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Undergraduate Research Award Winners

Announcing the 2016 Western Libraries Undergraduate Research Award Winners!

(L to R): Rachel Redjou, Alex Johnston-Thomas, Dillon van Rensburg, Karima Boumatar, Emma Hefton, and  Marissa Hall

Here at Western, undergraduate students have unparalleled access to research opportunities which are supported by faculty mentors. Western Libraries views the research work of undergraduate students as being tremendously valuable, both in terms of the teaching and learning experience the research process creates, and also because of the research outputs students themselves generate.

Winners of this year’s Western Libraries Undergraduate Research Award were honored at a small reception in the library at the Research-Writing Studio on Friday, June 3, 2016, during which Dean of Libraries Mark Greenberg publicly recognized the award-winning students and presented each awardee with a certificate. Also in attendance were friends and family members of the award-winning students, the students’ faculty mentors, and members of the 2016 Undergraduate Research Award review committee.

Every spring, a review committee consisting of a variety of faculty members from the Libraries and other departments at Western selects from among the submissions three papers which demonstrate excellence in the creation of research papers for courses taught across the colleges. Papers must be based on significant inquiry using library resources and collections, and they must demonstrate originality or the potential to lead to subsequent original research. 

Members of the 2016 award review committee, with Dean of Libraries Mark Greenberg, (L to R):  Javier Berzal de Dios (Art History), Tim Kowalczyk (Chemistry), Elizabeth Stephan (Western Libraries), Mark Greenberg,  and Jeff Purdue (Western Libraries).
This year was a little unusual because for the very first time, one of the award-winning submissions was actually written by a team of students. Four students in the Community Health major in the Department of Health and Human Development created a program plan called “Preventing Anorexia in Adolescents through Empowerment and Education (PAATEE).”

Members of the  first group to ever win the Libraries Undergraduate Research Award 

“The paper is reflection of how group and collaborative work are becoming more common,” explained librarian and review committee member Elizabeth Stephan. “Together with the other papers by Rachel Redjou and Marissa Hall, this year’s winners are excellent examples of the different formats research-based writing can take.”

Each of the six winners received a cash award, a printed certificate, and publication of their prize-winning paper in Western CEDAR, Western Washington University’s institutional repository.

Publishing the research papers in Western CEDAR makes them available to anyone in the world, enabling students to contribute to the scholarship of their chosen fields while also participating in the growing global movement to provide open access to scholarship and creative works. You can find the winning papers at this link:





Marissa Hall for “Feminist Identification within the White Supremacy Movement”

Faculty Mentor: Glenn Tsunokai, Sociology





Rachael Redjou for “Shunga: Erotic Art in the Tokugawa Era”

Faculty Mentor: Massimiliano Tomasi, East Asian Studies




Karima Boumatar, Alex Johnston-Thomas, Dillon van Rensburg, Emma Hefton, for “Preventing Anorexia in Adolescents through Empowerment and Education (PAATEE)”

Faculty Mentor: Senna Towner, Health and Human Development


Congratulations to these remarkable students for all of their accomplishments!

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Faculty Working Retreat

Backwards by Design 2016 - A Working Retreat for Faculty

The Writing Instruction Support (WIS) program at Western Washington University offers new and returning WWU faculty a chance to gain ideas and new practices on teaching and assessing writing at a working retreat held annually. This year’s retreat is scheduled for Aug. 29-31 at Western’s Shannon Point Marine Center in Anacortes. 
This working retreat utilizes the “backwards by design” approach, which begins with participants identifying discipline-based threshold concepts before working back to instructional practices and activities for teaching. Participants will also have the opportunity to work on their own course materials in the company of colleagues from across the University community who share a commitment to supporting students’ learning with an emphasis on advancing writing proficiency.
Space is limited, so if you are interested, please pre-register by emailing  All expenses (lodging for a shared room, meals, and materials) are covered, and transportation will be arranged.
Topics covered are listed by day below:
  • Day 1 - Design: disciplinary concepts, course syllabus, evaluation schemes
  • Day 2 - Enactment: responding to writing, creating assignments, engaging practices
  • Day 3 - Results: Learning activities, show & tell demos
The WIS program provides direct assistance to faculty who are teaching writing courses or who incorporate writing into their courses, and is a program of Western Libraries and the Learning Commons. 
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Canines on Campus Return!

