Lisa Hinchliffe, Chair
Emma Clausen (Information Literacy GA)
Lisa welcomed all members of the Divisional Structure Task Force (DSTF) and provided some background information and an overview of the task force formulation. Members each introduced themselves.
Lisa discussed the Executive Committee's (EC) purpose in creating the DSTF, underscoring that the main goals of this thorough investigation are to understand how factors such as recent retirements and planned hires have impacted divisional membership and to find ways to best align current and future faculty to balance divisional memberships, reduce committee commitments and enhance support for the tenure process. EC originally asked for a report by December 31, 2011, but given the number of people to consult during the examination period, a renegotiated deadline has been set for February 17, 2012. Committee members agreed that a current organizational chart is necessary for the DSTF's work. If possible, the information needed on the chart includes which units are in which divisions, which faculty are assigned to which divisions because they are not in a unit, and the current staffing levels in each division as well as searches underway.
Lisa led review of the DSTF charge; as each article was covered, she invited questions and encouraged conversation. The committee discussed the importance of communication and transparency in acting on behalf of the Library. Lisa also drew attention to the Library Bylaws, noting that they describe the divisional structure and that part of the task force's report to EC will include an approach for how to work with the Bylaws Committee if any bylaws changes are recommended.
The committee discussed that some divisions have had success moving forward in the current situation; however, some divisions have had difficulty carrying on their work and meeting all their obligations. The committee also underscored that during the examination period it is important to look at the library holistically rather than focusing on specific divisions as the task force charge is for a Library-wide review of the structure.
The committee noted that the requirement to “determine which of the roles the divisions currently play should stay with the divisions, and which might be better done elsewhere in our organization” presupposes that divisions’ roles are transparent and obvious. This may not be the case. The committee noted that the roles divisions have officially and the roles that they play in addition to those official roles must kept clear in all discussions. The committee added that there are people that are members of divisions that are not necessarily members of a unit and that Library Bylaws require that all faculty must be part of a division.
Bill reviewed the history of divisional models of the library. The committee noted the importance of being cognizant that the University Statutes state that the Library will function as a college. The Statutes also require that there is a process for promotion and tenure for faculty that includes appropriate levels of review. The committee noted that it would be beneficial to contact other units on campus which are without departments to see how they fulfill this function, e.g. Social Work, Labor and Industrial Relations, and GSLIS.
The committee discussed the organizational structure of other libraries, including other CIC libraries where librarians are faculty. The committee noted that it would be beneficial to reach out to these libraries and possibly academic libraries in the Top 10 of ARL. In terms of the ARL rankings, the committee will review libraries similar in structure that have a large number of volumes, professional library staff, and several units. The committee decided to review the structures of the CIC libraries, with special attention to the libraries of the University of Michigan and The Pennsylvania State University, and four academic libraries in the Top 10 of ARL: Harvard, University of California, Berkeley, University of Texas, and University of Toronto. The committee also decided to review the structure of the library at the University of Illinois-Chicago, the other research library within the University of Illinois system.
The committee discussed the importance of consulting with a number of groups about the role of divisions, particularly with regard to individuals’ sense of community and participation in the governance of the Library. Some groups are named in the charge but others have been added to ensure widespread opportunities for discussion. The groups that the task force will meet with include the untenured librarians, library civil service staff, academic professionals, current and past division coordinators, virtual and embedded librarians, librarians outside of the Main Library, and librarians in the Main Library. The committee noted the importance of being present at these meetings and encouraging people to attend the meetings.
The committee will have a web page with meeting minutes posted after they are approved as well as summaries from the open forum sessions.
The following action items emerged from the meeting’s discussions:
Emma Clausen and Lisa Hinchliffe