Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Faculty Commons

I don't think of my recent posts as straying off topic--to me, many topics in information technology and librarianship are important to the commons--but I figured it was time for something focused specifically on the commons.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the concept of a faculty commons--basically a space for faculty collaboration and discussion, as well as a space to get in-depth help with library resources, course management software, using technology in the classroom, etc. We have a great relationship with several units on campus that are interested in discussing this further with us, though with looming budget cuts it's uncertain if such a project could become a reality any time soon.

I see a lot of possibilities in a faculty commons. As far as a collaborative space, we have a number of regular faculty visitors to the Hub--one is here almost daily to drink coffee and read or meet with a colleague. A more grown-up version of the Hub would have wider appeal among the faculty. We're often asked about reserving space down in the Hub but that's not really an option with our open floor plan. Of the faculty I've talked with, they've been really interested in a place here to get in-depth technology help--something beyond our help desk which handles basic questions like password resets.

IU is working on a similar project but they appear to be well underway (I'm still dreaming). This concept paper outlines many of the things I'd like to see us do. I've just started collecting a list of other institutions that offer some "faculty commons"-like experience:
I'd like to find more schools that offer these kinds of services and start a discussion with anyone who is interested.

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