Student Research Fellowship Grant Program- Summer ’21

screenshot from the Student Research Fellowship Grant Program webpage

Attention all students and professors!

Are you interested in receiving support to conduct your own research project this summer that will hone your academic skills and enhance your career prospects?

Touro has announced a grant program for student-led summer research projects across the Touro College & University System. The competition is open to all students (from our Undergraduate, Graduate, and Professional Schools) at the four major campuses, Touro College, Touro University California, Touro University Nevada, and New York Medical College. Accepted applicants will receive a stipend to support their work. Projects are student-initiated and completed under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

Find all the details on the grant, and apply (before July 9th) here:

https://www.touro.edu/departments/research/research-support/student-research-support/

Get help from the library

If you have questions about the research process, finding and evaluating sources, citation, or practically anything else during the course of your research, the Library has you covered! Our librarians are available for one-on-one assistance via our Ask a Librarian service. You can chat with us, call us, email us, or tweet us. Need help beyond a quick question? Schedule a (remote) research consultation with us!

And be sure to check out our libguides on:

post contributed by Kirk Snyder, Open Educational Resources & Instruction Librarian.

Textbook Heroes: Olalekan Ogunsakin

Welcome to our series recognizing champions of free and affordable course materials at Touro! These “Textbook Heroes” have made a difference in the lives of our students by lowering the cost of their degrees. Do you know someone who fits the bill? Nominate them (or yourself) by contacting the Libraries. 

image: Dr. Olalekan Ogunsakin (provided)

Dr. Olalekan Ogunsakin is Assistant Professor in the Department of Basic Biomedical Sciences, and Course Director for General Pathology at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in Harlem, NYC. Dr. Ogunsakin is also a Fellow in our Health Sciences and Allied Health Open Educational Resources (OER) Faculty Fellowship 2020-2021. 

[Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that are free to all users. They reside in the public domain, or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.] 

The Touro College OER Faculty Fellowship, sponsored by Touro College Libraries and funded by a grant from the Network of the National Library of Medicine Middle Atlantic Region, supports faculty in the health sciences and allied health fields in developing Open Educational Resources for their undergraduate and graduate students. The fellowship was awarded to five Touro Faculty members to support adopting, or creating OER for use in their courses. 


Hear more about Dr. Ogunsakin’s fellowship project in his own words: 

“The goals for this project were to evaluate and assess public health interventions to chronic diseases in East Harlem, a community where our campus is located. The project focuses on public health preparedness and intervention in conjunction with the activities of the student-run health clinic in the Harlem campus.  

“Open Educational Resources (OER) are a valuable tool that we believe will provide the requisite platform to share our project, thoughts, ideas, findings, and conclusions with the public, especially the target community of East Harlem. OER is expected to be our window-access to the outside world and the ideal platform to share our project findings with the public. 

“This project has greatly improved student participation in community outreach and intervention activities. It has also empowered the students to address health education and awareness among their potential patients and community residents. Through this project, my students and all the stakeholders have been able to assess and harness available resources for improving overall health outcomes in the community. Most importantly, every student, through this project, will come to understand the importance of health education and awareness to improving overall community health outcomes. 

“Our team has submitted three abstracts that have been accepted for presentation at different conferences, seminars, and academic meetings. We are currently working on two manuscript drafts from the analyzed data on the project. These drafts are being prepared for submission in reputable journals.  

“Participating in this fellowship has been one of the greatest highlights of my career in this institution, as my team have learned so much about different OER platforms out there that can be used and adapted to our project to help improve our project outcome. This was definitely a great opportunity.  

“We hope to continue to partner and work with the librarians towards presenting our findings from the project to the Touro community and the general public.”  

see our other Textbook Heroes posts  

-post contributed by Kirk Snyder, Open Educational Resources & Instruction Librarian 

Textbook Heroes: Tanupreet Suri

Welcome to our series recognizing champions of free and affordable course materials at Touro! These “Textbook Heroes” have made a difference in the lives of our students by lowering the cost of their degrees. Do you know someone who fits the bill? Nominate them (or yourself) by contacting the Libraries. 

image: Dr. Tanupreet Suri (provided)

Dr. Tanupreet Suri is Assistant Professor of Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Touro’s School of Health Sciences. Her research and practice interests include college-student mental health, experiences of minority students within higher education, social media, and new technology’s role in identity development, community-based participatory research, and social justice advocacy. She is also a Fellow in our Health Sciences and Allied Health Open Educational Resources (OER) Faculty Fellowship 2020-2021.

