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José Diaz, Susan Fliss, Heather Gendron, Geneva Henry and Joy Kirchner

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Presentation on theme: "José Diaz, Susan Fliss, Heather Gendron, Geneva Henry and Joy Kirchner"— Presentation transcript:

1 An Exploration of the “Center of Excellence” Model for Information Services
José Diaz, Susan Fliss, Heather Gendron, Geneva Henry and Joy Kirchner In Absentia: Jon Cawthorne, John Culshaw CNI Spring 2014 1 April 2014

2 Overview of talk Introduction and genesis of project
Project methodology Reasons to start or fund a Center of Excellence Reactions to Center of Excellence definition Center of Excellence business models Next steps

3 Our Team José Diaz Heather Gendron Susan Fliss Geneva Henry
The Ohio State University Susan Fliss Harvard University Heather Gendron University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Geneva Henry George Washington University Joy Kirchner University of Minnesota Jon Cawthorne University of West Virginia John Culshaw University of Iowa

4 Genesis of Project

5 Who and When Meeting of ARL Research Library Leadership Fellows with Mellon Foundation Brainstorming about future library directions: does every library need to develop all skills needed to fully support information services for 21st century scholarship? Planning grant awarded to explore Centers of Excellence for Information Services as shared expertise

6 What New services for 21st century libraries include: Goals
Digital archiving and preservation Data management Use of multimedia in teaching, learning and research Information discovery Scholarly communications Digital humanities Goals Assess viability of centers as an approach to provide services for multiple institutions Provide guidance to centers and funders for the formation of centers of excellence for information services Developed profiles for 34 centers Interviewed 19 center directors and staff and 7 funders

7 Methodology

8 Our high-level questions
How are effective and successful centers formed, how do they operate, and how are they sustained over time? What are the criteria for funding both the formation and long-term sustainability of centers? How are centers assessed?

9 Semi-Structured Interviews
Hewlett Foundation IMLS Mellon Foundation NEH NSF Rockefeller Foundation Sloan Foundation Overall, we conducted 26 semi-structured and recorded interviews: 7 of the interviews were with these funding agency’s program officers and directors

10 Centers HASTAC: Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) Institute for Advanced Technologies in the Humanities (IATH) MATRIX Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences National Humanities Center Public Knowledge Project (PKP) RENCI: Renaissance Computing Institute Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media Scholars’ Lab TAPOR: Text Analysis Portal for Research Berkman Center for Internet and Society Biodiversity Heritage Library Center of Excellence for Learning in Education, Science, and Technology (CELEST) Center for Next Generation of Teaching and Learning Center for Studies in Higher Education DataONE Digital Curation Centre (UK) Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative GRAND (Graphics, Animation and New Media / Graphisme, animation et nouveaux médias NCE Inc.) 19 of the interviews were with Centers of Excellence directors and staff. These were hour-long interviews, most of which took place on site at Center and Agency offices, some were conducted via Skype.

11 Our main questions Could you describe for us the genesis of [name of center], the desired impacts of [name of center]’s work, and your role? In what ways does the center foster and/or instigate innovation or entrepreneurship? What kinds of assessments do you conduct to measure the performance and impact of the center? What would you say are the biggest challenges facing the center currently? When the center encounters internally initiatives or projects that are not working as expected, how does the center bring this forward and address the areas of challenge? My understanding is that the [CoE] partners with ____________________. Are there other partners? Now, thinking of an example when a successful partnership was established, what contributed to its development and what were its benefits? What is your current model for funding and for seeking funding? What would you consider an ideal business model for a CoE? We have been using the label “center of excellence” in our study. Do you perceive [CoE] to be a “center of excellence”? Why or why not? Could you talk a little bit about future directions for the center? What are some of your biggest “lessons learned” with running the center? We asked main questions per interview, depending on the interview, with prompts ready if we needed the interviewee to elaborate more. We asked Center directors to give an overview of their center and its desired impacts, to talk about the ways in which the center fosters and/or instigates innovation or entrepreneurship. We wanted to know what types of assessments they use to measure the performance and the impact of the center. Our interviews explored the role of partnerships and what successful partnerships look like. We spent a lot of time talking with Center directors about their funding streams and what an ideal business model for a center might look like. Finally, we talked about the “center of excellence” concept, what it meant to them, and if they considered their center as in this category. The questions we asked of Funding agency program officers and directors mirrored the questions that we asked of center directors. We were interested in seeing where their answers aligned with those of the center directors and where there was divergence. We asked funders additional questions about conditions for funding, factors that drive a successful center, and about any perceived risks to funding centers.

