Academic Commons Annual Report 2022 - 2023

Recap of the Year

In the two years since the COVID-19 pandemic, Jefferson (and the rest of the world) has adapted to a more versatile and hybrid way of working, collaborating, and learning. That flexibility has allowed us in the Academic Commons to pursue new and creative initiatives and practices of work to ensure we’re supporting all of our Jefferson community – whether online or in person.

In 2022-2023, the Gutman Library became a hub of activity for students and staff on the East Falls campus craving in-person connection. Scott Library's Archives & Special Collections began the transformation and renovation of its physical space, which will create more opportunities for exploration and in-person collaboration. The AV Equipment Services and Educational Technologies teams continued supporting the hybrid classroom for people still working and learning online and helped instructors build confidence with new educational tools. New online communities and self-paced modules allowed instructors to build networks and learn conveniently. These self-paced modules and more are advertised on our new Academic Commons website. The new site makes it easier to find resources, register for workshops, and browse our projects in photography, design, and video production.

Academic Commons website homepage
Academic Commons website workshop calendar & services pages

Jefferson Libraries

Library Help Sessions & Consultations

Jefferson Libraries implemented a new ticketing system for “Live Chats” and launched a combined Library Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) website for Dixon, Gutman, and Scott library patrons. Staff can now analyze trends in Live Chats, including common questions, most popular times of day to seek assistance, etc., which will influence updates in ways of working, website content, and more to best support our library visitors.

Gutman Library’s Reference Services staff initiated a new “doorbell” reference structure at the Information Desk, helping students feel comfortable asking for reference support and making the librarians approachable and accessible.

In Spring 2023, the Access Services teams from Gutman and Scott libraries gathered for a retreat to get to know each other and design future initiatives and ways of work to help Jefferson students, instructors, and researchers.

Access Services staff at the retreat

Library Instruction Sessions

In 2022 - 2023, the libraries saw a 69% increase in instruction sessions, and librarians connected with 2,664 more students than the previous year!

Interlibrary Loan (Borrowing from another library)

The library collections teams from Gutman and Scott merged interlibrary loan systems, and now both utilize the EZBorrow service. Jeffersonians can now borrow books and other physical library materials from 52 college and university member libraries in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and West Virginia.

Jefferson Libraries Websites

In late Fall 2022, the Dixon Library on the Horsham campus received its own website! Now, nursing students, faculty, and staff on that campus have a devoted space online to browse resources, request to meet with the Dixon librarian, and more.

Dixon Library's homepage

Student Programming at Gutman Library

As the Fall 2022 semester began, Gutman Library was eager to provide students with opportunities to connect with library staff and each other. Staff launched three programs that will continue in the years to come. Coffee with a Librarian is a weekly program offering students an informal setting to grab a snack, ask a librarian a question, or get to know staff. Documentary Film Nights provide a safe space to build community around a shared interest while watching and discussing films. Brain Breaks, run during Reading Days and Finals Week, allow students to refuel with food/drink, enjoy stress-relieving activities, and even hang out with service dogs. In Spring 2023, to celebrate International Women’s Day, Gutman hosted Intersectional Feminisms, which coincided with a library collection of resources about sexism, misogyny, and misogynoir. In total, library staff led 56 events for students at East Falls.

Brain Breaks are held during finals week each semester on the Main Floor of the library
Flyers for Gutman Library programs (Intersectional Feminism, Coffee with a Librarian, Documentary Film Nights)

Expanding Open Access Publishing Opportunities

Jefferson Libraries created more open access publishing opportunities for Jefferson scholars this year. In addition to the Jefferson Open Access Publishing Fund, Jefferson authors can now publish in open access Wiley, Hindawi, and American Chemical Society (ACS) journals. These institutional open access agreements waive Article Processing Charges (APCs) for publishing in open access journals. Since the Wiley open access publishing agreement went into effect in April 2023, the eight articles published by Jefferson authors saved the university and authors about $19,000.

Archives & Special Collections

East Falls Special Collections & Textile and Costume Collection

The Design Center on the East Falls campus, home to the Textile & Costume Collection, had a busy year. In addition to hosting “Hanger Making Hangouts,” where students learned to create archival hangers for objects in the collection, staff digitized the entire collection of Dorothy Liebes textile samples (nearly 700 pieces). These samples are accessible via Jefferson's JSTOR collection.

The team hosted 100 more visitors to the Design Center than the previous year. Exhibit titles: Let’s Get into Physical, Mighty Manipulations, Dorothy Liebes Textile Technology: Items from the Robert Wagner Collection, Comfort and Convenience: The Evolution of Men’s Accessories.

Another new digital collection developed this year was the Thomas Jefferson University- East Falls Historical Photo Archive. The East Falls Special Collections team digitized a wide range of yearbook images of sports clubs, fashion shows, classroom learning, loom equipment, and more. The collection highlights the various eras of the school's history.

Historical photographs from the collection. Check out President Joe Biden, on campus circa 1990

Center City Archives & Special Collections Expansion

In late Spring 2023, the Center City Archives & Special Collections began an expansion project. After years of discussion around desired improvements for storage and exhibition space, Dr. Marion Siegman, a long-time champion of the Archives, contributed a generous donation to renovate the Archives, now called the Siegman Archives.

4th floor of Scott Library in summer 2023
Renderings of the Siegman Archives space

The reimagined Siegman Archives, on Scott Library's 4th floor, will provide space to showcase the Collection’s artifacts to the Jefferson community. Open exhibit space and shelves will highlight materials for students. Designated areas for programming and lectures will be used to host events, and newly constructed rooms for individual or group research will encourage scholars to interact with the Collection in new ways. The renovation will also allow for better storage and organization of the materials. The Siegman Archives are expected to open in January 2024.

