Department of Sociology

Selected publications by Kevin Klipfel


MICHAELA ULLMANN, Head, Instruction & Assessment

Michaela Ullmann

Michaela came to USC Libraries in 2006 holding an M.A. from University of Bonn in Cultural Anthropology and Archaeology with an emphasis on Mesoamerican Cultures. She earned an MLIS from San Jose State in 2013. Michaela joined the libraries first as the Feuchtwanger Curator, and later as Exile Studies Librarian, overseeing the Feuchtwanger Memorial Library. In 2013, she took on the role of Instruction Coordinator for Special Collections. As of February 2023, she transitioned into the role of Head, Instruction & Assessment.
Michaela has published in the area of Exile Studies as well as Primary Source Literacy Instruction (see selected publications). She is also on the faculty of the California Rare Book School at UCLA where she teaches a regular class on Critical Special Collections Pedagogy. Her personal research areas are the Memorial Culture of the Guatemalan Genocide, and German-speaking exiles in South America.


Contact Michaela for questions about:

  • Collaborations between USC Libraries and other USC schools & for integrating Library Instruction more thoroughly throughout the USC curriculum.
  • Research support /Information Literacy Instruction for USC schools & instructors.
  • Strategic Assessment of Information Literacy Instruction within USC Schools
  • WRIT150 Information Literacy Instruction

Selected publications by Michaela Ullmann


For general questions, please contact

Information Literacy Outcomes for Undergraduates

Library Instruction for the Writing Program

Leavey Library

Library Instruction for the General Education Curriculum

Teaching Class

Information Literacy Course Enhancement Grants