1. Catching Up
This is the quiet week before the campus shuts down for the holiday break.
Last month, I had a new, interesting, and potentially challenging experience in one of my co-teaching classes. The professor needed an important medical procedure (he’s fine now) which ended up being scheduled the same day as three student teams were making their final presentations. The company representatives of one student team were coming, too. So the business school’s Executive-in-Residence and I had to play host to the company reps, administer the presentations, and grade the presentations ourselves. (The professor did receive paper versions of the slides and carefully reviewed them before determining the final grade of the presentations.) Happily, all three presentations were good or very good, and the company reps left happy. If any team had deserved a bad grade and received one, I wonder if the team might have protested. (In my recent book chapter, I wrote about the possible ethical issues of co-teaching embedded librarians helping with grades).
Last week at Elon University, seven BLINC friends from academic libraries gathered to demonstrate, discuss, and evaluate specialized business databases. The session was very useful as UNC campuses prepare for big budget cuts, and as the private schools consider possible swaps or additions to their current mix of databases. We looked at Freedonia, MarketLine, NetAdvantage, Euromonitor Passport GMID, Data-Planet, the Simmons and Claritas PRISM modules in SimplyMap, DemographicsNow, BizMiner, RMA eStatement Studies, Global Road Warrior, the newer modules in IBISWorld, ICPSR, and Social Explorer. This workshop also helped us look ahead to the larger BLINC quarterly workshop next month in which we once again work toward consensus recommendations for NC LIVE business databases for its 2015-7 package.
And last week my new ENT/GEO/LIS 530 class finally entered the UNCG class registration system after five months of curriculum reviews. The class had to go through six, count ‘em, six curriculum committee reviews:
- Library & Information Science (School of Education)
- Geography (College of Arts & Sciences)
- Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Hospitality & Tourism (Bryan School of Business & Economics)
- Bryan School Undergraduate Curriculum Committee
- UNCG Graduate Studies Committee (I’m on this committee as a non-voting member — this group answers to the graduate faculty, not the Faculty Senate, which the UNCG librarian faculty are members of)
- UNCG Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (chaired this year by my colleague, the excellent Jenny Dale)
[Tedious details and a short whine you might want to skip]:
The first five of those reviews happened between mid-August and mid-October. Then there was a six-week wait between #5 and #6, even though #6 had a meeting two weeks after #5’s positive vote. That was frustrating. Even though the staff coordinator of #6 was emailed the results of the #5 vote the same time I was emailed, I should have confirmed that my class was on the agenda for #6’s early November meeting. Instead, #6 reviewed and approved my class in early December, during exam week. (Registration began in in early November.) By the time the Registrar added the class to the class registration system, and then each of the three departments (MEHT, LIS, and GEO) added the class to their listings, it was the day of commencement, several days after the end of exams. So most students have already signed up for their Spring 2014 classes. However, a few students had told me they saved space in their calendar for the class, and indeed some students have signed up already. So lesson learned: double-check that the curriculum paperwork is moving along at every stage.
[Back to less tediousness]:
So, finally, my class is official and I’m looking forward to teaching it next semester!
2. Today’s Topic
Co-teaching is usually based on a strong relationship between the two teachers. I wrote about this recently and Sara J. Beutter Manus provided an example from music librarianship. So what happens when the professor moves on or retires? Will the librarian remain with the class after the break-up?
I’m considering these questions for both of the research-intensive, required classes I help teach.
In ENT 300, Professor Welsh is taking the Spring 2014 semester off to write a book on creating cross-campus entrepreneurship programs. She has worked so hard at UNCG creating our award-winning program, teaching classes, writing successful grant proposals, and publishing research articles that she certainly deserves a break. A lecturer/professor of practice, Noah Reynolds, will be teaching the class instead. Dianne told him that I have been helping teach the class, and Mr. Reynolds responded to me that he is interested in working with me. I appreciate his support, especially since we probably won’t meet until the first day of class. (Hmm maybe I should try to catch up with him before then.)
One complication is that this spring, ENT 300 will meet for three hours on a Tuesday night. Given the need to maintain a work-life balance, plus the likelihood of having some Tuesday morning events, I didn’t promise Mr. Reynolds that I would attend the full class period every week. Most weeks I might try to just stay until the break time halfway through the class.
I look forward to working with Mr. Reynolds and appreciate Professor Welsh recommending me to him. In Fall 2014, I assume Professor Welsh will be teaching ENT 300 once again.
In MKT 426, Professor Williamson has been talking about retiring pretty soon. He might do a phased retirement in order to focus exclusively on teaching Export Odyssey. It’s hard for me to imagine Export Odyssey living on without Professor Williamson, but he thinks it certainly can. He mentioned that a professor who researches global teams might be interested in working with us on creating an online version of the project. I’ve yet to discover a research-intensive online business course at UNCG yet, so that would be an interesting development. I remain co-author of the Export Odyssey text, so I would remain plugged-in to developments with the class. We’ll see what happens. Of course, a new professor of international marketing could perhaps decide not to bother with an experiential learning, export promotions project like Export Odyssey. That’s a possibility too.
3. Concluding thoughts:
First, most embedded librarians have learned that the sustainability of their large time commitments is a key issue. However, here the issue is the sustainability of the co-teaching relationship. If the co-teaching librarian wants to remain with the course as the professor of record changes, the librarian needs to make sure the department head or program coordinator understands and appreciates the value the librarian provides. The librarian really needs to be wedded to the class, not just the professor.
Second: Of course, the librarian needs to decide if he or she likes the new professor and can work well with him or her.
Finally, a change in professor of record might be the best time for the librarian to drop out of the co-teaching role in order to free up time for new priorities or other embedding opportunities. Part of sustainability is knowing when to say “no,” and a break-up with a professor might be just the time to do so.
That’s it for 2013 for me. Thank you for reading my blog, and I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday break.