Monthly Archives: October 2015

Writing and Peer Tutoring

lizchaseStudents in Devon Sprague’s Writing and Peer Tutoring class are working with librarian Liz Chase as part of the Faculty Librarian Partnership Program. In this class, students take part in a practicum that prepares them to work as writing tutors in the CWAA. Throughout the course, students enhance their own writing process through weekly posts, short narrative pieces, and research-driven assignments.

During their meetings over the summer and fall, Devon and Liz worked to scaffold the major research assignment for the course, an Applied Theory Essay. This essay gives students an opportunity to connect the theory they’ve read to the practice of tutoring; students are also encouraged to bring their own disciplinary experiences and interests to their research, which could focus on topics as varied as writing as a process, the rhetorical nature of texts, feminism, queer theory, or multiliteracy theory.

Over the course of the assignment, students will have an initial class session with Liz Chase in which they begin the process of brainstorming a research question and developing search strategies. Students will pursue their research independently, then meet with Liz individually to discuss their progress, the sources they’ve found, the questions they have, and the gaps in their research they’d like to fill. A significant portion of students’ grade on the final assignment will evaluate their research process, research question, the quality of their scholarly articles, and how they are incorporated into their final paper.

Ultimately, the goal is for students to develop a reflective, deeper, and more intentional approach to tutoring. Additionally, original and outstanding essays may be submitted for consideration for publication, or to the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing as a presentation proposal.


Modernism and Movement

mcpherson.pic_Students in Professor Scott Cohen’s Modernism and Movement class are studying the works of Virginia Wolf, Joseph Conrad, Jean Rhys, and Jules Verne and investigating how their works represent a response to advancements in technology during that era.

They’re viewing those classic works through the lens of late 19th century and early 20th century artifacts – such as maps of an expanded London subway system, photographs from expeditions to the Congo and historical news reports about the development of the telegraph and air transportation.

This exploration is being made possible, in part, through modern technological advancements that allow them discover access archival material, share it and, ultimately, create new knowledge.

As part of the FLPP program, students in Prof. Cohen’s class meet frequently in the Library’s DisCo – the Flynn Discovery and Collaboration Space – to take advantage of the room’s tech rich features which allows them to wirelessly share and collaborate on information they have gathered on their iPads. With the cooperation of the college’s IT Department, each student has been provided with an iPad for the course.

Much of the archival material students are examining comes from digital collections in libraries, universities and museums around the world. Other items come from the library’s proprietary databases – such as JSTOR. Prof. Cohen and Librarian Trish McPherson are working together to collect those resources on the class OneNote page – which provide a repository to primary source materials for easy access.

As the students begin work on their final projects for the course, they’ll work with Ms. McPherson to locate scholarly works that will help inform their research.


Conflict Analysis and Resolution

sml_jane_swiszcz[1]Professor Anna Ohanyan’s students enrolled in her International Conflict Analysis and Resolution class are using the Library’s Armed Conflict Database, along with several open source datasets websites, to gather quantitative data, a major component of the research paper.

Reference Librarian Jane Swiszcz is paired with Prof. Ohanyan this semester through the Faculty Librarian Partnership Program, and works closely with Prof. Ohanyan to find resources that will benefit class and keep them informed on current conflicts, and the methods used to hopefully resolve the situation.  While searching for datasets for the class LibGuide, Jane discovered a new website that reported on the use Private Security companies in conflicts, adding a new dimension to conflict research.  


Spain Today

heatherperryStudents in SPA 337 Spain Today with Juan Carlos Martin are exploring issues facing contemporary Spain.  More than just beautiful beaches, exciting futbol, and wonderful food, Spain is a modern economy facing a number of challenges, including changing demographics, high unemployment, and a changing economy. The course explores Post-Franco Spain, and students are performing research on a topic that delves more deeply into their subject matter. Students will develop a research question, explore their topic extensively, and report their findings in a paper and a presentation, written and delivered in Spanish. Students in Spain Today rise to a considerable challenge, because for most of them, they are researching, writing and presenting in a language that is not their first.

Students are working with librarian Heather Perry and using many of the library’s databases and other resources to explore issues such as the impact of globalization on the Siesta, the role of the Plaza Mayor in Spanish life, and the impact of energy efficiency policies on air quality. Resources for a wide variety of topics such as the demographic challenges facing Spain as its population becomes Europe’s oldest can be found at This class utilizes many of the library’s films including Pan’s Labyrinth to bring to life many of the issues important to understanding contemporary Spain.


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

ribbonOctober is breast cancer month, and we are surrounded by reminders in the pink ribbons that are all around us. From the products in the stores, to football players in pink we are surrounded by pink ribbons, but do they do any good? They may make us feel like we are doing something, but is the ubiquity of the Pink Ribbon campaign simply “pink washing”?

The producers describe their documentary:

The documentary Pink Ribbons, Inc. raises important issues on this very public campaign, and on the private suffering that has been spun into a marketing empire.

But who is really benefiting? After all, more and more women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. Maybe it’s the companies who wrap their products in pink to gain our admiration (and money)… and wouldn’t it be something if some of the very companies that profit from their pink marketing campaigns have actually contributed to the breast cancer epidemic by selling known carcinogens?

Pink Ribbons, Inc. goes inside the story to reveal those who have co-opted what marketing experts have labeled a “dream cause.”

“Critic’s pick! Uncannily prescient and enduringly timely.” – The Washington Post

“Debunks the ‘comfortable lies’ and corporate doublespeak that permeate the breast cancer movement/industry.” – Variety

“Revelatory. Deserves to be seen.” – The New York Times

“This could be the most important documentary of the year. Forget that: of the decade.” – Trust Movies

” Powerful… Enlightening.” – Time Out New York

“Shocking and enraging…yet very entertaining.” – San Francisco Bay Guardian

“Provocative. Argues persuasively that much of what we’re currently doing to fight breast cancer is feel-good nonsense or worse.” – The Hollywood Reporter

“A stinging indictment and trenchant critique of breast cancer ‘culture’.” – Los Angeles Times

Written by Heather Perry, Reference Librarian

#bannedbooksweek and the Library

eliseLast week, the library ran a #bannedbooksweek campaign on Instagram featuring library staff and student workers holding frequently challenged books. To see the photos, check out our Instagram feed at

For more information on #bannedbooksweek and banned books in general, see the American Library Association’s site on Banned & Challenged Books.

Circulation student worker, Elise Van Valkenburg ’17 (pictured), holds a copy of the frequently challenged book, Gone With the Wind.

eLearn & the Library

eLearnLibraryInfographicIn addition to being available to conduct in-person instruction for your students, or meet with them for one-on-one research consultations, librarians are available to assist students in eLearn! We’ve created this infographic to provide you with more information about incorporating library instruction into your eLearn course sites. If you have questions or would like to meet with a librarian to decide how we can best assist your students online, email


Last Week in the DisCo

birdTwo very different groups of students are adding to the scholarly conversation with course projects. Professor Nicholas Block’s Ornithology Capstone students are creating entries for NeoTropical Birds online the world’s best resource for Neotropical birds. Professor Block’s students are creating entries for birds that are not yet included in the resource, using a wealth of unique resources. They benefit from the number of ornithology resources that have been digitized. For more information see the course LibGuide.

Writing for our younger scholars are the students in Professor Stephen Pinzari’s Children’s Literature class. These students are writing and publishing books in one of the genres for very young children. From ABC books on great women in history to concept books about the environment, these students are preparing the next generation with a love of books, and learning. For more information see our Children’s Literature page.