Team selfies submitted for bonus pointsFor the third academic year in a row, the Library hosted the Murder Mystery Challenge, in which first-year and transfer students compete in teams to solve a cold case — learning important library research skills along the way. Librarians trained Peer Success Coaches from Student Academic Success Programs (SASP), who went on to lead teams of students through clues in the library. Based on a real murder that occurred in 1921 in midtown, the Challenge requires students to find news articles in the online New York Times archive, follow a paper trail in the endnotes of a scholarly article, locate a book hidden in the stacks, and read a page from the actual trial transcript held in the Library’s Special Collections. Almost all teams answered the main questions correctly. The biggest pitfall in the Challenge was correctly formatting a complex book citation in the APA style, a bonus question. (To be fair, even veteran researchers may have stumbled on that one!)

The students who participated were asked what they learned in the Challenge. “Team work can be beneficial,” one respondent said, echoing an emphasis on team-based learning at John Jay. Another student noted that they learned “where the stacks were inside the Library,” a simple but important piece of information. Participants also offered suggestions for future Murder Mystery Challenges. “Make it a bit longer so that the fun can last a bit more,” one recommended. “Possibly put a fake body on the floor,” another proposed. We’ll keep that in mind!

The winning teams won a VIP lunch in the Faculty Dining Room, thanks to Library support from Faculty-Student Engagement fund. The runners-up won New York Times prize packs and gift cards, provided by SASP. Take a peek at the Challenge yourself!

Robin Davis

More from the Spring 2016 newsletter »

See also: 2014 Winners