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UTA FabLab leads national collaboration

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 • Media Contact: Teresa Woodard Schnyder

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Morgan Chivers, Katie Musick Peery and Martin Wallace are part of the UTA Libraries team leading a national collaboration of library makerspaces.

A team from UTA Libraries is leading a pilot study comprised of six library makerspaces from across the country to investigate the effectiveness of early-stage maker-based competencies in undergraduate learning, stemming from work developed by a UTA Libraries task force. The Maker Competencies and the Undergraduate Curriculum project is funded by a $49,800 National Leadership Grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Martin Wallace, maker literacies and engineering librarian at UTA Libraries, leads the research team, which also includes Gretchen Trkay, Katie Musick Peery, and Morgan Chivers. The team traveled to several university library makerspaces across the country, ultimately selecting five of them to join the study.

“It was a lengthy process, and a hard choice given the amazing selection of academic library makerspaces that we had to consider,” Wallace said. “Each of which had some unique quality that made them stand out from the others.”

The selected partners include Kelly Delaney at Carnegie Mellon University’s IDeATe, Sarah Hutton at University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries’ Digital Media Lab, Danianne Mizzy at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan Science Library Research Hub & Makerspace, and Amy Vecchione at Boise State University Library’s Maker Lab. Tara Radniecki at University of Nevada, Reno’s DeLaMare Library Makerspace, has been a partner since the beginning. She helped write the grant proposal and participated in the partnership selection process.

“We here at UTA are so very excited to begin working with our partners,” Wallace said, “and we look forward to collecting the data and feedback that will allow us to further refine and scale this program.”

UTA Libraries’ makerspace, the UTA FabLab, opened in 2014 and has been a leader in connecting maker services to campus needs. UTA was the first school in the University of Texas System to offer students open access to 3-D printing. In 2016, the UTA FabLab expanded from 825 square feet to 8,000 square feet to accommodate larger classes and more equipment. Today, the UTA FabLab is a robust learning laboratory offering a combination of manual and digital fabrication technologies such as laser cutters, screen printing, 3-D printing and woodworking equipment.

--Written by C.D. Walter