Follow-up On Harvard's 'Sexy Librarian'

Are there a few of you wondering...whatever happened to Desiree Goodwin?

Well, here's an update from Harvard's so-called 'sexy librarian', in her own words:

"Right after my case ended in 2005 I actively pursued positions at the University and out of state without success. After assessing my situation I decided to pursue certification in the applied sciences. This year I am taking computer science classes at the Harvard Extension in computer sciences, to expand my web development and database design skills to expand my career possibilities."

Desiree told me that she is enjoying her classes...a multi-media class, here's her final project, as well as database management (UNIX, SQL and ColdFusion) and GIS Mapping.

"I am also continuing to work as an activist with a group called Reform HUCTW Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers. I continue to be active in letter writing campaigns on behalf of aggrieved workers and speaking out on issues of importance to clerical workers at the university."

"One of the tasks of the new president, Drew Gilpin-Faust is reviewing the results of the staff engagement survey. The library staff was briefed on the results a couple of weeks ago. We had a 75% participation rate, and an overall rating of 64% for staff engagement, about 3% below the "Best Employer" range. Engagement in the report is defined as a state of emotional and intellectual commitment to an organization or group, in which the factors "say (speak positively about the organization), stay (have an intense desire to be part of the organization), and strive (exert extra effort to contribute to organizational success)" are measured. The Graduate School of Design measured high in these areas (staff enjoy work, benefits, flex time, perception of teamwork). Our staff rated low in these areas: leadership, unclear communication of priorities and goals, pay, career opportunities, communication with leadership. University wide there is a wide disparity in engagement scores between Administrative and Professional staff 84%, and clerical, support staff (both HUCTW and non-union) 45%."

At the GSD there is a task group composed of both Union and Exempt staff to address these disparities. Individual groups of faculty, staff, and students are writing reports of the concerns they feel most urgently need the attention of the new dean and president. At the staff meeting this morning I suggested that since there is such a sharp division of perception and engagement scores between Exempt and support staff, that each of these groups should meet individually to formulate a report of their own concerns. The administrative leadership responded that they felt the mixed group was sufficiently addressing these concerns. I suggested that since there is such a sharp division in perceptions that support staff might feel inhibited from being completely open about their concerns in the presence of people who they perceive as having more power than them."

"At this point a support staff member interjected that he felt completely free to express his opinion in this group. I asked him what kinds of negative concerns he felt free to address, at which point our associate dean interrupted "you don't have to answer that!" He said there should be merit based rewards and more opportunities for growth. I also asked Sean Buffington (Associate Provost for Arts and Culture, Director of Cultural Programs) if we should expect a "shakedown" in terms of staff structure and layoffs, which elicited a few laughs around the room, and he assured us that nothing like this was in the works. I also raised the possibility that our local Union leadership, Grace Kulegian, and Margaret Moore de Chicojay could assemble a report to articulate the concerns of the support staff as a distinct entity. If we don't acknowledge that each of these staff groups experiences a different reality we can expect more of the same."

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