Library Committee Handbook

Executive Committee



Faculty governance Working Group 3

 

 

Shared Governance:

A Provisional White Paper

January 27, 2010

 

On November 10, 2009, the University Library's Executive Committee charged a small working group (Karen Hogenboom, Kathleen Kluegel, Sue Searing -convener, and Tom Teper) with exploring "issues surrounding the relationships between the Library's administrative structure (including the Budget Group,   the AULs and the EC) - and their areas of overlap.  This includes a discussion of the core attributes of Library shared governance."

A. Process

The group began its work by gathering the relevant legal and policy documents that that describe and/or prescribe the University Library's current administrative structure.  These include:

University of Illinois Statutes  http://www.uillinois.edu/trustees/statutes.cfm

Academic Staff Handbook, Ch. 1 http://www.ahr.illinois.edu/ahrhandbook/chap1/default.htm

University Library Bylaws http://www.library.illinois.edu/committee/bylaws/index.html

Budget Planning Group Charge http://www.library.illinois.edu/committee/budget/charge.html

Library Executive Committee Charge http://www.library.illinois.edu/committee/exec/charge.html

Library Administrative Council Charge http://www.library.illinois.edu/committee/admin/charge.html

Faculty Participation in Shared Governance at UIUC (Michael Grossman, University Administrative Fellows Program)   http://public.obfs.uillinois.edu/uafp/Lists/Presentation%20Files/Attachments/18/Shared%20GovernanceSep07.pdf

We also asked the Library faculty for feedback on the current written charge for the Executive Committee, and received five substantive comments -representing 4.8% of all Library faculty - that expressed dissatisfaction with faculty governance at the library but did not suggest a concrete course of action.  We did a narrow environmental scan of other departments on campus (GSLIS) and other academic libraries with faculty status (Penn State and University of Colorado) to see if other models of faculty governance could inform our recommendations.  We found that each situation is unique: differences in size of department and organizational structure made for significant differences in how decisions are made in each organization.  Before writing the first draft of this report, we also met with Paula Kaufman to better understand the administrative structure from her perspective.   The draft report was distributed via libfac and two requests for comments were sent out.  Four comments were received and many of the points discussed are reflected in this final draft.

We see this white paper as a beginning point for discussion among the faculty and academic professionals.  In particular, our group's consensus opinion is that it would be useful, before any of our recommendations are implemented, to conduct further study of the nature and extent of the problem.  To that end, we would like to interview current and recent past members of EC, AC, and the Budget Group, along with library faculty who have not been members of any of these groups in recent years.  We also deem it critical to interview newer Library faculty who have not yet had an opportunity to serve on these groups and old-timers who have become disaffected and no longer seek a role in the administrative structure.   Such interviews could shed light on how deeply and widely Library faculty perceive that shared governance needs "fixing," whether there is consensus on what the problems are, and whether the best solutions are structural or cultural, or both.

