The University Record, April 24, 2000

Rackham, University Library launch Fellows in Scholarly Communication

By Jane R. Elgass

A collaborative initiative launched by the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies and the University Library promises to reap benefits for several post-doctoral students each year and enhance the Library’s ability to explore new dimensions of the scholarly communication process and related library services.

The Fellows in Scholarly Communication Program is designed to draw on the post-docs’ expertise in their subject matter, while exposing them to the changing environment of scholarly communication, ultimately using the combination to provide enhanced resources for the academic community.

“The fellows will work in their area of expertise and learn about the more technical aspects of communication from the Library staff,” explains William Gosling, director of the University Library. “The program addresses two needs,” he adds, “the first being full-time employment in a meaningful position for recent Ph.D.s who may be interested in considering alternative career paths, and our need to be more creative in the ways we provide and shape information.”

Rackham Senior Associate Dean Kerry Larson, who also is associate professor of English, notes that the program “gives post-docs an opportunity to deepen their research interests and apply their expertise in new ways. These appointments continue their intellectual agenda,” he says “They will be able to exercise genuine creativity.”

Gosling, who hopes to develop links between the fellows program and School of Information, sees the initiative as an exciting opportunity that he hopes will provide a model for expansion. “We’re taking a step in looking at how scholarly communication is changing in the disciplines and in determining how we can help faculty and students make the best use of new approaches.”

Rackham Dean Earl Lewis notes that the initiative addresses concerns expressed last fall during a visit to the U-M by Billy Frye, Emory University chancellor and former U-M provost.

“Frye spoke of the need for the modern university to meet the many challenges posed by the dissemination, deployment and use of knowledge and knowledge-based resources,” Lewis explains. “And he specifically spoke to the need of recruiting ‘top-flight minds out of other fields’ as one vital way of grappling with such challenges. The Fellows in Scholarly Communication Program is very much addressed to the spirit of these concerns.”

Two fellows will be appointed in the initial phase of the program. Appointments will be for two years, carrying full benefits and a $36,000 minimum salary.

Successful candidates for the position will be those who can best articulate how their disciplinary background applies to issues related to scholarly communication. Among the potential areas of focus, considered broadly, are visual culture, currency in scientific research, digital humanities text collections, media rights, bioinformatics, scholarly publishing, multimedia course environments and distance learning applications, GIS and numeric data, natural history museums, and primary resources and special collections.

Interested recent Ph.D.s should submit a statement describing their interest in scholarly communication issues and relevant qualifications and experience, a current curriculum vitae and letters of recommendation from their dissertation adviser and/or department chair by June 2. Applications will be reviewed in June with potential start dates in July or August.

Send applications to Fellows in Scholarly Communication, 818 Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library 1205; fax (734) 763-5080; lib.fellows@umich.edu.

For more information visit the Web at www.lib.umich.edu/libhome/Fellows.