Faculty: Apply by September 30 for a course redesign grant

We are excited to announce that the Request for Proposals for the second round of VIVA Course Redesign Grants is now open. These grants are designed to empower faculty at Virginia higher education institutions with the resources and time they need to redesign courses by swapping out expensive textbooks for open, no cost, or library options. These materials may be adopted as is, adapted, or created from scratch.

This program awards grants from $1,000-$30,000 to assist faculty members at any VIVA institution in transitioning to course materials available at no cost to students, such as open educational textbooks and/or library resources. Full or part-time faculty may apply. Proposals may involve one person or teams that include: teaching faculty, librarians, instructional designers, subject matter experts, editors, graphic designers, or others as needed. Applications that include multi-institutional partnerships are encouraged.

More information, including the full Request for Proposals, application details, and the evaluation rubric are available at http://vivalib.org/courseredesign.

Applications are due September 30, 2019, and award notification will take place on December 9, 2019.

Informational webinars will be held at the following times, and will include a general introduction to the grants, the application process, and a Q&A:

Successful applications will be selected on the basis of:

  • Potential for student savings, including class enrollment and existing resource costs
  • Use of Open Educational Resources (freely available and free to be modified)
  • Frequency of course offering, with a preference for high-enrollment, required courses, and/or courses that are part of the SCHEV Passport Program
  • Impact of the project on open education, such as the development of high quality resources in areas for which no other open content is currently available
  • Preference for statewide reach through multi-institutional efforts
  • Commitment to continue offering the course for future years
  • Agreement to the terms of the grant and required activities

Questions about the program may be submitted to viva@gmu.edu.

George Mason University faculty interested in VIVA’s program or, more generally, in utilizing Open Educational Resources and no-cost or low-cost learning resources can find additional information about support provided by the University Libraries at the following site: https://library.gmu.edu/oer    

*VIVA is funded by the Virginia General Assembly and VIVA member institutions, and is sponsored by the State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV). 

Digital Humanities in the Archives: the Jerome Epstein World War II letters and Omeka-S

Join our Special Collections Research Center from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in their seminar room (Fenwick 2306) on Tuesday, July 16 for a special presentation by Ben Brands, inaugural L. Claire Kincannon Graduate Intern and Ph.D. candidate in History at Mason.

Brands’ presentation will explore the process and results of using digital tools to display and make accessible a series of World War II letters from the Jerome Epstein papers. Ben will discuss the various challenges and discoveries of this project, as well as showcase the final results, a website hosted on the Library’s Omeka-S server.

About the Speaker: Ben Brands was the 2018 L. Claire Kincannon Intern at the George Mason University Libraries Special Collections Research Center. He holds a B.A. in History from the College of William and Mary and an M.A. in History from George Mason University, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at George Mason University. He has previously served as an infantry officer in the United States Army and as an Assistant Professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Brands has written previously about his experiences working with the Epstein papers on SCRC’s blog.

About the Kincannon Graduate Internship: The L. Claire Kincannon Graduate Internship Endowment for the Libraries was created by philanthropist Claire Kincannon in 2016 to provide paid learning opportunities for graduate students with interests, career goals, and skills related to archives. In addition to the notable theatre-related collection that she gifted to the University Libraries, Kincannon donated the Jerome Epstein papers in 2015, which documents the civilian and military career of an army private in the Second World War from 1943-45, as well as other items related to the Epstein family’s history. Epstein, who passed away in 2002, was Kincannon’s cousin.

New exhibition in Music Library

Musical Rarities II: A Sampling from Mason Libraries Special Collections is now on display in the Music Library (Fenwick Library, Second Floor). Curated by Steve Gerber, Music & Theater Librarian, this exhibit features facsimiles of rare, music-related items from the Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center.

What is a musical rarity? It’s a music-related item (e.g. manuscript, printed book or score, image, or object) that is scarce – it might be curious, remarkable, valuable, or worth collecting for some reason (such as its usefulness in exemplifying an aspect of music history). Our musical rarities on display include:

  • a first edition of the world’s #1 jazz standard, “Body and Soul” (London, 1930)
  • a “Trauermarsch” (Grief March), memorializing Jewish victims of a 1905 massacre
  • an illustrated “how-to” book on dancing the tarantella, lithographed in Naples ca. 1845
  • a manuscript of a Latin offertory for three solo voices with organ, composed by Francesco Basili (Italian, early 19th century)

For further information, contact Steve Gerber, Music & Theater Librarian, at sgerber@gmu.edu.

Fenwick Gallery: Diaspora Diction

Fenwick Gallery at George Mason University presents Diaspora Diction, an exhibition of photography from artist Adriana Monsalve. The exhibition will run from May 28 through July 26, 2019, with an opening artist’s talk and reception on May 28 at 2:00pm in Fenwick Library. This exhibition is presented as part of the Mason Libraries Artist-in-Residence pilot program.

The first artist to participate in this pilot residency, Adriana Monsalve is a Maryland-based artist and collaborative publisher working in the photobook medium. Along with Caterina Ragg, Monsalve is co-founder of Homie House Press, a radical cooperative platform that challenges the ever-changing forms of storytelling with image and text.

Diaspora Diction collects Monsalve’s photographs, photobooks, and ongoing research into identity—and illusions of identity—in the African and Latinx diaspora. The exhibition features images from Monsalve’s first photobook, Clear as Black, a deeply personal and investigative documentary of the community and stories of individuals with a rare type of albinism found in Puerto Rico. Home to a vast hybridity of people, Puerto Rico is also the capital of the world for albinism. “There are layers upon layers that make up how albinism manifests physically, inside and out,” said Monsalve. “Albinism is not just white on this island, it’s black too. There are people who have the condition of albinism, but do not display the physical characteristics commonly known of a person with albinism. They are black, white and everything in between, and they are all people with albinism.”

Diaspora Diction also includes a second, separate body of work in progress, tentatively titled Novena. Photographed during a subsequent visit to Puerto Rico, Novena follows the family of Ricardito, one of subjects of Clear as Black, in the days immediately following the death of his grandfather, the family patriarch.

During the residency at Mason, Monsalve continued her research into these questions of identity, expanding her scope to the Melungeon communities in Appalachia. “This is investigative research in the greater world of the African diaspora. There are communities world-wide, past and present whose blackness was hidden to assimilate, prosper, and ultimately to survive. There are more that simply have no idea they are connected to something other than what mainstream world refers to as ‘white-passing.’ Folks that happen to be white aren’t taught to question that whiteness when speaking about identity, so the fact that these things fall under the scope of investigation is a wild assumption. They are never questioned, and don’t inquire about the self. The continuing research of Clear As Black, moving forward, is about this buried blackness in the North American region of Appalachia.”

The Mason Libraries Artist-in-Residence program, currently in its pilot year, invites an artist to expand or develop a project through research in the libraries’ collections and dialogue with Mason students, faculty, and library staff. More information on the Mason Libraries Artist-in-Residence program is available on the Fenwick Gallery website, http://fenwickgallery.gmu.edu/residency.

Diaspora Diction will be on display in Fenwick Gallery, located in Fenwick Library on Mason’s Fairfax campus, from May 28 to July 26, 2019. The gallery is open during Library business hours; see the Library’s website at http://library.gmu.edu for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

For more information on this exhibition at Fenwick Gallery, contact Stephanie Grimm, Art and Art History Librarian, at sgrimm4@gmu.edu. For general inquiries about the University Libraries or George Mason University, contact Jessica Clark, Development and Communications Officer, at jclarkw@gmu.edu.