Posts by Michael Roy

 
 
 

LIS Quarterly Update: April 2012

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

This is the second installment in the LIS Quarterly Update that I began in January. The intention in writing this is to both look back on the last 3 months to reflect on what has happened, and to look forward to the next 3 months and beyond to provide us with a sense of direction, to reduce the number of surprises, and to make sure that those affected by new projects and new policies have a chance for feedback and input.

Highlights of January, February, and March

I’ve organized the summary into two sections: how we do our work, and new services rolled out or planned.

How we do our work

  • Management Training All managers in LIS went through a five-day management training program. Key concepts taught included communication, providing feedback, delegation, situational leadership, and the aligned organization.
  • Team Realignments The LIS Directors met to work on re-aligning the senior leadership team, and to plan for a an upcoming set of workshops to re-align and re-define the role of teams within LIS.
  • Open Meetings As part of our efforts to more fully include those affected by decisions in our decision-making processes, we’ve started an every other week ‘open meeting’ to allow for input, feedback, and general discussion of important topics. Topics covered so far include service level agreements, classroom upgrades and  information literacy.
  • Presentation of findings from ‘listening’ tour Tim Spears and I led an all-LIS meeting where we discussed what we learned on our ‘listening tour’ meeting with all work groups within LIS, and shared the ideas generated for next steps based on the themes that emerged.
  • Policy over-ride log We created a policy over-ride log where we now record all instances of policies that we did not follow, the reasons we did not follow a particular policy, and who was affected by this decision.

Projects & Initiatives

Below are updates on key projects and initiatives for which there was major progress in the last three months. (Note that in addition to these accomplishments, we continued to provide our core services).

Training and Education

Spaces

  • Classroom Plan Complete We developed a comprehensive, multi-year plan to increase the number of smart classrooms on campus, and to improve the ability to do recordings in many of those spaces.
  • Stats Lab Moving Forward We have a design and budget in place for building a Stats lab in the library in Library 140; construction will begin after undergraduate commencement.
  • Cell Phone Booth In response to student complaints about noisy cellphone conversations and a need to provide staff who work in shared spaces a private place to make phone calls, we installed two cell phone booths on the second floor. See http://sites.middlebury.edu/lis/2012/02/24/options-for-locating-the-new-cell-phone-booths/

Infrastructure

  • Disaster Recovery: Split Cluster Completion of the implementation of a “split cluster” storage volume controller SAN infrastructure that spans the Voter and Library data centers and provides for real-time redundancy of data of our most critical systems (approximately 60% of all data storage).
  • Disaster Recovery: New Backup System Implementation of a new “backup to disk” infrastructure was purchased and installed that eliminated a single point of failure (one tape library system) as well as allow for improved backup performance that reduced the time to complete our full weekly backups by a full day.
  • Disaster Recovery: Load Balancing The installation of new load balancing appliances provide for high availability and more efficient utilization of email client access systems.
  • Sophos Anti-Virus We deployed a new campus-wide anti-virus solution called Sophos.
  • MIIS Infrastructure Improvements We worked closely with our colleagues at MIIS to make substantial improvements to their server, network, and back-up infrastructure.

Platforms & Applications

  • Settling in to hosted Banner After our heroic efforts to migrate Banner to a Sungard hosted facility, we spend much of the winter learning how to work in this new environment, and establishing working relationships with our new partners.
  • Admissions goes paperless via Nolij We completed the implementation of a paperless admissions process with our undergraduate admissions office, who report significant efficiency gains.
  • Google Apps/MS365 framework advanced We finalized a framework for doing the GoogleApps/MSLive evaluation, and are now in the process of picking the right time to use this framework to launch the formal evaluation.

Devices

  • Mac Management We deployed a new tool called Caspar which allows us to better manage software deployment to Macintosh computers on our network

Content

  • Data Classification Taskforce Launched We launched a campus-wide group to look at how we manage access to sensitive information with a goal of putting in place improvements both in technology and policy to better safe-guard our data.
  • Virtual Alumni College with John Elder In collaboration with College Advancement, we ran proof-of-concept on-line poetry class with emeritus professor John Elder and 14 alumni, who studied the poetry of Robert Frost during four noon-time classes taught via telephone and Adobe Connect.
  • Digital Collections Archive Facelift Our digital collections archive got a makeover, improving the design and usability of these collections. See http://sites.middlebury.edu/lis/2012/03/22/a-facelift-for-middleburys-digital-collections-archive/
  • Chinese Collection reclassification We’ve completed the majority of the reclassification of our Chinese language material from a home-grown class system to LC classification, which we use for most of the rest of our collection.
  • Government Documents review  Our review and selective deaccessioning of the GovDocs collection is continuing.  Collection has been shifted and compacted as part of the economics lab (LIB140) preparations.
  • Periodical Preservation Our preservation survey of the bound periodicals collection is about 45% complete.

