Faculty scholarship and creative activities represent enormous intellectual capital and contribute to the advancement of the humanities and sciences. To recognize and honor ISU (Idaho State University) faculty authors, to foster communication and good will between faculty and the ISU Library, library staff spearheaded creative and scholarly work celebration event. This article details the ISU Library’s experience and offers “how- to” ideas and insights on identifying scholarly works, planning celebration venue, and working collaboratively with university units. To date there is no research addressing such a comprehensive step by step plan. This article contains new and significant information and will be a helpful guide to libraries pondering how to plan an event such as this. The response to this event has been overwhelmingly positive, and the ISU Library will continue to host it in future years.
Keywords– faculty scholarship celebration, collaboration, scholarly works database
Creating and disseminating new knowledge through scholarly and creative endeavors, through cutting-edge research lies at the heart of Higher Education Institutions mission. Faculty drives the research mission of the University by the rich culture of their research; with individual achievements of faculty members being paramount to a university’s success. There is an inherent relationship between faculty who create research and university libraries, who provide access to it. In 2014, the ISU Library, in partnership with the Office of Research and Economic Development, Friends of Oboler Library and the Office of the Provost, sought to highlight the research accomplishments of the faculty and the abilities of the Library through an event that would, quite literally, put all of the research conducted in the prior calendar year on display. This scholar event, displayed physical copies of all the publications of faculty from all departments on campus and featured two ISU’s Distinguished Researches award winners, who spoke about their research. The Library Dean and the designee from the Office of Research and Economic Development emphasized the importance of research and the research process in the opening and closing remarks.
The article will describe the process of identifying faculty publications, collaboratively planning and hosting a showcase of faculty scholarship to recognize faculty achievements and to highlight the role of the library in academe.
There are essentially two parts in planning a university faculty recognition event: library collaboration with other units and identification of scholarly works.
A review of the literature reveals that academic librarians—either individually or not– collaborate with various others to achieve goals shared by those involved. Collaboration partners frequently include colleagues from within the academy, including the IT department, Friends groups, the university bookstore, the faculty senate, student groups, the athletic department, web page developers, student support offices, academic departments such as Art, Music, English, librarians from other institutions, and more. Occasionally, the partners are from within the greater community in which the organization resides, and include community groups, alumni groups, authors, K-12 students and teachers, senior citizen groups, working professionals, local public libraries, local businesses, adult education groups, etc.
Some alliances seem to have formed naturally, some are forced, and others result from mutually achieved glimpses of clarity, “thinking outside the box,” as it is sometimes called. Whatever the circumstances causing the formation of a partnership, the anticipated benefits to participating parties stand high as motivating factors. As noted by Bergquist, Betwee and Meuel (1995), partnerships
- are formed to yield efficiency
- provide flexibility
- offer expanded resources
- can create expanded markets for participating organizations
- offer participants a sense of interdependence
Partnerships between academic librarians and others are marked in the literature as much by the common goal energizing the alliance as they are by the variety of partner types. The goals of such partnerships are myriad, yet all seem to reflect a recognition of the external environment that a given academic library is functioning within. They include promoting the use of the library, recognizing faculty work, promoting writing and scholarship, identifying and promoting technical services, creating student support services and enhancing the classroom experience, promoting information literacy skills, and increasing use of library resources. Others are formed to address diverse needs that range from fundraising to hiring student employees.
Examples of such partnerships are profuse throughout the library literature, and some can be utilized to serve as guides for planning specific projects, revealing both ideas for potential partners, as well as methods to use to execute planned events. Rockman (2001) highlights some examples found in academic libraries. One noted is at California Polytechnic State University Kennedy Library to celebrate campus authors. The Library joined with the campus bookstore to host an event that heralded works by faculty, yet focused on books, only. Also noted is at Southern Methodist University, where the University Library partnered with the Faculty Senate and the Friends of SMU Libraries to host a reception to honor faculty authorship, editorship and artistic works. This event featured works in all formats, including journal articles, books, scores, and music CD’s.
