Over several weeks, an assignment of the SPARC Open Education Leadership Program led me to interview numerous stakeholders regarding their awareness and positions on the use of open educational resources (OER). It was necessary to hear from a variety of folks for whom OER are, or could be, important. As such, I interviewed:

  • 5 students (2, humanities: 2, social sciences; 1, sciences)
  • 3 professors (2, sciences; 1, social sciences)
  • 3 librarians (1 outreach librarian, sciences; 1 Head of Collections; 1 Head of the Digital Scholarship Lab) + my library dean (more of a casual conversation)
  • 3 stakeholders representing the Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning (CETL), the Office of Educational Effectiveness, and the University Bookstore

The following summary condenses the thoughts of all stakeholders except for the bookstore. As a separate conversation, that specific set of questions led us into directions, unique from the rest.

When describing OER, particularly from the role each stakeholder plays, a few interviewees relied on the terms open, educational, and resources to make their best guess. Others knew a lot about OER and even distinguished between such concepts as “open” and “free.” Every interviewee mentioned the cost associated with OER; namely free. Professors, especially, all stated their concern with rising costs of course materials in an era where college tuitions are also spiking. While none I spoke to besides Dr. Jonathan Holz (featured in this video) are wholly using or adapting OER, they are taking other measures to reduce students’ costs – e.g., developing course packs, permitting older editions of the assigned textbook, choosing lower cost monographs that are accessible through the library’s course reserves. Access was another idea that surfaced. When students cannot afford their course materials, OER allows for unfettered access to the texts, assuming a computing device and internet connection. Finally, improved learning was a common answer, and this is partly because with OER, students can access their required materials, thus improving their chances for greater course engagement. The adaptability and interactive, real world, and collaborative teaching strategies that may accompany OER use is another big reason leading to improved student learning outcomes.

Interviewees discussed why it is important that faculty and students know about OER. Answers here mainly focused around improved education for all – including learning by students AND faculty – reiterating that access to materials helps to level the playing field and that modifying teaching practices to allow for greater interactivity, real world application, and information creation (as opposed to mere consumption) set students on a path to increased employability. Elements of social justice were apparent in that OER increases access to all, but serves an even greater impact for students of lower income or underrepresented minority status. Without ensuring such access, universities unwittingly withhold a solid education from their students.Furthermore, by involving students in the process of modifying OER, we give them agency and ownership over their learning, and can improve the public record on issues such race and intersectionality.

Other benefits that surfaced from the interviews include:

  • Supplemental materials from the required text – particularly those that can be modified and adapted – support increased independent and reinforced learning
  • The quality of OER have been tested to be commensurate or improved as compared to the typical commercial textbook
  • Professors can satisfy their innate moral obligation to simply help students learn without the stress surrounding financial burden, and to openly share their expertise with the world
  • The learning impact of openly licensed course materials can extend beyond our own campus and elevate the reputation of UR professors, thus increasing annual enrollment

With benefits, however, come barriers.  I’d be remiss in not highlighting the concerns on the stakeholders’ minds.

Students understand that professors can be resistant as they have been teaching to a certain pedagogy and with certain texts for years. These habits are hard to change. Students realize that the time it would take to make these adjustments and take a chance on allowing students into an equal learning partnership would cause a barrier. The use of technology in new ways could be intimidating to professors but may also inadvertently place additional obstacles in students’ paths (e.g., cost/access to computing devices, internet, and printing hard copies, difficulty absorbing information from digital screens).

For faculty, their concerns center around reputation, permissions to go open, and promotion and tenure processes, specifically at a prestigious R1 institution. The time it takes to investigate, adopt, and perhaps modify an entire curriculum is labor intensive, and based upon departmental and overall quality criteria on campus, the end result may be deemed as less than tenure-worthy. The OER produced may not be viewed as prestigious a work if it is “given away” for free, open for anyone to use and modify, and not covered under a top tier publication within the field.

Strained relationships surfaced as an interesting concern in a few interviews. First, a professor who has authored their own textbook and then requires students to buy it for course readings breaches a trust between teacher and learner. Second, if the trend toward adopting OER becomes great enough on campus, what happens to those professors who choose to stick with traditional texts? What loss of rapport exists on the first day of class after students have spent money on their textbooks vs a class that converted to OER? And, third, how can students approach their professors about issues of open without risking a fair assessment of their character and abilities?

These and more questions are on stakeholders’ minds. Big questions. Social justice questions. Questions about the future of education.

