CAPA Workshop 11-12-08

CAPA Workshop
December 11, 2008

Guests: Nancy Degnan, Library Liaison with Academic Human Resources

Documentation Distributed:

  • CAPA Workshop December 11, 2008
  • UCSC Librarian Review Calendar 2008-2009
  • PAPA/LS 3.4 Review Procedure - Initiation and Evaluation
  • APM-210-4 Instructions to Review Committees ...

Deborah Murphy, CAPA Chair

Reviewed documentation and related links available from the LAUC-SC website (} and advised that reading through these documents prior to meeting with your Review Initiator may help inform that discussion. She also emphasized the critical need to follow the review calendar, a need that was also highlighted in this years CAPA Report and at previous CAPA Workshops. Following the calendar is crucial not just for CAPA to do its work – it is important throughout the entire review process.

She noted that it is essential that librarians work with their review initiator to determine goals and objectives. In regards to the review packet and asked the membership to keep their documentation clear, organized, and complete. Those are the key points when preparing your review packet.

Summary provided by Ginny Steel, University Librarian, of her comments at the 2008 CAPA Workshop.  (Full text of her comments appear at the end of this document)

  • Performance reviews present us with important opportunities to recognize and reward people and to have frank conversations between review initiators and librarians about their careers to date and their plans for the future. The process includes both peer review and administrative review.
  • Adherence to the calendar is has become a critical issue, so please stay on target with due dates.
  • Re-read the documents governing our review process. If you have questions, your review initiator and/or the AUL/Administrative Services can provide answers. We are also working on a guidelines document that provides more information about the ULs interpretation of the criteria, but this is still under review.
  • Keep your self-evaluation to a few pages in length and discuss the impact your actions and accomplishments had in moving the library forward. If you have tried something new that didnt work out, it would be useful to talk about what you learned so that the library as an organization can benefit from your experience.
  • Think about what kind of evidence, including letters, your file will need to present a comprehensive picture of your achievements. Remember that some of the people reading your file will not have interacted with you on a daily or even weekly basis, so be sure to provide concise, clear descriptions of your accomplishments and their significance to the library and/or the campus, UC, the profession.
  • Remember that the expectation for advancement for an Assistant Librarian is that one must show potential for growth and leadership to be appointed to the Assistant Librarian rank. As one moves up into the Associate Librarian rank, a candidate must have fulfilled part of that potential and show continued potential for leadership in areas outside the primary assignment.
  • Promotion to Librarian requires that a candidate must have outstanding performance in a primary assignment and have shown leadership in other areas. The recommendation for promotion must be justified by demonstrated superior professional ability and achievement.
  • PAPA/LS and several of our other governing documents discuss acceleration and include these statements: Accelerated advancement is possible if achievement is exceptional. Evidence of exceptional achievement in the first criterion, the professional competence and quality of service within the library, is required. In addition, candidates must demonstrate unusually strong performance in at least some areas of the other three criteria. Because the achievement must clearly be exceptional, a two-step advancement must be recognized as an extremely rare award.
  • An accelerated review is different than accelerated advancement. An accelerated review is a review that is moved up in time, so a librarian has a shorter period of time in which to accomplish what would be expected for a one-step advancement or promotion. Accelerated advancement is two-step advancement, possibly including promotion, instead of the usual one step.
  • A no action decision on an accelerated review results in the clock resetting and a new, full review period starting up. The clock resets when the review is completed.
  • One of the signs of leadership is to take an active role in moving something important forward.
  • When you talk about what you have done during the review period, say more than I served on committee X or did Y. Talk about what you did and why it was important.
  • Remember that you can ask for feedback from your review initiator or others more frequently than on an annual basis. Given the changes that are occurring as a result of the budget situation and because our environment is changing, it is essential to keep the lines of communication open with your RI and ask for clarification if you need it.
  • Service on LAUC is important for all librarians. I value it and look for it in review files, although I am also aware that not everyone will be actively involved in LAUC every single year.
  • Since our strategic plan will not be finalized until January, that document is not yet part of our process. Once it is completed, we will start to incorporate the goals into our section, unit, and individual annual planning.