Davis (1999) discusses an extensive writer-library collaboration at North Carolina State University. The Friends of Library hosts events each year, including a Fall Luncheon that highlights authors among faculty, and lectures and readings throughout the year. The Author-in-Residence program establishes a relationship with a noted local author. This author receives a one-year faculty appointment, which, while it includes no salary, includes library-provided privileges such as a designated individual study room and the use of library resources. In return, the author speaks at library events and participates in the Faculty Book Fair.
Riddle, Le, & Mugridge (2005), in discussing a library-faculty relationships as they pertain to library-sponsored efforts that promote good relations. They note that these programs can become, “…integral components of libraries’ public relations and development efforts…” (p. 75). Similarly, Ferrier (1990) promotes value of social contact between faculty and librarians. He urges that librarians find or create venues for merging professional and social contacts with campus colleagues, asserting that, librarians should continually address the question of how the major audiences of academic libraries view us and search for ways to make these views more positive and professional (pp. 147-152).
Bonnet, Alvarez, & Cordell (2014) describe Science Library at the University of Michigan recognizing the wide range of contributions in monograph publishing at their institution. Authors note that collaboration with their subject librarian colleagues who work directly with academic departments to obtain faculty publishing information on an ongoing basis. The Library designs a permanent physical and digital display of faculty-authored books and organizes an annual Faculty Authors Celebration reception. The authors point out the impact of the initiative as increased book circulation numbers, open lines of communication with liaisons, excited and grateful feedback from department chairs and administrators. In the future, collaborating with University Press will be planned to alert library to new faculty publications.
Putting together a faculty publication bibliography is another part in planning a scholarly event. A review of literature demonstrates that librarians have creatively approached collection and hosting of faculty research.
A survey of 172 academic health sciences libraries was conducted by Mansheim and Thompson (1994) to determine how many have databases of faculty publications and what their databases are like. Authors report that out of 128 respondents, only thirty-two have faculty publications databases. The majority of those who have them maintain comprehensive databases using commercial bibliographic software: Proc-Cite, dBase, Reference Manager, Cuadra STAR, and WP Citation. Mansheim and Thompson report that notices from faculty and commercial databases are the main sources of data for input and that most libraries use their faculty publications database to produce periodic bibliographies and reports to administration.
Popularity of Web-based faculty publication databases was highlighted by Blummer (2007), who conducted a survey of various listservs to discover the history and development of faculty publication databases or author bibliographies. Librarians reported a wide range of software: MySQL, Filemaker Pro, and Dreamweaver, employed in the development of these databases highlighting their creation by librarians with various levels of programming skills.
The author notes that most respondents emphasized the desire to highlight the research activities of their institutions.
Using a wiki to create a faculty publications database at The Citadel, Military College of South Carolina is detailed by Connor (2007). The author describes the project which was undertaken to organize and promote research productivity, especially among science faculty, as the author is the liaison to those departments. Authors notes that editing, searching, and navigation capabilities available in most wiki software packages are relatively simple to master compared to the complex processes used to create and publish searchable Web-based databases.
Armstrong & Stringfellow (2012) describe using Institutional Repository to host a faculty publication bibliography at Boise State University. They note not only is faculty scholarship included in the comprehensive university bibliography, it is also showcased as part of their department’s collection and on their Selected Works site. If a faculty member’s work is part of the repository, then it is a part of the bibliography and included in all the related promotional activities.
Vieira, McGowan, McCrillis, Lamb, Larson, Bakker, & Spore (2014) write about Library’s Faculty Bibliography project at NYU Health Sciences that has systematically tracked publications of the NYU School of Medicine faculty since 2000. Migrating from Gopher to EndNote to MySQL, the Faculty Bibliography harvests data from multiple abstracting and indexing resources and uses sophisticated quality assurance methodologies. The project has grown to a significant institutional service making prominent contributions to the School of Medicine’s public web presence and to advanced productivity metrics.
Finding value in aspects of each of these examples from the literature, the Outreach Committee took advantage of a local development and created a scholarly event to celebrate all forms of faculty output in a given year.
Identifying Scholarly Works
The Library Outreach Committee has long held the idea that hosting an event to honor ISU authors fosters communication and good will between faculty and the Library. The Library has held such events under the sponsorship of the Friends of Oboler Library, but these events had been irregularly scheduled and were necessarily on a small scale. The events were focused on a particular department or unit simply because of the enormous amount of work required to identify the individual works of each faculty author. There was no centralized source maintained on campus for recording the details of faculty research and creative output, so any identifying work had to be done manually at the individually faculty level.
