UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX - Emerald Group Publishing

of Phoenix
The Online University Library at the University of Phoenix,
Arizona, is a valuable resource with a broad range of
documents and online information services to enhance
students’ academic studies and, ultimately, their future careers.
PJ Purchase, Director and University Librarian, details the
Library’s extensive collection and the benefits on offer to the
University’s students and staff
To begin, could you introduce your role as Director and University Librarian
at the University of Phoenix?
I began working with the University Library in 2000 and took up the Director
role in 2008. As the Director, I am tasked with the overall strategic direction of
our collection and services, ensuring we meet the needs of varied user groups.
I see my primary function as being the Library’s main representative to our
constituent groups. It is imperative that I work closely with internal stakeholders
to capitalize on opportunities to add value to the University and demonstrate its
impact on student learning. This involves many committees and meetings.
When developing the strategic plan for the University Library, what are your
key considerations?
First and foremost is the direction of the University as a whole. At present,
we are in the midst of a major organizational change. When creating our
FY2015 strategic plan the Library’s stakeholders radically changed, the mission
and vision of the university were refocused, programmes were in ‘teach out’
mode and new programmes were created. Therefore, the Library established
a newly revived mission, new processes and more involvement from a range
of stakeholder groups. I perform strategic planning yearly rather than every
two-three years, but with that said, I do have long-term goals, and it is the
tactical strategies and objectives of each of those goals that are addressed in each
annual plan.
How extensive is the Online University Library at present and in what way
does it support management education? How do you view the evolution of
resources for those studying and researching management?
Our collection comprises over 190,000 eBook titles and over 60,000 unique full
text journals. We offer over a dozen management and financial reporting tools,
thousands of reference materials, 20 multimedia repositories, as well as best
practice research. We support management education through the use of current
materials in the form of journals, datasets and multimedia. Our students are no
longer just looking for those germinal and seminal journals. Today’s students
want the latest information and best practices from a global vantage point.
Online/self-publishing, grey literature and social media are all becoming valid
sources for research.
In what ways are the Library’s collection development policies aligned with
the University’s overall mission?
Our collection development policies aim to seek information that directly
relates to the curriculum we teach and research we undertake. We curate and
provide access to digital content by adapting strategies that anticipate the needs
of our students. The goal of the University is to change the lives of students and
their communities through higher education. Thinking beyond graduation, the
Library supports that endeavour by exposing our students to research materials
they will utilize in their professional life. We strive to instil research and critical
thinking skills students can rely on after their graduation.
To what degree does the University of Phoenix Library differ from other
university libraries?
Because the University uses the same digital library to serve all students
regardless of location, we have a centralized staff that serves our varied student
populations equally. As such, we can do so without the disparities between
small and large campuses that often arise with physical library resources.
Additionally, becoming the archive of knowledge is not in our mission; this
allows us the ability to be nimble and create collections that react to changes in
our curriculum, technology and publishing as they happen.
You are responsible for founding the Library Review Council of which you are
currently Chair. Could you elaborate on the purpose of the Council and how it
benefits the university as a whole?
The purpose of convening the Library Review Council was to engage internal
stakeholders in the University Library’s collection development process. The
Council, made up of representatives from each college, assists the Library in
PJ Purchase’s colleague Dr Holly Rick provides an insight into the
landscape of management education and research in North America
“Undergraduate management education is one of the fastest growing fields. We are now expecting more out of our
management (future) employees in terms of them being able to think critically, and make rapid decisions that are backed
with tried and true data. In addition, we expect future managers to grow employees in terms of innovation, motivation or
grit and collaboration.
With that said, having management students who can find and access information in a time of big data is clearly one
struggle. I see more cross-disciplinary research, a need for more change management research as it impacts people/
culture/globalization, etc. I see that more research needs to happen when it comes to how technology is affecting work/
work culture/work diversity/productivity, etc. Preparing management students to become knowledge users and having
the abilities to work in a world where tacit knowledge transfer (innovation, leadership, vernacular, body language,
intuition and emotional intelligence) will help to build the next generation of leaders. Critical thinking skills and
leadership skills within an ambiguous organization will be needed.
In the next three years, I predict that we are going to see further cross-functional areas collaborating on research,
and more focus on employee performance and retention. There is a shift in the role that human resources play as a
strategic advantage (retention and recruitment of talent where rote tasks will be outsourced), looking at the abilities of
organizations to be flexible and develop alongside the changing demographic of how we work, how leadership works
within a globalizing market, identification of new frameworks of successful businesses and leadership, and how leaders
are going to embrace/prepare/communicate and initiate change.”
Holly Rick, PhD, MBA, MLS, Research and Assessment Librarian
evaluating potential resources and provides feedback
concerning the adoption of library resources. Council
meetings foster a dialogue between the Library and our
colleges which is an essential element in proactively
creating collections which react to changes within the
University and ensuring we are fully supporting the
research needs of our students.
In what ways does the Council foster collaborations
between colleges and the Library? Why was it important
for you to establish this organization?
By fostering open dialogue between colleges and
the Library, and involving the Library in the critical
requirements of each programme, we ensure that we
are not just reacting to change but are now a partner in
those changes.
Likewise, in what capacity do you work to forge
relationships between industry, academia
and government?
We seek collaborations with other libraries, content
publishers, commercial and open access enterprises, in
order to maximize our access to research material. I sit on
the academic boards of a few of our publishers and content
partners, this enables us to have a voice in the development
of content and pricing strategies.
More broadly, how does the University of Phoenix
Library encourage and support education and
career development?
by providing access to research, career development, and
testing materials. However, our biggest opportunity lies
within our information literacy work; as it is essential for
our students to develop strong information literacy and
critical thinking skills. I believe today’s workforce utilizes
information to become agents of change, to be innovators,
to be fully engaged in their field of expertize. I believe
our students should fully understand how to quickly
conduce online research to access meaningful information
which can be critically analysed and used in the decision
making process. I believe that ‘knowledge is power’
and understanding how to effectively access and utilize
knowledge in the digital age, is a powerful component of
any education.
In the coming years, where else do you foresee the
University of Phoenix Library developing?
As the University of Phoenix leads the charge in online
education, I see the Library’s role as a ‘shepherd of
information’, not as the information gatekeeper. We are
doing this work by removing barriers to content through
the use of innovative technologies, by creating liaison
librarians to work directly with colleges to ensure our
collection meets the needs of our users and by developing
research opportunities for our scholars. Lastly, we
are increasing our focus on assessment to ensure we
accurately measure the Library and librarian’s impact on
student outcomes.
Providing career relevant higher education is the
University’s main focus; therefore, all academic units are
aligned to support this driver. The Library participates