Adam Rogers, Emerging Technology Services Librarian, and Lauren Di Monte, NCSU Libraries Fellow, are the first librarians to receive the Gertrude Cox Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching and Learning with Technology. The award was created to honor the creative pedagogy of NC State’s faculty and technical staff and their work in integrating new technologies into effective teaching strategies. Named for Gertrude Cox, “The First Lady of Statistics,” who came to NC State in 1940 to establish the university’s distinguished Department of Statistics, the awards are presented at the Teaching and Learning Symposium hosted by the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost and the Office of Faculty Development each spring.
Using the D.H. Hill Library Makerspace as a vibrant, accessible, interdisciplinary information literacy platform, Rogers and Di Monte have pioneered an exciting new direction in library instruction.
While many academic libraries have developed makerspaces that are tool- and service-centric, Rogers and Di Monte have endeavored to focus the NCSU Libraries Makerspace Program on two core values: access and literacy. They feel that a dedicated instruction program is essential to democratizing access to the tools and technologies of the Maker movement, and the vision they have for that instruction extends access well beyond those that already have the requisite skills and confidence to a more diverse user population.
In order to make it truly accessible and interdisciplinary, they have developed a full spectrum of learning experiences connected with the space, including the Making Space Series. This series of public talks and workshops at the Libraries raises awareness among women, particularly in STEM fields, about access to tools and technologies, lowers barriers to entry for first-time users of makerspaces, and serves as networking opportunities for women in the NC State community. Rogers and Di Monte have also developed the “Do-it-Yourself with Support Workshops” and other workshop series such as the “Summer of Open Science” and the “Art of Making Data.”
They have also made a dedicated effort to integrate the Makerspace and its technologies into the curriculum at NC State, reaching out to, and collaborating with, faculty across disciplines. To aid in this effort, they have created a Makerspace Instruction Support website and developed a faculty-specific “Making in Your Classroom” workshop, which offers insights into how making methods can supplement and extend critical engagement and thinking with course content. They offered other workshops in partnership with NCSU’s Office of Faculty Development and the TH!NK Program.
Through their outreach and partnership efforts, Rogers and Di Monte launched an aggressive schedule this past fall—31 sessions that supported 17 different courses, spanning the disciplines of Textiles, Digital Humanities, Chemistry, Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Architectural Design, English, Communications, Microbiology, Mathematics Teaching, Poultry Science and Digital Media.
For example, they helped multiple faculty members in the College of Textiles integrate programmable electronic textiles into their courses, providing their students with a supported pathway into the high-potential world of wearable technology, and, in the process, leveraged their enthusiasm for wearable projects into motivation for them to learn to code.
Additionally, in seeking ways to broaden the Makerspace Program’s impact on campus, Rogers and Di Monte have developed partnerships with groups on and off campus to provide engaging, high-impact learning experiences. These have taken many different forms, with the Libraries’ providing instruction, equipment, space, and expertise, and often taking a leadership role.
The biggest of these has been the Make-a-thon, a weekend-long sustainability challenge that asks student teams to prototype solutions to sustainability issues. The Libraries co-developed the event’s challenges and curated resources for the teams. Other partnerships have included an evening of workshops and performances in collaboration with Moog Music and Moogfest; a partnership to support designers of NCSU’s student fashion show, Art2Wear, with workshops on wearable technology; and a collaboration with the Women and Minority Engineering Programs to weave hands-on making experiences into their summer orientations.