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.

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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.

Applications for VIVA Open Adopt Grants Due Dec. 7

ViVA LogoA new round of VIVA Open Adopt Grants is now open and faculty have until Wednesday, Dec. 7, to apply. VIVA Open Adopt Grants provide awards of $2,000 to individual instructors to support the time it takes to integrate existing open or no-cost materials into a syllabus, and to ensure that the results of those efforts are widely available to Virginia educators. VIVA Open Adopt Grants will be awarded to individual faculty members hoping to adopt an already existing open resource. Team and departmental adoptions, as well as projects seeking to adapt or create new Open Educational Resources, should apply for the next round of the larger scale VVIVA Open Course Grants. Informational webinars will be held on the below dates and registration is required.

Wednesday, Nov. 2 (10:00 a.m.)
Wednesday, Nov. 30 (11:00 a.m.)

Details are available on VIVA’s website

Questions? Email to Emilie Algenio, Open Educational Resources and Scholarly Communications Lead, University Libraries

Professors Huwy-Min Lucia Liu and Jesse Kirkpatrick Named 2022-2023 Fenwick Fellows

Dean of Libraries and University Librarian John G. Zenelis has announced the award recipients for the 2022-23 Fenwick Fellowships: Huwy-min Lucia Liu, assistant professor in the department of sociology and anthropology, and Jesse Kirkpatrick, research associate professor, department of philosophy and acting director, Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy.

The Fenwick Fellowship is awarded annually to one or two Mason tenured, tenure-track, or multi-year appointment term faculty members to pursue a research project that uses and enhances the University Libraries’ resources while advancing knowledge in their fields. The recipients are provided with a fully equipped and furnished research office in Fenwick Library and an award of $5,000 to support the recipient’s research project. The term for the fellowship is one academic year; Professors Liu and Kirkpatrick will present on the outcomes of their projects in spring 2024 at the annual Fenwick Fellow Lecture hosted by the University Libraries.

Huwy-min Lucia Liu Liu’s, social science research project, Governing Nature in China: The Emergence of the Chinese National Park System, will focus on social change in authoritarian and socialist regimes. Specifically, she explores how ordinary Chinese people navigate through and respond to structural changes through topics on citizenship, identity, governance, and activism.

Kirkpatrick’s digital humanities research project, The Cultural, Economic, and Institutional Determinants of AI Infrastructures and their Consequences in Global Contexts, focuses on the ethics of peace and security, Jesse Kirkpatrick with an emphasis on the ethical, social, and policy implications of emerging technologies. His research is interdisciplinary, cutting across such fields as Philosophy, Political Science, Public Policy, and the Life and Computer Sciences. At its core, it aims to explore two central, interrelated themes: (1) how a suite of technologies, singularly and in convergence, impact peace and security, and (2) what the ethical, social, and policy implications of these impacts may be. Representative areas of technology that Jesse’s research has addressed include, AI and autonomy, biotechnology, and tele-operated systems.

Dean Zenelis commented, “Each year the Fenwick Fellows program receives a number of creative and innovative proposals from Mason faculty members, and I am grateful for the work of the review committee in selecting this year’s recipients. It is rewarding to read in the proposals of this year’s fellows of their intent to work with two important centers within the Libraries – the Social Sciences and the Digital Scholarship Center. The breath of the research offered in these proposals … is reflective of the Libraries’ range of collections and expertise. We look forward to hearing about the project results next year when Professors Liu and Kirkpatrick share their findings.”

George Mason University Libraries Graduate Student Research Fellowship

On behalf of the selection committee, John Zenelis, Dean of Libraries and University Librarian, has announced the award recipient Graduate for the 2022-23 Graduate Student Research Fellowship. This year’s Selection Committee was comprised of Alyssa Fahringer, Digital Scholarship Consultant (Chair); Jennifer Disano, Executive Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and Carl Leak, Life Sciences Librarian and Interim Head of Mercer Library.

Bernard AtiemeThis fellowship was made possible by “The Student Research Endowment for the Libraries,’ which was a funding initiative of the Libraries Advisory Board. This is the inaugural year for this award, and we are excited to be recognizing the research of Bernard Atieme, a PhD candidate in the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution.

Atieme’s dissertation will examine the motivations of rank-and-file party members that perpetuate election violence in Ghana. He plans to use the fellowship funds to travel to Ghana and interview research subjects using qualitative research methods.

When Atieme returns, he will require the assistance and expertise available in the Digital Scholarship Center in learning how to use qualitative research software as well as determining how to manage, analyze, visualize, and present the data collected.

Congratulations to Mr. Atieme as the first recipient of the University Libraries’ graduate student
research fellowship award, along with our best wishes for continued academic success!