Dissertation Defense: The Preparation of Academic Library Administrators


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Study of the education, training, and other preparation of academic library administrators. Presented to my dissertation chair and committee on October 19th, 2012 for my successful doctoral defense.

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  • Thank you all for coming.I want to particularly thank my chair, Dr. Cutright, and my committee members, Dr. Bower, Dr. Whitson, and Dr. Du, for their commitment to this project.I appreciate the time and effort that each of you has spent serving on my committee.
  • I’ll just briefly review the focus of my study and the most relevant literature. I’ll spend the majority of this presentation discussing the results, implications, & conclusions. I surveyed the deans of academic libraries to determine the methods of preparation they experienced for these positions. I asked the deans how effective they perceived these preparation methods to be, related to Rosser, Johnsrud, and Heck’s theoretical construct of academic leadership. (The methods of preparation that I studied and the theoretical construct of academic leadership that I used are included at the back of your handouts.)The purpose for this study was to determine current trends in preparation and education, among academic library deans, and to discoverwhich of these methods the deans found most valuable.My aim was to provide information that would be useful for those seeking to become library deans, especially women and minorities. I also wanted to provide information for search committees and others responsible for hiring academic library deans, and toexpand the growing literature on the preparation of academic library leaders.
  • Rosser, Johnsrud, and Heck’s study measuring leadership effectiveness in academic deans was key to this study. They created an instrument to test deans’ effectiveness in seven areas of academic leadership (included in the handout). The two key studies directly related to leadership in academic libraries wer:e-- Hernon, Powell, and Young’s study of leadership traits valued by research library deans, and-- Fitsimmons’sfollow-up study comparing their results to leadership traits valued by those responsible for hiring library deans. Each of these studies listed leadership aspects similar to the seven dimensions developed by Rosser, Johnsrud, and Heck. The studies illustrate the variety of opinion about appropriate preparation for library deanship, which led to this study. Studies of the preparation of academic library deans primarily focused on degreesbeyond the MLS, and the value of mentoring, particularly for women and minorities. This study used a modified version of the instrument developed by Greicarto study the preparation of academic deans; Greciardid not include library deans in her study. Greicar found that on the job training was the most commonly experienced method among academic deans, and it was also the perceived as the most valuable to constructs of academic leadership. (for ACADEMIC DEANS)
  • I’ll read the primary research questions now. (READ QUESTIONS)
  • I contacted 2,460 academic library deans and directors at a variety of institutional types across the U.S. I used the Higher Education Directory’s onlinedatabaseto locate names and email addresses. I sent a pre-survey email describing the study, then an invitation email containing the link to the online survey, and sent two follow-up reminders to non-responders. I modifiedGreicar’ssurvey of academic deans to reflect this study’s focus on academic library deans, which used a Likert scale to rank the perceived value of preparation methods. The Likert ranks were minimal, moderate, significant, and very signficant. I piloted the modified instrument with 23 librarians and researchers to judge reliability. I made a few more modifications based on feedback from the pilot study. The survey was administered online using Qualtrics software. I downloaded the resulting data, formatted it, and imported it to SPSS for data analysis.
  • Now I’ll give a brief overview of my data analysis plan. I calculated each analysis using a .05 alpha level.Because I used the Likert-ranked data at both the scale-level and item-level, I used both parametric and non-parametric analyses. Qsthat used item-level data were evaluated using non-parametric analyses because of the ranked nature of the Likert data. Qs pertaining to scale-level data were evaluated with parametric analyses, because the scaled data was continuous. 1) For the 1st Q, which preparation methods do academic library deans experience, I looked at the frequency and percentages.2) For the 2nd Q, which methods do deans find most beneficial, I looked at the Ms and SDs, and performed a t-test to determine whether these results differed based on the dean’s institution’s Association of Research Libraries status.3) For the 3rd Q, I looked at measures of central tendency to determine if deans perceived advanced degrees to be more valuable prep than on the job training. Also used t-tests & chi-square to look in more depth at dean’s attitudes about adv.degs. 4) For the final Q on deans’ perceived values of formal and informal mentoring, I performed t-tests to look at differences by gender and by minority status, and performed an ANOVA to determine if differences by gender were affected by age.
  • Because I modified the instrument I used in this study, I tested the scaled variables for reliabilityusing Cronbach’s alpha. The Cronbach’s alpha for each of these scaled variables was high, indicating that the instrument is reliable. The data was collected on Likert-ranked items, which were later summed to produce scaled variables.