The Siegman Archives website provides up-to-date images and videos of progress and more information about the project.

Professional Communications

The Office for Professional Writing, Publishing, & Communication

The Office for Professional Writing, Publishing, & Communication (OPWPC) expanded its impact in 2022-2023, supporting 14 more clients and helping 48 more works get published than the previous year. In total, the team reviewed 513 documents and 117 presentations.

OPWPC staff highlights from 2022 – 2023 include:

  • Served on editorial board of Evanescent and the Theresa and Charles Yeo Writing Prize
  • Co-facilitated DEI book club with Dr. Bernie Lopez in the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
  • Co-chaired the Science Communication Series
  • Mentored PSERT & Postdoctoral teams
  • Helped launch the Graduate Student Association Science Slam
  • Mentored Inside Out
  • Piloted the Write Your Story creative writing workshop series

Jefferson Digital Commons (JDC)

The JDC, Jefferson’s institutional digital repository, offers Jefferson authors a resource to share their scholarly work with the world.

Educational Technologies & Instructional Design

From new online communities and self-paced learning modules to "drop in" in-person events, Academic Commons staff got creative to provide Jefferson educators with teaching and learning expertise conveniently and effectively.

The instructional design team played an integral role in developing and launching new programs in the College of Health Professions this year.

Canvas template header graphic for the Respiratory Therapy program (created by Demi Barzana)

In the Respiratory Therapy program, instructional design staff held weekly meetings with program directors, built course content, including a Canvas template, for instructors to utilize, and supported instructors with the adaptation of tools like Nearpod and Packback. The team will continue to build courses for Respiratory Therapy with educational best practices in mind.

Canvas template header graphic for Medical Laboratory Sciences & Biotechnology program (created by Demi Barzana)

Staff also supported the Medical Laboratory Sciences and Biotechnology program as they re-designed their online course. Instructional designers created a Canvas template, offered best practices around implementing technologies like Studio and Panopto into lecture content, helped build a sense of community in the online courses, and provided strategies for assessment. Staff frequently met with directors, subject matter experts, and faculty throughout the process.

Graduate students at an Ally Awareness table in the East Falls Kanbar Student Center

The Instructional Design team ran Jefferson’s first-ever Ally Week, generating awareness among students and faculty around Ally – an accessibility tool within Canvas that offers learners alternative file types and provides faculty with “accessibility scores” and suggestions to improve their content. Partnering with graduate students in Jefferson’s Occupational Therapy program, the team created student-facing resources and tabled at student events to educate learners about Ally. Workshops for faculty and messaging on Canvas gave instructors tips to use the accessibility tool. A fun, low-stakes competition encouraged faculty to improve their course content. During Ally Week, instructors made 183 “fixes” in 26 courses, and 260 students downloaded 561 alternative file formats.

The Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SoTL) online community also piloted this year. This group of seven included instructors and graduate students who provided support and offered guidance to each other as they discussed the steps involved in SoTL research, developed their plans, and shared progress.

In addition to providing educators with real-time online communities, Instructional Designers also developed three new self-paced learning modules. The Science of Learning, Effective Group Assignments, and Getting Started with the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning modules are accessible on the new Academic Commons website. Instructors can explore these programs at their convenience.

Audio Visuals, Graphics, Photography, & Videography

The AV Equipment Services, Graphics & Medical Illustrations, Photography, and Video Production - saw significant increases in projects and requests. Highlights of the year include the Photography team’s involvement in Jefferson’s 199th Commencement, where they snapped over 10,000 images (see below), and the Videography team's support of Jefferson’s second annual TedX event. The Audio Visual team received over 2,000 more requests than the previous year. Graphics and illustration requests almost doubled from the previous year (260 requests).

Just a few of the special moments captured by the Photography team at graduation events
The design work of Anne Namocatcat, Medical Illustrator, was published in the Neurosurgery journal.

Staff Highlights


Becky Miller co-authored the protocol, “The Impact of COVID-19 on Healthcare-Associated Infections in Acute Care: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis,” published by the National Institute for Health and Care Research

Cover art for Karen Kirchhoff's published work

Karen Kirchhoff published the photograph book "In the Basement: Punk Music Spaces," by Brown Owl Press. "In the Basement" is a series of large format camera photographs taken in the early 2000s of punk music spaces.


Matt Cockerell & Elif Gokbel with their poster presentations

Matt Cockerell presented a poster "Making the Rounds: An Iterative Approach to Engaging Faculty and Stakeholders in the Development of an Integrated Curriculum in the Health Professions” at the AACU Transforming STEM Higher Education Conference with Jefferson's College of Pharmacy.

Elif Gokbel presented the poster “Using Learning Analytics to Empower your Pedagogy,” at the 21st Annual Faculty Conference on Teaching Excellence at Temple University. Elif won the Best Presentation Award.

Faculty Days 2023 Presentations

Carmín Disbrow led the “Navigating DEI Dilemmas: A CBL Learning Experience” workshop.

Elif Gokbel co-led “Advancing Educational Experiences for the NP Student Using an On-Demand Virtual Patient Simulation” with Laura Roettger in the Jefferson’s College of Nursing.

Julie Phillips co-led “It’s Getting HOT in Here: Recognizing and Addressing Heated, Offensive and/or Tense (HOT) Moments” with Jefferson’s Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education members.