Events

Faculty Working Retreat

Posted on: Tuesday, May 31, 2016 - 11:41am

Topic(s): Updates, Events, Resources

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 writinginstructiosupport@wwu.edu.  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. 

Student Celebration 2016

Posted on: Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - 11:01am

Topic(s): Updates, Events, Feature Stories

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. 


TLA Dialogue Sessions

Posted on: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - 12:43pm

Topic(s): Updates, Events, Resources

Spring Quarter TLA Dialogue Sessions begin April 6th

“How do we move beyond conversation to achieve self-sustaining equity and inclusivity at Western?” is the Teaching-Learning Academy’s (TLA) BIG question for 2015-2016. Faculty, staff, community members, and over 70 students worked collectively throughout fall quarter to create a shared question that addresses how we can better enhance the teaching and learning environment at Western.

 

More than 90 TLA participants spent winter 2016 exploring and gathering data to address this question, and spring quarter will be spent finalizing action proposals that address the BIG question for this academic year.

 

The spring TLA sessions begin Apr. 6 and 7, and meet every other week for a total of four meetings for the quarter. There are four dialogue group options:

 

·        Wednesdays noon-1:20 pm (Apr. 6, 20, May 4, & 18)

·        Wednesdays 2-3:20 pm (Apr. 6, 20, May 4, & 18)

·        Thursdays noon-1:20 pm (Apr. 7, 21, May 5, & 19)

·        Thursdays 2-3:20 pm (Apr. 7, 21, May 5, & 19)

 

While the sessions run for approximately 80 minutes, attendees are welcome to stop by based on their availability. All dialogue groups meet in the Learning Commons in Wilson 2 West.

 

Students can also participate for Communications practicum credit. For more information, contact Carmen.Werder@wwu.edu. To sign up for a TLA dialogue session email Shevell.Thibou@wwu.edu.

 

The Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA) is the central forum for the scholarship of teaching and learning at Western Washington University and brings together a broad spectrum of perspectives from across campus. Engaged in studying the intersections between teaching and learning, TLA members include faculty, students, administrators, and staff from across the University, as well as community members.


Wallie V. Funk & Community Journalism

Posted on: Monday, February 8, 2016 - 8:22am

Topic(s): Events, Feature Stories

When Local Becomes National

On Tuesday, February 2, 2016 in Special Collections we were honored to host the very special event "When local becomes national," during which panelists spoke about community journalism and the impact of the work of noted and prolific photographer, Wallie V. Funk. Wallie was also in attendance along with members of his family, and he made the event even more meaningful by sharing some of his memories enriching the conversation with his perspective.

 

Between 75 and 80 people were in attendance to listen to tales of Wallie's contributions and their place in the history of local and national photojournalism.

 

During his long career as a photographer, journalist and co-owner of the Anacortes American, the Whidbey News-Times, and the South Whidbey Record, Wallie V. Funk photographed a diverse and eclectic range of subjects, including several U.S. presidential visits to the state of Washington; 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 Fidalgo and Whidbey islands.

 

 

Panelists spoke about the impact of Wallie's work on his community and its surrounding area, and talked about how he used his photography and storytelling talents to draw attention to important matters in order to benefit and improve the lives of those around him. Each panelist had personal ties to Wallie, having worked closely with him while developing an enduring friendship.

 

 

Panelists were Theresa Trebon, Swinomish Indian Tribal community and local historian; Paul Cocke, Director of Western’s Office of Communications and Marketing and former news editor of the Anacortes American; Elaine Walker, curator of collections at the Anacortes Museum and former news editor of the Anacortes American; and Scott Terrell, photojournalist for the Skagit Valley Herald and WWU journalism instructor.

 

 

The presentation was sponsored by Western Libraries Heritage Resources, the WWU Department of Journalism and Western’s Office of Communications and Marketing.

 

A photographic exhibit featuring Funk's images is available for viewing weekdays in Special Colelctions between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., (excluding weekends and holidays).  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 this collection, please contact Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu.

 

 


Equity, Inclusivity, & Dialogue

Posted on: Wednesday, January 27, 2016 - 9:42am

Topic(s): Events, Feature Stories

Using Dialogue to Achieve Equity & Inclusivity at Western

What is the difference between “dialogue,” and “discussion,” and does this distinction matter? Carmen Werder, Director of the Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA) at Western Libraries, explained that understanding these different modes of communication is a fundamental part of the TLA.

 

“Dialogue is collaborative and requires participants to be aware of their assumptions and to arrive at a deeper understanding, which means the emphasis is on opening up the conversation to as many views as possible. People engaged in dialogue try to find a shared connection, and to do this they need to really listen and try to understand,” said Werder.

