At ALA I attended a meeting of the ALCTS Committee on Education (Sylvia, that's the name of it, yes?). Sylvia Hall-Ellis is the chair. In a small group discussion, we discussed the shortage of cataloging faculty - full time, tenure track faculty whose main area of research is cataloging - and how important it is for schools with LIS programs to have a such a faculty member. At the very least, it means that there is someone who is part of the full time faculty who can fight for cataloging curricula. I think I don't need to lecture you all about of the other reasons why it is important :-)
An idea we had was to have an information session at the next ALA annual with a panel of folks who can speak to why one would want to get a phd with a research focus in cataloging, where the best places to go to get such a phd might be, how to apply, etc. I helped organize an event like this in Anaheim aimed at encouraging librarians of color to apply for phds in LIS. It was very successful, and I would hope that if we advertised widely, we might meet with some success next year offering one aimed at doctoral education in cataloging.
While it is true that there may be some schools that would not want to hire a tenure track cataloging faculty member, I believe that there are more than one might think that would hire if they found someone who knocked their socks off. Many faculty postings these days are open - that is, there are no specific areas of expertise listed. I am afraid that we are not educating enough doctoral students to fill these positions, and that as a consequence cataloging courses either disappear or are marginalized in the curriculum because they are not associated with a regular tenure track faculty member (this is not to disparage any of you fabulous practitioners who teach our cataloging courses - far from it - it is, unfortunately, a reality that when you have full time faculty associated with courses these courses are viewed as more central to the curriculum).
If I remember correctly, the group who met to discuss this included me, Sylvia, Cheryl Boettcher-Tarsala, Elaine Yontz, and Karen Snow. If anyone else would be interested in helping me (us) organize and work on this, please let me know.
Finally, I'd like to ask all of you out there who are full-time faculty members in cataloging and can supervise doctoral students to come to such a panel session should we be able to organize it. In Anaheim, we had representatives from almost every single doctoral granting institution available to meet with prospective students, and I think it worked very well.
Associate Professor and Chair, PhD Program
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-2840