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Posted on: Monday, July 10, 2017 - 1:34pm
Western Libraries & Bellingham Pride
Western Libraries’ staff, friends, and family came together in celebration of “Bellingham Pride” on Sunday, July 9, 2017. Since 2013, participating in Pride has grown into an annual tradition that many library employees look forward to and enjoy. For the past couple of years, Western Libraries has also walked in the parade and shared a festival table with members of the Bellingham Public Library and the Whatcom County Library System.
"I really do look forward to this every year," said staff member Amy Sedovic. "It is such a family-friendly event and a wonderful way to connect with the wider Bellingham community as a whole. And the cheers of, 'we love our libraries!' from friends and neighbors along the parade route is very hopeful and heartwarming." Sedovic explained how libraries are seen as “open, welcoming, and affirming places,” and that she feels honored to be a part of that tradition.
As explained by the American Library Association, libraries can serve LGBTQ people by ensuring that they are represented in library collections. Additionally, as a population frequently subjected to discrimination and harassment, LGBTQ people can benefit from access to information and the sense of community libraries provide.
"I was really excited that the libraries were going to table at Pride," said Emma Winningham, who began working at Western Libraries a little under a year ago. "I knew I had to sign up to be there! It was a great opportunity to connect with our broader community and show that we can work together to support each other.”
Librarian Rebecca Marrall explained that she looks forward to the festival every year because of the chance to connect with the community and raise awareness about the Libraries’ historical and archival collections that feature regional LGBTQ narratives. A poster featuring some of these collections was on display and served as a popular conversation piece at the festival.
“The Heritage Resources poster was a big hit,” said librarian Sylvia Tag. “Lots of folks commented on the amazing history within our region and community around LGBTQ organizations, artists, and activists as displayed on the poster.”
Western Libraries anticipates increased WWU participation in the Bellingham Pride events as enthusiasm for such an important and significant celebration grows, and they invite anyone interested to join them next year!
For more information about the LGBTQ Archival and primary source materials at Western Libraries, contact Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu.
Read more: Bellingham Pride 2017
Posted on: Thursday, May 25, 2017 - 7:55am
Topic(s): Feature Stories
Supporting Student Employee Professional Development
At Western Washington University, student employees play an integral role in helping the Libraries fulfill its teaching and learning mission. Whether through providing research and writing assistance in the Hacherl Research & Writing Studio, dialogue facilitation in the Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA), or by sharing their energy, expertise, and insights in the day-to-day activities that help the Libraries function effectively, the contributions and dedication of library student employees are essential to the successful advancement of Western Libraries' mission.
In addition to their daily work, some students also engage in professional development and research activities, which may include presentations at national and international conferences. For example, as part of their first year as assistants in the Hacherl Research & Writing Studio, student employees develop a research topic related to Studio scholarship and practice, which they later share in the form of “legacy projects.” They may also choose to submit their work as proposals for conference presentations.
Last fall, sixteen Studio student assistants attended the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing (NCPTW). Of those sixteen, fifteen students gave presentations where they spoke about their research and the results of their legacy projects with conference attendees.
“Studio assistants tell us that the seminar and the opportunity to design and present a research project to a broader community of practice has a huge impact on their academic and professional skills and lives,” explained Pippa Hemsley, Assistant Director of the Hacherl Research & Writing Studio. While an undergraduate student at Western, Hemsley was herself a student assistant in the former Writing Center.
Last fall, two additional library student employees presented at a different conference, the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL), held in Los Angeles, California. Autumn Simmons and Nathan Romond, (who both work for the TLA), gave a joint presentation about the use of dialogue and the practice of intentionally flattening hierarchies to eliminate barriers in teaching and learning.
“Autumn and I were able to present our work to an audience of international scholars, many of whom were faculty,” explained Romond. He noted that their presentation embodied what they were speaking about, “underscoring the idea that students can engage more personally and deeply with work when operating in an environment that incorporates a flattened hierarchy among students and faculty.”
