Professional Development

Author Archive

The Winter Institute for Intercultural Communication

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 9:10 am

Thanks to a scholarship from the University I was able to spend March 12- 15 in Charlotte attending the Inaugural Winter Institute for Cultural Communication sponsored by the Institute and the Wake Forest Office of Diversity & Inclusion. It was a great gathering of about 80 attendees; thirty of which were from WFU. The Institute offered a choice of four different three day classes. During breaks and meals together, it was obvious that folks were all engaging in some pretty lively discussions. My class choice entitled Emotional Intelligence and Diversity: Building the Personal Infrastructure for Interpersonal and Organizational Effectiveness was taught by Lee Gardenswartz and was one of the best I’ve had on this particular topic.

Like me, you may be wondering how these two concepts Emotional Intelligence and Diversity work together within the workplace. Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to understand and manage our emotions and those around us. Emotions are at the heart of our energy and motivations. Emotions drive behavior. They are fundamental in how we react to the differences we see in others. Gaining understanding and mastery over our emotions leads to greater success as an employee, manager or leader. Emotions are the source of energy for doing the right and the smart thing. Each day’s class featured role playing, self-exploration and tons of spirited conversation. Class discussions focused around these four key elements:

Affirmative Introspection addresses why we behave and react the way we do. The more we know about ourselves and how life experiences have shaped who we are and how we respond to any given situation, the more we can manage our emotions. The more we understand and manage our emotional responses, the more comfortable we are in working relationships, the more effective we are in our daily interactions and the more we are at peace within our own skin.

Self-governance enables one to gain mastery over the feelings that arise when facing uncertainty, change and difficult people. This aspect of Emotional Intelligence involves dealing with the ambiguity that diverse environments bring. Management of our own mental self-talk is seen as crucial. Bringing logic, accuracy and reason to the forefront aids in mastering self-talk aids and in governing our emotions.

Intercultural Literacy involves understanding others cultural rules, norms and values, while being able to empathize with them and walk in their shoes. Resist the temptation to judge as inferior, styles, customs and values that are different from your own. Each culture has its’ own set of norms. Rules for “polite behavior” differ from culture to culture, family to family and even from person to person. Empathizing demonstrates caring and understanding. What do we as an organization do to learn about the cultures of those we serve and interact with daily?

Social Architecting is an intentional and conscious decision to build productive relationships by serving as a cultural interpreter. The Interpreter helps others understand the different cultural perspectives involved in situations. Serving as a cultural interpreter involves these “mindful” steps: being aware of our first reaction to and interpretation of an event, suspending our judgment of it, identifying alternative ways of understanding it and finally having a repertoire of choices in responding to the situation in order to increase our effectiveness with others.

I have a workbook on each of the elements. This is really good stuff. I would love to continue conversations around this topic and/or share the material with anyone who’s interested.

ALA Midwinter with Wanda

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 11:59 am

Continuing in my quest to get more involved with the Library Leadership and Management Section (LLAMA), I attended my first meeting as Member at Large for the Human Resources Section. I had a dual role during the meeting as I also reported for the Leadership Skills Committee, of which I am also a member. In late fall I was asked to run for Chair-Elect of the Human Resources Section. To be honest I wasn’t sure how all this aligned with my current service as Member at Large. I kept trying to get the LLAMA organization visually in my head. I found this LLAMA organization chart from 2012 and it does help some to make all this clearer. I thought you might also like to see the other areas of emphasis.

I enjoy the work of Human Resources, so I can’t believe that I will not for a second be fully engaged in this work. As we outlined a program proposal on leading virtual teams, I knew this area was a good fit for me. What are some of the best practices around leading teams of which the lead has no real authoritative power? What are some of the tools available for hosting virtual meetings? How do you keep members motivated and on task? One committee member suggested we partner with LITA on this program. Of course one hurdle is getting board approval to host at this annual and not annual 2015. Discovering at this meeting that our timeline was off, we immediately began discussing ideas for our program at annual of 2015. Our next program will look at ways to identify unconscious biases and understand how they impact your everyday beliefs and interactions. The program will also offer strategies for overcoming unconscious biases.

During the ACRL Personnel Administrators & Staff Development Officers Discussion Group meeting, I heard Karen Calhoun share details on the University of Pittsburgh’s Library System Leadership Development Program. This is an internal to Pittsburgh program open to any library worker. Both Librarian and library worker may elect to self nominate or may be nominated by the Dean or supervisor. With an annual budget of $25,000, Karen manages a 9 month program that seeks to make strong people even stronger. Attendees learn to identify and acknowledge their own individual strengths and then how to make best use of them to benefit the library. Other session topics include time management, organizational change, effective meetings, project management, managing your professional image, team-building, crucial conversations and communication planning. Change within our libraries has to occur quickly, so a lot of emphasis is placed on leading from right where you are. From the audience came concerns on the benefits of having open and free flowing conversations and how this might be dampened with attendees all coming from the same organization.