Services

  • Usability testing of LIS website We did usability testing and held focus groups to better understand how we can make improvements to the LIS website in order to allow our users to more easily find what they are looking for and connect to our services.
  • Marketing the LIS web site  The Web Team engaged in efforts to market the web site.  Details in this LIS blog post: http://sites.middlebury.edu/lis/2011/11/17/lis-web-presence-marketing-project/
  • Research and Instruction survey  We’ve devised 4 surveys to assess various aspects of our R&I workgroup/services, and they’ve been reviewed by the Planning & Assessment Office.  One survey has been launched, the others will be very soon.
  • Mission Continuity Planning We’ve surveyed 11 functional areas in 2012 so far, recording details of their important processes, including primarily responsible staff, critical time periods, technology systems dependencies, and contingency plans. This is an ongoing effort.


New Staff
We welcomed two new staff members to LIS. Sigrid Howlett joined us in ILL and Kim Ammons joined us as a member of the pool of circulation subs.

Employees and Teams of the Month:

January 2012:

Emma Williams – LIS Student Employee of the Month

David Ludwig – LIS Employee of the Month

Central Systems and Network Services (Dave Guertin, Rick James, Jeff Lahaie, Mike Lynch, Howie McCausland, Mark Pyfrom, and Jim Stuart) – LIS Crew of the Month

February 2012

Cynthia Wang – LIS Student Employee of the Month

Ian McBride – LIS Employee of the Month

DVD transfer project (Kellam Ayres, Steve Bertolino, Maura Clancy, Ginny Faust, Kim Gurney, Janine McDonald, Todd Sturtevant, Michael Warner, and Joseph Watson) – LIS Crew of the Month

March 2012

Andrew Podrygula – LIS Student Employee of the Month

Charlie Conway – LIS Employee of the Month

Information Literacy Assessment Group – Brenda Ellis, Jess Isler (and Adela Langrock)


Upcoming Projects and Priorities

The following section lays out our top priorities for the next six months. It is not a complete list of all of our projects or initiatives, but rather highlights those that will make the most difference in our ability to support the College.

How we do our work

  • staffing plan, part two We will be developing part two of our staffing proposal to the Staffing Resource Committee to request additional positions to fill gaps in our present ability to provide the quantity and quality of service needed by the College.
  • work on prioritization In response to issues identified in the staff council survey, we are focusing our attention on being clearer to ourselves and the rest of the campus what are our priorities, and the principles we use to establish priorities.
  • internal communications Based on feedback from the staff council survey results, and insights gained at our management training, we’ll continue to look at how we can make our internal communications more effective.
  • LIS Office Assignments The space team will be looking at office assignments given new staff that have joined us, and the possibility of moving staff into 118 S. Main Street.
  • Hiring We have a number of open positions, and will be spending considerable time in the coming months conducting searches, and then training and orienting our new colleagues.
  • Assessment of reference and liaison program We are in the early stages of doing assessments of both the reference and liaison program.
  • project request specs & prioritization process We’ll be working with our functional offices to rework how we go about specifying the details of a project, and how projects get prioritized.
  • security risk assessment We will be conducting security risk assessments, first internally, and then through the services of an outside vendor to help us identify areas of risk to technology systems and the data contained within them.
  • New ticketing and inventory system Evaluate and implement a new system for tracking tickets and technology inventory.
  • Reorganize Service Requests Create a more sustainable model for handling Tier 2 support requests.
  • track customer satisfaction Acquire a baseline measurement for customer satisfaction with User Services and track improvement or recalibrate services to match SLA’s
  • response to staff survey We will continue to sift through the ideas generated by our ‘listening tour’ and act on both the easy quick wins, and work on the more vexing longer-term solutions.
  • multi-year capital budgets We will develop long-range projections of what it will cost to maintain our current and projected inventories of projectors, printers/copiers, classroom and lab computers, desktop and laptop computers, servers, networking, security, and storage.
  • link to emerging college strategic plan The College is renewing its strategic plan, working on aligning high level goals and directions with the goals and directions of the various divisions, programs, and departments that make up the College.

