The University Library seeks to support and actively encourage the continued development of skills and knowledge in our Academic Professional (AP) employees in a fashion that recognizes their specialized backgrounds and is also cognizant of the realities of budget pressures. Full-time APs regardless of their official title should be investigating areas of interest to them, even if those investigations are not directly in support of an immediate programmatic need. This type of employee-driven research is to be distinguished from that which is done as part of the employee’s regular work responsibilities or at the direction of a supervisor; this distinction includes training activities and conferences. These activities should not count towards the “investigation time” described in this guideline.
The amount of time for this should be negotiated between the AP and the supervisor. It is expected that many of the areas employees choose to investigate have some direct benefit to the Library even near-term. When this is true (as determined by the supervisor or the unit head if necessary) the investigation time can be increased. Obviously really beneficial investigations may evolve into a “regular” work assignment or production activities at which point it is no longer subject to this categorization. For example, an AP and supervisor may agree that the AP can spend around 5% of their time on investigations, which equates to 2 hours per week during weeks the employee works a full 40 hours. This could be increased up to 10% if it seems the area may have a more immediate direct benefit to the Library.
The employee and supervisor can negotiate minor shifts of this time (e.g. half a day bi-weekly or one day per month), but this “investigation time” does not accumulate and accrue over time. Even though the topic of investigation is up to the employee, they must inform their supervisor what they are investigating and when. Employees will not be forced to investigate if they opt out for a time, so long as this is not due to implied or explicit pressure from the supervisor or peers.
A few examples of the things APs might pursue are:
- taking online courses, tutorials, webinars, on a relevant topic
- analyzing information in different ways
- learning a (new) programming language, or more advanced techniques
- learning about or practicing different research methods
- creating a new software application
- finding a career mentor (within the library or elsewhere on campus)
- learning about project management or other aspects of management
- writing a paper intended for publication