by Chris Petersen and Tiah Edmunson-Morton
The Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC) at Oregon State University Libraries is home to very active and well-regarded programs in instruction and oral history. Both of these components of SCARC’s mission were brought to bear through a colloquium class taught in Winter 2018 by two SCARC faculty members and housed within the University Honors College at OSU. The class was titled “OSU, Women and Oral History: An Exploration of 150 Years.” This case study tells the story of the class, with particular emphasis on the Society of American Archivists’ Primary Source Literacy Objective 4F “Demonstrate historical empathy, curiosity about the past, and appreciation for historical sources and historical actors.” By using a wide array of primary sources documenting themes in women’s history at OSU, the class built students’ historical empathy, prompted their curiosity about the past, and fostered their appreciation for historical sources and historical actors, some of whom the students ultimately met as a component of their coursework. Over the course of the term, the instructors learned more about the efficacy of different approaches to generating discussion and developing ideas that informed the retailoring of the class, which was offered again in 2019 and 2020.