The Faculty Coordinator will continue her review of the RUL Group Questionnaires and report to the Planning and Coordinating Committee at the next meeting. In consultation with members of the committee, she will also complete a questionnaire for the Planning and Coordinating Committee.
At the November meeting, the committee will begin to develop a list of what is considered "committed time," as part of a continuing discussion of workload issues and equity among library faculty. In the meantime, the Faculty Coordinator will contact Brent Ruben, Director of the Center for Organizational Development and Leadership, to explore ways to make use of the Center's expertise in this area.
The University Librarian will meet with the New Brunswick Faculty shortly to discuss the New Brunswick Libraries Director position and restructuring issues.
An agenda was approved for the RUL Faculty meeting in November.
The meeting was called to order at 9:30am. The agenda was adopted with one amendment. Under "New Business" was added a discussion of RUL salaries in light of the New Jersey Library Association's recommended starting salaries. Minutes of the September meeting had been approved earlier by email.
The Faculty Coordinator has finished reviewing nearly half of the Group Questionnaires completed by the chairs of all RUL teams, committees, and councils. Most recommend that their group continue in its present form. The Faculty Coordinator will complete her review and report to the committee next month.
The Mentoring Task Force will meet next week and continue their work in light of the Planning and Coordinating Committee's discussion in September. The Task Force will report preliminarily at the Library Faculty meeting in November.
Sara Harrington and Roberta Tipton provided the committee with a review and brief analysis of the literature on librarians and workload issues. This was an important concern that recurred throughout the data compiled by Sheila Creth in 2004. It relates in part to the RUL Group Questionnaire, since committee work comprises a considerable part of our workload. More importantly, an equitable division of the Libraries' workload among the faculty is fundamental to fairness in the workplace. In order to achieve some degree of equity, we must develop norms and expectations.
The committee discussed committee assignments as they relate to untenured faculty. It was pointed out that some teaching departments exempt their colleagues who are still on the tenure track from serving on committees, so that they can focus their time and energy on the requirements of tenure. On one hand, committee and council service is an excellent way to learn how the RUL system works and to contribute to the development of the Libraries. Yet it is also time-consuming for untenured librarians who need to concentrate their efforts on librarianship and scholarship. The library faculty should decide and make clear what is expected of our colleagues on the tenure track in terms of committee assignments.
The discussion emphasized that in order to develop equitable norms and expectations for all library faculty, we must have tools that will allow us to quantify workload. It was suggested that we draw upon the expertise of the Center for Organizational Development and Leadership. The Faculty Coordinator will contact Brent Ruben, the Center's Executive Director, for advice and assistance in this regard. We should also begin to develop a list of tasks which are considered "committed time," responsibilities such as committee assignments or reference desk shifts that require a librarian be in a certain place at a certain time. The committee will begin work on such a list at the November meeting. Once we have such a list, individual librarians will fill out an anonymous survey that will be used to give the faculty a sense of the limitations of a librarian's flexibility related to time when taking on assignments. We would then want to take this into consideration when developing norms and expectations for equitable workload, committee assignments, etc. In identifying what constitutes committed time, we should bear in mind that committed time often requires uncommitted time as well, such a preparing for a BI or writing a report for a committee.
The committee composed a draft agenda as follows:
After the meeting, Eileen Stec, Instruction and Outreach Librarian, will lead a program on the Project SAILS information literacy assessment.
The members discussed the RUL Group Questionnaire for the Planning and Coordinating Committee. The Faculty Coordinator will complete the questionnaire based upon this discussion, and it will be reviewed with the other questionnaires that were submitted.
At present we pay librarian Vs the NJLA minimum recommended salary. It was proposed that, in order for the Libraries to remain competitive in the job market, we should consistently meet this minimum. The University Librarian agreed, but explained that we can only raise minimum salaries once a year and that this is usually done for July 1. NJLA may announce its recommendation at other times, and Cabinet would then have to raise the minimum salary for librarian Vs at the same time.
The committee also discussed if it were possible to let librarian Vs know sooner if their annual contracts will be renewed. University regulations require specified notices for non-renewing of contracts: four months for the first year, seven months for the second year, and one year for a third year contract. All librarian Vs get a notice as a matter of course. The University Librarian explained that the decision to renew a contract is primarily the responsibility of the local unit, based on their need, a review of the incumbent's performance, and financial situations. Librarian Vs could be informed before the end of their contract if all the above were favorable. Unfortunately, we do not know our budget situation until very late, and this often means that we cannot predict far enough in advance whether we can keep an individual. In previous budget givebacks we have returned lines.
On October 4, Susan Beck made an interesting report to Cabinet on the results of the LibQual survey. She presented the data in a way that will allow us to address effectively a variety of issues and concerns. Cabinet discussed preliminarily some ways in which the Libraries could make use of the survey and the committee will do this as well. Susan will make a similar presentation at the State of the Libraries event in November. There will also be LibQual website.
There have been some concerns raised regarding our recruitment efforts. First, we have not been successful in increasing the diversity of the faculty. The Human Resources Librarian and the University Librarian will discuss this problem and in particular will address whether the Libraries have been following the recommendations of the Task Force to Increase Faculty Diversity.
We should also make a greater effort to attract the most qualified pool of applicants in our searches. Search committees must be proactive rather than reactive. They must actively seek out highly qualified candidates instead of simply posting position announcements and reading resumes. We have had some recent examples where proactive search committees were very successful.
Search committees will also need to decide upon the level of experience we want at the beginning of the search process. We may wish to hire a junior faculty with relatively little experience who will grow into the RUL culture or a more seasoned professional who will bring fresh ideas into the Libraries. This will depend in part upon the specific position for which we are recruiting, but also upon the current make-up of the library faculty. The key is to foster a balanced, diverse faculty. It is possible to hire a very highly qualified librarian with tenure, but this means the candidate must submit a tenure packet and be granted tenure before the hire becomes official. Or he or she can begin work on the packet immediately upon joining the Libraries.
The discussion of the New Brunswick Director position and of the structural issues that surround it continues. The three organizational structure reports authored by Gracemary Smulewitz, Judy Gardner, and Grace Agnew continue to be discussed. The University Librarian will meet shortly with the Access Services Committee and the New Brunswick Faculty to explore ideas. She hopes to have all comments from everyone by the end of November, so we can begin the recruitment on positions.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:40am.