Month: November 2019

Pop Lit Collection Adds 39 New Books Thanks to President’s 2018-2019 Diversity and Inclusion Mini-Grant

The Popular Literature Committee was honored to have received an F.S.U. President’s Diversity and Inclusion Mini-Grant for the second year in 2018-2019. We have finally received the last order of books to add to the Popular Literature collection that highlight or are written by and about people from diverse backgrounds and often underrepresented groups.  We in the Pop Lit committee hope you will enjoy these works.

Newly added titles are shown below, and can be found in the Pop Lit section next to Starbucks on the first floor of Strozier Library.

Taking the Libraries #FSUGlobal: A Visit to London & Valencia

In August 2019, FSU Libraries once again had the opportunity to visit our international study centers as we travelled to London and Valencia to promote our library services and resources and learn more about the teaching, learning, and research experiences of our students and faculty abroad. While Mike Meth, Associate Dean for Research & Learning Services at FSU Libraries, and I had visited London and Florence in the summer of 2018, this was going to my first trip back to Valencia since 2015, and Mike’s first trip since he came to FSU in 2015. This trip was not going to be like any of our previous visits because we were going to experience the full excitement and vivacity of arrivals week. If you are unfamiliar with the workings of International Programs, Arrivals Week is when all the brand new freshman who are part of the First Year Abroad/First Semester Abroad first arrive on their respective campuses. During this week they are assigned flats, see the study center and the city for the first time, and get their first taste of FSU. 

My interest in experiencing Arrivals Week in-person went beyond just wanting to see this annual on-boarding live. I wanted to integrate an introduction to University Libraries and our online services and resources into the carefully planned orientation sessions. It was an opportunity to get students thinking critically about information and about academic research right from the onset of their college career.

Street view of London

London, 2019 Image by Mike Meth

We started our visit at the FSU London study center, a polished and statuesque set of townhouses in Bloomsbury, just a block away from the British Museum, it is an area bustling with tourists and locals alike. Our meetings here included updates and discussions with the entire London staff, brainstorming support strategies with the London Director and Associate Director, presentation and meeting with the London faculty, as well as time spent with the IT/Library Manager and staff. A good amount of our conversations focused on how the Libraries could support the textbook and course material needs of the faculty and students, giving us a chance to promote our Alternative Textbook Grants for International Programs program.. We were also able to speak to the students twice: a quick introduction to all the new students about FSU Libraries and then an orientation session where we were able to provide an hour long overview of University Libraries, our services at the  study center in London, and why using the Libraries is invaluable to students in their studies. It was a whirlwind of planning, exploring, collaborating, and teaching all in truly one of the most magical cities in the world.

Mike & Lindsey in front of FSU Valencia building

Mike & Lindsey at FSU Valencia, 2019 Image by Mike Meth

We arrived in Valencia on a Thursday evening, and as soon as you step out of the airport, the warm, salty sea air transforms you. The study center is located next to one of the old city gates, and the remnants of the ancient city are everywhere, including the dorms, classrooms, and the offices of FSU Valencia. We were able to once again participate in the initial presentation meeting with the new students, and follow-up with a longer workshop for all the new freshman later in the week. Since we hadn’t visited in four years, the campus also organized a training session for the Valencia faculty in order to provide in-depth consultation on our resources and support services for teaching and learning. Mike and I also visited the libraries at the University of Valencia and the Polytechnic University of Valencia and toured the collections and facilities with the library staff. As all libraries become further interconnected and interdependent, exploring these connections and relationships abroad is an exciting new endeavor and we look forward to possible partnerships. FSU Valencia is unique to us because currently it is the only study center without a formal library space or designated library staff member. This requires thoughtful communication and outreach strategies so students and faculty are aware of the library services offered to them from FSU’s Tallahassee campus. 

Old city gate in Valencia

Old city gate in Valencia, 2019 Image by Mike Meth

Our goal was to introduce students to all that theFSU Libraries have to offer, our hundreds of databases, millions of eBooks, our 24/5 chat service, and guidance for students as they embark on this scholarly journey. There are so many resources at our fingertips to further enrich the global experience. Study abroad transforms just as Florida State University transforms. FSU Libraries provides the foundation for our students’ growth into scholars so that they can use all they have learned to transform the future. 

20190901_191120

Flamenco, 2019 Image by Mike Meth

These visits inspire me and my work as a librarian in so many ways. I am captivated by the work of the staff of the study centers – their passion, their long hours and careful planning, their care for the students, their ability to create a home away from home, while providing a taste of what Florida State University has to offer.  All this in a beautiful city. I am awed by the teaching and the faculty – how they use every aspect of the city to provide a completely unique and encompassing learning experience. And I am energized by the students – leaping out of their bubble and all the comforts of the known to embrace and open up to the unknown, growing as scholars, as learners, as people throughout their months abroad. As with any trip surrounded by these type of people, there were so many magical and unexpected moments: fiery flamenco in a small, packed bar, museums so big it makes art feel endless and unfathomable, experiencing the happenings of Brexit in real time, sailing on the perfect blue Mediterranean. But, that’s the point, isn’t it? To experience the things that transform us.