Both Simmons and Romond described their time at ISSoTL as one of the most memorable and significant experiences of their undergraduate education.
“As an undergraduate, the ability to meet with so many academic professionals and share work being done felt like a privilege,” stated Simmons. “This sharing of knowledge, and the connections made along the way is what makes this conference so special and necessary in order to maximize the benefits of higher education.”
Western Libraries relies on the generosity of its donors to make these life-changing opportunities possible. Philanthropic gifts help support library student employees by funding registration fees, travel expenses, and other associated costs of participating in conferences and other research opportunities that advance the libraries' teaching and learning mission"
If you would like to help, please consider contributing to the Western Libraries Student Employee Opportunity Fund. And a special thank you goes out to everyone who has already contributed to this fund , whether on WWU Give Day or now!
Read more: Supporting Student Professional Development
Posted on: Thursday, March 2, 2017 - 11:55am
Connecting Literature to Life: Childhood Inspiration Comes Full Circle
Keri Krout can still recall the long hot California summers of her childhood, and how they were marked by each arrival from the mail-order Scholastic book club. Krout and her siblings would gather around their mother, eagerly watching as she opened up the cardboard wrapping that encased the book. But the one book Krout remembers most of all is Andrew Henry’s Meadow, written and illustrated by Doris (Wernstedt) Burn.
“We not only read her story, but I remember studying the pictures for hours and imagining my life in a meadow full of friends,” explained Krout. “My home of choice was the bird house built up in the sky. I imagined what a cool breeze would feel like, and the sound of the birds singing just to me.”
Andrew Henry's Meadow is the story of a boy who feels ignored and unappreciated by his family and decides to build a special retreat for himself in a nearby meadow. Other children from the neighborhood join him, so he builds houses for them as well, each one customized to complement their interests and hobbies.
“My brother and I attempted to build a pulley system in his bedroom like Andrew Henry built for his younger brothers, but I admit our attempts fell short,” said Krout. She noted that while other books continued to arrive in the mail, it was Andrew Henry’s Meadow that impacted her the most.
“I grew up working with children,” said Krout, who now works as the manager of the Associated Students Child Development Center (CDC) at Western Washington University. “I think perhaps I understand children’s need to have their own space thanks to Andrew Henry.”
Krout recalled how her favorite childhood story resurfaced when she first began working at Western as she walked through The Outback on her way to work. She encountered a small cabin and was astonished to learn its connection to Doris Burn, as the cabin had once belonged to June and Farrar Burn, Doris Burn’s parents-in-law.
“My beginning started with a simple story of the need to create, to escape, to be understood and accepted. And here I was, standing by the cabin which had belonged to the family of the woman whose life and creating influenced mine in ways I’m sure I can’t count. I felt a sense of utter gratitude of how life can take a person full circle,” Krout explained.
Krout relayed this experience to some of the families of the CDC, and one of the parents later emailed her about a special exhibition featuring the work of Doris Burn that was on display at Western Libraries. As part of this exhibition, Doris Burn’s daughter, the local author and multi-dimensional artist Skye Burn, was scheduled to give a special public presentation about the life and legacy of her mother. Krout knew immediately she would attend this event, and following Skye’s talk, the two women finally met in person.
“What an honor to meet her daughter and to bask in the glow of creative genius,” said Krout. “How can I begin to even thank Doris and her family?”
Burn’s work continues to speak to readers of all ages, and since her death in 2011, Andrew Henry’s Meadow has been reissued by Penguin’s Philomel Books. The title has also been published and is presently available in translation in Korea, China and Japan. Andrew Henry's Meadow won the Washington Governor's Art Award and was a Weekly Reader book club selection.
