Posted in Democracy, education, politics, Presentations, Reviews, Teaching, tagged Chuck Ziehr, David Scott, ITV, James Whitmer, Martin Tadlock, NSU, Roger Collier on September 10, 2010 |
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Earlier this afternoon, NSU hosted the first in a series of events titled Dialogue & Debate. The title of D&D 1 was “A College Degree is a Commodity and Students are Our Customers.” It was ITVd across all three campuses. Below is an image of the event as viewed from the Broken Arrow campus.
Seated left to right – ITV facilitator James Whitmer; Debate Team – Roger Collier, Chuck Ziehr, David Scott.
Provost Martin Tadlock began the event by introducing the “gullible” individuals who agreed to serve as the debate team: Communications Professor David Scott as facilitator; Finance Professor Roger Collier in the affirmative; Geography Professor Chuck Ziehr as opposition.
Dr. Collier began his presentation by stating that he volunteered to present less out of gullibility than out of a trick he learned in elementary school: go first and get it over with.
Collier’s comments addressing the question of whether students are customers:
- It’s true that students are our customers, whether we want to believe it or not.
- We provide access to a process that may or may not lead to a degree. Whether or not students get the degree is up to them. The university should have a disclaimer that results may vary.
- In general, students agree that because they are paying, they are a customer. Students pay in tuition, energy, time, work, and the forgoing of other things. Some are even willing to pay with a loss of personal integrity via cheating.
- Faculty, in general, disagree that students are customers.
- Students can vote with their feet; if they are not happy, they can go.
His comments on whether or not a degree is a commodity:
- As with most commodities, a college degree is generally available to anyone interested.
- A degree is standardized and widely available via loans and scholarships.
Dr. Ziehr began his presentation by stating that he prefers the term dialogue over debate, and that this event was a welcome relief to preparation for NCATE accreditation.
Ziehr began his argument by addressing the issue of degree as commodity.
- A degree is a basic product: education.
- Degrees from different universities come with varying costs and value. Another way degrees are differentiated is via transcripts and grades – an area of potential interest to employers.
- Ultimately, degrees are not commodities; they are vastly different, even when the same degree.
Ziehr’s comments on students as customers
- NSU’s Strategic Plan defines a customer as any person who requests services. Therefore, students within an instructional session are not customers.
- Universities are places of open discovery and dissent. Our students use these methods to coproduce knowledge with us, which makes them colleagues, not customers.
- Students create the value of their degree, so should be viewed as product.
The following are notes taken during the rebuttals that followed the initial presentation. I do not know which presenter to credit, so I’ll designate them coauthors.
- Students are not our only customers; all who contribute to or benefit from the education process are customers as well.
- The content of degrees is relatively the same, despite the school. Degrees are fairly standardized. What distinguishes one from another is the access students have to resources.
- A college degree gives access to a profession. It’s up to the student to determine the discipline and how much access.
- Both the student and the school have an obligation to perform.
- Customer is a passive role. Students need to be engaged in order to obtain knowledge and a degree.
Once the presentation and rebuttal sessions concluded, the floor opened to questions. Not sure about anyone else, but I really liked seeing students in the audience, such as the ones above addressing a question to the debate team.
Comments from question-answer session
- Students are our reputation as they leave.
- A student is a customer in regard to the instructor adhering to the syllabus. Students are clients in the idea that the syllabus is a binding contract that creates a mutual relationship; they can appeal if the instructor is guilty of bait and switch.
- Instructors help decide whether students are customers or not. In some classrooms students are doing a lot of coproduction. The more collaborative the process, the better. (I may have added that last part ;-)
- If the class is boring and bad, students will withdraw and tell their friends – like a customer.
- Students have input on which courses are taught and by whom. The job market also has a large influence in both areas.
- Should students be on hiring committees? Yes, students were on the search committees for three of NSU’s most recently hired teaching faculty. (One is also currently serving on the AVPTL Search Committee: Thank you, Steven ;-)
All in all, it was a nice way to spend an hour on a Friday afternoon in mid-September. I look forward to DD 2.
