Sample Council of Liaisons Report

Report from the annual Chief Academic Officers Institute

November 5-9, 2011 - St. Petersburg Beach, Florida

Susan Barnes Whyte

ACRL Liaison to the CIC 2009-2012

This year’s Chief Academic Officers’ Institute focused upon how CAOs and Chief Advancement Officers can work productively together. Many advancement officers attended and several presented.

Sessions focused upon the value of a liberal arts education and how to measure and market that value effectively. Ernest T. Pascarella from the University of Iowa and Patrick T. Terenzini from The Pennsylvania State University presented longitudinal evidence from years of studying the impact of undergraduate education on students.

Other sessions focused upon internationalizing the campus, support for academic programs with large initial costs, developing the partnerships between CAOs and CFOs, the future of the humanities, linking fundraising, academic programs and the institutional strategic plan, and donor-funded academic programs, to mention just a few. Attendance was at a record high for this annual event.

I participated in a panel discussion that focused upon the information fluency workshops, funded by Mellon and sponsored by the CIC, that have taken place spring of 2010 and 2011. These workshops have been about information fluency within the humanities. Two workshops were focused upon literature and one upon history. A final workshop will take place March 2012 and will focus upon Ancient Studies. In my role as ACRL Liaison, I have worked as a facilitator and presenter (along with Tom Kirk, the former ACRL liaison to the CIC) at each of these workshops. These workshops are interesting because teams must apply and attend. The teams must have a dean or provost, a faculty member and a librarian (usually a library director) and sometimes an instructional designer. They have been quite popular and well received. There is another grant pending to have these workshops continue.

The panel at this particular CAO Institute consisted of:

  • Susanne Woods, CIC Senior Advisor and the person behind these Mellon-funded CIC workshops on information fluency
  • Paula Dehn, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Kentucky Wesleyan College
  • David Garrison, Vice President for Academic Affairs, LaGrange College (Georgia)
  • Susan Barnes Whyte, Linfield College Library Director, ACRL liaison to the CIC

About twenty deans attended our session. There were four other concomitant sessions, so this was fairly good attendance in my experience in my liaison work.

Paula Dehn spoke about the information fluency initiative in English literature at her institution; David Garrison spoke about the information fluency initiative in History at LaGrange; Susanne Woods spoke about why information fluency is critical as a part of a liberal arts education; I spoke about two recent studies (the Project Information Literacy study from the Information School at the University of Washington and the Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries project (ERIAL) published by the American Library Association in October 2011 as “College Libraries and Student Culture: What We Now Know.”

Next year’s CIC CAO workshop will take place in San Antonio, TX in early November.

This liaison relationship has been going on for a long time and looks promising for the future. New program ideas that I can think of for next year’s CAO workshop include a possible program about college libraries and digital repositories as well as a program about the ACRL “The Value of Academic Libraries” report (published fall 2010). The College Library Section will be selecting a new liaison in early 2012.

ACRL Plan for Excellence Goals and Objectives to which my work relates:

Student Learning

Goal: Librarians transform student learning, pedagogy, and instructional practices through creative and innovative collaborations.


  • Articulate and advocate for the role of librarians in setting, achieving, and measuring institutional learning outcomes.
  • Increase collaborative programs that leverage partnerships with other organizations in order to support and encourage local and national team approaches.

Susan Barnes Whyte

Nov. 22, 2011