Category Archives: Events

Financial Literacy for Students

Student debt is at an all-time high. Robert Duvic of the McCombs School presents a talk with financial management solutions for students.
Student debt is at an all-time high. Robert Duvic of the McCombs School presents a talk with financial management solutions for students.

Today’s college students face a daunting financial landscape due to a variety of factors that include rising tuition. A quick primer on the current outlook reveals some distressing data:

  • $1.26 trillion in total U.S. student loan debt
  • 44.2 million Americans with student loan debt
  • Student loan delinquency rate of 11.1%
  • Average monthly student loan payment (for borrower aged 20 to 30 years): $351
  • Median monthly student loan payment (for borrower aged 20 to 30 years): $203

The lack of financial literacy, sometimes called financial illiteracy, can negatively impact a graduate’s earning potential, job opportunities and even housing options after they leave college.  The Libraries are hosting Professor Robert Duvic of the McCombs School of Business for a discussion of ways to navigate the minefield of financial management during the transition to adulthood and independent responsibility.

“Got Debt? The Importance of Being Financially Literate” will attempt to guide students through basic money management skills such as living within a budget, handling credit cards, and managing student loan debt. Students will learn about resources that are available to aid them in overcoming real life financial decisions.

In addition to the lecture, the Office of Financial Aid offers courses in money management and financial aid called Bevonomics as part of a national and local effort to provide free resources to students.

The presentation is in conjunction with the efforts of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the US Financial Literacy and Education Commission to promote financial literacy education. Both organizations work to improve financial education, financial literacy standards, and financial literacy principles for all ages and education levels.

Professor Duvic is a 2011 recipient of the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award, given by the University of Texas Board of Regents to recognize faculty members at the nine University of Texas System academic institutions who have demonstrated extraordinary classroom performance and innovation in undergraduate instruction. He has also twice received The Hank and Mary Harkins Foundation Teaching Excellence Award for Effective and Innovative Teaching in Undergraduate Classes from the McCombs School of Business, among other prestigious university awards. Dr. Duvic’s areas of research are corporate capital budgeting, international corporate financial management and international foreign exchange markets. He is a Major (retired) in the United States Army Reserve and served with the Americal Division in the Republic of Viet Nam. His military decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with two oak leaf clusters and the Purple Heart.

The University of Texas Libraries presents

“Got Debt? The Importance of Being Financially Literate” featuring Distinguished Senior Lecturer Robert Duvic of the McCombs School of Business.

1pm, Thursday, February 16

Perry-Castañeda Library (PCL), 2.370A (Learning Lab 1A)

 

The Foundry is Open

A student tries out the Vive virtual reality equipment.
A student tries out the Vive virtual reality equipment.

After a frenetic summer of construction, the new maker space at the Fine Arts Library — The Foundry — opened to great fanfare (literally) on September 7.

More than 300 attendees were welcomed to the renovated area on the main floor of FAL with a flourish of horns by the FivE Euphonium Quartet — as well as other performances by Butler School of Music students and director Jerry Junkin — and remarks by Vice Provost Lorraine Haricombe, College of Fine Arts dean Douglas Dempster and Provost Maurie McInnis.

FAL staff and students provided demonstrations of the new tools and technology that inhabit the space, and the centerpiece video wall projected examples of creative work produced by art and design students from across campus.

Guests had the opportunity to see the 3-D printers, a carver, sewing and embroidery machines, and MFA student Jon Haas provided a hologram projection onto a large model of the UT Tower to the delight of onlookers.

The opening attracted interest from around the university community, as well as area residents, donors and local media.

Austin Chronicle

Austin American-Statesman

AustinInno

Daily Texan

Interim FAL head librarian David Hunter and Libraries supporter Jan Roberts pose for Austin American-Statesman photographer Ralph Barrera.

With the space completed, efforts to train staff and student assistants on the technical particulars of the new equipment and the development of training materials and video tutorials for patrons is well underway. The space is expected to be fully functional by the end of October, and the wait begins to see how students will use the space for creativity and innovation.

All photos by Lawrence Peart, provided by the College of Fine Arts.

Open to Change? Change to Open.

Year of Open

As the world grows larger and closer at the same time, how do we ensure that we grasp the opportunities for sharing knowledge in ways that precipitate the ideas and innovation that will the global community?