  • I collected 749 complete responses, for a response rate of 30.4%.The majority of the respondents were white, non-hispanic, and the second-largest ethnic group was black, non-hispanic.61.7% of the respondents were female. Their ages ranged from 28 to 77 years old, with a mean ageof 56.4.The largest group of respondents worked at masters colleges and universities, closely followed by associates, doctorate-granting, and baccalaureate institutions. 5.5% (41 respondents) were from special focus institutions, and only 2 respondents were from tribal colleges.
  • Respondents reported a total of 1,040 masters degrees.The highest frequencies were in the disciplinary areas of the professions & applied sciences (74.6%) and the humanities and arts (18.6%). 64% of all masters (667) were MLSes.Out of all degree types, 91.5% of the respondentshad some degree in library science; only 64 (8.5%) didn’t have one. When MLSes are excluded, the highest frequencies for subject masters were in the disciplinary areas of the humanities (51.7%) and the professions & applied sciences (29.2%). After library science, the fields with the highest frequencies were: 58 respondents in education, 55 in history, 49 in religion, and 40 in English literature.
  • Respondents held a total of 105 PhDs and EdDs.This chart shows there was a similar breakdown in disciplinary area to that of masters degrees, with large numbers being earned in the professions & applied sciences (67.6%) and the humanities & arts (23.8%). The field with the highest frequency of doctoral degrees was education; 54 respondents (38.3%) held education degrees (18 PhDs and 36 EdDs). The field with the second-highest frequency was library science, with 46 respondents (32.6%).
  • Here are the results for the first question, what preparation methods do academic library deans experience?The most commonly experienced method was on-the-job training; 86.6% of the respondents experienced it. The next-highest method was conferences and seminars, at 68.2%. …and 59.9% experienced informal mentoring.110 respondents listed “other” preparation methods. Some listed more than one, for a total of 121 “other” methods, which I categorized into 25 methods.The most commonly-listed method was management experience outside of academic libraries, listed by 25respondents.18 respondents listed educational coursework as a preparatory method, and 13 listed personal research and professional reading.
  • 2A. The second question asks, which preparation methods do deans perceive as the most beneficial?I’ve bolded the two methods deans ranked the highest. (I left “other” unboldedeven though it had the second-highest mean, because it’s actually composed of many preparation methods.)On the job training was clearly perceived as the most beneficial. It had the highest mean,24.97, with the lowest standard deviation, and 32 was the most frequently-occurring score. This indicates that more respondents selected this method as “very significant” (the highest on this Likert scale), than any other rank. Informal mentoring was the method with the second-highest perceived value, with a mean of 21.76 and a mode of 24. This indicates that most deans selected this preparation method as “significant,” the second-highest Likert rank. 2B. The second part of this question asked, Does preparation perceived as most beneficial vary by the employing institution’s ARL status?A t-test of the differencebetween the respondents’ perceived value based on ARL status indicates that there is a difference in their perception of informal mentoring. ARL deans perceive informal mentoring to be more valuable than do non-ARL deans.
  • The 3rd Q asked what value deans place on advanced degrees, beyond the MLS. 3a asks, Do deans perceive advanced degrees to be a more beneficial preparation method than on-the-job training?The answer is NO. Deans perceived on the job training to be more beneficial than advanced degrees, as shown by the mean scores. Deans found on the job training to be very significant to significant preparation, whereas they found advanced degrees to be significant to only moderate preparation. 3Basks, Is there a significant difference in perceived value of advanced degrees between academic library deans that hold doctorates and those that do not (who either hold second master’s, MDs, or JDs)? The answer is YES. The t-test indicates that deans with PhDs or EdDsfind advanced degrees to be “significant” preparation for deanship (with a mean of 23.28), while deans with subject masters or other degrees find advanced degrees to be only “moderate” preparation for deanship (mean of 18.87).
  • 3c asks, Do academic library deans perceive that advanced degrees specifically increase their leadership ability in research and professional development (according to Heck, Johnsrud, and Rosser’s seven domains of academic leadership)?The answer is YES. 76.1% of the respondents ranked advanced degrees as either “significant” or “very significant” to leadership in research and professional development. The chi-square resultof 82.2 shows that this result is statistically significant and thus can be inferred to be present in the population of library deans.
  • 3d asks, Do academic library deans perceive that advanced degrees provide better preparation than on-the-job-training in the specific administrative leadership areas of vision and goal-setting, management of an academic library, or communication with external constituents and upper administrators?The answer is NO. There was no significant difference between perception of on-the-job training and advanced degrees with respect to Vision and goal-setting, or library management. There was a significant different with respect to communication, but it was in the opposite direction. On-the-job training was found to provide better preparation for communication than did advanced degrees. On-the-job training’s mean of 3.06 shows that deans find it “significant” to communication, while the mean of 2.62 indicates that they find advanced degrees only “moderately” beneficial for communication. The chi-square indicates that this difference in means is statistically significant, and can be inferred to be present in the population of library deans.
