39 A Chance to Participate | Michelle Twait

Working collegially both on campus and in the field provides me with vital access to information and a chance to participate in decision making that will enhance the library’s programs and, in turn, gives me an opportunity to contribute a valuable perspective to constituencies outside the library.

At the departmental level, I serve on one standing committee, the Publications Committee.  This committee is charged with coordinating the production and maintenance of library publications which, in our definition, includes the library’s website.  The website is the gateway to much of our collection and, as such, students need to feel invited to visit.  In my committee work, I continually seek to provide a website that facilitates easy access to the resources faculty and students need for teaching and learning.

Within the library, I have also worked with colleagues on staff development initiatives.  Along with Sonja Timmerman and Sarah Monson, I planned and implemented a series of activities for staff members.  These activities ranged from discussions on the library’s mission statement to an exploration of individual strengths.  We tackled the valuable, though difficult, task of negotiating differences in how various staff members perceive the library’s collegial management structure.

In my role as liaison to various departments, I assist departments in preparing for their external reviews.  This involves analyzing the holdings in our collection, both online and print, in specific subject areas.  I also provide statistics about the instruction sessions typically offered in courses in the department.  In many cases, I meet with the external reviewers to answer questions or provide a guided tour of the facilities and collections.

For the past few years, I have participated in the informal “Sophomore committee,” led by Chris Johnson and Amy Pehrson.  This group provides a forum for people interested in the unique issues and challenges of the sophomore year experience.  In addition to planning activities for sophomore students, we also discuss research and trends in higher education related to the sophomore year experience.

I have served on the International and Domestic Programs Committee (IDPC) for the past three years.  In addition to participating in the standard work of the committee, I volunteered to serve on the Global Focus subcommittee of the IDPC, a group charged with developing a proposal for a program in which the College would focus on a particular region or theme.  Having thoroughly enjoyed the work of this committee, I am excited to have been re-elected to the IDPC for another three-year term.

Last year, I was invited to join a working group for the leadership development strategic initiative.  My contributions to this group included reviewing the library’s holdings, making recommendations and budget estimations for collection development, and serving on the subcommittee that developed the curricular components of the final proposal.

I have enjoyed the many opportunities I have had to serve the campus and St. Peter community.  Gustavus aims to prepare students for “lives of leadership and service” and I hope to be a positive role model in this manner.  My involvement also demonstrates my commitment to the College, my department, my colleagues, the students, and the citizens of St. Peter.


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