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Michael Wirtz

Head, Research and Library Technology, VCUQatar

Assistant Professor
VCUQatar Library

VCUQatar Library, Room 106-Q

Michael Wirtz is the Design Research Librarian with specific liaisonship to and teaching responsibilities in the VCUQatar’s Masters of Fine Arts program. In addition to supporting the research of the MFA students and faculty, Michael provides instruction on research methods, information literacy and critical thinking. Michael’s research centers around the development of tools and techniques for information literacy and critical thinking instruction, and the use of technology in producing reliable information resources.

Michael graduated with a MA in Information Resources and Library Science from the University of Arizona. Previous to that, he received his MFA in Painting and Drawing from Arizona State University. For his undergraduate education, Michael attended the University of Wyoming where he received both a BFA, specializing in Painting and Printmaking, and a BA in Journalism with a minor in Religious Studies. Before joining the VCUQatar Library in 2009, Michael was the Library Supervisor for the Arizona State University Polytechnic campus library in Mesa, Arizona.

Michael Wirtz's current research looks at developing interactive tools for information discovery. He is interested in finding ways the library can connect students to information as an alternative to the "lists of links" subject guides that are common in academic libraries. Most recently I have been developing map and timeline-based interactions designed to allow students to discover connections in Islamic art history as well as typographic history. Through this research, I hope to create tools that will allow students to see objects in context and interactively discover, rather than simply choose, appropriate information resources.

Michael Wirtz's profile on VCUQatar website


  • M.A. Information Resources and Library Science, University of Arizona, 2008
  • M.F.A. Painting, Arizona State University, 2004
  • B.F.A. Fine Art - Painting and Printmaking, University of Wyoming, 2000
  • B.A. Journalism, University of Wyoming, 1998

Previous professional experience

  • Head of Research and Library Technology, Assistant Podessor, VCU Qatar, 2011-Present
  • Design Research Librarian, VCU Qatar, 2009-2011
  • Library Supervisor, Arizona State University, Polytechnic Campus, 2007-2009
  • Adjunct Art Instructor, Arizona State University, 2005-2007
  • Senior Library Specialist, Arizona State University, Polytechnic Campus, 2006-2007
  • Adjunct Art Instructor, Mesa Community College, 2006

Teaching experience

  • Design Research Methodologies
  • Interdisciplinary Design Seminar

Selected presentations

  • Wirtz, M. (2014, April 17). Scholarly impact and predatory journals. Teaching and Learning Lecture Series, co-presented with Carol Hansen. Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar, Doha, Qatar.
  • Wirtz, M. (2013, November 26). Using blogs as a pedagogical tool in higher education. Information Literacy Network of the Gulf Conference. Georgetown University, Doha, Qatar. 
  • Wirtz, M. (2013). Deeply embedded: Library studio partnerships in the development of a graduate design curriculum. Presented at Art Libraries Association of North America.
  • Wirtz, M. (2012). Information literacy by design: An integrative partnership in the graduate studio. Presented at Information Literacy Network of the Gulf Region.
  • Wirtz, M. (2011, April 17). Zotero. Workshop as part of the Faculty Professional Development Series. Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar, Doha, Qatar.
  • Wirtz, M. (2011). Discovery by design: A wayfinding approach to browsing. Poster presented at Art Libraries Society of North America/Visual Resources Association.
  • Wirtz, M. (2011, January 2016). Paintings by Michael Wirtz. Faculty Show and Tell Lecture Series. Virginia Commonwealth University, Doha, Qatar.
  • Wirtz, M. (2010). We’re not that smart: How our brains fools us and what it means for information literacy. Presented at Information Literacy Network of the Gulf Region.

Selected publications

  • Wirtz, M. (2014). Tasmeem: An inauguration through ‘Hybrid Making.’ Tasmeem Journal 2014.
  • Wirtz, M. (2013). Tasmeem Journal – A New Beginning. Context 2.
  • Erickson, M., Klein, J., Wirtz, M. (2011). Objective-driven evaluation: A collaboration between studio foundations and art educations. FATE in Review, 32.
  • Wirtz, M. (2006). Artwork featured in: Ellin, Nan, and Edward Booth-Clibborn. Phoenix: 21st Century City. Booth-Clibborn.
  • Wirtz, M. (2006). Featured artist in: New American Painting 66. Open Studios Press, Boston, MA.


  • Faculty Research Grant, VCU Qatar, 2012
  • Contemporary Forum Artist’s Grant Recipient, 2005
  • Award of Excellence, Contemporary Art Society, Tucson Museum of Art, 2005 
  • Second Place, Carnegie Arts Center, Alliance Nebraska, 2005

Current VCUQatar committee work

  • VCUQatar Tasmeem Journal Committee, Co-Editor

Current VCUQatar Libraries committee work

  • Systems Team, Chair
  • Instruction Team
  • Collection Development Team

Professional organizations

  • ILN
  • ACRL

Research Interest

  • Systems Team, Chair
  • Instruction Team
  • Collection Development Team


VCU Libraries

James Branch Cabell Library Monroe Park Campus
901 Park Ave., Box 842033
Richmond, VA 23284-2033
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
(804) 828-1111
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509 N. 12th St., Box 980582
Richmond, VA 23298-0582
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