University of Texas at Arlington

IMLS National Leadership Grant: Partnerships Announced

Thinking Beyond the Stacks

IMLS National Leadership Grant: Partnerships Announced

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I am happy to announce that we have successfully chosen our partners for the IMLS grant-funded Maker Competencies and the Undergraduate Curriculum pilot study. It was a lengthy process, and a hard choice given the amazing selection of academic library makerspaces that we had to consider, each of which had some unique quality that made them stand out from the others.

Lucky for us, we had enough left over from our travel funds to invite a fifth partner, making six total universities that will be participating in this exciting pilot program in the spring semester.

Tara Radniecki at University of Nevada, Reno’s DeLaMare Library Makerspace, has been a partner since the beginning; she helped write the grant proposal, and she attended two of the site visits. I invited Tara to be a partner at the get-go, after having serendipitously met her supervisor at a conference and hearing what he had to say about the direction and goals for their makerspace. I knew at that time that UNR would be a critical partner, and I’d rather not have them as a competitor!

So, without further ado, here are the additional four partnerships that resulted from our search:

  • Kelly Delaney, at Carnegie Mellon University’s IDeATe; of all the sites under consideration, CMU Library has by far done the most to integrate its makerspace into the undergraduate curriculum. Currently at 80 course offerings in the arts and technology, over 10% of CMU’s student body have completed course work in the IDeATe spaces since their program’s inception.
  • Sarah Hutton, at UMass Amherst Libraries’ Digital Media Lab; this space showed the most promise for the digital media side of making: professional quality audio and video production facilities, animation, and 3D environments. We were seeking a great space with strengths in these areas in which to test out our program and UMass Amherst proved that they have what it takes, including courses that utilize these facilities.
  • Danianne Mizzy, at UNC Chapel Hill’s Kenan Science Library Research Hub & Makerspace; this is another that I wished I’d known about before writing the initial grant proposal, because I would have invited her without hesitation, as I did with Ms. Radniecki, to help write it. UNC-CH has, like us, begun identifying and working with their own early-stage maker-based competencies in the curriculum, and have a phenomenal assessment strategy built right into their Quality Enhancement Plan that focuses on making.
  • Amy Vecchione, at Boise State University Library’s Maker Lab; of all the spaces that we visited, this one had the most enthusiastic makerspace staff. The Maker Lab is student run, and all but five of its staff are student volunteers who donate their time because of their passion for making and for helping others become makers. I believe it was also the largest dedicated makerspace staff, numbering over 25 when we visited.  

We here at UTA are so very excited to begin working with our partners, and I am relieved to have concluded this phase of the project. I’ll continue to post additional progress as time allows, right here on this blog.

 

written by Martin Wallace, martin.wallace@uta.edu

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