Second Annual Virginia Tech / Cape Peninsula University of Technology Exchange Program: Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals, Second Year

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

Library Faculty and Staff Exchange Program Grants


Funding Period: Fall or Spring semesters, 2016/2017 academic year. Preference given to research projects in the months of November 2016 or February 2017 (in order to make use of the longer hours of daylight in South Africa).

[Note: changes to this CFP from the first one of the program (dated November 2014) consist in the time of stay in South Africa (was 8 weeks, is now 4 weeks) and the amount of housing subsidy (was $2,000, is now $1,000). These changes are the result of feedback from our two exchange librarians from the inaugural run of the program and were made in collaboration with our partners at CPUT.]

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 initiative of our academic libraries. We are in the second year of the program, and will publish results of the first year’s exchange as soon as all reports are completed.

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 only the second iteration of the 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 potential 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 4 weeks. Permission from the appropriate supervisor is mandatory (a signature on the application form is required). If needed, the International Outreach Committee will work with the supervisor of the grant recipient to arrange for an emergency hire in the affected department for a training period of one month before departure to train for specific work duties that will be assigned during the duration of the exchange.

Grant information:

The grant will be up to $3,000 (the equivalent South African Rand amount will be determined). This amount is to cover the costs of one round-trip airline ticket between CPUT and VT per year from each institution, and provide a limited housing allowance. 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 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. However, in order to ensure that expertise in the requested field is available, the hosting university will examine the areas in which the applicants propose to work 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 after the application deadline expires.

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 assigned.

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.


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 (2016):

(PLEASE NOTE: The following list is provided 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)

Training skills of librarians

All librarians who teach have 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. This is an area CPUT excels in, with consistency across all campuses. Even though there are different subject areas, the core elements are taught.  A few examples of projects that could benefit VT include:

  • Explore how the a train-the-trainer series has been implemented for their IL courses.
  • Examine the impacts of the train-the-trainer model.
  • Examine how buy-in from teaching faculty to incorporate train-the-trainer teaching models has been obtained.
  • Investigate CPUT’s program to train all employees in the library to gain a base set of skills and information.

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 (Technische Universität München) in 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.

  • Explore CPUT’s alternative software packages for managing and storing data, identify systems that may work at VT.
  • Determine if any of the administrative policies concerning data storage and access could be implemented at VT.
  • Examine outreach efforts by CPUT librarians to teaching/research faculty regarding data initiatives and services provided by the library.

Library related research

Various research studies are currently being undertaken by CPUT librarians. Areas covered include: Information Literacy (IL); Return on Investment (ROI); Value of CPUT libraries; and Studying CPUT students.  CPUT reviews their library’s processes, outcomes, and programs in depth, with strong statistical analysis, and with an eye towards implementing change and reviewing those outcomes again. This is an area at which they particularly excel. Examples of areas where projects could be conducted include:

  • Implement a review method used by CPUT to assess a VT library process/service/program.
  • Investigate assessment options for specific programs and indicate which methods would be applicable to VT.
  • Identify methods used to implement change effectively.
  • Explore a specific opportunity to conduct a review, self-study, or incorporate specific techniques that could lead both to improvements in VT’s library and scholarly output as a result of a local review.

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. CPUT’s wide user types are similar to our distance learners.

  • Examine marketing strategies of library resources, collections, and services to campus users.
  • Examine marketing strategies of library resources, collections, and services to distance learners.

Library IT

Library IT at CPUT is undergoing change as the nature of their library moves into the e-world. Their responses to this change are worth reviewing.

  • Explore how CPUT’s IT implements new technologies into the library
  • Review CPUT’s response to information moving into an e-world.
  • Investigate CPUT’s IT structure and support services.

Mobile technologies

Adoption of mobile technologies among CPUT students is ahead of VT (and American colleges in general). Reviewing how the CPUT library is responding to the need to support mobile has application locally as our mobile usage should increase in the near future.

  • Explore how CPUT has implemented mobile technologies to address student demands for this type of access.
  • Investigate CPUT’s management of services offered through mobile technologies.
  • Examine CPUT students’ usage of mobile technologies to access information.

Good luck!