I have been making my way through the many interesting articles in the Academic Library Adventure, and I hadn’t paid excessive attention to the Global Universities one, until I attended a forum this week for students to provide feedback to the search committee for the next VP of Research at Syracuse University.
We covered a lot of vital topics in the forum, including the pressing need to facilitate collaboration and reduce the tendency for researchers to work inside their silos.
Then, toward the end of our time together, one of the search committee members mentioned that they wanted to ensure that the chosen candidate had the appropriate focus on connecting Syracuse researchers with those at universities throughout the US and the world.
I felt like the proverbial light bulb went off in my head. That is such a vital part of the mission of any university, and it is something that the university library must incorporate into its mission as well.
Kinney and Li note several ways that libraries can contribute to building those bridges, including providing remote access to their scholars working abroad and providing thoughtfully designed direct services to international students at their universities.
They also note that US universities lead the world in establishing branch campuses in other countries, with at least 75 accredited, degree-granting campuses abroad, run by over 50 American educational institutions. Forward-thinking schools ensure that their branch campuses are supported by well-trained and culturally sensitive library staff, as well as employing the latest technology tools, making sure that they have been carefully tested to be functional for foreign learning environments.
How exciting to be responsible for supporting these scholars and these programs – opening your own mind while you open the world to audacious learners.