Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Eighth Junto: Our Past, Our Future

Meeting Logistics: Tue, 5 December 2006; UMC 404

One of the most exciting yet unsettling aspects of the DACTC position is that there is no legacy of analogous positions to draw from when it comes to imagining our future.

Indeed, our positions were only envisioned in 1998 as part of the inaugural IT Strategic Plan:

...These distributed support staff members must have a unique combination of IT knowledge, technical skills, and abilities. They must not only understand users' disciplines/functions and possess knowledge of all appropriate technologies, but also have a core set of service competencies including clear communication, teamwork, facilitation, and creative thinking skills.

Compare our short history in academia to that of librarians, and it's readily apparent that we're the new kids on the block. Compare our roles within the university, however, and it's much harder to find discernible differences.

But, there is one glaring difference in how we're viewed by the university: librarians here at CU-Boulder have faculty status while we have administrative status.

Enter this month's readings:

Faculty Status for Librarians in Higher Education (PDF); Libraries and the Academy; by Danielle Bodrero Hoggan
SUMMARY: Examines pros and cons of librarians obtaining faculty status
Wearing Our Own Clothes: Librarians as Faculty (PDF); The Journal of Academic Librarianship, May 1994; by Janet Swan Hill
SUMMARY: Rehearses CU-Boulder case of librarians lobbying for faculty status

Though I've toyed with the idea of lobbying for our own faculty status, the Hoggan article has dissuaded me a bit (at least in the short-term).

For Junto Consideration:

  • What do you think about DACTC faculty status? [Weigh in using poll at right]
  • If you're for it, how would your position change for the better? For the worse?
  • If you're against it, does the faculty career model give you ideas for re-envisioning your position: teaching, publishing, or going on sabbaticals?

1 comment:

Mark Werner said...

I'm posting just before the Junto, sorry about that. I'll go ahead and print this out and bring it to the meeting.

After reading the articles and spending some time over the past few weeks mulling this over, I'm inclined to say that DATCs should not have faculty status. I think because this post is so close to the time of the meeting, I'll simply post questions that were raised for me as I read the articles and thought through what it would be like if DATCs were faculty.

Here they are:

* In cases where faculty status is conferred on people, they can look to a clear profession. Librarians did this as well. What is the profession of the DATCs? Are there national accreditation or governing groups that help define that profession?

* If the profession of the DATCs is hard to identify, what current academic unit would be the umbrella organization for housing the tenure lines of DATCs? It wouldn't be ITS. It wouldn't be Law, Music, Architecture, or Arts and Sciences. I suppose one could muster an argument that it could be Education. Possibly Business. Possibly Engineering. Possibly Journalism and Mass Communication. If you look at the academic requirements to be given a tenure line in those disciplines, the DATCs wouldn't qualify.

* Where is the DATC role headed?

* What is unsatisfactory about the way DATCs are currently set up that makes it attractive to consider faculty status?

* Academic disciplines rely on the "invisible college" of colleagues around the world in the same discipline. Does one exist for DATCs?

* What terminal degree would a DATC have?

* What would DATC scholaraship look like? What's keeping DATCs from engaging in scholarship now?

* Would faculty status conferred on DATCs lead to potential conflicts and tensions with current faculty (i.e. we're competing with them rather than collaborating)?

* How would CU benefit from DATCs being faculty?

* Faculty status in general across the U.S. seems to be in a state of tension. Do we really want to step into that world?