In May 2013, the University launched Digital Measures’ Activity Insight and mandated that faculty input details of their professional activities effective as of January 1, 2013. This web-based software is a hosted database that allows full downloads of data in comma-delimited or XML files at all times, It also, among other things, allows the university’s Office of Institutional Research to produce easily a collective report detailing all of the scholarly activities of all ISU faculty for a given time period. For the first time, then, the Outreach Committee had the means to pursue the creation of a new event that could honor all faculty on campus and their contributions to the scholarly community.
With a centralized system for storing faculty research details in place, the Outreach Committee saw an opportunity to expand faculty recognition events held previously at the college level to a campus-wide event. The Office of Research and Economic Development was a natural choice for a collaboration partner for such an event, so the Committee extended an offer to a known Library supporter in this office. Approval both to support the scholar event financially and for the staff member to join in the effort was readily granted. This staff member was added to the Library Outreach Committee and played an active role in the planning for the scholar event.
In the spring of 2014, the Outreach Committee requested and received a report of ISU faculty scholarship for the 2013 calendar year from the Office of Institutional Research. It was delivered in Excel spreadsheet form. Over the summer, several library staff worked on acquiring hard copies of these works. The intent was to leave no work out: the group would acquire a copy of every piece of faculty output for that year. Copies of articles, book chapters, and conference proceedings, were secured either from ISU’s collection or via interlibrary loan. Complete books, if in the Library collection, were checked out to the Outreach Committee; if not already in the collection, they were purchased and then checked out to the Outreach Committee. Creative works were identified separately and obtained directly from the creators or their department.
Several difficulties arose during this process. First, the collectors realized that the report had not collected many qualifying creative activities. This problem was addressed by requesting a secondary report and by contacting the College of Arts and Letters, which houses the departments of Music, Theater and Communication for this information.
Second, the work of collecting the material was spread among several library staff, which necessarily introduced errors into the process and, unfortunately, led to several works being missed and many being printed several times. Third, a lack of input standards for works’ citations, combined with the fact that citation details were stored in a single field, made sorting the data and generating reference lists infeasible.
The most surprising development was that works from multiple ISU authors were represented in the file from Activity Insight by a single record that was attributed only to the first-listed author. As a result, many faculty and graduate student authors were overlooked, although the work they contributed to was not. This unfortunate fact went unnoticed until late in the process, and required a thorough re-check of the data so that those authors could also be acknowledged at the event.
In preparation for the 2015 scholar event, several changes have been made to address these problems. An interlibrary loan account has been created for the scholar event, and this will allow better tracking of the number and cost of the requests that are submitted. The Outreach Committee has worked with the Office of Institutional Research to modify its data gathering methodology to require complete citations and provide additional fields within the report which identify additional authors and graduate students. The Excel data will be cleaned and standardized prior to the ordering of books and articles to limit duplication and omissions, and to allow for the creation of a complete bibliography. The ordering and the maintenance of the masterfile will be monitored by a single individual (See Figure 1).
In 2014, the Activity Insight program for faculty was still relatively new, and represented a less-than-complete picture of faculty research because many members of faculty had not understood that they needed to hand input their publications into the system. Members of the Outreach Committee were proactive in letting faculty know that some information was missing at the scholar event because of a lack of information in the Activity Insight system. The 2015 data pull demonstrates that more faculty members are entering their information into the system, and this will allow the Outreach Committee to create a more complete representation of the research conducted at the 2015 scholar event.
One of the benefits of the revision in data collection is the ease with which specialized bibliographies can be created. Bibliographies will be created after the scholar event for displays and other in-house uses, and will be easily reproducible for others’ use. This was identified as a need after the 2014 scholar event when one department requested a list of departmental faculty and publications that had been featured at the event. Due to this unexpected request, post-event contact and collaboration with departments and members of the faculty was made a priority in future plans.
