Sprinting Toward Faculty Engagement: Adopting Project Management Approaches to Build Library-Faculty Relationships
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Purpose – In the spring of 2016, the University of Kansas Libraries piloted Research Sprints: One Week, One Project, a program aimed at cultivating relationships with faculty through deep project-based engagement.Methodology/approach – Three faculty members, matched with a team of library experts, worked intensively to complete a research or pedagogic project for one week in May. Critical to the program’s success was the use of project management methodologies and tools. These tools were essential to identifying task dependencies, developing workflows, and documenting work processes. Findings – The overall success of the Sprints demonstrated to faculty that library staff can be more than one-shot consultants; faculty collaborators learned first-hand that the library can be a true partner throughout the scholarly process. As an approach to user engagement, Sprints pose some considerations for library management, including the need for robust staff training in project management and teambuilding, internal resistance to utilizing project management tools, difficulty finding staff time and resources to commit for a short but high-concentrated period, and the need to align projects with staff expertise and availability. Originality/value – This chapter provides an assessment of the Sprints pilot, addressing some of the implications, potential benefits, and challenges of adopting and adapting Research Sprints to support library work. It will be of interest to project managers and library staff who are considering integrating project management methods into their outreach and services, and provides examples of how project management can inform library efforts to more deeply collaborate in advancing the scholarly work of local research and teaching communities.
This is a prepublication version of a book chapter submitted for the book Project Management in the Library Workplace, forthcoming in 2018 from Emerald Publishing.
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