Professional Development

Author Archive

ALADN in Pittsburgh

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 10:51 pm

I made a quick trip to Pittsburgh after Commencement on Monday to attend the remainder of the Academic Library Advancement and Development Network (ALADN) annual conference. I try to go at least every other year to keep up with what is going on in library fundraising. I knew I was in the right place when I went to the registration desk and the guy said, “Wake Forest? Didn’t you win the ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award?” I am not making this up.

I missed the first day of programs, so I tried to catch up with others who had been there from the beginning. I loved seeing old friends and colleagues from other parts of the country, along with many of my buds from the Southeast.

The keynote on Tuesday was billed as “Hard Conversations at Work” and I have had my share of those, but it was really a leadership development kind of workshop. The best nugget I got was, “People don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses.” A big HMMMM on that.

The best program I attended was on “Persuasive Writing: Getting Them to Say Yes Before You Ask.” Since we are getting to the stage in our WFU campaign where we need to prepare materials (they call it “collateral” in the trade), this was timely. The presenter was an experienced professional and she gave great advice. Especially useful was her categorization of the four types of donors:

  • expressives: they want ideas, new directions, and are easily bored,
  • analyticals: they want facts and figures, testimonials work well
  • bottom liners (that’s me): they value brevity, like summaries, and make quick decisions
  • amiables: they want to be your friend, tell you about their families, and value face-to-face conversations

In another session, a panel of library deans/directors answered these questions (with greatly simplified, bottom-line answers):

Q: How do you go about positioning your library? A: Success breeds success, and the squeaky wheel locks up over time.

Q: How do you come up with a theme to transcend all constituent groups? A: Go back to your mission and vision (here is where our ZSR mission beats all)

Q: What is your most difficult constituency? A: Faculty, faculty, faculty. (But also the most ardent advocates)

The rest of the programs did not give me any new information, sorry to say. But perhaps the most valuable experience of the trip was dinner with a couple from Pittsburgh who are ultra Deacs. Both are alums and they have two children at Wake. And both of them worked in the library as undergrads! They asked me lots of questions about libraries today and were very interested in how ZSR had changed since they were there. Lots of fun!

Keynote at ACRL New England Chapter

Friday, May 17, 2013 10:11 pm

On May 10, 2013 I had the honor of giving the keynote presentation at the ACRL New England Chapter Annual Conference. Last fall, I had seen a call for papers on a conference called “Communities in the Cloud, the Commons, and the College.” They were looking for papers on how academic libraries could engage their communities. Easy. We do that pretty well at ZSR. So I submitted a proposal listing all the things we do for faculty, staff and the community at large. Several weeks later I was contacted by the conference chair who said my proposal spoke so well to the theme of the conference that they wondered if I could give the keynote presentation. Sure!

Here is the presentation:

Community Building in Libraries: Success for Every user from suttonls

I had a great time doing it. Enjoy!

Lynn at ACRL in Indianapolis

Friday, April 12, 2013 11:05 pm

This is the room in which I spent nearly all of my time at the ACRL conference in Indianapolis. My biggest role here was as co-chair of the Cyber Zed Shed Committee, a strange name, but one with a long history at the conference. The “Zed Shed” was a place on a ship where people could try out new knots and new techniques of seamanship. So the Cyber Zed Shed at ACRL has been a place where innovative new applications of technology could be tried out and vetted. I stayed in this room for 8 sessions with three presentations each. It was fun to see the names and faces connected with the proposals that we judged back in December. I will give the highlights, rather than a blow-by-blow.

The most predominant theme was that of data visualization. A number of papers showed how much more dramatically images can portray meaning, compared to spreadsheets. Libraries have built informative and visually appealing dashboards for presentation of usage statistics, collection analysis, and user information. My imagination ran wild and I came back with all kinds of ideas on how we can spice up our statistical presentation.

A number of other papers addressed digital collections, digital humanities, and digital initiatives of every kind. Since we are recruiting for such a specialist right now, it was instructive to see how many different directions the digitalist could take. Some focused on institutional repositories, some on presentation of digital collections, some on analysis of BIG DATA. One even used a supercomputer facility to analyze subject headings from the catalog to create the most beautiful abstract images. Fun stuff.

