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Conversation in Common

Should a college education cause intellectual discomfort?

Are college students too touchy--too fragile? What happens when the need for truth runs smack dab into the need for comfort? Professor of journalism and sociology at Columbia University explores these questions in a provocative piece published in The Chronicle of Higher Education entitled: "Are we living through a plague of hypersensitivity?" Join us today, January 21st in Wilson Library 270 from noon to 1pm to engage in a dialogue around the topic of hypersensitivity.

"Conversation in Common" is a Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA) initiative to promote dialogue around a timely campus topic. The TLA is a program of Western Libraries and a Learning Commons partner.  

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Studio Growth & Success

Increased Use & Future Growth of the Research-Writing Studio

The Research-Writing Studio at Western Libraries experienced record-breaking usage throughout fall quarter 2015, recording at least 7,500 visits, over 10 times higher than the number of visits received by the Writing Center at its former site. These numbers are all the more impressive given early concerns that students would not be able to find the new Research-Writing Studio after the Writing Center and Research Consultation merged services and re-located to Haggard Hall last spring.

 

“After nearly 30 years with the Writing Center, I thought I would get misty-eyed about leaving my Writing Center identity behind. But no such thing. At no time in my history here have I seen students this engaged, forming community, taking charge of the space and their learning,” explained Roberta Kjesrud, the studio’s director of writing.

 

Fully staffed by a mix of both professional and student staff members who offer expertise to support the student research and writing experience, there are typically between one and four research and writing Studio Assistants available at any given time during the hours the Studio is open.  Involving student studio staff in the teaching and learning process also has its own benefits.

 

“One of the great things about having student staff as Studio Assistants is the unique perspective they bring.  They know what it’s like to take the courses and complete the types of assignments that we often see represented in the Studio, and they’ve struggled with the same academic and personal challenges that students using the Studio face,” explained Kelly Helms, the Studio’s assistant director of writing. “They also know what strategies and feedback are most helpful to students, and this peer-based teaching and learning environment builds a community of scholars that would not possible without our dedicated student staff.”

 

Centrally located on the second floor of Haggard Hall in a very bright and open space, the inviting atmosphere of the Studio offers students a dedicated place for writing and for obtaining research and writing assistance. Students are encouraged to collaborate with each other, with Studio staff, or to work on their own.  The studio is designed to support students at all levels and across all disciplines.

 

“The research and writing process is almost always intertwined,”  said Gabe Gossett, Head of Research Consultation and part of the studio leadership team. "Where at one moment a researcher is trying to make sense of the ideas they are trying to explore in writing, at another moment a writer is looking for sources that speak to the topic they want to write about. [The studio approach] offers as-needed support to build towards learning outcomes that will ultimately leave students better able to take charge of their own inquiry process, with on-hand support to make it possible.”  

 

The Studio’s immediate and extraordinary reception by students, faculty, and university administrators, makes abundantly clear the importance and value of this project, and Western Libraries is pleased to share the exciting news that the final phase of the Research-Writing Studio project has been fully funded thanks to the tremendous generosity of donors Cindy, Don, and Adam Hacherl.

 

Cindy Hacherl is an alumna of Western and a graduate of the English Department with long-standing connections to Western. Together, the Hacherls are passionately committed to making the vision of the Research-Writing Studio a reality, and they recognize the benefit of this project for both current and future students.  

 

Not only did the Hacherls make possible the creation of a collaborative workshop space in Haggard Hall 222 and the Studio’s current transformation, but their ongoing generosity mean that the full vision of the Studio project can be completed.  This last phase will expand the Studio toward the building’s entryway, increasing both its visibility and capacity. New furniture, access to electricity and technology, glass and acoustical accents, and clear signage will also contribute to the completion of this expanded area.