 

“Dialogue consists of asking questions and sharing insight; it’s an exploratory process,” said Learning Commons Coordinator Shevell Thibou, who has been helping facilitate the TLA since 2012. “Because dialogue isn’t about being ‘right,’ and because it requires us to suspend judgment and really explore our own assumptions, it can be challenging,” Thibou added.

 

Throughout fall quarter, faculty, staff, community members, and more than 70 students in the TLA participated in a series of dialogues to collectively to identify and formulate this year’s “BIG” question, which is: “How do we move beyond conversation to achieve self-sustaining equity and inclusivity at Western?”

 

Since its inception nearly sixteen years ago, participants in the TLA have been meeting regularly to engage in dialogue around a variety of topics related to improving teaching and learning at Western, and this year’s dialogue sessions are significant for a number of reasons, including the alignment of the 2015-2016 “BIG” question with important conversations occurring throughout Western. Werder noted that since she is retiring this year, this question also has special significance to her personally.

 

 “I’ve seen some version of this question come up as long as I have been at Western, but I really feel like we are at an important place with this particular question, this year, right now,” said Werder, noting the emergence of this question early in fall quarter.

 

“The issues of equity and inclusion came up before the unfortunate and disturbing incident that happened just before Thanksgiving,” explained Werder, “and I think we can really we can use this as a chance to think about how important it is to talk about these things. And we can also use TLA as a mechanism for connecting people with other broader conversations happening across the University on this topic.”

 

During the first week of winter quarter’s TLA sessions, participants introduced themselves, and spoke about the benefits of engaging in the dialogue groups.  They shared what interested them about this year’s “BIG” question, and spoke about what they hoped their work would bring. Jordan Blevins, a TLA student facilitator, talked about how TLA’s “flattened hierarchy” makes it easier for participants to share unique perspectives.

 

“We all want to participate. We all want to have our voices heard,” said Blevins, “TLA is our opportunity to do that. This is a great time and an open space, where everyone is welcome.”

Hoping to arrive at some sort of shared definition which would aid them in the exploration of the “BIG” question, participants broke groups to try and define the terms “equity” and “inclusivity” before returning to the larger group to share their results.

 

Many common themes and questions emerged, such as: “What is fairness?” and “What is difference?” Equity, equality, and privilege were each considered and explored. Some participants noted out how every person brings a different perspective to conceptualizing each of these words, and while “diversity” is not explicitly stated in the “BIG” question, it is implicit in each of these considerations.

 

Werder pointed out that when engaging in dialogue and discussion, often it is through asking questions rather than thinking we have the answers that we are able to arrive closer to understanding the complexities of these words. 

 

“What is inclusivity? Is it a ‘welcoming’? Is it an attitude? Is it a set of practices? Is it recognizing and appreciating differences? And what does ‘recognizing differences’ mean?” asked Werder.

 

Your Chance to Participate!

While the TLA dialogue sessions for this quarter began Jan. 13 and 14th, it’s still not too late for you to get involved. As part of their work this quarter, the TLA will host two focus groups on February 17th from 12-1pm and 2-3 pm in the Learning Commons to explore the questions that must be answered in order to achieve self-sustaining equity and inclusivity here at Western. You can also still join a regular TLA session for this quarter.  The TLA meets every other week for a total of five meetings for the quarter, and there are four group options:

 

·        Wednesdays from noon to 1:20 p.m. (Jan 13, 27; Feb 10, 24; Mar 9)

·        Wednesdays from 2 to 3:20 p.m. (Jan 13, 27; Feb 10, 24; Mar 9)

·        Thursdays from noon to 1:20 p.m. (Jan 14, 28; Feb 11, 25; Mar 10)

·        Thursdays from 2 to 3:20 p.m. (Jan 14, 28; Feb 11, 25; Mar 10)

 

While the sessions run for approximately 80 minutes, attendees are welcome to stop by based on their availability. All dialogue groups meet in the Learning Commons in Wilson 2 West. Students can also participate for Communication practicum credit. If you are interested in learning more about the TLA, or to sign up for a dialogue session, email TLA@wwu.edu.

 

The Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA) at Western Libraries is a Learning Commons partner and the central forum for the scholarship of teaching and learning at Western Washington University.  Engaged in studying the intersections between teaching and learning, TLA members include faculty, students, administrators, and staff from across the University, as well as several alumni and community members. Grounded in the scholarship of teaching and learning, the TLA's central mission is to create a community of scholars who work together to better understand the existing learning culture, to share that understanding with others, and to enhance the learning environment for everyone.


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