South Africa Exchange Funding: Guidelines, Application Form, and Areas of Strength

Call for Proposals

Virginia Tech (VT) University Libraries and Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) Libraries

Library Faculty and Staff Exchange Programme Grants

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, January 9, 2015

Funding Period:  February 1– June 1, 2015


Introduction and background

The VT and CPUT libraries are providing funding to sustain and strengthen our international partnership. Having signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate and promote international librarianship, this exchange is part of a long-term strategic collaboration and globalization of our academic libraries.

Proposal criteria

Preference will be given to proposals that address a critical need in either the home or host institution, proposals that broaden the current scope and/or impact of the partnership, or proposals that advance international librarianship and/or the profession. Because this is the first iteration of a new program, proposals of all types will be considered. Please see the list “Areas of Strength at CPUT Libraries” (scroll down to the bottom of this blog post) to assist in identifying promising projects.

Who should apply?

Full-time employees, including academic librarians and non-academic staff members in the respective libraries, are eligible to apply.

Duration of exchange

The exchange will be for approximately 6-8 weeks. Permission from the appropriate supervisor is mandatory (a signature on the application form is required). If needed, the International Outreach Committees will work with the supervisor of the grant recipient to arrange for emergency hires in the affected department for a training period of one month and during the duration of the exchange.

Grant information:

The grant will include one round-trip airline ticket between CPUT and VT per year from each institution, with limited housing allowance. The grant will be up to $4,000 (the equivalent South African Rand amount will be determined).  Anything over and above this amount is the responsibility of the recipient of the grant.

Application procedure and review process

  • Complete the application form by the set deadline and submit to
    • CPUT: Janine Lockhart at
    • VT: Paul Hover at
  • Proposals for collaborative projects will be vetted by both institutions’ International Outreach Committees, with final approvals by the Dean/Director of both university libraries.
  • Both universities have similar application processes and requirements for applicants, but in order to ensure that the expertise in the requested field is available, the hosting university will look at the areas in which the applicants propose to work to evaluate plans before the applicants’ home university makes a final decision.
  • The chair of the respective committee will notify the applicants of the decision as soon as possible thereafter.

Reporting Requirement

The successful candidates will be expected to:

  • Make a presentation soon after arrival to the host library about the recipient’s home institution, her/his plans for activities during the exchange period, and expected outcomes.
  • Give a presentation on lessons learned and what could be implemented at the home institution within 2 months after recipient’s return.
  • Written progress reports 3-6 months after recipients’ return on areas that were selected and how they have been implemented, projects that were started because of the exchange, or other (planned) outcomes of the project.

Planning the exchange:

This will include the finalization of the dates, flights, passport/visa and accommodation arrangements. The International Outreach Committees will assist in preparations and arrangements throughout the program, and a contact person at the hosting university will be identified.

CPUT Cape Town Campus is flanked by the city’s most notable landmark – Table Mountain.
CPUT Cape Town Campus is flanked by the city’s most notable landmark – Table Mountain.

Application form:


VT-CPUT Exchange Application Form

Areas of strength at CPUT Libraries:

(PLEASE NOTE: The following list is to assist applicants in formulating projects and is NOT intended as the final word on what can and cannot be accomplished on this exchange. Both academic libraries have formulated lists to give an idea of strong departments, trends, and future aspirations that may be used as indicators of possible projects the host institutions feel capable of accommodating. Nevertheless, creative proposals–whether based on traditional library skill-sets or innovative ideas–are encouraged, and all will be considered.)

  • Information literacy (IL)

Structure in the university

The Information Literacy (IL) policy was approved by the CPUT Council in 2009.  It recommended that an Information Literacy Committee (ILC) be formed as a sub-committee of the Teaching and Learning Committee (STLC), which is a standing committee of the Senate. The work of the ILC is aligned with the mission and strategic plan of the institution. The Committee reports, makes recommendations and provides guidance to the STLC on all aspects relating to information literacy at the University. It promotes and coordinates the implementation of IL policy and strategies specifically concerned with improving the information literacy skills of our students at CPUT. Since the approval of the IL policy and the formation of the ILC, the ILC (together with faculty librarians across all the campuses) has worked hard to create awareness of IL integration within the curriculum across the university.

Curriculum and assessment

A short course called the Certificate of Information Literacy was registered in 2012 and implemented during 2013.  This certificate includes 5 modules over 5 weeks with sessions of one to one and a half hours per module and an online summative assessment via our Learning Management System, Blackboard.  Students who pass with 50% and more receive a formal CPUT short course certificate.  In 2013, over 2600 students registered for the certificate and just over 3000 registered in 2014. During 2014 a rubric was developed in collaboration with an academic at the University.  The rubric gives a 30% weighting for IL skills for an essay assignment.  This rubric is now used and circulated throughout the university to create an awareness of the importance of continual assessment of IL skills.

Training skills of librarians

All librarians who teach completed an accredited “Train-the-Trainer” qualification to ensure a high standard of teaching.  A “peer-observation” system was implemented during 2014 as another mechanism to improve the teaching skills of librarians.

  • QA and Statistical database

A statistical database for the recording of various library statistics was developed in 2011.  The database has been accepted by the directors of the academic libraries in South Africa as the tool for benchmarking and is being implemented by other university libraries in South Africa.  The benchmarking statistics are collected annually and are available to all participating libraries. Currently 13 of the 24 libraries in South Africa are contributing to the database.

At CPUT the database is used for the collecting of institutional statistics on a monthly basis. These statistics are only visible to staff at CPUT. An alert system has been implemented to remind staff to input statistics and to alert supervisors of outstanding statistics. Detailed training statistics are recorded monthly by each librarian involved with training of either students or academic staff.

A quality assurance process has been put in place to ensure well-documented library processes, the availability of statistics and statistical analysis and the preparation of library reports.   The library also produces reports for the faculty review process. Each report consists of a written report by the librarian (based on a template) for the faculty as well as a statistical analysis report outlining the number of items, age of collection and usage of the items per subject field.

  • Research Data Management (RDM)

The University is embarking on a RDM process under leadership of the library to provide a platform for all research data.  The library initiated policies on Open Access and Research Data Management that have been accepted by the University. The RDM project is being developed in collaboration with TUM, Germany using their platform, MediaTUM.  One research department is currently working with the library to pilot the project. The pilot will test the software and assist in developing a workflow before it is rolled-out within the university.  Work is also being done on the skills needed by librarians to support and assist researchers with RDM.

  • Library related research

Various research studies are currently being undertaken in the library.  Areas covered include: Information Literacy; Return on Investment; Value of CPUT libraries and Studying CPUT students.

  • Faculty liaison

The embedding of the library within the faculties has strengthened over the years.  The library is represented at faculty board meetings and various other forums within the faculties.  The library structure has been adapted to support and strengthened faculty liaison.   The marketing of library services and online resources such as e-books and databases has improved.