Curious yet?

This is a project I have been working on for a couple of years now with Hannah Gascho Rempel, one of my colleagues here at OSU.  A few years ago, Hannah and I were working with our first-year composition program and as part of that, we were assessing some student papers.

Quite aside from the question we were trying to answer, we noticed a marked lack of curiosity driving any of these student papers. This sent us down an exploratory path that we haven’t emerged from yet. So far we have:

  • Reworked the information literacy portion of WR 121 to more intentionally build in curiosity.
  • Conducted a small qualitative case study, checking in with four FYC composition students over the course of a term, and evaluating their written work to pull out themes related to curiosity, exploration, learning and risk-taking.
  • Created a short self-assessment instrument to start people thinking about their own curiosity in more complex ways.
  • Changed the way we provide training and support to the GTA’s who teach FYC, and designed a case study to help inform how the program should develop moving forward.
  • Given presentations and workshops on the topic of curiosity in library instruction at the First-Year Experience conference, Library Instruction West, Online Northwest, and AMICAL.


Curiosity self-assessment (and Scoring Guide)

Zotero library: Curiosity in college


Tautoethnography-coverhe Self as Subject is an edited collection of autoethnographic narratives focused on identity, culture and academic librarianship. I serves as the lead editor on this project, working closely with my co-editors Rick Stoddart (Lane Community College) and Bob Schroeder (formerly at Portland State University, currently happily retired).

The project website includes selected chapters, process stories, information about the learning community, and links to reviews.

This project is really important to me, on a couple of levels.  First, we put together a learning community of librarians to explore the method with is.  As my good friend Nicholas Schiller said, “we may not learn research methods in library school, but as librarians we have learned how to learn.” This project taps into that. Secondly, this is a method that I think is very exciting because it offers a way to capture and share that embodied, in-the-moment practice knowledge that informs so much of what we do in librarianship.