Social media was another popular topic. One person creatively mined the Twitter feed on his campus to intercept and then respond to tweets from his students. One person gave up on Facebook and found much greater success with Instagram. One library changed from broadcasting mode to listening mode in their use of social media.

Instruction librarians used technology to implement “personal librarian” programs and to provide a digital orientation EXTRAVAGANZA for distance students. One adapted the SCVNGR game to update the old-fashioned library scavenger hunt. Two different libraries talked about replacing Meebo chat reference with even better products. A scholarly communication librarian devised an interactive decision tree to guide faculty members in copyright decisions.

One of the most fun talks was about the Makerspace concept, which has been more popular so far in public libraries than in academics. It involves the “maker” concept of 3D printing. If you can dream it, you can make it, is the philosophy. When they talked about Makey Makey software, I was hooked, and wanted one really badly. Who wouldn’t want to turn a banana into a piano?

Our neighbor Beth Filar Williams at UNCG talked about implementing HTML 5 for video in library tutorials. The chair of the IFLA Newspaper Section talked about crowdsourcing to correct millions of raw OCR conversion of newspaper text. The champion non-paid volunteer was from Australia who personally corrected 1.4 million records per year, just for the fun of it. People are really strange.

I got out for a few other non Zed Shed sessions, but they have all been covered by others. All in all, it was an exhiliarating experience and Indianapolis was a great host city. Tomorrow, I am meeting with our University Library Group peers, but I will save that for a separate post!

 

CNI with Lynn (and Kyle)

Thursday, April 11, 2013 10:21 pm

First off, Kyle was magnificent. I asked him to give a presentation on our groundbreaking ZSRx mini-MOOC course at the Coalition for Networked Information meeting in San Antonio, April 4-5, knowing that we were only half-way through implementation. He graciously agreed and gave a wonderful presentation on how he built the course. I will let him tell you more about that!

I like to go to CNI because it keeps me up to date on leading edge developments in the overlapping worlds of IT and libraries. They love to be the place where things are first announced, which is why I wanted us to do ZSRx here. Even when I sit through a very technical presentation that is way over my head (like the keynote here), a bit of it seeps into my consciousness and my world is broadened just a little. Besides, I get almost all of my good ideas while at library meetings away from home and I got a couple at this one (scary, I know, and you know who you are).

The first session after the keynote was on the new library at NC State, entitled “The Library Building as Research Platform.” I was prepared to be impressed, but I was not prepared for the mind-blowing explosion of visualization technologies for data-driven science that is the core of the building. Their aim is to have the experience of awe open up the imagination. Their vision is for the library to serve as a technology incubator. The building is an entirely new model; there aren’t any others like it – yet. It is a world very different from Wake Forest and ZSR, but they have captured the essence of their campus perfectly. I can’t wait to see it in person and I believe we are going to try to schedule another group visit this summer when things settle down.

I attended several presentations on big storage solutions. One was a cheap, local server-farm solution, that worked for the needs in its library. Another was an almost exact replica of our Amazon cloud experience, except that we did it three years ago for all web services and this library did it just recently but only for digital scholarship projects. Their reasons were the same as ours: the need for flexibility and independence.

SUNY Buffalo talked about the results of four e-textbook pilots in which they participated this past year, some on their own and some in collaboration with other campuses. One surprising fact was that on their campus, 40% of students buy no textbooks at all because they are so expensive and students can make do without them. One pilot involved their bookstore, but they tended to be inflexible and not willing to give discounts as big as could be achieved elsewhere. They were also involved in two of the EDUCAUSE pilot programs using commercial partners. In the most successful pilot, savings of up to 87% were achieved. In the end, the conclusion seemed to be that while the pilots were promising, the world is still not quite ready for e-texts. Students in the pilot still preferred print by a large margin. The only thing they liked about the e-version was the discount. I tend to agree with their conclusion that e-textbooks will be mature when kids have grown up with them. The presenter told the story of his three-year-old standing in front of the television swiping it in an attempt to change the channel. That child will be ready for e-textbooks!

