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Minutes of the Library Faculty 22 July 2009

Date: July 22, 2009
Location: Levis Faculty Center
Time: 3pm – 5 pm

 

Approval of Faculty Meeting minutes of March 4, 2009 

 

Minutes were approved by a motion from Tina Chrzastowski, seconded by Caroline Szylowicz.

 

Introduction of New Faculty Members

None

Report of the University Librarian (Paula Kaufman)

None

Executive Committee Report

None

 

Old Business

None

 

New Business

 

Discussion Topics – Faculty Governance, New Service Model

 

1. Faculty Governance (Mischo)

 

Prior to the meeting two memos and a white paper were sent out to the faculty as background on the issue of faculty (shared) governance, and what these terms mean in the context of the Library's governance. The memos, dating from 1992, were written by Morton Weir, Chancellor at UIUC, and Stanley Ikenberry, President, regarding a discussion occurring at that time about the governance of the Library.  The white paper, “Faculty Participation in Shared Governance at UIUC” dated from 2009, was written by Michael Grossman.

 

Discussion focused on the role and charge of the Library Organization Working Group (LOWG) which had been proposed this past Spring. Questions were raised as to whether or not LOWG should be charged with coming up with a new working structure for the Library as proposed initially by the Executive Committee (EC). Kathleen Kluegel asked what the EC thinks is broken regarding the current faculty governance structure. Bill Mischo answered that there is a broad range of opinions about whether or not the current governing structure is working.  He also noted that that the LOWG had been charged several months ago but then EC decided the issue needed to be thought through more thoroughly. On EC’s advice, Paula suggested reconstituting the LOWG. Discussion ensued indicating there were still concerns about the charge of the LOWG.

 

JoAnn Jacoby suggested we look not just at shared governance but that we look at decision-making throughout the Library. For instance: Are decisions made at the right level? What is the process for making each decision?  What parts of the process don’t we understand? There was discussion about the roles and overlaps of Library Faculty and Library Administration. Kathleen Kluegel noted that administrative structures and communication issues are different from the shared governance issue and we need to be careful not to “confound” administrative issues with faculty governance and vice versa. 

 

Discussion shifted focus around what the role of the EC is. Bill Maher provided some historical background about the derivation of the current By-laws out of the controversy to which the Weir and Ikenberry letters had contributed.  At that time, the Library had been divided into to two distinct departments (General Services and Departmental Library Services [GS and DLS]). 

 

When a prior University Librarian had wanted to shift faculty from one DLS to GS, the standing of these units as departments was a barrier. [* See extended note below provided by Bill Maher]

 

Bill Maher noted that EC is supposed to provide guidance and advice but that inevitably as in other colleges the University Librarian/Dean has the authority to make the final decision. Bill Mischo noted that the language in the By-laws was modified to strengthen the advisory role EC plays and that EC does not speak with one mind and one voice. Issues are discussed and the members offer their advice and often vote on issues. The Dean then takes that advice into consideration when making decisions.  Bill Maher noted that Section VI of the By-laws clearly indicates that EC “shall advise” the Dean, whereas the word “represents” with respect to the role of EC is not in the By-laws. If EC is meant to represent the faculty as a whole in a more explicit manner, then that would need to be clearly stated in the By-laws.  Meanwhile, we need to work on better communication structures to facilitate the back-and-forth so that the EC can be in a better position to advise the University Librarian while also reflecting the views of the faculty. EC regularly brings concerns to meetings from individuals. If a faculty member has an issue, that person should contact a member of EC.

 

Al Kagan commented that we were discussing administrative issues rather than faculty (or shared) governance and that the crucial problem is the inherent tension between hierarchical administrative structures and shared governance structures. Shared governance is a term that represents a governing process that  is bottom up and participatory and this kind of process is one we (the Library) have a problem with. Al used the New Service Model as an example of what did NOT happen with respect to shared governance.  Al noted the New Service Model is the most important thing we’ve done in years and we did not have one faculty meeting during which we discussed the final action plans of the Model. Though it is well acknowledged that there were many (eleven) open meetings during which faculty members were invited to participate and share their opinions, open meetings do not replace faculty meetings in which faculty may actually take votes on issues and formally register their support (or withhold their support) for plans and actions.

 

Kathleen Kluegel suggested that the Budget Group diminishes the role of EC. There is only one person from EC on the Budget Group with no mechanism for what is being discussed to be shared more broadly. This diminishes the role of the faculty in decision making.

 

Tim Donohue asked whether or not EC can be expanded to include Academic Professionals (AP). Several people commented that it may not be appropriate for AP to be on EC according to the University Statutes, but upon further discussion it was generally agreed that we should look at how APs might have a more active role in the administrative and decision-making structures of the Library.

 

Several faculty members commented that while we are considering the new charge for the LOWG as it examines how faculty governance and administration works, we need to focus on what the Library needs now and in the future. We need to really focus on new service and governance models that will enable us to respond to change and future demands and how emerging technologies do or do not influence library services.

 

A separate discussion ensued in which several faculty members reinforced the need for us all to be more collegial and to treat all members of the Library Community with more courtesy and basic respect, regardless of the challenges we are currently facing and whether or not we agree with one another.

 

Bill Mischo proposed the following:

The new charge for the LOWG should include looking at and assessing: 1. the mechanisms for communication within and among the Library personnel; 2. faculty meetings in general and specifically how they are structured and used; 3. the administrative structure of the Library, specifically the role of EC and the overlap between faculty (shared) governance and hierarchical administration; 4. the cultural changes in the Library emerging from to shifts in librarianship and scholarship.

 

Bill Maher made a motion to accept this proposal, Kathleen Kluegel seconded.

 

* [Extended note from above] The Librarian refused to follow the Statutes mandate that such a recommendation be accompanied by a vote of the affected faculty.  After long debates and controversy from 1989 through early 1992, that Librarian left the University with the issue still unresolved. During the subsequent administration, the Library Faculty and University Librarian worked to resolve the impasse by writing new Bylaws that both eliminated the GS and DLS departments, replacing them in part with Divisions, and provided strengthened language about the faculty role in governance, especially through the scope of the Executive Committee in advising on Library policy and budget. 

 

2. New Service Models (Kaufman)

 

The NSM report was shaped by input from various open meetings. The report describes where we’v e been and where we’re headed. Kathleen Kluegel pointed out an area of the document that did not accurately reflect how the process was informed with respect to humanities disciplines. Paula agreed and made note of this matter. There has been no response from the Provost or Designate Interim Provost. Paula will be presenting the report at the Dean’s retreat on Friday.

 

A set of Teams have been created to look at different areas of the NSM. Currently the Senate Committee on the Library is reviewing the charges of each Team and membership. These Teams will then be posted on the EC website for comments from the Library faculty and staff. The NSM initial process is coming to an end. What comes next will be decided later. We will never stop looking at new ideas and changing.

 

Announcements/Questions

 

Lisa Hinchcliff asked how agendas for faculty meetings are formed. Joanne Kaczmarek, Secretary, said the process is simple in that the Secretary sets the agenda, but of course this is to be done in consideration of and consultation with anyone wanting to put something on the agenda, and with input and guidance from the Dean

 

Adjournment

The committee adjourned at 4:55 pm.

 

Submitted by:

Faculty Secretary, Joanne Kaczmarek  Sept. 8, 2009