The school-wide graduation ceremony took place on Friday. I’ve actually never gone, which I feel a little guilty about especially when marketing students ask me if I’ll be there. But I’m still trying to move along some projects before taking a summer vacation (at least that’s my excuse this year).
One of those projects is our ongoing liaison reorganization. On Wednesday the liaisons met to form our subject teams, consider what functional leadership teams we need, and brainstorm communication plans and first-year goals for the teams. This is nothing radical to those of you who are used to working in a team environment but an important step for us as we phase out our Reference & Instructional Services department and replace it with a liaison department. (We haven’t discussed what our new name will be yet.)
This planning meeting turned out to be collegial and even a little exciting, I think, as we explored the possibilities of our new organizational plan and how the plan could address some weaknesses in our liaison program we identified last summer. Part of that excitement though is a little undercurrent of anxiety from not knowing exactly how the plan will turn out (ex. how well each team is going to work together). Our current organizational structure is very familiar and safe, even if now dated given new prioritizes and roles of liaisons.
We ended up forming three subject teams:
- Arts & Humanities
- Social Sciences/Professions
- Natural Science
Not very creative, but these categories seemed logical for us to adopt too. Given liaison assignments at UNCG the natural science team will only have three members (including a librarian not yet hired), while the humanities team will have at least seven and possibly nine. The planning committee will ask that large team to discuss whether to break up into two smaller teams or remain large.
We had a longer discussion of what functional leadership teams to begin with. We did decide to have an Instruction Team. We already had an interdepartmental Instructional Technology Team, so we really just broadening the scope of that existing team a bit. Our Instruction Coordinator, DE Coordinator, and First-Year Instruction Coordinator will be the nucleus of this team.
We considered teams for Scholarly Communication, Data Curation, and Collections, but need to wait until our new Assistant Dean for Collections & Scholarly Communication is hired to learn what thoughts that AD has on those possible teams.
For the conclusion of our planning meeting we brainstormed possible team goals and the parameters of those goals. Our strengths and weaknesses document from last summer provided some guidance here.
Parameters for team goals:
- Defined duration (ex. one semester or one year)
- Measurable/assessable outcomes
- Share team goals & outcomes with other teams
Ideas for goals:
- Map the skill sets available in each team
- Assess academic departments for instructional and outreach needs
- Review and reconsider in a holistic, intentional manner our liaison assignments
- Prioritize which academic departments need more attention than others; customize needed liaison services department by department
- Collaborate with Special Collections & University Archives (Humanities team)
- Develop a plan to more holistically collect liaison stats
- Begin collecting liaison success stories and using those collected stories to better promote our services and value
- Train new liaisons
- Integrate our Diversity Resident Librarian into the Social Science team for her second year
- Integrate our Reference Interns into the subject or functional teams as appropriate
On June 17 a UNCG Communication Studies lecturer who specializes in team dynamics will provide the liaisons with a 90-minute training workshop. Before then, each subject team will meet for the first time. The suggested agenda will be:
- Choose a team leader for the first year. (Our liaison department head wants to meet with each leader soon)
- Begin discussing how the team would like to communicate and in general work together
- Begin discussing possible first-year team goals and, if possible, choose some.
- Share your notes and decisions with the other teams so that we can learn from each other
I’m excited to see how this experiment with grass roots reorganization turns out. Updates coming later this summer.