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Posted on: Monday, February 1, 2016 - 9:03am
Western Libraries Usability Activity
Read more: Usability Study Participants Wanted
Posted on: Wednesday, January 27, 2016 - 9:42am
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.
Read more: Equity, Inclusivity, & Dialogue
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: Tuesday, January 5, 2016 - 1:20pm
New Exhibit Featuring the Work of Photographer Wallie V. Funk
A photographic exhibit featuring images taken by noted prolific photojournalist Wallie V. Funk will open at Western Washington University on January 4, 2016 in Western Libraries Special Collections. This exhibit will be available for viewing between 11am and 4pm, (excluding weekends and holidays).
During his long career as a photographer, journalist, and co-owner of the Anacortes American, the Whidbey News-Times, and the South Whidbey Record, Funk photographed a diverse and eclectic range of subjects, including: several U.S. presidential visits to Washington State; 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 Whidbey Island.
On Tuesday, February 2 at 4 p.m. in Special Collections, there will be a special panel presentation, “When Local Becomes National: The Legacy and Impact of Pacific Northwest Photojournalist Wallie V. Funk,” featuring three panelists who are familiar with Funk and his body of work.
Panelists are: Paul Cocke, Director of WWU Office of Communications and Marketing and former employee of the Anacortes American, Theresa Trebon, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and Local Historian, and Scott Terrell, Photojournalist for the Skagit Valley Herald, WWU Journalism Instructor.
Panelists will discuss Funk’s contributions and their place in the history of local and national photojournalism. This special presentation is sponsored by Western Libraries Heritage Resources, Western’s Office of University Communications and Marketing, and Western's Department of Journalism.
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 the Wallie V. Funk collection of photographs and papers, or for more information about the exhibit and the panel presentations, please contact Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu.
Heritage Resources is a division of Western Libraries which includes the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Special Collections, and University Archives & Records Management. Together the three units provide for responsible stewardship of unique and archival materials in support of teaching, learning, and research.
Read more: Through the Lens of Wallie V. Funk
Posted on: Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - 3:47pm
Heritage Resources staff have designed a new digital exhibit featuring photographs taken by noted and prolific Pacific Northwest journalist Wallie V. Funk. During his career, Funk photographed a diverse and eclectic range of subjects, including several U.S. presidents, the Beatles' and Rolling Stones' concerts in Seattle, the 1970 Penn Cove whale capture, community events, and military activities on Whidbey Island. Featured images are a small sample from a far larger collection of papers, prints and negatives donated by Funk to the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies in 2003. This online resource was created as an accompaniment to a physical exhibit which will be hosted in Special Collections (Wilson Library 6th floor) in Winter Quarter 2016.
Read more: Wallie Funk Digital Exhibit
Posted on: Tuesday, December 8, 2015 - 2:13pm
Conversations in Common - Introduction to Research
When Western students have the opportunity to engage in meaningful research that they later share with others, they not only learn valuable research skills, but they also enrich the university community by allowing others to benefit from the results of their work.
Recognizing the multiple benefits of creating such opportunities for sharing, Research and Instruction Librarian Peter Smith has turned the final day of his Library 201 “Introduction to Research Strategies” course into a poster exhibition during which students present their research findings as part of a “Conversations in Common” event hosted in the Learning Commons.
Students in Smith’s class selected their own unique subjects to explore, which they then researched in stages, applying their individual questions to the scholarly literature and traveling from inquiry to thesis.
Learning Commons Coordinator Shevell Thibou commented on how much she enjoyed working with the Library 201 students during the Learning Commons sponsored Research-Writing workshops that she facilitated as part of this course. She noted that often students began with an assumption which ultimately evolved into something quite different from their original conception.
“What was also great about this is that often students would end up wanting to know even more about their topics as their perspectives changed because of their research,” said Thibou. “Watching them demonstrate that initiative and create opportunities to learn even more, to move beyond not just where they started but also where they left off with their research project was really exciting.”
Smith noted how expanding the students’ possible audience beyond the confines of the classroom affected their research and scholarship experiences.
“The students know they have to create something for an audience that is different than their instructor,” explained Smith. “The whole idea is to create a ‘public’ exhibit, which changes their whole approach. I have seen students become more engaged with tackling their research when they know they have to not only construct a poster based on their findings, but also be able to stand by it and explain it to someone who may know nothing at all about their topic.”
