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VCU Libraries will survey faculty needs and priorities beginning Oct. 22

September 28, 2018

What do faculty need in the digital age?

VCU Libraries invites all teaching and research faculty to help answer that key question and more through the nationally calibrated Ithaka S+R Local Faculty Survey. The confidential survey will be administered by email Oct. 22 until Nov. 16.

VCU Libraries' primary mission is to advance the success of research, teaching, and clinical care throughout VCU. Academic libraries exist in an ever-changing digital environment that is constantly reshaping how faculty approach each of these responsibilities. Up-to-date input from faculty about their attitudes, needs and uses of technology, platforms, and materials is essential.

To improve the VCU Libraries’ ability to adapt to these change, VCU Libraries must understand where the faculty are and where they want to go. Whether it is the creation or adoption of open educational resources, new forms of scholarly communication, online instruction, research data management, or newly emerging areas, it is vital that the libraries have sufficient faculty input to guide VCU forward in these critical arenas related to scholarship and research.

Broad faculty participation in the survey is essential to gleaning the depth and detail of results that will inform VCU Libraries’ decision-making about services, resources and scholarly priorities. “Not only do we need to hear from a lot of you, we need strong participation across the full range of disciplines in order to better understand and meet the very different needs of our broad research and teaching communities,” says Director of Assessment Michael Rawls, Ph.D.

The survey’s success depends on responses from every area of study, in order for the VCU Libraries' next strategic plan to be fully inclusive. “Whether your academic home is in the arts, sciences, health care, humanities or professional programs, we have librarians who specialize in your particular academic niche,” says Rawls. “The more we are able to analyze the survey results at the school and program levels, the better librarians will be able to to make sure you are getting the resources and services that you need.”

VCU Libraries administered the Ithaka S+R Faculty Survey in 2014. The timing then was critical, just as construction of a new Cabell Library began and just as library leaders were developing a new strategic framework that would redirect existing resources and services in new directions. “The faculty responses proved invaluable in guiding those efforts, while also providing a vitally important, pre-implement baseline,” says Dean and University Librarian John E. Ulmschneider. “Now it is time to  check in with faculty again to assess our performance over the past four years and to recalibrate our plans for the future.”

This survey is being administered concurrently with the 2018 Ithaka S+R National Faculty Survey, which is run triannually. The national results will help provide context to the local results as VCU Libraries evaluates the data regarding its performance in meeting the VCU faculty  needs.

A $2 donation will be made to Feed More, Central Virginia’s hunger relief organization, for each survey completed. In addition, the VCU Libraries will award two $1,000 travel/professional development stipends to a randomly selected faculty member from each of the two schools with the highest survey participation rate.

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact VCU Libraries Budget and Assessment Director, Michael Rawls, at or (804) 828-1275

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