University Librarian's Cabinet: Minutes of the September 15, 2009 Meeting

Present: Agnew, Boyle, Fetzer, Gardner, Gaunt, Puniello, Sewell
Videoconferenced: Cvetkovic, Golden, Winston
Caviness, Hendrickson
Fredenburg, Fultz

University Librarian's Report – Gaunt

Gaunt welcomed Mary Fetzer to Cabinet and thanked her for accepting the position of Interim AUL for RIS. She also welcomed Judy Gardner as Deputy Faculty Coordinator and Vib Cvetkovic as Faculty Coordinator. Caroline Caviness was an invited guest as she is completing her internship/residency assignment in administration. She has been working on a project comparing organizational structures in peer and aspirant ARL Libraries.

Deans Council met the previous day and an update on the University's response to the H1N1 flu on campus was given. The Health Offices of the University are maintaining oversight of the issues and have prepared a Q&A handout. All those who believe they have contracted the flu or exhibit symptoms should stay at home. Washing hands with soap and water frequently is the best prevention; sneezing into a shoulder or tissue is recommended. The University does not plan to shut down, but the spread of the flu will be closely monitored and adjustments to plans communicated as necessary. Units have been asked to report the number of individuals affected in their unit to Health officials. Golden noted that pregnant women are vulnerable and suggests that we consider adjusting routines where individuals work directly with the public. The Libraries will confirm the status of a doctor's documentation for flu absences.

Rankings: The National Research Council ranking for graduate departments are expected very soon. The data, however, is old—2003-2005—and many departments may have changed significantly since then. Gaunt distributed the list of university programs that will be included and the list of factors that form the ranking. To qualify for inclusion in the rankings a program must have awarded a specified minimum number of PhD's during an indicated time period. Most of the factors are outcomes related—faculty publications, citations, length to degree, etc. When the data is ready to be released by the NRC, the University will only have 72 hours before the information is made publicly available to be able to digest the information and answer questions for the public about what the numbers mean.

International Programs: There is a heightened emphasis in the University on international/global programs. Regulska announced that the University has achieved affiliate status with the UN and is seeking the same with the Economic and Social Council. This means that University faculty and students will have access to UN meetings and internships that would otherwise have been inaccessible. Rutgers is strategizing about where we can develop particular strengths in our international programs by focusing on a few countries and/or institutions. We have nearly 150 individual agreements between faculty departments and foreign institutions, but these have been developed because of individual faculty interests. There is no intention to limit such agreements, but they do not necessarily represent focused strengths. Regulska has developed a database that indicates where faculty have international relations. This may help in targeting specific institutions or countries. There is an interest in African countries.

Personnel: Tenure-track searches that include foreign nationals as potential candidates require that we advertise in a national print publication. If we intend to hire a foreign national and have not posted the position in a national print publication, we will have to repost the position, and in some cases repeat the search. We must also note in all recruitments that we are an ADVANCE institution. This is an NSF designation for supporting women in the sciences. There is specific language related to that.

Gaunt noted that other libraries are planning for the future in a variety of ways. One institution planned a Cabinet retreat around ten questions that focused on where changes are occurring—space, collections, professional development, leadership, technology, finances, digitizing, and discovery. She distributed the questions and asked Cabinet members to review them and consider how we might engage the Libraries in thinking about these issues and incorporate them in future planning. It will be on the next Cabinet agenda.

The VALE reference committee will be doing a survey of reference services in VALE libraries. In multi- library institutions they want data from every library that offers reference service. We have produced a list of libraries and unit directors will be asked to appoint individuals to complete the survey when it arrives.

The AUL/RIS position is under review for how we may wish to consider a new recruitment. Gaunt has met with the New Brunswick librarians to talk about options and to gather feedback. That will continue. The Planning/Coordinating Committee will have it on the agenda of an upcoming meeting, as will Cabinet. There are many options if we look at models at other libraries, but we must consider what is the most appropriate for us based on where we stand in our development and our strategic plans. We will recruit as soon as we have agreed on the parameters of the position.

Gaunt distributed handouts with data from 2007 that shows the number of administrative positions per faculty, the Q&A of H1N1 flu, and the NRC rankings.

Budget Update - Gaunt

We expect to have our revised budget numbers this week. Academic departments received their targets on Friday. While budgets are lean this year, Furmanski noted that next year (10/11) will be more difficult as stimulus funding from the government to NJ should no longer be available and there may be another cap on tuition. The university and the AAUP negotiated salary savings this year by distributing 2 years worth of salary increases over three years, but it means that salary increases will occur next year, and the state budget situation is still not good. Furmanski will give us revised budgets for this year and projections for next year. He suggests that we consider this a 2-year budget cycle and that we equalize the wide disparity in reductions across both years. He noted that negotiations with some unions are almost completed while others remain unsettled. The budget targets for both years include scenarios that are based on reasonable outcomes from current negotiations.