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Posted in advocacy, education, environment, Future of Libraries, Mentoring, Presentations, Reviews, Teaching, Webinar, tagged Mentoring, NET building, NSU, Tahlequah, Webinar on May 26, 2010 |
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Yesterday afternoon I traveled from NSU’s satellite campus in Broken Arrow to its main campus in Tahlequah in order to attend a webinar over faculty development and evaluation.As you can see from the map, the 61.1 mile journey (122.2 round trip) runs very near several of Northeastern Oklahoma’s beautiful lakes. Something you can not see from looking at the map are the magnificent rolling hills that surround this scenic drive, which, in combination with the lakes, offers breathtaking views such as the one below:
*Image accessed via River Dreamer’s Flickr account
The webinar was hosted by NSU’s Center for Teaching & Learning and held on the sixth floor of the W. Roger Webb Education Technology Center.
*Image author Caleb Long
Though the focus of the webinar was directed at university administration, the session offered important insight for anyone who oversees the professional development and assessment of others.
One important point the speaker addressed is that it is part of an administrator’s job to help faculty build upon the skills necessary to become and/or remain an effective member of the faculty. One of the primary ways this development can occur is through the process of “encouraging and mentoring faculty.” By openly sharing the knowledge gained through previous experience, mentors can help new faculty more quickly establish a foundation upon which to build professional skills. Mentoring also helps new faculty better understand expectations, so they are more likely to develop the skills that will help them to meet those expectations (i.e., they can’t read minds or adhere to the unclear). Various ways mentioned on how an established member of faculty can help mentor new faculty included such things as helping them to better understand their new environment through an orientation process, assisting with the setting of goals, helping them stay on track in obtaining these goals, and acting as an advocate as new faculty form relationships with those who are more seasoned. The best mentoring process, according to the speaker, is that which includes both an internal mentor, one from within the new environment, and an external mentor, one who has an expertise in the field but does not work for the same institution. Though the reasoning behind such a process was not thoroughly discussed, it was my guess that including both an insider and an outsider as mentors will help faculty to become both participant and observer of the new environment. Another method of mentoring the speaker did not discuss (until I relayed the question at the end of the presentation) was the importance of reverse mentoring.
To be continued…
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Posted in advocacy, Future of Libraries, Patrons, Presentations, research, tagged ARL, collaboration, library, library trends, networking, research, research library, scholarship on June 19, 2009 |
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The most current statistics of the ARL’s longitudinal study of service trends in academic research libraries reveal some interesting transitions over the past 10 years:
- Library staff are collaborating and networking in far larger numbers.
- The total number of library staff has decreased slightly; whereas, the total number of students served has increased significantly.
- Reference librarians are relied on for research assistance only half as often today as they were just 10 years ago. (Perhaps patrons can not find one or do not know how librarians can increase both the efficiency and effectiveness of the research process.)
- Reliance on internal materials, i.e., those owned at point of access, has decreased 25%; whereas, reliance on external materials, i.e., those that must be borrowed from other libraries, has increased 158%.
Personal observations of the above trends:
- Sharing knowledge and information is what being a librarian is all about.
- Cross-training and multi-tasking are two extremely important skills for information professionals to master.
- Outreach and advocacy prevent – or at least postpone – obsolescence.
- While library budgets shrink, the number of published works – and library patron’s ability to learn of and want access to them – has increased. Therefore, libraries must share and patrons must wait.
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Posted in Future of Libraries, Library School, Presentations, tagged comps, Dr. Connie Van Fleet, Dr. Danny Wallace, Dr. Yong-Mi Kim, End-of-Program Orientation, Maggie Ryan, OU SLIS on September 10, 2008 |
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Maggie called a few weeks ago and asked if I’d be willing to share my experiences of the successfully completing the Comprehensive Exam at the OU SLIS End-of-Program Assessment Orientation. I agreed immediately for two reasons: 1) it is my hope that the sharing of my experiences will help others prepare and pass the exam; 2) there is likely no request Maggie could make that I would deny.
Dr. Kim served as facilitator and sent me a list of eight talking points to guide my presentation (thank you, Dr. Kim :-). The points she sent are italicized; the content I chose to discuss is interspersed (I’ve added a bit more detail in the hopes that the content will make sense to persons other than myself).
1. Introduce yourself:
I began the OU SLIS program in July 2006, took the Comprehensive Exam in June 2008, and graduated in July 2008.
2. Why you chose the option:
Information in Society: Native Peoples of New Mexico was the first course I took in the SLIS program. The goal of this course, taught by Dr. Danny Wallace and Dr. Connie Van Fleet, was to study the distinctions and interrelations between the various types of libraries in the state of New Mexico, i.e., archives, museums, public, state, tribal.
