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CLIR Issues Number 94

CLIR Issues
Number 94 • July/August 2013
ISSN 1944-7639 (online version)


Bethany Nowviskie Appointed CLIR Presidential Fellow
Frye/LCI Alum David Weil Reflects on Career Development
Postdoc Seminar: The Benefits of Cross-Disciplinary Learning
Host Institutions Sought: CLIR/DLF Fellowships in Data Curation
DLF Forum Registration Open
Welcome to New CLIR Sponsors and New DLF Members

We invite you to check out our blog series, “Re: Thinking.” The weekly blog features perspectives from a variety of contributors on topics relating to the emerging digital environment, research, and higher education.

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Bethany Nowviskie Appointed CLIR Presidential Fellow

CLIR has appointed Bethany Nowviskie as CLIR Distinguished Presidential Fellow.

Ms. Nowviskie is a major scholar and practitioner of digital humanities. She directs the Scholars’ Lab and department of Digital Research & Scholarship at the University of Virginia Library. She is also the president of the Association for Computers and the Humanities and a member of the steering committee for the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations.

Nowviskie.jpeg“Ms. Nowviskie is at the leading edge of developments in the digital humanities,” said CLIR President Chuck Henry. “From illuminating issues pertaining to alternative academic career opportunities to providing leadership in many other areas of scholarly endeavor, her intellectual engagement has enriched many key aspects of CLIR’s mission. We are delighted to be working with her.”

During the two-year appointment, Nowviskie will contribute to CLIR programs by consulting with CLIR leadership and constituents; exploring issues of generational succession and shared governance as they relate to changing career paths for scholars, librarians, archivists, and IT staff; and contributing blogs and articles for CLIR publication.

Since 2009, Nowviskie has served as associate director of the Mellon-funded Scholarly Communication Institute. She also chairs the Committee on Information Technology at the Modern Language Association. At the University of Virginia, she chairs the General Faculty Council and has been newly appointed to the position of Special Advisor to the Provost in support of digital humanities initiatives.

Her scholarly background is in textual studies and humanities computing but, more recently, she has published on and created tools for geotemporal interpretation of archival collections. She is the editor of #Alt-Academy, a MediaCommons project on alternative academic careers, and creator of the UVa Library Praxis Program and international Praxis Network, which offer new models for methodological training in the humanities. Nowviskie holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in Education from Wake Forest University.

During her tenure as fellow, she will continue to work from the University of Virginia.

“I welcome the opportunity to work more closely with CLIR in the coming months and years,” said Nowviskie. “It is a great privilege for me to be connected to an organization that I have admired for so long, and that has such a knack for making positive interventions in the fields I care about most.”

Frye/LCI Alum David Weil Reflects on Career Development

David Weil is director of enterprise application services at Ithaca College and a graduate of the 2003 Frye Leadership Institute. This June, he attended the Leading Change Institute, launched as a successor to the Frye Institute. In the following interview, EDUCAUSE’s Gerry Bayne talks with Weil about his experience at the Institutes and what they have meant for his professional development. A podcast version of the interview is available at

GB:  What was it about your Frye experience in 2003 that motivated you to return to the Leading Change Institute in 2013?

DW: The Frye opportunity provided a chance to reflect and to think about my career, but also to survey the landscape in higher education and IT and libraries. That was very powerful. I think that now where I’m at professionally and the changes going on, both locally at our institution and nationally in higher education, it’s another moment in time. I just went back and reread some of my application material for the original Frye Institute and I talked about a teachable moment in one’s career.

Back then, it really was a teachable moment. I was an associate director and had been there for a while. Then I knew there were some opportunities possibly on the horizon to move to the next level. So the Frye opportunity really came along at a teachable moment.

I think now, ten years later, I’m at another teachable moment in terms of my professional development. I’ve been a director now for ten years. There are a lot of changes going on at the institution and in higher education. I think that professionally I’m ready for an opportunity to continue to reflect on leadership, what leadership means, leadership styles, but also how IT can be a partner with an institution to help transform or lead the institution through change.