Policy

  • policy summit Evaluate and implement broad policies for requesting and receiving services from User Services where possible, and develop a “litmus test” of questions and characteristic of requests that guide staff to make exceptions appropriately
  • Service Level Agreement implementation We will put into place Service Level Agreements that will clarify how we approach prioritization, escalation procedures, and establish response times for various types of issues.
  • Security Policies As part of our overall focus on fleshing out policies, we’ll be developing further information security policies.
  • PCI Compliance Framework We will be working with colleagues in Finance to develop strong controls and policies for the collection and protection of payment card information.
  • revise equipment request process Propose and receive approval for a planned and sustainable model for equipment requests and regular upgrades.

Training and Education

  • Information literacy  We will continue our work on using the results of our assessment of the skills of incoming students to inform how we approach the development of basic information literacy skills, and our work with departments on how to frame advanced information literacy skills as learning goals with the major.
  • Training for Administrative Systems The administrative systems staff will be learning the new development environment for Banner, which is an object oriented environment called Groovy on Grails. In addition, we’ll be getting additional training on Hyperion administration and reporting, both for us and our functional users.
  • security education We will continue our technology security roadshow around campus.
  • LIS expectations re: tech skills We will be looking at how to implement the recommendations of the Education and Training Team that establish expectations for what technology skills are needed to work within LIS.
  • faculty/staff expectations re: tech skills We will also be working with our colleagues in Human Resources and Academic Affairs to discuss the Education and Training Team’s recommendations about faculty and staff technology skill expectations.

Spaces

Infrastructure

  • Re-architect Middfiles We will restructure middfiles into smaller volumes. This will enable us to have faster backup and restore procedures , but will likely negatively impact the ease of connectivity for some users.
  • CAS/guest access We will be developing a way to provide guest access to many of our systems by way of our Central Authentication Service.
  • Identity Management  We’ll be working on revising our current identity management system.
  • Network We’ll continue with various efforts to improve the security and reliability of our services through building in more redundancy and monitoring capabilities into our network.
  • Backup We will continue to improve the reliability of our backup processes, and to regularly test our results.
  • Additional Intrusion Prevention We’ll be adding a second device to provide redundancy in our intrusion prevention systems.
  • Sophos for Mac We’ll be rolling out the Sophos for Macintosh client across campus.
  • Banner Login via CAS We’ll be exploring whether or not to switch login to Banner to be via CAS.
  • Google Apps Login via CAS We’ll be exploring whether or not to switch login to Google Apps to be via CAS.
  • Mission Continuity Plan framework We will complete the mission continuity framework and put in place to test and refresh our plan on an annual basis.
  • video conferencing improvements We need to understand better the emerging need for more and more robust videoconferencing and web conferencing among our campuses, how we can better connect our campus to the rest of the globe.
  • Enhancements to Emergency Response System Adding modules to our emergency response system to provide communication to network-connected devices, digital signage, and other systems.
  • Network Access Control We’ll be putting in place the latest version of the Bradford Campus Manager network access control system.
  • Wireless network We’ll be simplifying the wireless network to make it easier to connect to the secure wireless network.

Platforms & Applications

  • decommissioning of segue We continue to chip away at the process of converting Segue sites to wordpress and other platforms by Aug 31, 2012.
  • Major Systems Upgrades We are planning for major system upgrades for Oracle, Banner, and Hyperion. (In the case of Hyperion, we’ll also be moving it to a hosted environment.) We’ll also be upgrading Drupal.
  • AS400 de-comissionings We will be developing plans for how to decommission the AS400s that we have both here and at MIIS.
  • Responsive Web Design We’re looking at how to add more flexibility to the web so that it can be seen well on mobile devices.
  • portal improvements Working closely with students, we will continue to enhance our portal to serve their communication and collaboration needs.

Devices

  • Satellite Phones for Schools Abroad We’ll continue to test and deploy satellite phones to be used for emergency communications to specific schools abroad locations.

Content

  • Midd History Online We’ll continue to add materials to this project, with a goal of launching by July 1.
  • Middlebury Order On Demand (MOOD) We’re exploring how the on-demand model for ebooks might be extended to provide a similar service (albeit not in real time!) for books on paper.
  • LIS website makeover We’ll be following up on the recommendations of the LIS web team around issues identified concerning information architecture, navigation, design, platform, usability, and content that resulted from their recent assessment of the LIS website.