 

Additionally, just as the Libraries face unprecedented demand for collaborative and individual work spaces, so too have they received increased requests for class workshops. Students using the Studio on their own regularly request that their professor schedule a formal workshop, and professors who do, routinely encourage new students to connect with the Studio staff for follow-up work. Since individual work and workshops are mutually reinforcing, there is a clear need for a second workshop and group instruction space. Plans call for creating an inviting, glass-enclosed teaching space with moveable tables and chairs and an instructor’s station with A/V equipment. Having this additional space will better equip the Studio staff to help meet the needs of students engaging in research and writing work.

 

University faculty have repeatedly identified the development of student research and writing skills as an important role of the Libraries. Integrating the practices of research and writing is one way Western Libraries and the Learning Commons are working together to address this identified need, and it is through the generosity of the Hacherl family that the Research-Writing Studio will continue to grow in strength and ability to positively impact students engaged in research and writing here at Western.

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Through the Lens of Wallie V. Funk

New Exhibit Featuring the Work of Photographer Wallie V. Funk

A photographic exhibit featuring images taken by noted prolific photojournalist Wallie V. Funk will open at Western Washington University on January 4, 2016 in Western Libraries Special Collections. This exhibit will be available for viewing between 11am and 4pm, (excluding weekends and holidays).

 

During his long career as a photographer, journalist, and co-owner of the Anacortes American, the Whidbey News-Times, and the South Whidbey Record, Funk photographed a diverse and eclectic range of subjects, including: several U.S. presidential visits to Washington State; the Beatles’ and Rolling Stones’ concerts in Seattle; the 1970 Penn Cove whale capture; local and regional accidents and disasters (both natural and man-made); and community events and military activities on Whidbey Island.

 

On Tuesday, February 2 at 4 p.m. in Special Collections, there will be a special panel presentation, “When Local Becomes National: The Legacy and Impact of Pacific Northwest Photojournalist Wallie V. Funk,” featuring three panelists who are familiar with Funk and his body of work.

 

Panelists are: Paul Cocke, Director of WWU Office of Communications and Marketing and former employee of the Anacortes American, Theresa Trebon, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and Local Historian, and Scott Terrell, Photojournalist for the Skagit Valley Herald, WWU Journalism Instructor.

 

Panelists will discuss Funk’s contributions and their place in the history of local and national photojournalism. This special presentation is sponsored by Western Libraries Heritage Resources, Western’s Office of University Communications and Marketing, and Western's Department of Journalism.

 

The photographs on display in the exhibit represent a small sample from a far larger collection of papers, prints, and negatives donated by Walle V. Funk to the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies in 2003. If you are interested in learning more about the Wallie V. Funk collection of photographs and papers, or  for more information about the exhibit and the panel presentations, please contact Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu.

 

Heritage Resources is a division of Western Libraries which includes the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Special Collections,  and University Archives & Records Management. Together the three units provide for responsible stewardship of unique and archival materials in support of teaching, learning, and research.

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In Memoriam: Donna Packer

Western Libraries Remembers Donna Packer

 

Donna Packer passed away on December 1, 2015 following a long battle with cancer. Donna was an integral part of Western Libraries at Western Washington University for 28 years serving in a variety of significant leadership roles from 1981 until she retired in 2009.

 

During those years, she worked as the head of various library units, including acquisitions, serials, circulation, reserves, interlibrary loan, and cataloging. She was also the librarian for the College of Business and Economics, and she retired as the Head of Technical Services.

 

Donna brought a new and valuable business perspective to the library during a time when budgetary instability was just beginning to impact the University and the Libraries. Donna was well-respected both within the libraries and throughout the University. She was highly regarded by many in the profession, and had a reputation for being smart, professional, and passionately committed to her work.

 

Associate Dean of Libraries Andrea Peterson recalled working very productively with Donna during a time of significant change in the profession.

 

“I always felt that we engaged intellectually and professionally in ways that added depth and understanding to our decisions. I had such a deep respect for her ability to engage in dialogue passionately while maintaining her professionalism, respect, and relationships in that process,” said Peterson.

