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Library and university governance: partners in student success
Vickie Lynn Mix
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Library and
Library and university university
governance: partners in student governance
Vickie Lynn Mix
Hilton M. Briggs Library, South Dakota State University, Brookings, Received 2 October 2012
South Dakota, USA Revised 31 December 2012
31 January 2013
Accepted 2 February 2013
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Purpose – This paper’s aim is to examine the value of library participation in institutional
governance in the implementation of a comprehensive model for student success at a research
Design/methodology/approach – The paper provides a case study comparing the historical and
current governance structure in a high research university, the relationship between a new governance
structure and the implementation of a comprehensive student success model and the inclusion of the
library in creating, implementing and participating in student success initiatives.
Findings – Participation in university shared governance enhances the library’s role in contributing
to student success, retention, progression and graduation.
Originality/value – The paper contributes to the discussion of the value of academic libraries to
student success efforts in retention, progression and graduation for university students.
Keywords Shared governance, Student success, Academic libraries, Librarians, Information literacy,
Retention, Faculty status
Paper type Case study

In many institutions, academic librarians often hold faculty rank. Faculty rank usually
translates into a tri-partite role including teaching (librarianship), scholarship and
service. Governance, a component of university service is often included as a part of
faculty responsibility and workload in institutions of higher learning. This paper seeks
to examine service as a means to strengthen the library’s participation in student
success initiatives through participation in university governance as a means to
actively include the library in high impact educational practices for student success.
During the course of introducing a comprehensive Model for Student Success,
librarians at South Dakota State University participated in university governance
structures charged with various aspects of implementing initiatives targeting
undergraduate student success.

Literature review
According to the American Association of University Professors, governance is
traditionally a shared responsibility (AAUP, 1966). First introduced in 1920, the Reference Services Review
Vol. 41 No. 2, 2013
concept of shared governance continued refinement resulting in the 1966 Statement on pp. 253-265
Government of Colleges and Universities. The document, having undergone continual q Emerald Group Publishing Limited
updates, emphasizes the inherent interdependence of administration, faculty, students DOI 10.1108/00907321311326219
RSR and governing boards in successfully achieving institutional objectives (AAUP).
41,2 Faculty status affords opportunity for participation in decision-making as well
fulfilling a number of functions within the academy. Collis listed a few functions in his
analysis of the literature (Collis, 2004):
to safeguard, or hold in “trust”, the institutions mission and long run welfare;
to buffer the university from its external constituencies;
254 .
to oversee fiscal integrity and financial solvency;
to stand as final arbiter of internal disputes among stakeholders;
to act as an “agent of change” by enunciating major policy standards and long
range plans; and
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to select, monitor, and review the president and the overall administrative
structure of the institution.

Traditional teaching and research faculty have long held professional status and the
opportunity to participate not only in teaching and scholarship, but also institutional
The discussion of faculty status for librarians in academic libraries follows similar
historical and philosophical arguments presented for teaching faculty. The Association
of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library
Association, first formally endorsed faculty status for academic librarians in 1958 and
has since partnered with the American Association of University Professors and the
Association of American Colleges in drafting a Joint Statement on Faculty Status
(ALA, 1975). Reaffirmed in 2007, the Joint Statement emphasizes that academic
librarians engage in teaching and research formally and informally which requires
functioning as part of faculty, thus meeting an essential criterion for faculty status
(ACRL, 2007). The value of faculty status for librarians continues to create controversy
in the profession. Some argue faculty status for librarians is detrimental to the core
mission of the information professional to provide service. In addition to expectations
for scholarship, faculty librarians must engage in the forty hour week activities of
administrative, supervisory, public service and technical support with little chance of
equitable pay or release time for meaningful scholarship (Werrell and Sullivan, 1987).
Others observe the value rests in principles key to the concept of faculty (Sewell, 1983):
academic freedom and tenure;
collegial governance; and
standards for evaluating a professors work