Most of the students enrolled in this course were near the end of the MLIS program (unlike me); therefore, many had already completed the end-of-program requirements, i.e., comps, portfolio, thesis. Believing that I would encounter no better opportunity to poll the experienced, I surveyed my classmates – over the course of several long, intimate bus rides – and received a unanimous recommendation to choose comps over the other two options.
3. Who should choose the option
- Those adept at writing the traditional 5-point paragraph
- Those who do well on essay exams
- Those who actively listen, take good notes, and contemplate the real world application of what they learn in class
- Those who are dedicated enough to set aside a little time each day to study – 90 days prior at the very least
4. Advantages of the option
- Instant camaraderie with those who chose the same option – regardless of whether they took the exam a decade ago or plan to take it next year
- No need to research and write a novella
- No need for an oral presentation
- It’s all over in 4 ½ hours
5. Disadvantages of the option:
- Anxiety and obsession may set in as test day draws near
- If anxiety and obsession set in, sleep may become evasive
- Friends and family may become bored with all the library talk and test-taking tension – and lovingly suggest you find a study buddy
6. Your experience with the option:
- Review materials from the core classes
- Keep up with current events – library serials and library blogs
- Get to know the ALA website – in particular the Bill of Rights, Code of Ethics, and current events on the homepage
- Talk to others who’ve taken the exam to gain both insight and support
- Method I used to determine my preparedness:
- refer to the list of old comps questions
- write out one of the questions
- brainstorm for five minutes
- reread the question to verify it has been addressed and answered properly
- Fall back to English 101:
- write your thesis statement
- make sure the topic sentence of each paragraph refers back to the thesis
- support all generalizations
- Consider evenly dividing the 4 1/2 hours you are allotted to answer three questions by restricting the time you spend on each to 90 minutes
- Consider utilizing the research method. That is, view the question as a research question and restate it as a thesis; support the resulting thesis with several 101-style body paragraphs
- Some questions have a brief introduction to establish context. Read the introduction to begin generating ideas, but be sure that you respond to the question that follows, rather than to the introduction: they aren’t always one and the same
7. If you did it again, what would you do differently?
- worry less
- relax more
- trust in the knowledge I have gained throughout the program
- send a personal thank you note to all of my professors
8. Anything you would like to share
- Stay hydrated in order to avoid excessive confusion – but not too hydrated come test day. . . .
- Take regular walks, runs, or bike rides to relieve anxiety, as well as to enhance both memory and confidence
- Consider wearing school colors on test day for a psychological boost :-)
- Best of luck!
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I’ve applied to present the benefits of blogging yet again. This time with three of my coworkers at the 2008 Internet Librarian Conference in Monterey, California.
Internet Librarian 2008
Oct 20-22, 2008
Monterey Conference Center
|Thank you for submitting your proposal to speak at Internet Librarian 2008.
All submissions will be reviewed by the Organizing/Review Committee and notification regarding acceptance will be made by the summer.
Here’s the proposal I sent yesterday (we’ll see what becomes of it):
How to Make Social Software Work for You
Resistance to the use of social software in libraries is not only futile, it’s foolish. Growing numbers of contemporary library patrons are using social software on a daily basis and it’s free. Come and learn the practical ways blogs are being used at Northeastern State University in order to enhance both communication and instruction in the library. Find out how librarians at NSU have integrated this free technology into their workday and how its use has served as a valuable time management tool, thereby making busy workdays more efficient and productive.
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Posted in Future of Libraries, Library School, Presentations, Web 2.0, tagged comprehensive exam, comps, Internet Librarian, Jamie Holmes, OLA, OLA conference, Pamela Louderback, The Electronic Library on April 22, 2008 |
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For today’s comps prep, I attended the annual conference of the Oklahoma Library Association. Took lots of notes and a few photos, but the details will have to wait. It’s late and I plan to do it all again tomorrow, after which I will be attending class and presenting my evaluation project.
Speaking of presentations, I have absurd but exciting news: Jamie Holmes, Pamela Louderback, and I presented “Blogging @ NSUBA Library: Using Blogs to Instruct and Communicate Within & Beyond” during a table talk session this afternoon at OLA. Just as we were packing up to go, we were approached by a member of the editorial board of The Electronic Library and asked to publish our findings. She also asked that we submit a proposal to present at the next Internet Librarian Conference in California (sadly, the one in London is already set).
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