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Posted on: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - 12:57pm
Using Archives to Enhance Teaching & Learning
How can media history inform our understanding of our current moment? What is the role of media in the construction of identity, social hierarchies, and our understanding of power? Recognizing that archival and primary source materials provide evidence that can help answer these kinds of questions, Professor Helen Morgan Parmett decided to experiment by integrating an upper-class research and writing assignment with resources at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (CPNWS), a division of Western Libraries Heritage Resources.
Last quarter students from Professor Morgan Parmett’s Communications Studies 416 class, “Cultural History of Media and Identity,” spent several hours at the CPNWS to review a variety of primary source archival materials in their consideration of the intersections between cultural history, media, and identity formation.
This was the first time many of these students had ever worked directly with archival materials, and CPNWS staff sought to provide contrasting examples of locally-produced media by also including materials that spoke to the experiences, interests, and voices of traditionally under-represented individuals and groups. For example, in addition to exploring historic issues of more mainstream publications such as the Bellingham Herald, students also examined the Northwest Passage, an alternative newspaper produced from 1969-1986, as well as a range of newsletters and educational materials produced by women’s organizations and LGBTA+ advocacy groups.
Heritage Resources Assistant Archivist for Outreach and Instruction Roz Koester helped facilitate the inquiry process by asking students to consider not just the materials in front of them, but to also think about what was not kept.
"Since we so often rely on written documentation to provide evidence of our shared cultural heritage, it's important to be aware that there are stories and experiences that remain untold,” explained Koester. “A lot of records don't get preserved, so, as researchers, you need to not only be thinking about the information that's available in the resources you're using, but also what might be missing. And we should all be thinking about how we can engage those hidden voices in order to preserve a more complete picture of our history."
As a required component of their research and writing assignment, students were expected to contribute to the scholarship of media history and identity found in secondary literature by constructing an original argument based on archival evidence of media influence on the construction Pacific Northwest identities.
Professor Morgan Parmett hopes that through this assignment, her students will develop a greater understanding not only of media history, but also of where we are now and how we are currently using media. She emphasized how we can learn much about today by considering the media histories of the past:
“For one, they disillusion us from the idea that things have always been a certain way by demonstrating the conflicts, debates, and struggles out of which our current moment emerged,” explained Professor Morgan Parmett. “These histories illuminate the fact that many of the debates we currently have about media and its societal effects are, in fact, not new. Seeing how these debates were resolved in earlier periods may provide insights for how we might move forward into our media futures in more socially just ways.”
Heritage Resources is a division of Western Libraries which includes Special Collections, the University Archives & Records Management, and the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies. Together these units provide for the responsible stewardship of unique and archival materials in support of teaching, learning, and research. For more information about how Heritage Resources supports the research needs of students and educators, contact Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu.
Read more: Archives, Media, and Identity
Posted on: Wednesday, January 6, 2016 - 3:55pm
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.
Read more: Studio Growth & Success
Posted on: Friday, November 20, 2015 - 3:01pm
Open Access News @WWU: Western CEDAR Updates
Western Washington University launched its Institutional Repository known as Western CEDAR in the fall of 2014. Part of a global movement promoting open access to scholarship and creative works, Western CEDAR is a service of Western Libraries, in partnership with Western's Graduate School, Office of the Provost, and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.
During the past year, content in Western CEDAR has grown to include 108 faculty research pages, 26 departmental pages, 441 theses, 111 Scholars Week poster sessions, and the 2014 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference. By the end of this past October, scholarship contained in CEDAR had been downloaded worldwide over 65,000 times.
Western Libraries has taken an active leadership role in managing CEDAR day-to-day, teaching interested faculty, staff, and students about the software’s many capabilities, and educating them on their intellectual property rights and responsibilities. Western CEDAR advances the University’s commitment to enriching academic inquiry and strengthening communities by sharing the expertise and creativity of its students, faculty, and staff worldwide via the Web.
Recently the Institute for Watershed Studies (IWS) collaborated with Western Libraries to add their collection to CEDAR. The IWS supports research on freshwater lakes, streams and wetlands, including Lake Whatcom, which is the primary drinking water source for the City of Bellingham and parts of Whatcom County.
The City of Bellingham and Western have worked together on investigations of the water quality in Lake Whatcom since the early 1960s. Beginning in the 1980s, a monitoring program was developed by the City and the IWS to provide long-term water quality data for the lake and its tributaries. Having the IWS collection in Western CEDAR means that this information is now accessible for anyone to search, find, and use.
This past summer, back issues of the interdisciplinary peer-reviewed Journal of Educational Controversy were also added to the repository. The next issue is scheduled for publication directly in CEDAR sometime this fall, and will include an article which examines the benefits, pitfalls, and sustainability of open access publishing.
For more information about Western CEDAR, contact Scholarly Communications Librarian Jenny Oleen or Western CEDAR Manager, Kim Marsicek.
Read more: Open Access News
Posted on: Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 3:19pm
Western CEDAR: Sharing with the World
One need only glance at the “Faculty Notes” page of Western Today to get a sense of the depth and range of research, scholarship, and creative works that Western’s faculty are producing. Western CEDAR, Western Washington University’s institutional repository (IR), is one way Western can share these innovative and engaging outputs with the world. Part of a global movement promoting open access to scholarship and creative works, Western CEDAR is a service of Western Libraries, in partnership with the Graduate School, Office of the Provost, and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.