  • 4a asks, What value do current ALDs place on mentoring? Does this vary by gender? Formal mentoring did notdiffer significantly by gender. Both women and men found it to be moderately beneficial preparation for deanship. However, a t-test showed that informal mentoring differed significantly by gender.Both groups found informal mentoring to be significant preparation for deanship, but the higher Mandsmaller SD indicates that this attitude is stronger among women. Respondents were then divided into six groups based on decade of birth, to determine if this difference in perceived value for informal mentoring was affected by age.An ANOVA showed that the difference was not affected by age.
  • The final research question asked, Does this perceived value of mentoring vary by minority status?The answer is YES. The perceived value of bothformal and informal mentoring differedstatistically significantly between respondents in minority status groups and those without minority status. Minority deans ranked formal mentoring as “significant” to preparation for academic leadership, while deans without minority status ranked formal mentoring as only “moderate.”Minority deans also ranked informal mentoring as “significant.” Deans without minority status also ranked informal mentoring as “significant,” …but the M was lower and the SD higher, indicating more lowrankings and less agreement about the value of this preparation method, among majority status deans.
  • Implications for Academic Library Deans and Future Library LeadersBecauseon the job training was ranked as the most effective preparation for library leadership, potential library deans should realize that much of their learning will occur on the job. Deans and future deans should foster existing relationships with effective library leaders, since informal mentoring was viewed as beneficial by most deans. Deans and future deans shouldn’t worry about participating in leadership programs or conferences unless they have the desire, time, and money to do so. (as far as preparation for leadership is concerned.)Deans shouldn’t worry about a specific educational profile beyond the MLS.Thisstudy confirms that theMLS is the most consistenteducation for current academic library deans.Only 18.83% of the respondents reported holding a doctorate.However, academic librarians who are interested in earning an advanced degree may be best served by seeking a doctorate instead of a subject masters, since doctorates were perceived as more valuable preparation.
  • Implications for Female and Minority Academic Librarians Femaleand Minority academic librarians should seek out formal mentor programs or informal mentor relationships.Formal mentoring was viewed as mostbeneficial by minorities,and Informal mentoring viewed as highly beneficial by both women and minorities. These relationships may help break traditional barriers for women and minorities. Implications for Search Committees and Hiring AdministratorsSearch committees should include the MLS as the primary educational requirement inposition announcements for library deans. Furthereducation should be included only if it fulfills an institutional need. Adoctorate should be considered if peer to other academic deans is important, or if the institution has a special focus (such as a seminary). However, search committees should realize that requiring education beyond the MLSmay reduce the hiring pool.Committees should look beyond the credentials listed on a CV.(diversify librarianship)This study shows that on the job training is more effective than any preparation listed on a CV.Thus, committees should take a holistic view of candidates’ abilities and potential.
  • Implications for the Academic Library ProfessionAcademic librarianship must find ways to expandformal and informal mentoring in the profession.Existing formal mentor programs for minorities need to be publicized, and more opportunities should be created. Informal mentoring should be encouraged, particularly for librarians who are female or minorities. The profession should also find ways to encourage current library leaders to become mentors. There need to be practical ways that busy administrators can encourage the next generation of leaders. Coursework was cited as an effective “other” preparatory method. However, management courses aren’t currently available in all library science programs.Programs that lack this coursework should seek partnerships with business schools that haveestablished management curricula. Similarly, courses on the organization and administration of higher education institutions could supplement current academic library courses.Library science programs should consider partnerships with schools of educationfor these courses.
  • To conclude:The most commonly-experienced and most highly-valued preparatory method for academic library deans was on the job training. The masters in library science was the most commonly-held degree. 88.4% of the respondentsheld a MLS, and overall 91.5% held a library science degree of some kind. Advanced degrees beyond the MLS were perceived as valuable by the deans, but not overwhelmingly so. Library deans with PhDs or EdDsview their education beyond the MLS as more directly relevant to academic leadership than do deans with subject masters, MDs, or JDs. However, most deans consider advanced degrees to be specifically relevant to their research and professional development. Female deans considered informal mentoring to be more significant than did male deans, but this difference has a small measure of magnitude. Most deans, regardless of gender, ranked informal mentoring as a “significant” preparatory method. Minoritydeansranked both formal and informal mentoring significantly higher than non-minority deans. Althoughthis study indicated the value of mentoring for academic library leadership, relativelyfew deans have the opportunity to experience mentoring. --CLOSE PPT. Thank you.
