Principled Uncertainty as Catalyst for Learning

By Craig Gibson, Professor and Professional Development Coordinator in the Libraries at The Ohio State University


On Wednesday, April 20th, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EST, The Ohio State University Libraries (OSUL) will host a virtual chat entitled, “Principled Uncertainty as a Catalyst for Learning: A Conversation with Barbara Fister.” Barbara Fister, a well-known information literacy advocate and the Scholar in Residence at Project Information Literacy (PIL), will join Michael Flierl, the Information Literacy and Research Engagement Librarian at OSUL, who will moderate the 90-minute session, to discuss how librarians and educators can help students deal with uncertainty by developing ethical curiosity as an everyday life habit.

As academic librarians, how do we develop dispositions like curiosity in order to enable “principled uncertainty,” especially at scale? How do we work across curricula to develop this habit of mind in assignments and courses? How do we work with faculty and faculty developers to accomplish this shift in mindset over time? How do we leverage the “one-shot” instruction session to encourage more open-ended exploration of complex subjects on the part of students to encourage more open-ended exploration of complex topics as learning trajectories, to resist the drive for “settled answers”?

During a virtual conversation with librarians, faculty, staff and students from the OSU library system, Writing Center and the Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing, the Drake Institute for Teaching and Learning, at OSU as well as members of the statewide ALAO organization, Fister will explore these questions and draw from both her depth of experience leading an academic library and her recent article, “Principled Uncertainty: Why Learning to Ask Good Questions Matters More than Finding Answers,” for the PIL Provocation Series. Fister, Professor Emerita, Gustavus Adolphus College (MN), designed workshops and taught courses on information literacy at the college level for over 30 years. She is the Contributing Editor for the PIL Provocation Series, and has been PIL’s Scholar in Residence since 2019.

The virtual discussion is limited to 60 – 65 participants who may register in advance hereALAO members are invited to attend.