A guide to a successful undergraduate Art History practice: Florida State University

This post is a guest contribution from Stephanie Fischer, a senior in the Department of Art History and current Library Media Collections Intern in the Office of Digital Research and Scholarship. As part of her internship, Stephanie produced this helpful guide for incoming undergraduates in Art History that includes both library resources and her own extensive research into graduate schools, professional training programs, and internships in the field.

This guide is for the incoming art history student curious of what lies ahead. Navigating the field of art history is something that may be very intimidating, especially as a student trying to figure out what their next step is. As a transfer student, I was kind of thrown into this program without knowing much about the expectations of a successful art history student and feel like I have done a pretty good job seeking out opportunities while taking advantage of the ones presented to me. The following outlines what I’ve learned and what I regret not knowing/doing.

Seminars

Here at Florida State, undergraduate art history students are required to take at least two upper-level seminars in order to meet graduation requirements. The way the program is currently set up is that students must complete 12-credits of lower-level art history courses in order to enroll in a seminar class. However, with permission from the professor, anyone can take a seminar, regardless of the amount of art history courses taken so far. Students should take advantage of this opportunity and get into a seminar as soon as they can. These seminars are designed for students to conduct research and make direct examinations of works of art through leading class discussions and writing a developed research paper. The quicker they get enrolled, the quicker they can learn these advanced skills and apply them to their remaining art history courses.

Another way seminars can enhance undergraduate study is by inspiring a topic of research students can use as a writing sample for later internship or graduate school applications. When applying for summer internships at big institutions, for example, it is advantageous for students to have experience in research and project development. Many of these institutions require students to provide a writing sample or personal statement, and this is an opportunity for students to showcase their research areas and skills with written communication. This may sound obvious, but it was something no one told me: when applying for internships, an application is much stronger if it demonstrates tangible experiences with developing and executing research projects. An application will benefit more to focus on academic interests (backed by concrete examples of research done in a given area), and taking a seminar early in your undergraduate experience will allow students more opportunities to pursue such projects.

Honors in the Major

Florida State offers undergraduate students with a great opportunity to complete an honors thesis throughout their junior/senior year prior to graduation. Through the Honors in the Major program, any undergraduate student can apply and propose a thesis to develop over two to three semesters alongside a faculty advisor in their department. By undertaking an Honors in the Major thesis project, art history students will be preparing themselves for graduate-level coursework which will enhance their application for graduate school by providing examples of completed, ongoing, and upper-level research. Many students derive their thesis projects from research done in seminars and further produce it alongside this professor (another reason to get a head start on seminars).

UAHA

The Department of Art History at FSU is one of the smaller departments on campus, but still provides opportunities for student involvement through the Undergraduate Art Historian Association (UAHA). UAHA on our campus serves to connect students and create a community within the department, while also inspiring curiosity in the field of art history. The club organizes bi-weekly meetings covering topics about upcoming events and socials, club merchandise, research opportunities, and provides tools for building great applications for internships, jobs, or graduate school. The club really strives to create a community within the art history department through social events to help students connect to one another.

As I am currently writing this, I serve as a co-vice president for UAHA. It is one of my goals for this school year to elevate the experiences associated with the organization, as I believe past years have lacked the social aspect and the collegial feel to the club. Our team this year is determined to reconstruct the environment of our department by urging students to do more and get everything out of the program that they can. For example, the art history department at Florida State does a wonderful job of organizing a lecture series throughout the semester. Roughly every other week, professors and graduate students present their previous or current research. This program can help undergraduates get a sense of their desired area of study and expose them to other aspects of art history. Attending these events also gives students and professors a chance to get to know each other better. Taking advantage of being apart of a student organization can aid students in giving their feedback to the program in order to make it stronger for future students.

Internships

The study of art history is often focused on research and writing, but students have the opportunity to build more hands-on skills through experiences like internships in museums, galleries, and other cultural heritage institutions. In museum and gallery spaces, students can gain experience in institutional research, art handling, curatorship, and visitor experience. Take advantage of the art community surrounding the university, find a gallery or two, and apply. Utilizing all the resources surrounding the university will impact student resumes and highlight that the student is eager to take charge, which is a great quality to have when applying for jobs or graduate school.

Over the course of the past three and a half years, I have held five internship positions in a variety of different institutions – one at a student newspaper, a national art museum, a local gallery, a public art program, and in digital archives.. Throughout these positions, I have learned skills like copy editing, research, public speaking, art handling, curatorship, administration, and digitization. While museum and gallery experiences are great, students should also consider branching out to other fields of study that can be related back to art history. Art history is not necessarily a skill based field, so I encourage students to look into technology, librarianship, archives, journalism, and even studio positions. Having a collection of diverse experiences can not only help you learn what your enjoy, but also help you become a desirable candidate when applying for jobs and graduate school.