“Plenty of Things to Do: The Work of Northwest Children’s Author Doris Burn,” will remain on display through March 10th, and is available for viewing weekdays Monday – Friday in Special Collections, (Wilson Library 6th Floor) between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Additionally, a digital version of the Doris Burn exhibit is now available online, as are detailed collection guides to the Doris Burn Artwork and Manuscripts and related collections of June and Farrar Burn Papers and South Burn Papers, housed and available at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies.
The pieces on display were selected from a far larger collection of Burn’s original works, which were donated to Western Libraries Heritage Resources in 2015 as a gift of the Burn Family via the Doris Burn Legacy LLC. These materials help document the cultural and artistic history of the Pacific Northwest region and were created by an artist and writer who sought specifically to engage with the needs, interests, and creativity of a younger audience.
Skye Burn’s talk, “The Strength of a Dream: A Daughter's Portrait of a Northwest Children's Author and Illustrator,” can be found in Western CEDAR and is viewable from this link.
Read more: Connecting Literature to Life
Posted on: Tuesday, November 8, 2016 - 2:37pm
New Journal Featuring the Work of WWU Huxley College Graduate Students
Open Access Week may be over, but we still have news to share of how Western is contributing to Open Access every single day. Did you know that Western’s Master Theses collection is the most highly-used collection in Western CEDAR? And now the addition of a brand new journal, Summit to Salish Sea: Inquiries and Essays, demonstrates yet again how WWU graduate students are actively supporting Western’s commitment to enrich academic inquiry and strengthen communities by sharing their work in CEDAR.
This new journal, hosted by Western Washington University's Huxley College of the Environment and the North Cascades Institute, showcases the work of the students in the Masters of Environmental Education program. Articles are based on the final capstone presentations from the end of the graduate students’ programs, and cover a wide range of subjects related to environmental education. Submissions in the journal are separated into two formats: speeches and essays, and some are enriched with multimedia.
“Currently, the journal is oriented around the theory and practice of environmental education with a focus on personal stories and revelations arising from teaching and study of the field,” explained journal founder and editor-in-chief, Nick Stanger. “Topics are as diverse as the student body, including forest-based schools, queer theory and environmental education.”
Graduate students from the M.Ed. residency program whose work is featured in S2SS: Inquiries and Essays / photo courtesy of Nick Stanger
Stanger is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Education in the Department Environmental Studies. He came to Western two years ago from the University of Victoria, where he recently received his doctoral degree examining transformative experiences and places. He decided to start this journal when he was searching for a way to document, celebrate, and share the tremendous work that his students put into their culminating projects, which are not finalized in the form of traditionally-defined theses. CEDAR seemed like a perfect fit for a number of reasons, including its capability to support a variety of content formats.
“CEDAR gives me the opportunity to include many of my students’ media, including audio, video, and still photographs,” explained Stanger. And as for what inspired the journal’s title? Recognizing the invaluable relationship between the environment and one’s own learning experiences, the title pays homage to both. As described on the journal site:
“The students' experience ranges from the summits of the North Cascades to the Salish Sea, a binational location, long recognized for its ecological and cultural diversity. Hosted within the traditional territories of many Coast Salish First Nations, this educational experience influences a rich inquiry into the nuances and complexities of environmental education. Whether students are tackling early childhood environmental education, environmental or education philosophy, or cultural explorations in education, their submissions represent a distinctly powerful Masters experience.”
Graduating students on the day of their capstone presentations ‘Passing the Paddle’ to the incoming cohort.
Western currently publishes two journals in CEDAR, (the other one being the Journal of Educational Controversy, hosted by Woodring College), with anticipated growth in this area in the near future. Part of a global movement promoting access to scholarship and creative works, Western CEDAR (an acronym for Contributing to Education through Digital Access to Research) officially launched in the fall of 2014, as a service of Western Libraries and in partnership with Western's Graduate School, Office of the Provost, and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.
