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Munly, Small named SU Meredith Professors
Munly, Small named SU Meredith ProfessorsApril 10, 2006Sara Millersemortim@syr.edu
Anne Munly, associate professor in the School of Architecture, and Ruth V. Small, professor and director of the Center for Digital Literacy in the School of Information Studies (IST), have been named Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professors of Teaching Excellence. The professorships recognize and award outstanding teaching at Syracuse University.
Chancellor Nancy Cantor will recognize Munly and Small as the 2006 Meredith Professors at an April 13 gala reception, in Room 500 of the Hall of Languages, beginning at 3:30 p.m.
The Meredith Professorships were created in 1995 with a substantial bequest from the Meredith estate. The program seeks to recognize and reward outstanding teaching, and fosters research and dialogue on teaching excellence. Two Meredith Professors are named each year to engage in investigations of teaching and learning. They are enrolled for life in the Meredith Symposium as a signal of honor and to provide an ongoing forum for the discussion of teaching excellence.
Each recipient of the honor is designated a Meredith Professor for a period of three years. For each of the three years, they receive a supplementary salary award, a fund to support their research and additional money to be used in developing their academic unit.
Munly, who joined SU in 1989, has proposed “8+6: Architectural Conversations in the City,” a new course engaging students in eight interdisciplinary conversations and six site visits that will help non-architecture students develop architectural literacy, aiding them to interpret and contribute to the future urban settings within which they will live.
“Architecture and urbanism are familiar forms of cultural expression, but paradoxically amongst the least understood. This course explores design’s capacity to affect our physical environment, and the ways in which we are involved in the creation of civic space,” says Munly. The course will explore the intersection of architecture and other fields. Students will be formed into interdisciplinary teams to execute a project on an urban subject linked to one of the course themes, and based on fieldwork, urban site visits and theoretical speculation. Students are expected to offer a public presentation of their final work. “We have an obligation at the University to speculate with our students on the growth and importance of cities. Our graduates, no matter their chosen field of study, should have high expectations for the built public environment and an excitement about future engagement with it.”
In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate design studio, Munly offers a seminar in the analysis of American urbanism, which received AlA Education honors in 1997, and an interdisciplinary seminar “Utopia: Design and the Cultural Imagination.” She has received several research grants in support of her work on the American city, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and Boston Foundation for Architecture.
As part of a team of architecture and geography professors, she received a Vision Fund 2000 Grant in support of the Urban Mapping Research Initiative. In 1995, she won the Rome Prize in Architecture and spent a year at the American Academy in Rome as a fellow. Etchings from her project “Rome: City of Monuments, City of Domesticity, or, ‘Piranesi Interrupted'” have been exhibited in Italy and the United States. While director of the architecture program in Florence in 1996-97, Munly worked with the University of Ferrara to create a joint student workshop on contemporary design in the historic city.
On teaching, Munly notes: “Teaching is about the dynamic exchange of ideas. I’ve tried to increase the scope of a professional education through an embrace of knowledge across disciplines, while maintaining a clear disciplinary core. I’ve also tried to create curricular and extracurricular opportunities to aid students in developing their own voice and skills. This helps students become active participants in the construction of their own education. At the start of the semester, I ask students to reflect on what it is they want to learn, and remind them how they play an active role in the outcome of their learning.”
Munly received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in architecture from Princeton University.
Small’s Meredith proposal, E*LIT (Enriching Literacy through Information Technology) brings together reading, research, technology and motivation to create a framework for University students to work with diverse children in the community.
“In my over 40 years of work in private and public schools, I have found that educators often approach things as either/or with their students,” says Small. “You either read for learning or read for pleasure. You either love to read or love technology. This always puzzled me, as I saw these as synergistic activities that complemented, rather than rivaled, each other.” To break down these boundaries, Small’s proposal aims to provide k-12 students with interesting and relevant technology-based tasks that motivate them to explore their world through books and technology, while encouraging a librarian-teacher collaboration to implement these tasks. Interdisciplinary participation by SU students would help grow this initiative, which has already been implemented on a small scale in some Central New York schools. Area students work in teams and in collaboration with their teacher and school librarian to develop a technology project related to a particular author’s life or work. Each author, selected because they and their work represent an underrepresented population in American society, provides a role model for children from those populations and raises awareness of different cultures and traditions for all children. Each project is submitted to a web site for competition, where a panel of judges-made up of local public and private school librarians, teachers, parents and graduate students-select the top three projects. The three winning groups are then brought to the SU campus for a presentation and opportunity to meet the author and receive prizes for their school libraries.
This project is closely intertwined with the Center for Digital Literacy (CDL), for which Small serves as the director. CDL is an interdisciplinary, collaborative research and development center partnering IST, the School of Education and S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with the mission to explore the need for and acquisition of traditional, information, technology and media literacies and to develop tools to foster these literacies in a variety of contexts. Since its inception in 2003, CDL has received almost $3 million in external funding from federal funding sources and private foundations. CDL sponsors a number of annual events and activities, including an annual conference, a distinguished lecture and the E*LIT program.
As director of IST’s nationally ranked school media program, Small has been on the faculty of IST since 1989. She also directs the Preparing Librarians for Urban Schools (PLUS) program, a distance learning program for library service in high-need urban schools. The PLUS program has served several urban areas in New York State, including New York City, Binghamton, Rochester and Syracuse.
Most of the courses Small teaches are related to the design and presentation of information. She has created several new courses at IST, including “Instructional Strategies & Techniques for Information Professionals,” “Information Technologies in Educational Organizations,” “Motivational Aspects of Information Use” and “Integrating Motivation and Information Literacy.” She also has developed an online academic component to the school media internships (which she supervises) and a doctoral seminar entitled “Motivation, Information Systems and Organizations.” Small founded and directed IST’s Summer Institute on Leadership & Change from 1991-1996 and from 1993-1996 the school’s distance learning master’s program in library and information science, the first Web-based, limited residency program in library science in the U.S. She was voted IST’s 1996 “Professor of the Year” by the graduate students of the school and in 2004 “Teacher of the Year” by the Syracuse University Alumni Association. In 1999, she was named Faculty Technology Associate for Syracuse University’s Faculty Academic Computing Support Services, participating in presenting more than 25 workshops to faculty from colleges and universities throughout central New York. She presented her workshop on “Motivating Students” to the Teaching Assistants’ Orientation Program for seven years. Small has consulted and conducted workshops on motivation and evaluation for dozens of organizations and at professional conferences throughout the country and in Europe, South America and Asia.
Small’s approach to teaching is based on the belief that motivation is at the heart of the learning process. “An effective instructor creates a learning environment that stimulates their own–as well as their students’–intellectual curiosity and lifelong love of learning,” says Small. “A frequent comment on my teaching is that I practice what I preach. In my research, I have spent many years exploring what students consider boring and what they consider interesting instruction, and have integrated what I’ve learned about ways to motivate student learning into every aspect of my teaching.”
Small received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from SU, a master’s degree in education from Hunter College and a master’s degree in library and information science and Ph.D. in instructional design, development and evaluation from SU.