The fundamental components of the Frye Institute and the Leading Change Institute are the same. They’re an opportunity to think about and understand the big issues facing higher education today. There’s opportunity for personal reflection and introspection. There’s the opportunity to network, build a cohort. Those were all at the forefront of my mind when I applied to both.

The other piece is important to me and I think to many people: both the Frye application process and the Leading Change application process required a conversation with the institutional leadership. Both require the president to write a letter of his or her support. That, at least in my mind, is a very powerful thing because it’s not every day that I can call up the president and say, “Hey, I’d like to sit down and talk with you about this opportunity,” and some thoughts and ideas of where I want to go. That was also important to me.

GB:  What are some of the changes in the profession since you did the program? What are the big questions facing your profession today? How do you see the Leading Change Institute helping prepare you for these changes?

DW:  In going back through the notes again from 2003, it is interesting to see that a lot of the themes are similar, but the specifics, or the way they’ve evolved over the years, represents the difference. Specifically, we talked about access and affordability before. That’s even more of an issue now, with the economic downturn and the costs for higher education rising so fast. The whole emergence of MOOCs (the massive open online courses) is a big issue now and occupied a lot of our time this year at the Leading Change institute. MOOCs weren’t even on our radar in any way, shape, or form necessarily 10 years ago. We did talk about globalization 10 years ago. We did talk about the shift and impact on private providers. I think that’s a major shift. But again, it’s interesting with the ten-year perspective of how things have evolved and gone from there.

We did spend a lot of time last week talking about the value add of traditional higher education institutions. One of our speakers talked about if you’re just delivering courses, someone else can always underprice you. So what is the value of higher education? It was great to spend time at the institute really thinking through that issue, because that’s one that’s close to our hearts here at Ithaca College as a private institution.

GB:  What are some of the most important qualities of leadership in your opinion? How did the Leading Change Institute help you as a leader?

DW:  I’ve already said the most important aspect of leadership is the human side of it. It’s the people. I think that was affirmed through the LCI program: having a vision, being able to articulate the vision, listening to people, understanding your strengths and your weaknesses, and then filling out your team—your working group—to provide a balance. I think a lot of time was spent on those types of issues. One of the powerful pieces of both programs was bringing in outside experts and leaders in the field and having conversations with them. One thing that LCI did, I believe, more than Frye—I think Frye was a little bit more about the substance. We focused on the substance of what people were talking about in terms of the area, whether it’s public policy or general education, things like that. At LCI, we focused on the content, but we also spent a lot of time analyzing the leadership style of each person. I think that was very powerful.

GB:   What words of wisdom can you offer to potential attendees and to former Fryers to encourage them to return to the Leading Change Institute?

DW:  Well, first that this is not the Frye Institute. It’s the Leading Change Institute. Even though you may have participated in the Frye Institute, don’t expect the exact same thing, but on the other hand, don’t expect the exact same thing. So it’s a positive. You go there and you will expand your network of people to interact with. It will give you insights into and ideas about things that are going on today, and it really is an opportunity to continue to build on your skills and knowledge about leading.

Postdoc Seminar: The Benefits of Cross-Disciplinary Learning

Earlier this month, CLIR Program Officer Christa Williford blogged from CLIR’s annual Postdoctoral Fellowship Program summer seminar, held on the campus of Bryn Mawr College. The purpose of the summer seminar is to build a cohort—to create an environment in which new fellows can share their diverse expertise while focusing on the “big picture” issues in higher education. The following is excerpted from her blog, available in full at

Just as I do every year, I leave the seminar convinced that this year’s new cohort has a special kind of brilliance. This is a group of energetic, open-minded, and thoughtful individuals who are unafraid to ask questions—often very difficult ones: How can we optimize our use of technology to help control the rising costs of higher education? Could the same resources help us better prepare primary and secondary students for higher learning? How can we develop effective and more sustainable strategies for research data curation, digital preservation, and the review and dissemination of scholarship?