Open access has been put forth as at least part of the solution to democratize information and expand knowledge through a lowering of barriers to access.

So what is open access? According to the statement of the 2002 Budapest Open Access Initiative: “By open access, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search or link to the full text of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software or use them for any other lawful purpose….” Scholarly Communications Librarian Colleen Lyon has provided a more lengthy explanation of the idea at the Open Access blog.

Vice Provost Lorraine Haricombe came to the UT Libraries with a set of informed priorities for expanding the campus understanding of the concept of open access. Having developed a comprehensive strategy for the libraries at the University of Kansas — spearheading the effort to make it the first public university in the U.S. to adopt a campus-wide OA policy — she’s brought a reserve of energy and ideas to Austin to convert open agnostics to the cause.

It certainly doesn’t hurt that there are some nascent allies on the Forty Acres as the university investigates flipped classrooms and distance learning opportunities, and to that end, the Libraries have joined forces with Texas Learning Sciences to establish a year of awareness-building on concepts of open access with the hope of generating some grassroots momentum toward a campus-wide embrace of open practices.

The “Year of Open” kicked off in September with BYU adjunct faculty and co-founder of Lumen Learning David Wiley, who provided a promising overflow crowd with a high level explanation of open access and discussed the rationale for moving from a resource ownership model to the shared model that is at the heart of the open content movement. Wiley helped develop Lumen Learning as an open access advocacy organization dedicated to increasing student success and improving the affordability of education through the adoption of open educational resources by schools, community and state colleges, and universities. Video of Wiley’s presentation is available for viewing at the Texas Learning Sciences “Year of Open” page.

On November 5, the second “Year of Open” event will feature David Ernst, Chief Information Officer in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota, as well as Executive Director of the Open Academics Textbook Initiative — a program developed to improve higher education access, affordability and success for all students through the use of open textbooks. Ernst created and manages the Open Academics textbook catalog — a single source for faculty to find quality openly licensed textbooks — and he and his colleagues are also developing a toolkit to help other institutions interested in starting their own open textbook initiative on campus. He’ll talk to attendees about how the adoption of open textbooks can help overcome the impediments of access and cost to improve student success outcomes.

After the holiday break, the “Year of Open” continues with events in the spring, including talks by Georgetown University professor and Executive Director of Georgetown’s Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship Randy Bass (February), and Bryan Alexander (April), senior fellow at the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE), as well as a panel on open access and the future of scholarly communication, also tentatively scheduled for April 2016. Check back with the Libraries calendar for coming details on these and other “Year of Open” events.

Scholars Commons Pilot “Sneak Preview”

Attendees see conceptual slides for the future Scholars Commons.

The Libraries held a Kick-off event on September 16 to share design renderings of a new academic work space in the Perry-Castaneda Library called the Scholars Commons that will be piloted on entry level starting early next year.

My colleagues and I had the great opportunity to welcome attendees into an empty room behind yellow paper-covered windows to share a “before” glimpse of what the UT Libraries hopes will become a favorite place on campus for graduate students and scholars.

Scheduled to open in January 2016, this “third space” for serious study is a pilot project to test services and different types of spaces.

The Scholars Commons initiative is comprised of 3 main areas:

  • silent study space,
  • a Data Lab, and
  • a Graduate Landing Spot, with reservable media-equipped rooms, a lounge and a break room.

Design development for the space was informed by input from graduate student and faculty focus groups and a survey with over 1,200 respondents conducted last spring. Additional insights came from the Graduate Student Assembly (GSA), the Graduate Student Writing Group and Graduate Student Services within OGS. The design was created by Harmony Edwards-Canfield of E+MID (Edwards + Mulhausen Interior Design), also responsible for several successful recently completed PCL projects.

Situated opposite the new glass-walled Media Lab, in what was formerly the Periodicals Room and the adjacent office suites that housed the Research and Information Services department, the Scholars Commons is tangible, visible evidence of support for serious students and scholars.

The materials in that space were relocated elsewhere within PCL, and the staff relocated to a UT Libraries office suite in the new Learning Commons, next to the University Writing Center. As with space used to create the Learning Commons, the Scholars Commons project represents intentional repurposing of staff space for student use.