Planning and Executing the Scholar Event
Location, Date, and Time
The Outreach Committee chose the most elegant on-campus venue, the Stephens Performing Arts Center, as the site for the scholar event. The Center, located at the top of a hill and commanding a beautiful view of campus and the surrounding community, has been recognized as one of the most beautiful campus performing arts centers in the country (The 25 most amazing university performing arts centers, n.d). The Rotunda area and an adjacent wing were used, with alcoves for the buffet and displays (See Figure 2 and Figure 3). While it is a lovely space, it is also a high demand space, so everything from tablecloths to podiums comes at a high cost.
Late fall was identified as the best time to put on a large event so it would not compete with Homecoming, mid-terms, and the primary Library fundraiser, held in the spring. Much effort was made to ensure that the Dean of the Library, the Vice President of the Office of Research and Economic Development, and the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs would be able to attend. For fall 2014, Wednesday, October 22 was chosen.
In congruence with the elegance of the setting the decision was made to hold the event in the evening from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. The scholar event was well attended by high level administration, due to the effort made to ensure their attendance, but it was not as well attended by faculty as expected. At the event, the sound engineer recommended moving the event to an earlier time, because he has noticed that of the events held at this Center, those held earlier in the day are better attended.
The Outreach Committee decided to heed his advice and to move the scholar event to an earlier time in the future. As lovely as the venue was, the Committee also decided that future events will be held at another venue to keep costs down. Other locations discussed included a nearby hotel, the student union, the Library, and other areas on campus. An on-campus location was chosen to encourage attendance by the university community. One of the larger rooms in the student union building will be used in order to keep the scholar event on campus and to maintain its elegance.
Displays, Decor, Setup and Teardown
An estimate of the display space that would be needed for hard copies of hundreds of works of research suggested that 35 eight-foot tables would be needed. The table order had to be part of the registration information, so the estimate was made early. It would be a challenge to plan the set up the venue in advance so that all of the research works could be well displayed, so the decisions about where to place the tables and the research were made by members of the Committee on the day of the event (See Figure 4). This was successful, and will be replicated in future events.
The Outreach Committee came up with a decor scheme, consisting of centerpieces for the tables, mats for displaying the books and copies of articles, and other flourishes. A theme of simple fall elegance worked well. Keeping the décor simple had the advantage of minimizing the work needed, but the scale of the event was such that everything took more time than originally expected, anyway. The plan for the future is to reuse the existing decorations with minimal additions/changes, at least for the coming year.
The main concern was ensuring that the more than 400 articles, books, and other items were displayed elegantly and fairly across departments. On the day of the event, three students and two members of the Outreach Committee participated exclusively in this part of the setup, which took all day and required multiple major changes to the configuration of both the tables and scholarly works resting on them. In the future, a single individual will be assigned the authority to complete this part of the set up with a dedicated team, in order to avoid pulling library staff from other necessary tasks, such as setting up the registration table, the dining area tables, and the speakers’ podium/area.
A registration table with printed name tags for the invited scholars and blank name tags for everyone else was located near the main entry of the venue. There was a lot of work involved in getting the hundreds of name tags printed; in the future this effort will be eliminated.
Articles were arranged cascade-style on special mats; usually, only one stack was needed, but, in a few cases, a second was necessary because of the profligate output by the scholar during 2013 (See Figure 5 and Figure 6).
Articles were laid flat; books were displayed either on stands or standing up, supporting themselves. Single chapters were bookmarked in individual volumes. Artwork and musical scores were displayed on easels, and presentation posters were hung on moveable walls. In the future, presentation posters will be permitted only when accompanied by their corresponding publications.
Table tents, including each scholar’s name, academic department, and, in a few cases, photos, were created and placed next to each display. These photos enhanced recognition of the scholars; the Outreach Committee will make an effort to acquire more individual photos for the next event.
A final difficulty on the day of the event was the lack of planning regarding teardown. The labeled folder for each article display was kept underneath the display to make the gathering of the articles after the event easier and to prevent disarrangement. Even so, while people including faculty members of the Friends organization, pitched in to help to load everything into various Committee member’s vehicles, the Outreach Committee quickly realized that it hadn’t fully thought through the event teardown enough to make the collecting of the vast number of works in various formats and event decorations a systematic and orderly process. As a result, a lot of post-event sorting had to be done in the Library later in the week.
