Wednesday, September 16, 2015
An Amazing Dissertation Topic for Any Ed.D. Students Out There…
- what data would you look at?
- if necessary, how would it be tracked or gathered?
- what unit of analysis would you use? Graduations? Course completions?
So, quantitative scholars of higher education, the gauntlet is thrown. How would you measure the ROI of one against the other?
The second is that while (some) full-time tenure-stream faculty work can be replaced by adjuncts, the equivalent replacement for full-time librarians with "hourly staff" doesn't hold, as hourly staff in libraries generally don't have the same graduate training (the MLS) that professional librarians do, and perform very different job functions. (There is, confusingly, such a thing as an "adjunct librarian," however.)
But those aren't really the interesting parts of your question and argument. For those, I might point you to the Value of Academic Libraries project: http://www.acrl.ala.org/value/
1. How are we defining student success?
2. What are the greatest challenges at our college to improving student success?
3. How can each of these positions help us address those challenges?
The program in which you are looking to add a professor would be a factor as well as the particular skills that person would bring to the position. For example, at a community college trying to improve student success in technical programs where students are struggling with math, a math instructor who teaches using application-based instructional strategies could have a tremendous impact while just any old math instructor may or may not help improve student success in technical programs.
The same goes for a librarian. Will you hire a more traditional librarian or a librarian who wants to emphasize the use technology to support student learning?
I see this as more qualitative than quantitative. Answer these questions and the choice should become clear.
Too often it happens that library performance data acceptable to the school’s higher administration is gathered from activities that are easily quantifiable, but have little in common with very high levels of service. The same is probably true of classroom instruction.
Using weak but acceptable data to compare the relative contributions of the two positions and then sending the loser to the chopping block on the strength of it will look like just that to whichever department comes in second place in this contest.
Actually, there are two second place contestants here: The department that doesn’t get the full-time position, and the administrator making the decision. The high tolerance for ambiguity that helped him or her get the job in the first place will get a good workout.
If you have 50 profs and 2 librarians, you'll notice the lack of a librarian first.