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Posted on: October 3, 2016
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 email@example.com.
Read more: Transitions & New Leadership
Posted on: August 10, 2016
Western Libraries Welcomes New Director of Teaching & Learning and the Learning Commons
Western Libraries at Western Washington University has hired Sarah McDaniel as the Director of Teaching & Learning and the Learning Commons. Sarah comes to Western from University of Wisconsin-Madison, where her recent work focused on partnerships to transform libraries’ educational roles.
In her new position as the Director of Teaching & Learning and the Learning Commons, Sarah will develop, implement, and assess an integrated teaching and learning program for Western Libraries that engages students and instructors from across the University. As a member of the Libraries’ senior leadership team, she will work collaboratively with librarians, staff, student employees, Learning Commons partners, and external stakeholders toward shared goals, and she will help advance new teaching and learning initiatives, including the online learning environment, student learning outcomes, and research-writing instruction in support of academic colleges’ curricula.
Sarah led the University of Wisconsin–Madison Libraries’ Teaching & Learning Programs for nine years. In addition to overseeing 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. She also contributed to the leadership and facilitation of programs for early-career faculty, instructors involved in designing blended and online courses, and faculty visiting from partner universities outside the United States.
Sarah also worked in UW-Madison Provost’s Office, contributing to institutional efforts around accreditation and learning assessment. As consultant for a curricular redesign project in UW-Madison’s School of Library & Information Studies, she developed a communication plan for an upcoming name change for the school. Sarah has also been Associate Lecturer for courses on pedagogy and learning assessment in the UW-Madison School of Library & Information Studies, and she partnered with the Chancellor’s Office, faculty, and campus and community organizations to found the “Go Big Read” campus-community reading program, now in its eighth year. As a past Chair of both the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Instruction Section and the ACRL Divisional Committee on Information Literacy, Sarah developed ACRL’s formal liaison relationship with the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI).
Previously, Sarah was Humanities Librarian, Assessment & Instructional Design Librarian, and Interim Director of the Teaching Library at University of California–Berkeley. At Berkeley, Sarah was appointed Assessment Consultant for the Mellon Faculty Fellowship for Undergraduate Research, where she co-facilitated a year-long curriculum for faculty fellows, assessed the impact of the program on student learning, and consulted with faculty redesigning assignments and courses. Sarah also partnered with Berkeley’s Graduate Student Instructor Teaching & Resource Center to develop programs on research-based learning for future faculty. Sarah’s academic credentials include a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS), a M.A. in Foreign Languages and Literatures (French) from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a B.A. in French from UW-Madison.
Read more: Welcome Sarah McDaniel
Posted on: June 14, 2016
Subscriptions Reduction Review Process - Update
Read more: Subscriptions Review Update
Posted on: May 23, 2016
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.
Read more: Chair Collection Special Exhibition
Posted on: April 26, 2016
Osens Establish Endowment for the Advancement of Western Libraries
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.
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.
Read more: Rick and Barbara Osen Endowment
Posted on: March 29, 2016
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