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Studio Growth & Success

Posted on: Wednesday, January 6, 2016 - 3:55pm

Topic(s): Feature Story, Resources, Updates

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.


Through the Lens of Wallie V. Funk

Posted on: Tuesday, January 5, 2016 - 1:20pm

Topic(s): Event - Library Sponsored, Exhibits - Art or Displays

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.


Library Resource Access FAQs

Posted on: Monday, December 7, 2015 - 7:45am

Topic(s): Resources, Updates

New information about Western's Taskforce on Sustainable Access to Scholarly Resources for Teaching, Learning, and Research

 

A new FAQ webpage with answers to questions related to Western’s Taskforce on Sustainable Access to Scholarly Resources is now accessible online.

 

 As mentioned in the current issue of Western Libraries’ quarterly newsletter 3Things, a new task force has recently formed to tackle the library resources budget deficits facing Western.

 

Task force members have been appointed by the Faculty Senate, and bring a diversity of perspectives based upon their teaching and research expertise and experiences. Members were selected from different colleges and academic disciplines throughout Western in order to represent the University at large.

 

Together the task force members will work to recommend to the Libraries broad principles and criteria for use when reducing or adding scholarly resources to the Libraries collections in support of faculty and students’ teaching, learning, and research needs.  

 

To learn more about the taskforce, please see the new FAQ webpage here: http://library.wwu.edu/sustainable-access, or contact Western Libraries Director of Scholarly Resources & Collection Services Mike Olson,  (Mike.Olson@wwu.edu).


Sharing Research Through Conversations

Posted on: Tuesday, December 8, 2015 - 2:13pm

Topic(s): Event - Library Sponsored, Feature Story

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.

 


Heritage Resources Newsletter

Posted on: Friday, December 4, 2015 - 4:23pm

Topic(s): Newsletter

The 2015-2016 Fall/Winter issue of Heritage Highlights is now available! In this issue, we explore various forms of writing for, about and by children, as evidenced in the collections of Western Libraries Heritage Resources. Featured holdings include songbooks and sports booklets from Western's days as a normal school for teachers, the papers of noted children's author and illustrator Doris Burn, and rare items in the Poetry for Children and Teens collection.

Heritage Resources is a division of Western Libraries which includes the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Special Collections, and the University Archives & Records Management. Together these programs provide for responsible stewardship of unique and archival materials in support of teaching, learning, and research.

Image: rare item from the Poetry for Children and Teens collection, housed in Special Collections.


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