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Posted on: Friday, March 17, 2017 - 8:09am
Sign Up for Spring TLA Dialogue Sessions
The Teaching-Learning Academy’s (TLA) at Western Libraries is the central forum for the scholarship of teaching and learning at Western Washington University, bringing together a broad spectrum of perspectives from throughout the university community.
TLA participants, which include students, faculty, staff, and community members, worked collectively throughout fall and winter quarters to create and explore a shared dialogue question that addresses how we can better enhance the teaching and learning environment at Western.
“How do we learn from one another through meaningful dialogue that addresses fear and creates active communities?” is the “BIG” question for 2016-2017. Action proposals that address this BIG study question will be developed during the spring quarter TLA sessions, and anyone interested is invited to attend, whether or not they were part of the fall and winter dialogue groups.
Participants continue to report that the TLA is a great way to connect with others outside of their departments, and to learn more about Western’s teaching and learning culture. Many say it also gives them a chance to take a breath and just listen to what others, especially students, really think. Others express satisfaction in being able to advance real action steps in making Western an even better place to teach and learn.
Sessions begin Apr. 5th and 6th, and meet every other week for a total of four meetings during the quarter. While the sessions are 80 minutes long, attendees are welcome to come for whatever time they have available. Many faculty and staff who cannot stay the entire time will participate for the first 50 minutes, as there is a logical break then.
There are four dialogue group options:
- Wednesdays noon-1:20 pm (Apr. 5, 19, May 3, & 17)
- Wednesdays 2-3:20 pm (Apr. 5, 19, May 3, & 17)
- Thursdays noon-1:20 pm (Apr. 6, 20, May 4, & 18)
- Thursdays 2-3:20 pm (Apr. 6, 20, May 4, & 18)
For more information, see http://library.wwu.edu/tla. To sign up for a regular dialogue group and get on the listserv, email TLA@wwu.edu. (Students: there is also an opportunity to participate in the TLA for LIBR practicum credit. For more information, contact Shevell.Thibou@wwu.edu.)
Read more: Spring TLA Begins April 5th & 6th
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: 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