Faculty Focus: Laureen Marchand

Laureen Marchand: Guiding Students through Gateway of Information

By Stephanie Edwards |   October 2010

Laureen Marchand , Faculty

UMUC graduate students have at least one thing in common—they are required to take UCSP 611, Introduction to Graduate Library Research Skills. It is only natural that this important gateway course is taught by Laureen Marchand— a librarian, artist, teacher, mentor, writer and editor, who has personally experienced the value of fine-tuned research skills in her multi-faceted career.

A resident of Saskatchewan, Canada, Laureen draws on her many passions when teaching UCSP 611. She has been an artist for thirty years and a librarian for twenty-five and said that for most of the time the two careers ran concurrently. As an online faculty member, she’s been able to combine her expertise to guide others.

Laureen points out that having a course like UCSP 611 is very important, as it can be applied in every area of study and to nearly every aspect of real life, and opens more doors than you can imagine. “We need to be able to sort out what is relevant and valuable to us from the morass of opinions, ideas, “spin,” and useful facts that we are all confronted with every day. 611 gives us the tools we need. It’s a lot to ask of a course—but UCSP 611 delivers!”

UCSP 611 teaches students to access and manage data from many sources including online sources, scholarly journals, government resources and community-based internet projects. “By the end of the course, students should know how to research online in their specialized area of interest, and there isn’t an area of study that this course can’t be applied to,” says Laureen. She noted that when describing the course to friends, they often say they “I should take that course!”

As an artist, Laureen has exhibited internationally, in addition to teaching and mentoring other artists, and writing about art and its applications. When asked how she brings her art skills to the UMUC classroom she said, “Art teaches us to find what is real and special in each circumstance. Each of my students is real and special, as are the subjects to which they bring their incredible energy and focus. I’m privileged to work with them.”

She recently authored one of the online components of The Art of Managing Your Career, a print and online guide for artists, spearheaded by the Cultural Human Resources Council in Ottawa, Canada. Marchand produced an online section, The Art of Managing Your Career in Visual Arts, geared towards visual artists interested in building a successful career from their art. She noted, “That kind of experience is invaluable for someone working with others who are developing their own similar skills.”

Along with being an art connoisseur, Laureen is also a librarian for the Saskatoon Theological Union (STU), a consortium of three protestant seminaries affiliated with the University of Saskatchewan. As STU’s Head Librarian, Marchand works nearly full time and covers three libraries in two buildings, two offices, with a small staff.

Laureen says she loves the people and the variety of projects at the library. “I get to combine the artist’s desire to create and change with the librarian’s desire to help bring knowledge to those who want it…an environment that combines scholarship, technology, passionate discourse, beauty, spirituality, and song. It’s a right-brained/left-brained artist/librarian’s dream!”

Balancing such a full life successfully allows Laureen to give sound advice to students doing the same, “My best advice would be, no matter how busy you are or how overwhelmed you feel, don’t forget to bring each project the attention it deserves. Being present in the choices we make gives us abundance to reduce pressure.” 

Laureen is happy to bring all of her self-proclaimed ‘right and left-brained’ experiences to the table when teaching Graduate Library Research Skills at UMUC. “To me both parts of the human possibility are important. As teacher, I can apply my skills in organization to help others discover theirs, and I can bring my new insight to support those intuitive leaps that make research its most rewarding.”