Updated: Mar 24
Principal Investigator: Jennifer Richard (Acadia) Co-Investigators: Margaret Vail (St. FX), Anne LePage (Mount Allison), Sarah Heath (Bishop’s)
In early September 2019 at a series of town halls, the Maple League launched four new funding opportunities to promote and facilitate collaborative research, innovative teaching, spring and international field study programs, and travel amongst our four campuses. We are delighted to share, in a series called the Maple League Funding Spotlight, the funded projects for 2019 – 2020.
We had a chance to sit down with Jennifer Richard from Acadia University to talk about her project and learn more about collaboration across the four universities.
JESSICA RIDDELL (EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE MAPLE LEAGUE): The guiding question that animates all our Maple League collaborations is: “what can we do together that we cannot do on our own?” How does this resonate with the project you’ve undertaken?
JENNIFER RICHARD, PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (ACADIA UNIVERSITY): So often Maple League libraries face the same day-to-day challenges, yet they rarely collaborate to determine best practices or solutions. Working together and relying on collaborative partnerships will undoubtedly offer a unique dynamic to the research process that would not be realized if working alone. Understanding the environments and realities at each institution will provide invaluable insight for strong, productive research outputs.
J. RIDDELL: Maple League universities endeavor to individualize undergraduate education with a holistic approach to learning within the classroom and beyond. How does your work benefit from working and learning in relationship-rich environments?
J. RICHARD: Library and Archives contain a treasure trove of unexpected and fascinating resources that can bring classroom work and student research to life. For example, Acadia’s Sociology classes dig into historical scandals and controversies of the past, including how a scantily-dressed student was photographed in what may have been the President’s house for a student calendar project, or why a student was expelled for a poem he wrote in the student newspaper. Our staff, space, and resources provide a gateway to these stories. We bring history to life and the incorporation of audiovisual material will only take this to another level.
JR: What kind of impact do you hope to have – on your own work, on institutional cultures, or beyond the academy – with your project?
J. RICHARD: The resources that we organize, preserve, and make accessible benefit researchers at other institutions, nationally and internationally, alumni, the general public who are life-long learners and who are interested in university activities and history of the institutions as well as the surrounding communities. Universities make a big impact on their communities.
JR: Can you share any advice to others who might be interested in collaborating across institutions?
J. RICHARD: Collaborating is fun; it extends your ideas and potential. It gives you the opportunity to make connections with colleagues you have never worked with before, perhaps never even met before. It helps to build networks and relationships and explore projects and ideas that you may not have been able to on your own.
Interested in learning more? Here is a brief description of the project:
One hundred years from now, what will researchers be able to find out about the early 21st-century at our collective universities? Researchers often use printed materials such as minutes, books, and letters to trace the rich history of our institutions. Libraries and Archives have not only collected and preserved these histories, but have organized and made them accessible. Much of our communication and learning now is asynchronous and in formats other than print. What will become of our audiovisual materials? Audiovisual formats have risen in popularity, yet without care and concern for how they will be preserved, collected, and organized. The Maple League itself has moved to broadcasting and recording conferences and presentations, but how will this material be accessible in the future? There are now thousands of photographs and videos being produced by various departments on our campuses: alumni, public relations, athletics, and academic units; who is responsible for it? Does every photo and video need to be kept and preserved? Who determines what is important to our institutions’ histories? What is the plan?
The research project aims to collect data on what each of the four Maple League institutions are doing with these materials, within the libraries and within the broader universities. This research group will collect data in the form of surveys and interviews from the four Maple League Universities as well as survey data from the member institutions of the Council of Atlantic University Libraries. The findings will be distributed via library publications or conference presentations, along with a report to the Maple League.
For more information about this project, contact Jennifer Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on funding opportunities, visit: http://mapleleague.ca/about/funding-opportunities/