The office suite closest to the PCL lobby will host speech center services provided by the Sanger Learning Center and research consultations in media-equipped meeting rooms with UT Libraries librarians. When not reserved for consultations, the rooms will be available for group study use by students.

Subject specialist librarians, or liaison librarians, already work one-to-one or in small groups with students and faculty to advise on literature reviews, research paper resources, data needs and other aspects of the research process and lifecycle, including publishing. These refreshed rooms will expand existing consultation space.

The large room that once housed the current periodicals and reference materials will become silent study space. And the office suite in the back of that room will be a dedicated Graduate Landing Spot for group study and informal community building.

The Scholars Commons will also offer programming, including salon events with featured speakers, research presentations and exhibit space. In brief, the pilot focuses on real-life needs, real-world challenges, research and relationships.

Lorraine Haricombe with representatives of Graduate Studies.Kick-off participants enjoyed locally-sourced refreshments and live music by Maxwell’s Daemons, a celebratory nod to the soon-to-be-silent zone for scholarly endeavor.

Brianna Frey, an Architecture graduate student in attendance, expressed that the quality and amenities of a study area are important because productivity stems from the ability to focus. “Additionally, it is important, especially because my field has a lot of group work, to have collaborative spaces in study areas” Frey told the Daily Texan. The pilot will offer both options.

Monitor this blog and UT Libraries social media outlets for more details as the January reveal approaches.

Texas Exes Dallas Chapter Welcome Vice Provost

Vice Provost Lorraine Haricombe with Libraries' Advisory Council member Ken Capps.

Last week, the Texas Exes Dallas Chapter hosted a reception featuring Dr. Lorraine Haricombe, Vice Provost and Director of University of Texas Libraries.

Lorraine shared her highest priorities to:

  • Strengthen UT Libraries core mission to support UT’s mission of teaching, research and learning in new and creative ways.
  • Fill key positions to align with new roles for libraries in teaching, learning and in the digital environment and to expand collaborative partnerships on campus (and beyond) and re-purpose prime real estate in our libraries to meet the expectations of 21st century learners.
  • Position UT Libraries to help transform teaching, learning and research at the University through open access to ensure that the ground breaking research conducted at our University will reach beyond the Forty Acres, nationally and globally.

She also expressed her excitement as UT Libraries is set to open 20,000 sq. ft. of repurposed space in the Perry-Castañeda Library, our main library, where we will partner with the University Writing Center, the Sanger center and others to provide a rich and energizing learning experience for our students.

To close, Lorraine reminded everyone, “supporting the Libraries has the potential to touch the lives of every student, staff and faculty member to ensure that what starts here really does change the world.”

Looking forward, UT Libraries plans to partner with Texas Exes Chapters across the country to host similar events that showcase the work being done at UT. If you are interested in hosting a similar event, please contact Gregory Perrin.

Showcasing the Hamilton Book Award Winners

Authors, left to right: Allison Lowery, Dr. Desmond Lawler, Dr. Huaiyin Li, and grand-prize winner Dr. Denise Spellberg.
Authors, left to right: Allison Lowery, Dr. Desmond Lawler, Dr. Huaiyin Li, and grand-prize winner Dr. Denise Spellberg.

Doing research in a library can be an adventure in serendipitous discovery. For Dr. Denise Spellberg, Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin, an unexpected search result was the impetus for a research project that resulted in her acclaimed book, Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an: Islam and the Founders.

Dr. Denise Spellberg sharing the details of how her award-winning work began.
Dr. Denise Spellberg sharing the details of how her award-winning work began.

Dr. Spellberg shared this recollection—along with other fascinating insights from her research—at the Hamilton Book Awards Author Showcase and Reception, which was held at the Perry-Castañeda Library last Friday. Dr. Spellberg’s book was the 2014 grand-prize winner of the Robert W. Hamilton Book Award.

Dr. Spellberg was joined by three of the runner-up prize-winners, whose work was also honored at the 2014 award ceremony: Dr. Desmond Lawler of the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering (for Water Quality Engineering: Physical/Chemical Treatment Processes, which he co-authored with Mark Benjamin); Dr. Huaiyin Li of the Departments of History and Asian Studies (for Reinventing Modern China: Imagination and Authenticity in Chinese Historical Writing); and Ms. Allison Lowery, from the Texas Performing Arts Center and the Department of Theatre and Dance (for Historical Wig Styling: Volumes 1 and 2).

