The month of December was spent dealing with budget and open line issues. Today's special meeting will revisit the open line issue in terms of going forward. The ethnographic study is a major project right now. See the October NBLF minutes for details on this initiative which is under the aegis of offices of undergraduate administration. The aim is to increase our foothold in certain courses that teach first year students. More updates coming soon.
Valeda introduced our newest faculty member, Qian Hu, Chemistry and Physics Librarian. Qian's office is located at LSM, and she will be selector for Chemistry, Physics, and Geology. Dr. Hu holds a B.S. in chemical engineering, M.S. in applied science, PhD in chemistry from Purdue, and has completed her MLS from Indiana. Besides chemistry librarianship, Qian's interests include instruction/information literacy. Orientation for Qian is ongoing, and anyone wishing to communicate with her may send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Valeda led a discussion to seek advice from NBLF on moving forward with lines previously in recruitment. Decision at Cabinet in December was to allow a staggered release of lines within RUL. Belief is that we will not have to give back any money THIS fiscal year, and that permanent reductions will be in place for the next FY. This "rolling release" will be conservative in regards to budget, and will encompass systemwide lines of all types.
RIS has three faculty lines that were in recruitment. Originally five lines had search committees; two of those lines have been given back (Environmental Sciences Librarian and Instructional Design Librarian). The three remaining lines were identified as Area Studies Librarian, Business Librarian, and Music Librarian. During December Valeda asked NBLF members to send to her their preferences for a first priority in case opportunity to hire became a possibility. Valeda received seven responses, and Music was the preference of those respondents. Valeda wanted to present new information and re-poll NBLF at the meeting in order to take action following Cabinet's decision. Discussion centered around length of time needed to fill positions, and Valeda reiterated the importance of search committees working quickly to contact and bring candidates in. Valeda requested decision at this meeting as to which line would go forward first. Points of clarification were that the music position would also cover performing arts, and that faculty lines are the most stable. After this meeting, one open line will be able to restart the recruitment process right away (Jan.2009), the next in February, and another following right after in March.
Discussion points: avoiding layoffs very important in RUL, the science part-time line is felt by science librarians to be essential, music line may be difficult to fill quickly given the difficulty of the previous music search, we did have good candidates already identified in the search for the other two positions, and we might lose the opportunity to hire someone who is "ready to go" in the area studies or business searches. It is unknown whether candidates who earlier expressed interest in any of these positions are still viable. All three lines are clearly "mission critical," and in terms of the area studies vacancy-literature, language and culture have been recently identified by the Dean of SAS as of critical importance to the university.
The topic of diversity/targeted hires was briefly discussed. NBLF has discussed this topic at its last meeting and via email. This can be considered as "another road," to hiring, and may be part of an ongoing conversation.
In light of this discussion, it was decided that NBLF members present would cast a paper ballot listing their preferences for the three positions in terms of allowing search committees to resume recruitment. The members voted, and votes were weighted for first, second and third place-which corresponded to the position to open in Jan. (1), Feb. (2) and March (3). Jane counted the results, and it was the group's pleasure that Area Studies Librarian search become active in January, Business Librarian next in Feb., followed by the Music Librarian search in March. Therefore, the Area Studies search will continue and resume immediately.
Laura Bowering Mullen
Jan. 10, 2009