The last presentation I went to was about the IMS Global Learning Consortium, about which I knew nothing. It is a non-profit organization comprised of both commercial providers and higher education institutions. IMS is focused on the exchange of digital content. Their goal is to have standards for open content so that all systems can “just work.” Three of their main programs are Common Cartridge, Learning Tools Operability (LTI) and Learning Information Services (LIS). They are trying to move technology in higher education for student information success to break the status quo of closed proprietary systems. I will try to follow their progress in the future.

We had to catch a plane before the last plenary session on the Ithaka S+R 2012 US Faculty survey, but CNI puts up video and slides for each of its meetings, so I will put the links up when I get them. All in all, a very useful meeting!

 

Midwinter in Seattle with Lynn

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 9:01 pm

My reason for attending the recent Midwinter Conference of the American Library Association in Seattle had to do with my committee responsibilities related to the upcoming ACRL Conference in April 2013. I am co-chair of the Cyber Zed Shed Committee (the name: I know, I know). Conference chairs met on Sunday afternoon to ensure overall coordination and my Committee met on Monday morning to go over our specific responsibilities. In this, it was a successful conference.

Whenever I travel, Angela Glover, our development officer, tries to arrange meetings with local alumni or potential donors. In Seattle, she arranged two dinners with prominent local alums. It was fun to get to know them better and to update them on ZSR’s activities. Thanks, Angela!

I tried to make good use of my time for the rest of the trip. I attended a SPARC-sponsored session of alternative metrics that lamented the “skinny shoulders” of glamour journals that publish only highlights of results, rather than providing the “broad shoulders” of methods and data that will allow others to replicate or extend the work. We need the shoulders of giants to stand on, was the creative way to express the message. I tried to attend the LITA Top Tech Trends on Sunday morning, but the line was out the door and I couldn’t hear from the hallway. Maybe someone else will report on that.

A highlight for me was a talk by Caroline Kennedy (yes, THAT Caroline Kennedy), who is an accomplished lawyer, author, and activist. Her keynote address was an inspiration that I thoroughly enjoyed. She talked about how her parents (yes, THOSE parents) instilled a love of reading in her and her brother and how she and JFK, Jr were required to memorize and recite poems for their mother’s birthday. She talked about her family and civic responsibility to support the JFK Museum and keep it relevant to children who view her father’s presidency as ancient history. She is clearly an advocate for libraries and literacy. My favorite quotes were that libraries were “tabernacles of personal freedom,” “librarians are the most committed community activists I know,” and “the best leaders are those that care the most.”

The one fun thing I did was to visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit at the Seattle Center, next to the Space Needle. Truly, it is the most beautiful museum I have ever seen. Susan and Roz and crew went separately and took lots of wonderful photographs. I’m sure they will share!

In her Midwinter post, Lauren P. said that she LOVES governance work. I am so glad she does because ALA really needs it. It makes less and less sense for libraries like ours to send people clear across the country for committee meetings that take less than an hour and could easily be done online. It’s not like we don’t have plenty of other face-to-face opportunities as well. So Lauren, we will be hoping that your love for governance bears fruit, even if it stems from Blacksburg, VA :-(

 

 

Coalition for Networked Information, December 2012

Monday, January 7, 2013 11:56 am

Thomas and I attended the Fall meeting of the Coalition for Networked Information in Washington, DC on December 10-11, 2012. CNI is a membership organization dedicated to best practices in information technology, from both the Library and IT sides.As happened last year, I had bad luck traveling to the meeting due to a delayed flight. By the time I finally got there, the keynote was already over.