Dr. Lorraine Haricombe, UT Libraries Vice Provost and Director.
Dr. Lorraine Haricombe, UT Libraries Vice Provost and Director.

With presentations nearly as diverse as the PCL’s collection, each faculty author gave the audience an introduction to the themes and motivations that define and drive their research. Both Dr. Lawler and Ms. Lowery spoke of their passion—for clean water and the craft of wig creation, respectively—while Dr. Li described how his experiences in China and the United States allowed him to analyze modern Chinese historical writing. Dr. Spellberg recounted how the discovery of playbill from a 1782 performance of Voltaire’s Mahomet in Baltimore led her to research the role of Islam in early American history.

George Mitchell, president and CEO of the University Co-op.
George Mitchell, president and CEO of the University Co-op.

The University Co-op has sponsored the Hamilton Book Awards since 1997. Winners are determined by a multidisciplinary committee appointed by the Vice President for Research at UT Austin, and the prize is awarded each October. The Hamilton Book Awards Author Showcase and Reception is an extension of the partnership effort by the Co-op and University of Texas Libraries to foster and promote faculty research on campus.

This well-received inaugural Showcase and Reception event was planned by School of Information graduate student and Ask a Librarian intern Katherine Kapsidelis, who graduates this May.

All the Library’s a Stage

New Works Festival posterSpring 2015 has been an exciting semester at the Fine Arts Library (FAL). We have hosted a record number of events — 13 to be exact. They’ve included exhibit receptions, lectures, book readings, concerts, and performances. The events for this week are particularly novel as we have opened our space to the Department of Theatre and Dance’s Cohen New Works Festival.

During the Fall semester, an exuberant student by the name of Mahalia Dinglasan approached Beth Kerr, Theatre/Dance Librarian and I about the possibility of setting a play that she was proposing at the Fine Arts Library. The story is set in a library and, thinking outside the box, she thought the Fine Arts Library would make a great venue. As I am eager to activate the Fine Arts Library spaces and engage with our audiences and patrons in new and innovative ways, I was excited for the Fine Arts Library to participate in the Festival.

A few weeks after we agreed to host the performance, Mahalia began working on casting her play. She asked Beth if she would be interested in playing Nan the librarian in the play. Beth declined as she is a theatre person but her role has always been behind the scenes. Mahalia then defaulted to me. I thought to myself that I have never been asked to do anything so unusual as a professional librarian and I may never be asked to do anything like it again. As I am one for new experiences, I was excited to say yes.

Monday evening was opening night of Emanation. What a fantastic journey I have been on over the last few months! The students in the company have taught me so much about acting, about confidence, about patience, about hard work, about respect, about community, about myself.

The show runs Tuesday 4/14 at 8:30pm, Wednesday 4/15 at 8:30pm, and Friday 4/17 at 7pm. Tickets are sold out but they are letting walk-ups attend as space is available. If you are interested in experiencing library space in a whole new way, I would recommend heading over to the Fine Arts Library for one of the performances. I don’t think you will be disappointed (unless you don’t get in!).

Allison Orr and the Dance of the Everyday

Choreographer Allison Orr finds her art in the places that most people overlook. Where some see the banal drudgery and repetition of daily life, Orr finds beauty, fluidity, originality and grace.

As founder and creative force behind Forklift Danceworks, Orr has made her mark by taking the seemingly ordinary and reframing it in extraordinary ways. To do so, she’s recruited a cadre of non-traditional performers to her various dance projects: Venetian gondoliers, Japanese baseball players, sanitation workers and roller skaters, to name a few — each opening their trade or passion to observation and interpretation through Orr’s choreographic vision.

Her first collaboration with public workers set a path for her career to this point.

In Case of Fire” enlisted the City of Austin Fire Department and featured thirteen Austin Firefighters from stations 11 & 17, two fire engines, and a ladder truck. The thirty-minute performance took place in 2001 as one of the most memorable parts of Fire Prevention Week in Austin.