Questions re: Accelerated and No Action reviews:

  • What happens in case of a no-action decision on an accelerated review?
  • What happens to the review clock in that review period?
  • Does this mean that if youre on a three year review cycle and you try for an early review at two years, receiving a No Action decision would mean you risk losing those two years and starting the review clock at that point?
  • Are no-action reviews more common at other UCs? 

GS: There are accelerated reviews, which means your review would be done ahead of schedule. So if you were on a two-year cycle your review would happen before the two years had elapsed. If you were on a three-year cycle your review would happen before the three years had elapsed.  What means is that your review initiator, CAPA and I would all look at the file to see if there is evidence that you had achieved the level of work that would be expected for somebody to move up one step, whether it is a two-year cycle or a three-year cycle. It means that you have basically moved up the clock and given yourself a shorter period of time in which to accomplish what would be expected for that advancement. Accelerated review is different from accelerated advancement where accelerated advancement is moving up two steps rather than one.  

KMc: The moment you choose to come and you put a file together, no matter whether it was actionable or not, the clock resets. Youre getting a decision one way or the other.  

KMc: At this point, thats how our procedure is written.  

GS: I think its that communication and making sure youre really touching base and understanding what the issues are. And in some cases if you talk to your RI you may ask for some kind of documentation or a list bullet points of what would your accomplishments have been if you came up after two years instead of a full three years in a three year cycle.  

GS: My impression is that no-action reviews are also very rare. I havent actually polled them. Then again, judging by ... they vary campus-by-campus.

Questions re: expectations for reviews:

  • Its hard to know where you are and how others see your contributions without context. It helps to see where you stand in relation to your colleagues. However work in each unit is different and the expectations for the primary assignment will be different.  

GS: It also varies depending on where you are in the rank and step series, it is different for an Assistant Librarian and someone who is at the very top. I would emphasize that because of the budget situation, because we are clearly not going to be able fill all positions when then become vacant, we really need to talk about that and not just have the conversation once about whats exceptional but do that over time, just going forward.  

RD: To follow up on something you said, I think having those conversations in a group is great and again at the level but there also has to be some recognition we need the flexibility with assignments and changing duties. People may take on things. There may be personal conversations that happen where I approach somebody and say, Could you please take on this. And theres an understanding that that means theyll do less of something else. At that point in time, we also have to realize that responsibilities among people who look like or are assigned to do the same duties may actually be different. So it is difficult to compare yourself perfectly with colleagues who may be asked to take on more of something and do less of another. I would just encourage you sometimes to think about the fact that you may think your colleague is slacking off on something but in actuality they have been asked to take on more of something else and there is a well-defined reason they are doing less.  

Questions re: committee assignments:

  • There is an old issue that there are standing committees or assignments that potentially put one in a position for opportunities to get faculty letters or things like that. We should be sure those assignments are open to as many people librarywide as possible.

GS: I think we will see a lot of change in the next few years and I would suspect that there will probably many opportunities for people to do things that will bring them into contact with faculty or other staff or administrators on campus, and actually systemwide.  I wanted to speak about though LAUC for a minute, too. I know thats something weve already talked about this morning. It think service to LAUC is extremely important and it isnt just a responsibility of the newest members of the library staff. It is something where I think people should fulfill responsibilities. It doesnt necessarily mean that every person will do something every year, but that there will be cyclical involvement. There should be a sense, and I look for a sense, that even our senior people are contributing to LAUC and are involved. It has to be balanced out with other responsibilities but overall that is my belief, that LAUC is very important. LAUC has done excellent work in the past, and I dont see any reason for that to change but if people dont get involved then it will change. Its important for LAUC to be considered part of the ... set of responsibilities. Not necessarily on an annual timeframe but over a longer period of time.

Questions re: next years reviews:

  • Do you have a sense of anything we should be anticipating thats on the horizon for people coming up for review next year?

KMc: As I mentioned were looking at changing our local procedures. Thats been written and its under review. It offers clarification, if nothing else. And it also offers more opportunities than we had in the past as far as codifying processing that we couldnt before. But other than that, Ginny do you want to talk about strategic directions and how that kind of flows into the whole picture?