 

Donna’s contributions to Western Libraries were many, and her hard work and dedication created a strong foundation that remains as part of the Libraries today. Western Libraries employees are deeply grateful to Donna for all that she gave to the Libraries, to her profession, and to Western.

 

[Note: This article is offered on behalf of Western Libraries. Donna Packer’s official obituary can be found at this link to the Bellingham Herald]

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Sharing Research Through Conversations

Conversations in Common - Introduction to Research 

 

When Western students have the opportunity to engage in meaningful research that they later share with others, they not only learn valuable research skills, but they also enrich the university community by allowing others to benefit from the results of their work.

 

Recognizing the multiple benefits of creating such opportunities for sharing, Research and Instruction Librarian Peter Smith has turned the final day of his Library 201 “Introduction to Research Strategies” course into a poster exhibition during which students present their research findings as part of a “Conversations in Common” event hosted in the Learning Commons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Students in Smith’s class selected their own unique subjects to explore, which they then researched in stages, applying their individual questions to the scholarly literature and traveling from inquiry to thesis.

 

Learning Commons Coordinator Shevell Thibou commented on how much she enjoyed working with the Library 201 students during the Learning Commons sponsored Research-Writing workshops that she facilitated as part of this course. She noted that often students began with an assumption which ultimately evolved into something quite different from their original conception.

 

 

“What was also great about this is that often students would end up wanting to know even more about their topics as their perspectives changed because of their research,” said Thibou. “Watching them demonstrate that initiative and create opportunities to learn even more, to move beyond not just where they started but also where they left off with their research project was really exciting.”
 

 

 

 

 

Smith noted how expanding the students’ possible audience beyond the confines of the classroom affected their research and scholarship experiences.  

 

“The students know they have to create something for an audience that is different than their instructor,” explained Smith. “The whole idea is to create a ‘public’ exhibit, which changes their whole approach. I have seen students become more engaged with tackling their research when they know they have to not only construct a poster based on their findings, but also be able to stand by it and explain it to someone who may know nothing at all about their topic.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research topics varied widely, including subjects taken from current events, educational, social, or environmental issues. Some students selected their research topics based on their personal interests or career aspirations.

 

For example, Felicity Shomer chose to examine the effect of Theatre Arts programs on high school students with special needs, and during her research she discovered multiple positive impacts to implementing such programs, in addition to learning how to integrate some of these practices into the classroom. She remarked that this information will help her as she pursues her “dream job” of teaching theatre to students with special needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With each recurrence the Library 201 poster exhibit has increased in popularity among Library and Learning Commons faculty and staff who often come away from the sessions having learned something new themselves, and who have begun to look forward to this event as an opportunity to learn directly from students.

 

“Getting an opportunity to learn from our own students here at Western, to listen to them engage thoughtfully and enthusiastically about their work, really demonstrates how the teaching and learning experience is so dynamic and interactive,” said Thibou.  “I am also really glad we have a program like ‘Conversations in Common’ to serve as a venue for students, faculty, and staff to connect with each other and as part of the teaching and learning experience.”

 

 

Conversations in Common is an initiative sponsored by Western Libraries and the Learning Commons to create opportunities for people to engage in informal dialogue and learn more about various resources and programs at Western. For more information about this event or about the “Conversations in Common” program, contact: Shevell.Thibou@wwu.edu.

 

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Heritage Resources Newsletter

The 2015-2016 Fall/Winter issue of Heritage Highlights is now available! In this issue, we explore various forms of writing for, about and by children, as evidenced in the collections of Western Libraries Heritage Resources. Featured holdings include songbooks and sports booklets from Western's days as a normal school for teachers, the papers of noted children's author and illustrator Doris Burn, and rare items in the Poetry for Children and Teens collection.

Heritage Resources is a division of Western Libraries which includes the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Special Collections, and the University Archives & Records Management. Together these programs provide for responsible stewardship of unique and archival materials in support of teaching, learning, and research.

