April 06, 2007

My first Curriculum Committee meeting

Yesterday afternoon I attended my first Undergraduate Curricula Committee Meeting. Normally, my manager sits in on this committee, but she's on vacation, so I got to go. I was a little lost at first, but it was interesting. Apparently, there have been a lot of changes this year, so this was an additional meeting for the semeseter. Many of the changes were changes in prerequistes, but there were new classes (adds) and courses that were dropped (deleted). Interestingly (to me anyway) some of the changes were to the programs themselves and many were to drop the required degree hours down to around 120, with the exception of one degree which actually took the required hours to 133. Naturally, many of the changes were to meet accreditation standards and must go through the state board of education.

Information about adds and changes in degrees is passed on to the librarian responsible for collection development for that area. This is good as it helps to determine what areas to order in, especially in light of new classes. Naturally, when degrees are added we are a part of the process.

So, you might wonder why this is intriguing to me. At my former library, a representative from the library was not on either of the curriculum committees, undergraduate or graduate (even in a non-voting capacity as we are here). Since the faculty did most of the ordering, in theory this shouldn't have been a problem. However, as I pointed out in a previous post, faculty tend to order for their research needs at times and not necessarily in support of the programs being taught. The result is that the library may not have materials needed to support a class.

We had always believed the library should be included on these committees and after attending this meeting, I'm sure of it. No, we don't need to vote, but if the school is going to support the classes, then the library needs to have materials available. No, not all classes will require library support, but many will. By participating on the committee the library is aware of what the departments are teaching and no extra step is needed to bring the library into the loop.