Start Date

16-3-2020 1:45 PM

End Date

16-3-2020 2:15 PM

Author(s) Bio

Kara Flynn is the Research & Educational Services Archivist in special collections at the University of Arkansas. Before joining the university in 2019, she served as the Special Collections Librarian and History/Anthropology/Philosophy Liaison Librarian at Augusta University. Kara earned her Master of Library and Information Science with a concentration in Archives and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Puget Sound. Dr. Lori Birrell is the associate dean for special collections at the University of Arkansas. Before joining the university in 2017, she served as Manuscripts Librarian for American history collections at the University of Rochester. Birrell earned a Doctorate of Education, with a concentration in higher education administration and leadership from the University of Rochester. She earned a Masters of Library and Information Science, with a certificate in Archival Studies from Simmons College, and a Masters of History from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Presenter Status

Faculty

Keywords

Archives, Special Collections, Graduate Student Speaker, Research, Professional Development, Primary Sources, Lecture Series

Presentation Type

30 minutes (e.g. Individual)

Description of Proposal

Eager to provide graduate students the opportunity to develop themselves professionally, University Libraries in partnership with the Graduate School and International Education initiated a graduate student speaker series in 2018. The series, now in its second year, provides graduate students a forum in which to present their research- whether a finished product or work in progress- to the university community. To be eligible to speak in the series, each student must have used resources from the Special Collections Division as part of their work. This initiative highlights the research graduate students are engaged in, and draws attention to the university’s unique resources available for use. Each semester there are three scheduled speakers. Each talk is hosted in the division’s reading room, which doubles as an event space, and is planned for late afternoon on the second Thursday of each month.

Dr. Birrell, Associate Dean of Special Collections, first approached the Graduate School in spring 2018 and with their support pitched the idea to the officers in the Graduate Student Congress. The Congress’s president volunteered to be the first speaker when the series launched in October 2018. With the creation of a new position in the division, facilitation of the series transitioned from Dr Birrell to Kara Flynn, Research & Educational Services Archivist, over the course of Fall 2019.

In an effort to make the series accessible beyond the university community, Special Collections staff have experimented with live streaming, first on Facebook, and then on the University Libraries YouTube channel. On Facebook Live, videos averaged 366 views across 5 presenters. YouTube Live Stream was used in the Fall of 2019, as it allowed for the pairing of PowerPoint slides with the livestreams, a feature Facebook Live did not offer. YouTube Live Streaming averaged 95 views across 2 presenters' videos. In-person attendance for the series has averaged 37 participants, with a mix of undergraduates, graduate students, university faculty, library faculty/staff, and community members. As we move forward, optimizing promotion of the series will be an important aspect to consider.

In addition to promoting the series, recruiting participants can be a challenge. Participants have largely been gathered through recommendations from previous semester’s speakers. Other avenues for recruitment have included speaking to the Graduate Student Congress, and reviewing patron statistics to identify and reach out to graduate students who have engaged in research in Special Collections. The speakers as of Fall 2019 have all been history graduate students, and recruitment for the spring 2020 semester has focused on recruiting from different disciplines.

As the series continues, we will pursue new avenues for promoting the series, and hope to increase participation from disciplines beyond history graduate students. With more varied disciplines, the format of the series may also be subject to change in order to best serve the needs and interests of the speakers. For example, a printmaking student scheduled to speak in Spring of 2020 will curate an exhibit in conjunction with her presentation to document her research and creative process.

What takeaways will attendees learn from your session?

  • A model for engaging graduate students with the library/special collections in a new way.

  • Opportunities for academic libraries to support graduate students’ professional development.

  • Ideas for how they might create similar programs at their home institutions .

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Mar 16th, 1:45 PM Mar 16th, 2:15 PM

Professional Development Opportunities for Graduate Students: The Launch of a Speaker Series

Eager to provide graduate students the opportunity to develop themselves professionally, University Libraries in partnership with the Graduate School and International Education initiated a graduate student speaker series in 2018. The series, now in its second year, provides graduate students a forum in which to present their research- whether a finished product or work in progress- to the university community. To be eligible to speak in the series, each student must have used resources from the Special Collections Division as part of their work. This initiative highlights the research graduate students are engaged in, and draws attention to the university’s unique resources available for use. Each semester there are three scheduled speakers. Each talk is hosted in the division’s reading room, which doubles as an event space, and is planned for late afternoon on the second Thursday of each month.

Dr. Birrell, Associate Dean of Special Collections, first approached the Graduate School in spring 2018 and with their support pitched the idea to the officers in the Graduate Student Congress. The Congress’s president volunteered to be the first speaker when the series launched in October 2018. With the creation of a new position in the division, facilitation of the series transitioned from Dr Birrell to Kara Flynn, Research & Educational Services Archivist, over the course of Fall 2019.

In an effort to make the series accessible beyond the university community, Special Collections staff have experimented with live streaming, first on Facebook, and then on the University Libraries YouTube channel. On Facebook Live, videos averaged 366 views across 5 presenters. YouTube Live Stream was used in the Fall of 2019, as it allowed for the pairing of PowerPoint slides with the livestreams, a feature Facebook Live did not offer. YouTube Live Streaming averaged 95 views across 2 presenters' videos. In-person attendance for the series has averaged 37 participants, with a mix of undergraduates, graduate students, university faculty, library faculty/staff, and community members. As we move forward, optimizing promotion of the series will be an important aspect to consider.

In addition to promoting the series, recruiting participants can be a challenge. Participants have largely been gathered through recommendations from previous semester’s speakers. Other avenues for recruitment have included speaking to the Graduate Student Congress, and reviewing patron statistics to identify and reach out to graduate students who have engaged in research in Special Collections. The speakers as of Fall 2019 have all been history graduate students, and recruitment for the spring 2020 semester has focused on recruiting from different disciplines.

As the series continues, we will pursue new avenues for promoting the series, and hope to increase participation from disciplines beyond history graduate students. With more varied disciplines, the format of the series may also be subject to change in order to best serve the needs and interests of the speakers. For example, a printmaking student scheduled to speak in Spring of 2020 will curate an exhibit in conjunction with her presentation to document her research and creative process.