New Brunswick Libraries Faculty Meeting - Special Meeting
September 21 , 2005
Jackie Mardikian (facilitator), Rebecca Gardner, Myoung Wilson, John Shepard, Jeris Cassel, Martin Kesselman, Mei ling Lo, Patricia Piermatti, Ying Zhang, Ferris Olin, Connie Wu, Eileen Stec (recorder), Patricia Libutti, Kayo Denda, Karen Hartman, Triveni Kuchi, Joseph Consoli, Bill Hemmig, Laura Mullen, Ron Jantz, Jane Sloan, Ryan Womack, Lourdes Vazquez, Tom Glynn, Kevin Mulcahy
The following notes represent ongoing discussion threads. Any vote taken is to be considered a “straw vote” and non-binding.
Presentations for two representative positions were made regarding the future form of the NBL Director’s position:
NBL Faculty departmental Chair, either elected from among the faculty or chosen permanently from a national search. This person will truly represent NBL faculty, rather than faculty interests be added on to an already busy person’s agenda.
No departmental Chair, rather, an AUL or Deputy UL to mentor faculty with special authority for NBL. This person will have greater access to administration’s power than a faculty chair.
Comments for and against each approach were made:
NBL Faculty Chair:
Among the duties of a Chair/Director would be the structure of NBL, mentoring of untenured faculty, and representing the faculty to the larger university.
There is concern that an AUL will not have NBL issues at heart.
In the past, the NBL administrator acted as a gatekeeper, leading people to project to work on. There is concern that an AUL will stifle NBL initiatives and matching appropriate people with projects.
There was concern that if we lose staff i.e. we are not under that same authority that supervises staff positions we will be unable to continue our work.
- No Chair, AUL or Deputy UL
- How will this approach affect Camden and Newark? Will they lose their directors? Discussants felt Camden and Newark will keep their directors, as these individuals also report to local Provosts.
- NBL faculty works more with Access Services and perhaps we should be under the same AUL as Access Services.
- The AUL model is the most pragmatic. Should an individual only be concerned with faculty, or Access Services and faculty? Realistically, the person hired will be a someone who fits in with the Cabinet culture.
- We must join with the administrators in this process rather than in the current adversarial position that many of us hold this group.
- We should not concern ourselves with the issue of Camden and Newark Directors in our planning--that is not our issue.
- It was suggested that we should engage another consultant to take on the working through of these issues. It was pointed out that the problem is not with the consultants’ advice, but that our administration chooses to ignore some of it.
- A straw poll was taken to gauge support for each of the two structural forms the NBL leader might take.
AUL/ DUL 16 votes
NBL Chair 6 votes
Abstentions 1 vote
- The Chair asked each participant in the room to answer in turn the question, “What do we need in an NBL leader:”
- A leader with a vision beyond libraries and who has leadership ability.
- Someone who makes resources and opportunities available locally.
- A person to maintain good relations with all academic departments.
- Someone who is a good developer of library faculty (professional development).
- An individual who can be a powerful communicator between NBL/RUL/Camden/Newark.
- A public services person (envisioning an AUL) who is not in charge of staff, except staff under supervision of the librarians. Camden and Newark should also report to this person.
- The leader should emphasize external relationships with departments and donors
- This person should be the opposite of a gatekeeper, supporting the initiatives from the librarians. We need a healer.
- Someone with vision and inspiration who makes a presence in the NB academic community.
- An intellectual leader who is aware of the distinct collection requirements and can represent this to donors.
- This person should possess intellectual leadership--someone who feels on a par with academic Deans and who represents what is best about NB (what makes us distinctive). We are a research university and this leader must be accepted in that context.
- A person with a strong presence who will market NBL to the departments.
- An individual with the ability to handle personnel issues of the tenure process
- A mentor and a strong voice for untenured faculty.
- A maintainer of good relations with academic department.
- A person who is concerned about the direction current NBL activities go and who will do them. Someone to direct collections.
- A leader who can make the process of decision making clear.
- A person with ideas; someone to bounce ideas off of; a provider of needed resources; someone who can put a framework about what we do; someone who can bring cohesiveness to our diversity.
- This person can provide support to NBL faculty as a group as well as individuals; someone who can communicate and intermediate our exciting activities to others.
- The NBL leader needs a direct connection, so each faculty member feels important. This person must be a strong advocate who helps us navigate fundraising and is willing to take the arrows for the NBL faculty. The leader should be directly involved in collections, reference, teaching, i.e. the everyday work of librarians.
- The individual will provide intellectual leadership and motivation; help librarians connect to staff for support of projects, etc.
[It should be noted that many individuals also mentioned that this person must get the faculty the resources needed for our work and research.]
The following comments were made during our discussion on digital topics:
- On person will reluctantly support, the SCC reporting to an AUL. The SCC is becoming a top down organization. Where will digital projects fit when the SCC goes away? There won’t be any support for projects from the faculty; without this facility under NBL, we won’t be able to attract an NBL leader.
- It was also noted that the Foster Center could also be used as a digital center to attract an NBL leader.
- Digital developments everything we do. There is no support for digital projects. We can’t get our projects into the SCC unless we come up with a $500,000 grant. [This concern was voiced by many faculty at the meeting.]
- Digital collections are and should remain internal to the libraries.
- Within the structure of the SCC there are centralized functions, depositories, etc. and there are localized functions i.e. data librarian, IHL’s, instruction projects and other individual projects. There is tension between central and local NBL functions of the SCC.
- An idea was raised that as the SCC was built from NBL lines, NBL should be allocated a certain percentage of the SCC budget be set aside for projects of the NBL faculty.
- Additional concerns were voiced about splitting up the SCC along the lines of central and localized functions; we need the large infrastructure of networks, hardware to support projects. An idea was floated in a structure that has dotted line reporting structure to an AUL and straight line reporting to the NBL leader.
- The person from the SCC in charge of instruction facilities should be NBL reporting.
o The SCC does not have an advocate in cabinet, putting it under an AUL could elevate it to that level. However, concern was voiced that an AUL with the SCC and other responsibilities will not be able to spend time on NBL issues.
- The recent gatekeeping instituted to prevent unfunded projects from coming into the SCC will stifle the bottom-up projects that stimulate creativity and innovation. The unit will not be focused on research, but development; it will become more of an operations based unit.
- Another idea was raised to form an NBL institute for faculty projects, leaving the SCC for the large, funded projects. Several faculty would like to continue discussing the idea at the next meeting. A separate facility/space of this nature might be of enough interest to attract an NBL leader. It was noted that Kilmer’s vision is to have a collaboratory (a space where students and faculty and librarians could work in a digital learning environment).
- There was concern that the new Instructional Technology position is an RUL line, not an NBL line.
In conclusion, the group feels that it is too early to produce an NBL faculty response to the reports circulated from the UL’s office. The process will take time and additional, frequent meetings to come to a response the entire faculty can support. To do so prematurely would undo the progress made at this meeting.