To research for the piece, Allison virtually embedded with the firefighters for over a year — riding on calls, interviewing the firefighters, and incorporating as much knowledge as she could in order to understand the nature of the profession and the people who represent it.

Since that initial project, Orr has undertaken works to explore the movements of a traffic cop (“Traffic Maven”), employed five Elvis impersonators to recreate the King’s last concert (“The King & I”), teamed up with roller skate aficionados (“SKATE!”), and, most recently, choreographed a cast of 50+ city electricity workers complete with cranes, bucket and field trucks and a set of 20 utility poles (“PowerUP”).

Perhaps the work that had the greatest impact, though, was her 2009 project that elicited elegance from a type of work that is perceived as antithetical to such a notion. “The Trash Project” was Orr’s effort to recast popular notions of sanitation workers, taking the day-to-day work of a largely underappreciated city service and making it into an art form. The 75-minute industrial ballet featured 24 employees and 16 large sanitation vehicles from Austin’s Solid Waste Services Department (SWS), and attracted an audience of 4,000. “The Trash Project” won numerous arts awards, and was captured in Austin filmmaker and UT faculty member Andrew Garrison’s award-winning 2012 documentary Trash Dance.

SWS Director Bob Gedert was moved by the outcome: “The Trash Project” showcased our employees in a way that had never been done before. [It] helped boost employee pride and morale and garnered lots of positive media attention for the department.”

Orr’s artist statement provides perhaps the most concise window into her philosophy:

“As a choreographer, I am inspired by practiced and habitual movement that comes from people’s everyday life or work experience, for I see dance as being any movement that is performed deliberately in space and time. I am particularly drawn to authentic expressions of highly skilled and virtuosic movement performed by people not labeled as dancers. . . I believe that embedded in that movement are stories about who people are and what they care about.”

Finding dance in the everyday isn’t as difficult as it might seem when one is aware of Orr’s background. She has two degrees: one in choreography, the other — which helps to obviate her artistic works thus far — in anthropology. In an interview with Texas Highways, she states, “I want to choreograph untrained dancers to explore, as an anthropologist would, how communities function.”

fal-livingdance-forkliftAllison Orr will be the inaugural guest for a new speaker series at UT’s Fine Arts Library (FAL) on the state and fate of dance titled “Living Dance,” scheduled for 6 p.m., Thursday, February 19. Orr will share stories, thoughts and footage from the remarkable projects that have arisen at the intersection of dance and daily life including “Play Ball Downs Field,” “Play Ball Kyoto,” “The Trash Project” and “PowerUP.”

Beth Kerr, the FAL’s Theatre & Dance Librarian, hopes to use the “Living Dance” series to bring greater awareness of Austin’s rich dance heritage and to begin documenting its past, present and future. “Austin’s dance scene is vibrant, ever changing, and innovative, as it has been for quite a while,” says Kerr. “My hope is that this series will open up discussion of work these artists are doing and lead to focusing some national attention on this amazing pool of talent.”

“Living Dance” with Allison Orr of Forklift Danceworks takes place at 6 p.m., Thursday, February 19, in the Fine Arts Library at The University of Texas at Austin. The event is free and open to the public, and special event prepaid parking ($3 ) for the E. William Doty Fine Arts Building can be purchased at the Parking & Transportation Services website.

Breaking the Silence: Excessive Noise

iIt’s a challenge to combat long-held stereotypes — especially those that have gained a foothold in cultural consciousness — but libraries are increasingly finding ways to overcome an accepted caricature as spaces where quiet contemplation is guarded by strict disciplinarians with fingers firmly pressed to pursed lips.

More and more, programs developed to redouble the idea of library as a community third place have cut through the silence and opened the space to utilization in unexpected ways. As gateways to information, libraries have always served as cultural hubs; the advent of the internet offers opportunities to reimagine how they can fit within a social framework where the written word has largely ceded prominence to ones and zeroes.

One such example of rethinking space is evident at the Fine Arts Library (FAL), thanks to its close ties with emerging artists at the Butler School of Music.

In 2011, Music Librarian David Hunter approached graduate research assistant and doctoral candidate Russell Podgorsek — also the evening and weekend desk manager for the library at the time — about launching a music series to take place in the Roberts Reading Room at the FAL.

