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Commission on Research discusses library budget

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 11 - November 7, 1996

(The following report was taken from a draft of the minutes of the Commission on Research's October 9 meeting.)

Eileen Hitchingham, dean of the library, informed the Commission on Research (COR) that the library may be working with the faculty during the spring semester to prepare for a materials purchasing power cut of up to $1 million. She stated that the serials would likely be the greatest part of the cut.

Hitchingham said serials represent the largest part of the overall cost of library materials, and they anticipate a 15-percent price increase next year from many of the publishers. She gave details as to where funds were spent and said the library already runs at a lean ratio for spending that is not materials-related.

She said the Internet has useful information, but it does not provide free access to the refereed and edited sources that are the basis of faculty research, publication, and graduate work. Hitchingham said that to have the same purchasing power in 1997-98 as a year ago, the library would need an increase of $1 million in the operating base to meet materials costs estimated at $6.2 million.

She said the library staff will support the ability of faculty members and graduate students to order, with an estimated 24-hour turnaround time, faxed copies of the canceled publications available in the CARL system. The CARL system will also offer a mechanism for receiving e-mail listings of the table of contents of up to 50 journals selected by the faculty member or graduate student. For journals not in the CARL system, the library will use the fastest commercial or academic document-delivery service for getting the articles.

Hitchingham said they will monitor the document-delivery process to identify canceled publications that are requested frequently. She said that costs of the process will be supported by setting aside funding from the current materials allocation or by taking some part of any new allocation that is still not large enough to prevent cancellations. Hitchingham said the library will need to know by December what kind of support they can count on for next year.

Paul Metz provided additional background information on the budget shortfall. He also detailed the cancellation process. Hitchingham suggested the commission organize a response to the shortfall. Metz said they are trying to stay in the top 50 of research institutions.

Mark Smith suggested the membership go back to their respective departments and colleges and get feedback. He offered to draft a letter supporting the library. At the close of the meeting, Bonham Richardson expressed alarm at the library situation. He said it is under-publicized. Smith mentioned a letter written to President Paul Torgersen expressing the collective concern from the membership. Gene Brown said some support from the Graduate Student Assembly could be helpful.

In other business, Smith provided two handouts and introduced David Moore. Moore provided background on the Animal Adoption Policy. He said in 1985 the University Animal Care Committee had a policy which said that animals that were used in teaching and research could not be adopted. However, it was determined that the committee did not have the authority to say there was a policy when in fact there was no policy. The committee felt there needed to be a policy, so a group was formed within the committee to draft a policy. Len Peters was asked to be the signatory for the policy and he in turn asked there be a joint working group between the Commission on Research and the Animal Care Committee.

Joe Schetz said the committee should be charged to develop a policy, not necessarily the policy presented. He said they seem to be the appropriate group to draft the policy. Smith said he would ask Peters to encourage the committee to formulate a policy. Schetz made a motion to state the position that the COR feels it is imperative that there be a policy on animal adoption without saying what that policy is. Ken Reifsnider seconded the motion. The motion carried.

Reifsnider said the Interdisciplinary Research Center Policies and Procedures document was last approved in 1991, so there may be a perfunctory need to update the titles and offices. He plans to ask center directors to look through the document and he may offer some additions on the project-administration section. He said the re-authorization/termination section needs to be clarified. He asked the membership to look at it and offer suggestions at the next meeting. Schetz suggested that definitions of centers, institutes, labs would be helpful.

At the next meeting, the commission will consider a Commission on Faculty Affairs resolution to amend the Faculty Handbook to include severe sanctions other than dismissal for serious misconduct.