B. Context

The University Statutes contain specific language about the duties of the dean and Executive Committee and their relation to the faculty that both informed and constrained our recommendations (see Appendix A to this report for excerpts from the Statutes and other governing documents that informed our discussion).  According to the Statutes, the campus librarian, who also functions as a dean of a college, is the chief executive officer of the Library and the Executive Committee is her primary advisory committee.  The Executive Committee "shall advise the dean on the formulation and execution of college policies and unless otherwise provided by the faculty of the college on appointments, reappointments, non-reappointments, and promotions and shall transact such business as may be delegated to it by the faculty" (Article III, Section 2(f)).  The Academic Staff Handbook, Chapter 1, also stresses the advisory nature of the Executive Committee and states that the Executive Committee "transacts business delegated to it by the faculty."  This chapter also explicitly states that the college is "governed in its internal administration by its faculty" and describes the dean as the "agent of the college's faculty for the execution of college educational policy."  The Library's Bylaws echo this language in Article V, Section 6, where the Executive Committee is described as advisory to the University Librarian, and several specific areas of responsibility are given as examples of the advice that is within its charge.  The Executive Committee's membership is refreshed each year through elections, although staggered terms, the possibility of serving two consecutive terms, and the fact that experienced faculty are often re-elected to the EC after a "break," contribute to a degree of stability and enduring tacit knowledge.  The Administrative Council and the Associate University Librarians also advise the University Librarian.  The Administrative Council is a creature of the Library's bylaws, charged to "advise the University Librarian about standards, regulations and procedures affecting the general operating policies of the Library...  The primary responsibility of the Administrative Council shall be the day-to-day management of the Library."  The Budget Planning Group was charged by the Executive Committee to advise the University Librarian and the Assistant Dean for Business Operations and Management Information on budgeting for civil service and hourly positions, library committees, and operations.  It certifies the availability of funds for academic positions and seeks advice from the Executive Committee about budget priorities and recommends final budget allocations to the University Librarian.  It also monitors the budget throughout the year. Its membership includes the University Librarian, the AULs, the AD for Business Operations and Management Information, a representative from AC, the Executive Committee's Vice-Chair, and the Director of Library Human Resources.  Because most of the members serve by virtue of position, the group is very stable from one budget cycle to the next, but it has also acquired an aura of exclusivity and opacity.  The EC and AC representatives, if they have not previously served on the Budget Group, may find it hard to 'catch up' and understand the complexities well enough to make a meaningful contribution at the outset of their term. A discussion of the operational context in which the Library currently exists would not be complete without an exploration of the origins of the New Service Models Program and the Budget Plus Group. The origins of this now-defunct body can be discerned through a review of the publicly available minutes of the Library's Administrative Council and Executive Committee. Challenged by the Provost to begin rethinking service models during Spring 2007 budget planning, the University Librarian asked divisions to begin thinking about the new service models that could be created within their divisions. The division coordinators shared the results of the divisional discussions at the May 21, 2007 Administrative Council meeting. The Library's Administrative Council discussed these proposals again at its July 16, 2007 meeting and made a recommendation that a Task Force be appointed to examine the issue in more depth. At its July 30, 2007 meeting, the Library's Executive Committee recommended creating such a group, using the Budget Group as its basis with the addition of a newly tenured faculty member and a member of the civil service staff.  Upon completion of the report "Library Services for the 21 st Century at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign," this group disbanded.

While the Executive Committee, Administrative Council and Budget Planning Group are all official advisory bodies to the University Librarian, they are not her only source of advice.  The Library Committee of the UIUC Academic Senate is charged in the University Statutes and the Senate Bylaws to play an advisory role on library policy.   The University Librarian's Student Advisory Committee advises the University Librarian on policies affecting students.  The AULs function individually and collectively as   sources of information and advice for the University Librarian.  However, from Paula's viewpoint their advisory role is informal, and they do not form a cabinet-like body that engages in its own decision-making or decree-issuing.

C. Faculty Governance

As can be seen from a close reading of the governing documents cited above, faculty governance incorporates, and in some cases, requires a certain level of the tension between the faculty's responsibility to govern the college, the dean's role as the college's chief executive officer, and the Executive Committee's function as an advisory body to the dean.  In a detailed 2007 white paper distributed to the UIUC Academic Senate, Michael Grossman examined what "advice of the faculty" means in the context of faculty governance on this campus.  While colleges are governed by their faculties, the dean is the chief executive officer of the college and acts as the agent of the faculty in executing college policies.   Administrators are not required to ask for or follow the faculty's advice, but at the same time the administration and the faculty have common goals and faculty commitment to the college's policies is crucial to their implementation and success.  Grossman describes the role of a college's executive committee as recommending procedures and committees with the goal of encouraging faculty participation in forming policy, providing for orderly voicing of suggestions, and the ubiquitous "other duties as assigned."  He also acknowledges that not all advice of the faculty is taken.

At the library, there are three formal committees giving advice to the Dean of Libraries - the Executive Committee, the Budget Planning Group, and the Administrative Council.  The impression of this group is that the Budget Planning Group was formed to create more continuity and expertise in dealing with budget matters than is possible on the Executive Committee, which has two year terms.  It was also given a large chunk of the Executive Committee's workload, making service on the Executive Committee possible for a larger group of busy faculty members.  But, by forming a group whose advice is given directly to the dean, the Executive Committee delegated some aspects of the faculty's role in governance. 