At ISU, all advertising intended for an external, i.e., off campus, audience, regardless of media must be approved by a centralized marketing committee. This process can add several weeks to the promotional work and must be factored into the overall timing of the project. The Library worked with the Office of Marketing and Communications to create the graphics and advertising design, which was subsequently submitted to the same body for approval after each iteration. Three paper invitations were created: a Save-the-Date sent at the beginning of the semester, and a general invitation sent two weeks prior to the event to the university community, the Friends of Oboler Library, and the Library’s donors list, and a formal invitation sent to faculty scholars three weeks prior to the event (See Figure 7).
These hard copy announcements were supplemented by electronic bulletin board announcements sent on a regular basis to students, faculty, and staff. Large posters were placed at various community locations such as restaurants and stores. Finally, a press release was prepared for local papers and other local media with the assistance of the ISU Office of Marketing and Communications. The press release was surprisingly ineffective, perhaps due to local media’s focus on Idaho State University’s accreditation visit, which happened to coincide with the event. The official campus photographer was invited to document the event. Two members of the Library staff also took pictures. These images were later used in displays and in the Library newsletter.
An unexpected difficulty arose in the design of the advertising. The event itself took place in 2014, but the work of the scholars it featured was from 2013. The Outreach Committee learned that placing both dates in proximity on the advertising confused some people, making them wonder if the event had previously taken place in 2013. For future events, the Outreach Committee will work with the Office of Marketing and Communications to mitigate this confusion. There will also be changes in the invitation sent to the scholars; the updated data in the spreadsheet will allow for the creation of personalized emails to be sent to each scholar, making it clear that they are specifically invited to the event because their individual work will be celebrated.
The Outreach Committee hopes that releasing the invitation seven to ten days prior to the event rather than two weeks will make people remember to add the event to their calendars. The final invitation will include the program.
Poster advertising will not be used in the future because the staff time necessary for this activity could be better used to pursue the more targeted, campus-wide advertising (See appendix C). Radio, newspaper, and television community calendars, while they are off-campus, will still be used because they require very little staff time and they will reach members of the campus community that might otherwise be missed.
The Outreach Committee initially sought a standard bid from the contracted on-site catering company. This bid came in extremely high and the Committee made a concerted effort to reduce the costs by eliminating some items entirely and dramatically reducing the amount that would be purchased of the items that were chosen. The revised price for the final menu came in at just under half of the originally quoted amount, and included a cheese plate, fresh fruit, spinach dip, grilled vegetable antipasti, stuffed mushrooms, and meatballs–all as passed items and/or buffet style. Lemonade, iced tea and water were also served.
Even at this dramatically reduced level, the menu was still too complex because the food choices were unnecessarily sophisticated and there were an overwhelming number of food choices in the buffet. Moreover, the contracted caterers failed to pass appetizers during the entire scheduled time and the buffet food was not replenished. In the future, a member of the Committee will be assigned to monitor the catering staff to ensure that the food will be available. In addition to these catering concerns, there was concern over the amount of leftover food: food had been ordered for 250 people and only a fraction of that number attended. The Outreach Committee took advantage of this surplus by packing everything up and bringing it back to the Library for student consumption the following day. In the future, the Committee has decided to reduce the number of items served and eliminate passed appetizers entirely. This will have the dual function of reducing the overall cost and reducing or eliminating food waste.
The original plan had been to offer a no-host bar at the event, in keeping with its celebratory nature. This required a permit, for which the Committee applied, but it was denied. The Outreach Committee learned too late that the denial had been due to the fact that the event was advertised specifically to students through a mass email. There was an option to proceed with alcohol sales at a separately ticketed event held prior to the evening’s main event, but that option would have presented a substantially larger cost, as well as additional logistical difficulties, so the decision was made not to add this to an already complex event. In the future, the scholar event will be advertised only to members of the faculty and staff, which will make it possible to have a no-host bar without additional restrictions.
Every year, ISU’s Office of Research and Economic Development recognizes faculty researchers by bestowing a Distinguished Researcher Award and several Outstanding Researcher awards. Recent recipients of these awards were targeted by the Outreach Committee to serve as featured speakers at the scholar event. The Committee invited one speaker from the sciences and one from the arts and letters, and the speakers were asked to give remarks about their research. The Dean of the Library was asked to give opening remarks, and the Vice President of the Office of Research and Economic Development, closing remarks. Emcee duties were shared by two members from the Outreach Committee, who introduced speakers working from the program and from scripted biographies. Feedback received by the Committee indicates that the audience would have liked to have known how the faculty members chose their field of research, how their process worked, where they conducted their work, and what stumbling blocks they encountered. This knowledge will be used in future events to guide speakers’ remarks.
