What is one of the keys to successful digital humanities work in undergraduate classrooms?
Collaborations between faculty and librarian/technologists!
At Hampshire, when we incorporate technology into courses, successful outcomes stem from such collaborations. And collaborations between faculty and librarians depend upon strong relationships that are developed over time. How can librarians and faculty cultivate such relationships? Carla D. Martin and I (Caro Pinto, Critical Social Inquiry Librarian) decided to examine this question and talk about some of the barriers to successful collaborations in a flipped session we facilitated at DH: The Next Generation in Boston on March 17, 2013.
Librarians and faculty face stumbling blocks that can create barriers in terms of how they communicate. Carla and I provided some examples of problematic communication:
faculty: “Do you have any fun summer plans?”
librarian: “Well, I’ll be working. It must be so nice to have summers off!”
faculty: [grumbling] “I actually work all the time…”
faculty: “If I wasn’t able to hack it in the academe, I would have been a librarian.” librarian: “That’s great.”
faculty: “You guys have a nice life, sitting with books all day. It must smell nice.” librarian: 🙁 but keeps smiling as to not encumber more professional embarrassment
Conversations like these prevent meaningful and productive relationships from growing. Carla and I offer suggestions to both librarians and faculty to foster positive collaborations and communication:
Connect with the librarians at the libraries where their students work.
Ask questions and learn from librarians.
Build relationships with librarians that allow for both casual idea sharing and formal collaboration.
Partner with librarians on collaborative classroom-based projects related to faculty and student training, technology guidance, collection development, and information and digital fluency.
Demonstrate to students the importance of library work and librarian collaboration by treating librarians as colleagues, attending library instruction sessions, building library work into the syllabus, etc.
Share information about these collaborations with other faculty.
Collaborate with librarians at a professional level to spread the word about these valuable partnerships.
Connect with faculty through effective outreach, events & meetings.
Ask questions and learn from faculty.
Build relationships with faculty that allow for both casual idea sharing and formal collaboration.
Partner with faculty on collaborative classroom-based projects related to student and faculty training, technology guidance, collection development, and information and digital fluency.
Treat faculty like collaborators.
Share information about successful collaboration with other librarians. Market effective outcomes to administrators and colleagues.
Make collaboration a two-way street; find faculty partners for library projects like space redesign or collections issues.
These steps can not only improve relationships between faculty and librarians, but also create a positive environment for faculty and librarians to take risks in teaching and learning.