New Exhibit Now Open! Kat Thompson: Looking for My People

Our new exhibit in Fenwick is officially open! From February 2nd through April 2nd, you can view Kat Thompson’s Looking For My People at the Fenwick Gallery.

Kat Thompson, “Looking for My People,” 2022

About the Artist:

Kat Thompson is an artist based in Virginia who works in photography, textile, sculptural collage, and installation. She confronts her dual American and Jamaican identity through projects that depict traces of her family’s journey using personal and found materials. Her focus is to uncover stories that mirror parts of ourselves back to us, including our histories, current realities, and future possibilities. Thompson is an alumna of George Mason University where she received her BFA in Photography. She is currently completing her MFA at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

Thompson is an alumna of George Mason University where she received her BFA in Photography. She is currently in the process of completing her MFA at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. In 2021, Thompson was awarded a Young Alumni Creative Development Grant from Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, and she previously had a solo exhibition in the Buchanan Hall Atrium Gallery.

More details at:

Love Data Week Workshops, February 13th through 17th, #LoveData23

Love Data Week kicks off February 13 and runs through February 17, 2023.

Celebrate International Love Data Week with the Digital Scholarship Center (DiSC)! We will be hosting an in-person open house on Thursday, February 16th in room 2701 Fenwick Library. Throughout the week we will be offering series of short, 30-minute data workshops (virtual) at noon. Use the links below for more details and to register.

The theme this year is Data: Agent of Change — using data to bring about changes that matter. Policy change, environmental change, social change… we can move mountains with the right data guiding our decisions. This year, we are focused on helping new and seasoned data users find data and other resources that can help move the needle on the issues they care about. #LoveData23

Monday, Feb 13: A Beginner’s Guide to Text Analysis Tools

Questions? Feel free to send us an e-mail at

New No-Cost OA Publishing for Mason Authors: Cambridge, IOP, and IWA.

Effective January 1, 2023, Mason researchers will have more opportunities to publish journal articles Open Access (OA) at no cost. VIVA, Virginia’s academic library consortium, is launching three new read and publish agreements, so-named because they cover subscription (or read) access to journals plus OA publishing costs (article processing fees or APCs) for those journals.  

Agreements with Cambridge University Press and the International Water Association run through December 31, 2025. A pilot, two-year agreement with Institute of Physics ends December 31, 2024. 

VIVA already has OA agreements with Wiley, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and Rockefeller University Press. For more information about APC discounts through VIVA, visit this page 

To benefit from VIVA’s OA agreements, a Mason author must be listed as the corresponding author using their email address. These agreements cover most, but not all, journals from each publisher. 

In addition to participating in VIVA’s read and publish agreements, Mason Libraries offers an Open Access Publishing Fund to offset the cost of OA publishing. The Libraries also supports OA publishing through contributions to MIT Press’s Direct to Open (D2O) book publishing program, and through institutional support for ArXiv, the Directory of OA Journals, and Ergo: A Journal of Open Access Philosophy. 


Contact the Collections Strategy Department at, or reach out to your subject librarian. 

Season of Giving Day on Wednesday, November 16

From October 15 to December 15, 12 mason units have designated a 24-hour period as a one-day fundraising event.
The Libraries’ Season of Giving Day is Wednesday, November 16.

The Libraries has chosen three funds as priorities for their Season of Giving Day on Wednesday, November 16. Through the Libraries’ Student Research Endowment, Student Assistant Scholarship Endowment, and the Center for Mason Legacies, the Libraries is able to provide opportunities for students to help them gain valuable skills for their future careers. Working with the Libraries – as student assistants, graduate research assistants, or interns – provides students with collaborative research opportunities, financial support, and experience. These opportunities support student success at Mason and enhance their academic careers and resumes. We believe student research skills gained at Mason benefit the lives of many in the future. Help the Libraries support student research and success at George Mason today!

Giving Day

The Student Assistant Scholarship Endowment enables the Libraries to recognize and support student assistants who have demonstrated outstanding work performance in the University Libraries while meeting the academic requirements of their coursework at Mason. The purpose of the endowment is to award scholarships each year to assist undergraduate student employees with their educational expenses at the university.

The Libraries’ Student Research Endowment provides recognition and monetary support for Mason students by funding a Graduate Student Fellowship and an Undergraduate Student Research Prize each academic year.

Gifts to the Center for Mason Legacies fund allow the Libraries to provide stipends for graduate and undergraduate student assistants, offer internship opportunities, enable public programing and community outreach, and establish future initiatives in support of the center’s mission to examine the legacy of George Mason IV and his enduring impact on American politics, Northern Virginia development, and higher education.

Give to the Libraries

New Study Explores Quantitative Data in the Classroom

In the recent study “Fostering Data Literacy: Teaching with Quantitative Data in the Social Sciences”, George Mason University joined 19 other research universities in the United States in interviewing instructors teaching undergraduate, data-intensive courses in the social sciences to identify their needs, challenges, and teaching practices.

“It’s conventional wisdom that the library’s services and collections are essential to the university’s educational mission. What might be less well known is how important data—both its discovery and analysis—has become in that enterprise,” Wally Grotophorst, Associate University Librarian, said. “For the library’s part, we need to understand how quantitative skills are being taught and what barriers to that instruction we can help mitigate. Participating in this study is one tool for getting answers to those questions.”

Mason’s published its findings, “Teaching with Data in the Social Sciences at George Mason University”, in October 2021. Four faculty in the Mason University Libraries—Wendy Mann, Kim MacVaugh, Jasmine Spitler and Andrew Lee—centered their research on Ithaka S+R’s idea that “instructors in the social sciences need support in locating appropriate datasets and identifying tools to help students manipulate, understand, and visualize data.”

The overall study found that instructors focus on the critical interrogation of quantitative information in introductory classes, while teaching students to conduct their own research and analysis in upper division courses. As such, instructors generally avoid asking students to locate data on their own because most students struggle to find appropriate datasets. In addition, faculty said that teaching students to use analytical software is a hands-on process requiring a significant amount of valuable instructional time, sometimes at the cost of teaching discipline-specific perspectives.

“I think the report is important for department chairs and deans as it describes the huge challenge faculty have teaching data analysis—it simply cannot be done in one class. We do often get students who feel their professor didn’t start “at the beginning” and thus are completely lost,” Debby Kermer, Data Services Research Consultant, University Libraries, said. “It also shows how the libraries can and do help: facilitating access to data, helping with software (even jamovi), and recommending teaching materials and other Open Educational Resources. We work with many faculty already, and would love to work with more.”

According to the authors, the study provides the evidence needed to help structure and develop digital and data literacy programs at Mason. The findings represent an important contribution to learning about teaching practices and challenges faced in teaching data-intensive courses. It shows that among the participating institutions, instructors are facing similar issues.