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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Head West, Young Woman: I'm Joining Cal State Channel Islands in 2014!


Remember that post where I mentioned that I wanted to move back to instruction work? Well, it looks like I will have that opportunity.


As of July 1, 2014, I'll be an instruction and reference librarian on the tenure track with the team at the CSU Channel Islands Broome Library.


Let there be confetti and chair-dancing!


More exciting news: due to the ongoing UTC Library re-org, I will be joining the Instruction and Reference department here, and will be able to contribute in that capacity at UTC until the move in late June. I've desperately missed the classroom and reference work, so I'm thrilled to move into a more hands-on-instruction role.


Some brief notes about the experience at CI, which was vastly different than the other interviews (which followed standard academic scheduling):


CSU:CI had a very unique interview process. They bring every candidate for a faculty position to campus on one of two weekends, which means you get to mill about and talk to candidates from all across the disciplines -- including your own. (Intriguing, yes?) I arrived late Wednesday evening, a shuttle met me at LAX, and whisked me off to a hotel in Camarillo, where I was quickly checked in by friendly staff and handed my candidate packet of information. After reading through it, I went to bed. Thursday was interview day 1. Every candidate had an individual time slot of 20 minutes with President Rush, then 20 minutes with Provost Hutchinson, and my third stop was with the library director Steve Stratton. (I imagine those from other disciplines met their deans or department heads.) It ran like clockwork, and the CSU:CI staff chaperoned us efficiently from one place to the next around the hotel, giving the administrators time cues when necessary. Before, after, and in-between, I was able to meet and chat with the other candidates and the university staff. It was a wonderful experience. That first day there was an evening meet and greet where everyone mingled, which I missed, due to getting sick after lunch. My sister stopped by with ginger ale, water, and weird tablets that triathletes use in their water to remain awesome. I was pretty certain my innards had blown the interview for me. I left a message with the CI staff about being ill, and Debra Hoffman, the search chair, called to make sure I was okay and didn't need anything. Everyone was very nice, which made me extra miserable to be missing an important part of the interview.

The next day consisted of touring the library, doing the presentation (I knew these were my kind of people when they chuckled at "superfantabulous" being in the title), meeting the library staff, question session with the committee, and some more group interview sessions and general mingling with candidates, faculty, and staff. The day ended with a tour of campus, which is stunningly gorgeous. The Broome Library is particularly beautiful, and the mountains in the background against a blue sky in a land where apparently sunny and 75 is the norm...well, between the enthusiasm of the faculty and staff and the beauty of the area, CSU:CI couldn't ask for better marketing to prospective faculty.


Some fun facts culled from the "About CSU Channel Islands" page include:

  • Founded in 2002, it's the 23rd and newest of the CSU campuses.
  • CSU:CI is a three-time winner of The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Great College to Work For” designation, and was recognized on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll three years in a row.
  • In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education designated CI as a Hispanic Serving Institution for having an enrollment that is more than 25 percent Hispanic.

Things not in their fact sheet, but that convinced my husband and I that it is a great fit include:

  • An actively engaged library team that, when they were together and joking during sessions, felt like a workfamily. I think it's a good sign when the staff can comfortably rib the director.
  • The fact that the teaching faculty have very strong relationships with the library, and are looking to continue that trend as the University grows.
  • Adventure, and not just the cross-country move with the two bassets. The university is growing, the library is involved across campus and respected by faculty, and the students are go-getters. I'm looking forward to being a part of the university's growth.
  • My sister happens to live in the area, and kindly delivered ginger ale, water, laughter, and hugs when I got violently ill one of the evenings I was in Camarillo to interview. Hooray for Meaghen-proximity!
  • My husband and I are working hard at developing new lifestyle habits that involve deliberate joy, exercise, and better habits like eating fresh foods (we're doing the Whole30 thing, which is supposed to help with autoimmune issues). Southern California has beautiful weather which means we can be outside more, fabulous produce year-round, hiking/biking/walking trails, and the beach (which I contend, after growing up on Long Island, is good for the soul).
  • While many colleges and universities are preaching retention and student success, and working hard to revamp processes to improve those factors, CSU:CI has really made a huge effort to effectively be a small liberal arts college experience in a state school system, even as they grow. Instead of focusing on students as tuition dollars, they have created an atmosphere of partnership and student support that really call to me and the reasons I became an academic librarian. The students feel incredibly close to their professors, classes remain small which helps with individual attention, and creativity is encouraged in both students and faculty, evidenced by new course creations, interesting co-teaching partnerships, and students moving outside the classroom to help develop solutions for community issues. The place was a hotbed of ideas, and the newer faculty assured me that it's not just window-dressing done for the interview weekends. They mean it.
  • Related to that last, the University also treats faculty like people. I received calls from the library director Mr. Stratton, Provost Hutchinson, and President Rush as we worked out the details, and they seemed as genuinely excited to have me as I was to join them.
  • Sunny and 75 year-round may mean that the RA/AS is minimized, since I'm so weather-sensitive. Southern California might be my anti-Kryptonite!

For those interested in the mid-career job hunt process, I'll post more about that later. For now, much to do here as I transition out of Access Services and into Instruction & Reference.

2 comments:

Angel Rivera said...

It sounds like a great opportunity. I hear ya on the desire to get back to instruction. It's what drove me to my job now. Good luck.

Best, and keep on blogging.

laura k said...

How I have not yet said Congratulations, and YAY! The CSU is lucky to have you. I'm up at Sonoma State University. I hope we get a chance to work together at some point!