Dr. Austin Presents to APLU Provosts

This week Dr. Amy Austin, Assistant Professor of Instruction in Spanish, met with Provosts from 30 APLU institutions to discuss best practices for how to incorporate Maker Literacies into course curriculum. The meeting was hosted by UTA Libraries who invited Dr. Austin to speak about her ongoing partnership with UTA’s FabLab.

The UTA FabLab is a creative hub for students, faculty and staff, providing: access to technologies, equipment, training; opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration; and inspirational spaces in support of invention and entrepreneurship. Dr. Austin’s Spanish Culture and Civilization course utilizes UTA’s FabLab for hands-on projects that help students reflect, respond to, or resolve cultural and historical problems in Spanish civilization. Students examine the relationship between cultural artifacts and cultural or historical issues within Spain’s history then design and create their own objects to reflect what they’ve learned. Upon completion of their projects, students use the object to educate their classmates on cultural, political, or historical topics. Students in the course have created wood carvings, glass art, clothing items, quilts, sculptures and more.

One of the FabLab’s goals is to establish national standards for incorporating maker literacies into cross-disciplinary, hands-on learning experiences. Maker literacies are defined by 15 nationally-recognized competencies which include critical analysis, project management and entrepreneurship. Part of the Library’s efforts to promote maker competencies include FabLab presentations to academic leaders from other institutions. Dean Rebecca Bichel invited Dr. Austin to present to the group of Provosts from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities based on the success of her course. The presentation was part of an all-day Student Success Summit co-hosted by UT System.