As fascinating as the discussion is regarding faculty status for academic librarians, the
focus of this study is not on such status, but on positive outcomes related to one
specific benefit or duty of the faculty librarian: collegial governance. Specifically, this
study examines participation in governance as related to undergraduate student
success. Gamble decries the critical need for librarian participation in university
service to viably compete for funding and services and to demonstrate the role of the
library in the educational process (Gamble, 1989). The traditional library committee
may serve as an advisory body to the library and communication medium to the
institution (Michel, 1977). Those library committees that help to establish budget
priorities share in management of the library and may also impact acquisition of scarce Library and
resources through communication and outreach, especially if that library committee is university
formally established in the institution’s governance structure. Improving
communications with faculty need not be limited to the library committee. governance
Librarians’ participation in other university service and directly with faculty
contributes to relationship building. Kotter offers that building and improving faculty
and librarian relations are critical to academic library success (Kotter, 1999). Strategies 255
for improving relations between faculty and librarians may include collaborative
ventures (instruction), department liaison (collection building, subject specialist), and
university service (committees) (Christiansen et al., 2004). Further relationship building
occurs when librarians promote faculty understanding of library information
management, instruction, and information literacy versus narrow focus on student
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instruction (Deekle and De Klerk, 1992). When librarians and teaching faculty serve on
committees together, are involved in same process and address same standards, better
understanding of each other’s needs results (Hill, 2005). Finally, establishing collegial
relationships and models yield spheres of influence. Dimensions include degree of
control; issues subject to control and level at which control is exercised (Brown, 1985).
Brown observes that the scope of influence in all three areas ranges from advisory to
full-decision making. The shared collegial governance model promises to offer the
wider scope of influence for librarians.
Current research tying academic libraries to student success is sparse. Emmons and
Wilkinson (2011) observed most of the literature focuses not on retention or graduation,
but other library outcomes. A study by Elizabeth Mezick (2007) analyzed data on
libraries collected by Association of Research Libraries, Association of College and
Research Libraries and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System IPEDS).
Mezick’s study focused on the relationship of library expenditures and professional
staff to persistence (retention). Results suggested a strong relationship exists between
student retention and library expenditures and number of professional staff (Mezick,
2007). Emmons’ and Wilkinson’s (2011) research indicates a 10 percent increase in
professional staff correlates with a 1.55 percent increase in fall to fall retention but
indicates a larger impact on six year graduation rates (Emmons and Wilkinson, 2011).
Additional research conducted in Australia seems to indicate a correlation between
library use in the early part of the first year and retention (Haddow and Joseph, 2010).

South Dakota State University
Established by the Dakota Territorial Legislature in 1881, South Dakota State
University began as an agricultural college. In 1889, The Enabling Act Admitting the
State of South Dakota provided a grant of land for the use and support of the
Agricultural College, thus establishing the first-land grant college in South Dakota,
Carnegie classified as a high research institution, South Dakota State University offers
over 200 majors, minors and options; 30 masters’ degrees and 12 doctorates.
Enrollment in 2012 totaled 12,583 students, making South Dakota State University the
largest public university in the state.

Hilton M. Briggs Library
Hilton M. Briggs Library, South Dakota’s largest library, is located on the campus of
South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD. Named for a former university
RSR president, the library opened in 1977 and by 2012, held over 620,000 volumes, 2,150
41,2 periodical subscriptions, 31,000 online electronic journals, 15,000 electronic books and
573,000 government documents, 79,000 maps and approximately 840,000 microforms.
Library staff numbered 13 professional librarians and 18 support staff personnel.
Services offered by the library include distance library services, interlibrary loan, book
loans, reference assistance and library instruction.
Shared governance at South Dakota State University
University service and student success efforts at South Dakota State University are not
new. An extensive faculty committee structure had existed for years and various
student affairs programs aimed to retain students to graduation. However, in the
summer of 2010, the newly appointed Provost of South Dakota State University
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(summer 2009) introduced two distinct and wide ranging changes in the university’s
governance structure and the institution’s approach to undergraduate student success.
The massive overhaul of the university committee structure dismantled and disbanded
42 administrative committees, subcommittees and councils. Members of the University
Administrative Committees were appointed in a variety of means. Out of the 42
committees, faculty member appointments made by University Administration
numbered 124 on 13 committees. Faculty Senate appointments, including two joint
administrative-Senate appointments, numbered 94 on 20 committees. Of the total
number of appointments, 122 at large and six library representatives constituted
committee memberships out of 246 total appointments (SDSU, 2009). Although this
appears to show an inclusive administrative/faculty governance model, in reality,
many committees seldom if ever met, effectively yielding little influence on policy or
decision making. In stark contrast to the previous Joint Administrative Committee
model, a leaner governance model emerged with the promise of shared decision making
among faculty and the University Administration. Approved by the Faculty Senate in
2010, the new structure established 18 joint administrative-faculty senate committees.
The new committee charter emphasizes opportunities for joint planning and
meaningful input into university decisions (SDSU, 2012). The committee charter
outlines University Committee powers (SDSU, 2012):
. raise issues of concern within their field of responsibility;
gather and collect information relevant to an issue and take appropriate time to
understand issues that come before them;
request information from those who might provide valuable insights into the
issue under study and expect timely responses to requests for information;
formulate draft plans and advise on policies;
have access to appropriate means of communication with those who need to have
input into their work;
form sub-committees to further their work;
contact an appropriate university administrator(s) and the faculty senate
executive committee if they encounter difficulties with carrying out their work;
if a faculty member’s appointment is representing a unit, there should be active
communication with constituents of that unit.
The University Committee Charter further established duties and responsibilities to Library and
each committee including the election of officers, a minimum of quarterly meetings, university
mid-year progress assessments and annual reports. University administration
appointed administrative liaisons to each committee as appropriate to the committee governance
Faculty appointments to the 18 committees numbered 104, including librarians.
Librarians may submit their consideration to Faculty Senate for appointments. Of the 257
nine library faculty, five librarians served on University Committees in 2010, 2 chaired
committees, and two served on sub-committees.

