David Lemmons is the Instruction Coordinator between Composition and the GMU Library’s Teaching and Learning team. Lemmons joined the team last Spring and helped coordinate the Library’s portion of Composition’s Fall Orientation. Below, he answered a few questions to help us get to know him a little bit better.
How did you get interested in library science? What prompted your transition from political science and how do those earlier studies affect your work now?
I started my academic career here at Mason as a Government and International Politics major, then moved on to Appalachian State University for my master's in political science. I planned on becoming a professor when starting my master’s, but I realized that the life of a professor wasn't necessarily for me. I was really interested in the teaching part of professorship, but I realized that the life of a professor is not only teaching but also a lot of research. That's a lot of alone time for an extrovert like me! After talking to my thesis advisor, whose husband is a librarian, I realized that the world of academic libraries would let me combine my love of teaching at a university with the ability to help people conduct their own research. So, that's what got me into librarianship! And as a bonus, since coming to Mason I've been able to join the Honors College as adjunct faculty, so I definitely get the best of all worlds here at the University.
My prior graduate work in political science has really helped me in my current work, especially when supporting students in the social sciences. Because I've done my own research in political science before, I'm able to help students with their methods and can recommend the techniques I used to keep myself sane through my graduate school life! It also, of course, gives me firsthand experience with many of our excellent public policy resources that I can use when helping students.
How have your interests in student-centered pedagogy and critical information literacy shaped your early work with the Composition program at GMU? What's your vision/hope/plan for how the library and program partnership will develop over the next year(s)?
My interest in student-centered pedagogy, I'm happy to say, is already a part of how the librarians work with Composition students. We have an active-learning focus in many of our instructional sessions, which pivots the leadership from us as instructors to the students in the classroom. It makes for a more fun and engaging experience for the students, which in turn helps with retention and achieving our learning outcomes! I hope to see this commitment from our library instructors continue, and it's been a lot of fun to get to know the Composition faculty who are already doing this type of work.
Critical information literacy is something I'm hoping to embed in our teaching more deeply over the course of the next little while (with COVID, time is so different!). As library instructors, it's our responsibility to not only teach how to locate information but also talk about its value and how its creation can lead to inequality. I'm hopeful that lessons themed around these ideas of inequality in the information landscape can become a more integral part of our process! Luckily, again, working with the Composition department means that I have a lot of great potential partners who are already doing this sort of work, so I'm excited about that opportunity.
Anything else you'd like to share? What are some of your interests outside of work? What have you been enjoying during COVID quarantining?
I was already very into video games before COVID quarantining started, so I've definitely continued and nurtured that hobby! If anyone has tips on how to make a pretty farm in Stardew Valley, I'm all ears. Other things I've been into are rewatching Schitt's Creek on Netflix, baking a lot of failed pies (and some successes!), and reading mystery novels as well. It's also been fun to start this new role primarily during quarantine, as it's allowed me to have something to focus on besides the state of the world right now.
December 04, 2020