GS: In the best of all possible worlds, we would have had our strategic plan done at the beginning of this past review period and goals and all of that. But thats not reality. Our plan is still, and my plan is still, that we will finalize the strategic directions by January and then we will be able to use those to have the conversations with your RIs and set your goals for the next year.  What that doesnt allow time for is for sections to have a lot of discussion and do sectional plans.  That is still something well have to work into, so this will actually take a couple of years to really get fully implement in bringing the review process and the strategic planning process together. Were making a lot of process and we will get there, its just that in this next round well be focusing on the big library-wide strategic directions and less on what each section is going to be doing.

DM: Thank you. The strategic plan is so much a part of the fabric of our Library (or is about to be). It is an important document and it really helps outline conversations with our Review Initiators.

Meeting adjourned.


Full text of comments from Ginny Steel, University Librarian, at the 2008 CAPA Workshop:

Let me begin by saying that I think this is an incredibly important process. And another reason to adhere to the calendar is so that the conversations take place that need to take place. Even though the calendar focuses on pieces of paper and forms and getting things done by a particular date, the real point is to make sure that people have conversations with their review initiators. Obviously, the review periods whether they are two years or three years these are very important conversations where you are looking back at what youve accomplished and figuring out what kind of action needs to happen to recognize and presumably reward people for the work they have done. So again I think its really good not just to focus on what you are saying and writing down in your self reviews and what you are reading from your review initiator, but really talk about your career, where youre going, where you want to go, are there issues that you are concerned about, have a real frank conversation. I think thats an important piece to remember in all of this and I think that also applies to the newly instituted annual conversations that will take place by the end of January. Its your opportunity to really clarify things with your review initiator. I hope theyll think about that, and then think about where you are and where you want to be.

But in terms of doing the reviews themselves, as Debbie said, I think its important to go back and reread the documents that govern our reviews. And in particular read both the documents that describe the criteria and also the more procedurally oriented documents. Because there is a lot of information in there that can answer questions that come up about where do things belong or whats important to address here.

When you write your self-evaluation, though, I will continue to encourage you to talk about the impacts that your work has had on the Library. Its really not just that you did a gazillion things during this review period but the point is how did this contribute to moving the Library forward, how did it contribute to us providing an excellent set of services and collections. Really be as specific about that as possible. I would say though, going back to Debbies point about being able to talk about things that were tried and maybe that didnt succeed, if you did something, say you introduced a pilot service of some sort and it wasnt entirely successful, I think one of the important things to do in your self-evaluation is to talk about what was learned from that, why was it valuable to have done this, and even though it didnt succeed or it only succeeded partially what can we as an organization learn from that. I think thats very important.  The other thing I would do when you put together your review packet and even when you are thinking about the list of people who you might ask your review initiator to solicit letters from, think about what kind of evidence you need to put together to really have a cohesive and coherent file. We are not a huge library but we are big enough that we dont interact with one another on a daily basis very often. We interact with people in our sections but not people across the library. Members of CAPA or I as the deciding officer for now all but one person in the Library will be looking at the file and not necessarily knowing what it is you do on a daily basis.  If there is something you think is important you need to be sure that that is documented and think about it strategically. If a total stranger were to read your file would it be clear what you had done, and why it is important and how you had contributed to the Library? I would encourage you to think about that.

Along the way, if you have questions, you can ask your review initiator. And Kate is always available to answer questions and help out. And it seems every year since Ive been here along the way there are questions that come, there some variation on something or other that needs an answer and you need to go to her. Thats another reason to refer to the calendar, because if you wait until the very last minute to do this and then there is a question it automatically puts us behind schedule in getting the reviews finished. Think of Kate as your go to person for that.  In writing the self-evaluation, again I would recommend that you not try to write a book, even though some of you will be describing three years of activity, and everybody else will be describing two years of activity. If you write pages and pages and pages it becomes very difficult for people who read the files to really figure out what was important about what did and what do you really want people to focus on. I encourage you to look at a statement of 2-3 pages and not much longer than that. I think that you should be able really to hit the highlights there.  You dont need to do an exhaustive list. You dont have to, as Lee used the analogy of bricks, how many bricks to you have to pile up. You dont have to talk about each brick; you need to figure out which are the important bricks. Is it the cornerstone or whatever? Really address that.  Link it back to why it is important for the Library and the campus overall. And, again, think about where you are in terms of your career, where you are in the rank and step series. Think about what you cover in your self-evaluation. As Assistant Librarians most of the self-evaluation will relate to the criteria 1, job responsibilities here. But then depending on what level of involvement you had in activities related to the other criteria you would also put that in, or maybe just say beginning to get involved in x, whatever x would be. So, have that.  Ill just remind you, in terms of expectations for advancement for an Assistant Librarian, what our documents say is that, for appointment one must show potential for growth and leadership to be appointed to the Assistant Librarian rank. Then as one moves up into the Associate Librarian rank, what our guiding documents say is that, To be promoted to the Associate Librarian rank a candidate must have fulfilled part of that potential and show continued potential for leadership in areas outside the primary assignment.

