DICC Chair Report on CUWL Committee Structure
Report to CUWL, July 22nd, 2008
This report, as requested, serves to review for CUWL my experiences as a coordinating committee chair during the past year.
The responsibilities of the chair of the DICC are substantial but by no means prohibitively so. This particular working group is comprised of numerous department or library directors; there are few individuals in the group who do not have substantial administrative duties of their own. Despite this, the group has been quite supportive of working on our planning documents. FY 07-08 being the DICC’s “year of planning." While I have taken the lead on drafting and revising the digital plan, the two remaining action items of this group have been led by two other individuals, including one non-member. Thus the workload of the DICC has been well distributed among very active members of the working groups.
Conference planning did take some of my time away from other responsibilities but I believe I was the least busy of the four CC chairs. I will take this opportunity to commend my counterparts who were far more involved in making this event the success it was. Steve Frye, in particular, did yeoman’s work on that event. I believe strongly that now that some decisions have been made regarding the expectations and mechanisms of this conference, that future events will be easier to plan. However, it is certain that developing a full slate of new session topics will prove more difficult and thus I recommend that a larger program committee be established that brings in other individuals in addition to the CC chairs.
Communication and meetings:
The DICC first set up an ambitious schedule of 6 meetings a year alternating between in-person and teleconferences. In-person meetings have been difficult to schedule and pull off. Some of this had to do with winter weather (and associated illnesses!) but it also may be due to the make up of the committee with its numerous administrative types. The committee has altered its plans to hold more frequent teleconferences as issues require them and one in-person meeting per year at a date to be determined.
Communication with DICC members has been relatively easy. Due to this group’s very specific focus, we neither use nor expect to receive much extra-committee communications. Xythos, Free Conference Call and the Doodle scheduling tool have all helped us with our work. The committee has made little use of the Wiki, however this may change as the group moves beyond planning document creation. This lack of use of the Wiki does not concern me nor the members of the DICC.
I confess that am not entirely satisfied with the communication with other chairs, their committees and CUWL leadership. Again, it may be the unique nature of this CC (with few overlapping areas of responsibility with other groups) but I am not eager to receive emails on library issues that do not relate to my position or my committee. On CUWL issues, I frequently receive duplicate (sometimes triplicate) emails as I am several lists. I am confused by the proliferation of these lists and feel we have reached a place of too much of a good thing. If the other chairs still feel this is helpful I will agree to continue to receive these messages. However there are few natural synergies between the DICC and the other groups and I wonder if it’s important that their chairs know what we are up to.
Monthly meetings with CUWL leadership and the CC chairs did seem appropriate, particularly in this first year as some administrative issues needed vetting, however I fear for their long term productiveness. I feel some issues discussed at these sessions could easily be relayed via email or could wait until an in-person CUWL meeting where CUWL leadership and the CC chairs could meet before or after the scheduled meeting.
I thank Jean Gilbertson for the opportunity to share these opinions and experiences with CUWL.
Submitted by Joshua Ranger
July 18, 2008