  • Dissertation Defense: The Preparation of Academic Library Administrators

    1. 1. The Preparation of Academic Library Administrators Starr Hoffman October 19, 2012
    2. 2. Focus StatementI surveyed academic library deans to determine their methods ofpreparing for administrative positions in academic libraries andthe relevance of those methods to the seven dimensions ofacademic leadership as defined by Rosser, Johnsrud, and Heck(2000, 2003).The purpose of this study was:• To discover current trends in academic library dean preparation and education• To discover which preparation methods were perceived as most valuable by deans• To provide a guide for: o Those seeking to become academic library deans o Search committees and hiring administrators 2
    3. 3. Review of the LiteratureMeasuring Leadership in Academic Rosser, Johnsrud, and Heck (2000; 2003)DeansLeadership Studies of AcademicLibrary Deans o Connecting Attributes to Academic Hernon, Powell, and Young (2001; 2002; 2003; 2004) Leadership Domains o Leadership Traits Valued by Hiring Fitsimmons (2005; 2008) Administrators o Leadership Traits Related to Emotional Hernon and Rossiter (2006), Kreitz (2009) IntelligencePreparation Methods of AcademicLibrary Deans o Advanced Degrees O’Keeffe (1998); McCracken (2000); Lin (2000; 2001) o Formal and Informal Mentoring Kirkland (1997); Damasco and Hodges (2012) o Studies of Multiple Preparation Methods Del Favero (2001; 2006); Greicar (2009) 3
    4. 4. Research Questions1. What preparation methods do academic library deansexperience?2. What preparation methods do academic library deansperceive as the most beneficial?3. According to the literature, library and information scienceeducation may not adequately prepare academic library deansfor administrative positions. What value do deans place onadvanced degrees (beyond the MLS)?4. According to the literature, mentoring was an integral part ofrecruiting women and minority professionals as academic librarydeans twenty years ago. What value do current deans place onmentoring? 4
    5. 5. Method• Selection of participants o Population: chief administrators of academic libraries at over 3,600 degree- granting post-secondary institutions in the United States o Located names & contact information in HED-Connect (Higher Education Directory) o Contacted 2,460 academic library deans for whom there was information• Data collection o Sent: pre-survey email, invitation email, two follow-up reminders• Instrumentation o Greicar’s Professional Preparation of Academic Deans Questionnaire • 4-point Likert scale (minimal, moderate, significant, very significant) o Modified & piloted with 23 academic librarians and researchers o Provided online through Qualtrics 5
    6. 6. MethodVariables & Data Analysis 6
    7. 7. Reliability Measures 7
    8. 8. Findings Participant ProfilePopulation of 2,460 deans Gender• 844 responses • 61.7% female• 749 complete responses • 38.3% male• 30.4% response rate AgeEthnicity • Age M = 56.4 (SD = 8.8)• 90.0% White, non-Hispanic • Range: 28 to 77 years old• 3.9% Black, non-Hispanic Institutional Types• 2.3% Hispanic • 29.0% masters colleges and universities• 1.3% Asian or Pacific Islander • 23.1% associates colleges• 1.1% Other • 21.2% doctorate-granting universities• 0.9% American Indian / Alaskan • 20.7% baccalaureate colleges Native • 5.5% special focus institutions• 0.5% Unknown • 0.3% tribal colleges • 0.3% unknown 8
    9. 9. FindingsParticipant Education 9
    10. 10. FindingsParticipant Education 10
    11. 11. Findings Research Question 1What preparation methods do academic library deans experience? Most common “other” methods: o Management experience outside of academic libraries (f = 25, 20.66%) o Other coursework (f = 18, 14.88%) o Personal research & professional reading (f = 13, 10.74%) 11
    12. 12. Findings Research Question 22a. What preparation method(s) do academic library deans perceive as the mostbeneficial?2b. Does preparation perceived as most beneficial vary by the employinginstitution’s Association of Research Libraries (ARL) status? Yes; formal mentoring varied. (t[112] = 2.16, p < .05) • ARL deans found it more valuable (M = 22.75, SD = 4.63) • non-ARL deans found it less valuable (M = 18.87, SD = 6.01) 12
    13. 13. Findings Research Question 3What value do deans place on advanced degrees (beyond the MLS)?3a. Do deans perceive advanced degrees to be a more beneficialpreparation method than on-the-job training? No. On the job training (M = 24.97, SD = 5.07), “very significant” / “significant” Advanced degrees (M = 20.97, SD = 5.99), “significant” / “moderate”3b. Is there a significant difference in perceived value of advanced degreesbetween academic library deans that hold doctorates and those that do not(who either hold second master’s, MDs, or JDs)? Yes. t(198) = -5.54, p < .05 o PhDs or EdDs (M = 23.28, SD = 5.10), “significant” o Subject masters/JD/MD (M = 18.87, SD = 6.15), “moderate” 13
