3.8.3

3.8.3

The institution provides a sufficient number of qualified staff - with appropriate education or experiences in library and/or other learning/information resources - to accomplish the mission of the institution. (Qualified staff)

Narrative:

The Appalachian State University Library and Information Technology Services (ITS) provide sufficient qualified staff with appropriate education, work experiences, and training to accomplish the University’s mission [1], “to discover, create, transmit, and apply knowledge to address the needs of individuals and society.”

Appalachian State University Library

Directly linked to the University’s mission, the Appalachian State University Library’s vision [2] is to “broaden the learning experience, to encourage creativity and scholarship at all levels, and to deepen the campus engagement with the community and world, and to develop an effective organization that can meet current and future information needs.”  In order to fulfill this vision, the Library's complete list of personnel [3] includes 37 faculty librarians [4], 49 support staff, and 31 (FTE) student assistants (May, 2012).  The library is organized into nine teams, as indicated in the organizational chart [5].

Library Faculty

All Library faculty possess an ALA-accredited master's degree (as recommended by ACRL's Statement on the Terminal Professional Degree for Academic Librarians [6]) or advanced degree in archival science.  In order to begin the tenure process, Library faculty must earn a second advanced degree.  When librarians are hired without a second advanced degree, they are employed at the rank of instructor and are expected to complete the second degree within seven years.

Library faculty are appointed, promoted, tenured, and annually evaluated in the same manner as other Appalachian faculty, as required in the Faculty Handbook section 4.2 [7] (which also confirms the faculty status of librarians).  Library faculty are evaluated in three areas: library responsibilities, scholarship, and service to the profession and community, all of which are criteria for tenure described in the Library's Departmental Personnel Guidelines [8].  Librarians are engaged in service at the University, state, and national levels, as documented in the sections B, C, and E of the Library's annual activity report [9].  The annual report also includes the support staff's service commitments [10] from the previous year.

The coordinators of the Music Library, Special Collections, and the Instructional Materials Center have doctoral degrees.  The latter two areas also have endowed professorships, as does the University Librarian.

Professional Development

The Library actively supports and funds training and professional development opportunities.  The Library's Strategic Plan [11] emphasizes training and development.  Library faculty list their professional development activities in Appalachian's Digital Measures system each year and discuss their goals as part of their annual evaluation.  A full list of all Library faculty professional development activities can be found in the Library's annual reports.

Full-time faculty consists of twenty-two tenured librarians, ten tenure-track librarians, and six instructors with annual renewable contracts.  The Library also employs adjunct instructors; currently there are four faculty with that status.

Library staff are encouraged to participate in in-house and external training and development opportunities.  The Library's internal Training & Development Committee plans and organizes professional development, training, and general interest programs.  In 2010-11 this committee led the Library-wide "23 Things / Core Values" program, which provided both programmed and self-directed training opportunities on technology tools and topics and on the core values from the Library's Strategic Plan [12].

The Library demonstrates its commitment to professional development by supporting employee travel to conferences and workshops.  In FY 2010-2011, the Library expended nearly $44,000.00 for conference registrations, travel expenses, and staff development programs.  In FY 2011-2012, the Library began providing an additional avenue for support of professional development through grants awarded from the Martha and Nancy Lee Bivens University Library Fund for Excellence [13].  The criteria for these grants include "strategic strengthening of services and professional learning through personnel training (staff and faculty)."

A Tuition Waiver and Academic Assistance Program is available through Appalachian's Human Resource Services, allowing full-time employees to receive a tuition and fee waiver for coursework in or outside the University of North Carolina System.

Support Staff

All Library support staff have the appropriate education and work experience to successfully perform the duties in their areas of responsibility.  Library support staff are part of the State of North Carolina's competency-based career-banding system [14].  This system organizes similar work competencies into ten broad occupational categories, or job families.  Within the job family for information and education jobs, the Library uses two specific bands, the University Library Technician [15] and the University Library Specialist [16], with functional competencies that each member of the class must meet.

Detailed files on each support staff member are maintained in the AppState Jobs online system in Appalachian's Human Resources Services department.  Should reviewers wish to examine these files during the site visit, Patrick McCoy, director of Human Resource Services, will be the contact person.