I hope that we can continue the conversation, making sure everyone is heard and together, we are raising the profile of how open education can enhance the UR experience. Meliora!

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

It’s been a long time since I wrote on this blog, but there is no time like the present! No longer at SUNY Geneseo, I have been spending the last 4.5 years developing leadership and management skills, working toward building capacity and confidence across an Outreach Department of about 16 librarians, and pursuing interests that continue my passions from my last job.

Inspired by Robin de Rosa who spoke at the University of Rochester in April 2018, and coupled with my teaching experience at SUNY Geneseo, I am currently working on the openly published manuscript, Open Pedagogy: Varied Definitions, Multiple Approaches. I have a great team surrounding me – Alexis Clifton from SUNY Geneseo as well as seven colleagues at the University of Rochester – and the support of the Rebus Community to help lead us to success in publishing our very first openly published manuscript.

To follow our progress, see https://www.rebus.community/c/open-textbooks-in-development/open-pedagogy

Building on the momentum from last year’s inaugural 3Ts conference, we invite you to spend a day with colleagues from across disciplines, moving beyond exploration and into active use of the technologies enhancing proven pedagogy.

Mark your calendars to participate in

3Ts 2012: Engaging Students with Teaching, Technology, and Transliteracy

March 16, 2012

Hosted by: University Libraries, University at Albany

Albany, NY

What is the 3Ts conference?  Visit: http://threetees.weebly.com/


Co-Sponsored by
CPD, FACT2, SUNY Librarians Association Working Group for Information Literacy (SUNYLA WGIL)

3Ts: Exploring New Frontiers in Teaching, Technology and Transliteracy
Fulton-Montgomery Community College, Johnstown, NY
March 25, 2011

As budgets continue to shrink and the number of online or blended classes continues to grow, the need for instructors who are comfortable with the wide array of digital learning tools becomes of paramount importance. From the writings of Donald E. Hanna and associates1, we are reminded that “the challenge is not simply to incorporate learning technologies into current institutional approaches, but rather to change our fundamental views about effective teaching and learning and to use technology to do so.” Keeping this in mind, the 3 T’s conference aims to explore issues surrounding the intersections between teaching, instructional technologies and the growing number of literacies all students need for learning and succeeding in today’s information-rich academic and professional worlds.

1. Hanna, Donald E. Associates, Higher Education in an Era of Digital Competition: Choices and Challenges, Atwood Publishing, 2000, p.61.

As one of the primary goals of the 3Ts planning committee, we are offering a discounted “buddy” registration fee to encourage cross-disciplinary discussion among our participants.

What constitutes a “buddy”? Buddies are created by a pair of attendees (registering at the same time) who are complementary and/or collaborating professionals (i.e., teaching faculty and a librarian, a librarian and an instructional designer, two teaching faculty from different disciplines).

SUNY Registration Fee $20.00; Non-SUNY Registration Fee $30.00
SUNY Buddy Registration Fee $15.00; Non-SUNY Buddy Registration Fee $25.00

What is Transliteracy? For conference information visit:
http://threetees.weebly.com

Co-Sponsored by SUNY Librarians Association Working Group for Information Literacy (SUNYLA WGIL)
SUNY Center for Professional Development
SUNY Faculty Advisory Council on Teaching & Technology (FACT2)

Are you interested in teaching, technology and transliteracy?

Do you use your students’ fluency across media, modes, and disciplines to their and your advantage?

Are you using technology to extend learning in the classroom (physical or virtual)?

Are you experienced in successfully blending technology into your teaching?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, the conference planning committee for The 3 T’s: Exploring New Frontiers in Teaching, Technology, and Transliteracy wants YOU to consider submitting a proposal (now closed).

Co-sponsored by SUNY FACT2 and the SUNY Librarians Association Working Group for Information Literacy (SUNYLA WGIL), The 3 T’s: Exploring New Frontiers in Teaching, Technology, and Transliteracy is a one-day conference focused on placing pedagogical theory at the foundation of seamless, engaging and productive teaching practice when infusing various technologies into the classroom experience. Educators, Faculty, Instructional Designers, and Librarians hailing from K-12 and higher education institutions will gather in Johnstown, NY at Fulton-Montgomery Community College on March 25, 2011 to share their successes, challenges and overall understanding of the theory to practice connection.

Don’t miss out on your chance to spotlight your classroom ingenuity and achievements!

Proposals should address the following questions:

  • How have you drawn upon student transliteracy to support learning?
  • How have underlying principles and theories guided your inclusion of a specific technology or technologies in the classroom?
  • How did teaching and technology work collaboratively to improve both technological literacy and learning?