For the first concurrent session, I chose “Establishing Infrastructures for Scholarly Publishing.” Kevin Hawkins, Head of Publishing Production from the University of Michigan, spoke about mPach, a system being developed to publish journals directly into the HathiTrust repository. It will be available to other institutions within the year and creates a one-step process for both publishing and archiving OA journals. Continuing the library publishing theme in the second session, I chose “Library Publishing Coalition Project.” I had heard about this earlier from my ASERL meeting. The project is meant to create a forum for professionals engaged in the field of library publishing. It is hosted by the Educopia Institute, with a large number of academic libraries participating. Membership at both the Founding and Contributing levels is now open. The stated mission is to mainstream library publishing in a range of forms, and the aim is to provide services to practitioners such as marketing, collective purchasing, advocacy, training, statistics, research, directory, and liaison with other communities. I ended the day by meeting ZSR’s good friends Dr. Earl Smith and Dr. Angela Hattery for dinner. They led the two South Course excursions in which ZSR participated in 2007 and 2009. It was great to catch up with them and hear about their new professional lives at George Mason University.

On Tuesday, the first session I attended was “Supporting Community and Open Source Software in Cultural Heritage Institutions.” I was particularly interested in the update on Kuali OLE, which is still in development on a pay-to-play basis. The OLE (Open Library Environment) project received a third year of funding from Mellon and joined the Kuali Foundation to take advantage of its governance structure and general infrastructure. The University of Chicago and Lehigh University will be the first adopters. Version 1.0 is scheduled for Q4 2013 with the release of a global open knowledgebase. In the same session, there was also an update on ArchiveSpave, which will combine Archon and Archivists Toolkit, which we use here at ZSR. The beta release is scheduled for May/June. Lyrasis has been chosen as the organizational home for training, help desk, upgrades, etc.

For the next session, I chose “HarvardX: Developing Communities of Practice for Innovation in Online Learning.” I am very interested in the MOOC movement (massive, open online courses), having taken several of them myself. Harvard and MIT announced EdX in May, 2012, and several other institutions were added shortly thereafter, including Texas, Berkeley Wellesley and Georgetown. Within EdX, Harvard uses the brand HarvardX with a goal to improve teaching, learning and research across the institution. The libraries at Harvard are trying to figure out how to support the endeavor. They have been looking at copyright implications, mostly. Perhaps the most insightful, and certainly the most amusing comment of the conference, came from a man now at Cornell, but previously with the British Open University. He said that there is nothing about MOOCs that is new, since it has been done in Britain, at least, for some time. Americans apparently think if they haven’t invented it themselves, it doesn’t count. He might have something there…

For the final session of the morning, I again choose MOOCs (can’t get enough). Our neighbor, Lynne O’Brien from Duke, presented on “Massive Open Online Courses as Drivers for Change.” Duke joined Coursera in July 2012 and has launched two courses, with eight more in development. Duke’s goals are to drive teaching innovation, extend its commitment to knowledge in service to society, and to expand Duke’s global brand. Her office helps promote, design, produce and provide media storage for the MOOCs on campus. The Provost’s office provides stipends, while the school or department also provides teaching assistants and other support. Duke’s Scholarly Communication office is providing copyright review. For some early courses, major publishers have been providing free versions of e-textbooks and some software companies have offered free or discounted software. Since the initial courses have just been completed, it is early to draw conclusions. They are estimating that development costs per course might be as high as $50,000. Faculty are doing it to build their personal brand, often without additional money or course reduction. Some faculty now want to use the Coursera platform for their own Duke courses and want the flexibility it offers in terms of the length of a course. (There is some movement there to re-think the “course is a course” approach for which Duke is known.) Overall, they are excited about the possibilities.

The conference ended with a final keynote by Hunter Rawlings, President of the Association of American Universities. He talked about the tidal wave of international students and the consequences it brings, both good and bad. He also highlighted the stress suffered by flagship state research universities and the inappropriate meddling by politicians in their mission and scope. While he does not currently have a high opinion of MOOCs, as a classicist (of special interest to me) he noted that ancient Greece was an oral, performance culture and the introduction of the written book was a massive disruption that eventually proved its worth. Plato predicted (correctly) that books would cause people to lose much of their memories, so when he wrote books he did it in dialog to mimic the best form of education and pursuit of truth (in his view). Perhaps we can think of MOOCs in the same way.

