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March 16, 1995

Provost approves formation of ULS librarians' governance group

Faculty librarians in the University Library System (ULS) have formed their own governance organization.

Provost James Maher last month approved creation of the ULS Faculty Assembly to give librarians a formal role in ULS planning and decision-making.

Under the new organization's bylaws, the full assembly (which includes all ULS faculty librarians) will meet at least quarterly. An executive committee (made up of three elected officers, the immediate past president, and chairpersons of all standing committees) will act for the full assembly on urgent matters between assembly meetings. The executive committee will meet at least monthly and also will meet periodically with ULS Director Rush Miller.

Assembly officers, elected last month to one-year terms, are: Phillip Wilkin of collections development, president; Gerald Heverly of special collections, vice president/president-elect; and Debora Rougeux of gift receipt and search services, secretary.

Librarians began discussing the establishment of a ULS governance organization in summer 1991, Wilkin said. But the drafting of bylaws was slowed by the turnover of ULS directors in recent years and the time-consuming process of surveying governance groups at other library systems, he said.

ULS faculty librarians have met periodically since fall 1989 and they have participated in ULS budget-making and long-range planning, but the assembly will formalize the librarians' participation, Wilkin said.

"In the past, if a (ULS) director wanted to not have faculty meetings or not listen to what the faculty librarians had to say, he could do that," Wilkin explained. "Now, with the new system, there are governance procedures that the director would have to undo. It gives us protection." Wilkin emphasized that ULS Director Miller has been "very supportive" of faculty participation in ULS governance since coming to Pitt Sept. 1.

Nearly all Pitt academic units have some sort of faculty governance bodies, but only about half the groups have elected members, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Vijai Singh told Faculty Assembly March 14.

According to Singh, the Provost's office will soon complete a survey, requested by Senate leaders, describing the University's various governance organizations at the school and department level.

— Bruce Steele

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