Category Archives: HigherEd

July 15, 2015, 10:22 pm

My Final Blog Post

May 22, 2006. That’s when I started The Ubiquitous Librarian Blog. I wrote before at Alt-Ref where I explored new approaches for reference and instruction. But I felt too boxed in. Ubiquitous gave me freedom to roam.

It ends today. Right here.

 407 posts

9 years  1 month  23 days

When the Chronicle of Higher Education informed me that they were dropping the Blog Network I was sad. But after a few days I got over it, mostly. I realized they had given me a gift. This was a chance to move on and do other things.

I’ve probably written and presented too much over the last decade. I’m looking forward to letting that taper off. I want to focus on Virginia Tech and the great people, projects, and programs we have here.


Me as a soldier in the name of greater library experiences.

Rick Anderson says we…

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July 15, 2015, 7:25 pm

Value Proposition Design For Librarians (a quick overview)

Of course I have to dip back into the business literature one more time.

I really like the value proposition design tool. Stephen Abrams blogged about it a few months ago and it’s something we’ve been working on here at Virginia Tech. Slowly. It’s a low priority. But the value to me is less about the output (a nice fancy report) and more about the process of having these conversations and thinking differently (more broadly) about how libraries can engage more fully.

Here is the 5-minute version. Please see Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want for full version.

My advice. Make this about individuals, not broad categories (ie: all undergrad students or all faculty.) Talk with a few assistant professors working on tenure. What’s different and what’s the same between them? How are their experiences and expectations different?…

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July 14, 2015, 9:03 pm

Raising the volume on HipHopEd. An interview with Joycelyn Wilson.

JoycelynI’ve had many great conversations with Joycelyn Wilson (Assistant Professor, Education, Virginia Tech) about music, history, Atlanta, and teaching—actually, all of those things combined together.

She came to the library a few years ago seeking guidance with her vinyl collection—it is great to see what she has done with it. Joycelyn is a leader in hip hop and education—I’m glad we got to explore that theme a bit here.

What is the Hip Hop Imagination? 

The Hip Hop Imagination is both conceptual and methodological in that it allows for the use of practices, sensibilities, and artifacts unique to Hip Hop culture in learning environments. Think about it as a pair of glasses; like a lens made up of these Hip Hop-influenced aesthetics. When you put them on you see the world through Hip Hop. It’s primarily informed by the sociological imagination of C. Wright Mills and…

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July 14, 2015, 7:11 pm

Group Projects: creating an environment for collaboration. Interview with Tom Ewing.

Every time I talk with students about doing group work there is a moan of displeasure. Most of them prefer to work alone despite the push for more collaborative learning.

Ewing Photo Almaty 2008I wanted to get some faculty perspective. [Originally I planned to make this an ongoing series talking with faculty from different disciplines, but since this blog ends tomorrow -- this is it.] I spoke with Tom Ewing (Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, Research, and Diversity in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech) regarding group work.

Tom told me about a course he taught where we added a collaborative project. Along with tests and a final paper, groups worked together to develop a research poster.

He admitted that the project was challenging because there is very little published about the topic: the Russian-American telegraph. Each team explored different themes such as the…

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July 12, 2015, 11:58 pm

Feminisms & Interaction Design. An Interview with Jennifer Sano-Franchini.


I’m a reader for a teaching award at Virginia Tech called XCaliber (shorthand for exceptional, high-caliber work.) It recognizes individual faculty members or teams of faculty and staff who integrate technology into teaching and learning. The award celebrates innovative, student-centered approaches. I enjoy reviewing the packets because I always learn so much about interesting pedagogical approaches all across campus. 


