Exhibit, events this semester draw attention to engaged learning


A library exhibit and a talk by a national advocate for faculty who practice engaged scholarship are among the ways the university will spotlight engaged learning this semester.

The exhibit, “Learning in ‘Real Life’: Stories of Impact Through Engagement” opens Monday and runs through April 14 in the Gallery at the Hatcher Graduate Library. The multimedia exhibit will highlight more than a dozen courses or projects that feature experiential, action-based learning.

The U-M Library is organizing several events to accompany the exhibit, including:

• Feb. 13 — Keynote address with Timothy Eatman and exhibit reception.

• Week of Feb. 23 — Librarians, faculty and students involved with the exhibit will share their collaborations and artifacts. They include Tati Calixto, Gurpreet Rana, Cliff Lampe and students from the School of Information.

• Week of March 16 — Barbara Israel, Larry Gant, and Kathleen Sienko will discuss their work as publicly engaged scholars.

• Week of March 23 —”Unpacked,” an exhibit in which visitors experience artifacts up close and in person, and interact with some of the students, faculty, and staff who created these innovative projects.

Dates and times are forthcoming and will be announced at the U-M Library’s Engaged Learning web page.

Deborah Gordon-Gurfinkel, director of a community-based program called Telling It, is shown at the center of a “human knot” exercise conducted as part of the program for vulnerable children and youth in grades K-12. Telling It also involves U-M student interns from a class Gordon-Gurfinkel teaches, Empowering Community Through Creative Expression, which is featured in the “Learning in ‘Real Life’” exhibit. (Photo by Leisa Thompson)

Eatman will offer “Engaged Scholarship Across the Faculty Roles: Mission, Method and Momentum” at 10-11:30 a.m., Feb.13, Library Gallery, Room 100, Hatcher Graduate Library.

He is a faculty member in higher education and co-director of Imagining America: Artists and Scholars In Public Life at Syracuse University, a national consortium of academic and community institutions designed to strengthen the public role and democratic purposes of the humanities, arts and design, according to his Syracuse profile.

A consortium project called the Tenure Team Initiative on Public Scholarship focuses on improving the reward system in academia for faculty who practice engaged scholarship in the cultural disciplines.

Eatman has a Bachelor of Science degree from Pace University, a Master of Education from Howard University, and a doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was a postdoctoral fellow at U-M in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education.

The idea for an exhibit on engaged learning came from Jamie Vander Broek, exhibits and programming, and learning librarian.

“It occurred to me that we always do exhibits about things we have rather than things we do,” Vander Broek said.

Some courses and projects featured in the exhibit include:

Hand-Made History in Cusco, Peru 

In July 2013, a group of 10 students, a program assistant, and faculty leader Tatiana Calixto traveled to Peru to participate in the culture as apprentices of the ancestral art of weaving in the village of Chinchero.

Community Health Nursing: Vision Through a Global Lens

From Ypsilanti to Haiti, and soon to include India, the school offers an immersive experience for nursing students designed to expose them to the health challenges faced in underserved communities.

Combatting Plant Blindness

This project focuses on “an inability to understand the integral role of plants in the earth’s ecosystems and their crucial link to our own survival.” It began with a review of children’s curriculum and creation of field guides for children, and moved to an artistic light installation that calls attention to the importance of plants. 

Building a Low-Cost Linear Book Scanner

The U-M Library collaborated with Mechanical Engineering 450 students during the past two years to create a prototype linear book scanner based on openly available designs by Google. The goal was to create a new type of automatic page-turning book scanner with a simple, low-cost design. 

Citizen Interaction Design Living History

CID, a new initiative from the School of Information, assists municipalities across the country. The Living History team will showcase its work with the leaders of Jackson, Michigan, to make information on some 300 historic district properties accessible to the public.


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