Kris MacPherson


Kris MacPherson

Reference/Instruction Librarian

St. Olaf College Libraries and
Department of Asian Studies

Rolvaag Memorial Library, Room 304
1510 St. Olaf Ave.
Northfield, MN 55057-1097
(507) 786-6798

By occupation, I am a faculty member at St. Olaf College, currently serving as a Reference and Instruction Librarian for the St. Olaf College Libraries, and teaching in the Department of Asian Studies. I am in my thirty-first year at St. Olaf -- in the early days I focused primarily on reference and bibliographic instruction and then I served as College Librarian and department chair for six years. I have now rotated back to my original assignment, and have added teaching in the Department of Asian Studies. I particularly enjoy the increased student contact that this position brings.

My current areas of responsibility in the Libraries are providing library instruction for the departments of Asian Studies, History, ARMS, Family and Social Services, and the American Studies, Environmental Studies and Women Studies programs, and teaching at the reference desk.

I also teach AsSt 275: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Asia. This course is designed to introduce newer Asian Studies majors and concentrators to the interdisciplinary nature of the field and to prepare them for the senior seminar. Students gain a thorough grounding in the approaches different disciplines make to a common body of knowledge and come to understand both disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches via presentations by departmental faculty. Additionally, students use the resources available to researchers in Asian Studies in a systematic and in-depth way so that they are prepared to do research in the senior seminar. Students begin to build their professional libraries using EndNote. The course also introduces students to professional organizations, careers and education beyond the undergradutate degree in the field.

My academic areas of interest include Asian Studies, Information Literacy and Environmental Education. I have written and presented on the first two and you can see my list of publications/papers.

I was privileged to lead the 1996/97 Term in Asia program and you can read of our adventures through the group letters, or scan my very small photo album. I subsequently returned to Asia with another group of intrepid students for Fall/Interim 2007/08. I taught a course called Food, Farming and Families to supplement the standard courses on environmental issues in China, Thai society, Thai language, and Vietnamese history. Please feel free to browse my blog/parent letters and excerpts from student journals.

In January 2001, I co-taught ES 259, Saving Wild Places. We were at St. Olaf for a week, in northern Minnesota for two and one-half weeks and back on campus for a week. It was a history course on the value of wilderness to American society. Lots of experiential learning was mixed in -- skiing and snowshoeing, making mukluks at Northhouse Folk School, etc.

From 1999 to 2004, I provided leadership for Superior Studies, a consortium-based Environmental Studies Summer program for undergraduates based at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, Minnesota. Responsibilities there ranged from recruitment and administrative tasks to leading canoe and backpacking trips to providing a "presence" in the dorm. I also directed the Summer Youth Program (summer camp) for 10-16 year olds for the 5 previous summers at Wolf Ridge.

I spent the summer of 2006 in Tokyo, living in a Japanese dorm and studying Japanese language at International Christian University.

In August of 2008, I led three students to Japan to participate in the programs of the Asian Rural Institute, and to WWOOF in Hokkaido. We planted buckwheat (soba), weeded all manner of vegetables, mucked out pigs and cows, and harvested potatoes and rocks.

As for outside interests, I am a mother and wife, a knitter, a baker of desserts (especially of the chocolate variety), a canoeist and hiker, and a student of Japanese language. I spend much of my free time on the Gunflint Trail in northern Minnesota. And you shouldn't be surprised if we're talking outside to have me suddenly glance into the sky if I catch sight of a raptor passing over!

Kris MacPherson
Date Last Modified: 29 Nov 2012