A PowerPoint presentation was used to celebrate and highlight faculty scholarship at the college and department levels (See Figure 8). Each group was acknowledged as its slide was presented. This went well and will be replicated in future events. The slides were easy to correct up to the very start of the program. This flexibility dramatically increased the accuracy of the slides due to the contribution of early-arriving faculty and administrators. It was during the on-site adjustment to the presentation that the Committee learned that it must verify current department names when the masterfile is created early in the process, as departments merge, split, or are eliminated with some regularity. The information from the presentation was used to create displays in the Library during the months after the event.
The formal program was printed on a souvenir bookmark which was popular with attendees. The Outreach Committee chose to print bookmarks based upon maximum projected attendance, leaving hundreds of bookmarks in the recycling bin.
Funding efforts for the event grew as plans for the event expanded. The Library administration set a budget for the event, and the Office of Research and Economic Development and the Friends of Oboler Library contributed a set amount. A grant was written and submitted, but not funded. The Provost came through with additional funding as the event drew near so that the event could meet the expectations of the Outreach Committee. The Committee was appreciative, and was told that this would be a one-time grant that would not be available in future years. Sponsorships were considered, but the Outreach Committee felt that an event of this type should be funded internally and that it should not be offered as a fundraising event.
Future budgets will be much smaller because of the changes discussed above, which include a free venue, reduced catering costs, and a smaller advertising effort. (See appendix B).
The response to scholar event has been overwhelmingly positive, and the Outreach Committee will continue to host it in future years as a partnership between departments to honor publishing faculty. The scope of research at the institution was clearly demonstrated in this visual setting. Another example of the impact generated by the event, was the number of attendees who lingered at the tables, reading and engaging with the scholarship that had been created by their colleagues.
The scholar event also highlighted the benefits of collaboration to the partners, which include increased efficiency, flexibility, expanded resources, expanded markets, and a greater sense of interdependence between the different departments, noted earlier by Bergquist, Betwee & Meuel (p. 18). Through the partnership with different departments, the Library was able to put on an event that was much larger than it could have achieved on its own.
This event highlighted the value of establishing partnerships between the academic library and other parts of the campus community to create relationships and achieve shared goals.
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Appendix A – Schedule for the Day of the Event
Initial meeting of staff
Venue opens; Outreach Committee does initial walk through to confirm that the space is properly configured
Committee begins set up; two groups are created: articles and scholarly works and decorations and table set up
Table set up is complete
Article set up is complete; presentation set up begins
Venue opens for the event, food service begins
Program and presentation
Appendix B – Budget
Friends of Oboler Library
Office of Research
Office of the Provost
|Rental — Marshall Rotunda
Rental — Promenades
Projector with Screen
Podium with Sound
Expenses: Printing and Mailing
Grilled Vegetable Antipasti
Feta & Spinach Mushrooms (dozen )
Asian Meatballs (dozen)
Mini Petit Fours (dozen)
Fresh Brewed Coffee (gallon)
Iced Tea (gallon)
Raspberry Lemonade (gallon)
Delivery Charge, on campus
Associate University Librarian
Collections & Special Projects
Eli M. Oboler Library
Idaho State University
850 South 9th Avenue
Pocatello, Idaho 83209-8089
Phone: (208) 282 – 2671
Jenny Lynne Semenza
Associate University Librarian
Research & Learning Services
Eli M. Oboler Library
Idaho State University
850 South 9th Avenue
Pocatello, Idaho 83209-8089
Phone: (208) 282 – 2581
Library Assistant, MA, MLIS
Eli M. Oboler Library
Idaho State University
850 South 9th Avenue
Pocatello, Idaho 83209-8089
Phone: (208) 282 – 4325
Contact author :
Head of Discovery & Resource Services
Eli M. Oboler Library
Idaho State University
850 South 9th Avenue
Pocatello, Idaho 83209-8089
Phone: (208) 282 – 4582