This Week in LIS - 19 July 2013

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Headline of the Week: College (Un) Bound

The members of College Resource Council are reading Jeffrey J. Selingo’s book College (Un) Bound – The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students. Jeffery is an editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education and writes frequently about higher education dynamics including topics such as sustainability, cost, value, competition, debt, jobs, etc. I got a good start on this book this morning. StrengthsFinder says I’m a “futurist” and indeed thinking about the future of higher education and how it can play out at Luther College made it difficult to put the book down to come to work!

We have commented along the TWILIS-blog-way on many of the key change dynamics at work which provide him the motivation for this book. An especially interesting factoid is that although Selingo generally writes for those of us serving within higher education, in this case he says, “One of the reasons I decided to write this book is to help students better understand the various pathways to a degree and also to assist parents like me sort through the hype and the reality about the future of higher education.” We are at the point where competition and hype are leading to uncertainties that need to be explained to our prospects and their parents. It is important to think about how our voice is part of that important conversation.

A reassuring point he makes is, “…in an increasingly complex world, the foundation of learning – a liberal-arts education – is more important than ever.” That bodes well for the corner of higher education in which we live and serve.

The book is structured in two pieces. The first provides an historic view of the dynamics in higher education that lead the industry to this point. The second portion promises to discuss how traditional college is becoming “unbound.” Our offering is a rich collection of integrated, mutually reinforcing components that contribute to the “transformational journey” students experience. The concern being raised is that competitors including venture-funded firms are looking to pull apart the components and compete with particular parts. This means prospectives and parents have more choices. Another author that talks not only about the “unbundling” but has ideas about what parts of it are easier and harder to carve off is Michael Staton. He has a framework that he uses. It will be interesting to see how Selingo’s ideas and Staton’s ideas relate and how the insights from both of them inform our thinking.

I am interested in discussing this book, its assumptions and insights and how it relates to Luther College. If this is interesting to you, let’s have a conversation.

Suggested Reading/Viewing/Listening:

College Unbound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students

[email protected]

LIS Blog Highlights from the Week

The following articles are sampled from those available on the LIS Blog:

Notes from LIS Council

LIS Council is the leadership team within LIS. Among the topics discussed the past three weeks were:

  • LIS Operational Agenda
    • Council members will be reporting on LIS operational views (metrics for processes and status of projects) regularly at LIS Council meetings. This week’s reports included the following:
    • Network and Systems
      • Adam shared a slide that showed the dynamics of email volume over time. It included an extraordinary uptick in an otherwise linearly growing volume. It requires more investigation to make sense of it.
      • He also showed a slide on the progress being made to bring the new SAN into synchronization with the current SAN. Progress was good and signalled that the new SAN would have the data on it to support the planned migration on 7/20. We discussed the communication plans to inform the campus of the down-time that will be associated with the SAN migration as well as the plans to support the website so it will experience very little downtime. The LIS Technology Help Desk plans to be available to answer questions and there have been conversations with one department on how to meet their data needs during the migration.
    • User Services
      • Diane reviewed some of the User Services statistics in the 2012-13 Annual Report. New KATIE related training was the most popular topic for the year by a wide margin. The vast majority of the Atomic Learning training usage was Excel. There were a number of multimedia training sessions for specific class sections. New workstation distribution continues to be dominated by PC desktop and PC laptop workstations compared with Apple.
      • Lab printing costs have been on the rise over the last few years. Specifically they have doubled in the last two years. Work is underway to determine what is driving this growth and consider options for managing the costs.
  • New Items
    • Norse Key Changes
      • We discussed how to handle information access for former employees who are also alumni. There are cases where we want them to have information about their employment in my.luther but not to other information they may have had access to in their employee role.
    • NESU/EXIT Process Review
      • A cross-functional team is working together to streamline the process for handling new employees, changes for employees and employee exits. Two changes will be implemented.
    • LIS Skills Development
      • The LIS Council discussed next steps to work with the skills needs information that was captured as part of our strategy days. Over the next 3 weeks, managers have been asked to select and prioritize individuals for skills development investments and to select from three broad approaches. The approaches include providing time and materials for self-learning, collaborative/peer group learning and traditional professional training.
    • Budget
      • The LIS Council discussed a number of budget challenges and anticipated shortfalls for the year and how we might mitigate/resolve them. We have established a plant fund that will cover approximately half of the new SAN. The rest of the SAN and the wireless work will have to come from operational budgets. Academic software costs are higher that when we initially requested and received operational budget relief. We are holding funding for lab printing that is precluding ability to invest in the upgrade to the CFA118 lab.
  • Returning Items
    • Library Entryway
      • Diane reported that facilities shared that the library entryway project is going to happen this summer. The expectation is the project scope will not require closing the entrance to the library. Scheduling is to be determined.
    • Digital Media Planning
      • Diane reported that facilities is finalizing cost estimates and developing a timeline for the construction of the digital media center. These details will determine what of the funding allocation will be available for equipment and what other uses can be made of the space at what times. Assumptions have been modelled to enable the team to investigate and price options for storage and digital media equipment. Facilities picked up the research help desk donated to us from Northwestern that we intend to use in the digital media center and it is in storage.
    • Objectives for 2013/2014 Discussion
      • We extended our regularly scheduled LIS Council meeting for discussion of next year’s objectives. The discussion led to some consolidation, further clarification, a number of additions and some further specificity.

Upcoming LIS Training, Instruction, and Professional Development Opportunities

Click on the event below for specific information and for a link to register. More information on training and development events is available.

Course Format Date Location Enrollment
Prezi & Visual Literacy (Repeat offering) Workshop Jul 23 2013 – 9:00am 12:00pm Preus Library – Hovde Lounge Closed
Paideia 111 & 112: Reading the Works (Day 1 of 2) Workshop Aug 19 2013 – 9:00am 4:00pm Main 114 Open
Paideia 111 & 112: Reading the Works (Day 2 of 2) Workshop Aug 20 2013 – 9:00am 4:00pm Main 114 Open
So you want to do a survey: Doing online survey projects with Qualtrics Workshop Aug 21 2013 – 9:00am 12:00pm Main 114 Open
Luther sudents and the ability to reason Workshop Aug 22 2013 – 9:00am 4:00pm Loyalty Board Room Open
Paideia 111/112 New Instructor Workshop (Day 1 of 2) Workshop Aug 26 2013 – 9:00am 12:00pm Main 114 Open
Luther College as a Community of Faith and Learning (Day 1 of 2) Faculty Development Aug 26 2013 – 9:00am 3:30pm Loyalty Board Room Open
Paideia 111/112 New Instructor Workshop (Day 2 of 2) Workshop Aug 27 2013 – 9:00am 12:00pm Main 114 Open
Luther College as a Community of Faith and Learning (Day 2 of 2) Faculty Development Aug 27 2013 – 9:00am 3:30pm Loyalty Board Room Open
Updates for Academic Advisors Faculty Development Aug 28 2013 – 1:00pm 3:00pm Main 114 Open

Training and instruction is provided to the Luther Community through Faculty Development Sessions, Library Instruction Sessions, Product Demonstrations, Skills Training, Workshops, 1-on-1 Sessions, and Online Materials. To schedule a session, contact the LIS Technology Help Desk at x1000 or enter your request online at

This Week in LIS is published most Fridays by Paul Mattson, Executive Director of LIS at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

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