Services

  • Middlab Digital Scholarship The working group looking at how LIS and the College should approach digital scholarship will continue to research this emerging area, with the hope of establishing a formal recommendation by July 1
  • E-commerce We will improve our support for E-commerce first by establishing who will be responsible for various aspects around campus, and by working together to develop a sustainable strategy.
  • Reduce printers Complete a successful campaign to reduce the number of printers on campus by eliminating as many individual printers as possible, move printers with low usage to areas of need instead of adding more, and move our service with Symquest to a model that eliminates billing departments for printing.
  • digital publishing conversations We’ll be having a series of speakers to campus to understand digital scholarship and digital humanities, and what they mean for us in terms of scholarly communication and the services they might require.

 

Please use the comments feature, or contact me directly, if you have questions or comments on any of this. I’m also aware that this is a VERY long document, and so welcome any thoughts you might have about how to make this more useful in terms of format/layout.

saving trees with papercut

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Every month I get a report about printing statistics from Papercut, the system we use to manage our printers. One of the things Papercut measures is how many pages did not get printed, and how much that reduced our carbon footprint. For January, nearly 10,000 jobs amounting to over 16,000 pages were not printed, saving 85.3 KG of carbon.

 

LIS Quarterly Update: January 2012

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Welcome to 2012! As part of my ongoing effort to keep LIS and the College community aware of and involved in the work of LIS, I’ve decided to start writing a quarterly report. The report will offer highlights from the last three months, and describe our upcoming priorities, longer-term issues we should begin to consider, and other institutional planning efforts with which we must connect. Given the constraints of our budget and staffing, it is clear that we need to understand our priorities, make hard choices, and focus our efforts on the areas and initiatives that will make the most difference.

Having written the report, it is evident to me that we have much to be proud of, much to keep us busy, and much to look forward to. We work in a rapidly evolving set of fields. We are integral to the day-to-day operation of the College. Our work is key to a future that is increasingly digital, networked, and global. Our challenge is to find ways to make this manageable and understandable for us and for the community we serve.

My intention is to provide updates in a similar fashion on a quarterly basis. I welcome feedback on what I can do to make this regular communication serve its intended goal, which is both to inform and to invite further dialogue. As always, my door is open!

Recently completed projects

We’ve completed several major projects this quarter. The list below is not meant to be comprehensive, but it will give you a good idea of what we’ve accomplished. For those interested in seeing a complete inventory of all recently completed projects, you can do that by looking at the project directory.

  • Banner Migration
    After months of planning and considerable last-minute work, we moved Banner to a hosted facility run by SunGard. We did this project in record time under very stressful conditions. This may well be the most impressive piece of work that I’ve had the pleasure to work on. (For the record: the party to celebrate this has been on hold awaiting Carol’s return!)
  • Nolij (imaging) for Admissions and International Student Services
    We also launched an imaging project with Admissions and International Student Services. In the case of Admissions, Nolij (the name of the product we are using) allows the admissions office to be entirely paperless, thereby completing a multi-year initiative to increase efficiency.
  • Portal
    Last week, we officially released a web portal that allows student, faculty, and staff to create customized views of a wide array of campus information. This information can be easily accessed and read on both mobile devices and computers.
  • Course Hub
    This Fall, we launched a new service for faculty and students called the course hub. It provides a place for faculty to share a simple syllabus for their course, and to link to online resources such as blogs, wikis, online reserves, or a course Moodle site. For students, it brings together in a single place all of the electronic resources for all of their courses.
  • Moodle
    As part of the launch of the course hub, we went live with an open source course management system called Moodle, which replaces Segue. Support for Moodle is being handled by the faculty liaisons, which is another change in how we support instructional technology.
  • Summon
    Summon is a new discovery tool that allows our patrons to search via one Google-like box not only the contents of our library catalog, but nearly all of the electronic databases, journals, and full-text offerings. This has been generally well-received, although there are some who still prefer the more precise searching afforded by the individual interfaces designed for each type of resource.
  • Network Upgrade
    We’ve ‘juniperized’ the last major building on campus (fittingly, Painter House, the home of our founder). We can declare victory on our campus network upgrade!
  • DVD project
    We reclassified, re-cased, and relocated our DVD collection from behind the circulation desk to the main floor of the library, where it is now available for browsing. In addition, we relaxed many of the restrictions on borrowing these materials, making them more widely available to the campus community.