We also heard from UNC-Charlotte’s University Librarian, Stanley Wilder who gave a review of Library demographics within ARL Libraries. Though he spoke primarily on ARL trends, I found much of what he said to be right on the mark for ZSR Library as well. We have been hearing for years now about the graying of the profession and the big retirement trending. Around 2009/10 we were right in the middle of it. With the economic downturn during this same time some elected to push retiring back a few more years. Those retirements however made way for libraries to evolve and meet the current needs of their users. Look back a few years and you’ll see we were able also to do the same. Positions such as Scholarly Communications, Access Archivist, and Instructional Design were made possible from staff retirements. Wilder stated that libraries are paying more for in many cases fewer positions. Student assistant hiring is down 25% and down in expenditures 3%; support staff though down 20%, expenditures are up 25%; professionals up 10.5% and up 57.5% in expenditures. Also the focus on IT skills has impacted the gender swing in libraries.

Of course I spent considerable amounts of time with my BCALA family and did my usual tour of the exhibits. It was here that I took my one conference photo. It’s not a great photo, but I am always amazed at bravery in any form. And you must admit that one has to be pretty brave to wear this outfit when there’s snow outside all around. STimaging paid tribute to breast cancer awareness with a bright pink scanner and of course a salesperson willing to be on the spot!

Culture Keepers VIII

Friday, August 30, 2013 11:57 am

Culture Keepers VIII: Challenges of the 21st Century – Empowering People, Changing Lives was the theme of this year’s conference of African American Librarians. The conference, sponsored by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, was held August 7 – 11, in Covington, Kentucky. This conference, though probably not intentional on the planners, does more than inform and educate. It brings librarians of color together and magically fosters a spirit of acceptance, appreciation, collaboration and unity to those who attend. Many of the librarians in attendance come from institutions that have few folks who look like them within their staffing. At their state and local functions perhaps they’ll encounter a few others if they themselves attend. Of the speakers, we (librarians of color) are often thrilled if perhaps one of the keynoters is a minority, specifically an African American. So perhaps that helps you get just a glimmer of the pride I feel, and the motivation I get coming to this particular conference where at least 99% of the speakers and presenters are folks of color. Budgetary constraints, coupled with the host sight not being one of the popular let’s all go visit cities; attendance was lower than usual, around 215. Those low numbers however did not hamper at all the excitement you could see and hear throughout the convention center.

I volunteered for a community service project that involved supporting the local Kenton County Public Library which recently completed a 65,000 square foot, 12.5 million dollar renovation. The library has the largest genealogy collection in the country including a national Lieutenant Governor’s collection. Coincidentally this library was the first in the south to provide racially integrated service to all in their community. The volunteer project involved moving the children’s holiday collection from one sight to another. The books were already classed together by holiday, or so we thought. Our one dilemma occurred when we found books in the Christmas collection about Hanukkah shelved together with books on the Jewish Passover.

Dr. Melissa Harris Perry host of MSNBC’s weekend talk show was the opening keynoter. In a conversational styled interview, Melissa a Wake Forest University alumni, told the audience about her first library job here in the ZSR stacks, her steep learning curve as an assistant professor at the University of Chicago, her life as a black college student, woman and mother, and her work with Michele Obama in Chicago prior to the Obama election as President. Melissa shared the story behind how she became the Obama political expert. There was one statement she made that took me by surprise. When asked about her work as a student of theology she replied, I am searching for an answer. How is it that a people who have never known anything but generational bondage and inequality, would think that God loves them? The answer Perry says is not addressed in moral academic channels. Thanks to my colleague Julius Jefferson, I was able to have this photo taken with Dr. Harris Perry.

Conference programming planners gave attendees about two choices of workshops per schedule segment. Sometimes my choices were somewhat limited and focused heavily on the value of preserving African American heritage, culture and people. Empowering the Past: Telling Your Stories, gave examples on how one could take on the role of historian by collecting photographs and archives from their families to document the family history. An historical genealogy might include the political, the social, the sports great, the arts and entertainment and any other oddities that may have had an impact on the family and the life choices they’ve made. The example the presenter used detailed the life of her step father, a black plumber who worked on the “Hill District” a one-time thriving black area in Pittsburgh. Her photos and archival documentation depicted him as an ordinary man, a slave descendent, living through the Jim Crow era, raised as a sharecropper son, a World War II veteran, a worker in the steel mills and a black plumber who made weekly trips to the local Union requesting permission to join.

Giving Voice to Our Stories: Oral History as Integral to the Documentation and Preservation of African American History, was the title of the presentation given by Kelly Navies, Special Collections Librarian, District of Columbia Public Library. Her work focuses on collecting stories from the North Carolina Asheville area. Oral history is of particular importance to the African American community. It gives voices to members of the community who most would consider not worthy of historical documentation. We as Librarians are in a unique position with an opportunity to document gentrification and the closing of those schools valued by the African American community, racial profiling, return migration and incarceration. Generations of students will return again and again to hear these stories. They need to be captured. I regret not having my father tell me more about his service in World War II. I know he was stationed in Germany and that he was responsible for bringing ammunition to the troops, but little else. I seem to know more about the mistreatment he received upon his return to the United States. Perhaps that’s what stood out the most to him.

And yes there were numerous sessions on health and wellness efforts in the black community. One session encouraged attendees to pursue a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being. Pursuing wellness is not only a personal benefit but also one that will advance and preserve a community of people. The author also addressed the implications of mental health and how it is responded to within the black church. Added stress levels which studies have shown have a direct correlation to cultural identity and all the “stuff” that comes with that. Documented incidents of invasive and horrendous treatment of African Americans and test subjects compel many African American to question the safety of clinical trials. A panelist of doctors shared insight coming from both angles. To see the worst of what can happen in clinical trials, check out this sight.

