University of Vermont

The Honors College

Honors College Faculty Seminar 2007
Information and Knowledge in Higher Education
August 13-15, 2007


According to Professor Magi, this year's seminar has been in planning for the past year. "I was contacted by Abu and Bob," she said, referring to S. Abu Rizvi and Bob Taylor, current Interim and former Honors College deans, "and asked to identify up-to-date issues in the world of information which I thought were important to higher education."

"I realized," she said, "that there were tons of information issues for which the library's interdisciplinary organization was perfectly suited to develop and conduct this year's seminar." From the myriad of current concerns about information issues, Prof. Magi asked herself what she would like the participants of the seminar to think about and which would be most germane to their teaching and research needs. She concluded that one of her desired outcomes for those attending the seminar would be "for the participants to become more aware of the debates swirling around the topics of intellectual freedom, information access, information literacy and pedagogy, and intellectual property." These issues and concerns, she said, became the intellectual framework for the seminar, and for which she and her colleagues developed a series of intriguing questions for discussion.

Program - Day One:

Day one started with a continental breakfast, after which participants introduced themselves to the others now seated around the table in the seminar room on the 3rd floor of Bailey-Howe Library. Trina Magi led off the day's sessions devoted to intellectual freedom and access with, "Is Academic Freedom for Students, Too?" followed by Laurie Kutner, library associate professor, in her session, "The Social Consequences of Information Inequality." After breaking for lunch, the seminar participants gathered again for an afternoon session directed by Dona O'Malley, library associate professor, to discuss, "New Models for Scholarly Communication: Open Access Publishing and Public Access to Federally Funded Research." The day ended with the participants sharing their reflections on the day's topics.

Day Two:

Day two followed the same format as the first with this day's sessions centered on pedagogy, critical thinking, and intellectual property. Keith Gresham, library professor, focused the group's attention with, "The Rise of Collaborative Intelligence: Students as Information Producers and Knowledge Shapers." Jeffrey Marshall, library associate professor, finished the morning sessions with, "Turning Facts and Data into Knowledge - Research Projects and Critical Thinking?" After lunch, the participants were quickly immersed in a discussion of "Copyright, Piracy, and Plagiarism," in the final session of the day, led by Scott Schaffer, library assistant professor. Again, the day concluded with the participants sharing their day's reflections.

Day Three:

Testimony to the successful organization of the seminar by Prof. Magi and her library colleagues was abundantly evident on day three, when each participant was asked to identify an information issue of importance to them and develop a strategy to address that issue in their research or teaching, and to bring it to the group for presentation and discussion. The third day became a day devoted to the implementation of ideas in the practice of each participant's teaching and research needs. This evoked the idea of the seminar at its best, a gathering of people to share with each other not only what they know and what they think, but what they have learned from each other and how they will put that knowledge to use in their own practice. And if it were not for Professor Magi's careful management of the time allotted for each participant to present, the day would have extended past the planned dinner that night at Englesby, the President's campus residence. Fortunately, all attended to her kindly but firm guidance, and the seminar ended on time.


And was the seminar a success? The answer is well expressed in the words of Janet Bossange, Senior Lecturer in Education, and Interim Associate Dean in the College of Education and Social Services, written in an email to her seminar colleagues after the event. She writes,

Dear Colleagues,

I wanted to thank you all for such a wonderful learning opportunity! I enjoyed my experience as a participant in the Faculty Seminar. My thanks to everyone at the Honors College for planning all the logistics and for the wonderful dinner last evening at Englesby.

I admired and enjoyed the team teaching effort of the Library faculty. I learned a great deal from how you worked to create the interesting set of readings, the schedule of diverse sessions that were mutually supportive, and the sharing of your own expertise along with a variety of ideas to consider from the group. The pace of the sessions along with the content kept me interested and motivated as a learner for the full three days.

Thanks also to my fellow participants. I learned from your comments and your presentations as well! I especially enjoyed the opportunity to learn with others from a variety of disciplines from across campus.

Have a great fall semester. I look forward to seeing you around campus.

Her words say it all.

For information about past HC faculty seminars, go to:

Summer Faculty Seminars

Last modified February 13 2008 08:45 AM