CEDAR serves as a platform to disseminate and promote the research, scholarship, and creative works of Western faculty, students, staff, departments, centers, units, institutes, and programs. There is a social-equity component to Open Access publishing that aligns nicely with the field of environmental education, as barriers which could prevent access to potentially beneficial information are removed, which means research and scholarship shared in CEDAR and created by students, faculty, and staff at Western are made freely available to everyone. By showcasing Western’s scholarly and creative works, CEDAR facilitates their global discovery and promotes sustainable scholarly communication.
“My students are very aware of the limitations of traditional publishing system - and with that - the limitations of environmental education and environmental justice as taught within a university setting,” explained Stanger. “This approach to including their voices within the landscape of environmental education and beyond is an enabling opportunity,” adding that their reactions to the journal have been very positive.
“It has been surprisingly well-received by the students,” said Stanger. “I think it enhances the quality of their work, knowing that their documents will be seen beyond me and the audience that hears their work during the capstone.”
You can find the latest issue of Summit to Salish Sea: Inquiries and Essays, here: http://cedar.wwu.edu/s2ss. While there is currently only one published volume available, Stanger is currently co-editing volume two, due out March 2017, with an alum from the program.
For more information about the M.Ed. in Environmental Education program, please see https://huxley.wwu.edu/med-environmental-education. Questions about Western CEDAR? Please contact email@example.com.
Read more: Summit to Salish Sea in Western CEDAR
Posted on: Monday, October 3, 2016 - 10:49am
Transitions and New Leadership at Western Libraries & the Learning Commons
(L to R) Carmen Werder, Sarah McDaniel, and Shevell Thibou / photos by Bri Schlemmer, courtesy of Western Libraries
As Western moves into a new academic year, the Libraries and the Learning Commons are gaining significant new leadership, with changes precipitated by the retirement of Carmen Werder, who began working at Western in 1984, and who served as the Director of the Learning Commons, the Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA), and Writing Instruction Support (WIS).
“It’s difficult to see such a valued colleague leave Western,” said Dean of Libraries Mark Greenberg. “I wish Carmen a long, happy, and healthy retirement.”
Western Libraries will host a retirement celebration in Werder’s honor and in appreciation for her many contributions later in November—details and date to be announced soon. In the meantime, the Libraries and the Learning Commons are preparing for what lies ahead.
Coming from University of Wisconsin, Madison, Sarah McDaniel has assumed the new position of Director of Teaching & Learning and the Learning Commons. Shevell Thibou, now Assistant Director of the Learning Commons, will also head the Teaching-Learning Academy, and Julie Dugger, who is also faculty in the Department of English, has accepted the position of Director of Writing Instruction Support.
“We make this transition with amazing new leadership,” said Greenberg. “Sarah, Shevell, and Julie each bring incredible expertise and energy to their new roles advancing teaching and learning in Western Libraries.”
Prior to coming to Western, Sarah McDaniel’s work focused on partnerships to transform libraries’ educational roles. She led the University of Wisconsin, Madison Libraries’ Teaching & Learning Programs for nine years, and partnered with the Chancellor’s Office, faculty, and campus and community organizations to establish the Go Big Read campus-community reading program, now in its eighth year.
In addition to leading a twenty-library information literacy program, she expanded the scope of the program to incorporate faculty development and instructional design partnerships, secured campus funding for library e-learning initiatives and co-chaired an Educational Innovation team focused on development of new service models.
As the Director of Teaching & Learning and the Learning Commons here at Western, McDaniel will bring her experience in faculty development, instructional design, and assessment to develop, implement, and assess an integrated teaching and learning program for Western Libraries that engages students and instructors from across the university. She is also a member of the Libraries’ senior leadership team, and will work collaboratively with librarians, staff, student employees, Learning Commons partners, and external stakeholders toward shared goals to advance new teaching and learning initiatives related to the online learning environment, student learning outcomes, and research-writing instruction in support of academic colleges’ curricula.
“I’m looking forward to leading the rich variety of education and outreach programs that library staff at Western are engaged in,” said McDaniel. “I’m particularly excited about the innovative integration of writing and research that’s underway in our teaching and services to students and faculty,” said McDaniel, mentioning as examples both the Hacherl Research & Writing Studio and the Integrated Research & Writing Workshops.