Image: rare item from the Poetry for Children and Teens collection, housed in Special Collections.

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Faculty Materials Review

Western Libraries holds review of withdrawn materials

 

As part of its regular review process of library materials, Western Libraries at Western Washington University will hold a faculty review of materials that have been withdrawn from the library collection during the summer and fall quarters.

 

Some of these resources are being withdrawn because they are duplicated in the library’s collections or have been replaced by a newer format/edition.  Others are being withdrawn because library faculty consider them no longer needed for the collections.

 

All faculty members are welcome to review the withdrawn resources from Friday, Dec. 4, to Friday, Dec. 11, by appointment. In accordance with state law, withdrawn resources may be transferred to university departments but cannot be given to individuals. To arrange an appointment to review the material, contact Kate Cabe either by phone at 650-6740 or via e-mail kate.cabe@wwu.edu.

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Utamaro and His Five Women

Masters of Japanese Cinema Series
 

Masters of Japanese Cinema  continues on Tuesday, December 1st at 6:30pm with Utamaro and his Five Women, Mizoguchi Kenji’s portrait of the famous ukiyo-e artist Kitagawa Utamaro, and the social world around him in 18th century Edo (Tokyo).

 

Utamaro and His Five Women is the second film that Mizoguchi made after the end of World War II during a time when the Japanese film industry was under strict control of the occupation authorities.  Period films in general were frowned upon, but according to Donald Richie and Joseph Anderson (authors of the book, The Japanese Film: Art and Industry), Mizoguchi was able to get permission to make Utamaro by promising to make another film about women’s rights.  That film, The Victory of Women, came out first in spring, 1946, with Utamaro coming out at the end of that year.

 

Utamaro has often been considered somewhat of an autobiographical testament by Mizoguchi who studied painting himself, as Kurosawa Akira had also done.  There is a spirit of fun in this film, but it also features a sensitivity to the diminished social status of women.  This sensitivity is present in nearly all of Mizoguchi’s films, whether they are modern or period dramas.

 

Co-sponsored by Western Libraries and the Pickford Film Center, the Masters of Japanese Cinema series is one of the Pickford's longest running and most loved series. Jeff Purdue, who is both a librarian at Western and also the series curator, consistently selects some of the best films in World Cinema, featuring movies that span both decades and genres.

 

Each film in the series begins with an introduction from select speakers including local professors, artists, and educators.  Tonight’s film will be introduced by Julia Sapin, a professor of Art History at Western whose research focuses on the intersections of art and design in Japan during the Meiji period (1868-1912).  She teaches a wide range of courses on Asian and Pacific art history, and is chair of the Art Department.

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"Canines on Campus" Return!

"Canines on Campus" Program Visits the Library

Western Libraries will again be joined by members of the “Canines on Campus” registered therapy animal program, (formerly known as “Pet Partners,”) from November 30th through December 10th. 

 

The therapy animals who are part of the Canines on Campus program are registered through several different agencies and have met certain standards of skills and aptitude. Whatcom Therapy Dogs and Dogs on Call are the two organizations which provide volunteers to the Canines on Campus program. Teams of humans and animals (which still include Smokey the cat!) will be located in the gallery space at the end of the Skybridge on the Wilson side of the library off and on between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. during both the week preceding and the week of final exams. 

During this two-week period, this space will be reserved exclusively for the registered Canines on Campus therapy animal program, and animals who are not official Canines on Campus volunteers are not permitted in this area. Additionally, Western Libraries would like to remind everyone that while ADA service animals are welcome in the library, animals that are pets may not be brought into library facilities at any time.

 

For more information about the upcoming Canines on Campus visit, a schedule which includes the names of the volunteers, photos of the animals, and the times when they will be available for visiting, will be posted on an easel in the designated gallery area beginning the morning of Monday, November 30th. Stop by the library to say hi or de-stress when you are in need of a break from studying for finals, working on projects, or writing those last few papers!

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