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Moving forward in the career college library?

December 11, 2012

I have been avoiding writing a new post.  I admit it.  I like waiting till I really understand what is going on but reality sometimes just takes SOOO LONG!  And I have missed writing.  So let me give you a somewhat vague, not to personal glimpse into why I haven’t been posting as often and maybe ask for some of your thoughts and ideas.

Alright – let me get the personal stuff out-of-the-way first.  I am going through a divorce.  Yeah, it hasn’t been great – actually many days are hell but I am determined to come through with my head up and with a relationship with my ex-husband as friends as opposed to a spouse.  And as the saying goes, “it never rains it pours” so as I find myself going through this transition, other parts of my life seem to shift too.  I have sort of fallen off the Earth a bit trying to put some normal back into my life in the last few months, particularly for my children.  But at some point you need to dust yourself off and start moving forward again.

I have recently been selected for a promotion with my current employer.  I’m equal parts excited and nervous as it will be taking me out of the library in some major ways and that leads me to the real content of this post.  What are a librarians next steps within a for-profit world?

I know that within career colleges there is a huge range of types of schools.  My institution works mostly in associate degrees and certificate programs.  Recently we have been looking at very short 4-9 week programs.  Obviously there are different resource needs for a 4 week CNA program and a 2 year veterinary technology program.  What that means with my organization is that I currently hold the top-level library job.  There is no librarian oversight from our home office.  So what then is the growth potential for a librarian in that environment?  It has required a certain amount of soul-searching to decide what my long-term professional goals are and I KNOW I still don’t have it figured out.  What I do know is that right now I still want to stay in career education and so I’m taking a leap of faith.

My new role will be Director of Education for short-term career training (STCT).  And actually I’m not sure it’s much different from a librarian moving into an associate provost role or something similar.  Part of that role will be to ensure appropriate resources are available to students in those very short programs.  In addition I will be holding onto a few library duties in terms of database management and a sort of reference for the senior administration in terms of library needs.

But I’m interested in your thoughts.  How do you think is the best way to keep a foot in the library world?  What career plans do you have and how does your current employer help you get there?  I can’t wait to hear from you all!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. December 11, 2012 4:26 pm

    Jennifer, here at ITT I have a similar issue. I am the top of the library foodchain just by being the librarian of my campus, and all moves up in my company mean moving out of the library. I have had the opportunity in the past to become an academic associate dean, and have chosen that this is not the right move for me. I know that this will mean finding another organization in order to advance my career, and I am always on the lookout for the right position. My dean knows this will be the ultimate outcome, and I hope that when the time is right, she will be supportive of my seeking other library employment.

    Congratulations on your new position!

    • December 11, 2012 5:04 pm

      Thank you for your thoughts Librarienne. I sincerely appreciate them. I wonder if the libraries here and at ITT are set up the same way because of the type of degrees offered? I had spoken at one time to a national coordinator (not sure of the real title) for Everest College so I know some career colleges are set up that way. Then again, perhaps it has to do with the type of accreditation instead?

      It’s good to know which direction works for you and which doesn’t. Hoping that the “right position” comes your way at the perfect time.

      Thank you again!

  2. cranktastic permalink
    December 11, 2012 5:20 pm

    The question you need to ask yourself even further is: If for the cost is your school offering the best value to its students? Many for profits deserve the scrutiny they get. As a librarian – do you have that higher calling to do good by doing right? Or is making money the most important aspect of your career? That’s what you need to ask yourself.

    • December 13, 2012 2:55 pm

      That is for sure something that each person must think about Cranktastic. I know that I did my soul searching when I took this position and I am so grateful to be here now. It is so amazingly rewarding to see a student completely transform their lives and the lives of their children by making the commitment to come to school. I have seen amazing work happen here. In terms of making money it is a double edge sword. Certainly having money is not the most important thing in my life. I do want to leave something better behind me. And yet, I must provide for my family as each of us must do. I have found that if you do what you love that everything else takes care of itself. I am very happy to be doing something I love and believe in.

      Thank you so much for the comment! Hope to hear from you again!

  3. Snarky Prof permalink
    December 12, 2012 10:41 pm


    First, don’t assume that everyone who works at a for profit institution is “in it for the money”. As a veteran instructor and department chair at a for profit college, who has also taught in traditional institutions of higher learning, I can tell you that those who work at for profit colleges make far less than their counterparts in higher education. These individuals, like Jennifer, believe in helping students who want to earn a degree and start a career. In many cases, student attend for profits because they have been under severed by traditional academia. Don’t believe me? Read “Higher Education’s Gainful Employment and 90/10 Rules: Unintended “Scarlet Letters” for Minority, Low-Income, and Other At-Risk Students”

    Is the scrutiny justified? Yes, there are those for profits that engaged in inappropriate behavior. However, at some point, traditional academia will have to submit to the same regulations as the for profits. Public and not for profit colleges will have to explain their high debt to income ratio for those students who graduate with degrees in art history and work at Barnes and Noble. You speak of value in you comment. Many for profit colleges do not receive state aid; therefore, the cost has to make up in some manner. Public institutions increase their costs with more fees and tuition hikes because government funding and endowments have decreased. So, what is the difference?

    Quite frankly, your comments are arrogant and ill-informed.

    • December 13, 2012 3:46 pm

      Well said Snarky Prof. It is so easy to finger point when you don’t know the reality of what happens on the other side. I am guilty of this as much as anyone else. I was uncertain coming to a for-profit college at first. But as I mentioned in my comment to Cranktastic, I am so glad to be here now and help with the work that is done.

      Ultimately I think the money question is just who foots the bill when? In tradition college the state fronts the money to the school allowing the school to charge less in tuition. But it is still coming from tax dollars. In a for-profit the tution is higher which means students take out more loan money – again, still tax dollars. 6 of this half of dozen of another from my point of view.

      Thank you again for your comments hope to hear from you again!

  4. Lee permalink
    December 13, 2012 6:30 pm

    “I have been avoiding writing a [comment]. I admit it. I like waiting till I really understand what is going on but reality sometimes just takes SOOO LONG!” What you said, mostly.

    My real inspiration is SnarkyProf’s citation of the new “U. Chi. L. Rev.” article. Is It worth noting that the prinicpal author is the Senior Vice President, External Affairs, Education Management Corporation? Is that an ad hominem appeal? I hope not… Since I have no life apart from my books (okay, since the opening of the Web it’s gotten a LOT harder – to get away), I’ll read the whole 28 pages and see if it’s something I should pass along to my Director of Education, who will eat this sort of stuff up in chunks. It’s a political thing.

    Jen, I’m not sure I agree with you about the money, but that’s a debate for a different day. One with which you must, perforce, become more acquainted?

  5. Lee permalink
    February 8, 2013 6:05 pm

    buzz, buzz… but you never know:
    they’re calling it “resource curatioin” but it sure looks like a Collection to me.

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