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Writing Instruction Research Forum

Conversations in Common - Writing Instruction Research

Western Libraries and the Learning Commons invite you to a "Conversations in Common" presentation focused on Writing Instruction Research on Friday, May 13th from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the TLA area (Wilson Library 270).  

This event will present two different opportunities to learn more about Writing Instruction. The first segment, "Assessment of Engineering Writing At Western Washington University," features Engineering faculty member Sura Alqudah and WWU senior and mathematics major Nathan Romond, who have been collaborating to conduct an outcomes-based assessment study to evaluate the writing skills of Engineering & Design students in a senior-level writing proficiency class. Using a rubric designed to evaluate writing proficiency in engineering, the study draws on selected samples of student course work as well as on responses to the students.
The second session, "Exploring Threshold Concepts to Teach Writing in Kinesiology," will be presented by Kinesiology faculty member Harsh Buddhadev who conducted an assessment study in his Kinesiology 306 Measurement and Evaluation class to explore the effect of using a particular threshold concept to structure the culminating writing project. He will share his findings and implications for teaching and learning to write.


This special Conversations in Common event is sponsored by Writing Instruction Support (WIS), which is a program of Western Libraries and also a Learning Commons partner, focused on building a community around writing instruction at WWU. The WIS program provides direct assistance to faculty who are teaching writing courses or who incorporate writing into their courses. 

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The Colonial Problem

The Colonial Problem: An Indigenous Perspective on Crime and Injustice in Canada 


Western Libraries Heritage Resources and the Center for Canadian American Studies are pleased to present Dr. Lisa Monchalin, faculty member from the Department of Criminology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, British Columbia, who will speak about her most recent book, The Colonial Problem: An Indigenous Perspective on Crime and Injustice in Canada, on Wednesday, May 25th from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Western Libraries Special Collections, (Wilson Library 6th Floor). 


Dr. Monchalin is of Algonquin, Métis, Huron, and Scottish descent, and she is the first Indigenous woman in Canada to hold a Ph.D. in Criminology.  She has published on topics related to crime prevention and Indigenous people’s victimization, including writing an action brief for municipal stakeholders, which was distributed across many municipalities throughout Canada. 
Proud of her Indigenous heritage, Dr. Monchalin is determined to reduce the amount of crime that affects Indigenous people. Her Ph.D. thesis was a case study which involved an extensive amount of research regarding urban Indigenous people and crime prevention. She has published in scholarly journals including the American Indian Culture and Research Journal, Crime Prevention and Community Safety: an International Journal and La Revue Criminologie, among others.
The Canadian government has framed the overrepresentation and disproportionate criminalization of Indigenous peoples in the Canadian criminal justice system as being an "Indian problem." In The Colonial Problem, Dr. Monchalin challenges the myth of the "Indian problem," and encourages readers to view the crimes and injustices affecting Indigenous peoples from a more culturally aware position.

Zombies in the Library!

Humans VS. Zombies Building Clear April 30th

The Moderator staff of Western Washington University’s Humans VS Zombies partnered with Western Libraries and co-sponsored by AS production special events to host a building clear event for the FIRST TIME EVER at Western Libraries on Saturday April 30th.


The Building Clear event is modeled like an interactive haunted house, in which teams use rolled up socks and Nerf blasters to navigate through the building past zombies. Participants are able to volunteer to play as zombies when they are not running through in their team.

Players are free to come with a team, or form a team on site. Zoe's Bookside Bagels will be used as a headquarters for check in and staging.Check in begins at 9 p.m. and the event starts at 10 p.m. Building Clear is open to everyone and will be free to play. Space is limited so be sure and arrive early!

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Speaking of Maps: Andy Bach (5/11)

Andy Bach to Discuss Environmental History of the Ozette Prairies

Western Washington University Associate Professor of Environmental Geography Andy Bach will discuss his research exploring the relationship between historical vegetation changes in the Ozette Prairies, Olympic National Park, and human use of this region. “Archival Evidence for Historical Changes in Lowland Wilderness Meadows, Ozette Prairies, Olympic National Park,” will be held in the Map Collection (Wilson Library 170) at Western Libraries from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Wed., May 11, 2016.  This presentation is free and open to the public.


Using a multi-media archival approach to understand the environmental history of the area, examining repeat air and ground photography, maps, and written records, Bach determined that the prairies originally began as natural wetlands before fire was used by indigenous peoples and European settlers to expand and maintain them. Later, in the absence of disturbance, they eventually began to revert to forest cover.


Bach’s research combines the use of historical maps with field methods of soil science, ecology, and geomorphology, to understand how natural landscapes of Washington have changed over time.


This event is being offered as part of the “Speaking of Maps” lectures, and is co-sponsored by Western Libraries and WWU’s Huxley College of the Environment.


“Speaking of Maps” are quarterly talks designed to highlight the use and value of maps in research, in teaching and learning, and in daily life. 

