The University of Massachusetts Amherst

News

Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019

Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019

Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020

Wednesday, Apr. 22, 2020

W. E. B. Du Bois Library,
Lobby

Got stress? We've got dogs! UMass Amherst Peer Health Educators present the Paws Program, featuring Bright Spot Therapy Dogs.

Sponsored by Center for Health Promotion and the UMass Amherst Libraries.

 

 

PadmaVenkatraman2

Padma Venkatraman

Thursday, Oct. 3
5-7 p.m.
Floor 26, Room 2601
W. E. B. Du Bois Library

Padma Venkatraman has worked as chief scientist on oceanographic ships, spent time under the sea, directed a school, and lived in five countries. Her novels, A Time to Dance, Island's End, and Climbing the Stairs, received numerous honors and won several national and international awards. Her latest book, The Bridge Home, came out in March 2019. She has a doctorate in oceanography from The College of William and Mary, did postdoctoral research at Johns Hopkins University, and worked a the University of Rhode Island. She enjoys writing as much as she loves science and mathematics.

Ocean Vuong Author Photo credit Tom Hines2

Ocean Vuong

Thursday, Nov. 14
8 p.m.
Old Chapel

In conjunction with the MFA Program for Poets and Writers.

Ocean Vuong is the author of the debut novel, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, out from Penguin Press (2019) and forthcoming in 14 other languages worldwide. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds, a New York Times Top 10 Book of 2016, winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Whiting Award, the Thom Gunn Award, and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. A Ruth Lilly fellow from the Poetry Foundation, his honors include fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, The Elizabeth George Foundation, The Academy of American Poets, and the Pushcart Prize.

Vuong's writings have been featured in The Atlantic, Harpers, The Nation, New Republic, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Village Voice, and American Poetry Review, which awarded him the Stanley Kunitz Prize for Younger Poets. Selected by Foreign Policy magazine as a 2016 100 Leading Global Thinker, alongside Hillary Clinton, Ban Ki-Moon and Justin Trudeau, Ocean was also named by BuzzFeed Books as one of “32 Essential Asian American Writers” and has been profiled on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” PBS NewsHour, Teen Vogue, VICE, The Fantastic Man, and The New Yorker.

Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he serves as an Assistant Professor in the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at UMass-Amherst. Photo credit: Tom Hines.

jane yolen

Jane Yolen

Thursday, Dec. 5
5-7 p.m.
Bernie Dallas Room
Goodell

Jane Yolen, often called the "Hans Christian Andersen of America," is the author of nearly 400 books, including Owl Moon, The Devil's Arithmetic, and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight. She is particularly known for the "Pit Dragon" series of young adult fantasy novels. Yolen is perhaps best known as a writer of original folk and fairy tales and fables with a strong moral core. She has won many awards, including two Nebulas, three World Fantasy Awards, a Caldecott, two Golden Kite Awards, the Jewish Book Award, two Christopher Medals, and the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement. Six colleges and universities have given her honorary doctorates, including UMass Amherst.

Friday, Oct. 4
1:30-5 p.m.

Dwight Hall 101
Mount Holyoke College

Register here.

"Change the Subject" tells the story of a group of students at Dartmouth College, who, from their first days at Dartmouth, were committed to advancing and promoting the rights and dignity of undocumented peoples. In partnership with staff at Dartmouth College, these students - now alumni - produced a film to capture their singular effort at confronting an instance of anti-immigrant sentiment in their library catalog.  Their advocacy took them all the way from Baker-Berry Library to the halls of Congress, showing how an instance of campus activism entered the national spotlight, and how a cataloging term became a flashpoint in the immigration debate on Capitol Hill.

Screening and discussion with co-directors Jill Baron and Sawyer Broadley, and UMass Amherst librarian Isabel Espinal.

Screening made possible by the UMass Amherst Libraries, Mount Holyoke College, Five College Consortium, Simmons University, and EBSCO.

Mount Holyoke College's Library, Information, and Technology Services (LITS) is committed to providing universal access to all of our events. LITS’ event spaces are wheelchair accessible.  Please contact accessible-lits@mtholyoke.edu to request disability accommodations. We ask that requests for accommodations be made as early as possible.

The UMass Amherst Libraries, along with the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) and the University of Nevada-Reno, were recently awarded a $241,845 National Leadership Project Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to fund the development of an immersion program to train faculty and instructors on how to integrate the use of makerspaces, dedicated spaces with technological resources and equipment for project-based collaboration, into their courses.

The impetus for designing such a program comes from the results of a previous IMLS grant-funded pilot study entitled “Maker Literacies and the Undergraduate Curriculum,” which explored the impacts of academic library makerspaces on undergraduate student learning. The UMass Amherst Libraries were chosen by UTA and the University of Nevada-Reno as one of four additional university partners to participate in that study because of the Libraries’ Digital Media Lab (DML), a cross-disciplinary makerspace in the W. E. B. Du Bois Library open to all UMass Amherst students, faculty, and staff, regardless of major or department.

