25 Nov 2013
This September, DU’s Library and Information Science (LIS) program at Morgridge College of Education had their annual Showcase of Opportunities event, highlighting InContext learning opportunities at community organizations across the Denver Metro. Throughout their coursework, all LIS students are encouraged to get hands-on experience by obtaining internships and volunteering at libraries, museums and other information settings, but second year students are required to complete a 4-credit practicum (including 100 hours of field work, class meetings and paperwork) before graduating. Dr. Clara Sitter, Clinical Associate Professor and LIS Program Coordinator, has been instrumental in helping students find their practicum experience by establishing connections with community organizations and field mentors, bringing them all together for one event. At this year’s Showcase of Opportunities, Librarians and representatives from over 30 organizations gathered in Ruffatto Hall to promote InContext learning opportunities, ranging from practicum work, internships (paid and unpaid), for-credit service learning, special projects and independent study. “We do brief introductions of the organizations at the beginning, then, students walk around and visit the tables they are interested in to find out more information,” Sitter explains.
Having been in the library profession for over 30 years, and having coordinated LIS student practicums at DU for 14 years, Sitter has designed the Showcase around the networked career: “The Showcase offers an advantage for students to network and make connections with professionals and organizations in the area. Libraries love our students, and occasionally, students get hired by their practicum site.”
Although the Showcase of Opportunities includes mainly Denver Metro organizations, students aren’t limited in their choice of practicum: “We have great sites in the Denver metro area, but sometimes students want experience in another city or even abroad, so we’ve had students do their practicum work in Australia, England, Poland, Amsterdam, China, Chicago, and San Francisco, among others.”
At each practicum site, there is an MCE approved field mentor to provide the students with one-on-one guidance and support. Sitter elaborates: “We look for field mentors who have significant experience and who demonstrate expertise that pairs up with the interests of our students. Every practicum is different, but the student should be in learning mode (learning systems and instruction)10% of the time, and should be able to work 90% of the time.”
A practicum differs from an internship because it is student-oriented; students identify their own goals and objectives. Dr. Sitter works with each student to identify his or her goals and objectives in order to better suggest places that would promote his or her desired field learning environment. From there, the student sets up information interviews with several practicum sites and decides which one is the best fit. “In many cases, that initial connection with the organization was made at the Showcase of Opportunities,” she adds.
During their field experience, students keep a journal, posting weekly to reflect on their experience. “It is wonderful to see them at the beginning of their practicum experience, intimidated by users and unsure of a lot of things. In just 100 hours, the practicum experience usually confirms this choice of career and identifies where students want to work once they graduate,” Sitter remarks.
Morgridge College of Education’s Library & Information Science program is accredited by the American Library Association (ALA) and was the first program in the country to offer a focus in Early Childhood Librarianship. To learn more information about the LIS program, contact the Morgridge Office of Admissions.
19 Nov 2013
Dr. Duan Zhang, Associate Professor in the Research Methods and Statistics program at Morgridge College of Education, recently returned from a 5-month sabbatical in China. During her time abroad, Zhang served as a visiting scholar at the School of Psychology at Central Normal University in Wuhan, China, teaching a graduate course to an international student cohort, assisting with research, advising graduate students and attending conferences.
“I worked with five other professors in the personality psychology division. The professor I worked with is one of the biggest names in his field in the Chinese Psychological Society (CPS); we attended the first ever CPS conference for the division of personality psychology in Chongchang,” Zhang states. At the CPS-PP conference, Zhang gave a presentation on goal orientation and student motivation.
Towards the end of her visit, Central Normal University sponsored an international workshop on mathematical modeling for psychology and social sciences, bringing in five international experts to share their cutting edge research methods using different types of mathematical modeling. “That scope of modeling is quite beyond what we are used to with APA and AERA research. Those research methods could be widely applied and I look forward to learning more about those techniques in order to bring them into my research,” Zhang commented.
Upon returning from her sabbatical, Zhang has served on the standing committee for the development of the upcoming Data Visualization and Statistics Center. The Center, scheduled to open by the end of this academic year, is a part of DU’s research incubator initiative and plans to support students and faculty with statistical analysis at DU’s Anderson Academic Commons. “I am excited about all kinds of possibilities for student and faculty projects. As a college, MCE can contribute a lot of expertise to the new center.”
Dr. Zhang’s research interests focus on statistical and methodological research, dealing with multilevel data with hierarchical structures. “I focus on quantitative methods, providing methodological support for faculty grants and other types of research projects, figuring out how large datasets should be analyzed to best serve different education and psychology research questions.”