The Touro College OER Faculty Fellowship, sponsored by the Touro College Libraries and funded by a grant from the Network of the National Library of Medicine Middle Atlantic Region, supports faculty in the health sciences and allied health fields in developing Open Educational Resources for their undergraduate and graduate students. The fellowship was awarded to five Touro Faculty members to support adopting OER for use in their courses.   

Tanupreet is currently using OER in her course Case Conceptualization, Documentation, & Practicum, with plans to extend her OER use to other courses in the coming semesters. 


Hear from Dr. Suri herself, on the value of OER, how it benefits Touro students, and how it fits into her teaching practice:  

“Utilizing OERs not only provide access to content for course materials that are either free or very low cost both to the instructor and the student but also foster creativity, again, both for the instructor and the student. The positive impact I hope to make on my students is by having more of their involvement in creation of the learning materials. The involvement will hopefully empower students to take charge in their learning process. This student involvement will further enhance long-term retention of the content we are covering. Finally, having more transformational learning opportunities present for students will have a positive impact on the learning community that is created with the students.

“This process is very much aligned with my teaching style. In sum, my participation in this fellowship project has highlighted a need for more of these materials to exist, specifically within the Clinical Mental Health Counseling field. I plan to continue utilizing OERs in more courses both to save costs as well as to offer students an opportunity to get creative in their overall learning experience.” 


see our other Textbook Heroes posts

-contributed by Kirk Snyder, Open Educational Resources & Instruction Librarian, Touro College Libraries

Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks

800px-PikiWiki_Israel_8879_Gan-Shmuel_-_Shavuot_holiday_1965
Young women celebrating Shavuot in Israel, 1965 (CC image via Wikimedia)

this post was originally published May 30, 2017. It has been edited and updated.

Shavuot, or the Festival of Weeks marks 7 weeks since the conclusion of the Jewish Exodus from Egypt, when the Torah and the Ten Commandments were received at Mount Sinai. There are a number of customs associated with the celebration of Shavuot, which can be enumerated using the mneumonic of the Hebrew word acharit (אחרית‎, “last”). These include the reading of a liturgical poem and from the Book of Ruth, the consumption of dairy foods (like cheesecake, blintzes, and kreplach), the decoration of homes with flowers or greenery, and all-night Torah study. Read more about the meaning of Shavuot and its traditions.

This year, Shavuot begins at sunset on Sunday, May 16 and ends at sundown on Tuesday, May 18. Touro Libraries will be closed Monday, May 17 and Tuesday, May 18, and will resume their normal schedule on Wednesday, May 19.

Chag Shavuot Sameach! Happy Shavuot!

New Resource Alert! ProQuest’s Free Collection of African American History Documents.

image: screenshot, Black Freedom Struggle in the United States, May 2021. http://blackfreedom.proquest.com

ProQuest is familiar to the Touro community as a provider of scholarly literature, with their popular database ProQuest One Academic. They have recently released a collection of primary source documents on the history of African Americans’ struggle for freedom, Black Freedom Struggle in the United States: Challenges and Triumphs in the Pursuit of Equality.

This collection was released as a free resource on the web, so you can access it any time, even when you’re not signed in to the TouroOne system. It is presented as an accessible, easy-to-navigate website, separate from ProQuest’s research databases.

image: screenshot, Featured Subjects, Black Freedom Struggle in the United States, May 2021. http://blackfreedom.proquest.com

Primary sources are first-hand accounts from people directly connected to a subject, event, time or place. They are invaluable to the study of history, especially when they center the voices and perspectives of those largely kept out of the historical narrative.

See also: Librarian Emily Johnson’s libguide on Primary Sources.

Black Freedom Struggle in the United States features speeches, interviews, letters, newspaper stories, government documents from the FBI and Congress, laws and court records from the era of slavery and abolitionism all the way to contemporary times, with Black Lives Matter, the high-profile killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and many others, and the racial unrest of 2020.

The website contains approximately 1,600 documents, organized into these six eras of history:

  1. Slavery and the Abolitionist Movement (1790-1860)
  2. The Civil War and the Reconstruction Era (1861-1877)
  3. Jim Crow Era from 1878 to the Great Depression (1878-1932)
  4. The New Deal and World War II (1933-1945)
  5. The Civil Rights and Black Power Movements (1946-1975)
  6. The Contemporary Era (1976-2000s)

-post contributed by Kirk Snyder, Open Educational Resources & Instruction Librarian, Touro College Libraries.

New Books at Lander College for Women Library

photo by the author

The library at Touro’s Lander College for Women recently added a great deal of interesting new books.  In this post, I introduce some of the titles and take us through the work and considerations that go into ordering books for a library’s collection. 