As proposals undergo a peer-reviewed process, emphasis on the following are highly encouraged:

  • Connecting theory to practice as discussed and modeled through your presentation delivery
  • Collaborative projects/lesson plans that could include (but are not limited to) cross-disciplinary teaching, faculty/librarian partnerships, K-12/college experiences

Proposals can include any meaningful integration of technology and teaching used to support the growing number of literacies students need for learning and succeeding in today’s information-rich academic and professional worlds.  Possible tracks and technologies might include:

Literacies Technologies
  • Information literacy
  • Visual literacy
  • Digital literacy
  • Media literacy
  • Cultural literacy
  • Critical literacy
  • Open Source Technologies
  • Web 2.0 Technology
  • Social Networking (Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Ning)
  • Mobile Technology (Mobile apps, texting)
  • Classroom Technologies (Smartboards)
  • Collaborative Technology (Wikis)
  • Multimedia (Podcasts, Vcasts)

Conference sessions will consist of 30 minutes speaking/workshop time with 15 minutes allocated for Q&A.

The deadline for proposals has passed.

Presenters will be notified by November 15, 2010 if their proposal has been accepted.

Presenters will receive free registration for the conference and will have the opportunity to publish their work in the conference’s online proceedings.

For further questions, contact:

Kim Davies-Hoffman
Reference/Instruction Librarian
SUNY Geneseo
kdhoffman@geneseo.edu
(585) 245-5046 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (585) 245-5046      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (585) 245-5046      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

As I get my head back in the game in terms of looking toward the opening day of classes, I wrote to a professor earlier today to see about a planning meeting for two library sessions and a workshop we’ll be offering early in the fall semester.  I thought that I’d have until next week before we met, but circumstances pushed for a spur-of-the-moment meeting this afternoon.  Fine by me!

Instead of the typical meeting held in one of our offices, I was on my way “uptown” for a coffee and that provided the perfect location for discussing lesson plans and upcoming projects.

This Anthropology professor is working toward an interdisciplinary food project that he hopes will take root and spread across campus.  The librarians at SUNY Geneseo, among other invested classroom faculty, are very interested in helping nurture this endeavor.  While plans were expected to be simple (work with our closest classroom faculty partners to suggest infusing a food-related slant into lectures or assignments, where appropriate, or solicit contributions of food-based research and/or creative projects to form a gallery show), they may turn out to be much more elaborate than any of us ever imagined.  Current thoughts are to write a grant proposal to secure funding for a full-out gallery exhibit (even multiple exhibits across campus), complimented by a series of cultural and academic events and encouragement to classroom faculty to incorporate food issues into student projects.  The hope here is to offer a scaled-down version of Heavens Above, an interdisciplinary, college-wide exhibits and programming project that Milne Library hosted in Fall 2007.

Professors in the Anthropology Department are committed to working with food-related issues, if only as a segment of their course content.  I am fortunate enough to have already established a close working relationship with these professors, feeling confident and well-respected enough to provide my own advice and librarian expertise to a topic that I, myself, am passionate about.  Who doesn’t love to talk about food?

So, what will we be working on in the fall?  Two courses – ANTH 100: Intro to Cultural Anthropology and ANTH 235: Ancient Civilization in the Americas – where I’ll work with the students in one library session a piece, another – ANTH 229: Film and Ethnography – where students may seek my help informally and a GOLD workshop entitled Food, Glorious Food: Working Personal Interests into your Research Projects where we (professor, librarian and a student) hope to excite student researchers into adapting food-related topics into course writing assignments.  That is our own personal agenda, but overall, the workshop will advise students to incorporate any personal interest into their scholarly writing . . . if applicable.  Food seems to be a ubiquitous enough concept to lend itself to just about any subject area.

The focus of the library sessions and/or informal assistance – helping students identify and access scholarly, peer-reviewed materials on their given topic(s).  Based on previous classes arranged by this professor, he has seen the value in outside contact and source evaluation by the librarian with students and has asked that I take a quick glance over first wiki submissions of students’ article/book choices.  If we (the professor and I) can cut students off at the pass of bad (inappropriate is a better word) material selection at the beginning of the semester, we hope that the growing annotated bibliography from the 70+ students will serve as a “study guide” of sorts, instilling the key characteristics of scholarly and academically-appropriate sources.

And it’s all about food.  What fun!

I think I have lost my creative, narrative mojo at this time of the day and the week, so here are “just the facts.”