To end on a much happier note, let me share how pleased I am about Lynn’s plan to implement the “Sutton Rule” (after the NFL’s Rooney Rule). As we search to fill future position vacancies, at least one of the candidates brought to campus must be a minority. I am very optimistic. It is so cool and worthy of duplication across the state within our North Carolina libraries. There we go again, leading by example!


Transforming Libraries- Wanda at ALA

Monday, July 1, 2013 7:08 pm

Let me first say that this has been one of my best ALA conference experiences, however, I am not a huge fan of Chicago as a conference site. It is so spread out and personally, I find it somewhat challenging crossing the street with 50 other folks at the same time. That aside, I have had a wonderful conference. During our BCALA Executive Board meeting our first order of business was to sign the Declaration for the Right to Libraries. This is intended to serve as a strong public statement of the value of libraries for individuals, communities and our nation. This is an initiative of incoming ALA President Barbara Stripling. With this libraries will have the opportunity to hold signing ceremonies where community members, organization officials and others can visibly sign and stand up for their right to have a vibrant school, public academic or special library in their community. I hope we can have a signing at ZSR.

My work with BCALA felt particularly rewarding. I really care about the organization and want it to be successful. In September 2012 BCALA President, Jerome Offord, asked me to chair a task force to review member recruitment and retention, the membership process, and the value of BCALA membership. The task force was asked to review BCALA current processes, create a survey to measure member engagement and satisfaction, and provide the association with a detailed report on the pros, cons, along with any recommended changes to enhance the association’s service to members. The whole process went well and our report which included recommendations was well received by the board. We were even asked to research further one of the recommendations and report back at Midwinter.

I attended both Saturday and Sunday’s ACRL Personnel Administrators & Staff Development Officers Discussion Group meetings where our agenda items included: new hire orientations, managing student workforce, and metrics in HR, Ipads in training, social media in recruitment and competencies for HR success. One of my goals for the upcoming year is to revise our new employee orientation for our library employees. It was good to hear what others include in there orientations. Metrics that show where we get the bulk of our applicants from, how long we take to fill a vacancy, how much we spend on an average vacancy were each of interest to me.

I attended Enhancing Services through Integration of Interlibrary Loan and Acquisitions and heard from three different libraries how they have made this approach. Libraries represented were Kansas State University, Indiana University and Fort Vancouver Regional Library. One of them left the lending portion of ILL in Access while moving the borrowing to acquisitions. Two of the sites actually didn’t actually relocate staff, just integrated practices. Knowledge of copyright issues and e-resources licenses, knowledge of acquisitions purchasing and receiving, and knowledge of purchase on demand requirements were amongst the motivations for the mergers.

Librarians explored diversity sensitivity against a desire to have retrospective collections in the session entitled, The More Things Change, the More they Stay the Same…or do they? Presenters spoke on behalf of Native Americans, the LGBTQ community, folks with disabilities and African Americans. Each presenter gave examples of films and/or tv shows which in earlier years seem to take great pride in highlighting the more negative images of each. From the creepy lesbian, the unfaithful Indian, the ghetto black man to even the bookish librarian all were the central focus of some producer’s eye. While we don’t condone these images, we must strive to be as inclusive as possible in our collections. That means not only collecting these popular titles, but also going beyond to acquire documentaries that help to present a more balanced approach to that ethnicity or profession. I have several titles that were featured as examples that I am happy to share if you’d like to hear more.

The ACRL Assessment Group program was entitled, Wonder what the balanced score card really is? The balanced score card was defined as a way to use evidenced based practice to make decisions concerning processes. It really is a continuous improvement document. There are four main categories, user perspective, internal process, learning and growth and finance. Objectives are defined within each category, and then measures for success are identified and then the specific resulting action is scored and the strategic initiative is stated. One example used included as the objective – improve discovery of and access to scholarly resources, measures – use of licensed e-resources, strategic initiative – web site re-engineering. I think the process we have here at ZSR is very similar within our strategic planning processes. We identify and track the progress of our strategic initiatives. The one difference in this process, is that objectives are visited twice each year under the four categories. After administration reviews each area, the staff is included in the next round of conversations to obtain their observations, ideas or input concerning the initiative. So in the fall each topic is addressed and measured, staff are consulted in December with training where appropriate. Then in the spring those four areas are visited again, one at a time and then in May conversations with staff are held, and if necessary, training is offered again.

I was recently appointed to the LLAMA Leadership Skills Committee. Our program was entitled Project Management: a skill set every Librarian needs. Panelists representing academic, public and special libraries demonstrated their use of project management flowing. Crucial elements to this process require having a clear vision and understanding of the desired goal. Next obtain the full commitment from administration and leadership, establish a clearly defined process and lastly pull together a core group of desired people. Often times it is best to NOT have the person with the most knowledge about the situation serving as project manager because that person would have the tendecy to just do what they want without the consensus of the group. Communication is a must. Identify who the key stakeholders are, determine who will be responsible for communicating and how. Set a timeline and determine who will accomplish what. Have a formal hand-off between task and when complete, have a formal closeout and celebration.