ASERL Fall 2012 Meeting

Friday, November 30, 2012 3:52 pm

The Association of Southeastern Research Libraries held its Fall 2012 meeting in Atlanta (Decatur, actually) on November 13-14. The first night, I had dinner with a ZSR donor who happens to be a retired librarian, which was a very enjoyable experience considering that she was born and raised 3 doors down from my house in Beaufort! The next morning, I attended the Board meeting due to my position as President-elect.

The meeting itself started with a presentation by Tracey Campbell, a faculty member at the University of Kentucky, “A Shared Interest in the South: a Framework for Future ASERL Shared Digital Projects.” This is meant to be a potential sequel to ASERL’s acclaimed digital Civil War portal, to which ZSR has contributed digital items from Special Collections. Dr. Campbell is a student of the “New South” and spent some time describing the scope of the term. Basically, the New South is the old Confederacy today, shaped by the Civil War, with many of the same feelings and loyalties as the Old South. As a historian, he attested to the power of a rich, combined archive such as ASERL’s. It has helped his own research considerably. After his presentation, there were small-group discussions to determine next steps. There will likely be an effort to shape topics in broad subject areas like civil rights, women’s issues, music, literature, etc. Watch for more on this initiative.

The next session was a panel on best practices in assessment. The user experience librarian at Georgia Tech talked about their student advisory board and an attempt at the assessment of physical spaces using design charettes, focus groups, advisory boards, surveys, census, and 3rd party partnerships. Our friend Kathy Crowe at UNCG talked about their annual assessment plan tied to the university’s strategic plan. They work with the Office of Planning and Assessment and post results using a LibGuide format. They have used a “Mystery Shopper” approach, which aroused lots of interest. Their new Digital Media Commons was a result of an assessment that determined there was no other help available for students with media. Florida State used an ethnographic approach, similar to the University of Rochester, and generated 1500 pages of transcripts. They learned that the favorite working hours for faculty were 10:00 am-2:00 pm, but it was the opposite for students. Yep. Because they have turnstiles requiring a card swipe for entry, they could demonstrate that 80% of the entire undergraduate student body had visited the library during the year.

The day finished with a few business items:

  • The bylaws were amended to tighten the language on probation and suspension procedures in the membership sections.
  • A motion passed to endorse model language for data management plans developed jointly by ASERL and SURA (Southeastern Universities Research Association). I have since passed that along to others in the WFU administration.
  • There was a show of support to proceed with reciprocal sharing of ASERL’s print journal repository with the members of the Washington Research Library Consortium. Individual participants will be asked to sign an amendment to the existing Memorandum of Understanding.
  • ASERL’s federal depository library program is progressing well. The Steering Committee will follow up with members who have not yet signed up.
  • ASERL statistics are due by January 15. John Burger asked for volunteers to look at data collection in light of ARL significantly changing their data requirements.

The last day started with a presentation from Clemson on space and building planning. After several starts and stops, they used an incremental “Roadmap” approach to add group study rooms, classrooms, and other improved user spaces. Interestingly, they received a $6 million complete overhaul of their HVAC system as part of the regular deferred maintenance program on campus. Jealous!! I made a good contact with the architect member of the team, so that was valuable.

The next presentation was Brandon Butler, Director of Public Policy Initiatives for the Association of Research Libraries, entitled “Libraries and Copyright 2012: The Code, The Siege, and What’s Next.” I confess to having an unnatural fascination with copyright (my first year as a baby hospital librarian was the year the current law was enacted), so I found his talk highly informative and entertaining. “The Code” refers to the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic Libraries, which has enjoyed a positive reception from college and university attorneys and many success stories in libraries. “The Siege” refers to the siege of fair use repression under which libraries suffered for decades, which is now beginning to lift after a series of favorable court rulings including AIME v UCLA, Georgia State, and the stunning victory of Hathi Trust over the Authors Guild. “What’s Next” includes the Kirtsaeng v Wiley first sale doctrine case (and if Kirtsaeng loses that one, libraries may as well pack up and go home), Section 108, orphan works clarification, and access for the print disabled (bet on them, they always win). It was probably the best copyright talk I have ever heard.

