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Posted on: Thursday, January 12, 2017 - 3:41pm
Writing Instruction Support Sessions - English 101
Q: Why do upper-division students still struggle with writing conventions?
Q: I heard they're doing podcasts in ENG 101. Don't students need more instruction in writing?
Q: What percentage of WWU students take English 101, or get any university writing instruction during their first two years?
Communication/Writing was one of three areas of weakness identified in the Faculty Senate 2016 General Education Task Force Report. The Writing Instruction Support (WIS) program will host a discussion about English 101 and its place in Western’s curriculum on January 17 from 4 to 5 pm and January 18 from noon to 1pm in HH232. Participants will include Director of Composition Jeremy Cushman, Assistant Director Shannon Kelly, English 101 graduate TAs, and English 101 students—including voices dissatisfied with the current 101 experience. Join us to learn more about these issues and bring your own questions for discussion.
Have questions, but can’t attend? Please send queries to Julie Dugger, Director of WIS at Western, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The WIS program provides direct assistance to faculty members who are teaching writing intensive courses within their disciplines, offering personalized consultations on a variety of topics, including writing course syllabi, assignments, response methods, and evaluation schemes. WIS is a program of Western Libraries and a Learning Commons partner.
Read more: What's English 101 Done for Me Lately?
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
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