Participation of librarians in university governance with special reference to curriculum development: a case study of the universities of Dar es Salaam, Malawi and Capetown

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study examined participation of Librarians in university governance with specific reference to Curriculum Development at three selected universities, namely the universities of Dar es Salaam, Malawi and Cape Town, and to propose strategies for ensuring full participation of librarians in curriculum development. The study focused on the extent to which librarians are represented in university curriculum matters and university governance and factors that enhance or deter their effective participation, academic status of librarians, perceptions of teaching staff on librarianship as an academic discipline. A review of related literature and theoretical framework provided a basis for deeper understanding of the linkages between curriculum development, the role of librarians in curriculum development vis a viz university governance. The theoretical framework was based on two models, the university bureaucracy model and the university as a collegium or community of scholars. A comparison of the two revealed that the university as a collegium or community of scholars model is the most popular and has been widely applied over the years, creating the impetus for expansion of teaching /Iibrary staff participation in governance matters in institutions of higher learning. An overview of university governance issues and concerns revealed the emergence of governance paradigms which challenge the long standing bureaucratic and scientific views of organizations. The new governance paradigms provide insights into how governance can be improved in institutions of higher learning through alternative methods which create meaningful governance change on university campuses. Empirical Data for this study was collected using a combination of methods (triangulation) and included a self administered structured and standardized questionnaire with both open and close ended questions and library research. A questionnaire was administered to 240 purposively selected respondents, including teaching staff, heads of departments, deans and directors, top administrators, librarians and student leaders. Key findings revealed that librarians are not involved in curriculum development or review due to a number of factors, including inadequate understanding on the role played by librarians in teaching, learning and curriculum development; the peripheral status accorded to librarians; lack of subject specialization, regular and institutionalized curriculum review committees, clear policy guidelines on who participates in curriculum development. Findings revealed that most teaching staff have misconceptions about the actual nature and process of curriculum review and beliefs that Iibrarians are not pro-active, aggressive or assertive enough in seeking serious representation and participation in such matters were common. The study also argues that existing traditional, hierarchical, centralized and bureaucratic library governance structures and leadership styles espouse control and militate against collegial style of governance. Lack of consultation and communication between teaching staff and librarians on curriculum review matters is also a major factor. In view of the above the study recommends that curriculum development and review praxis must be institutionalized and strengthened. This must be accompanied by professional awareness among teaching staff and rigorous training on conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of curriculum development and review. Similarly, a curriculum development and review coordinating committee should be set up to monitor and recommend to Senate policies and positions on curriculum matters. Furthermore, librarians must become subject specialists in order to competently and effectively serve the information needs of their users. In addition, they must be proactive and must develop sustainable links with teaching staff in teaching information literacy skills. The study concludes that university policy makers, administrators and scholars should decentralize existing organizational decision making processes and adopt collegial. Participatory academic management practices to ensure meaningful institutional change, efficiency and effective university governance.
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Agriculture, Information services, Selective dissermination of information, Climate change, Farmers, Tanzania
Mwaimu, P. D. (2013) Participation of librarians in university governance with special reference to curriculum development: a case study of the universities of Dar es Salaam, Malawi and Capetown, Doctoral dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (