Written by Erika Johnson and Shawn Calhoun, Associate Deans of Gleeson Library|Geschke Center.
The Gleeson Library | Geschke Center staff completed our most recent program review in 2017. From that process, we not only gained important insights into our educational project and how it best fits into USF’s larger educational mission, we also experienced firsthand how critical it is to have organization-wide engagement from both faculty and staff.
While our program review helped us begin the process of thinking about learning outcomes across our curriculum as well as the various business and technology units within the library, our biggest challenge post-program review was answering the “what next” question. From the program review we had solid insights into our collective work, but finding a clear, practical path from the general nature of our program review to specific actionable steps was challenging. For example, our program review called for a reevaluation of our internal technology systems as well as how we assess learning outcomes. Great. But how?
The path Gleeson chose was to engage in a rigorous strategic planning process, wherein we would craft specific tactics linked to what we learned from our program review. The library is now beginning to focus on specific tactics and work needed to accomplish the objectives set out in our strategic plan.
While we have learned many important lessons from the program review and strategic planning process, one of the most important takeaways is that we have strived to address the critical nature of staff engagement and building their contributions into our process. Library faculty and staff are now working more closely and collaboratively across some of the traditional silos found in academic libraries. We have teams working toward concrete solutions to challenges such as how we can better measure educational outcomes related to student research skills.
Like every academic and cocurricular area on campus, Gleeson Library has a busy year ahead. We are excited about the opportunities and challenges that lie before us as we navigate building and implementing impactful responses to our program review and subsequent strategic plan.