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Graduate and upper-level undergraduate students looking to share the fruits of their scholarship have received a big boost from the Centre for Scholarly Communication (CSC) at UBC’s Okanagan campus.

“The CSC has an enormous impact on academic research in the University,” says Dr. Kasun Hewage, Assistant Professor (Project & Construction Management) at the School of Engineering. “Most of our graduate students are international and have different writing and thinking patterns. It is very difficult for a research professor to guide them in academic writing. Whenever I note a need, I direct my students to get help from the CSC to improve their communication skills.”

The CSC, which opened last July and is housed in the Library, reports to Melody Burton, Chief Librarian, and Dr. Peter Arthur, Director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning at the Okanagan campus. The centre offers one-on-one consultations on written and oral communication, special events and more. Librarians’ contributions include delivering well-received workshops on topics such as copyright, research tools such as RefWorks and Mendeley, and managing information with technology. 

As a result, students learn strategies to manage time and resources, improve writing and editing skills, and discover how to present material to different audiences and for different purposes. “Supporting junior researchers and scholars in the communication of new knowledge has the potential to impact not just the student, but also his or her academic community and the wider community,” says Carolyn Labun, Director of the Centre For Scholarly Communications. 

More:  Hear other insights on academic communication from UBC authors at our Okanagan campus. 

Read more from UBC Library’s Community Report (2013).

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Staff members Shirin Eshghi and Katherine Kalsbeek are part of the Managing at UBC program.

A program to support managers at UBC Library is one of the key initiatives stemming from efforts to bolster UBC Library’s workplace culture.

In November 2011, UBC staff were given the opportunity to share their thoughts on working at UBC, via a Workplace Experiences Survey conducted by Ipsos Reid. Library staff participated by sharing their views and opinions on topics such as equity, career navigation, senior leadership communication and action, and faculty orientation.

Library-specific results were shared with staff in March 2012. Soon after, the Library established an Exceptional Workplace Committee, which has focused on the creation of a variety of programs, projects and initiatives to contribute to the development of an exceptional workplace at the Library.

One of these is Managing at UBC, a program developed by the UBC Organizational Development & Learning office and designed to support managers, recognizing the significant responsibility they hold for employee performance, engagement and achievement of unit goals. “This initiative allows managers to self-identify and work towards their own developmental goals as well as the developmental goals of those reporting to them,” says Chantal Duke, Leadership Program Manager, UBC Organizational Development & Learning. “Some of the areas participants want to strengthen their muscles in are teamwork, working structures, future orientation and communication.”

A Library cohort of 50 staff with supervisory responsibilities are working with UBC Human Resources over a 12-month period to develop their leadership and management abilities through coaching, online lessons and face-to-face events. The program has been tailored specifically for the Library and allows for the participation of faculty, CUPE 2950 and Management and Professional staff.

“There is a great buzz with this cohort and a consensus that we are in it together to create a better working environment across the Library,” adds Duke. “I see lot of heart and pride in one’s role, the best of intentions to develop staff to the best of their capabilities, and eagerness to learn about leadership and management styles.” 

Read more from UBC Library’s Community Report (2013).

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Gold Mountain Quest, an educational video game, is part of the Chinese Canadian Stories project.

The successful completion of an ambitious multimedia project involving UBC Library is allowing users to discover the invaluable contributions of Chinese Canadians. 

Chinese Canadian Stories: Uncommon Histories from a Common Past is a collaborative initiative focusing on the legacies of Chinese Canadians. The project – led by Henry Yu, UBC History Professor and Principal of St. John’s College – received a $900,000 grant from Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP) in 2010. The project has also been supported by in-kind contributions from UBC Library and Simon Fraser University (SFU) Library.

Chinese Canadian Stories (CCS) unveiled interactive kiosks at Vancouver Public Library and UBC’s Museum of Anthropology in October 2012, and at the Ottawa Public Library in December 2012. The kiosks offer compelling stories of Chinese Canadian communities in three languages (English, Chinese, French); the project was organized through the UBC Community Learning Initiative and included work by UBC students from architecture, mechanical engineering, integrated engineering, sociology and the arts.