Communicate with Confidence: One year to success, was a fun filled session with energetic speakers. Though the focus was on communicating, my take away was that you could use their recommendations to improve anything you desired. Start by agreeing to spend an hour each week towards this improvement plan. First identify what you do really well. This may take more than one week. Then later identify what you don’t do so well. Then spend at least an hour each week reading about that issue. This may be challenging, but you’ll need to find a way. This is just one specific issue that you’ve identified as necessary for you to have progress in this area. You may have other issues that are necessary for you to explore to get to your desired level. Talk to colleagues and get a mentor. Now identify how you can use what you have learned. Remember you are responsible for your own growth.

I hope if I have sparked your interest in any of these sessions, that you will drop me a note or join me for a cup of coffee/tea to talk further. I do enjoy sharing my notes.

CUPA Conference day 2

Thursday, May 16, 2013 12:39 pm

The second day of the CUPA HR conference was just as enlightening as the first. I began the day by attending Employee Recognition: A Look at the University of Oklahoma HR “STAHR” Program. The presenter Eric Sourie was filled with energy and enthusiasm as he delivered the program details. In the Oklahoma program STAHRs are recognized daily, quarterly with a luncheon and annually with a major celebration. The program is based entirely within Human Resources, a department of 72 employees. A STAHR is a Super Talented Associate of Human Resources. Sourie offered advice on building an effective recognition program. In a recognition program everyone should know exactly what the organization hopes to recognize? What behaviors do you want to reinforce? Is it the peers who recognize or is it the supervisor? Effective employee recognition programs reinforce the mission, vision and values of the organization and should be easy to administer. Above all they should be valued by the employees. For the most value, you really need to find out what the employees actually value. Sometimes there are challenges in maintaining enthusiasm and value around the program. It’s never a done deal, but more of a continuous cycle to evaluate, recognize, celebrate and then evaluate again. Programs should consider recognizing those: whose opinions are heard and valued, those who give extra effort, those who are examples to their peers, those who volunteer above and beyond, those vested in the success of the organization, proactive and those committed to excellence.

Creating a Culture of Respect on Campus: Developing Standards of Professionalism, explored how inappropriate interactions reduce optimum performance on our campuses and was led by Sibson Consulting representatives Barbara Butterfield and Robert Conlon. Values of the organization should be interwoven in the daily interactions of both faculty and staff. Professionalism actually starts within the search/interview process. The search committee and its interactions should display the highest levels of professionalism. This conveys the message of expectancy. Language that speaks to collegiality should be included in the job description. Professionalism is defined by respect, integrity, positive communication, fair, doing your best, knowledgeable, and controlling your emotions. Does professionalism matter? Yes it does! It should be communicated and modeled. Rochelle Arnold Simmons, Organizational Development Specialist at Johns Hopkins University, shared details of an active John’s Hopkins case study with the audience. Why would Johns Hopkins undertake a study centered on professionalism? As a leader in both teaching and research they need to be able to continue to attract and retain the best faculty, staff and students. The committee’s charge was to cultivate an environment/culture characterized by trust, mutual respect, open communications, accountability and collaborative interactions among all members of the Hopkins community and those they serve. A healthy campus has a climate of trust and respect, with work/life balance and ethics. It has behaviors conducive to physical intellectual, emotional, financial, social and spiritual well being. A healthy campus displays behaviors which are consistent with organizational values to promote a productive and supportive, collaborative, fun, dependable and safe workplace. Johns Hopkins launched a phased approach to developing the desired culture. First gathering information from the university and select peers on standards of professionalism. Next they analyzed the data to determine internal patterns and reviewed best practices. Currently they are creating an executive summary which will include a recommended implementation plan and a supporting structure. Ideas from that days’ brainstorming session is to be included in the documentation.

Putting Social Media to Work in HR, led by David Zajchowski of Rollins College, took a different spin from what I had hoped. His focus was on HR’s value and advantage in using social media in advertising position vacancies, updating and sharing university news and communicating with faculty and staff. I had hoped they would talk some about effective ways to use social media in the actual search process, however, none the less, the information given was beneficial. Of particular interest were the statistics on social network usage across racial lines. Whites lead with 79%, Hispanics with 12%, Blacks 10% and Asians 3%. The presenter asked the audience if we knew why the numbers were so low for minorities. I asked him what the source of his data was to which he replied, from Nielsen ratings. I said that says a lot since, I have never known any African American who was asked to participate in any of the Nielsen rating events. No one else had any possible reasons to offer either. Social media, if used correctly, can promote deeper engagement with communities of interest. Attendees were advised to safeguard the fine line between personal voice and institutional voice.