This concept of delegated responsibility is something that our group discussed at some length. In many respects, we believe that different interpretations or beliefs in this concept impact the context in which the Library operates. At its root, this is a discussion about different types of democracy - is faculty governance a model of pure democracy or is it a model that has more in common with a republic? While this may not be a universally held opinion throughout the academic community, it is clear to us that the University has long embraced and sought to emulate a model that has more in common with a representative democracy than other models. Academic units elect faculty to represent their interests on the Senate in proportion to their numbers on campus. They elect faculty to represent their interests on their own executive committees, and by extension, delegate certain responsibilities to this group in much the same way that the electorate does with any elected body. In many respects, this is exactly the type of model that Michael Grossman discussed - one in which elected agents of the faculty advise administrative officers. This does not excuse the faculty at large from participating, or discourage dissenting opinions from being expressed. It does, however, require a common understanding of the structure and role of a representative body. While the administrative officers are not required to ask for or follow the faculty's advice, it is understood that the administration and the faculty have common goals, and the faculty commitment to the college's policies is crucial to their implementation and success.

In the execution of their duties, it is inevitable that there will not be complete agreement among the faculty with the directions or outcomes of their representative bodies. Although not a uniform opinion, there is a palpable uneasiness among some Library faculty with the leadership role given to the Budget Plus Group in the development of the New Service Models Program.  Some librarians feel that the principle of faculty governance was insufficiently honored by the composition of the Budget Plus Group, because a majority of members carried administrative appointments.  Also, in hindsight, using the word "budget" in the name of the group that vetted the initial proposals for New Service Models was unfortunate, as it tied the NSM process to the budget in peoples' minds.  The Budget Plus Group no longer exists, but concerns about New Service Models communication and decision-making processes remain.   Some faculty would like a formal vote on the principles and strategic directions which inform the New Service Model proposals, and question what led to changes in the individual NSM proposals as well as the scope of the NSM initiative in more general terms.

Furthermore, some librarians have an "us versus them" attitude toward the Library administration, despite the fact that the University Librarian and the AULs are members of the faculty with the same rights and responsibilities in regards to faculty governance.  Even within our group, faculty members disagree on the role of the AULs in faculty governance, and we were unable to reach consensus on a recommendation in this area.  Among the limited comments we received on our draft report, the same differences of opinion exist. Some faculty members feel that adding the AULs to the Executive Committee as ex officio members would improve communication and streamline decision-making throughout the library.   Some faculty members view the relationship of the Executive Committee to the Administration as one of checks and balances and they argue that AULs who serve on the Executive Committee would have a conflict of interest that should bar them from service.   Still others feel that the precedent has been set through past participation of AULs as elected voting members of EC. 

The Library Executive Committee's charge does not stress its duty to encourage faculty participation in forming policy, or to provide for the orderly voicing of suggestions.  For the last year, documents have been posted for comment a week before being discussed by the Executive Committee, but there is no mechanism for faculty input into the Executive Committee's agenda and few faculty members have had the time or inclination to accept the invitation to comment on these documents.  While the date that the document will be discussed at EC is distributed with the invitation, there is no deadline for comments.  Some faculty see this as discouraging comment, and others may be juggling so many deadlines that a task without a deadline slips through the cracks.  When faculty have commented, their comments have been seriously considered by EC and in most cases have led to revisions.  But, in almost all cases, those who comment do not hear back from the Executive Committee, creating the impression that their voices were not heard.

As noted earlier, the Administrative Council's primary responsibility focuses on issues related to the day-to-day management of the Library.  There is no relationship in the charge or in the bylaws between the Administrative Council and the Executive Committee. While there is not an explicit governance role for the divisions, the Bylaws do state that the coordinators have administrative responsibilities - "coordinating the activities of their division, assuring the implementation of general library policies and procedures" - that are not necessarily reflected in reality.  In the past, there was tension between EC and AC regarding each group's "territory" in the realm of setting priorities and establishing policies.  These differences appear to have been resolved for the time being, but there is still a grey line.  As divisions shrink and are realigned (or if the divisional structure itself is eliminated), the role of the AC will need to be re-assessed.

