Doctoral Dissertation Defense: Scheduled!

I am thrilled to share with everyone that my dissertation defense is scheduled for next Thursday. I'll be defending via Zoom (a Skype-like video conferencing software)--welcome to the future! Also, in terms of preparation for the defense, a huge shout-out to my CSUCI Broome Library colleagues who sat through my first-ever run-through of the slides, and to Fabulous Husband Jed, who sits through more than his earthly share of my practicing.

Text of email sent from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga's Graduate School:

The UTC Graduate School is pleased to announce that Ms. Colleen Susan Harris-Keith will present her dissertation research titled, “An Exploratory Study of the Relationship Between Academic Library Work Experience and Perceptions of Leadership Skill Development Relevant to Academic Library Directorship,” on March 19 at 10:00 am in Hunter Hall #208. Everyone is invited to attend.

Candidate for Doctorate of Education: Learning and Leadership

Chairperson: Dr. Ted Miller


Though research into academic library director leadership has established leadership skills and qualities required for success, little research has been done to establish where in their career library directors were most likely to acquire those skills and qualities. This research project surveyed academic library directors at Carnegie-designated Master’s granting institutions about their previous library positions, and what skills and qualities they perceived to have exercised in those positions. Five research questions were assessed. RQ1: Which of the respondents’ last five positions previous to the directorship are most often represented in the path to the academic library directorship? RQ2: Which of the previous positions held by the respondents are perceived to have helped prepare directors the most for the qualities and skills required of the position? RQ3: Is the perception of library leadership skill and quality development equal across departmental experience? RQ4: What, if any position(s), appear to be the “gatekeepers” for academic librarian skill and competency development? RQ5: What are the skills most commonly perceived to be used in each department?

Findings revealed that respondents perceived there to be great opportunities to exercise leadership qualities in previous positions, but few opportunities to develop more empirically measurable leadership skills. In addition, respondents perceived those skill development opportunities to be available only once working in the position of library director or in the Administration department of academic libraries.


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