    14. 14. Findings Research Question 33c: Do academic library deans perceive that advanced degrees specificallyincrease their leadership ability in research and professional development(according to Heck, Johnsrud, and Rosser’s seven domains of academicleadership)? o Yes. “significant” + “very significant” = 76.1% of all responses o (n = 230, M = 3, SD = 1, mode = 4) o Chi-square shows significant difference: (χ2 = 82.2, df = 3, p < .05), expected f = 57.5 14
    15. 15. Findings Research Question 33d: Do academic library deans perceive that advanced degrees providebetter preparation than on-the-job-training in the specific administrativeleadership areas of vision and goal-setting, management of an academiclibrary, or communication with external constituents and upperadministrators? No. No significant difference between perception of preparation for: • Vision & goal-setting: χ2 = 0.61, df = 1, p > .05 (η = .06, V = .06) • Management of library: χ2 = 1.72, df = 1, p > .05 (η = .09, V = .09 ) Statistically significant difference between on the job and advanced degrees for: • Communication: χ2 = 7.51, df = 1, p < .05 (η = .17, V = .17) o On the job training (M = 3.06, SD = 0.94, mode = 4) o Advanced degrees (M = 2.62, SD = 1.01, mode = 3) 15
    16. 16. Findings Research Question 44a: According to the literature, mentoring was an integral part of recruitingwomen and minority professionals as academic library deans twenty yearsago.What value do current deans place on mentoring? Does this vary by gender? Formal mentoring did not differ significantly (t[115] = -0.38, p > .05) o women (M = 19.58, SD = 6.12) o men (M = 19.14, SD = 5.76) Informal mentoring differed significantly (t[447] = -2.12, p < .05, η = .10, η2 = .01) o women (M = 22.18, SD = 5.51) o men (M = 21.01, SD = 5.83)If so, are these differences affected by age? No. 16
    17. 17. Findings Research Question 44b: Does this perceived value of mentoring vary by minority status? Yes. Formal mentoring differed significantly. (t[114] = 2.73, p < .05, η = .25, η2 = .06) o minorities (M = 22.88, SD = 6.41), “significant” o non-minorities (M = 18.74, SD = 5.68), “moderate” Informal mentoring differed significantly. (t[441] = 3.05, p < .05, η = .14, η2 = .02) o minorities (M = 24.46, SD = 5.10), “significant” o non-minorities (M = 21.52, SD = 5.65), “significant” 17
    18. 18. ImplicationsImplications for Academic Library Deans and Future Library Leaders• On the job training may be most effective preparation• Foster existing relationships with library leaders• Less emphasis on leadership programs or conferences• Less emphasis on degrees beyond the MLS o MLS is the most consistent standard for a position as an academic library dean o only 18.83% of deans held a doctorate o doctorate more beneficial than a subject masters 18
    19. 19. ImplicationsImplications for Female and Minority Academic Librarians• Seek formal or informal mentoring o Formal mentoring: most beneficial for minorities o Informal mentoring: highly beneficial for allImplications for Search Committees and Hiring Administrators• Position announcements should include a MLS• Other education should be based on institutional need o Doctorate (if peer status is important) o Education beyond MLS may reduce the hiring pool• Look beyond the credentials listed on a curriculum vita 19
    20. 20. ImplicationsImplications for the Academic Library Profession• Expand formal and informal mentoring o Expand formal mentoring opportunities for minorities o Encourage informal mentoring, especially for women and minorities o Encourage library leaders to be mentors• Management courses in all library science programs o Seek partnerships with business schools• Courses on institutional context o Seek partnerships with schools of education 20
    21. 21. Conclusions• On the job training: o Most commonly experienced o Most highly valued• Most commonly-held degree: MLS (88.38%)• Deans with PhDs or EdDs perceive advanced degrees to be more valuable than do deans with subject masters.• Female deans perceived informal mentoring to be valuable.• Minority deans perceived formal mentoring to be valuable.• Many did not have the opportunity to experience mentoring. o 15.5% experienced formal mentoring o 59.8% experienced informal mentoring 21