The last session of the day sought to provide “Answers to your Toughest Legal Questions?” and was led by attorney Beth Tyner Jones of the Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice firm of Raleigh. Some topics touched on were, retaliation lawsuits, departmental mis-classification within exempt and non-exempt categories and ADA compliance. I was also glad to hear her recommendations for universities conducting criminal background checks on previously hired faculty members and complying to Affordable Care Act (ACA) guidelines specific to adjunct faculty and the provision of health care benefits. Concerning background checks, Jones asked that we consider these factors: time passed since the offense, conduct while working with your university and the length and terms of sentence served; nature of the job held in relation to the offense and the nature and gravity of the offense. Institutions should allow faculty members the opportunity to explain. With regard to adjuncts and ACA compliance, Jones stated that most often, institutions do not track hours worked but instead pay adjuncts per course, taking into consideration the specific course’s demands, preparation time, in-class instruction time, and out-of-class responsibilities. Teaching twelve credit hours equates to 36 hours of work time. Counting of these hours is to begin in July. The discussion on having interns and volunteers advised employers to state the terms up front within the internship/volunteer agreement. Specifically one should address expected hours, mutual benefits and desired outcomes, include statements that reinforce that no wages are attached to this project and there is no commitment to hire.

Overall this was a super conference and I am grateful for the opportunity to attend. Please see me if you want to hear more on any of the topics covered.

HR 2013 Speedway to Excellence – Day 1

Thursday, May 2, 2013 8:41 pm


On April 28-30, Charlotte was home to the 2013 College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) Southern Region Conference. I didn’t see any official numbers, but I’d say there were about 250 folks in attendance. This was my first time attending this type conference and I was especially grateful for the opportunity to attend. It was a really great conference, packed with lots of relevant information. You may recall that the salary market analysis conducted back in the fall used data from CUPA for the review and that I also serve on an ACRL committee to review CUPA library position descriptions. I drove in to Charlotte both days and can honestly say that this is one commute I am thrilled not to have to make with any regularity.

The opening keynoter, Dr. Christopher Bouer, author of Better Ethics NOW: How to Avoid the Ethics Disaster You Never Saw Coming, suggested a preventative maintenance approach to ethics and values training. Research shows that institutions lose about 5% of their bottom line to unethical practices. Good ethics programs that are easily defined, clear and concise will reduce fraud losses of up to 15%. Ethics are the total of our guiding values; the rules we follow even when no one is looking and all we know about doing the next best thing. My take away from this session was to make sure that supervisors include a conversation concerning the library values statement as a part of our new employee orientation.
The next breakout session provided the opportunity for affinity groups to connect. I along with other WFU troopers, Angela Culler and Christy Lennon, attended the private institutions gathering. Here we discussed endowment distributions, admissions, diversity recruitment efforts, title IX and faculty background checks. When polled concerning the number of institutions conducting faculty drug and background checks, almost all attendees responded affirmatively. Only one institution indicated that they had gone back and conducted checks on those hired prior to implementation of the policy.
Leadership Conversations: Developing Managerial Capacity for Inclusive Excellence through Dialogue, featured Pearl Alexander and Cheryl Cofield, both of the Georgia Institute of Technology, who discussed ways to foster inclusiveness in team/group meetings. Attendees participated in role playing activities to generate self-insight and improve listening techniques. During the paired up listening exercise, I wanted to say, yes I understand, or I remember when, but our instructions were to listen only for the full two minutes. It was hard. We practiced giving delighted attention, equal time and uninterrupted conversation. Interruptions can derail the communicator, causing him or her to lose their intended message. During the session we also watched the Susan Boyle video of her appearance on Britain’s Got Talent. The underlying theme is here was no one expected her to triumph. They all made assumptions based upon her demeanor. So this is the same in life. Our perspectives are often timed colored by our individual opinions, attitudes and beliefs. Many times these assumptions are laced with unconscious biases, sometimes racially based. The presenter’s example focused on stereotypes of laziness which often lead interviewers to probe deeper than usual for evidence that applicants will actually work if given the job. Diversity mature leaders strive to be aware of these conversations. Value added does not always reside with the usual suspects. Leaders need to work at creating a culture of dialogue. The experience of being understood versus being interpreted is so compelling you could charge admission. (presenter’s quote) This session was really good and they covered lots more of which I am happy to share, but I’ll stop here and move on to the next session.
Enhancing Employee Engagement in Difficult Fiscal Times, topic for Ann Lennon of the UNC System and John Toller, ECU’s presentation, stressed the importance of tracking employee engagement. Research indicates that about 30% of employees are engaged, with 50% not really fully engaged and 20% actively not engaged. People are the source of power for our learning communities representing the engine and fuel for sustainable success. What attracts new hires and what retains is closely aligned and should have respect at the center along with future career advancement opportunities, maintaining job interest and adequate compensation. These three things were cited as factors which lead to dis-engaged employees. 1) Being under-utilized. Leaders need to tap into the full potential, redesign jobs and listen well. 2) Being invisible. Leaders need to recognize people personally and appreciate them. 3) Feeling like they are not making a difference. Managers need to celebrate successes no matter how small. Engaged employees are willing to give extra effort, they feel energized because their needs are met; they feel enabled because they have what they need to get the job done. Empathy was cited as the glue that holds it all together. Here are some other best practices:
• Show respect
• Build career paths
• Capitalize on engageable moments
• Write thank you notes
• Demonstrate strong leadership
• Actively managing change
• Focus on the customer
• Have equitable rewards in whatever forms are possible
• Promote collaboration not competition
• Use power sparingly
• Invest in the core
• Identify strengths and utilize them – right fit
• Hire or develop great managers

There’s more to come from day 2 when I attended sessions on employee recognition, standards of professionalism, social media in HR and the tough legal questions. Including both days in one post makes for a much longer post and I really want to hold your attention, so I’ll report more a little later.

