Celebration of Scholarship Highlights Student and Faculty Research

Amanda Holt ’11 honored for best student research paper

Deborah Peoples presents Amanda Holt ’11 with her award for best student research paper. (Photo by John Holliger)

Ohio Wesleyan’s annual Celebration of Scholarship took place April 15 in the Bayley Room at Beeghly Library and included recognition of faculty publishing, unveiling of new library READ posters, and announcement of the winner of the best student research paper.

OWU Libraries Interim Coordinator and Science Librarian Deborah Peoples likened librarians’ participation in the student research papers to “being present for the labor, but missing the thrill of the birth. We’re delighted to mediate the process of learning and connect [students] to the resources they need, and when we see these wonderful research papers, we finally get to enjoy the ‘baby.’”

Research papers are submitted by senior students, but the papers may have been completed any time during the student’s collegiate career; the winner receives a $500 award.

This year’s judges included OWU librarians and current and former faculty Glenn Bryant, Anne Fry, Bonnie Milne Gardner, Zackariah Long, James Stull, Joy Gao, Jillian Maruskin, Deborah Peoples, and Peter Szabo.

The winning paper, “The Testimony of History ‘Most Remote’: English and Scottish Appeals to Pope Boniface VIII: 1299-1302,” was written by Amanda Holt ’11.

Other papers covered a range of disciplines and topics as disparate as Woodstock, spinal cord injury, the influence of dragons on literature and art, the Industrial Revolution, Nazi policy in pre-war Germany, privatization in post-war Bosnia—and many more.

“This was, by far, the strongest group of papers—ever,” Peoples said. “They were diverse and well-written, and we enjoyed reading them so much. We applaud all the students for their work and thank them for sharing it with us.”

Holt’s paper will be catalogued and archived in the library’s Special Collections.

The READ posters, which feature pictures of faculty members holding one of their favorite books, are among the most popular and motivating features of the library interior, and this year the collection will include three additions:

Chris Fink, Physical Education, with this book choice, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, by Michael Pollan; Bonnie Milne Gardner, Theatre & Dance, with her selection, Pride’s Crossing, by Tina Howe; and David Markwardt, Zoology, and his choice, The Road, by Cormac McCarthy.

Faculty merit inclusion in the poster project by “reading voraciously, sending students to use library resources, recommending books for purchase, participating in library programs—and being found in the library themselves,” Peoples said.

Faculty scholarship was visible throughout the Bayley Room, with displays of books, articles, chapters, performances, exhibitions, and invited commentaries produced by faculty members during the 2010-2011 academic year.

Three members of the faculty—Chris Wolverton, Dale Brugh, and Jed Burtt (as second author of an article by his student Sean Williams’ 11)—had journal covers this year.

“We celebrate your service, commitment, and scholarship today,” Peoples told the faculty. In discussing the importance of librarians in research, Peoples said, “Where do you think Google got those algorithms: sorting by relevance and ‘Did you mean’ and others?”

Indeed, when it comes to digging into scholarship, search engines are good, but librarians are better.

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