Since its launch last fall, CEDAR’s implementation team has been working diligently with Western faculty and staff to both create SelectedWorks pages and also add content to the repository that will help make the scholarly and creative work of Western’s community accessible to everyone.
“So much is made about the teaching-learning mission of the university. But I’m constantly amazed at the quality and quantity of academic scholarship that is produced at Western. This allows us, in one place, to begin to tell the story of the university’s collective efforts to engage in the production of new knowledge, and to share that broadly,” explained Dr. Francisco Rios, Dean of Woodring College of Education.
CEDAR’s Selected Works feature allows faculty from Western to share their work and expand their readership. Articles published in peer-reviewed journals that are added to CEDAR are search engine optimized for maximum exposure, meaning they have the potential to receive increased readership beyond the discipline-specific journal in which they were first published.
While one of the goals of CEDAR is to make scholarship available and accessible to anyone in the world, a local benefit of using SelectedWorks is that it provides scholars at Western an opportunity to discover what their colleagues here at Western are researching and creating. Elementary Education Professor Joy Wiggins explained how CEDAR helps connect faculty across the university, enabling them to recognize how their work intersects with other disciplines.
"My research intersects with anthropology, sociology, psychology and even political science, and it just makes sense for me to seek research outside of education...We tend to stay encapsulated in our disciplines and respective departments because we are so busy just teaching, attending to service and squeezing in our writing that we sometimes forget to look up from our desks and seek other like-minded folks from different disciplines that bring a whole new, fresh insight to our work. That’s what’s so exciting to me. CEDAR is one way to connect us," said Wiggins.
Faculty who create SelectedWorks pages can showcase their scholarly and creative works by displaying them in a customized format organized according to the categories they decide to highlight, (such as: areas of research and expertise, awards and honors, publications, bibliographies, Curriculum Vitae, or lists of links to additional information). SelectedWorks pages also allow scholars to easily cultivate their own network of followers by inviting contacts to join their announcement network, or follow them via RSS feed or email.
Environmental Sciences Professor Robin Matthews’ SelectedWorks page includes something entirely unique since she is the author of the very first book ever published in CEDAR, a taxonomy guide to local algae that includes hundreds of high resolution color images. The book can be downloaded electronically to a computer or mobile device, and it was created with active links which make it easy to use.
“Putting the book on CEDAR solved a huge problem I was facing: how to make the book accessible to students and other professionals at a low or no cost and without loss of quality. Printing this type of book would be prohibitively expensive, assuming I could even find a publisher interested in the project,” explained Matthews.
Not only was Matthews able to create something she uses in her own teaching, she has also connected with others outside of the United States who have told her that her book has helped them in teaching their students algal taxonomy. Currently, publications from Western Washington University's faculty, staff and students, including Western's Masters Thesis Collection, are being downloaded by people from all over the world. CEDAR's website includes a dynamic map that begins with the previous days' downloads before switching to real-time activity, so you can see for yourself the global impact of the work being done at Western.
“Ultimately, this is about providing access to the broadest range of one’s scholarship to as many people as possible. As an educational institution, we have a commitment and obligation to generate new knowledge. But that knowledge, to have impact, needs to be shared with as many others as possible. And others need to be able to access that knowledge,” said Rios.
Cedar’s implementation team at Western Libraries is available to assist you in if you are interested in creating a SelectedWorks page to showcase your work, or if you have any questions about Western CEDAR. Please contact Western Libraries Scholarly Communication Librarian, Jenny.Oleen@wwu.edu or Western CEDAR Manager Kim.Marsicek@wwu.edu for more information.
Read more: Sharing with the World - Western CEDAR
Posted on: Monday, March 9, 2015 - 10:32am
Western Libraries and the Learning Commons are pleased to announce the merger of Research Consultation and the Writing Center into the Research-Writing Studio, which will integrate academic support in a vibrant learning environment staffed by research consultants and writing assistants.
The merger will be accomplished beginning with the relocation of Research Consultation and the Writing Center to Haggard Hall East behind the Student Technology Center (STC).
University faculty have repeatedly identified the development of student research and writing skills as an important role of the Libraries. The Research-Writing Studio, funded exclusively by private donation, will feature flexible furnishings and mobile technologies to facilitate scholarly work and support for core academic literacies such as researching, reading, and writing. Students can work on their academic projects individually, with peers, or with consultants.
Featuring innovative pedagogies important to student learning, the Research-Writing Studio will integrate support for academic work, and scholars who use the Studio can receive feedback while they practice their craft. Research consultants and writing assistants will offer incremental, strategy-based consultations while students work individually or collaboratively within the space.
Over the next few months, you may notice Studio-related changes in the Library. In addition to the relocation of Research Consultation and the Writing Center to Haggard Hall East, the oversize collection will be relocated to the Wilson Library, and the reference collection will move from Wilson to Haggard 2. Although no major construction is planned, some infrastructure improvements to electrical and lighting will occur over the summer.
For more details on implementation plans, please contact Andrea.Peterson@wwu.edu.
Read more: New Research-Writing Studio