Crimson Reads 2024 celebrates WSU authors during Showcase

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The story of three trailblazing women academics is one of many books being recognized by Washington State University Libraries during this year’s Crimson Reads.

Part of WSU Showcase, the annual event has celebrated WSU authors since 2010. A selection of 2023 titles is on display in Terrell Library through April 1.

We Few, We Academic Sisters: How We Persevered and Excelled in Higher Education came to fruition as a way for three senior WSU sociologists — Lois B. DeFleur, Sandra Ball-Rokeach, and Marilyn Ihinger-Tallman — to ease the isolation during COVID. Writing the book was suggested to the sociologists by Betty Houchin Winfield, who arrived at WSU in 1979 as a new assistant professor, and credits the mentorship of the three women with helping her advance to become the first female tenured and promoted faculty member in communication.

“We shared graduate student committees, gym classes, and after-work dinners. We remained lifelong friends, despite three of us moving to other universities,” Winfield said. “They were among the latter-20th-century women achieving firsts during their many career accomplishments and advancements.”

The book’s authors reflect on their personal lives, professional challenges and disappointments, and societal pressures from childhood until retirement.

“They highlight their many achievements: teaching awards, original research, and leadership. Their inspiring stories highlight the importance of determination, strength, and assistance, along with community,” Winfield said.

‘A neutral information source on technical standards’

Closeup of Chelsea Leachman
Chelsea Leachman

Chelsea Leachman, WSU science, engineering, and mathematics librarian, co-edited the open-access publication Teaching and Collecting Technical Standards: A Handbook for Librarians and Educators. Technical standards are vital for providing guidelines during the design, manufacture, testing, and use of whole products, materials, and components, according to the book description. To prepare students — especially engineering students — for the workforce, universities are increasing the use of standards within the curriculum.

Leachman said she and her collaborators published Teaching and Collecting Technical Standards to first help librarians understand technical standards. Many librarians, including engineering librarians, have limited background with technical standards.

“Our hope is to have a go-to place to find the basic background knowledge they need to then teach technical standards to students,” she said. “Much of the information regarding technical standards has been published by companies that create them, and therefore it is biased towards one company/association. We wanted to create a neutral information source on technical standards that wasn’t focused on the purchase of a product.”

Process over end result

Pete Van Mullem, professor (scholarly track), WSU Department of Educational Leadership and Sport Management, wrote Cornfields to Gold Medals: Coaching Championship Basketball, Lessons in Leadership, and A Rise from Humble Beginnings to chronicle legendary basketball coach Don Showalter’s life.

Showalter received international recognition as a coach leading the USA Basketball’s Junior National Team, where he went 62-0 and brought home 10 gold medals. Yet Showalter’s reputation is grounded in his humble, small-town Iowa upbringing and built through 42 years as a high school basketball coach in rural Iowa, according to Van Mullem. The book provides 10 leadership lessons and insight into the strategies Showalter employed in leading young athletes.

“The best projects are often the ones you never set out to do in the first place. When I met Don Showalter in the spring of 2004 at a coaching clinic, I never imagined I would eventually write his life story,” Van Mullem said. “The book project exemplifies the value of the process over the end result.”

More Crimson Reads author spotlights can be found next week at the WSU Libraries Facebook page.

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