Process, Process, and more Process

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Between the process to get my daughter and her crew to Philmont in New Mexico where she will hike more than 80 miles in ten days to having my "study" be category exempt #2 with the IRB,  I have to say I'm about processed out.  I'm trying to figure out the good things about all this and I'm getting there, slowly but surely.

First the scouts.  Julia is a member of Venture Scouts Crew # 31.  I always want to say troop becuase eerily coincidentally, I was the leader of Girl Scout Troup #31 in another state back when I was 31 years old (hence the troop name).  Because the number of kids going to Philmont has changed over time, the crew was faced with needing someone to take Wilderness training before they leave town on Wednesday (just found out about this).  So tomorrow Julie and I are off to Virginia so she can get trained.  Meanwhile, while she's tied up this weekend, I'll chair my ALA committee from the hotel.  Okay, we can roll with the punches here.  But we also found out today that though we've paid for the rafting trip, all of the kids need to make sure they swim in front of the crew leader before they get on the plane Wednesday.  Okay, we'll follow the process.

Okay, what are the takeaways from this?  One...I am, and have been for years, and now it's been reinforced, how important project and process planning is.  It keeps you sane and away from last minute challenges...or at least it allows you to plan for the what ifs.  So, this is just a warning to all those who work for me...I'm going to be insistent about project planning over the course of the next year.  Another take away is that sometimes you have to step up, even when you don't want to.  You have to do things that are for the good of the whole.  It's called teamwork and it's important.

Now let's move onto the IRB.  I'm working on an article with three colleagues from other ARL (Association for Research Libraries) that was invited by the editor of a guest issue of the Journal of Library Adminstration.  We're writing about the ARL Research Library Leadership Fellows program and we're going to survey the first two cohorts of fellows.  Well, because we're going to survey them and write about it, we need to go through the Office of Research Protection.  These guys are great, perform an important function, but it's been a challenge to 1) have everyone take the IRB training (if the school doesn't offer it, they need to take Penn State's); 2) go through their IRB and get all the documentation from these folks and their three schools with their own procedures all into our own IRB.  I am a firm believer in the necessity of this process and again, what are the takeaways?  First, things take time.  As good as our IRB is, they need some lead time, especially when it's summer and they moved into a new office this week.  Second, colleagues that work quickly are wonderful  All three of my colleagues at the other institutions and my administrative assistant did exactly what they needed to do within three days of being notified.  They're amazing.  And finally...if you ever are doing a survey, even if it's very simple and are going to write about it, put going through IRB as one of the first steps in your project plan.

So, all in all the week was a bit frustrating, but a great learning experience.  As I chanted on all my hikes this week, "What won't kill me, makes me stronger." 

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