Podgorsek ran with the idea, imagining an eclectic program that had its roots in classical techniques, but would be creatively free-form in substance. He began pitching the concept to his colleagues and contemporaries in the university and broader Austin music communities and recruiting artists for the series premiere that took place in early 2012 and featured three original compositions by students of the Butler School — including Podgorsek, who is himself an accomplished composer, violist and guitarist.

To date, concerts have featured an array of composers, artists and performers from both the School of Music and the Austin community, including the Cordova Quartet; university Middle Eastern Music Ensemble, Bereket; Duo Brucoco; alumna Pamela Wilkinson; and dancer Reema Bounajem.

“Excessive Noise” will resume its run with the seventh concert in the series on January 31, and Podgorsek continues his curatorial duties under the appellation of the recently-formed Pale Blue. collaborative.

The concert, “winter winds… by Pale Blue. part 1,” features chamber music for winds including “Jabberwock” by current Butler School of Music (BSOM) DMA student Chris Prosser; “Poco Adagio” by BSOM alumnus Russell Podgorsek; and performances by the Butler School of Music Graduate Saxophone Quartet, the Aero Quintet, and current DMA students Charlotte Daniel (flute) and Chad Ibison (guitar).

Russell Podgorsek.

Podgorsek took time recently to answer some questions about his experiences in developing “Excessive Noise.”

What spawned the idea for “Excessive Noise”?

Russell Podgorsek: Back in 2011 Dr. David Hunter asked me if I’d be interested in resurrecting a music series at the Fine Arts Library since one had been done years earlier but not in recent memory.

At the time “Excessive Noise” started I was a Graduate Research Assistant at the Fine Arts Library. (Fine Arts Head Librarian) Laura Schwartz, (Theater and Dance Librarian) Beth Kerr and David Hunter were kind enough to fold it into my responsibilities along with supervising and stacks maintenance. Once I graduated I stayed on as an hourly employee so it was easy to continue the series.

How do you come up with the programs?

RP: The programs are largely centered around players’ availability and interest in performing what they’re working on. Being a composer myself it also seemed natural to have several new works on each concert. UT and Austin in general are musically so rich that it’s almost too easy to fill up a program sometimes. Recently I’ve asked others at UT to collaborate with us in an effort to engage other libraries and collections as well as other departments. Last spring we did a joint event with the PCL Map Collection’s event series, “You Are Here,” that showcased works with ties to specific locales and the corresponding items in the Map Collection and at FAL. Later this semester we’re joining up with the Asian Studies department to present a concert exploring the intersection of Eastern and Western cultures. On smaller scales, we’ve had students from both Architecture and Theater and Dance perform or present on these concerts as well.

What sort of benefit does it provide for the performers/artists?

RP: Performing itself is an enjoyable activity but the audiences that these events draw are of a different composition than those at a “regular” recital or concert and connecting with a new part of the community is what it’s about. That being said, all of the performers are young professionals (the Butler School of Music is a great place), they know what they’re doing, and always present a high quality artistic product.

Laura Schwartz is really open to programs like “Excessive Noise” that make use of library space in an unexpected way. What’s it like holding the event in a library? Continue reading

Sticks and Stones

Catholic school students burn thousands of comic books in Binghamton, New York (1948).

One would think that we’ve evolved enough as a society to move beyond the sort of censorship that has marked the darker periods of our history.

One would be wrong.

Last Tuesday, the Randolph County Board of Education in North Carolina voted 5-2 to remove Ralph Ellison’s masterwork The Invisible Man from the shelves of its school libraries.

The book is one among a much larger list of works that with depressing reliability have been prohibited from consumption by readers.

Next week is Banned Books Week. Sigh.

Well, because the First Amendment still sees regular challenges, the Libraries and the Department of English have teamed up to have a public discussion about the state of censorship in the Lone Star State.

Texas Banned Books: Questions and Answers” (TXBBQ&A) will be an interactive roundtable discussion about the real, relevant state of censorship in Texas. The conversation will center on Texas schools and values, books in prison, freedom of the press and the right to read.

Maley Thompson of the Department of English will moderate the discussion among five distinguished panelists:

The event is free and open to the public, and all voices are welcome.

More info here.