12 Preliminary Analysis Individual team members - harvesting of “key quotes” and sections of interview transcripts into a single, shared document As a group - rapid-fire analysis: approx 1 hour analysis/interview identify patterns & best quotes articulate high-level insights and reflective questions All of the interviews we conducted were recorded and transcribed. We imported these transcribed documents into Google Docs, to facilitate group analysis. We first worked individually, each of us closely reading the transcripts from the interviews we participated in. Each of us pulled meaningful quotes from the interviews and then pasted them into a shared document, organized by interview question and either “center” or “funding agency”. After that, we split into two groups and analysed the transcriptions together. This last stage was done in-person. We did rapid fire sessions, allowing ourselves just 1 hour per interview question to analyse the quotes, identify patterns in responses, narrow down to select key quotes, and articulate high-level insights and reflective questions. We’ll continue with this process as we work to develop our final report. Next, Jose will give an overview of our preliminary findings regarding reasons for starting or funding a center of excellence.

13 What reasons did people give for starting or funding a CoE?

14 Centers of Excellence “Success here means that you’re reaching—that you’re creating something that would reach across institutions.”

15 Creative Impulse To forge multidisciplinary approaches
To build common infrastructures To bridge disciplines To respond to significant cultural phenomena To create a sanctuary for scholars To respond to specific questions/solicitations To answer a particular RFP

16 Reality check To understand the ethical role of technology
To understand the internet’s impact on society To transform all of scholarly publishing into an open form of communication To enhance scholarship To increase the flow and accessibility of e- science To advocate national and internationally To reach a variety of audiences

17 What funders seek Originality Engines of innovation Impact Growth
Sustainability Interdisciplinary Common goals Partnership Technological Challenges Didactic Potential Agile model Governance model Leadership Metrics

18 Reactions to Center of Excellence definition

19 CoE Reactions … Corporate-sounding; too operational
Pretentious; can’t proclaim to be a CoE Focused on status rather than value of efforts Missing ultimate goal or aspirations Discourages innovation and collaboration A CoE holds a gold star – is it for its services or product or is it in relation to others? Doesn’t put leadership as central Doesn’t value the people When first discussing the concept of COE, many were put off by the concept of “excellence” Discourages innovation and collaboration because suggests excellence above all others. Discourages collaboration because it implies that a CoE claims a specific territory and doesn’t invite collaboration Quoted Jacques Derrida – there is no center at the center – trying to be the center is the problem. So how did the interviewees define a CoE?

20 SEI definition of “Center of Excellence”
"A center of excellence is a premier organization providing an exceptional product or service in an assigned sphere of expertise and within a specific field of technology, business, or government, consistent with the unique requirements and capabilities of the COE organization." Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon William Craig, Matthew Fisher et al. Generalized Criteria and Evaluation Method for Center of Excellence: A Preliminary Report We borrowed this definition from Carnegie Mellon’s Software Engineering Institute, as both a point of exploration and as a point of departure. Using this definition, we asked interview participants if it fit their mental model of what a “center of excellence” is and how broadly or narrowly they believe a center of excellence should be defined. We also asked center directors if they considered their organization to be, by this definition, a “center of excellence” and why or why not. But once we shared this definition, they identified with “exceptional product or service” and “assigned sphere of excellence” Overall, humanities centers and funders were less comfortable with the concept of CoE; the definition resonated better with science and engineering centers and funders.

21 CoE Characteristics Providing leadership or expertise in a field or specific area Innovative Interdisciplinary Collaborative and shares in a deliberative way Engages and listens to a broad community Transformative impact Agile, nimble, evolves, adapts, explores Transformative impact Allows researchers to do more and better research Serves future needs not yet identified by the community – pushing the boundaries of innovation. Many descriptors all with the common thread – signifying evolution with openness and mechanisms to encourage or embrace change. For a COE, it is not enough to enable change, a CoE embraces or seeks it as the center itself evolves.