Comparison to Peer Institutions

The Library has adequate staff to fulfill Appalachian's mission.  The National Center for Education Statistics [17] report for 2010 shows that Appalachian has 2.45 librarians and other professional staff per 1,000 FTE students [18].  This figure is above the median of 2.37 for the comparison group of the other 14 academic libraries in the University of North Carolina System.  It is also above the state median (2.21) and the national median (2.24). 

Effectiveness of Service

The 2008 LibQUAL+ results showed a mean score of 7.37, on a scale from 1-9, for Affect of Service (perceived quality of the services provided by Library personnel).  This score was a slight decrease from the LibQUAL+ 2006 score of 7.43.  The Library re-administered LibQUAL+ in 2011 to assess progress, and results showed a significant increase in Affect of Service, as well as in other areas.

Equivalent Library Support for Distance Education Students

As discussed in CR 2.9 and CS 3.8.1, distance education students have access to Library services provided by a team of four professional librarians and one support staff.

Qualifications of Personnel

A chart outlining the professional librarians and archivists, their titles, their academic qualifications, and years of experience, is presented in the evidenceSummary Institutional Form [19].

Information Technology Services

Information Technology Services (ITS) [20] provides faculty, staff, and students with the necessary technology resources to meet the instructional and administrative needs of the University community.  It is comprised of Enterprise Administrative Applications, Information Technology Infrastructure, and Technology Support Services.

ITS has seven professional staff members who provide support through network infrastructure and control systems, three who handle the shared resources, one who handles campus IT security, and 37 who provide technology support services.  IT support staff, like Library support staff, are part of the State of North Carolina's competency-based Career-Banding System.  They fall within the Information Technology family.  The competency profilesused on campus include the following:

Business and Technology Applications Analyst [21]

Business and Technology Applications Specialist [22]

Business and Technology Applications Technician [23]

Information Technology Manager [24]

Networking Analyst [25]

Networking Specialist [26]

Networking Technician [27]

Operations and Systems Analyst [28]

Operations and Systems Specialist [29]

Operations and Systems Technician [30]

Technology Support Analyst [31]

Technology Support Specialist [32]

Technology Support Technician [33]

Career banding mandates extensive reviews of staff qualifications within the roles they serve.  Each staff member is evaluated annually; this process includes the creation of a work plan and ratings on both "core and functional competencies."  An overview of the process [34] is available on Appalachian's Human Resources website.

Detailed files on each IT support staff member are maintained in the AppState Jobs online system in Appalachian's Human Resources Services department.  Should reviewers wish to examine these files during the site visit, Patrick McCoy, director of Human Resource Services, will be the contact person.

Effectiveness of Service for IT personnel

The TechQual+ survey [35] was conducted in January 2011 to gauge faculty, student, and staff perceptions of various areas of Information Technology support.  The survey measured the following: connectivity and access, technology and technology services, the end user experience, and other technology services.  For each question, TechQual+ asks users to rate current services as they perceive them, then indicate their minimum acceptable level of service and their desired level of service.  TechQual+ has been conducted on many campuses, allowing Appalachian’s results to be compared with those of other universities.  Results revealed [36] that IT services at Appalachian were above the indicated minima and often above the desired level.  In addition, IT services at Appalachian were favorable in comparison with results from other institutions.  ITS readministered the survey in November 2011 and intends to conduct it annually.

Equivalent IT Support for Distance Education Students

Technical support for distance education students is provided through arrangements with each distance education location and is coordinated by Mary F. Englebert, Director of Distance Education, and Tom Van Gilder, Director of Technical Support Services.  Support is offered through a combination of the Appalachian Technical Support phone services, services offered by technical support technicians at the distance education site, and Appalachian support technicians whose primary role is to support distance education issues.  Specialized technology support is offered by two staff members in TSS.  The standard services offered by the help desk in TSS are also available to distance education students.  Staff members who meet the IT needs of locations where more than 50% of a degree is offered are also qualified through the career–banding process, discussed above.

Distance education students can gain access to virtual desktop interfaces that contain all software needed for the courses in which they are enrolled.  They can contact Technology Support Services on Appalachian’s campus if they need assistance.