Teaching Support 

Special Collections offers a range of services for instructors interested in teaching with and about the books, manuscripts, and other material in our collections. Special Collections staff can provide help with identifying appropriate material and developing class assignments. We are also prepared to assist with or conduct any of a variety of instruction sessions ranging from a general introduction to the resources that are available in the Special Collections Library to an in-depth presentation on specific materials and their historical contexts.

Special Collections Instruction 

Students who encounter primary sources gain a unique window into the subject they are studying, and an opportunity to learn firsthand how primary sources are used to create original research. As they learn to successfully use primary sources, they also gain important skills that help them navigate the use of other information sources, and further develop critical thinking skills.

Instruction can come in many forms, including:

Request an instruction session by contacting Special Collections via email special@westga.edu at least two weeks in advance.

Assignment Design

Do you have a course or assignment that incorporates primary source research or Special Collections and University Archives materials into the final product or learning outcome? We are happy to meet with you to discuss ways your students can interact with our materials. We can assist you with identifying relevant materials for your course or assignment or to think of creative ways to integrate primary research into your class.

Research Consultations 

Encourage students who encounter difficult research problems to contact Special Collections. We can provide a general introduction to finding and using our materials, or a specialized session on resource discovery tailored to a specific course or assignment.


Our staff can give basic departmental tours and exhibit “gallery talks” to groups. Faculty, students, and external researchers are encouraged to schedule a tour at least two weeks in advance. For more information, call Shanee' Murrain at (678) 839-5350, or email special@westga.edu 

  • Undergraduate Students
    Undergraduate Students

    Lower-division“Intro to Special Collections”

    Purpose: To introduce students to the “who, what, where, when, why” of Special Collections.

    Time: 30 minutes in-class plus student assignment to write reflective paper.

    Learning Objectives: Difference between primary and secondary sources, knowledge of types of materials in Special Collections, introduction to critical analysis of primary sources, feeling welcome.

    GOAL: to offer students the broadest, earliest exposure to the primary sources in Special Collections

    Upper-division“University History in Primary Sources”

    Purpose: To orient students to Special Collections and to teach them how to think critically about primary sources by using materials (documents, photographs, student newspapers, etc.) relating to UWG history.

    Audience: Upper-division students in all disciplines

    Time: 1 ½ hours of in-class time (one hour in orientation and one half hour of post-mortem discussion) plus student assignment to complete analysis worksheets which will take approximately 1 ½ hours of student time out of class

    •  Discipline-specific one-shots
    • XIDS 2002 First-Year Seminar: What Do You Know About Campus History?
    GOAL: to have each upper-division student involved in an exercise/assignment using Special Collections materials. First targets: English, History, Psychology, and Political Science.
  • Graduate Students
    Graduate Students
    Discipline-specific one shots relating to collection strengths/materials we hold. Right now we have basic curriculum for the following:
    • 19th and 20th C. American authors
    • Children’s literature
    • Regional history of West Georgia
    • Georgia
    • Latin America
    • Humanistic Psychology
    • Parapsychology
    •  Political History of Georgia
    Special Collections Research Symposium on Psychology
    Inter-disciplinary one-shots relating to the history of material texts
    • Components of the Book including papermaking, type, and binding
    • History of Book Collecting
    • Intro to Bibliography and Textual Scholarship
    • Book illustration methods
  • General Public
    General Public
    Instructional sessions, in Special Collections, on a variety of topics including:
    • Conducting genealogical research
    • Researching local history
    • Tours
    • And more….