Canines on Campus @Western Libraries (5/31-6/9)

Beginning Tuesday,
 May 31st through Thursday June 9th, Western Libraries will be joined by members of the beloved “Canines on Campus” service animal program, (formerly known as “Pet Partners”). Feel free to stop by the library to say hi and de-stress when you are in need of a break from studying for finals, working on projects, or writing those last few papers!
Teams of our favorite 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 10am and 8pm 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 service 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 service animals are welcome in the library, pets are not permitted inside library facilities.
The service 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.


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Student Celebration 2016

Western Libraries Celebrates its Student Employees

On Friday May 13, 2016, students, staff, and faculty from Western Libraries  gathered in the Reading Room for the Libraries' annual celebration held in recognition of our wonderful student employees who help make the library all that it is each and every day. We were also honored to be joined by members of the Hearsey family, who helped us celebrate and recognize the fifteen recipients of the Herb and Beth Hearsey Scholarship.

The Herb and Beth Hearsey Scholarship is awarded annually to current full-time students who are employees of Western Libraries and who demonstrate merit on the basis of their scholarship applications and letters of reference. Herb Hearsey was a reference librarian at Western in 1941, and while working at Wilson Library he was charged with developing an effective program of library instruction for students. In 1995, Herb Hearsey, together with his wife Beth Hearsey, established an endowment to ensure that future generations of library student assistants are recognized for their important work.

Student staff have always been an essential part of Western Libraries. When Wilson Library’s namesake and Western’s first librarian Mabel Zoe Wilson first began working at Western, she was the only full time library employee for 10 years, and all additional library staffing needs were met by student employees. Today, Western Libraries has over 60 full time staff members, but during this past academic year, we also employed 112 students.

The Libraries’ student staff work in every area of the library and are engaged in a number of indispensable duties, such as scanning materials for interlibrary loan, special collections, and electronic reserves, as well as helping us manage our service desks. Library student employees  shelve, retrieve, and deliver books and other materials, and they create and contribute to the design of our outreach and promotional materials. They help facilitate the Teaching-Learning Academy dialogue sessions, and they work as peer advisors in the Research-Writing Studio. Individually and collectively, student employees enrich the library’s teaching and learning environment with their valuable insights, experiences, and perspectives.

Every year, Western Libraries chooses one student employee from among the graduating seniors who has distinguished themselves from their peers by demonstrating unusual imagination, interest, and capability in providing outstanding service. This year’s Mabel Zoe Excellence in Student Service Award was presented to Simon Bakke in recognition of the number of ways he has provided outstanding service tot he Libraries, both as a Learning Commons Liaison and as the Libraries' Graphic Artist. 

Graduating seniors were also recognized for their dedication and hard work while student supervisors spoke about their seniors’ unique contributions to the Libraries as well as the students’ aspirations and hopes for their lives following graduation.In addition to the speeches and award presentations, the celebration includes dinner, cake, quite a bit of laughter, lots of hugs (and maybe even a few tears), before concluding with the much-loved tradition of the gift basket give-away. Always a special night for us at Western Libraries, we wanted to share with you some images from that memorable evening, and take this opportunity to thank all of our students once again for all they do and all they are.

Miriam Snow Mathes, a professor of library science at Western, established an endowment  in 1998 to fund both the Western Libraries annual student recognition event and also the Mabel Zoe Wilson Excellence in Student Service Award. The first Western Libraries Student Celebration was held in 1999, and  they have been held annually every spring since then. 

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Chair Collection Special Exhibition

Western Libraries & the Western Gallery Partnership 

Western Libraries has partnered with the Western Gallery to exhibit pieces from the Gallery’s substantial 65 piece collection of original chairs, benches, and tables all by prominent designers from the mid-19th century to 1980s.

Photo caption: Dean of Libraries Mark Greenberg, Western Gallery Director Hafthor Yngvason, and Western Libraries Art Committee: Michelle Becker, Leslie Hall, and Amy Stefany, (May 2016)


The chairs on display at Western Libraries are examples of mid-century design and include works by Hans Wegner, Isamu Noguchi, Charles and Ray Eames, Harry Bertoia, and Arnie Jacobsen. 

The installation is located on the third floor of Haggard and is strikingly displayed along the windows circling the rotunda. Stop by the library to find out more and take a look at some pieces from this remarkable collection.

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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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