This was a short week for me as I spent most of it at the beach on a retreat. While I dug my toes into the sand this afternoon I gave some thought to work (briefly - I was at the beach after all) and the meeting I had Monday of the Faculty Copyright Education and Policy Committee. With the multitude of projects, committees, and other things I am involved in, why I would take on additional responsibilities voluntarily?
The first is obvious - I am a non-teaching tenure-track faculty member, with all the responsibilities for service and publication that teaching faculty have. So, be offering service on a University committee, I am meeting fulfilling the service component of my position. However, deciding to serve on the committee came from much more than a desire to pad my promotion and tenure portfolio. I have served on other University committees for just that reason, but have not felt the same desire to serve nor the same level of interest in the work of the committee.
However, the second reason is the far more important reason. I also volunteered to serve on the committee because, as chair of the library's Copyright Committee and working in a department that deals with many copyright transactions, I feel that my knowledge makes me a valuable asset to the University committee. I felt it was important to share this with the University committee, not just so that the newly formed committee would not repeat work already done by the Library, but to advocate for the Library on a University level. Also, it is an area that I truly have an interest in, which will make my service on the committee both more meaningful and more productive.
I am grateful that my particular institution treats librarians the same as every other faculty member, but I know that this is not the case at every institution. Opportunities like this are a chance to demonstrate that librarians are as deserving of promotion and tenure as teaching faculty. So yes, it's one more thing on my long list of things to do, but it's an important opportunity and opportunities don't always pass by a second time.