RYSAG summer camp 2010

The storyline: Over 50 middle to high school students from the Rochester City School District (RCSD) arrived at SUNY Geneseo on the morning of July 19.  They were greeted with the news that SUNY Geneseo had received a national grant that allowed for two weeks of security training to prepare for the imminent migration of a new population.  For the first week of this two-week overnight academic camp, students would engage in a series of courses that would offer the necessary skills and knowledge to gain more information on the incoming population once security clearance was achieved. On the Monday of the second week, students were told that the Etans would be arriving from their planet Eta located some 20 light years away from Earth.  Not only would big Etan masses be settling in the Rochester area, as well as other areas of the world, some had already been living among us, scouting the location to determine the best cities to suit their needs.

The challenge: As selected peace agent candidates, our students were asked to compile the necessary information and develop the necessary skills to craft a final peaceful integration plan that would merge the incoming Etan community into the existing Rochester population with as little conflict as possible.  The proposal would be presented to a panel of highly esteemed “officials” – one from NASA, another from Homeland Security and a third from the National Grant Office.  Presentations required the following pieces of data:  an introduction to the history of immigration in Rochester, a profile of the Etan people, potential conflicts that could arise with the merging of two communities and each teams’ ideas for strategies to mitigate conflict and promote a peaceful coexistence.

Security training: Students rotated through four core classes – homeland security science lab, natural resources lab, global studies and communication.  In homeland security lab, students learned how to detect gunpowder residue and how to isolate DNA and create personalized DNA necklaces.  They also engaged in chromatography and forensic toxicology.  In natural resources lab, students were instructed in the scarcity of resources like fresh water and how a competition over such resources can lead to conflict and war.  A simulation was created in the classroom that encouraged students to fight over desired resources and then reflect on the reasons behind the behavior.  Peace agent candidates studied issues of immigration, both legal and illegal, in global studies as well as viewing other cultures with a subjective lens.  In this context, an activity surrounding the anthropological study, Nacirema, helped students to see American culture from an outsider’s perspective.  Finally, in communication class, students worked inside and outside of the classroom.  In class, they learned of different key concepts in intercultural communication – chronemics, chromatics, proxemics, appearance, artifacts and nonverbal communication . . . to name a few.  Outside of class, students split up into subgroups and interviewed a number of campus staff and faculty to gather more information about a wide array of experience in cultural transition, conflict and resolution and peacekeeping.  Some of the interviewees posed as Etans and donned the traditional markings from their culture.  Within the first week, the Etans’ stories needed to be believable within a modern day context (an argument with a family member over cultural beliefs, inner conflict over the inability to bear children, a living adjustment from one place to another), but needed to also represent the Etan story of struggle and migration once their identity was confirmed in the second week of camp.

The fun: Using the face of a faculty member who has been tangentially involved in past camp storylines, librarians, professors and RYSAG planning members created an Etan persona of this “first male leader” by tinting his photo blue, inserting his messages into each team’s blog, displaying his photo prominently (or in some cases, subtley) during scheduled interviews and producing a final day message from the “mothership” that addressed the good work completed by each team.  Additional hijinx included a “peace offering” that was left at each team’s headquarter location – a wine glass decorated with the Etan female symbol for water and maturity (envision the aquarius symbol) and filled with blue liquid (blue Kool-aid), a blue candleholder with one flameless candle lit and scattered multicolored beads – and a screen shot of a fake wikipedia entry describing the Etan culture fed into each team’s blog.  And did I forget to mention the Etan Intergalactic Library Blog?

Anyway . . . the general gist of the camp.  Perhaps the following video can bring greater life to the engaging, enriching and unforgettable camp experience.

Here we go again!  Another summer, another exciting RYSAG camp!  We are just a week and two days away from counselor orientation and then on Monday, July 19, about 60 middle and high school students from the Rochester City School District (RCSD) will descend upon SUNY Geneseo‘s campus.  This is the time of the summer when my organizational efforts really hit mach speed.

Thanks to the diligence and consciensciousness of one of our outstanding counselors, currently home for the summer and away from the hustle and bustle of confirming plans for the camp organization and storyline, I’ve been (positively) pushed to focus on finalizing schedules and google docs so that everyone involved will have the necessary information before arriving on campus.  Last night, I spent time refining the camp storyline in a google doc, adding notes from a previous meeting with the Camp Director as well as new ideas developed in a recent meeting with the camp’s faculty planning group.