22 Alternative CoE Definition
Network rather than a center Concept of nodes rather than the place Sphere of expertise Mechanism for sharing Focused expertise delivered broadly Produces an impact in the world

23 Validation and Visibility
Certification for a CoE – validate what they do Affirmation - being sought by others for the center’s expertise Needs a public-facing personality Select experts who will shine Recruit different expertise periodically Some centers mentioned the idea of certification – to validate what they do – similar to LEED certification. If a center is being approached by other organizations and centers, it is a sign of affirmation of their expertise and experience. Funders emphasized having a high profile and making an impact on research; Need an outward facing personality – a personality driving the center and presenting the face of expertise. Caution – personalities can leave creating instability Recruit different expertise – the center will be more competitive and will bring in grants. Mix up the expertise occasionally and periodically to stay fresh and keep generating attention. Even change the institutions a center partners with. In defining the concept and definitions of a CoE, [next slide]

24 “Excellence is a very unusual term.”

25 Center of Excellence Business Models

26 General funding model Funding sources:
Most based in institutional setting, partnership with other institutions, resourced with faculty sometimes grad students. Funding sources: grants (matching grants, sponsored research, federal, private foundations) university, state/provincial endowments membership, partner dues, in-kind contributions revenue from products, fee-based services, training opportunities (includes hosted conferences, workshops) Core funding: multi-year grant, endowment, state funds (generally about 1/3 of incoming funds) Shorter term: 2/3 soft money: grants, sponsored research, state funds Fee based services included- publishing or open access service, tool development, hosting fees Training: summer program fees, workshops, hosted conferences, or in-house training Membership: partnership requires a membership, consortium membership, One had memberships with varying levels of buy-in: industrial membership had to committ to $50,000 a year for 3 years. Notable that this is a humanities center.

27 “grant funding time-consuming but it drives a lot of our innovation”
Fundraising Time spent on seeking funding: 30-50%. Some have a distributed fundraising approach where Director, managing director and others dedicate % of time on this activity. “grant funding time-consuming but it drives a lot of our innovation” “I think it is really important to have grant funding model and to keep us hungry and innovative” Rosenzweig: 30%-40% of time spent on funding BHL: 1/3 time spent on funding MATRIX: 50% times spent on funding PKP: work on this almost every day Berkman - a "distributed fundraising approach". Director spends 10-15% on fundraising - research director, managing director, etc. do similar amount

28 Ideal business model Diversified funding portfolio with long term or permanent base funding in place multiple revenue streams (not single source) stable base funding plus additional innovation funds Institutional support/permanent support for core activity For long-term sustainability Need smaller % of budget reliant on one-time funding Center has to have a clear sense of purpose and a strong leader who can sell the vision into the future. Strong community need for services they provide. What business models for Centers of Excellence did we learn about from the interviews? - Joy Centers Q8 Centers Q7 Funders Q7

29 “Nobody gives you money because you need it
“Nobody gives you money because you need it. What they want to hear is that you’re doing great things, you’re confident, you’re optimistic, you’re committed, and they support that.” One of our most successfully funded humanities centers said this. -- p. 1 NatHumCtr Goes back to this notion of a champion that can sell, promote, successfully advocate for a Center. It is also what funders look for.

30 Funder perspective – Ideal is…
Clear indication of why a “center” is needed and where is there community synergy. Blended revenue scheme/diversified funding -not a permanent dependence on grants E.g. One that starts a business and uses profits of the business to cross-subsidize work E.g. Production of knowledge products that can be sold. Evidence of stability: clear governance model Evidence of partnership & cross-institutional collaboration Evidence funding builds capacity for the future A champion the concept of diversified portfolio parallels what CoE directors said they thought was a good funding model funders not interested in forever funding - more interested in starting up/innovation

31 Key insights Concept of diversified funding portfolio
Funders not interested in forever funding - start-up/innovation Grant funding model difficult and time- consuming, but it’s a motivator to innovation. Trusted champion/personality to lead and influence.

32 Next Steps

33 A few more things to do Receive feedback on draft report
CNI audience Centers and funders interviewed Focus session with library directors Stakeholders most likely impacted by centers for information services Determine likelihood of forming centers of excellence Release final report by end of June 2014 Will be posted online on CLIR website Deliver to Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Distribute to all individuals interviewed

34 Let’s Talk

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