The meeting ended with a series of brief updates:

  • Library Publishing Coalition is a new group to provide a forum for exchange with digital publishing initiatives in libraries. I gave the information to Bill.
  • ASERL Directory of Open Access Activities will soon be available. A listserv is being started for Scholarly Communication people like Molly. ASERL will be seeking a Visiting Program Officer in this area.
  • SCOAP3 has finally reached the implementation phase. ZSR signed up years ago as part of an international effort to wrest control of high energy physics journals back from commercial publishers. The good people at CERN (who brought you the Higgs boson particle) are now saving the world for high energy physics. Go get ‘em.
  • The next meeting will be April 23-24 in Memphis, TN. Can’t wait!

Engaging and Supporting the Wake Forest Student, Part 2: First Generation College and High-Need Students

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 11:15 pm

Kaeley, Lauren Pressley and I attended the second session in the series, Engaging and Supporting the Wake Forest Student: Pedagogical Approaches for Success. This one focused on first generation college and high needs students. It is of special interest to me because I was a first generation student myself, many years ago. This session followed the format of the first one, in that the situation was framed by facts and profiles of the current student body, followed by additional information on the group being studied, and then helpful pedagogical tips to address needs.

Tom Benza, Associate Director of Financial Aids, shared with us detailed facts about financial aid at Wake Forest. I wrote down only a few of the highlights. Total annual cost of undergraduate attendance at Wake Forest is $58,310. Wow. 40% of the student body gets financial aid; 61% of students coming from North Carolina get aid. $41,949 is the average package to students in North Carolina. A shocking $35,070 is the average debt from last year’s graduating class. Tom explained how need is determined from a family’s income. For instance, all students are expected to contribute $2400 toward their education from working. There is particular stress on middle income families ($100-150K), which are expected to provide $20,000-30,000 as a family contribution. ZSR was thanked publicly for hiring so many work study students, but still there are 70 students on the work study wait list at any given time. That is why it is so important for us to hire and retain work study students.

Nate French described the Magnolia Scholars Program, which he directs. There are 500 first generation students at Wake Forest (whom he affectionately calls “First in the Forest”). They are chosen after the students have enrolled, from a group that has been identified with high risk factors (less than $40,000 income, big family, weak high school, pressure from home). The program is deliberately designed to avoid a visible cohort, in order to avoid stigma. Over the last 4 years, Magnolia Scholars have been getting .1 to .2 higher GPA than the control group, are comfortable academically, do not have binge drinking problems, but are less interested in going abroad.

Then Catherine Ross got to the meat of the workshop by describing pedagogical techniques to help these first generation students succeed. As with the previous session, she pointed out how universal design principles are at work. What works for first generation students will also work for all students. She talked about motivation and meta-cognition, meaning, the more students engage, the better their chances for success. Catherine gave practical steps to help students, including giving early and ample feedback, using self-assessment, assigning a plan of work as a first assignment, helping students engage in self-correcting techniques, etc.

This proved to be another very helpful and practical session to understand the students that we encounter here at Wake Forest. The next session is Thursday, November 15 at 11:00 am. The focus is on International students, a constituency of particular interest to us at ZSR this year. Sign up at PDC if you are interested.

ARL Fall Forum: Library Workforce for 21st Century Research Libraries

Sunday, October 14, 2012 11:16 pm

I like to attend the Fall Forum of the Association of Research Libraries because they let non-ARL libraries attend and I can catch up with my ARL friends and see what they are up to. This year, the focus was on the library workforce of the future, which is of high interest to me. Those of you who have been here awhile know that when a vacancy occurs at ZSR, as often as not we tend to fill it with a different kind of position. In this way, we have created positions for a Scholarly Communication Librarian, and Systems Analyst, and Digital Initiatives Librarian, to name only a few. It turns out this is what progressive research libraries are doing also, so I was interested in hearing their perspective. These library systems are much larger than ours. The median ARL library system has 242 positions, while the three libraries at WFU have less than half of that. I will highlight only the presentations that I liked best. The website will soon have slides for all the presenters, if anyone is interested.