Diversity & Inclusion Symposium

Thursday, March 21, 2013 12:38 pm

Wake Forest University held a Diversity & Inclusion Symposium at the Bridger Field House on Tuesday March 19. It was a beautiful sight to see the almost one hundred participants in attendance. Assistant Provost, Barbee Myers Oakes and Executive Director, Employer Relations, Mercy Eyadiel were the symposium planning co-chairs. The Symposium was co-sponsored by several University offices in conjunction with the North Carolina Diversity & Inclusion Partners. The partners are a consortium of public and private institutions of higher education in the State of North Carolina established to coordinate a statewide network among chief diversity officers. The schools are Duke, East Carolina, North Carolina Central, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Wilmington and Wake Forest. The symposium sought answers on how Wake Forest might ensure that there graduates were ready to compete in a multicultural environment.

Andy Chan, Vice President for Personal and Career Development moderated the first session where panelists were asked to address, “Defining Core Competencies for Graduates Entering a Global Marketplace.” Jeff Webster, Global Learning & Professional Development Manager, Exxon Mobile, Debra Langford, CEO & Principal The Langford Company, Rod Sides, Principal, Deloitte Consulting, LLP and Wake alumni along with Rachel Cheeks-Givan, Director of Global Diversity an Inclusion, PepsiCo each offered insights to the group. Among the comments that I captured were:
• Diversity used to be a code word for Black, but not any longer – it’s a much broader term.
• Are you as a leader saying what’s going on?
• Do you seek to understand the cultures you serve?
• Inclusion is when everything about you is valued and you’re free to be your authentic self.
• Relationships can prove vital. Let folks have fun together, let them connect.
• Inclusiveness is sometimes a lengthy journey.
• Don’t mistake a common language for a common understanding.
• Ask – what are you doing to mentor, what are doing to be inclusive?
• Graduates need to understand the value of others and what their differences bring to the table.
• Before you join a team, see if their leadership reflects an inclusive culture.

The continuing discussions focused on identifying how students might make the most of their time at Wake and within their internships. Students today want to know exactly what they need to do to get that A. They want it scripted. This leads to a worker who wants to be told exactly what to do to be productive. This could be somewhat of a downer. They haven’t had to figure it out. Their creative juices have not been tapped. Panelist recommended that professors be vaguer. They could use such statements as, once we finish X we can talk about how we’ll approach the next part. Assign more projects that require collaboration, connectivity and exploration.

An internship is more than just doing a job well and learning from that experience, but it is doing a job well while learning the culture, learning from the interactions and learning about the varying communication methods and styles. It is being in the game. An example used by one panelist compared a team player for the Lakers, the colors worn, the coach, the practice times, the strengths brought to the game by each player. Suddenly she moved over to the Los Angeles Clippers where there was a new coach, new players, new practice times and different folks bringing different strengths to the game. If she was going to be successful she had to pay attention, absorb the culture, all the while maintaining who she was. She used this same analogy to teach lessons to the students who seem to take their “entitled to attitudes” with them to work. There are out of bounds in any sport you play!

Melenie Lankau, Senior Associate Dean of Diversity and Graduate Programs served as moderator for the luncheon panelists. Tasked with speaking on “Diversity and Inclusion 50 years after Integration: Where Do We Go from Here? Panelist included Frank L. Matthews, publisher/Editor in Chief of Divers: Issues in Higher Education; Benjamin Reese, Vice-President of the Office for Institutional Equity, Duke University and our own Barbee Myers Oakes. Conversations around how minority candidates are invited to college campuses under a “culture of trust” to a campus climate which turns out to be far from welcoming and inclusive and many times the journey results in a failed attempt at tenure. So yes it is no wonder many college campuses lack the diversity amongst college faculty that would aid in preparing our graduates to work in an ever increasing diverse global community. This in reality is a catch 22, fewer minorities go in to Ph.D. programs and then even fewer of them get tenure. Barbee presented statistics showing that in 1998, some 6% of doctoral recipients were people of color. Unfortunately in 2008, ten years later, that 6% was an unchanged number.
Other highlights from this session revealed that Duke Chairs, Deans etc. have to prepare a summary outlining the progress made towards creating and maintaining a diverse and inclusive school or department. They also indicate within the report any obstacles they faced in meeting their desired goals. Targeted search efforts were among the most successful strategies implemented.

The final speaker was Marva Smalls, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, Chief of Staff for Nickelodeon Networks Group. She left the audience with nine suggestions for how you could produce better qualified graduates.
• It’s not what students learn today that prepares them, but what they are willing to learn tomorrow.
• Use teaching techniques that engage the student. Ask them what went well, what didn’t, and how would you change it?
• If it ain’t broke fix it anyway. Constant reinvention is essential for success.
• Unleash the geekness.
• Good writers are not a dime a dozen.
• If a tree falls in an empty forest, it doesn’t make a sound. Learn to communicate.
• Have the capacity to be in the moment.
• Generalists are better than specialist. Flexibility is a must.
• Diversity is destiny! The wider we cast our net, the better the results.