Potential volunteer interviewees (faculty and staff from all different academic disciplines) have been contacted and most have responded with their availability to meet with our students to discuss personal experiences with conflict, difference and/or adaptation.  One more reminder should hopefully push the lagging interviewees along.  The hope is to have a nearly finalized interview schedule before our Monday (7/12) meeting with all camp volunteers.  At this meeting, everyone will be informed of the general camp plan, goals and expectations, putting us all on the same page.  We arranged for a similar meeting two years ago and that really helped for a smooth transition into the camp’s “theater.”

This year’s camp, whose theme focuses on peacekeeping and conflict negotiation, should be interesting with two teams consisting of brand new (to RYSAG) RCSD students entering seventh and eighth grades in the fall.  For the past two years, we’ve seen a lot of repeat students, many of whom have participated in every camp experience since the 2007 inception.  Our numbers for four-peaters are dwindling but we have still retained nine of the original RYSAG CSI candidates.  Understandable considering these students are likely to be entering the tenth grade this fall, where scholastic expectations and requirements are heightened and students are now at an age where they can begin working full-time summer jobs.

Our four-peaters, and even a handful of three-peaters, form one of our four camp teams and serve as CITs – counselors-in-training – where leadership skills and roles are stressed, placing the students in good stead for future counselor positions.  How amazing will it be if/when these students return in their pre-senior and even post-senior/college summers to assist with the running of the camp!!!!  Our first introduction to these students was when they were entering seventh grade!  How quickly time passes.

But I digress . . . the reasoning behind the title of this post refers to a recent SUNYLA conference presentation I offered.  I had two main reasons for developing the presentation.  First, to highlight the amazing RYSAG camp experience, which I’ve been wanting to boast about for a few years now.  The second reason was to encourage librarians, especially those new to the field, to identify their strengths and interests – both personal and professional – and promote them by joining campus projects and committees where librarian talents are seriously needed.

The strengths and interests I identified within myself at the presentation include:

  • organizational skills, especially where logic and scheduling are involved
  • technological knowledge and ability to make practical use of technological tools to bring people together
  • creativity
  • risk taking
  • pedagogical knowledge
  • team player, wanting to bring people together in meaningful and fun ways
  • mediator, using my contacts and knowledge among various academic departments

All of these attributes have come in handy when putting together the RYSAG camp infrastructure.  From creating rotating schedules for campers, instructors, counselors and interviewees to using a variety of social networking tools for the good of document and idea sharing (i.e., google docs, wikis, blogs), camper communication and training (i.e., gmail accounts, blogs, Truveo multimedia searching, interactive web scavenger hunt), and tracking volunteers’ availability (i.e., Doodle) to suggesting key players to the camp storyline based on a wide range of contacts in different departments due to library instruction efforts and other campus-wide committee participation.

As mentioned in the SUNYLA presentation, while I am well aware of the amazing skills and special talents librarians bring to the table, especially in campus-wide forums, I become downright giddy when I hear of stories where librarians lead the faculty/staff pack and offer a sense of unity, focus, organization, creativity and expertise.  It is these stories that remind me what a valuable service we provide to the campus community.

And again, I encourage all librarians to realize the unique attributes they have to offer, to get involved in campus projects and to promote the good that our librarian superpowers can foster.

It’s interesting (and sad) how I seem to post entries on this blog about once a year.  I can hardly call myself a blogger.  😦  But once again, I will try to spur myself on to remain committed to posting.

The writers group meeting that I just attended will hopefully help toward keeping myself disciplined.  A small group of like-minded and equally busy librarians will try to build in some accountability among us so that we can all achieve our goals of slowly but surely producing good pieces of writing – for professional purposes mainly, but perhaps some creative writing will seep into our efforts.  That would be a big plus for me!

So, one of my three goals before next week’s meeting is to publish a blog post (after almost a year’s hiatus).  Here I am!

I can’t explain why I don’t add to this blog more frequently.  The original goal was to write short pieces that track my daily/weekly activities working collaboratively with classroom faculty, mostly in terms of teaching.  That should be an easy and enjoyable task.  And I certainly have lots that I can add.  But as usual, I think I build these tasks up in my mind so that they soon become so insurmountable, that I give up entirely rather than contributing just a little.  Such is the story of my life!

As I have done in the past, here are a few topics on my mind that I hope to write about in the near future.

