Maura Smale is professor and chief librarian at New York City College of Technology and faculty in Interactive Technology and Pedagogy and Digital Humanities at the CUNY Graduate Center, and Mariana Regalado is professor and head of reference at Brooklyn College. Their backgrounds in anthropology and library/information science are brought together in their ongoing multi-campus research into the daily experience of undergraduates as students at the City University of New York.
In their research over the past decade, they have asked CUNY student participants about their experiences getting their academic work done outside of class, especially how and when the library does (and does not) figure in the student experience. This research has revealed details about how students fit studying into their long days also filled with responsibilities as caregivers, employees, and more. Smale and Regalado have documented how the commute can often define a student’s day or week, and explored students’ reliance on mobile technology to complete their coursework.
They have shared the results of their research into the CUNY student experience in numerous journal articles and at local and national conferences. In 2017, they published Digital Technology as Affordance and Barrier in Higher Education (Palgrave), exploring the ways CUNY students use technology in their academic work. Their 2018 book, Academic Libraries for Commuter Students: Research-based Strategies (American Library Association), brings together librarians’ and researchers’ studies into the experiences of commuter students in libraries at public colleges and universities around the U.S. Smale and Regalado’s ongoing research continues to inform their library work – impacting decisions about space, technology, research instruction, and more – and offers valuable insights on the commuter student experience for all college and university administrators, faculty, and staff.