Wanda at Midwinter 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 4:34 pm

Battling a viral infection for most of 2013, there were many times near the time for my flight to Seattle that I thought most seriously about not making the trip. I had a couple of commitments, one to a new LLAMA Leadership Committee for which I just got appointed a few months ago and the other was an appointment as BCALA Membership Task Force Chair. Both of these I had promised to attend and had assignments in each. So wanting more to uphold my word, I plunged away warning my roommate that spending 5 nights together might be more than anyone would willingly signup for.

Friday morning was spent attending the BCALA Executive Board meeting. One of the ups or downs depending upon how you view it is revisiting strategic priorities. Results were shared with the larger group of a SWOT analysis that was conducted by the board during its new member retreat on Thursday night. Listed among our strengths were; networking, promoting African American literature, and sustaining our legacy and organization. Weaknesses seem to mirror some of the same ones identified in almost every strategic review done during my 20+ years as a member. And yes believe it or not we had the discussion of image and what we call ourselves. Black librarians or African American or perhaps something entirely new, doesn’t really matter to me. Ultimately whatever the term we choose to identify with, we need to avails ourselves of the opportunity to be an advocate for librarians of color, promoter for authors of color and their works, to be mentors for and providers of networking opportunities for librarians new to the profession and to be providers of a venue, our listserv, instrumental to libraries looking to increase the diversity within its staffing. These all confirm our need to exist. And if we can manage effectively those things that may be threats to our success; communication, technology, image and structure, then we can remain a necessary and welcomed organization within our profession. The Membership Task Force, of which I serve as Chair, has been charged to conduct a survey of our membership this spring. Our committee met and did a rough draft of the survey we plan to conduct.
Saturday’s ACRL Personnel Administrators groups gathering centered on several topics of personal interest to me. A discussion of social media policies concerning recruitment proved as varied as one would imagine. Some believe that it minimizes the likelihood that the person could be judged fairly. Others believe it sheds an open door to more about an individual than they would willingly share in an onsite interview. If all people were fair and impartial, it could potentially play an integral role. The fact that my blue haired facebook photo would likely cause a few of the librarians I know in our profession to remove my application from the pool, however is a reality and does concern me. The group also explored electronic system options for sharing dossiers in the peer review process. This topic really got me thinking and I am eager to pursue options for our use here at ZSR.
I am a member of the Library Leadership & Management Association (LLAMA) Leadership Skills Committee. We met to continue conversations regarding the program proposal we submitted for annual on “Project Management for Libraries.” We also brainstormed ideas for future program topics planning. Some of the topics to make the short list were, work life balance and new hire orientation. Only one topic was proposed as a please don’t talk about anymore and that was succession planning for libraries. So, I wasn’t sure what led to that plea, but it came across loud and clear.
ARL unveiled a searchable database of position description designed to house a libraries position descriptions, but those of their neighboring ARL academic institutions as well. With limit functions, you can do a variety of internal only searches as well as searching for similar titles across the spectrum. I thought it would be an excellent tool, especially when we look to write advertisements for our own vacancies. The database is free to all ARL libraries, however currently it is not open to non-ARL, leaving us out of the loop. For more info look here:
Mindful Leadership through Tough Times, a panel discussion also sponsored by LLAMA, was also a hit for the standing room only crowd. Mindful leadership was described as a connection between the brain and leadership. Mindful leaders are thoughtful and attentive, nurturing those in their care towards their goals. A Mindful leader manages emotions while building a sense of community. The Mindful leader is self-aware and therefore your followers are likely to see you as empathic and most authentic. Your authenticity generates trust and your team wants to follow you. As the discussion came to a close, the following recommendations were offered:
• Talk to your peers, share ideas and share stories.
• Talk to your staff about what really matters.
• Share tools with your staff that help them reflect and think.
• Remind yourself that in times of change, lie great opportunities.
• Keep the mission and vision alive.
• Walk the walk.
• Take time to nurture creativity.
• Create a positive environment, where experimentation is welcomed.
• Allow yourself time to pause and reflect.
• If you don’t look around and ahead, who will?
• LISTEN and consciously practice being in the moment, being mentally present.
• Mind full or Mindful, your choice.

Joint Conference of Librarians of Color (JCLC)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 12:06 pm

The Joint Conference of Librarians of Color was held in Kansas City September 19 -23. This conference brings together Native American, Hispanic, African American, Chinese American and Asia Pacific Librarians. This is the second such gathering for the group. The first one was held in Dallas back in 2006. I didn’t hear any official numbers, but I’d guess around 600 or so librarians were there. I am sure our friends over at UNC-G won the prize for most in attendance, with twenty-two students and six librarians on the roster. We had a splendid welcoming at the Kansas City Public Library which featured cultural cuisine and entertainment representative of each of the ethnic groups celebrated at the conference. The library was very attractive and most welcoming with lots of really cool stuff. This vault turned into a film viewing studio and an outdoor chess set available for patron use were just a few of the more noteworthy happenings.

The opening speaker was Sonia Manzano of Sesame Street, where she continues to portray Maria since the 1970’s. She spoke of family and community and how it has influenced every book as well as many of the Sesame Street episodes she wrote. And yes she still has such great looks. I was really disappointed when my pre-conference on writing diversity action plans turned out to be nothing more than a review of the leadership principles found in appreciative inquiry and organizational development. Not to worry though, diversity in some form was the primary topic of the conference. By then end of the week, I felt like I had heard the same message over and over again. I also believed that most of the recommendations given to those in attendance, were the same ones to benefit the most from others hearing and applying the message. However, one of my strongest beliefs is that each time you hear a varying form of the somewhat similar message, the more it reinforces the underlying principle of the message. Here’s a summary of the sessions I attended or shall I say a few takeaways.

