UGA Libraries, CTL Name Six Faculty As 2023 Special Collections Fellows

Submitted by Camie on

­Six University of Georgia faculty members have been chosen as 2023 Special Collections Faculty Teaching Fellows, a program designed to help instructors incorporate UGA Libraries’ archival materials and active learning strategies into courses.

The cohort reflects the breadth of UGA’s archives, representing six academic departments with interests ranging from disaster preparedness, typographic history, and journalism to the sociology of drugs and alcohol, environmental communication, and composition and writing. Through the program, co-sponsored by the Center for Teaching and Learning, UGA faculty have designed more than 60 courses across 35 disciplines since 2015, engaging nearly 15,000 thousand students with the rich array of materials held in UGA’s three special collections libraries.

The 2023 Special Collections Faculty Teaching Fellows are:

  • Karin Assmann, assistant professor of journalism, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Josh Cohen, lecturer in the department of English, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
  • Bobby Jo Otto, lecturer in the department of sociology, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
  • Hillary Palmer, lecturer in the department of communication studies, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
  • Michelle Ritchie, assistant professor in the Institute for Disaster Preparedness, College of Public Health
  • Julie Spivey, professor and area chair of graphic design in the Lamar Dodd School of Art, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences

“UGA’s special collections are a powerful educational tool,” said Toby Graham, university librarian and associate provost. “The Fellows Program equips faculty with active learning approaches and techniques to help students to read closely, analyze critically, and observe and summarize information that is novel both in format and content. 

The Fellows program begins in May with a hands-on introduction to archives-centered learning and a behind-the-scenes tour of the Libraries’ three special collections units: the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies and the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection.

During the university’s Maymester session, the faculty members will participate in a series of workshops and seminars to introduce the tools and resources of, a pedagogical guide developed by the Brooklyn Historical Society, as they work with archivists to develop courses relevant to their area of expertise. The program will conclude with a three-day institute where fellows will present their course designs and gather feedback from their cohort peers and the fellowship instructional team. 

“The Special Collections Fellows program is a premiere instructional development activity at the University of Georgia,” said Megan Mittelstadt, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning. “The course designs accomplished by Special Collections Fellows provide rich and engaging learning opportunities for our students. Participants share each year that this program is one of the most enjoyable experiences of their career – and, having had the chance to sit in on sessions, I can see why! This year’s fellows are in for a treat.”

The Special Collections Fellows instructional team for the program includes Chuck Barber, Mazie Bowen, Kathleen Carter, Anne DeVine, Mary Miller, and Jill Severn, who is the program coordinator for the Libraries. Ashley Harlow serves as the program’s liaison and advisor from the Center for Teaching in Learning.

In 2020, the program was recognized by the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council with an award for excellence in the educational use of historical records.