Professor Kristin Eschenfelder was appointed as a Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor. The appointment recognizes professors at UW-Madison whose distinguished scholarship has advanced the confines of knowledge, and whose excellence has also included teaching or service. Professor Eschenfelder will use the associated research funds to support her project on the sustainability of data archives.
Matt Tischer (’13) is an Archivist at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He answered a few questions about living internationally and how his time at SLIS prepared him for the field.
What drew you to working internationally? Was it your intent when you started at SLIS?
I never considered working overseas until after graduation when a friend told me about some of the opportunities in the U.A.E. I was immediately fascinated by the idea. It’s an incredible opportunity to grow professionally, travel, and learn about other cultures.
What is most challenging about working outside of the US?
The hardest thing for me is being so far away from friends and family. Communication with people back home can be difficult given the time difference. For instance, we are ten hours ahead and weekends are on Friday and Saturday. So, it feels like I’m constantly out of step with things in the U.S. However, the U.A.E. is a very friendly and welcoming place. People go out of their way to make you feel at home.
What is the most rewarding aspect of working outside of the US?
The most rewarding part of the experience for me is getting a chance to see the world from a different perspective. Before taking this job, I had never traveled outside the U.S. It is a great privilege to be able to do so because you never look at things quite the same again.
What practicums or experiences did you have at SLIS that prepared you for your current position?
I did my practicum with Wisconsin Historical Society's Visual Materials Curator, Andy Kraushaar. While working for him, I digitized a collection of nineteenth-century nitrate negatives. I also worked with UW Images and Media Archivist, Vicki Tobias on an independent study that was modeled on the SLIS practicum experience. So, in a way, I had two practicums. Both projects were indispensable because they gave me the chance to complete real world projects with top flight professionals in the field. In both cases, I developed online projects that I’ve been able to point to when applying for jobs.
Do you have any advice for current or future students?
This probably goes without saying, but make the most of your practicum and work as much as you can in the field while you’re completing your degree. The library/archives community in Madison is full of incredibly generous people and institutions (such as Wisconsin Historical Society) that are willing to help SLIS students develop professionally. We are very lucky in that regard.
As far as working internationally, I would advise those interested to keep an eye on the Gulf region. The U.A.E. is growing rapidly and investing a great deal in education and cultural institutions. Also, I would suggest familiarizing yourself with international standards. I’m happy that my archives courses at SLIS did a good job of exposing me to international archives principles and methodologies.
Congratulations to Dorothea Salo! Through a student-nomination process, Salo has been named as one of the 2014 WISE Instructors of the Year for her Summer 2014 course, Publishing, Knowledge Institutions & Society: E - Revolutions? Students appreciate her "funny and engaging screencasts, as well as the useful and thoughtfully design assignments." WISE (Web-based Information Science Education) is a consortium of schools in the information field focused on broadening the online course topics available to their students. Says Salo of her teaching practices:
I plan every course I teach, face-to-face or online, with a divided eye: half my attention on what students need to KNOW when we're done, half on what they should be able to DO when we're done. Their new knowledge should at minimum empower them to make smart, grounded professional decisions; the new skills they gain through work they complete in class should ideally be directly relevant to their workplace and their eventual research and service contributions to their chosen professions.
When teaching online, I rely heavily on humor and activist passion. Humor makes me human even to students who may never be in the same room with me; it also, I find, leads students to communicate more freely with each other, as my humanity in their eyes reminds them that their classmates too are human. Passion, too, communicates surprisingly effectively online. Activist passion is particularly important because the issues and challenges I teach about are anything but frozen in time; they are loci of active professional decision-making and debate. As students become professionals, they must not be afraid to form and express strong opinions, to take sides, to work for cultural survival and social justice. I do my best to model an information-activist spirit for them, and it thrills me when they respond with excitement, curiosity -- and yes, awakened activist spirits of their own.
We are sad to report that Diana Bobb, emeritus student records manager, passed away on January 18. She was a fixture in the front office for years, always willing to help and work hard. Bobb started at SLIS in 1987 as a faculty secretary and ended her career in 2009 as a Student Status Examiner. She earned the distinguished 'emeritus' status upon retirement. In the emeritus recommendation letter, she is described as 'the proverbial mother hen' to students and complimented for her 'strong body of knowledge about campus policies and wide network of colleagues.' Her sense of humor and years of service to SLIS will be remembered fondly.
An obituary will be available here: Schneider Funeral Home
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, February 7, 1:00-3:00 p.m. with a final prayer at 3 p.m.
Schneider Funeral Home
1800 East Racine Street
People are also invited to join the family to toast Diana at Fast Eddy's immediately following.
1704 Rockport Road
Students in SLIS's online master's degree program gave virtual presentations for LIS 620: Field Project in Library and Information Agencies, better knows as 'the practicum.' To learn more about their experiences, click on the names below. All SLIS students complete a 120-hour practicum under the supervision of a practicing librarian or archivist. The experiences give students the valuable opportunity to gain professional skills in a setting consistent with their career interests.
Davenport Public Library
Kimberly-Little Chute PL
UW Stevens Point
Portland State University
UW Archives Oral History Program
Professor Jonathan Senchyne has been invited to join the plenary faculty of the Futures of American Studies Institute at Dartmouth College. The Institute, now in its eighteenth year, brings together faculty and grad students from around the world to present and debate innovative research in the disciplinary formations of the field of American Studies. Senchyne will deliver a plenary lecture and visit small group discussions during the 2015 Institute.
On November 14, SLIS friends, staff, and alumni gathered to celebrate the opening of the Charles Bunge Room (formerly the SLIS Commons). Thank you to all who attended for making it a memorable evening! The Bunge Room is now equipped with all new teaching technology, flexible furniture, and diffusional blinds to show off the lake view! The remodeling was funded by the Charles Bunge SLIS Facilities Fund, which will continue to fund improvements in the SLIS Library and computer lab over the new few years.
Charles Bunge, Gene Dewey and Larry Jacobsen
Five Generations of Directors! Kristin Eschenfelder, Louise Robbins, Jane Robbins, Charles Bunge, and James Krikelas
Pat Losinski and Charles Bunge
Diane and Dale Hopkins
Louise Robbins gave remarks, honoring Dr. Bunge
Student Services Duo! Tanya Cobb and Barbara Arnold