Student success
The creation of the Model for Student Success necessitated a body dedicated to
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creating implementation initiatives and structures. The new university governance
framework created a new and unique committee charged with this role. The committee
structure included a committee dedicated to undergraduate student success. Charged
with providing guidance for the overall undergraduate student experience,
membership included five faculty, four professional staff, one classified staff, three
students and two Administrators. Responsibilities included providing input and
commentary (SDSU, 2012):
the creation and oversight of a comprehensive student success model adapted for
the characteristics and needs of SDSU students;
implementation of the student success model;
academic advising;
tutoring and other forms of academic assistance;
remediation for proficiency exam;
writing center; student support services targeting at-risk audiences;
early alert and other forms of early intervention;
intervention for students on probation or who are readmitted after suspension;
co-curricular programming;
learning communities and living-learning communities;
service learning, internships and other forms of experiential learning;
career planning;
results of institutional and national assessments such as the NSSE, FSSE, CIRP;
leadership development;
student organizations and student service entities such as the Wellness Center;
undergraduate research.

The creation of this committee presented a unique opportunity for the library to align
services with overall student success at South Dakota State University. When the call
for membership was extended by the Faculty Senate, the Government Documents
Librarian from Hilton M. Briggs Library submitted for appointment consideration. As
a member of the Library Public Services and Instruction Team, the librarian
RSR participated in university and library Information Literacy initiatives aimed at
41,2 achieving the South Dakota Board of Regents System General Education Goal 7:
“students will recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate
organize, critically evaluate and effectively use information from a variety of sources
with intellectual integrity” (SDSU, 2012-2013). Partnering with Freshman English and
Speech faculty, librarians delivered library instruction to strengthen student
258 information literacy evidenced through successful completion of the formal
curriculum. New student success initiatives presented new possibilities for library
contribution to undergraduate student success.
Not only did the Government Documents Librarian receive an appointment to the
committee, she was elected chair for two years – the first two years of the committee’s
existence and the critical building years for the Undergraduate Model for Student
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Success introduced in 2010 and implemented by the Undergraduate Student
Experience Committee (USEC) in 2011. As chair of the committee, the librarian
participated in extended activities related to the implementation of the Model for
Student Success. The first order of business for the committee required analysis of the
comprehensive five-year Model for Student Success. A five-year strategy map outlined
the goals for each year. Strategic goals of the model sought to move retention of
fist-year traditional students from 73.5 percent to 80 percent, retention defined as
returning first-year students to fall second year, and increasing the graduation rate to
80 percent. Work on the committee’s first charge, creation of a comprehensive model
for student success, had already begun by the Provost and the Vice-President of
Student Affairs. The model was debuted at the annual fall faculty development
conference in 2010. From this starting point, USEC moved toward adapting the model
to South Dakota State University student needs.
The USEC focused its first-year efforts on implementation of the First Year
Experience designed for first time traditional full-time enrolled freshmen. Using the
strategy map, the committee and administration formed the Student Success Steering
Committee from various campus constituents. Membership also included committee
members as well as the USEC Chair as ex-officio member. Each Implementation Team
researched best practices, recommended viable programs for SDSU, identified program
homes and developed assessment plans. Targeted programs mirrored George Kuh’s
list of high-impact educational practices (Kuh, 2008):
first year seminar and experiences;
common intellectual experiences;
learning communities;
writing-intensive courses;
collaborative assignments and projects;
undergraduate research;
diversity/global learning;
service learning, community based learning;
internships; and
capstone courses and projects.
Alignment of library services goals and Undergraduate Student Experience Committee Library and
goals with other University Committees’ and subcommittees’ goals provided university
opportunities for librarians to become involved in the larger discussion. These
opportunities included participation in First Year Seminar faculty development governance
sessions, curriculum planning for the First Year Seminar, participation in the Common
Read (common experience activity), and Living and Learning Communities. Librarians
serving on University Committees and subcommittees responsible for these student 259
success initiatives seem to have been influential in aligning library services with high
impact, targeted activities.
The Director Teaching and Learning Center (faculty development coordinator)
opened the discussion with USEC regarding the unit’s expanded role. Virtually every
Steering Committee Implementation Team recommended faculty development as a
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core component of programs. The University Faculty Development Committee, chaired
by a librarian, recognized and oversaw expanded faculty development initiatives
critical to successful implementation of the First Year Experience. Faculty
development activities focused particular emphasis on the First Year Seminar
providing ample opportunity for librarians’ participation in the curriculum discussion.
Two instruction librarians were invited to provide faculty development sessions to
First Year Seminar instructors. Sessions focused on incorporating library activities
into the First Year Seminar curriculum. Suggested activities:
library tours-library as a destination;
plagiarism tutorial and assignment;
citing sources tutorial and assignment;
scholarly communication discussion; and
land-grant university research.

