Outreach in the academic community: enhancing the teaching role of university archives
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Public programming is a distinct component of archival professional practice, although it has not always been so. Academic public programming is an even relatively newer phenomenon, but is gaining momentum as university and college archives seek to align themselves with an emerging engagement-based instructional paradigm that now widely informs academia. Postmodern insights have challenged archivists to reconsider the traditional view of records as static objects, frozen in perpetuity, and instead understand them as part of a never ending dynamic process encompassing multiple narratives and meanings. Academic archives in particular have begun exploring ways in which they might engage students in a new learning environment - through a new type of public programming that emphasizes the archivists’ unique role in knowledge creation. Academic archivists have a unique opportunity to insert archives into the curriculum and facilitate student engagement and inquiry, while supporting the academic mission of their parent institution. This thesis will explore ways to insert university archives more fully into the teaching function of the university. The thesis will conceptualize how university archives could be included in an interdisciplinary program offered by such archives, or in conjunction with other departments and faculties, that is designed to enhance student learning through the development of critical thinking skills and knowledge creation.