News from Mardigian Library: Get to know Interim Director Maureen Linker

9/14/2018

This month we get to know Library Interim Director Maureen Linker and announce a talk by UM-Dearborn Assistant Professor Keith Dye — who will discuss Malcolm’s formative years in Michigan on Sept. 27.

Getting to know Maureen Linker, the library’s interim director

On July 9, Maureen Linker became the interim director of Mardigian Library. The library's Social Media Committee sat down with Linker, who chatted with us about her work in the library and what she likes to do for fun outside of work.

What are your main job duties at the Mardigian Library and what do you love about what you do? 

My main responsibilities will be to support the good work already going on at the Mardigian [Library] by reinforcing existing services and building new collaborations across campus. The library is a uniquely interdisciplinary research center on campus; and my job is to foster student success by promoting research development and faculty success by providing needed tools for implementing a meaningful research plan. What I love is connecting people to resources and that means connecting people to people. I love when strong effective forces meet to produce something creative and impactful. 

What was your background before you became the interim library director?

I started at UM-Dearborn as an assistant professor in 1996 after finishing my Ph.D. in philosophy at City University of New York Graduate Center. I teach primarily in philosophy, though I regularly offer courses in the Women's and Gender Studies program. I had a term as director of WGST during the development and approval of the WGST major, and I also co-directed the Honors Transfer Innovators program for five years with Prof. Chris Burke. That program provided some foundation for the current Talent Gateway (under the direction of Laurie Sutch). I also was interim director of the Literature, Philosophy, and Arts Department and, more recently, a provost faculty fellow. 

I have also sat on a wide variety of campus committees and I've been active in research, both publishing and reviewing for a range of scholarly journals. I've been really privileged to work with so many talented people with such a strong commitment to education here at UM-Dearborn. These collaborations have been deeply fulfilling on levels personal and professional. 

What will your main priorities be during your interim directorship?

My main priorities for this year will be improving student and faculty access to library services, and linking the expertise of librarians with the expertise of instructional designers in the HUB so that we can evaluate open educational resources for faculty who are seeking new kinds of engaging content to increase student success. Again, my focus is on access and collaboration, and these are two areas where I think we can make some real progress. Oh yes, I also don't want to break anything that works!

What do you do for fun outside of work?

I am really lucky to be married to both my best friend and the person who makes me laugh the hardest (and it is one and the same person so, yay, it’s also morally permissible!) We also have a 16-year-old son who has a pretty good sense of humor, and that helps him deal with his parents. I really enjoy being with both of them and our rescue dog, Luna, as well as cooking and making vintage craft cocktails. That last one is actually Rachel Maddow's hobby, but I love it so much so I like to pretend it is mine as well. 

What is the one thing people would be surprised to learn about you? 

I didn't learn how to drive until I was 30 because I grew up with ample public transportation. Living here in the Motor City, I know it is hard for people to imagine, but my family didn't have a car, nor did the majority of my relatives and friends. I walked to elementary school and took the subway to high school and to college. We were able to take vacations by getting on the Long Island Railroad, so a car was never something I considered owning. Getting the job here changed that and I'm glad to be able to tell tales to my students of lands far away where people never drive to work, or to school, or to the beach. 

What is your undergraduate degree? 

Because I was fortunate enough to attend a high school with a planetarium, I became enamored with astronomy and Greek mythology. When I began college, I majored in physics because it was a path to astronomy. 

However, one of my required courses was Philosophy of Physics. In that class, the professor asked us all why simplicity was a greater virtue than complexity when choosing between competing theories. The discussion that ensued felt like I was hearing music for the first time. It took my breath away. I puttered around in physics for a bit until I had the courage to transfer into the philosophy program. I've never lost my love for science, and physics in particular, and even teach courses in philosophy of science and theories of reality, but my major has been philosophy through undergraduate and graduate school. 

Do you have any tips or advice for students?

Like many of our students, I was the first in my family to attend and finish a four-year degree. There was so much I didn't know that I didn't know. I had never heard of a bursar, registrar, provost, ombuds, etc. Because I have always been fascinated with what makes groups, organizations [and] institutions work, I educated myself on the university structure and the various pressures and possibilities within institutions. That helped me understand the pressures my professors faced, the challenges for folks in the financial aid office, and the librarians in the library. It also taught me about the amazing levels of support that existed. 

My advice for students is to study the institution you are in while you are in it. What are its challenges and how does it fit within state and federal priorities? No matter what subject you are majoring in, that kind of meta-study, a study about where you study and learn, can be incredibly valuable. 

Faculty lecture on Malcolm X and his connection to Michigan

Please join the Mardigian Library and the Black Student Union as we celebrate this year’s Great Michigan Read and the life of Malcolm X. Over the past year, readers from libraries across the state have been discussing X: A Novel by Illyasah Shabazz (daughter of Malcolm X). Here at UM-Dearborn, we are pleased to present a talk by Assistant Professor Keith Dye, African and African American Studies and History, UM-Dearborn, who will discuss Malcolm’s formative years in Michigan.

The lunch-time event will take place on Thursday, Sept. 27, from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m., in the Berkowitz Gallery, 3rdfloor Mardigian Library.The first 20 attendees will receive a free copy of the book thanks to a statewide grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Pizza and beverages will be served. There is no need to pre-register — just drop by and join this insightful discussion!

Any questions can be sent to Joan Martin, martj@umich.edu.

New Databases from the Mardigian Library

English Historical Documents Online

English Historical Documents Online is a collection of over 5,000 primary documents covering British history from 500 to 1914. The sources include treaties, statutes, declarations, government and cabinet proceedings, military dispatches, orders, acts, sermons, newspaper articles, pamphlets, personal and official letters, diaries, and more. Each section of documents and many of the documents themselves are accompanied by editorial commentary. These sources cover a wide spectrum of topics, from political and constitutional issues to social, economic, religious, as well as cultural history.

American Doctoral Dissertations

American Doctoral Dissertations includes citations for more than 172,000 theses and dissertations from 1902 to the present. If available, citations include a link to access the full text, via the institutional repository where the thesis or dissertation is housed, such as OhioLINK, Rochester Institute of Technology, and North Carolina State University.

Issues & Controversies

Issues & Controversies offers the full text of balanced, accurate discussions for over 250 controversial topics in the news. These discussions are supplemented with chronologies, illustrations, maps, tables, sidebars, contact information, and bibliographies.

Cold War Intelligence

This collection of formerly classified U.S. government documents (most of them classified Top Secret or higher) provides readers with the declassified documentary record about the successes and failures of the U.S. intelligence community in its efforts to spy on the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

IDC

IDC provides market intelligence covering the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC reports contain analysis to help IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy.

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