“The stories celebrate the history of Chinese Canadians without glossing over the discrimination and racism they struggled to overcome in Canada,” says Yu.

Meanwhile, a complementary website contains a searchable Chinese Head Tax Register of 97,000 digitized records, an educational videogame entitled Gold Mountain Quest and videos of oral histories that were conducted during the CCS project.

Chinese Canadian Stories staff held more than 10 workshops and community outreach events in the Lower Mainland during the past year. Several workshops on oral history research, filming and digitization catered to high school students, independent researchers, community elders and members of the public interested in preserving family histories. The CCS project also showcases the work of 29 community groups from across Canada that received CHRP funding to tell their stories.

One of those groups is the Chinese Canadian Military Museum, which scanned hundreds of images for CCS of veterans who fought for Canada, despite having no Canadian citizenship. Individual stories of veterans were also presented on the kiosks. “At the museum, we want to stress the importance of the Chinese Canadian veterans playing an important and integral role in the development and building of Canada as a nation,” says Larry Wong, Curator at the Chinese Canadian Military Museum. 

Read more from UBC Library’s Community Report (2013).

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Robert DeAbreu (winner), Colúm Connolly, VP Academic and External Affairs, Graduate Student Society and Donnard MacKenzie (winner).

Outstanding work from graduate students is being recognized by a new award from UBC’s digital repository and the UBC Vancouver Graduate Student Society (GSS).

cIRcle, launched by UBC Library in 2008, is an open access digital repository for published and unpublished material created by the UBC community and its partners.

The GSS cIRcle Open Scholar Award was introduced this past summer. Its aims are to feature UBC as a leader in the dissemination of exemplary non-thesis graduate coursework, and create an incentive for graduate students to submit material to cIRcle other than theses and dissertations.

The incentive is a lottery-style award worth $500, along with the knowledge that the winning work is made publicly available and administered on a long-term basis by UBC Library. Four GSS cIRcle Open Scholar Awards are given annually – two in April and two in October.

“The Open Scholar Award is an excellent representation of both UBC and its graduate students’ dedication to showcasing our unique intellectual output,” says Christopher Roach, GSS President. “It gives graduate students an opportunity to showcase their knowledge outside of their normal networks while encouraging the spirit of collaboration and interdisciplinarity.”

The first round of winners was announced last October. The latest winners, announced in April, include Donnard MacKenzie and Robert DeAbreu.

“I am grateful for the efforts of those responsible for cIRcle because I see it as a positive alternative that facilitates sharing of research and work,” says DeAbreu, a graduate student in UBC’s Mathematics Education program whose winning paper was written for an education leadership course. “cIRcle catalyzes the sharing and building of ideas, motivating students to improve their work and to give back to the research community that provides so much for them.” 

Read more from UBC Library’s Community Report (2013).

In 2012/13, UBC Library made headlines for a number of internal changes made around branch consolidations and the relocation of library collections and how this would impact students and faculty on campus. In a broader context, we were also pleased to see in-depth coverage covering the transformative changes happening in academic institutions, a sign that libraries continue to evolve. 

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Canaccord Learning Commons. Photo: Martin Dee

The latest on UBC Library appears in the Spring 2012 issue of the CPSLD Newsletter, published on behalf of the Council of Post Secondary Library Directors, British Columbia.

Scroll to page 27 for the UBC entry – which includes a tribute to Irving K. Barber, an update on the Library’s new Community Report, notable film donations and more.

UBC Library’s Community Report offers an update on the second year of the Library’s Strategic Plan. The report focuses on exciting developments related to the Library’s five strategic directions: Enhance Student Learning, Accelerate Research, Manage Collections in a Digital Context, Engage with Community, and Create an Exceptional Work Environment.

We’re happy to report on our progress, and excited about the opportunities ahead. You’re invited to view the Community Report below, download the PDF, or find out more information about UBC Library’s Strategic Plan.

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