SPOTLIGHT ON KAETRENA DAVIS KENDRICK, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA-LANCASTER
The path to promotion for Assistant Librarian, Kaetrena Davis Kendrick of University of South Carolina-Lancaster, hinges on breaking down the long-lived perception of the librarian as a disciplinarian more concerned with silence than with scholarship. With her Academia.edu analytics as her palette, Kendrick is painting a picture for her Tenure and Promotion Committee, one that illustrates the evolution, rigor and reach of modern academic librarianship.
“I have a road to forge to show my Tenure and Promotion Committee the value and contribution of modern academic librarians, and Academia.edu’s analytics are instrumental in that effort,” says Kendrick.
As the first librarian in many years to go up for promotion at the University of South Carolina- Lancaster, Kendrick must demonstrate that, regardless of her terminal degree ending with a Master’s, librarians, and the work they do, can have just as much impact and reach as any other PhD-laden faculty member on the track for promotion and tenure.
“Just like other faculty members, I’m highly engaged in community service and research, I put in grant proposals, I’m highly involved in the intellectual lives of students, and I’m really concerned about critical thinking and information literacy,” says Kendrick.
Her plan of action? Taking monthly screenshots of her analytics to track the growth of her scholarship over the next 3 to 5 years.
“My Academia.edu analytics are extremely helpful to paint a very clear picture of what it is that I do, how my research impacts people, and that people are looking for my research, just like any other traditional faculty member on campus,” says Kendrick.
Though her plan is still in its early stages, she has successfully executed stage one: incorporating screenshots of her Academia.edu analytics into her first Annual Review.
Upon receiving her application, Kendrick’s supervisor, Lori Harris, replied, “This is beautiful.” Considering that Harris is also on the Tenure and Promotion Committee, Kendrick found this comment encouraging to say the least.
According to Harris, one of the scholarship criteria for tenure and promotion at the University of South Carolina- Lancaster is “dissemination of knowledge,” which she believes Kendrick’s analytic screenshots succinctly demonstrate.
In addition to document views, Kendrick is using screenshots of her country analytics to show her committee that her work is being accessed by people across the world.
“The further you move up the promotion scale, the more your committee wants to see national and international impacts and engagements. It’s just so important to show the reach,” stresses Kendrick.
By cultivating an international following on Academia.edu, Kendrick has developed networks that span across disciplines and cultures, which have directly benefitted her collaborative work in digital humanities as well as her own research in international librarianship.
Working within a very small area of scholarship, Kendrick has been involved in the Kpop Kollective, a digital humanities project on Hallyu (Korean Wave) popular culture. Using Academia.edu to “scout scholars,” Kendrick and her Kpop Kollective colleagues are tracking down academics working on this topic and archiving their work in an annotated bibliography.
“There are people who I never would have found—who work in this very niche area of scholarship—that are on Academia.edu. Perhaps their papers aren’t cited on Google Scholar, but they are on Academia.edu.”
In addition to using Academia.edu as a data mining tool for her popular culture work, Kendrick uses the site to connect with librarians worldwide as well as to engage with faculty on her campus, something she believes is an essential building block for scholarly communication.
“We want to make sure people have access to other people’s research, we want to know what others are doing, and we want people to know what we’re doing in a scholarly context,” says Kendrick.
Integral to scholarly life at an institution and a key concern among academic librarians, Kendrick stresses the importance of facilitating scholarly communication.
“The finding of information and the not finding of information is critical to research because it tells you, ‘are you going to be the pioneer,’ ‘are you ready to do that,’ or ‘is someone out there doing that already and can you join in the scholarly collaboration.’”
As traditional faculty members and academic librarians begin to follow each other’s scholarly work on Academia.edu, Kendrick is hopeful that the librarian stereotype will erode as the rigor and real impact of their work is exposed.
“You might not think people are looking for your work, but there is somebody out there who is interested in what you’re doing, and this is the point of scholarly communication. If you are working on something, you need to let people know and Academia.edu is a great way to do that.”
Kaetrena Davis Kendrick is an Assistant Librarian at Medford Library, University of South Carolina- Lancaster. Among many interests, Kendrick’s research includes racial and ethnic diversity in librarianship, library ethics, international librarianship, and digital humanities. Now in its second year, Kendrick has been involved in the KPop Kollective, a collaborative project led by Crystal Anderson of Elon University that aggregates digital material related to Korean wave culture.
Kendrick’s work can be viewed here.