Some factors we consider when ordering books include:  (1) Mission Statement, (2) Collection Development policy, (3) managing collegiate relations with Professors who can recommend purchases, (4) each branch curriculum focus, (5) guidelines noted in the Touro College Library staff Wiki on how to order and weed books to make room for new acquisitions (6) cultivating academic interests in editing books, researching & writing books, and book reviewing which helps the acquisition process and (7) fielding reference questions at Lander College for Women, making one familiar with course syllabi and curriculum.  

Academic subject interests cultivated by librarians   

Thirteen of these new titles added to the collection are published by Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, five of which, including Huss’ The Zohar Reception and Impact, I reviewed for various journals. Eight of the new Jewish Studies books are published by Brill Press, six of which I reviewed. 

Thus our librarian’s own scholarship and book reviewing are often assets in keeping a pulse on academic disciplines. For instance, a tincture of my published, peer-reviewed work can be found at: Touro Scholar and Facpubs.  See also AJL Proceedings, referenced in RAMBI, along with popular reviewing sources like Choice, and Jewish Book World.

Building up areas related to Womens’ history  

We strive to beef up our collection in works relating to Women in all academic disciplines. My book reviewing and scholarship assists in this process; I reviewed the following for  the journal Women in Judaism:  The Rabbi’s Daughter and the Midwife. , Chaya T. Halberstam’s Law and Truth in Biblical and Rabbinic Literature. ,  Rav Hisda’s Daughter, Book 1: Apprentice: a Novel of Love, the Talmud, and Sorcery. , Kempner, Aviva. Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg ; Merin, Tamar. The Rise of Israeli Women’s Fiction;  Fried, Mindy. Caring for Red: A Daughter’s Memoir; Haredim-Religion.com. Israel . In the peer reviewed music journal  Notes: Quarterly of the Music Library Association, I reviewed a work on the musician Sara Levy. Featured in the new books photo is Rebbetzin Vichna Kaplan: The Founder of the Bais Yaakov Movement in America and  The Martyrdom of a Moroccan Jewish Saint.

We try especially to purchase books in the area of women’s history to bring from the margins to center stage the often discriminated place of women in history as noted in a podcast discussing my recent publication, Gluskin Family History, which was reviewed by Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz of Ohr Sameach Yeshivah of Jerusalem on the Jewish Book World blog.     

Thus a host of factors noted in the above desiderata, go into the process of ordering books, thereby expanding our collection for current and future readers.

-post contributed by David Levy, Chief Librarian, Touro Lander College for Women Library.

Open Education Week 2021 Roundup

The first week of March saw the global open education community commence its annual awareness campaign, Open Education Week. The event drew institutions and organizations from around the world to share Open Educational Resources (OER) on their own websites, on social media [see #OEweek], and via the Open Education Week organizers, Open Education Consortium.

[Refresher: Open educational resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. –OERCommons.]

The Open Education Consortium made many of these open resources, shared by the community, available in one centralized location, their repository, the OE Week Library. This is a great place to browse all manner of open resources for learning and teaching, from course modules to textbooks and everything in between. And, of course, it is all openly licensed, and therefore freely available to be used, shared and reused!

Here are just a few of the OER shared with the community during this year’s Open Education Week:

  • Creative Commons has a very interesting history. If you’re looking to learn more about Creative Commons (CC) and the open licensing movement that makes open education possible, this CC Certificate Course content is a great place to start. Read the textbook offered here for all the background and history that made open education possible. https://certificates.creativecommons.org/cccertedu/




For more discussion of equity and Open Educational Resources see our previous blog post here.

And for an introduction to OER including a plethora of definitions, tips and resources, see our Open Touro OER Initiative libguide.

contributed by Kirk Snyder, Open Educational Resources & Instruction Librarian, Touro College Libraries, Midtown.

How to Find a Missing Article

When you’re hot on the trail of an article and suddenly the link is broken or the piece mysteriously vanishes, what can you do? Don’t panic! Here are a few things you can try:

Go directly to the database

If you are searching for an article in the QuickSearch bar on the Libraries website, and clicking on the link takes you to an error page, try going directly to that database and performing a search there. You can also take your search terms to other databases related to the subject you are researching, as the article might be available in a different place.

Check for open access options

Like the many Touro faculty who share an open access version of their publications in Touro Scholar, the authors of the paper you are looking for might also have shared their paper in an institutional repository. You might be able to locate an open access version of the article via a search in Google Scholar or by going directly to the institutional repository of the institution with which the authors are affiliated.