Decision-making in the Library tends to be slow, impeding our ability to respond nimbly to opportunities or crises.  In the area of budgeting in particular, short turn-around times for submitting projections and reports to the campus administration often seem to preclude wider input from the faculty as a whole.  However, some librarians assert that short deadlines are employed as a convenient excuse for avoiding the "messiness" of shared governance.  In challenging times, it is critical to involve everyone with useful knowledge and opinions in the decision-making and governance processes, and dissatisfaction with aspects of the governance process extend beyond some of the faculty.  Academic professionals have repeatedly expressed concern that they do not have a role in the governance of the library.  However, given the statutory constraints described above, we do not see a way to incorporate them into the Executive Committee.  The library bylaws could be amended to provide for a representative from among the library's academic professionals on the Administrative Council, or the library could form a body similar to the Library Staff Steering Committee that could formulate and share opinions on policy issues affecting academic professionals.  This is in no way a rejection of the value of our academic professionals or a statement that they do not have a stake in library governance, but more discussions with our academic professionals are necessary before determining the best course of action in this area.

We also note, as have others, the self-censorship of untenured librarians.  We need to hear the full range of opinions, expertise, and experience of our colleagues.  Self-censorship is not limited to the untenured members of the Library faculty but its corrosive effects are felt most there.  Our colleagues must be encouraged to speak up and believe us when we say there can only be positive results of engagement with the issues facing the library.  As budget restrictions continue to reduce the overall number of faculty in the University Library, we will be spread more thinly, making it harder than ever to fulfill the responsibilities of shared governance in a timely manner. 

 

 

D. Core Principles

I.                    Faculty governance in the Library relies upon a representative model, and the obligations and mechanisms of such a model should be made clear to all who participate in and are affected by it.

II.                  Unless otherwise noted in their charge, all committees discussed in this document are advisory to the University Librarian.

III.                As members of the Library's faculty, we are obligated to participate in the  Library's governance.

IV.                The EC, AC, Budget Planning Group, and AULs have complimentary areas of responsibility, but the responsibilities of each group should be clearly delineated and differentiated.

V.                  The University Library is an academic unit on campus, but its operational role impacts the nature of governance within the organization in ways that distinguish it from units with primarily instructional and research roles.

 

E.  Recommendations

1.  Before any of our other recommendations are implemented, interview a sample of current and recent past members of EC, AC, and the Budget Group.  In addition, interview newer Library faculty who have not yet had an opportunity to serve on these groups and old-timers who have become disaffected and no longer seek a role in the administrative structure.  Using the core principles outlined above as a jumping-off point, such interviews could shed light on how deeply and widely Library faculty perceive that shared governance needs "fixing," whether there is consensus on what the problems are, and whether the best solutions are structural or cultural, or both.   We suggest interviews to gather this information because (a) experience shows that calls via email for input garner very little feedback and (b) the nature of the information we need calls for a qualitative, in-depth method.  Our hope is that these interviews could help us to formulate more specific recommendations on the topics we have listed below.

2.  Update the written charge to the Executive Committee.  In particular, re-order the bulleted examples of its role in "the formulation and execution of Library-wide policy" in order to emphasize its role in high-level budgeting and planning.  (See Appendix B for draft revision.)

3.  Examine the potential for greater formal involvement of APs in the Library's governance structure. 

4.  Involve the EC more directly in the development of monthly faculty meeting agendas, to include discussions of important issues and directions to inform EC's own discussions.

5.   Share policy documents with the full faculty (and/or staff, as appropriate) at earlier stages in their development - when the drafts are "draftier."  Polished drafts presented for feedback with short turnaround times for comments inhibit input and perpetuate the perception that calls for input are mere window-dressing.  In turn, lack of input perpetuates the perception that Library faculty are not interested in exercising shared governance rights.

6.  Continue to look for means to improve two-way communication between the EC and the faculty it represents.  Fleshing out the EC minutes to incorporate the major points of discussions is one suggestion.

7.  Look for ways to integrate the work of the EC and the Budget Planning Group in order to increase the role of faculty in the budget process.  Although previous proposals for restructuring administrative and governance functions (e.g. recommendations from the RTG process, and the recommendation of the Library Organization Working Group) have been rejected, we continue to believe that more formal collaboration between the EC and the Budget Planning Group would be beneficial.

