Special Collections Research Center Awards Two Faculty Fellows Grants for 2023-2024

Sept. 26, 2022, 11 a.m.

two headshots in circles on blue background
LaVerne Gray, Assistant Professor in the School of Information Studies and Julia White, Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching and Leadership in the School of Education

Syracuse University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) has awarded two Faculty Fellows grants for the 2023-2024 academic year. LaVerne Gray, Assistant Professor in the School of Information Studies, and Julia White, Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching and Leadership in the School of Education, have each committed to a four-week summer residency in 2023 at SCRC that includes workshops and training sessions on handling special collections materials, teaching students how to research within and across collections, and designing hands-on, individualized, creative and critically-minded assignments with rare materials. The fellows, who applied and were selected by a committee of librarians, curators and faculty, will use what they learned and the materials from SCRC to teach newly developed courses the following year.

Gray will explore how culture(s), class designation, gender, and community location are fashioned in a Black informational perspective. The course considers Black library and learning traditions, formal and informal information networks, information embodiment and informational resistance activities, while surveying the role social justice plays in the organizing and development of community consciousness to uncover hidden aspects of information organization and their longstanding implications of in/exclusion.

White will explore disability as a cultural construction, which has resulted in pervasive and systemic discrimination that disabled people encounter in their everyday lives. By engaging collections rich in the history of inclusive education and disability rights, as well as the documented rise (and fall) of institutions and asylums for individuals with intellectual disabilities, the course will investigate the impact of these histories on current conceptualizations and practices in the field of special and inclusive education.

“We’re so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with both Dr. Gray and Dr. White and couldn’t be more excited by the serendipity of their pairing as a faculty cohort,” says Jana Rosinski, SCRC’s Instruction and Education Librarian and coordinator of the SCRC Faculty Fellows Program. “To be able to support the exploration of these critical matters with materials of the places, times, happenings and people within the context of a course is such an impactful experience for students. Beyond the courses themselves, Dr. Gray and Dr. White are educators of future educators and information caretakers. These ways of thinking and creating, modes of inquiry, uncovering and critique, the very embodiment of knowledge and meaning making extends through the potential in each of their students, radiating out.”

Syracuse University Libraries’ SCRC Faculty Fellows Program aims to support innovative curriculum development and foster new ideas about how to transform the role of special collections in University instruction. Each fellow receives a $5,000 stipend along with guidance on how to provide students with a unique opportunity to research, analyze and interpret SCRC’s primary source materials in their class and ongoing course support.

Original funding for the SCRC Faculty Fellows Program was made possible through the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, which promotes the advancement and perpetuation of humanistic inquiry and artistic creativity by encouraging excellence in scholarship and in the performing arts, and by supporting research libraries and other institutions that transmit our cultural heritage.

To learn more about the SCRC Faculty Fellows Program or teaching with SCRC, contact Jana Rosinski, SCRC’s Instruction and Education Librarian at jrosinsk@syr.edu. For more information about how to financially support a faculty fellow for the 2024-25 academic year and beyond, contact Ron Thiele at rlthiele@syr.edu or 315.560.9419.

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