The results of the pilot study demonstrated that academic makerspace instructors need training and support in order to collaborate successfully with faculty on designing makerspace lesson plans and assessing maker literacies. Developing the immersion program and making it openly accessible online would fill this need at both a community and national level with the potential to be built on and scaled as new makerspace practices emerge.

“This grant gives us resources to take what we learned about maker literacies and develop a curriculum for educators,” says Sarah Hutton, head of Student Success and Engagement for the Libraries. “We’re building a community of maker-educators across a wide spectrum that can continue to learn from and engage with each other.”

Wednesday, Oct. 30
6 p.m.

Campus Center Auditorium

 

Please RSVP by Oct. 14.

From the secretive strategic heart of the U.S. military, Daniel Ellsberg emerged as one of themost widely recognized figures of the Nixon era when he photocopied and distributed thousands of pages of classified reports on the Vietnam War. exposing the deep-seated deceit on the part of U.S. administrations regarding the war, the Pentagon Papers were a major component of the Watergate scandal and resulted in a high stakes prosecution against Ellsberg that ended in a dramatic mistrial in 1972. Undaunted, Ellsberg has toiled as an activist ever since, speaking out against war and nuclear weaponry, and defending the cause of whistleblowers and freedom of the press.

Daniel Ellsberg will speak at the Friends of the Libraries' 21st Annual Fall Reception at UMass Amherst.

Photo credit: Tony Spina.

Thursday, August 1, 2019
4-6 p.m.

W. E. B. Du Bois Center
W. E. B. Du Bois Library, Floor 22, Room 2220

W. E. B. Du Bois: Propagandist and Prophet
It is widely acknowledged that Du Bois’s legacy has been largely defined by his political involvements. In contrast to his rival Booker T. Washington who had a talent for speech, Du Bois diligently “wrote” himself into the leadership of the African American civil rights movement. Whether through journalism, academic research or literature, “Du Bois was fearless in the face of genre - even when some of the genres that he sought to embrace did not fully embrace him in return.” (Henry Louis Gates, The Black Letters on the Sign: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Canon). Though he never gained the title of novelist, as a propagandist, Du Bois fearlessly crossed the borders real and imagined to define and interpret his understanding of race issues. He advocated his belief in the Talented Tenth (The Quest of Silver Fleece), the rise of Africa and Asia as a community of shared future (Dark Princess), the idea of socialism and Marxism (the Black Flame trilogy) through the practice of novels. This research mainly focuses on his speculative short stories. Du Bois investigates the future of race; meanwhile analyzing the “color line”, “double consciousness”, and the “veil” as well as their roles in forming the world with future perspective.

Jingjing Zhang is a 2019 W. E. B. Du Bois fellow and a visiting scholar in the W. E. B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at UMass Amherst from August 2018 to August 2019. She is currently a lecturer in Zhejiang International Studies University, Hangzhou, China. She completed her PhD in Foreign Languages and Literatures specializing in the tension between art and propaganda in Du Bois’ novels at Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China. She is now working on her provincial project, which is set to be completed in June 2021. The project will present the trajectory of Du Bois’ literary thoughts and his practice of them. It will also include the translation of some important pieces of Du Bois’ works.

Friday, Nov. 8
4-6:30 p.m.

W. E. B. Du Bois Library
Lower Level

Legends of Stonewall: Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Marsha P. Johnson

A double film screening honoring the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, introduced and followed by a discussion led by Jen Manion, Associate Professor of History at Amherst College.

Presented in conjunction with the Stonewall Center at UMass Amherst.


The UMass Amherst Libraries Digital Media Lab (DML) is pleased to announce Edwood Brice ’19 as the winner of the Lenovo Mirage Solo Virtual Reality Competition. Celebrating the release of Avengers: Endgame, the competition invited students to submit a 30-second video describing how they envisioned virtual reality (VR) technology and applications that could enhance student life on campus. The DML awarded Brice with a Lenovo Mirage Solo VR headset.

Brice’s winning entry introduced VR “exergaming” (gamified exercising paired with virtual reality) as a way to provide a balanced source of physical activity for the UMass Amherst campus community. “With results that say that VR exergaming is objectively easier to conduct and more fun than traditional physical activity, it is apparent that more should be done to understand how VR technology can impact other people and their varying states of health,” he explains.

This is the second virtual reality pitch competition held by the DML. Last year, Parker Louison’s idea for a VR application to develop simulations of various career paths and areas of study won the grand prize: an HTC VIVE VR headset donated by Dr. Steve Acquah, Digital Media Lab Unit Coordinator and Associate Adjunct Professor of Chemistry.