Upon urging by the Library Committee, the Faculty Development Subcommittee
Common Read whose membership included a librarian, involved the library in
promoting the 2012 Common Read for the SDSU campus. The Common Read engages
students in a common university experience. Students in a variety of first-year courses,
notably the First Year Seminar, must read a common text as part of the curriculum. As
part of the kick-off to fall 2012 Common Read activities, complimentary copies of
Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian were distributed
during a special joint Common Read/Library event hosted in the Hilton M. Briggs
Library lobby. A USEC subcommittee charged with exploring best practices for Living
and Learning Communities recommended incorporating a library liaison into
Residence Hall programming.
In sum, librarian participation in university governance structures positioned the
library in the model for student success through involvement in high-impact
educational practices as identified by George Kuh. Librarians serving on University
Committees held seats on the following committees:
Academic Affairs Committee (secretary);
Common Read Subcommittee;
Faculty Development and Leadership Committee (chaired);
Information and Technology Committee;
Library Committee (Administrative Liaison);
41,2 .
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Subcommittee; and
Undergraduate Student Experience Committee (chaired).

Various initiatives also involved librarians in curriculum review as related to
undergraduate student success. Instruction librarians participated in reviewing First
260 Year Seminar curriculum as well as collaborated with faculty on library related
assignments and activities.

Interesting outcomes holding promise for inclusion of library services evolved from the
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Implementation Team recommendations. Notably, First-Year Seminar, Common Read
and Residence Hall Programs emerged as potential areas for targeted library activity.
A comprehensive First Year Experience program was piloted in fall of 2010 and fully
implemented in fall of 2012. The full implementation in 2012 included the
establishment of the First Year Seminar as an Institutional Graduation Requirement
(IGR). “Students will understand their emerging role and responsibilities as educated
persons through a common experience” (SDSU, 2012-2013). Colleges and departments
submitted courses to comply, resulting in course number 109. All first time freshmen
students in 2012 were required to take a 109 course. As mentioned earlier, librarians
submitted ideas for library inclusion in the 109 curriculum. Although library visits
were not required in the curriculum, the results indicate a First Year Experience impact
on the number of instruction sessions and the number of students engaged in library
instruction (Figures 1 and 2).
Data gathered to date demonstrates an increase in both classes taught and
students met and may indeed indicate the impact of student success initiatives,

Figure 1.
Fall Library Instruction
Library and

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Figure 2.
July-December students in

especially the First Year Seminar on library services. 40 of 48 total First Year
Seminar sections scheduled classes in the library in fall of 2012, constituting an 83
percent participation rate in library activities. Student numbers in each section
ranged from 25-60. The University President reported 2,224 total enrolled freshmen
fall 2012 (Chicoine, 2012). Estimates of total enrolled freshmen in First Year Seminar
sections easily confirm that most first time enrolled traditional freshmen are
participating in the First Year Seminar. University College constituted most of the
sections. Collaborating with instruction librarians early in the semester, First Year
Seminar instructors requested instruction focused on “The Library as a destination”.
Students participated in tours and information discovery activities that led them to
multiple locations and collections in the library. Acting in teams, students were
asked to identify the locations of various services such as printing, photo copying,
reference help, checking out books, Government Information and the University
Archives. The curricular assignment had students reflect on their library experience.
University College instructors reported the following reflections from their First
Year Seminar students:
(1) Best things learned:
good place to study;
can check out books over semester breaks;
library has recent fiction books;
printer locations;
coffee and snack locations;
. library services desk is very helpful;
government documents location;
location of leisure areas; and
reservable study rooms.
RSR (2) Would like to know more:
41,2 .
learn more about different sections of the library;
learn more about online library resources;
how to search for journals and find in the library;
how to reserve a study room;
262 .
how to look up a book using author or title;
where to receive writing help;
more about library services; and
would like to meet with librarians earlier in the semester.
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Library instruction also reached Summer Bridge participants for the first time in fall
2012. Summer Bridge piloted summer 2011 with 21 enrolled students (SDSU, 2011).
Summer Bridge students typically enroll in remedial English and Mathematics courses
as well as a General Studies course to acclimate them to the university. Two sections of
Summer Bridge with a total of 34 students met with a librarian in August 2012. The
total number of students met in August and September 2012 increased almost 53%
from the previous 2011 time period.
Measures of increased library activity due to student success initiatives may be
evidenced by gate count increases. Increases may reflect in part the number of First
Year Seminar students entering the building for classes and the number of students
registering for classes in the library during August summer orientation. The library
experienced 43.26 percent increases in patron counts in August 2011 compared to
August 2012. September gate count for the two years indicates a 20.48 percent increase
(Figure 3).