One of my internship experiences was a hands-on, art handling and curating internship in a gallery local to Tallahassee. I held this position for an entire school year to really immerse myself in the setting of the institution. Over the course of over 500 work hours, I did what was expected – installation, deinstallation, and visitor experience. But, I also introduced projects, worked on personal research, and worked double the hours expected of me. You get what you put in. Had I just done the bare minimum, I wouldn’t have built a strong work ethic or a strong relationship with the director, who I can now use as a reference. It’s so important to stand out as best we can in everything we do, especially if we want to be successful in this limited field of study.

That position will likely prove to be one of the most valuable in the course of my career. The director of the gallery was very hands-on, giving interns guidance on learning all the different variables of running an art gallery, she made sure all interns were comfortable doing all of the various tasks. Something that this experience has taught me is how the different positions in the museum or gallery space intersect. While I had a lot of interactions with visiting artists and curators, I realized how important it is for someone who wants to pursue a curatorial career to know how to install a show. Curators should understanding the process of art handling, not just the intellectual aspects of selecting a body of work.

I have consistently tried to challenge myself throughout my academic career by seeking out different intern positions. I typically try to have an internship every year/semester depending on my class load. I have found most of these opportunities through posters or newsletters sent out or posted by an organization or the art history department. Once I come across the advertisement, I will research the organization and compile a list of what I would like to mention in a cover letter. I then finish my cover letter, edit my resume, send off my application, and wait for an email or phone call to schedule an interview. For me, the interview process is the least stressful part of the whole process, I can really showcase my personality and enthusiasm for the position. This gives the employer a sense of how I will perform in the workspace and interact with colleagues, which is just as important as having the right qualifications.

I’ve included a list of internship opportunities local to Tallahassee for the Spring 2020 semester, as of October 2019: Internship Experiences

Graduate Programs

Students should start to research potential graduate programs their Freshman and Sophomore years of college. With a wide variety of Art History-based programs nationally and internationally available to them, students should get an idea of what type of requirements their desired programs may have. For example, New York University offers a dual Masters program in Art History and Conservation. The program is four years, fully-funded, but requires students to have an academic background in both chemistry and art history to even be considered. These kinds of prerequisites are things students should be aware of as early as possible in their undergraduate experience. Knowing exactly what institutions are looking for in an applicant ahead of time will only allow students to be proactive in designing their undergraduate coursework and hopefully increase their chances of getting accepted into great graduate programs.

I have compiled a spreadsheet of current graduate programs in Museum Studies, Curatorial Studies, and Art History that I found interesting: Art History Degree Programs

Library Resources

Florida State Libraries presents students in the College of Fine Arts with a unique opportunity when it comes to research assistance and resource access. I say unique opportunity because not many other universities, apart from Art and Design schools specifically, have a subject librarian in this field. A subject librarian is designated for faculty and students in each campus department and program. While serving as a liaison to the department, the subject librarian teaches classes and individual students how to maximize their use of library resources, particularly for research. Students are able to meet with any subject librarian in order to expand their interdisciplinary studies and use the librarian as a resource. Visual & Performing Arts Librarian, Leah Sherman, says, “Not all our resources are books, but people too.” She suggests students utilize the Art History Research Guide as a starting point for research.

Our campus libraries are some of our biggest resources for young art historians and they offer us dozens of different opportunities to learn new skills to aid us in our research and academic careers. Alongside meeting and interacting with various subject librarians, students should also take advantage of different library events like the events put on by the Office of Digital Research and Scholarship. The Office of Digital Research and Scholarship gives workshops on citation management, academic publishing, copyright, and more. You can RSVP to events here: Event RSVP and Information

If you are interested in meeting with Leah Sherman, you can schedule a consultation here: Consultation Request, or email her at lrsherman@fsu.edu.

Forgien Languages and other fields of study

One small, but important tip, something that will help in research throughout the thesis process and into graduate school: take advantage of the foregin language courses. At Florida State, art history students are required to take 12-credits of a foreign language, but students who continue their language study are better prepared for graduate school. Many art historical resources may need to be translated to English, and reading knowledge of a foreign language related to your course of study, would be very useful in this situation. Plus, if students begin their study early, they have the opportunity to learn more than one language throughout the course of their undergraduate study.

Many students in the art history department take advantage of double majoring or minoring in a different field to make their research and knowledge more interdisciplinary. Within the art history department, students have the opportunity to minor in Medieval Studies or Museum Studies in conjunction with an art history major. These minors are useful for students who are particularly interested in Medieval art or who want to pursue a career in the museum or gallery space. However, students should be open to the full scope of possibilities FSU makes available through its undergraduate curriculum. Some majors/minors that could be particularly interesting being paired with an art history major are Business Administration, majors in STEM (which might align with a career in art conservation), Psychology, or Studio Art, just to name a few. Exploring an additional field of study can help to refine the scope of research interests and familiarize the student with non-art historical areas of research.

There are so many opportunities at FSU that students can take advantage of to further our careers and we should utilize these resources while they are at our fingertips. I hope this guide serves you well in your career pursuit as a starting point to the many opportunities presented to you.