Research topics varied widely, including subjects taken from current events, educational, social, or environmental issues. Some students selected their research topics based on their personal interests or career aspirations.
For example, Felicity Shomer chose to examine the effect of Theatre Arts programs on high school students with special needs, and during her research she discovered multiple positive impacts to implementing such programs, in addition to learning how to integrate some of these practices into the classroom. She remarked that this information will help her as she pursues her “dream job” of teaching theatre to students with special needs.
With each recurrence the Library 201 poster exhibit has increased in popularity among Library and Learning Commons faculty and staff who often come away from the sessions having learned something new themselves, and who have begun to look forward to this event as an opportunity to learn directly from students.
“Getting an opportunity to learn from our own students here at Western, to listen to them engage thoughtfully and enthusiastically about their work, really demonstrates how the teaching and learning experience is so dynamic and interactive,” said Thibou. “I am also really glad we have a program like ‘Conversations in Common’ to serve as a venue for students, faculty, and staff to connect with each other and as part of the teaching and learning experience.”
Conversations in Common is an initiative sponsored by Western Libraries and the Learning Commons to create opportunities for people to engage in informal dialogue and learn more about various resources and programs at Western. For more information about this event or about the “Conversations in Common” program, contact: Shevell.Thibou@wwu.edu.
Read more: Sharing Research Through Conversations
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: Friday, October 30, 2015 - 3:15pm
Washington Rural Heritage Grant Award
Thanks to a $5,000 Washington Rural Heritage Grant, Western Libraries will be digitizing the correspondence, photographs, sketches, and papers of three prominent Pacific Northwest artists: Guy Anderson, Charles Stokes and Louis Mideke.
Once digitized, this content will be added to Heritage Resources’ digital collections, as well as the Washington Rural Heritage website, making these materials publicly available for use in research, teaching and private study.
Julia Sapin, chair of Western’s Art department, noted the significance of obtaining the Anderson materials.
“Guy Anderson was a leading figure in the Northwest School of painting and drew attention to this region through his form of abstract expressionism,” Sapin said. “It is a boon to our library’s collection to have this esteemed gift among its offerings, and Western students, as well as students and scholars from across the country, will be able to make use of this resource and increase their understanding of Anderson’s practice and community.”
Western Libraries Heritage Resources is partnering on the project with the Museum of Northwest Art in LaConner and the LaConner Public Library System. Washington Rural Heritage is a collaborative digitization program headquartered at the Washington State Library that brings together unique local history materials from libraries, museums and the private collections of citizens across Washington State.
Read more: Digitization of Artists' Works
Posted on: Tuesday, August 11, 2015 - 4:00pm
New Collection Features Doris Burn Artwork & Manuscripts
Siblings Skye, Lisa, and Mark Burn introduce Librarian Sylvia Tag to a portfolio of Doris Burn's drawings that now form part of the collection donated to Western Libraries.
Western Libraries has received a new collection of materials from noted children’s author and illustrator Doris Burn. A long-time resident of the San Juan Islands, Doris (Wernstedt ) Burn authored and illustrated the 1965 classic Andrew Henry’s Meadow, which won the Washington Governor’s Art Award. Burn also wrote The Summerfolk and The Tale of Lazy Lizard Canyon, and served as illustrator for a range of children’s works that are included in and documented through this donation.
Examples of some of the books and materials that are now part of the new collection.
The collection is a gift from the Burn family to Western Washington University via the Doris Burn Legacy LLC, and contains first-edition copies of children’s works written or illustrated by Burn, manuscripts and original artwork prepared for titles including Andrew Henry’s Meadow, and a number of unpublished and hitherto unseen manuscripts and drawings.
“This donation allows us to preserve the work and legacy of a noted children’s author and illustrator,” said Archivist Ruth Steele. “These materials are an important addition to the unique and rare collections held by Western Libraries.”
Skye, Lisa, and Mark Burn share memories of their mother's work with librarian Sylvia Tag and Archivist Ruth Steele.
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. 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.
The collection of materials from the Burn family will be preserved and made available for research and use through Western Libraries Heritage Resources, in association with the Children’s Literature Interdisciplinary Collection, and is a valuable addition to the Libraries’ holdings. The Libraries promotes active use of these holdings by faculty, staff and students and also welcomes community members who may be interested in exploring these and other collections.
Read more: Special Collection Donated to Western