  • The disappointment over an Anthropology course that E.K. and I had big plans for that was recently cancelled due to low enrollment
  • A growing working relationship with the new chair of our ANTH Dept, including course and assignment development, teaching and the purchase of new books
  • Helping the ANTH Dept with assessment endeavors related to information literacy which has lead to new faculty interest in greater teaching collaborations
  • Working with J.A. toward his plans for an interdisciplinary food project
  • A recent conference presentation that highlighted the teaching collaboration between C.R. and me
  • With C.R. moving to a new institution, plans to continue our collaboration for future presentations and publications
  • Forging new relationships and collaborative projects with faculty in the Foreign Languages
  • Working with E.K. to finally write articles on our work over the past few years
  • The newest RYSAG camp – preparations for and implementation during the last two weeks of July
  • Plans toward a COCID/SUNY CPD sponsored conference that will encourage collaborative presentations between classroom faculty and librarians
  • Participation on and activities toward our library’s new Scholarly Communications Team

And the list goes on . . . Wow, I guess I better start writing!  🙂

While not strictly tied to collaborative teaching efforts, a recent planning session with my Collection Development colleague for a staff retreat focused on faculty outreach has prompted me to brainstorm the many ways in which I connect with professors.  I wrote them all down so as not to forget, but at tomorrow’s retreat, all of the librarians will brainstorm their own ways of collaborating.  We are sure to generate a long and very rich list.

Following are the thoughts that I’ve come up with.  I will try to combine similar activities so that this list doesn’t become too cumbersome.

Instructional efforts

  • Successful teaching collaborations (Anthropology, First-year Writing Seminar, Foreign Languages, Political Science, Psychology, RYSAG, Sociology) have led other professors to engage in similar instructional efforts
  • Successful teaching collaborations have led to greater opportunities for myself and for those with whom I teach (i.e., RYSAG)
  • Conference presentations incorporating librarian and professor (and sometimes student representatives) have led to faculty interest in similar teaching collaborations, at SUNY Geneseo and elsewhere
  • Attendance and participation at departmental meetings helps initiate interest in what librarians can do for professors in the classroom and for students outside of the classroom (i.e., research consultations)
  • Attempts at establishing formal librarian-professor meetings or get-togethers (i.e., Librarian-Faculty Learning Community)
  • Assisting professors with their curricular material that have a focus on information literacy skills (i.e., proofreading a student survey centered on issues of plagiarism)
  • Providing introductions of what the library instruction staff can do for various campus groups (i.e., new faculty, First-Year Writing Seminar professors, teaching assistants)
  • Writing short newsletter articles for campus publications on different instructional projects in which librarians are involved
  • Engaging in campus-wide activities that focus on pedagogy (i.e., Teaching and Learning Center workshops)
  • Involvement in teaching activities that expand beyond the library (i.e., RYSAG) has allowed me to make connections across campus and outside of the academic environment (i.e., high school teachers)
  • E-mail contact with professors to suggest one-shot classroom instruction over individual research consultations for every student in a course or to clarify tricky questions that a professor has added to a research assignment
  • Working on professional development opportunities that incorporate librarians (and teachers) from all different educational settings

Collection building

  • Meetings that involve collection development librarian, subject specialty librarian, department chair and departmental representative to the library to discuss such things as budget allocations, electronic resources suitable for the subject discipline in question and subject areas covered through print resources
  • Making personal recommendations for sources to professors based on what I know of their research and curricular interests
  • Assisting with suggestions for course texts
  • Writing short newsletter articles for campus publications on issues of weeding, purchasing, new collection initiatives, etc.
  • Advertising and administering regional access cards so professors can borrow from local college/library collections
  • Inviting professors to provide input and/or train in orientations to various electronic resources

Faculty research

  • Answering reference questions for faculty, whether in person, on the phone, via e-mail, etc.
  • Offering research consultations to faculty members; not just to students
  • Meeting professors and their research assistants to provide instruction on various tools as well as strategies for tackling the necessary research question/project
  • Providing instruction for student research can many times lead to professors learning of new strategies and resources for their own research
  • Informal conversations can lead to new ideas for faculty research endeavors

Campus-wide engagement

  • Involving oneself in College Senate
  • Choosing relevant Senate subcommittees in which to participate
  • Chairing a Senate subcommittee
  • Running for/serving on other campus-wide committee participation
  • Working on library committees that demand a teaching faculty representative
  • Attending campus functions

Finally, I think that not enough can be said for informal, social interactions with faculty colleagues, on or off-campus.  These serendipitous connections can truly lead to great things, the very least being a newly formed friendship.

I am anxious to hear of other ways that my local colleagues interact with professors and would certainly like to extend the conversation to anyone else reading this blog.  How do you most frequently connect with faculty on campus/at school?