 

Upcoming Projects/Decisions
In the first quarter of this year, we will focus our attention on a range of projects, issues, and decisions. If you have ideas or concerns about any of these, we will hold open meetings to explain our present thinking and provide you with the opportunity to make suggestions.

I’ve organized this section into two categories: the How and the What.

The How List
How we go about doing our work internally and with the rest of the community

  1. Policies
    To improve the security of our systems and the mechanisms we use to protect our data, we are proposing to the administration policies on network monitoring and security incident response. We are also establishing new internal policies for change management, server administration, and back-up/restore methodologies.
  2. Service Level Agreements
    We’re creating service level agreements that will make clear what services are offered, and what are expected and reasonable timelines for the delivery of any given service.
  3. Process Analysis for Help Desk
    With an eye to increasing efficiency, we’re taking a critical look at how requests for service are processed within the Service Request area. This analysis is the first step in a larger project, linked to the service level agreement project, to improve the efficiency of how we all work together in providing service to the community.
  4. Rethinking the Banner LEADS Program
    To streamline development and support for Banner in particular and administrative systems in general, we would like to improve the LEADS program by clarifying who is responsible for supporting various aspects of Banner, who provides training, and how requests for support and development are created and vetted.
  5. Team Realignment
    We are working with a consultant to analyze our existing teams, provide training to LIS staff new to teams, and to develop strategies for enhancing the efficacy of our teams.
  6. Improving Communications
    We will continue to experiment with new ways to improve communications, including our recently launched Friday morning open meetings. We will also create more opportunities for face to face, two-way dialogue and for input into our decision-making and prioritization processes.
  7. Management Training
    All LIS managers will participate in a five-day intensive management training that will occur over the course of February and March.

 

The WHAT List:
Projects currently underway that may have broad impact across the organization and across the campus (you can find a comprehensive list of all of our projects in the project directory).

  1. Classroom Project
    We are working with the Language Schools, Registrar’s Office, and Facilities Services  to develop a plan for adding more smart classrooms to support the growing needs of the Language Schools. In addition, we are reviewing how we can enhance our video recording and videoconferencing capabilities in our classrooms.
  2. Google Apps and MS365 Evaluation
    We are evaluating Google Apps for Higher Education and MS365 as possible replacements for our local Exchange email and calendaring service.
  3. Budget
    In addition to working on the FY12 budget, we are developing a five-year budget that projects costs to maintain our current technology and library materials investments.
  4. Improving Library Collections eBooks
    In light of our new purchase-on-demand eBook program, we are looking at ways to adopt this approach for printed materials, as well.
  5. Disaster Recovery
    We are putting the finishing touches on our disaster recovery plan. Once complete, we will turn our attention to testing it and keeping it current.
  6. Stats Lab in Library 140
    We’re finalizing plans for a 35 station stats computer lab in Library 140. This will expand the footprint of the room, forcing us to relocate two rows of book stacks.
  7. Further Rationalization of Printing/Copying
    We will continue to reduce the number of stand-alone printers and copiers and to provide appropriate printing and copying services.
  8. Data Classification Task Force
    As part of our ongoing efforts to ensure that our data is properly protected, we are appointing a data classification task force to inventory current practices across campus and make recommendations for how we can adequately protect our data.
  9. Video Workflow
    To increase the quality and visibility of video on our website, we have been analyzing and making improvements to the workflow associated with recording lectures and other events on campus.
  10. Sophos Anti-Virus
    We’re replacing our existing virus software with Sophos Endpoint Solution.
  1. Virtual Alumni College
    We are working with College Advancement to develop a small proof-of-concept project to understand what it takes to mount an online course for alumni. The pilot is John Elder teaching the poetry of Robert Frost.
  2. Hiring New Staff
    We will hire seven new staff members in the coming months. Advertising, recruiting, screening, and training these new positions will take up a great deal of time and energy.

 

Longer-Range Issues
While the lists above document what will keep us most busy in terms of rolling out new services, improving existing services, changing our internal processes, and making decisions, many in LIS would benefit from understanding what longer-range issues we will need to focus on in the near future. This list represents a mixture of more speculative activities that may or may not result in a new service, trends in our various industries that we ignore at our peril, or ongoing concerns that we will never be ‘finished’ with.  