Not only do our fellows ask these questions, the remarkable thing that we see at the seminar is their coming to accept responsibility for helping to find answers. The generosity of the prominent and gifted thinkers who visit us—some coming loyally year after year despite being impossibly busy people—inspires confidence in the fellows, but at the same time much of the growth that happens during the fellows’ “CLIR Camp” comes from their intellectual engagement with one another.

My theory is that the key to a successful seminar lies somewhere in the combination of a set of shared values—research, teaching, service, the preservation of our cultural and intellectual histories, and broad access to all—and a group of people with very different kinds of expertise. This is hardly a profound observation; after all, the best libraries exhibit the same dual sense of coherence and breadth. We strive to foster the same combination of convergence and heterogeneity in pretty much all that we do at CLIR.

Satisfying as our seminar may have been for me and (I hope) for our newest fellows, it strikes me that opportunities for deep engagement with others who have different kinds of training are still too few and far between for many of us in libraries and the academy. Our daily work requires us to stay current in our own narrow fields, leaving us without much time to reflect or to examine what we do from new perspectives. Where can we make space for these moments? Within our fellowship program I hope we can find ways to remind our fellows—all 88 of them, past and present—to make this space in their working lives. I also hope we can find ways to remain attentive to what has been rare and valuable in the fellowship experience as we grow.

We would welcome any thoughts or advice from those who are or who have been connected with the fellowship, or others. With our ten-year anniversary (!) approaching very fast and recruitment of our 2014 hosts and candidates set to begin any minute now, it is an opportune time to consider what impact the program may have had, what its significance to libraries and higher education might be, as well as what it might become in the future.

Host Institutions Sought: CLIR/DLF Fellowships in Data Curation

CLIR, in cooperation with its Digital Library Federation (DLF) program, is now seeking academic libraries, data centers, or other research institutions interested in hosting a 2014-2016 CLIR/DLF Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation for the Sciences and Social Sciences.

These two-year fellowships will provide recent science and social science Ph.D.s with professional development, education, and training opportunities in research data curation. The fellows’ work must draw upon their disciplinary expertise in order to advance research data practices and services at their host institutions.

Hosts may include any academic, independent, public, or government library, archive, or museum, or any partnership or consortium made up of the same, provided it has a demonstrable need of a fellow’s subject expertise to pursue a project or initiative specifically related to data curation that is also commensurate with its mission. Fellowships are open to any specialty or domain in the sciences or social sciences in which the Ph.D. is the terminal degree.

Participating host institutions will pay all salary and benefits costs for the 2014-2016 fellowships. Through a generous grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, CLIR will pay all costs for each fellow’s education and training.

As with all fellowships in CLIR’s program, host institutions benefit from having the expertise of accomplished researchers who can invigorate approaches to collections and services. The program offers early career scholars and scientists exposure to new methodologies, the chance to develop new technical skills, and an opportunity explore alternative career paths.

Additional information, including instructions for fellowship candidates and example job descriptions for current and past CLIR postdoctoral fellows, is available on CLIR’s website.

Aspiring hosts with questions about hosting CLIR/DLF Postdoctoral Fellows in Data Curation for the Sciences and Social Sciences should contact Program Officer Christa Williford at

Host applications will be accepted through October 1, 2013 on CLIR’s website at

DLF Forum Registration Open

Registration is now open for the 2013 DLF Forum, which will take place November 4-6 in Austin, Texas, at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center. Participation is open to all who are interested in contributing to and playing an active part in the successful future of digital librareis, museum and archives services, and collections. The Forum will feature presentations and panels, workshops, research updates, working sessions, demonstrations, and more. Keynote speakers include R. David Lankes, professor and Dean’s Scholar for the New Librarianship at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and director of the Information Institute of Syracuse; and Char Booth, head of instruction services and e-learning librarian at the Claremont Colleges Library. Register now through October 19 at Fellowship and travel awards are available, but applications must be received by September 6. Eligibility requirements vary; see for more information.

Welcome to New CLIR Sponsors and DLF Members

CLIR welcomes new sponsors Middle Tennessee State University, Tufts University, and the University of Victoria.

DLF welcomes new members Princeton Theological Seminary and University of Wyoming.

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