March 9, 2015 Meeting of Mortenson Center Advisory Committee Charge and Membership

Time and Location of Meeting

March 9, 20151:00 pm 141 Undergraduate Library – Conference Room

Agenda Details


I. Introductions

II. Reports and Updates

a. New Arabella Report

b. Gates SILL Grant

c. 2015 Mortenson Associates Program

d. Recent and upcoming trips

III. Search for Mortenson Center Director and Distinguished Professor

a. Update

b. Suggestions for June/July

IV. Mortenson Center Future Priorities

a. Engagement with non-public library sectors (e.g., academic libraries)

b. Increasing financial resources – update and brainstorming

V. Other topics

Minutes Details


Paula Kaufman (Chair), Atoma Batoma, Lura Joseph, Joanne Kaczmarek, Rebecca McGuire, Susan Schnuer, Scott Schwartz, Caroline Szylowicz, Steve Witt, Lindy Wheatley


The meeting began with introductions.

Reports and Updates

Arabella released a new report on its worldwide survey of leadership programs. The Mortenson Center was included as a case study. The report could be used as a networking opportunity for other leadership programs. Scott Schwartz asked what the report’s findings were in regard to program strengths and weaknesses. Susan responded that the programs did not include evaluations or networking and weakness in follow-up. Lura Joseph asked if there were any programs with good points to emulate. Assessment was one of the important factors in a sustainable leadership program.

Paula introduced Rebecca McGuire, the Visiting Technology Specialist hired for the new SILL project funded by the Gates Foundation. McGuire gave the committee some background information, including her experience with instructional technology and international volunteerism. She will compile new ideas for implementation and work for ten hours a week in the Undergraduate Library’s Media Commons. Mortenson Center staff are working on the subcontract for each of the three SILL project countries.

Susan Schnuer will follow-up this month on February leadership training in the Philippines. Paula Kaufman will go to Abu Dhabi to give a keynote lecture.

In May Susan, Rebecca, and Eric Kurt, Media Commons Coordinator, will travel to Namibia to begin the SILL project. Also in May is the Gates Foundation networking summit. Susan Schnuer was invited to this event for organizations in the library field to network with each other and develop cooperation plans for the future.

Lindy gave an update on the program thus far: 21 people from Barbados, Brazil, Ghana, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, and South Korea are expected to arrive on the U of I campus on May 27th. Nadia Pompeo de Camargo Salles from Brazil will be funded by a Title VI grant administered by the Center for Global Studies. She’s an American Corners librarian and will work with Parkland Community College while she is in the area. PCC has an exchange program already in place for students from Brazil. The Mortenson Center recently met with people from the Lemann Institute about increasing Nadia’s scope of work while she is available.

Rebecca McGuire will follow-up on assessments for the 2014 program and the Associates’ action plans, and begin the pre-assessment for 2015.

Atoma Batoma asked how helpful it was to know the librarians’ expectations before the program and if that was part of the assessment. Susan Schnuer explained that it was not currently part of the assessment. Conversation turned to useful websites and resources for community events like and the Chamber of Commerce.

The meeting then doubled-back to recent and upcoming trips.

In January, Paula, Susan, and two library staff members attended and spoke at an international conference in India, “What’s Next in Libraries?” given by NIT Silchar. The institute and the University of Illinois have arranged a partnership agreement, and the University encouraged the library to connect with the institute. NIT Silchar and the Mortenson Center signed a Memorandum of Understanding; the U of I still hasn’t signed theirs.

Assam, India was very remote. The conference itself was successful. Librarians from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan all appreciated the networking opportunity. The accommodations were rudimentary. Telecommunications were heavily regulated. Library staff from the U of I were supposed to do a needs assessment but that never happened. The group’s hosts were gracious and the library staff ate several meals in the homes of colleagues and their families. The conference was important to NIT, Silchar. Still, the Mortenson Center’s impact on NIT itself is unknown.

On May 6th, the Center will host visitors from OCLC’s Jay Jordan Fellows program for the day.

Paula mentioned another work in progress – a strategic marketing plan to be implemented by the new director. Heather Murphy met with Center staff and is now developing the plan. It will hopefully increase the Center’s visibility in the US.

Mortenson Center Director Search

The search for a candidate has ended. Still working on obtaining tenure and professorial rank for the candidate, but it has been placed on a fast track (1st week of April). If negotiations are successful the candidate hopes to begin on June 1. Paula plans to retire in July, but will help ease the transition.

Paula asked if the committee had any suggestions about who the new Director should meet when he or she begins in June. The suggestions were to meet with the new Vice Provost for International Affairs, the IAS library faculty, the Area Studies Division, networking lunches with Janelle Weatherford, the corporate relations office, China and India offices, Title VI centers, and to meet with other Library full professors and faculty. It was also suggested that the new Director focus on the Associates program and get a grasp on the new Gates grant. He or she should also follow up on contacts made at the Gates networking summit, but more importantly to acclimate himself or herself to the University’s library culture.

Future Priorities

IREX is in the process of writing a grant for USAID that may include the Mortenson Center. Getting placed on this US government agency’s radar would be a terrific development for the Center.

Local programming for outside groups is on hold until the new director starts.

Paula asked the committee if they could think of other sources for grants or funding. The committee brainstormed: IMLS was suggested, as were other sectors for training – NGOs or civic organizations. There is a market in China for trainings in business leadership.

Putting health corners in libraries was another idea. Joanne Kaczmarek said the Mortenson Center could add value to grant proposals as a key resource. Lending the Mortenson Center’s expertise to other projects already underway in College of Education or other departments is a possibility, along with other imbedded librarian projects.

Lura Joseph asked how to monitor grants for opportunities. Paula added on by asking how to get a foot in the door, and how to learn who is getting grants and who’s applying. Someone suggested that science departments are in the know about grantees – the College of Engineering has a partnership with the Chinese government.

Batoma, Black, and Joseph are rotating off the committee this year. It was asked how best to balance the advisory committee – no one from the sciences is currently represented.

Paula agreed that there should be someone on the committee from the life sciences – agriculture or health and she planned to contact PSED and LSD to ask for suggestions and volunteers.

The meeting was adjourned.

Minutes prepared by Lindy Wheatley.