Monday, September 19, 2016

Sabbatical 2016 Report

This evening I submitted my 2-page sabbatical report, for the short-term sabbatical leave I took this past January, June, July, and August. In a moment I will share it below.

As I should have expected, I did not get to do everything I hoped I would.

Interestingly, my visible productivity was actually very high--I am really pleased with the "products" that came out of my leave time away from the office for four months. None of them are published yet, but the majority are "in press" to some degree, so they will be available soon I hope.

What got a bit neglected was my systematic reading plan. The bibliography I culled in preparation for this sabbatical was intense, filled with many glorious longform works in a variety of disciplines that I was putting in conversation with the goals of my sabbatical project. I got to some of these works, but not nearly as many as I'd hoped.

An event that waylaid (to some degree) the more ephemeral of my sabbatical goals was the reception of the rescission of the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. I address this briefly in my formal report below, but the week following June 25, 2016, when the ACRL Board formally rescinded the Standards, was an incredibly busy one for me as a member of the Framework Advisory Board. Three different pieces of public writing came out of that week, in an attempt to aid the transition (here, here, and the shorter compilation of those two here).

In the time between mid-June and mid-July, I also became pregnant. Those early weeks were quite a physical adjustment for me, and the clip at which I was moving through my sabbatical projects and goals understandably slowed a bit.

Just as I did with my sabbatical application, I wanted to share the formal report I submitted to my Provost. It will be six years until I can take another one. Note that although it says the publication manuscripts are attached, I won't be able to link to versions of those quite yet, as I need to wait for the publishers to make the formal versions available before I share them openly.

Technology, Identity and Personhood

A critical inquiry into the relationship between who we are
and the information tools we use to learn, process, and communicate

Report on Short-Term Sabbatical Leave
During Intersession 2016 and Summer 2016

September 22, 2016

Donna Witek, MA, MLIS
Associate Professor &
Public Services Librarian
Weinberg Memorial Library
The University of Scranton
Scranton, PA 18510
donna.witek [at] ~ 1.570.941.4000


During my short-term sabbatical leave, taken during Intersession 2016 and Summer 2016, I researched the intersections between the technologies we use to both interact with and create knowledge and information, and our conceptions of self and embodied personhood in the digital post-modern world. I then applied this research to various pedagogical contexts within my discipline and content area of information literacy.

My review of the literature included key texts from disciplines such as library and information science, critical pedagogy, Ignatian pedagogy and spirituality, and Christian anthropology. This deep-dive into complex theory and praxis informed my accomplishments and deliverables, whose focus centers on information literacy pedagogy and bringing the affective dimension into teaching, learning, assessment, and curricula, thus humanizing these processes for our students and ourselves.


My sabbatical activities included a combination of 1) in-depth research and reading of theoretical and theological texts; 2) attending presentations related to pedagogy and assessment; 3) strategic writing and presenting on pedagogical topics relevant to both my sabbatical aims and the concerns of the profession of academic librarianship that arose during the period of my sabbatical; and, 4) continued service as a member of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy Advisory Board.

Works studied:
  • An Encounter with Simone Weil [documentary film], directed by Julia Haslett. 2010.
  • Behr, John. Becoming Human: Meditations on Christian Anthropology in Word and Image. SVS Press. 2013.
  • Behr, John. The Mystery of Christ: Life in Death. SVS Press. 2006.
  • Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. Association of College and Research Libraries. 2015, 2016.
  • hooks, bell. Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. Routledge. 1994.
  • Kahane, David. “Learning about Obligation, Compassion, and Global Justice: The Place of Contemplative Pedagogy” in Contemplative Learning and Inquiry Across Disciplines, eds. Olen Gunnlaugson, Edward W. Sarath, Charles Scott, and Heesoon Bai. SUNY Press. 2014.
  • Weil, Simone. Waiting for God, trans. Emma Cruafurd. Putnam. 1951.

Presentations attended:
  • Attention, Ignatian Pedagogy, and Practices of Evaluation [workshop]. Office of Educational Assessment Institute. University of Scranton. January 26, 2016.
  • Miller, Sara D. and Amanda Nichols Hess. Using the Framework to Foster Conversations about Information Literacy Instruction [webinar]. ACRL Instruction Section Management and Leadership Committee. May 31, 2016.


On June 25, 2016, the ACRL Board of Directors rescinded the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (Standards), a sixteen year-old document that has been replaced by the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education (Framework). As will be clear from my accomplishments, the Framework has been central to my sabbatical research, as it posits a more holistic and integrated approach to information literacy teaching and learning than the Standards; and with the Standards’ rescission, the Framework is now the primary teaching and learning document for information literacy put forth by ACRL.

Publications (manuscripts attached):
  • Grettano, Teresa, and Donna Witek. “The Frameworks, Comparative Analyses, and Sharing Responsibility for Learning and Assessment” in Rewired: Research-Writing Partnerships in a Frameworks State of Mind, ed. Randall McClure. Chicago: ACRL Press, 2016. [book chapter] (forthcoming)
  • Witek, Donna. “Developing a ‘Critical Pedagogy Disposition’” in Critical Library Pedagogy Handbook, Vol. 1: Essays and Workbook Activities, eds. Nicole Pagowsky and Kelly McElroy. Chicago: ACRL Press, 2016. [book chapter] (forthcoming)
  • Witek, Donna, Mary J. Snyder Broussard, and Joel M. Burkholder. “Rhetorical Reinventions: Rethinking Research Processes and Information Practices to Deepen our Pedagogy.” In LOEX Conference Proceedings 2016. [conference proceedings] (forthcoming)
  • Witek, Donna. “The Past, Present, and Promise of Information Literacy.” Phi Kappa Phi Forum 96.3 (2016). [invited article] (forthcoming)
  • Witek, Donna. “Seeding Local Curricula with the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy.” College & Research Libraries News 77.10 (2016). [invited article] (forthcoming)
  • Galas, Jennifer K. and Donna Witek. “The Information Literacy of Survey Mark Hunting: A Dialogue.” In the Library with the Lead Pipe. [journal article] (under review)


During my sabbatical, I also continued to serve on the ACRL Framework Advisory Board (FAB). FAB’s role in the months immediately following the Standards’ rescission was to lead on creating professional development opportunities and resources related to the Framework at a national scale. A summary of our work, which continued throughout my sabbatical leave, can be read at the following guest contribution:

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