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Rick and Barbara Osen Endowment

Osens Establish Endowment for the Advancement of Western Libraries

               Rick and Barbara Osen at the endowment signing celebration, April 5, 2016


Earlier this year, Rick and Barbara Osen expressed their wish to make a gift to Western Libraries that would have a lasting impact. On April 5, 2016, members of Western Libraries joined the Osens in recognition and celebration of the establishment of the “Rick and Barbara Osen Endowment for the Advancement of Libraries.”


The endowment’s purpose is especially significant for Rick Osen, who worked at Western Libraries for 35 years, holding managerial and administrative positions that involved virtually every area of the organization, including acting Dean of Libraries from 2012 through 2013.  Osen’s decades of dedication and leadership positively impacted the Libraries’evolution and helped shape its future.


“It is particularly meaningful that Rick and Barbara should wish to create an endowment to support the professional and organizational development of staff and faculty,” explained Dean of Libraries, Mark Greenberg. “During his long career in the Western Libraries, Rick saw firsthand how advancing people’s skills and understanding advances their careers and improves library services to the Western community.  I am grateful to Rick and Barbara for helping Western Libraries to invest in people.”


While at Western, Osen was a strong proponent of professional and organizational development, and he worked to ensure that Libraries personnel had opportunities to advance their knowledge and skills.  Since his retirement in early 2014, Osen has stayed in close touch with his colleagues and has remained a strong supporter of Western Libraries. 

Rick and Barbara Osen joined by their son-in-law Robert and daughter Justyna at the endowment signing celebration.
“Rick was always on top of ongoing developments in academic librarianship and provided countless opportunities for library staff to stay current so that we could make use of the best of these ideas,” said Jeff Purdue, Learning Commons and Media Librarian.  “Through this endowment, he has found an ideal way of continuing that focus and demonstrating that though he is retired, his commitment to Western Libraries and the role it plays in the intellectual life of the University continues unabated.”


 Proceeds from the Rick and Barbara Osen Endowment for the Advancement of Libraries may be used to pay expenses related to professional and organizational development for Western Libraries faculty and staff through workshops, seminars, and other similar programs.  At their request, preference will be given to professional and organizational development activities that occur at Western.


“With an emphasis on funding training or workshops on campus, it allows all staff to benefit from engaging ideas that enhance work performance and facilitate a shared vision for Western Libraries,” said Special Collections Manager Tamara Belts. She added that the expansion of opportunities for individual staff training and development also benefits the Libraries as a whole, because recipients are able to bring back and share what they learn with the organization.


Western Libraries Administration looks forward to working together collaboratively and in consultation with Libraries faculty and staff, to identify professional and organizational development opportunities that maximize participation and positive outcomes for individuals and for the Libraries as a whole. 

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Heritage Resources Newsletter

The Spring 2016 edition of Heritage Highlights is now available! In this issue, we explore themes of social justice and activism on campus and in the community, including anti-racism campagins, peace advocacy, care for the environment, and more.

Heritage Resources is a division of Western Libraries which includes the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Special Collections, and University Archives & Records Management.

Image: Joining Hands Against Hate symbol and slogan, courtesy of Arbeit Graphics, available in the Whatcom Human Rights Task Force records at CPNWS.


Local Poetry 4/20

Heritage Resources Distinguished Speakers Presents "Local Poetry"


We hope you can join us for a special event featuring local poetry offered as part of National Poetry Month at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20, in Special Collections, (Wilson Library 6th floor).

If you are a Bellingham poet or poetry fan, you may have an idea of what the local poetry scene is like.  But it it’s much more rambunctious and vibrant than you can even imagine. And if you’re new to the scene, this is event is a must!  


“Local Poetry” will  feature brief presentations and readings by twelve-plus local poets and project leaders, who will share information about local poetry reading series, venues, publications, publishers, conferences and more. Local Poetry will introduce you to a vast array of resources right in your own backyard.  


Partners and presenters include: Dobbie Norris (poetrynight), Elspeth Jensen (Jeopardy), Carla Shafer (Chuckanut Sandstone Writers), Liz Vignali (Kitchen Sessions: Bellingham), Tamar Clarke (Teen Services, Whatcom County Library System), Sylvia Tag (PoetryCHAT), Dayna Patterson (Bellingham Review), Luther Allen (Speakeasy & Noisy Water), Allen Frost (Be Good Rain), Anita Boyle (Egress Studio Press), Chuck Luckmann (Flying Trout Press & The Skagit Poetry Festival).


Local Poetry is being offered as part of the Heritage Resources Distinguished Speakers programs, which are quarterly events featuring presenters who are authorities in their respective fields who have used Heritage Resources collections significantly in their research. This particular event is part of an initiative to build on Western Libraries Special Collections of poetry from local artists, presses, and publishers, which include the work of many Local Poetry contributors.


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A Hen in the Wind 4/12

Next Masters of Japanese Cinema Film on April 12

The next Masters of Japanese Cinema movie is  Ozu Yasujiro’s 1948 film A Hen in the Wind.  It will screen on Tuesday, April 12th at 6:30pm at the Pickford Film Center.