“The VR competition reinforces our commitment to helping the university community learn more about and develop Apps for virtual and augmented reality, as part of a makerspace initiative. The DML is here to help you build Apps for teaching, research, or just for fun,” Acquah says.

As part of that commitment, the DML is also incorporating the Lenovo Mirage Solo VR headset, powered by Google’s Daydream VR platform, into its development support services to help students and staff create applications and immersive environments. The standalone headset uses 6 Degrees of Freedom (6DoF) tracking to allow a person to physically move around in a virtual environment, and is a crowd favorite at DML events.

Katy Greeley, a Business Development Manager for Connection, along with the Lenovo Team from Connection who made the competition’s prize available, says, “I love being able to see what these ingenious students come up with in their creative minds and are able to take an amazing, out of the box idea, design it, and bring it to life. It’s so cool that we are able to help equip them and empower them with this technology to take their futuristic ideas to the next level! Congrats, Edwood—very well deserved!”

Currently located on Floor 3 of the W. E. B. Du Bois Library, the Digital Media Lab is a campus makerspace specializing in providing support for all students, faculty, and staff on 3D printing, video and audio production, 3D modeling, and virtual and augmented reality application development.

The UMass Amherst Libraries Digital Media Lab (DML) recently supported Edwood Brice ’19 in his research on using virtual reality (VR) “exergaming,” or exercising through gaming, as an appealing alternative to traditional forms of exercise.

As detailed in his Commonwealth Honors College thesis, Brice measured step count and intensity of traditional physical activities like body weight squats, elliptical, and walking against those of three virtual reality games with comparable movements: Hot Squat, Fruit Ninja, and Tilt Brush by Google. He used the HTC Vive VR system available in the Digital Media Lab to conduct this experiment.

Brice concluded that although traditional physical activity was objectively more intense and generally produced higher exertion rates, exergaming was a preferred option for over half his participants and remains “a viable form of physical activity, easier to conduct and may be more enjoyable than [traditional physical activity] for college students.”

“Edwood’s work is a critical step forward for the use of VR as a way to promote health, especially as VR devices become untethered and take advantage of the upcoming 5G network infrastructure,” says Dr. Steve Acquah, Digital Media Lab coordinator. “At that point, VR would evolve into the tool we have been waiting for. The DML was able to provide the VR equipment and space to support his research.”

The Digital Media Lab currently offers immersive VR experiences in a dedicated space on Floor 3 of the W. E. B. Du Bois Library. The setup is open for reservations for all UMass Amherst UCard holders, including faculty and staff, from any major or department.

Sarah Hutton presenting at Creative Commons Global Summit. Photo courtesy of Sebastiaan ter Burg, CC BY 2.0.

UMass Amherst Libraries’ Sarah Hutton, head of undergraduate teaching and learning, and Lisa Di Valentino, law and public policy librarian, recently presented at the 2019 Creative Commons Global Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, where nearly 400 attendees gathered to discuss ways to make knowledge sharing more open and accessible.

Their topic, “Students’ Perception of Their Self-Efficacy in the Creation of Open Access Digital Learning Objects,” explored what students in Associate Professor Paul Musgrave’s Experimental Honors Course, Politics at the End of the World (POLSCI 390EW), thought about their own abilities to complete the class’s final group projects. Students were asked to create podcasts discussing political considerations in various “end of the world” scenarios, with the understanding that the projects would be made freely available online, including to students taking this course in the future.

“When you think about what typically motivates students to learn, grades are a common or typical concern,” says Hutton. “We wanted to look at other areas for motivation, such as knowing that their scholarship would be used to teach future students, that it would be freely available to scholars across the globe, and that other scholars could use and adapt it.”

Upon surveying the class, Hutton and Di Valentino discovered that, with those added factors propelling their work, students had “greater than 70 percent confidence in their capabilities across all categories,” including identifying key course concepts and applying them to their own research and conclusions.

Hutton, who learned about the course through the Commonwealth Honors College Curriculum Council, and Di Valentino were drawn to this project as an opportunity for the Libraries to work with, and learn from, Musgrave’s students. “This assignment clearly aligned with several facets of collaboration within the Libraries,” Hutton explains, “including digital media production for which we provide support in the Libraries’ Digital Media Lab; our advocacy for open access publishing, creative commons licensing; and teaching students about the importance of understanding their role in the global scholarship landscape.” Additionally, with her subject specialization in public policy, government, and legal studies, Di Valentino provided key instruction and support regarding attribution licensing and open scholarship tailored to the discipline of the course.

“The ultimate goal,” Di Valentino says, “is to support students both as learners and scholars.”

Final projects are available here for listening.