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 KirchnerIn Absentia:Jon Cawthorne, John CulshawCNI Spring 20141 April 2014
2 Overview of talk Introduction and genesis of project Project methodologyReasons to start or fund a Center of ExcellenceReactions to Center of Excellence definitionCenter of Excellence business modelsNext steps
3 Our Team José Diaz Heather Gendron Susan Fliss Geneva Henry The Ohio State UniversitySusan FlissHarvard UniversityHeather GendronUniversity of North Carolina, Chapel HillGeneva HenryGeorge Washington UniversityJoy KirchnerUniversity of MinnesotaJon CawthorneUniversity of West VirginiaJohn CulshawUniversity of Iowa
5 Who and WhenMeeting of ARL Research Library Leadership Fellows with Mellon FoundationBrainstorming 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 preservationData managementUse of multimedia in teaching, learning and researchInformation discoveryScholarly communicationsDigital humanitiesGoalsAssess viability of centers as an approach to provide services for multiple institutionsProvide guidance to centers and funders for the formation of centers of excellence for information servicesDeveloped profiles for 34 centersInterviewed 19 center directors and staff and 7 funders
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 FoundationIMLSMellon FoundationNEHNSFRockefeller FoundationSloan FoundationOverall, we conducted 26 semi-structured and recorded interviews: 7 of the interviews were with these funding agency’s program officers and directors
10 CentersHASTAC: Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and CollaboratoryInteruniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)Institute for Advanced Technologies in the Humanities (IATH)MATRIX Center for Digital Humanities and Social SciencesNational Humanities CenterPublic Knowledge Project (PKP)RENCI: Renaissance Computing InstituteRoy Rosenzweig Center for History and New MediaScholars’ LabTAPOR: Text Analysis Portal for ResearchBerkman Center for Internet and SocietyBiodiversity Heritage LibraryCenter of Excellence for Learning in Education, Science, and Technology (CELEST)Center for Next Generation of Teaching and LearningCenter for Studies in Higher EducationDataONEDigital Curation Centre (UK)Electronic Cultural Atlas InitiativeGRAND (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 questionsCould 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 AnalysisIndividual team members - harvesting of “key quotes” and sections of interview transcripts into a single, shared documentAs a group - rapid-fire analysis:approx 1 hour analysis/interviewidentify patterns & best quotesarticulate high-level insights and reflective questionsAll 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 infrastructuresTo bridge disciplinesTo respond to significant cultural phenomenaTo create a sanctuary for scholarsTo respond to specific questions/solicitationsTo answer a particular RFP
16 Reality check To understand the ethical role of technology To understand the internet’s impact on societyTo transform all of scholarly publishing into an open form of communicationTo enhance scholarshipTo increase the flow and accessibility of e- scienceTo advocate national and internationallyTo reach a variety of audiences
17 What funders seek Originality Engines of innovation Impact Growth SustainabilityInterdisciplinaryCommon goalsPartnership Technological Challenges Didactic Potential Agile model Governance model Leadership Metrics
19 CoE Reactions … Corporate-sounding; too operational Pretentious; can’t proclaim to be a CoEFocused on status rather than value of effortsMissing ultimate goal or aspirationsDiscourages innovation and collaborationA CoE holds a gold star – is it for its services or product or is it in relation to others?Doesn’t put leadership as centralDoesn’t value the peopleWhen 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 collaborationQuoted 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 MellonWilliam Craig, Matthew Fisher et al. Generalized Criteria and Evaluation Method for Center of Excellence: A Preliminary ReportWe 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 CharacteristicsProviding leadership or expertise in a field or specific areaInnovativeInterdisciplinaryCollaborative and shares in a deliberative wayEngages and listens to a broad communityTransformative impactAgile, nimble, evolves, adapts, exploresTransformative impactAllows researchers to do more and better researchServes 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 centerConcept of nodes rather than the placeSphere of expertiseMechanism for sharingFocused expertise delivered broadlyProduces an impact in the world
23 Validation and Visibility Certification for a CoE – validate what they doAffirmation - being sought by others for the center’s expertiseNeeds a public-facing personalitySelect experts who will shineRecruit different expertise periodicallySome 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 instabilityRecruit 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]
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/provincialendowmentsmembership, partner dues, in-kind contributionsrevenue 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 fundsFee based services included- publishing or open access service, tool development, hosting feesTraining: summer program fees, workshops, hosted conferences, or in-house trainingMembership: 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” FundraisingTime 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 fundingBHL: 1/3 time spent on fundingMATRIX: 50% times spent on fundingPKP: work on this almost every dayBerkman - a "distributed fundraising approach". Director spends 10-15% on fundraising - research director, managing director, etc. do similar amount
28 Ideal business modelDiversified funding portfolio with long term or permanent base funding in placemultiple revenue streams (not single source)stable base funding plus additional innovation fundsInstitutional support/permanent support for core activityFor long-term sustainabilityNeed smaller % of budget reliant on one-time fundingCenter 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? - JoyCenters Q8Centers Q7Funders 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 NatHumCtrGoes 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 grantsE.g. One that starts a business and uses profits of the business to cross-subsidize workE.g. Production of knowledge products that can be sold.Evidence of stability: clear governance modelEvidence of partnership & cross-institutional collaborationEvidence funding builds capacity for the futureA championthe concept of diversified portfolio parallels what CoE directors said they thought was a good funding modelfunders 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/innovationGrant funding model difficult and time- consuming, but it’s a motivator to innovation.Trusted champion/personality to lead and influence.
33 A few more things to do Receive feedback on draft report CNI audienceCenters and funders interviewedFocus session with library directorsStakeholders most likely impacted by centers for information servicesDetermine likelihood of forming centers of excellenceRelease final report by end of June 2014Will be posted online on CLIR websiteDeliver to Andrew W. Mellon FoundationDistribute to all individuals interviewed