I want to go back and talk about what leadership means, to me. That is it begins to be clear that somebody is not just a passive participant in an activity but is actually taking an active in moving something forward. So, taking an active role as an editor or an author, or taking an active role in committee work through an association or a campus group, a UC system-wide group, in LAUC. Again, when I look at the packets and Im thinking about the level of activity, one thing I look at is, was this an active role that somebody played. There are plenty of groups out there that essentially do nothing and thats true of every association that Ive been involved with.  And yet there are other groups where there is a whole lot of activity going on. When you talk about what you have done, dont just say, I served on committee X, but talk about what you did on committee X. Did you help plan a program? If so, how successful was that program? Did you help with a publication? What role did you have? Did you negotiate with a publisher? Or write a chapter? Or whatever you did? Be explicit about what it was you did, so it is clear that it wasnt just a nominal membership but it actually was something you contributed to and presumably benefited from.

Going back to our criteria, to be promoted to Librarian, our documents do say for promotion to Librarian a candidate must have an outstanding performance in a primary assignment and have shown leadership in other areas. The recommendation for promotion must be justified by demonstrated by superior professional ability and achievement. That is something again you will need to describe what your contributions were to the Library in terms of your primary assignment, and then to the campus, to the UC system and the world in the other criteria.  I know the issue of acceleration comes up and has already been mentioned several times this morning. I wanted to remind us all of what PAPA/LS says about acceleration, and this would be accelerated advancement: Accelerated advancement is possible if achievement is exceptional.  Evidence of exceptional achievement in the first criterion, the professional competence and quality of service within the library is required. In addition, candidates must demonstrate unusually strong performance in at least some areas of the other three criteria. Because the achievement must clearly be exceptional, a two step advancement must be recognized as an extremely rare award. I read that and put emphasis on those last three words—extremely rare award—because I want to be sure we all understand that accelerations are not the norm. From my conversations with the other ULs in UC I can say with confidence that we have had a higher percentage of accelerations than any of the other libraries. Last year we had recommendations for accelerations for more than half of the reviews that came forward. That means it is not an extremely rare award. Im sure you all think Im being the grinch here but Im just putting it out there that I take these words seriously. I am really careful when I look at packets to look for exceptional achievement in the first criterion and unusually strong performance in at least some areas of the other three criteria. And also, not to expect that somebody is going to move up the rank and step scale two-by-two instead of one-by-one. We have this system, for better or worse, this is the language of the documents that govern us. I think we have to live by that.  Again, I want to go back to the fact that the review process is really intended to be a chance to communicate with your review initiator and also with peers in the Library about your performance. It is an opportunity to get input and to have a sense of how you are doing as a librarian at UC Santa Cruz. Make this a process that really benefits you, one where you have substantive conversations with your review initiators. My practice since coming has been to write more extensive letters than were written in the past. I hope you find those valuable in terms of the feedback I give from my perspective. I would extend an open invitation if you ever want to come and talk after you get your letter from me; you are welcome to do that. I would encourage you if you have any questions.

Another thing I would say about the whole review process is, even though we have a calendar with a lot of dates, you can have conversations about what youre doing in-between times. I would hope that you all would feel comfortable, if there are questions or concerns that you have, make an appointment to talk to your review initiator, and talk about whatever those questions may be. We are definitely in bad budget times and that is undoubtedly going to mean changes in assignments even more frequently than weve had in the past. Its going to mean that things will change and were going to have all be very flexible about what we do and how we are spending our time. That means its even more essential to keep open communication with review initiators so you know and your RI knows what you are doing and why you are doing. And you dont get to the review itself and find that you have some kind of disagreement over what your primary ...  should have been.

Other than that, yes, we will meet the calendar this year.