Alexia Hudson-Ward, associate librarian at Penn State Abington, recently completed the Committee on Institutional Cooperation’s (CIC) Academic Leadership Program (ALP), an initiative that brings together a group of fellows selected from each member institution to discuss broad topics that impact higher education.
As the only librarian among this year’s ALP fellows, Hudson-Ward was able to provide a unique contribution to the program. “What I learned in this program that was incredibly invaluable. However, I found myself at times having to debunk statements from non-Penn State faculty, that academic libraries are insular and don’t really contribute to the conversation about institutional values in a meaningful way. So it was great to be able contribute to and hear different perspectives about 21st century higher education while contextualizing the future of academic libraries,” she says.
Each CIC institution selects up to five faculty members a year to participate in a series of three seminars. This year, the seminars were held at the University of Minnesota, Northwestern University and Ohio State. Each seminar focused on a different theme—issues and ideas confronting higher education, internal and external relationships, and money management and strategies.
Through case studies, role-playing and dialogue, the fellows highlighted issues of relevance to their respective institutions and proposed solutions. “This program has made me a better Penn State librarian and faculty member. I now have a more informed idea about where our institutional priorities lie and I also have a deeper respect for the CIC. It is great to be part of a community that shares information and resources. This program showed me how we collaborate with other CIC institutions, and how all CIC institutions are centered on making sure students get the best education for their money,” said Hudson-Ward.
Hudson-Ward said she was inspired to think deeply about how the University Libraries could continue to improve in the areas of assessment and student learning outcomes. “Participating in the program also made me think about different ways in which we can convey the value that the Libraries contribute to Penn State. The librarians are deeply engaged with the university community. We consult with students and faculty, serve on various university committees and conduct course related instructional sessions. One thing we could consider, is to create a value report on the quantifiable value of our work all across the Commonwealth,” she noted.
“For those of us who love to learn, and look at it as a continuous journey, this program did that and more. The program also fostered a wonderful network of CIC colleagues across the country for me as well. We are deeply enriched by being a part of the Penn State University Libraries and a part of the CIC,” said Hudson-Ward.