Diversity is a commitment to recognizing and appreciating the variety of characteristics that make individuals unique in an atmosphere that promotes and celebrates individual and collective achievement. All are empowered when we have an inclusive organization that recognizes, yet values those differences. If libraries are to continue being indispensable organizations on their campuses and within their communities, their staff must reflect the communities they serve. Libraries must provide quality services and collections to their increasingly diverse constituencies.

Deep diversity is not all about the numbers. It’s all about value and respect. Diversity thinking has gone from tolerating to celebrating. Traditional recruitment efforts alone are not enough. Librarian residency programs can aid, but also can do much to damage if everyone on board has not fully brought in to the value of why this is a necessary tool. Setting and communicating clear expectations for all parties is essential to a successful program. It’s about retaining. How well has your new hire adjusted to the community? Is the library the only place in your community that is welcoming? How honest and upfront were you concerning the organization you recruited for?

Who we are, how we think, interact and learn is shaped by our own experiences. What our lives have held inform how we react to any given situation. The more we, as a person or as a collective organization, know about each others experiences, the more we can relate to and understand each other. The more effective our communication with each other becomes and the more our sensitivity is enhanced within any situation or conversation.

An emotionally healthy workplace is positive, nurturing, caring and respectful. A healthy workplace has vitality, integrity, tolerance, appreciation, latitude and empowerment. Over one million absences within the workplace each year are stress related. Other signs of workplace stress are poor concentration, repeated respiratory infections, fatigue and the general I just don’t feel well.

Jamaal Joseph the closing speaker, author of Panther Baby, was most inspiring. His story of how a Black Panthers organizational leader armed him with his first set of books, with lessons he learned in prison, to his triumph ascension to the faculty at Columbia University, left the audience in tears. He charged us as Librarians to arm our communities with the knowledge and support our youth need to be successful at life. He asked that we make a personal commitment to ending institutional slavery (prisons) to our nations “black and hispanic boys.” This was the best conference closing message Librarians of color could have ever hoped for. JCLC was a wonderful celebration of cultures, a celebration of librarians of color, a sharing of our stories and yes a gathering at the waters. I sincerely welcome the opportunity for further discussion on any of my conference takeaways.- Wanda

NCICU Assessment Conference

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 10:18 am

The 8th Annual NCICU Assessment conference was held at Methodist University back in May and was themed “Improving Institutions One Assessment at a Time.” Participants in attendance represented twenty-four of the thirty six North Carolina private colleges and universities with eleven of those there on behalf of their university library. The majority in attendance were from the Office of Institutional research. I always find this gathering enjoyable. It gives me not only the opportunity to hear assessment efforts from the larger university context, but also almost always there are some interesting library specific sessions.
Building a Better Graduate: the Development and Use of Assessment Tools for General Education,” was given by Carol Rowe, Barton College faculty member and their QEP Director, Kevin Pennington. The focus of this session was designing general education courses with embedded learning outcomes. The learning outcomes were based on soft skills surrounding written communication, oral communication and critical thinking. Faculty members took a deliberate intentional approach to creating a syllabus around these outcomes. The course discussed was a current affairs course, so students had a written assignment, oral projects as well as group discussions. Rubrics were used to provide targets for assignments and to provide consistency in assessment.
Brent Atwater and Nancy Elveen of Greensboro College discussed, “Using Assessment Results to Improve Internship Experiences.” This was a collaborative venture between their Career Services and their Office of Institutional Research. The expectations of the internship are clearly defined. What will the student gain by way of experiences? Here are some of the assessment questions asked at the end of the internship. We could possibly incorporate some of these in an effort to assess effectiveness of the internship opportunities we provide here at ZSR.
• To what extent has your experience here contributed to your knowledge, skills and personal development in writing?
• To what extent has your experience here contributed to your knowledge, skills and personal development in speaking clearly?
• To what extent has your experience here contributed to your knowledge, skills and personal development in working effectively with others?
• To what extent has your experience here contributed to your knowledge, skills and personal development in acquiring work related skills?
New Tools for Examining Library Impact on Student Learning,” was the most interesting and most relevant sessions of the day. Please view the slides from this joint project between Elon University Library and UNC- Chapel Hill Ph.D. student Derek Rodriquez. In particular note the slides that outline student use of library resources during a work task within their academic major. Check out slide 18 which list the top 15 uses within the library by the Elon University students.
My final session for the day was given by David Eubanks of Johnson C. Smith University on “Building and Using a General Education Assessment Dashboard.” The dashboard is a warehouse of liberal arts assessment data within the core learning outcomes of the university, critical thinking, effective writing and effective speaking. Students are assessed by faculty at the beginning of the course and then again at the end. Students are evaluated as being ready to graduate or not. Stats are also maintained regarding the amount of effort put towards obtaining any one particular skill. You can find out more about this model by searching for Eubanks work entitled “Assessing the Elephant.”
I have a notebook from the conference which has all the slides from each presenter. If you’d like to see them, just let me know.

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