Figure 3.
Gate count
Retention and graduation Library and
University administrators set clear goals when establishing the comprehensive university
undergraduate Model for Student Success. Retention was defined as returning First
Year student to Second Year-fall to fall and set at 80 percent. Previous retention levels governance
of first-time full-time freshmen enrolled in a Bachelor’s Degree Program, reached as
high as 78 percent in 2005-2006 (SDSU, 2010). Fall 2011 retention dropped somewhat
from the 2009-2010 76.6 percent rate to below 74 percent, possibly due to the economic 263
downturn. However, rates improved from 2011-2012, rebounding 1.5 percent to a 75
percent retention rate (Chicoine, 2012). Although full implementation for first-year
student success programs took effect 2012, the University has set the graduation rate
goal at 60 percent up from the current rate of 54 percent (SDSU, 2010). Full
implementation of the Model for Student Success first year initiatives began 2011 and
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expanded First Year Seminars across the curriculum in 2012. Hilton M. Hilton M.
Briggs Library’s participation in recent student success initiatives are in their infancy.
To positively correlate student’s library experience with retention and graduation at
South Dakota State University further longitudinal study is required.

Institutional governance provides opportunities for faculty input in decision making,
policy direction and meaningful change. The library’s participation in the shared
governance model at South Dakota State University created added benefits in addition
to having a voice in steering the university’s future. When librarians align with other
faculty and university administrators, a greater chance exists for collegiality and
mutual understanding of issues in the academy. Participation in university governance
increases awareness and may therefore improve effectiveness (Sewell, 1983).
South Dakota State University fully engaged librarians and university faculty in a
massively restructured governance model yielding opportunities for direct
participation in building a comprehensive model for student success. Preliminary
measures indicate greater contact with students by librarians through instruction and
greater interaction by students with the library through visits. Student reflections from
the First Year Seminar library experience indicate a positive experience with room for
improvement. Instructors and librarians will be able to use these reflections to further
refine assignments and activities in the future.
Future study of library impacts on student success should include longitudinal
assessments accounting for a variety of factors in retaining and graduating students in
higher education. A comprehensive study of student library experience correlated to
student retention and graduation could more accurately identify the library’s role in
contributing to student success. Additional measures could include gauging student
perceptions of the library as a factor in their success. Continual curriculum review may
also yield unique approaches to First Year Seminar library instruction.
Great benefits emerged from the governance experience. Librarians created
connections, cultured spheres of influence and elevated library visibility, particularly
through committee leadership and in the implementation of the Model for Student
Success at South Dakota State University. The librarian leadership and service on
university committees involved the library in the larger discussion of student success,
provided opportunities for active participation in new initiatives and opportunities for
future expanded participation in the Model for Student Success. Without the benefit of
RSR campus-wide networking through governance, participation, and active library
41,2 leadership, the library may not have been as actively included in targeted high impact

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About the author
Vickie Lynn Mix is an Associate Professor and the Government Documents Librarian at Hilton
M. Briggs Library, South Dakota State University. Vickie Lynn Mix holds a Master of Science in
Library and Information Science from the University of North Texas and a MEd in Educational
Leadership from South Dakota State University. In addition to managing the Documents
Department, she provides reference services, participates in the Library Instruction program,
and acts as library liaison to Pharmacy, Political Science, Geography, and the Health and
Nutrition Sciences. Vickie Lynn Mix is a member of the South Dakota Library Association,
Mountain Plains Library Association and the American Library Association, the Association of
College and Research Libraries and the ALA Government Documents Roundtable (GODORT).
She currently serves as ALA Chapter Councilor for South Dakota. Vickie Lynn Mix can be
contacted at:

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