When it comes to decision and policy-making at New College, matters are handled through shared governance, where students, faculty, administrators and staff all participate. Faculty meetings allow students and faculty to participate in the process, yet the faculty handbook limited voting at meetings to tenure-track professors and five student representatives, which leaves out library staff members.
Recent changes to faculty meetings have given librarians voting power at faculty meetings thanks to the diligent work of librarians Tamerra Rice, Helene Gold and Cal Murgu. The new voting rights will serve to further solidify librarian’s role as important members of the faculty.
“Our faculty librarians are serving in leadership roles in the development of First Year Seminars, the implementation of new technologies, and the response to the Arts & Sciences recommendations,” Rice wrote. “That participation is in addition to the tutorials and class sessions that we teach in partnership with faculty. A right to vote gives us a stronger voice in governance, and is in keeping with the contributions that we are making.”
At New College the forum for governance differs from other colleges and universities, typically using a faculty senate with representation from the various departments, including the library.
“While the NCF model is different and more tailored to our academic program, our experience was that the direct participation of librarians in governance was beneficial to the organization as a whole,” Rice wrote.
This situation is not unique to New College; across the country librarians have made efforts to extend faculty status to them. The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is a division of the American Library Association that develops programs, products and services to help those working in libraries better serve as leaders and innovators within their communities.
“Faculty status entails for librarians the same rights and responsibilities as for other members of the faculty,” The ACRL’s joint statement on faculty status of college and university librarians states. “They should have corresponding entitlement to rank, promotion, tenure, compensation, leaves, and research funds.”
With a new-found voice in what goes on at New College librarians will be able to better advance initiatives and programs designed to assist students and improve the New College experience as a whole.
Information for this article was gathered from ala.org/acrl and the NCF Faculty Handbook 2019-20