Currently, Dr. Zhang is wrapping up a mixed method research project, Supporting Parents in Early Literacy through Libraries (SPELL), with her MCE colleague Dr. Mary Stansbury. SPELL is funded by Colorado State Library and explores how public libraries and community agency partnerships promote early literacy to low income families. For the project, Zhang served as the research scientist and Dr. Mary Stansbury served as the content expert. Elaborating on the research, Zhang explains: “We had four sites, covering a broad demographic in Denver, Colorado Springs and rural Colorado. We collected and analyzed data from surveys, focus groups and interviews.” Having recently presented their research to the advisory board, Zhang and Stansbury plan to submit the abstract and present their findings at upcoming local and national conferences with audiences in the Early Literacy and Library communities. Zhang comments, “I have a 16-month-old boy, so I have a strong interest in this project, even from a personal standpoint. Early Literacy focuses on children ages 0 to 3 years-old; when they are that young, you can’t teach them how to read, but rather promote interest in books and form the habit of reading and the love of libraries.”
The Morgridge College of Education’s Dr. Nick Cutforth is furthering his work with the Healthy Eaters, Lifelong Movers (HELM) Project. Dr. Cutforth’s interests focus on school-based interventions related to physical activity and healthy eating. Funding for HELM has been extended for three more years, in the amount of $3.1 million through the Colorado Health Foundation. The funding will allow for a continued partnership between the Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center, Colorado School of Public Health and the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver.
Colorado had the second fastest rate of increase in obesity in the United States in 2007. In 2003, Colorado ranked 49th in the United States with 22% of 10-17 year olds recognized as overweight or obese. By 2007, this group had increased to 27%.
The partnership between the Morgridge College of Education and the Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center will allow for increased opportunities for healthy eating, physical activity, and high quality physical education in forty-six K-12 schools in the San Luis Valley and expand the program’s reach to 73 schools in Southeast Colorado.
After the first three years of the HELM Project, the San Luis Valley Physical Education Academy, co-founded by Dr. Cutforth, resulted in a 66% increase in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in elementary school physical education classes. The project also provides a Morgridge College of Education student the opportunity to gain InContext experience. The student will work part-time with the project by assisting with field research.
12 Nov 2013
For the first time ever, the DU ASIS&T student chapter was selected as a recipient of the ASIS&T (Association of Information Science & Technology) Student Chapter of the Year award for 2013. This award is given to student chapters to recognize their participation and contributions to ASIS&T and the advancement of information science. The University of Denver’s Library and Information Science (LIS) program supports multiple student chapters that aim to build skills and grow together professionally. The DU ASIS&T group primarily focuses their attention on introducing and furthering knowledge of LIS technologies to students in the field.
According to the Chapter Assembly, Association for Information Science and Technology, DU was chosen because “for a chapter of its size, the student chapter at the University of Denver is extremely active. Among the particularly noteworthy activities of this chapter are the number and quality of local events, the frequency and constancy of communication with its membership, the oversight and concern for local chapter finances and the quality administration provided by the officers. The chapter offers many diverse and interesting activities and has attempted to work with other organizations. It has also shown creative use of social media as communication tools. They not only have a well-maintained organization, but also clearly articulated future plans.”
During the 2012-2013 school year, the group recruited professionals to present short 30-minute talks, called TechBytes, to students. Some of these presentations included Jamie LaRue on the Future of Ebooks in Libraries, Alex Martinez on the Information Architecture of DU’s VideoManager, and Megan Kinney on using Drupal in Libraries. In addition, they planned and executed a full-day Technology Bootcamp. In an attempt to collaborate with students in other programs at the Morgridge College of Education, the group asked COESA (College of Education Student Association) to co-sponsor the event and invited all students in the college to attend. The 37 students that attended the event attended 4 sessions from DU professors and DU ASIS&T Officers throughout the day with topics ranging from Digitization to Visual Programming Language to Creating Community with Social Media.
Finally, chapter members helped with two panel presentations, one on web services librarianship and one on getting hired as a professional librarian. In addition to DU LIS students, individuals from the local community were invited to attend. Both events were a huge success and provided great career information. In order to publish these events, the group needed a robust web platform; therefore, members created a new chapter website, documented policies and procedures, and started a video archive of the recorded TechBytes.
Officers for the 2012-2013 Board:
Christine Coughlan, Chair
Lindsay Roberts, Vice-Chair
Jules Robinson, Treasurer
Josh Davies, Co-Program Director and Secretary
Julia Havelick, Web Content Manager
Kathleen Carothers, Co-Program Director
Rebecca Bolger, Marketing Director