Contact a librarian

You don’t have to search alone! If you are having a challenging time finding the article you are looking for, reach out to your campus librarian for assistance. We can help you explore other places where your article might be hiding or help you find another option that suits your research needs.

Email the author

The author of the article you are looking for might be able to send you a copy of it via email. Many researchers are happy to share their work with students and colleagues, but remember that not everyone is able to do so, especially at this time; be patient if you try to get the article this way, and consider other options, especially if you need the article soon.

Request it through Interlibrary Loan

Because many libraries have closed their physical locations during the pandemic, interlibrary loan is limited at this time. Consider this your last choice option if you are not able to track down the article using any of the other approaches listed here and be prepared to seek other options if your request cannot be fulfilled.

Library Resources for Alumni

This post is from a series based on responses to the 2020 Library User Satisfaction Survey. If you have feedback throughout the year, please share your thoughts on the Libraries’ website here: www.tourolib.org/contact/suggestions

Your connections to Touro don’t end when you graduate —and neither does your access to library resources.

an open book
Photo by Stas Knop on Pexels.com

Touro alumni can use the library’s materials while in the library, although these materials cannot be checked out, and alumni also have access to any of the electronic resources the library provides access to while in the library.

And if you cannot make it into the library right now, you have continuing remote access to several databases, whether you graduated just two years ago or ten.

Some highlights include:

You can find all of the databases that allow alumni access here: https://touro-alumni.libguides.com/az.php

Finally, you might also find yourself in the archives. The Touro College Institutional Archives was created in 2007 to preserve the history of Touro College. There are many galleries and newsletters, newspapers, and yearbooks available online for you to peruse for photos of your classmates and favorite professors, and maybe even yourself!

Open Education Week 2021

This post was originally published on March 2, 2020 and has been updated.

Happy Open Education Week! At Touro College Libraries, we are celebrating all things open education this week (and the rest of the year too). Follow this blog and our social media accounts (@tourolibraries) for more.

What would you do if you had an extra $175 to spend?

One Touro student saved that much in one semester when her professors used OER, or open educational resources, instead of traditional textbooks. OER, as defined by the Hewlett Foundation, “are high-quality teaching, learning, and research materials that are free for people everywhere to use and repurpose.” These materials can include test banks, lesson plans, and assignment templates, but most commonly, the term OER is associated with textbooks.

In the definition of OER, free means both free of costs and free when it comes to the application of copyrights. OER are licensed under Creative Commons, or are simply in the public domain, which means they can be distributed, adapted, copied, edited —basically you name it — without legal repercussions.

And, as that student who saved $175 put it, “Open textbooks are helping me drastically cut costs associated with pursuing my undergraduate degree and I am now able to apply these funds towards other things including tuition payments. It makes my life easier since typically at the end of each semester I am left with these books that I will likely never use again that just take up space as they sometimes can’t be resold.”

Image source: Manfred Steger from Pixabay

Despite such positive student experiences, myths about OER abound:

Myth #1: Open simply means free. Fact: Open means the permission to freely download, edit, and share materials to better serve all students.

Myth #2: All OER are digital. Fact: OER take many formats, including print, digital, audio, and more.

Myth #3: “You get what you pay for.” Fact: OER can be produced to the same quality standards as traditional textbooks.

Myth #4: Copyright for OER is complicated Fact: Open licensing makes OER easy to freely and legally use.

Myth #5: OER are not sustainable. Fact: Models are evolving to support the sustainability and continuous improvement of OER.

Myth #6: Open textbooks lack ancillaries. Fact: Open textbooks often come with ancillaries, and when they do not, existing OER can provide additional support.

Myth #7: My institution is not ready for OER. Fact: Any institution can start with small steps toward OER that make an impact for students.

(Source: “OER Mythbusting” from SPARC)

Image source: Annett Zobel from Pixabay

Faculty across Touro are already adopting and adapting OER textbooks for their courses.

For example, the psychology department faculty at NYSCAS have adopted OER for their GPSN 110 course, and because of this, over 290 students across more than 12 sections have benefited from free, open textbooks.

Since the Open Touro initiative was established in Fall 2018, the use of OER has saved Touro students over $100,000 collegewide.

You can help increase that number by adopting, adapting, or even authoring your own OER — and librarians are here to help!

If you are interested in reviewing open textbooks available in your field, contact Sara Tabaei (sara.tabaei@touro.edu).

Learn more about the Open Touro OER Initiative here: http://libguides.tourolib.org/OER