Board Retreat 2007

The NYSHEI Governing Board held its 2007 retreat in Schoharie, New York. This bucolic setting gave us a chance to discuss the statewide environment in which NYSHEI operates and our priorities for the next year. Here is a short overview of the retreat.

1. We held a workshop on membership development to determine how we can enhance benefits to our current members and reach out to new members. We reconfirmed that our highest priority is advocacy. We committed to keeping members informed of the political developments in Albany and to increase our lobbying efforts upon behalf of the NYSHEI members. We ask member institutions to become involved by talking to their stakeholders and political allies about NYSHEI and its efforts to obtain state funding of high-end research database to help with economic development and workforce development. Our Executive Director will assist with those efforts by alerting members about our legislative agenda and informing members how they can help with the campaign.

2. The Board held a informal briefing and discussion with E. J. McMahon, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute of Public Policy, on economic development and libraries. He expounded upon the problems facing New York from the brain drain and the underachieving economy and discussed ways that an innovation economy coupled with a knowledge-based infrastructure could bring about economic expansion and workforce development. This will be useful for NYSHEI as it works with the Commission on Higher Education on ways to demonstrate how academic libraries contribute to economic and workforce development and how state funding of research databases could serve as a catalyst for great expansion of the innovation economy.

3. The Board gave approval to several initiatives to improve our effectiveness as an advocacy and membership organization:
a. We accepted our first “associate member” from a research organization with a mission similar to academic libaries. We encouraged the Membership Committee to look for other institutions who might be interested in joining us.
b. We strongly endorsed the “White Paper” and the “Policy Paper” that were developed by Jason Kramer and a small working group for the Commission on Higher Education. We believe that those papers will help sell our ideas to the decision-makers in Albany.
c. We discussed how NYSHEI can continue to expand its influence. We accepted an idea to work with other associations interested in libraries and higher education, including doing small partial sponsorship of coffee breaks and similar events at conference to increase our name recognition and exposure.
d. We discussed the possibility of engaging in a study of the economic impact of academic libraries in New York State as a way of showing legislators, the governor’s top staff and other state and regional stakeholders what academic libraries can do for business and the research community.
f. Finally, we applauded our Executive Director, Jason Kramer, for everything that he has done in his first six months of office to increase communication with the members, to expand the web site (www.nyshei.org), to promote NYSHEI as an organization, and to develop and advocate for NYSHEI’s top legislative agenda, the ARIA proposal for research databases ($15 million).

Please feel free to share your comments.

Gary Thompson
Siena College
2007 NYSHEI Chair

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