Capstone ePortfolio: Joanna Russell Bliss 

ALA Competency 8: Administration & Management

INFO 5900, Planning Documents for Programming

The purpose of these assignments was to consider how to fund programming through grants, prepare marketing for programming, and create a strategic plan for a program. These were turned in on March 5, March 22, and April 5, 2021 as slides to review grant possibilities, posters and a marketing rationale and elevator speech to discuss the marketing of programs, and a strategic plan to grow an existing program, respectively.

The second part of my class on instruction focused on the logistics of planning programming -- how to apply for grants, how to create a plan to build and grow programs, and how to market such programs. These assignments allowed me to explore how many grants are available, particularly for information literacy, and how to consider what steps need to be taken when assessing programming, whether that's an initial plan for creating a new program, or a plan to grow a program that has some success but could be better.

My examples, linked to from above, considered programming that I have been working with at Southern Methodist University, specifically the Research & Writing Lab, a partnership between the Writing Center on campus and SMU Libraries. In particular, I appreciated that the creation of a strategic plan can help in various stages of programming, and that the steps in the plan can document what has been agreed upon by the team involved in the implementation of the program. These assignments relate to several of the competences for administration and management, particularly 8A, planning in libraries; 8C, the assessment and evaluation of library services and their outcomes; and 8D, the development of partnerships and collaborations at the library. 

INFO 5330, Midterm Interview Project

This project tasked us with interviewing someone working at an academic library about their experience. The below PDF was submitted on October 15, 2020.

The Associate Dean of the Libraries, as well as the director of the building where I report at SMU, was generous with her time, sending a thoughtful, lengthy email responding to my initial questions, and granting me an hour-long video interview, where I could ask follow-up questions about the organization and management of SMU Libraries. Our conversation gave me a great deal of insights about the pros and cons of faculty status, the importance of how the library is organized within the university as a whole (and how communication is facilitated, both inside the library organization and across the university), and how making connections across campus can drive improvement within the libraries.

This interview and analysis tied into most of the competences associated with administration and management: 8B, effective personnel practices; 8D, the importance of developing partnerships, collaborations and networks within and across the community (in this case, the libraries and the university as a whole); and 8E, the concepts behind, issues relating to, and methods for, principled, transformational leadership. 

INFO 5306, Project Management Packet

This assignment was built throughout the semester to help us learn the central components of project proposals: creating the scope, a work breakdown structure, a schedule, a budget, and reflection about the project. The below packet proposal was submitted on July 30, 2020.
Along with the above PDF, two spreadsheets were submitted that included a Gantt chart detailing the project schedule, as well as a complete breakdown of the budget.

With the compacted timeline of a summer term and a team made of five people spread throughout Texas, it was a challenge to collaborate on this project, and we often had to begin creating content that built on the previous week's work without feedback before moving on. But I particularly enjoyed the challenge of building a projected budget, particularly researching how much it would cost to create a complete marketing plan. (See the notes at the end of the packet; for a real marathon, we'd have to trim the costs I found, as my marketing budget was the biggest by far as compared to my teammates' findings.)

INFO 5300, Case Study Analyses

The purpose of these assignments was to analyze a variety of hypothetical management case studies. These discussions were posted in Canvas on February 12, March 26, April 15 and April 27, 2020; this PDF includes all four case studies.

Using case studies to discuss hypothetical management situations is a common way to discuss business conundrums, including within a library environment. In addition, because these case studies were posted on a discussion board, we could (and were required) to read and respond to others' posts, considering the variety of ways our peers might respond to each situation and comparing them to our own solutions.

As the case studies were spread throughout the semester, they dealt directly with the topics from our readings, including planning, human resources, leading and coordinating, as well as consideration for ethical guidelines and the importance of communication. As such, they tie directly to several of the ALA's core competences related to administration and management, including 8A (planning and budgeting), 8B (personnel and human resources), and 8E (transformational leadership).

INFO 5200, Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats (SWOT) Analysis

The purpose of this assignment was to apply a SWOT analysis to a fictional scenario. A Word doc containing my SWOT analysis was turned in on April 7, 2020. 

I had heard about SWOT analyses before this assignment, but this was the first time I could put one into practice. I also appreciated that this assignment gave us a trial run on its structure before writing a similar SWOT analysis of our own collection, created in our IOP. It is a simple but effective way to analyse the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of a process or business. 
SWOT analysis

[Image description: A screengrab of the SWOT table created for my analysis, giving an overview of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, of an assigned scenario.]

A SWOT evaluation can be used to evaluate the organization as a whole as compared to its competitors, or a process or project within the organization. It is a simple approach that can be applied in myriad ways, and it directly correlates to ALA's core competence 8C, the assessment and evaluation of library services and their outcomes.

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