 

F.  Outcome measures and assessment metrics

Because we have no baseline metrics for the success of shared governance or our colleagues' perceptions of it under the current administrative structure, we find it impossible to define measurable outcomes for the proposed changes.  In general, we would hope for the following:

1.  Greater satisfaction with the Library's governance structure, evidenced by increased attendance at faculty meetings and wider participation in discussion.

2.  A broader range of options presented to the University Librarian for her consideration.

3.  Reduction in the level of discontented muttering among faculty and staff who feel their viewpoints are not solicited and/or considered.

4. More transparent decision-making processes and better documentation of them, particularly in committee minutes.

5. An increase in comments and questions submitted to the EC in response to their calls for comments on proposed policies, draft documents, and the like.

Please note that these outcomes are not dependent solely on the administrative structure, but on other aspects of our processes and culture as well.  Other working groups have recommended changes that may, in the short run, be easier to implement and that may achieve the desired ends without a major restructuring.

APPENDIX A

University Statutes, Article VI

b. The campus library shall be in the charge of the campus librarian who, as the chief executive officer of the library, is responsible to the chancellor for its administration and service.

c. As specified in Article II, Section 3, the library shall be governed internally under bylaws established by its faculty. Except as otherwise stated in this Article, the library shall be governed by the same provisions as govern a college.

University Statutes, Article III, Section 2(f)

An executive committee of two or more members elected annually by and from the faculty of the college by secret written ballot shall be the primary advisory committee to the dean of the college. It shall advise the dean on the formulation and execution of college policies and unless otherwise provided by the faculty of the college on appointments, reappointments, nonreappointments, and promotions and shall transact such business as may be delegated to it by the faculty. The faculty may determine the size of its executive committee and may choose to elect its members for two- or three-year staggered terms. Not more than one-half of the membership of the executive committee shall be from one department or comparable teaching unit of the college.

Academic Staff Handbook, Chapter 1

The college is an educational and administrative group composed of departments and other units with common educational interests. It is governed in its internal administration by its faculty, which, in this sense, consists of those academic staff members in the college with faculty rank who are tenured or are receiving probationary credit toward tenure and those administrators in the direct line of responsibility for academic affairs (the dean, the provost or equivalent campus officer, chancellor, and president). Other persons with faculty rank may also belong to the faculty of a college or other academic unit, if the bylaws so specify. Although subject to the jurisdiction of the campus senate, the college has the fullest measure of autonomy consistent with the maintenance of general University educational policy and correct academic and administrative relations with other divisions of the University.

The dean is the chief executive officer of the college, reporting to the provost and responsible to the chancellor for its administration, and is the agent of the college faculty for the execution of college educational policy. The dean is appointed annually by the Board of Trustees, on recommendation of the chancellor and the president with the advice of the executive committee of the college. The executive committee consists of two or more members elected annually by and from the faculty of the college. It acts in an advisory capacity to the dean, who is an ex officio member and chair, and transacts business delegated to it by the faculty.

Library Bylaws Article V, Section 6

A.    The Executive Committee shall be the principal advisory body to the University Librarian.  It shall advise the University Librarian on the formulation and execution of Library-wide policy, including but not limited to:                      

1)      creation and appointment of library-wide committees, and plans for implementation of committee recommendations;

2)      selection of priorities to be reflected in the Library's budget;

3)      proposal of library-wide program initiatives and policy changes;

4)      recruitment and selection of library faculty.              

B.    The Executive Committee shall advise the University Librarian on the appointment, both temporary and permanent, the Assistant/Associate University Librarians, and of Staff Directors. 

C.     The Executive Committee, as stipulated in Article VI, par. e of the Statutes, shall advise the Chancellor on an annual basis regarding the reappointment of the University Librarian.  It shall also, on the occasion of the University Librarian's five-year evaluation, work with the Library Committee of the Campus Senate to prepare for the approval of the Library Faculty a plan for conducting this evaluation. 

Library Bylaws, Article VII, Section 1(b)1)

a.       Purpose.  The Administrative Council shall serve as an advisory body to the University Librarian with regard to the promulgation and implementation of standards, regulations and procedures that relate to the general operating policies of the Library and such other advisory functions as may be assigned or delegated to it by the University Librarian.  The primary responsibility of the Administrative Council shall be the day-to-day management of the Library.                          

b.      Membership.  The membership of the Administrative Council shall be comprised of the divisional coordinators, staff directors, University Librarian, Assistant/Associate University Librarians, and such other managerial personnel as may be designated by the University Librarian.