Shevell Thibou is no stranger to the Learning Commons or the TLA, having served as the coordinator over the past four years. The TLA is a dialogue forum engaged in studying the intersections between teaching and learning, with the mission of creating 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.
Werder explained that although the TLA began in 2001 as a temporary structure related to Western’s affiliation with the Carnegie Academy’s Campus Conversations program, it has endured as a place where students, faculty, staff, and community members can come to together to talk about what matters to them, and what matters in the world of teaching and learning, adding that she is optimistic about the future of the TLA.
“I have been truly blessed to be involved with the TLA since its beginnings up to the present, and I am absolutely thrilled to know that Shevell Thibou will be leading it from now on,” said Werder upon her retirement. “In mind, heart, and spirit - Shevell embodies all that is the TLA, and I predict that the best is yet to come.”
Thibou explained she appreciates how much the TLA emphasizes the importance of community, and she is excited about continuing to build community and to advance teaching and learning at Western.
“At times in higher education, we can sometimes create divides between faculty, staff, students, and community members, but in the TLA, the emphasis is on how we are all one,” explained Thibou. “To embody exceptional teaching and learning, everyone has to be a part of that process. The TLA looks at all points of views and perspectives, and that helps us advance teaching and learning, which can only strengthen Western and our community.”
Thibou invites anyone interested in learning more about the TLA to participate in the sessions that begin on Oct. 5th and 6th, adding that fall is a particularly great time to get involved because it is when the TLA will choose its study question, which will be the focus of the TLA’s work the rest of the year. She is also interested in expanding the reach of the TLA by finding a way to meet people where they are.
“As a suggestion from last year’s TLA dialogue sessions and to continue Carmen’s extraordinary work, we will be taking TLA on the road this year,” said Thibou. “We want as many people as possible to come to the TLA sessions, but we also want to reach those who can’t attend so we can get their insights, so that when we say we come from a community of teachers and learners, we are being as inclusive as possible.”
Julie Dugger has accepted a one-year appointment to serve as Director of WIS, and will be working with McDaniel and Thibou throughout the year to direct and further develop support for the program. Dugger has taught writing, literature, and humanities full time for sixteen years as a professor and instructor at four-year universities. She has also taught in the Academic and Professional Writing Program at the University of Chicago, the Young Scholars Program at the Oregon Council for the Humanities, and the English for Speakers of Other Languages curriculum at Crossroads Student Center. She is a former Director of the Core Curriculum at Benedictine University, and her publications include work on literature and politics, utopianism, and popular fiction.
“Julie also holds a long-time teaching appointment in the English Department. We are fortunate to have someone with such a wealth of experience in this important role.” stated McDaniel.
The WIS program is a Learning Commons partner, and provides direct assistance to faculty who are teaching writing intensive courses within their discipline. As Director of WIS, Dugger will be available to offer personalized consultations to faculty on a variety of topics, including writing course syllabi, assignments, response methods, evaluation schemes, and Writing Proficiency (WP) Course requirements.
“Not only is good writing an essential professional and civic skill in itself, but a skilled writer is also a better communicator and critical thinker more generally. I'll be working in this position to ensure that when students look back on their time at WWU, they'll point to writing instruction as one of the most important parts of their education.” said Dugger.
Werder, who was involved with the Learning Commons from its earliest stages in 2010, stated she is very pleased with how things have developed and evolved over the years.
“For my part, I am retiring a very happy person to have been a part of this splendid adventure, and I send my best wishes to all the people that make up the treasure that is the Learning Commons at Western Washington University,” said Werder.
For more information about the Learning Commons, the TLA, WIS, or teaching and learning at Western Libraries and the Learning Commons, please see: https://library.wwu.edu/learning_commons or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more: Transitions & New Leadership