  • Telephony
    Our phone switch will be obsolete in three years. How should we approach the future of voice communication on campus, and in relation to our many campuses spread across the globe? How does this relate to our planning for email and other types of communication platforms?
  • More Imaging Projects
    With the first wave of Nolij (see above) projects underway, we will need to develop a way to prioritize which offices will go next. Human Resources is a likely candidate, as is College Advancement.
  • Storage
    As more and more services move to the cloud and to mobile devices, how should we be thinking about file storage for collaboration and publication? With the explosive growth of video and other storage-hungry data applications, how do we project for growth? How do we think about our responsibilities for providing stable, secure, archival storage for things born digital?
  • Advising Portal
    With an increased interest in how academic advising functions, in what ways might we support these efforts through the use of online tools to allow for sharing of information between student and advisor?
  • Clusters as Pathway to Curriculum
    How might we use the web to help organize new ways of navigating and presenting the curriculum that is not currently an ‘official’ part of the curriculum, such as food studies, poverty studies, or global health?
  • Videoconferencing/Collaboration
    Given our ambitions to define what it means to be a global liberal arts college, how do we support the need to communicate and collaborate at a distance through video and the web?
  • Data Warehouse
    In order to make best use of the data stored in Banner to support data-driven decision making, we will want to decide whether we want to continue to provide reporting and analysis through traditional reporting means against banner. Alternatively, do we want invest in the construction of a data warehouse, as other schools have done?
  • Internet2
    A wide range of interesting services are now provided by Internet2. We want to determine if this offering makes sense for us, and if so, what the right path would be to access it.
  • Obe Group Press Project
    A number of librarians who are part of the Oberlin Group are studying whether or not we should form a liberal arts press to support new forms of scholarly communication on our campuses.
  • Scholar’s Lab/Digital Humanities
    We are making plans for what services our faculty and students may need in order to pursue scholarship in the emerging field of digital humanities and to support long-term archiving of born digital materials (see storage above).
  • Open Access
    We will want to facilitate a conversation on whether or not the faculty wish to adopt an open access policy for faculty publications, as other peer institutions have done.
  • Books on Demand
    We will explore how new models for offering print books in an on-demand model might factor into our overall goal of providing our patrons with what they need when they need it.
  • Information Literacy
    We have made great progress in developing standards for our incoming students and in working on pilots to define advanced information literacy goals for majors. That said, one of our core questions remains: what sorts of literacies — media, information, quantitative– do our undergraduates need in order to suceed both during their time at the College and after?
  • Death of Analog Video Formats
    The video industry has declared VHS and other analog formats as ‘formats non grata.’ We need to determine how to adjust our classrooms, and how to handle the conversion of valuable curricular resources before the clock runs out.

 

Linkage to Larger College-wide Goals and Objectives
What has been discussed thus far is very IT- and library-centric. From time to time, we all need to be reminded that we are here to support the ongoing mission of the College. To that end, I’ve listed below strategic conversations that are underway on campus. I challenge us all to think about what we do can do both to support and, at times, provide leadership as the College develops itself as the global liberal arts college. In subsequent editions of this report and LIS conversations, you can expect our planning to connect explicitly to the planning efforts embodied in:

  • Re-accreditation Projections
    In producing our self-study in support of the visit by the NEASC re-accreditation team, we gave ourselves an ambitious list of activities that we committed to pursuing in the coming years. In addition to LIS-specific projections, we have been looking at all of the projections and asking ourselves what (if anything) can we do to support the work that the College will be pursuing to improve itself.
  • Revised Strategic Plan
    In addition to the self-study projections, we still have our strategic plan on the books, with a handful of key items still on the ‘to do’ list.
  • College Council
    The College formed the College Council to identify those initiatives in our various undergraduate and graduate programs that can help realize the promise that our collective resources will allow us to provide an educational experience that each school can not provide on its own.

  • Innovation Task Forces
    This Spring, the newly formed task forces on curricular innovation will be hard at work identifying specific projects that could help the College stay on the cutting edge of pedagogy and scholarly communication.


For those of you who have made it all the way to the end of this, I hope you have found this to be a helpful way to remind ourselves of where we’ve been, where we are, and where we are going. I hope that future versions will be more concise.