Budget Group charge

The Budget Group serves as an advisory body to the University Librarian and the Director of Business Operations and Management Information with regard to allocation of funds for civil service and wage-earning employees, Library committees, and operations.  It certifies the availability of funds for academic professional and Library faculty positions.  The Budget Group seeks advice from the Executive Committee about priorities for budget increases and decreases and then recommends the final Library budget allocations to the University Librarian.  The Budget Group monitors budget expenditure levels throughout the year.

 

University Statutes Article VI

f. The library committee of the campus senate shall advise the campus librarian regarding the allocation of book funds and other policies of the campus library.

 

APPENDIX B

Library Executive Committee: Existing Charge

A.  The Executive Committee is the principal advisory body to the University Librarian.  It advises the University Librarian on the formulation and execution of Library-wide policy, including but not limited to: 

  1. creation and appointment of library-wide committees, and plans for implementation of Committee recommendations;
  2. selection of priorities to be reflected in the Library's budget;
  3. proposal of library-wide program initiatives and policy changes;
  4. recruitment and selection of Library Faculty.

B.  The Executive Committee advises the University Librarian on the appointment, both temporary and permanent, of the Staff Directors.

C.  The Executive Committee, as stipulated in Article VI, part e of the Statutes, advises the Chancellor on an annual basis regarding the reappointment of the University Librarian.  On the occasion of the University Librarian's five-year evaluation, it also works with the Library Committee of the Campus Senate to prepare for the approval of the Library Faculty a plan for conducting this evaluation.

D.  One member is elected annually as vice-chair of the Executive Committee and the Library Faculty.  Duties include chairing sessions of the Executive Committee and faculty meetings in the absence of the University  Librarian, and serving as chair of the Executive Committee when the elected members meet to discuss the reappointment of the University Librarian or to plan or conduct the 5-year evaluation of the University Librarian. 

E.  One member is elected annually to serve as secretary of the Executive Committee.  Duties include providing agendas and minutes for Executive Committee sessions, and  aiding the chair and vice-chair as needed.

Composition

The Committee is comprised of eight elected members of the Faculty, with no more than two elected from any one division who serve a two-year term.  The University Librarian is an ex-officio member of the Executive Committee.  The University Librarian serves as its chairperson. 

 

Library Executive Committee: Draft of Proposed Charge

A.      The Executive Committee is the principal advisory body to the University Librarian.  It advises the University Librarian on the formulation and execution of Library-wide policy, including but not limited to: 

  1. selection of priorities to be reflected in the Library's budget;
  2. proposal of library-wide program initiatives and policy changes;
  3. recruitment and selection of Library Faculty
  4. creation and appointment of library-wide committees,
  5. plans for implementation of Library Committee recommendations

B.      The Executive Committee solicits input from the Library Faculty and the Library Staff on issues that come before it.

C.      The Executive Committee, as stipulated in Article VI, part e of the Statutes, advises the Chancellor on an annual basis regarding the reappointment of the University Librarian.  On the occasion of the University Librarian's five-year evaluation, it also works with the Library Committee of the Campus Senate to prepare for the approval of the Library Faculty a plan for conducting this evaluation.

D.      The Executive Committee advises the University Librarian on the appointment, both temporary and permanent, of the Staff Directors, Associate University Librarians, Associate Deans, and Assistant Deans.

Composition:

The Committee is comprised of eight elected members of the Faculty, with no more than two elected from any one division who serve a two-year term.  The University Librarian is an ex-officio member of the Executive Committee. 

Officers:

A.      The University Librarian serves as its chairperson. 

B.      One member is elected annually as vice-chair of the Executive Committee and the Library Faculty.  Duties include chairing sessions of the Executive Committee and faculty meetings in the absence of the University  Librarian, and serving as chair of the Executive Committee when the elected members meet to discuss the reappointment of the University Librarian or to plan or conduct the 5-year evaluation of the University Librarian. 

C.      One member is elected annually to serve as secretary of the Executive Committee.  Duties include providing agendas and minutes for Executive Committee sessions, and aiding the chair and vice-chair as needed.