The annual ALA conference wrapped up earlier this week in Orlando, and a big news item was ACRL’s vote to “rescind” (more kindly, to sunset) its 15-year-old Information Literacy Competency Standards in favor of the recently adopted ACRL Information Literacy Framework. Some see it as the triumph of philosophy over practicality; others as a choice of locally-developed outcomes over standards expected by accreditatiolin.jpgon bodies.  It will be great to get our own colleagues’ take on this as they return from ALA.   Related to the “framework” approach is the widespread interest and new thinking about what it takes to achieve deep, relevant learning.  Last week’s Economist had a great story on new university models  that are ‘hands-on’ and project-centered to a degree that takes the Cal Poly approach and goes even further.  Exciting developments for today’s and tomorrow’s students!

Later this month I’ll be attending the annual meeting of the Society of College and University Planners (SCUP). It’s exciting to see how much of the conference deals with the learning outcomes and impacts of university planning.  One of the campus projects featured at the conference is UBC’s “commons” model for residential housing development:  “By locating commons buildings in the heart of the academicUBC_Ponderosa_013-Collegia_WEB.jpg campus, these projects are creating vibrant, integrated residential/academic precincts.” The Ponderosa Commons  is the first of these projects:  it includes arts and printmaking facilities, a geofluvial lab, a fitness studio, a cafe/pizza venue, and “collegia” – home-like touch-down spaces for commuter students, as well as housing for 1100 students.   Coincidentally this week we’ve been having some interesting conversations about how we might integrate library-like commons spaces into residential developments here at Cal Poly. 

As we celebrate the 4th of July this weekend, many are also reflecting on the fog of war and colossal ineptness of military leaders that created one of the most terrible human losses in recent history – 100 years ago today, the 141-day Battle of the Somme began, in somme.jpg
which 1.2 million were killed or wounded: “Purgatory, in all its hideous shapes and forms.”  The literature of the Somme is extraordinary, ranging from detailed histories to the wordless graphic account by artist Joe Sacco depicted on a single 24-foot long accordion-fold page.  Some have said that “more poets and writers fought in the Battle of the Somme than any other battle,” among them the Welsh poet David Jones whose long narrative poem “In Parenthesis” tells the human story of the Somme.

A very happy 4th of July and weekend to all,