The University is in the process of developing a new budgeting model to replace all funds budgeting. Responsibility Centered Management (RCM) is the new model, and it focuses on giving more responsibility and accountability to units for their budgets. In the basic model, academic units, such as schools and departments, will be able to keep revenue generated from their enrollments, tuition, distance education, etc., but reimburse central units for facilities and services. The Libraries would be one of the services reimbursed under this model. It is not yet clear how RCM would apply to the Libraries as a central service, as we are not a revenue generating unit (except for grants and fund raising). Gaunt has been named to the newly constituted RCM Advisory Committee. There will also be an RCM Technical Advisory Committee. The RCM Steering Committee is composed of the chancellors, Senior VP Fehn, and President Barchi.
Gaunt and Fredenburg met recently with the new Senior VP for Finance, Michael Gower. The purpose was to provide background on the Libraries budgeting with issues and challenges unique to the Libraries. In addition, we provided an overview of the merger and the benefits of the central system. In the course of discussion, Gower mentioned that he will be requesting budget plans soon. Gaunt asked Cabinet members to prepare their requests and have them to her no later than March 1, so that we may incorporate priorities into the RUL budget request. Budget requests should be specific, accompanied by statements of impact, and how funds would advance the strategic plan.
Gaunt reminded AULs and Directors to hold their strategic plan unit discussions soon. The date for unit recommendations has been changed to February 10 to ensure fulsome discussions. Recommendations should be sent to Boyle, who will do the compilation. Recommendations should be submitted as advancing a pillar or pillars of the university plan.
Mid-year reports of accomplishments, including major ongoing work, should be submitted in bullet format to Gaunt by March 1.
The purpose of the discussion was to identify opportunities for library faculty to develop administrative/management experience and skills. Because the faculty structure is relatively flat, librarians do not have many opportunities to exercise management (budget/personnel) skills, nor do they have titles that reflect these responsibilities. While leadership can be developed and exercised without administrative responsibilities, not having direct administrative responsibility may put our librarians at a disadvantage for a position with management responsibilities here or elsewhere. There may be opportunities for managing our shared work as opposed to coordinating it, allowing for functional responsibility. This may provide professional development opportunities as well as advancing the Libraries agenda. Cohn described the Health Sciences structure and how librarians have administrative responsibilities, allowing for both responsibility and accountability in moving work forward. We agreed that this area needs further discussion and planning for a way to provide opportunities for management responsibilities. Cabinet will resume the discussion at the meeting after next.
Glazer and Barbalace updated Cabinet, as requested, on progress with the branding of the Libraries. They presented data taken from Counting Opinions regarding eight areas of the Libraries current brand to show which services resonate with our users, and how certain aspects of our brand fit into the strategic plan of the university. In reviewing the data, it was noted that in some cases it was not clear which aspects of an area were being measured, such as “technology.” In others, Cabinet suggested that we change the rhetoric to desired results (changing “inter-library loan” to “getting what you need when you need it”). Barbalace amplified the numerical data with more specifics about what users wrote in their responses. Convenience was mentioned frequently. Quiet spaces are desired, but the definition of quiet spaces varies; users want all kinds of space; in technology, users specified Wi-Fi, more computers, more printers, and more outlets. Cabinet agreed that the team was on the right track, and asked them to continue their work changing the rhetoric, and reporting back.
This topic was a continuation of the digital priorities discussion at Cabinet during which we agreed it needed more time as a separate agenda item. Gaunt shared a draft document with principles for various aspects of our web presence: what are the goals/focus of the website; what are the editorial practices going forward for content; what are the principles of the web design. All felt these were important to understanding what we are trying to achieve, so that anyone(s) responsible for any part of our website can do their job effectively. The website can have a primary focus/goal as well as a secondary focus. The web is a primary tool for our users, and the document defines what are primary (core) activities for users, such as finding our information resources, learning about the Libraries (services, scope of facilities, policies), contacting us (by role, name, library, phone/email), getting help, donating to the Libraries, and promoting RUL, its collections, services, staff.
We agreed that Drupal will allow us to designate editors for specified content, requiring all editors to learn Drupal, and to keep this content up to date. There may be a need for specific library web pages; we will accomplish that through portals, so that a certain level of consistency is maintained, but unique needs of a community will be served effectively. We agreed that since the new website was launched, we are at a different stage in development and management of our web presence, and we need to consider what structure best serves us now. Just and Agnew will look at how we move this topic forward; Just and Cohn will work on the principles for web portals and we will add them to the principles document; and decisions on editors for various content will be made by whatever group/structure is designated for web management going forward.
There were a few edits and addition on the principles. We will consider this a work in progress, but the principles will stand for now.