Jennifer Sano-Franchini

A recent recipient was Jennifer Sano-Franchini, assistant professor in the Department of English. She received the honor for a course on Feminisms & Interaction Design. I was fascinated by this combination and asked her some questions. She agreed to be interviewed and provided an interesting model for critical pedodogy. I recommend checking out her Course Syllabus; i…

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June 29, 2015, 4:05 pm

Football, Leadership, & Libraries: an interview with Scotty Walden

Scotty Walden, offensive coordinator at East Texas Baptist University,

I read an article last fall about Scotty Walden – a young and exciting football coach at East Texas Baptist University.

Here is the gist of piece:

In the summer of 2012, Sul Ross State football coach Wayne Schroeder wanted to shake things up for a sluggish offense that averaged 207.5 yards per game the previous season. So he handed over the keys to a 22-year-old graduate assistant. The results were immediate and dramatic. The reenergized Lobos offense would go on to lead the NCAA with 581.9 yards per game and 48.8 points per game. Scotty Walden, now 24, has since moved on and is the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at East Texas Baptist University, a small Division III program in the East Texas town of Marshall. (bleacher report)

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June 3, 2015, 10:21 am

Conformity vs. Scrutiny: Radical Information Literacy. An interview with Andrew Whitworth

Here is a quick interview with Andrew Whitworth, Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Manchester and Programme Director of the MA: Digital Technologies, Communication and Education. He published Radical Information Literacy: Reclaiming the Political Heart of the IL Movement.

What is radical information literacy?

Well, I did try at points to give clear definitions of key terms. Page 167 is as succinct as I ever get:

“IL, or more precisely, information literate behaviour, can be defined as practices that sustain learning and the potential for transformation within communities and their [information] landscapes. Radical IL is the subset of these practices which lift those potentials up into practice, transforming information landscapes through scrutiny and review of the cognitive authorities that penetrate them.”

Mainstream IL – competency-based,…

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May 27, 2015, 3:25 pm

The Evolving & Expanding Service Landscape Across Academic Libraries

We all know there has been a national decline in reference transactions. Here is some raw ARL data suggesting that questions have dropped nationally from 20,000,000 in 1995 to just barely 5,000,000 in 2014.


from Association of Research Libraries

Librarians have responded by introducing new models: the one-desk model, the tiered model, the drop-in/office hours model and even the no desk model.

While I admire this ingenuity… this post isn’t about that. But it is about people who have questions.

During this same time — while reference transactions were declining — other service points migrated into our environments. Writing Centers, Communication Studios, Multimedia Studios, IT Help Desks, and Adaptive/Assistive Technologies Support Spaces are all common today.

[caption id=”attachment_4739″ align=…

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May 26, 2015, 3:20 pm

Ending my blog in 50 days

And so here we are.

When I first started blogging it as fun. There were many of us out there trying new things and sharing our stories. We were learning on the fly and forging our digital (and professional) identities.

That was a decade ago.


Me at Georgia Tech, East Commons
Photo via C. Bennett

My blog became popular largely because I worked at Georgia Tech. It was an amazing environment. I learned that you don’t need a large budget to push the envelope—and they are still pushing it today.

The nature of my blog changed when I moved into administration. I was also writing for American Libraries and blogging became a chore. When the Chronicle picked up The Ubiquitous Librarian my creative spirit was renewed.

I started reaching a broader audience – vice provosts, CIO’s, and student affairs…

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April 14, 2015, 3:20 pm

Your Assignment: Host A Campus Wide Event (libraries and active learning)

eventAs a follow-up to my post last week about our seven classrooms, I wanted to quickly share an example of how we are impacting teaching and learning.

We’re hosting a Financial Literacy Event today that is part of a class project. It is a digital showcase bringing together students from a Financial Counseling course to offer educational engagement with students in a Financial Management course. Both courses are taught by Oscar Solis.

Here are the topics:


There are many things I like about this.

  • It brings two courses together—this is one of my constant aspirations.
  • It encourages peer-to-peer mentoring.
  • It promotes financial literacy.
  • It fosters active learning. This could have just been traditional talks at the front of a classroom where everyone speaks for a few minutes and where most students are distracted and nervous about their own presentation. Instead we…

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