 

Upcoming Team Workshops

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

In the upcoming months, we’ll have the consultant Fred Schmitt on campus doing some work with our teams. In advance of his arrival, I thought it useful to outline what we’ve asked Fred to help us with. We have two major objectives:

1. We want everyone in LIS who has not yet gone through ‘team training’ to spend half a day becoming familiar with the concepts, the roles, and the vocabulary of teams. This will be useful for those who are presently on teams but have not yet been trained. Since we imagine that at some point nearly everyone in LIS will be on a team, we think it useful to have everyone trained. Many who have gone through these workshops have reported that the principles apply equally well to traditional work within a workgroup.

2. We want to re-align the existing teams. We’ve been using teams as a way to accomplish important work that spans our workgroups and areas structure. Having this experience, we need to figure out how to answer questions that we now have about roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities; communication; balancing work in a team with work in a workgroup. We also want to re-confirm the charges for the teams.

You’ll soon be getting more information about this, and invitations to meetings. In advance, if you have specific questions or concerns that you would like to make sure we cover, please feel free to email me, and I will make sure that they are included in these workshops.

Terry Simpkins wrote up a handy FAQ that may help answer questions you may have about teams:

Q. When will the team training be?
A. Probably on Fridays during the management training weeks, but this is not set in stone yet.

Q. Will there be a team leader component?
A. Yes, there will be a discussion of the various roles (member, leader, sponsor, director group, workgroup manager) that are involved in the teams.

Q. Can teams revisit their membership when finished with their charge?
A.  This seems reasonable, and it feels like an appropriate time to look at team memberships.  However, teams are not limited to this, and should revisit membership whenever it is necessary, for any reason.

Q. Should we require anyone without team training to take it, even if not currently slated to be on a team?
A. Yes, that is the plan.

Q. Can we implement a system for rotating members off teams?
A. This issue definitely needs more thought and clarity.  Membership on a team was never intended to be a life sentence, and we certainly want team members to be enthusiastic about being on the team.  Whether or not we institute a (renewable) term length is an open question, but at any rate we should clarify this idea (that serving on a team can have an end date) so everyone is aware of it.

Q. Is team membership an implicit requirement for staff? Are certain staff members “exempt” from teams?
A. All staff should be considered as potential candidates for teams.  We try to match organizational needs with staff interests whenever possible, and we have to consider workloads as well, so staff involved with a particularly large project may be temporarily exempt from serving on a team.  But no one gets a permanent pass.

Q. Do all teams really last forever?  What’s that all about?
A. Teams are intended to address ongoing needs that can not be effectively handled by individual workgroups or areas.  Unlike, say, the intern program, they are not intended to simply deal with a short-term project need.  So the assumption is that most teams will be ongoing, until such time as the work changes, or the work becomes “routine-ized” to the extent that it is integrated (or there is a plan to integrate it, like the work of the digital archives team) into a workgroup’s duties.  However, the changing tech landscape, college priorities, etc. can all effect the team’s work and lifespan.

One interesting thing from our discussion about these issues was something Fred said.  Basically, it’s not the idea of the “team” itself that is important, but rather, the important thing is creating a culture of teamwork and “unmanaged harmony.” We might get to a point where collaboration is so second-nature to us that we no longer need teams.  That would probably be the ideal situation!  But I found it very interesting to hear this.

Paint It Black: Protesting SOPA & PIPA

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

If you go to the English version of Wikipedia this Wednesday, you’ll find that they have ‘gone dark’ in protest of proposed federal legislation that in the name of stopping on-line piracy would put in place a set of tools that many fear would result in, among other bad things, internet censorship. While we won’t be making our website go dark in solidarity, it seemed that the least we could do would be to provide visibility to this important protest of legislation that many of us find deeply troubling.

More readings on the topic can be found at http://www.diigo.com/list/michaelroy/sopa .

Heads Up: Portal to Launch Monday

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

When you come to work Monday morning, you’ll see a variety of electronic and print announcements that the portal that we’ve been working on over the past few months has gone live. You can preview it at http://portal.middlebury.edu . I wanted to give everyone who might be asked questions or for help a heads up that with all this publicity, there will likely be questions. You can send those questions to liswebapplications@middlebury.edu or via the web at http://m.middlebury.edu/feedback/ . Congratulations to the web services team in general and Matt LaFrance in particular for pulling this together!

the paper airplane on our blog

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Am I the only one who sees a paper airplane that floats erratically to the floor of the atrium on our blog? Anyone know how it got there?

-m