 A Hen in the Wind stars the great Tanaka Kinuyo, one of Ozu’s most frequent stars from the 1930s, as well as other regulars from that time, including Sakamoto Takeshi. 

Tanaka’s character is a young mother awaiting the repatriation of her husband from World War II, who is struggling with money when a sudden crisis leads to a radical decision with far-reaching consequences. 


A Hen in the Wind is a great demonstration Ozu’s versatility. WWU librarian and series curator Jeff Purdue spoke of the film’s emotional resonance and explained how Ozu’s quiet style can serve a variety of types of stories.


“I find it to be a remarkable film with some of the most striking images in Ozu’s work, and one of my favorites from him, even though it’s also a wrenching experience,” explained Purdue. “I’ve seen this film with an audience on a few occasions, including in classes I’ve taught, and it never fails to elicit strong emotions.”


Co-sponsored by Western Libraries and the Pickford Film Center, the Masters of Japanese Cinema is one of the Pickford's longest running and most loved series, featuring some of the best films in World Cinema with 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.


A Hen in the Wind will be introduced by Sam Ho, who is a curator, researcher, teacher, writer, and critic. Based in Hong Kong and the United States, Ho specializes in the study of Hong Kong cinema, but has also written extensively and curated programs on various aspects of cinema.  His writing has appeared online, in books, academic journals, newspapers, and magazines, and has been translated into many different languages, including Chinese, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese and Korean.  He is also involved in film education, having taught at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.


To learn more about upcoming films featured in this series, click on this link. If you have questions about the Masters of Japanese Cinema Series, contact

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Connecting Communities 4/15

Connecting Communities Through Service

The Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA)  invites students, faculty, staff, and community members to come together for a day of service on Friday, April 15 by signing up to volunteer during a time of your choosing for one of six different organizations, located both on and off campus.  (Note to WWU staff: this is a great opportunity to use all or part of your “Community Service Day” benefit!)

In 2014, the TLA proposed the creation of a trust-building event in response to that year’s BIG question: How do we ignite individual passion, purpose, and potential to co-create a culture of trust?  The result was an annual spring day of service as part of National Volunteer Week.

Organizations include:

  • Blaine Food Bank
  • Sock Monkeys for Charity
  • Volunteer Chore Program
  • Reflective Garden
  • Chuckanut Center
  •  Whatcom Land Trust

Besides providing some important service hours to the chosen organization, the event also offers an opportunity to connect with groups in our university and neighboring communities and to even build ongoing relationships.

Sign up online to reserve your spot! For more information, go to: or email

Here’s hoping you’ll join us in service and show how we are all Active Minds Changing Lives

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Wayne Richter Honored

Mongolian Studies Special Issue Dedicated to Wayne Richter

Mongolia Society President Alicia Campi and founding director of Western’s Center for East Asian Studies, Henry Schwarz, present the special issue dedicated to Wayne Richter.


On Friday, April 1, 2016 at the Association for Asian Studies annual conference in Seattle, Western Libraries Asian Materials Specialist Wayne Richter received a tremendous honor.  President of The Mongolia Society, Alicia Campi, presented him with Volume XXXV (2013) of Mongolian Studies, the scholarly journal of The Mongolia Society, which is a special issue dedicated to Richter. 


Writes journal editor David Bade in the beginning of the special issue:

“Wayne Richter has been at the forefront of Mongolian studies in the United States as well as internationally for more than 30 years. . . .  It is largely because of Wayne’s many years of careful scholarly devotion to identifying and collating the works of each author represented in Wilson Library’s collection that other bibliographers, catalogers and scholars around the world find that the results of their searches make sense, and they are able to find what they want to find.”


Chief of the Asian & Middle Eastern Division at the Library of Congress Randall K. Barry and Tibetan expert at the Library of Congress Susan Meinheit pose for a photo with Wayne.


The quality and accessibility of the extraordinary Mongolian Studies Collection at Western Libraries is a result of the generosity of scholars such as Henry Schwarz, Nicholas Poppe, and John C. Street, and the valuable work of Richter. Richter is a nationally recognized expert in the creation and editing of bibliographic records for materials written in Mongolian and related languages, and he is the only cataloger in the United States who routinely creates national name authority records – work which involves considerable research in a field with only limited bibliographic and biographic resources. 



Richter has actively reached out to people who are interested in Mongolia and its cultures and languages, participates in meetings of the Asian Studies on the Pacific Coast, and is in regular contact with Mongolian scholars and librarians from other institutions who use Western’s collections. He regularly coordinates and leads tours of the Libraries’ Mongolian Studies Collection for a wide variety of individuals and groups, including Mongolian ambassadors to the U.S., U.S. Ambassadors to Mongolia, and many visiting scholars.


Richter’s efforts to make resources available to scholars worldwide will impact Mongolian studies for decades to come, and the dedication of this special issue of Mongolian Studies recognizes and honors that work.


For more information about Western’s Mongolian Studies Initiatives, please see the Center for East Asian Studies Mongolian Studies page, or this online guide about the Mongolian Collection.  


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