Small Collections Symposium: Blending the educational resources of small and large collections for training the next generation of museum professionals.
Theme: We invite presentations from small and large institutions on current museum-based educational and workforce training initiatives, the development and sharing of novel educational or training modules and resources, graduate and undergraduate internships and courses focused on experiential learning in collections management and curation, and future directions for natural history museum workforce development focused on students and early career professionals.
Conveners: Anna Monfils, Central Michigan University, USA; Gil Nelson, iDigBio, Florida State University, USA.
Sponsors: Integrated Digitized Biocollections (iDigBio); Small Collections Network (SCNet).
Rationale: Recent national and global digitization initiatives have led to a resurgence of interest in natural history collections (NHCs), the data they contain, and the potential to use NHC data to address large scale questions related to climate change, invasive species, and anthropogenic disturbance. This influx of energy into NHCs, emerging databases, emphasis on big data and data literacy, and the changing skill sets required to manage NHCs begs to examine the training of the next generation of scientists. The Implementation Plan for the Network Integrated Biocollections Alliance (USA) pointed to two emerging goals for the collections community that relate directly to education: 1) enhancing the training of existing collections staff and create the next generation of biodiversity information managers, and 2) infusing specimen-based learning and exploration into formal and informal science education. With the publication of Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology: A Call to Action, there has been a renewed interest in creating authentic research experiences. The next generation of college graduates needs to be competent in communication and collaboration, have quantitative competency, and the ability to understand and interpret data. The future workforce of biologists must be comfortable working with large databases. Specimens and data from NHCs can serve a unique role in workforce training as NHC specimens are uniquely qualified to teach about the iterative process of science, data literacy, quantitative biology, and biodiversity informatics.
TIME and DATE: 420am - 850am EDT (That's 1020am - 250pm Berlin time, CEST) - Thursday 23 June