Editorial: Chin Up!
I want to step away from the world of library technology for the moment and tell you about an incredible experience I was privileged to undergo this summer. It’s called the Frye Institute, and it’s awesome.
The full name is the Frye Leadership Institute, and the following is on their Web site: “The challenges and changes of contemporary higher education have created the need for campus leaders with new competencies and perspectives—people who can bring a new framework to our historic enterprise. The purpose of the Frye Leadership Institute is to bring to tomorrow’s higher education leadership the insights and understanding of the issues that will inform this framework, including academic, technology, economic, public-policy, student, and constituent-relations dynamics.” 1 The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), EDUCAUSE, and Emory University sponsor the institute, and the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation provides funding. The class of 2002 was the third class in Frye history.
One Sunday afternoon in early June, approximately forty people from universities all over the country, plus three outside the United States, converged on Emory University in Atlanta and began what would be for many a defining period in their career. We were mostly librarians and academic IT folks, with a few teaching faculty for good measure. Some were from big universities, others from tiny colleges, and one attendee came from a community college.
Our leaders were the co-deans: Richard Detweiler, president of Hartwick College, and Deanna Marcum, president of CLIR. The faculty consisted of about thirty-five veterans of various aspects of higher education, starting with Billy Frye, former Chancellor of Emory University and the institute’s namesake. We were the grateful recipients of wisdom from, among many distinguished faculty and listed here in no particular order: an associate provost from Brown University, the president of EDUCAUSE, the president of the University of Central Florida, the senior vice president for Government and Public Affairs at the American Council on Education, the president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust, a professor of classics from Rhodes College, an associate vice president for IT from Wheaton College (and alumnus of the first Frye Institute), the provost at the University of Kansas, and the college librarian from the University of Virginia.
They started us off easy, with a reception followed by a dinner to help us begin getting acquainted. Little did we suspect what was in store for us. For the next two weeks, we were occupied almost twelve hours a day with organized activities. We listened and talked to the experts. We broke up into small groups and planned hypothetical institutions of higher education. We learned a lot about scholarly publication, copyright law, and metadata harvesting. We visited Emory University’s Woodruff Library, where they are doing some really interesting things. We learned new words like Sunoikisis and deterritorialization, and new catch phrases like “re-entry strategy” and “chin up!” We Meyers-Briggs’d ourselves (I’m an ISTP, for those who care to know). We watched movie snippets to glean managerial nuggets. And we ate—boy, did we eat! Mostly, however, we interacted, which was the main point of the institute.
One of the intended outcomes of the Frye experience is the forging of a network of people who stay in touch and who become resources for each other. We have our own discussion list, FRYE2002, and we have space in Emory’s Blackboard environment. It really is amazing how the forty of us bonded together and became a unit. We even discovered we have our own poet laureate, not to mention Graham, the toastmaster.
Finally it came to an end, and we had another big dinner, complete with presentations of certificates and Frye pins that we can wear with pride. But those are just mementos; what we really took away from Atlanta the summer of 2002 was an enlightenment, a sense that we can see the big picture, and we can lead the way. Chin up, everyone.
Finally, on an entirely different note, I call your attention to the article by Rachel Mendez that leads off the issue. Rachel was the winner of the second annual LITA/Endeavor Student Writing Award for her article "Hanging Indents and the Reference Librarian: Offering Productivity Software in the Public Library."
1. Frye Institute attendees are chosen based upon a number of criteria. For more information see the institute’s Web site at www.fryeinstitute.org/about.asp. Nominations for the class of 2003 are due by Novermber 15, 2002.
Dan Marmion ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is Associate Director for Information Systems and Digital Access at the University of Notre Dame Libraries, Notre Dame, Indiana.