The first presentation I will highlight was from Tito Sierra, now at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but formerly of NC State. He did a research study on how research libraries are staffing for the future by examining 444 job announcements for ARL libraries for one full year. He followed up with questionnaires to determine if the positions were new, modified or existing. He learned that over half of all jobs advertised by ARL libraries in 2011 were newly created positions or had significantly redefined roles. Two thirds of Functional Specialist positions were newly created or redefined. The most dramatic moment was when he showed two word clouds. In the one created from jobs with existing roles, the largest words were Collections, Studies and Research. In the one created from jobs with new roles, the single word DIGITAL dominated all other words.

The second presentation of note was from John Seely Brown, a fairly famous person whom Wikipedia describes as “a researcher who specializes in organizational studies with a particular bent towards the organizational implications of computer-supported activities.” He is currently a Visiting Scholar at the University of Southern California and co-chair of the Deloitte Center for Edge Innovation, but previously worked at Xerox for ten years. He said that the future will be determined not by technology, but by social practice. We are about to leave a long-standing S curve of relative stability in infrastructure (cars, roads, planes, etc) for a permanent big shift to the digital world. The half life of a given skill is constantly shrinking, now down to maybe 5 years. This is why it is so important to be constantly training and retraining the work force. Higher education will be too slow. Ways of creating, working and learning must all be re-framed, which is hard. The single AHA! moment for me was when he talked about the “competency trap.” When an organization gets really, really good at something, it becomes harder for them to see new patterns and the people involved do not respond to logic when it is pointed out to them. It takes personally experienced emotion and a new, lived narrative to break out of the competency trap. Immediate examples came to my mind, and I’m sure everyone can think of their own. We need to be very careful that ZSR does not become one of them. Not to mention the liberal arts college model of higher education! Then he went up a notch and talked about Change 2.0 being a meta-narrative, with the vision and role being compelling and strategically ambiguous (everyone loved that phrase). It is ambiguous because that leaves room to make it compelling at a personal level. So the meta-narrative might be to be the best person (or library) you can be – and what that specifically means is left to the individual situation. In the Q&A, he was asked about the uncertainty in higher education today. He said that in following higher education for 30 years, he had never seen such fear and confusion as in the last six months. Presidents and governing boards are in MOOCmania. They realize the old game is up but don’t know what to do next (think UVA last summer). He said traditionally that 80% of the revenue in research universities comes from 20% of the courses and it is that 20% which MOOCs are disrupting. The perfect storm is taking shape and people are in a panic.

Overall, it struck me that our insistence on professional development, bringing new ideas in as well as sharing our ideas out, will serve us well in this period of intense change. If you can stand the ambiguity, it is good to value disruptions, rather than avoid them.

Onward.

Engaging and Supporting the Wake Forest Student

Tuesday, October 2, 2012 6:20 pm

Last week, Wanda and I attended the first presentation in a series entitled, “Engaging and Supporting the Wake Forest Student.” It is hard to resist a title like that. There were about 15 attendees, most of whom were teaching faculty. The series is co-sponsored by the Teaching and Learning Center and the Office of Multicultural Affairs. This first session was about engaging and supporting students of color. Alta Mauro, Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, began by explaining why an intercultural mindset is more effective than one that is monocultural. Hattie Mukombe, Associate Dean of Diversity Admissions, gave a profile of the incoming freshman class. 25% of the class are from minority populations, the highest ever. Catherine Ross, Director of the Teaching and Learning Center, gave the final presentation, challenging faculty to think how we can foster learning environments in which diversity becomes one of the resources that stimulates learning. She explored the notion of “stereotype threat,” as defined by Claude Steele and Joshua Aronson. She gave a number of useful suggestions on how instructors can reduce stereotype threat and construct an inclusive classroom. In conclusion, she emphasized that with these universal principles, all students in the class benefit, not just minority students.

Part Two in the series is tomorrow, where Nate French will talk about First Generation College and High-Need Students. Part Three is November 15, where the topic will be International Students. In the spring, the series will include sessions on LGBTQ students and students with physical and learning disabilities. I recommend these workshops to anyone who has contact with our Wake Forest students!


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