Cabinet reviewed the positions that are targeted for give back in our original 7.1% reduction. We don't expect the reduction for this year to be more than 7.1%, so it was agreed that all positions that are not targeted for give back in that scenario, but have been frozen, can now be recruited. Gaunt also noted that units may choose to keep some positions vacant and accrue salary savings until we hear our reduction targets for next year. She asked that Cabinet members inform her if they wish to keep certain positions frozen. We also agreed that for the time being we will not freeze any new vacancies, but we will need to revisit that decision once we have our budget numbers. If the cuts are severe next year and we are forced to reduce positions we would rather return a vacant line than do layoffs. Gaunt also asked Cabinet members to submit any requests for reclassifications in the next two weeks and we will consider them at a future Cabinet meeting when the budget numbers are known.

Organizational Review Update – Winston

Winston reported that the organizational review steering committee has held its first meeting and is moving forward in naming the teams to review the three areas indicated by Cabinet for the first round of reviews—reference services, the grants process, materials delivery (ILL, RDS, Media, etc.). He noted that the steering committee has oversight of the process, the responsibility for outlining the parameters of the reviews, and naming the teams that will conduct the reviews for each of the areas. The first meeting was spent reviewing the charge and understanding expected outcomes. He reminded Cabinet that the focus of the reviews is on cost savings and efficiencies in workflows. He will report regularly on progress at Cabinet meetings.

Ethnographic Research Project and Assessment Update – Boyle

Boyle reported that Todd White, lead anthropologist for the Ethnographic Research Project, has completed the first portion of the report, which deals with the quantitative data derived from the project web survey and comments. Valeda Goodman distributed it on RUL_Everyone last week, and it will be posted on the staff website very soon. White will complete the qualitative portion of the report by the end of September.

We are now moving into the design phase and adjusting the team structure.

Activities going forward are: meetings of WAC and the ERP team are each scheduled monthly for the fall semester, meaning that there would be a meeting for most participants every two weeks; co-viewing sessions for a sampling of the interview videos will be scheduled on each campus; comments from the online survey have been coded and distributed to relevant individuals and groups with a requested response date of November 15.

Boyle reviewed a number of interesting findings from the quantitative portion of the study. Nearly 6,400 survey responses were received. The demographics are not surprising, with most responses coming from the sciences, New Brunswick, and undergraduates. About 63% of students always or usually use the Libraries' website, and only 5% said they never used it. The majority of students are satisfied or very satisfied with our website, with there being no significant difference between undergraduate and graduate students. However, undergraduate and graduate students differ greatly when it comes to knowing exactly where things are, with the undergraduate students indicating very, very low knowledge or skills in this area. Many more undergraduates than graduate students got confused or got confused and gave up. Undergraduates told us that they can get A's using other resources. The highest use of our website is finding an article or journal. Many more students access the Web via desktop or laptop computers than mobile devices. Comments were requested in two areas: What feature would you like to see on the Rutgers University Libraries' website that is not there now; Please provide other comments you may have regarding the Rutgers University Libraries website. Hundreds of comments have been coded, sorted, and distributed for review. There will be a presentation on this project and its findings at State of the Libraries.

Boyle also gave an update on progress toward implementing the Customer Satisfaction Survey and other promising future developments from Counting Opinions. Historical ARL, ACRL, and NCES data will be available for comparisons. There will also be a Counter/Sushi module. Boyle and Fredenburg will convene a committee to review our regular library statistics for importing into the LibPAS module during the spring semester.

Banned Books Week Activities – Wilt

Wilt distributed the brochure describing the events of Banned Books Week that will take place starting September 27. There are two faculty panel presentations on academic and intellectual freedom on campus, and on reading and identity. Two movies will be shown: Fahrenheit 451 and Salt of the Earth. There will be moderated discussions after the panels and the movies. Rutgers faculty, staff and students will also be reading from their favorite banned book and the video podcasts will be accessible through our website. The Rutgers student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is co-sponsoring the movie nights with the Libraries. She encouraged Cabinet members to attend the events and to encourage their staff and librarians as well. These programs are intended to engage the community in discussions of issues important to the Libraries and the community related to access to information.


Cvetkovic announced that she will be coordinating the NJ Snapshot day that is sponsored by the NJ State Library. Participating libraries are asked to gather data about services that day. Rutgers participated last year. Cvetkovic said that she would be contacting each library and asking for local data coordinators. Gaunt noted that the State Library uses this data to lobby for funding for libraries in the state and to demonstrate how our libraries have an impact.

Boyle asked that those who have not yet done so respond to the action plan grid for their units. She also noted that she has distributed the cost efficiencies recommendations that were approved for action by Cabinet to the appropriate individuals or units for follow-through.

Next meeting: September 29, 2009.

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