Kerry Creelman is one of two candidates this year for ULS Vice Chair/Chair-Elect. She is the Coordinator of Undergraduate Instruction and Outreach at the University of Houston. Read this interview to learn more about Kerry and what her goals would be if elected as Vice Chair/Chair-Elect.
Tell us more about yourself and how you became an academic librarian.
I’m Canadian and have been living in Texas for the past 7 and a half years. I started my career as the English Librarian, and am now the Coordinator of Undergraduate Instruction and Outreach at the University of Houston. I became interested in academic librarianship while I was completing my Masters in English Literature and teaching Freshman Composition. Collaborating with Instruction Librarians to teach information literacy concepts introduced me to a career option I hadn’t previously considered. The opportunity to work across disciplines with faculty and students, to conduct research and to impact teaching and learning in higher education through library advocacy was so exciting that I enrolled in library school with the goal of becoming an academic librarian.
How long have you been involved in ULS and what attracted you to the section?
I’ve been a member of ULS since 2012 and have served on the Academic Outreach Committee since 2012, becoming co-chair in 2013. ULS attracted me because of its comprehensive approach to university libraries issues. I was looking to engage in conversations about topics ranging from instruction and outreach to management and scholarly communications, through the higher education lens. ULS provides a welcoming, collaborative community within which I can consider these issues and learn from colleagues across the country.
In your opinion, what are some of the most interesting topics or trends we’re seeing in university libraries?
I am excited to see the academic library’s role in the teaching & learning and research mission evolving within higher education. Academic librarians are engaging in teaching and learning conversations in innovative ways. Conversations around information literacy instruction and student learning assessment have become more exciting with the introduction of the ACRL Framework. Discussions of threshold concepts, critical information literacy, social justice in the library classroom and how all of this informs faculty collaborations are invigorating. These conversations provide great opportunities to share, debate, and learn from one another in ways that will lead to meaningful learning opportunities for our students.
University libraries are central to the evolution and success of scholarly communications initiatives as we are partners and leaders in the curation, production, dissemination, and preservation of scholarly output in a changing information landscape. And we are developing new systems to protect and disseminate research data and scholarship on evolving platforms. As the research lifecycles of our faculty and students change, we are adapting our spaces, services, technologies, and collections to meet and exceed their research needs.
What goals for the section would you have if elected to this position? How do you envision committees and members helping the section achieve those goals?
As one of the largest ACRL sections, I want to ensure that ULS committees and discussion groups are meeting the needs of our members. Many university libraries are currently concerned with succession planning and leadership development. ULS just created a new Professional Development Committee and I look forward to the new online programming opportunities this committee will provide. I’m eager to continue to explore new ways to meet the needs of our members as well as to ensure they are aware of, and have easy access to, our existing resources and programs.
I aim to ensure committees and members are aware of the section’s charge, as well as its resources and opportunities for involvement. We offer a number of quality programs, discussion groups, listserv and social media discussions and other resources where members who face common opportunities and challenges can engage, share lessons learned, and support one another. I want to increase awareness of these opportunities with a renewed focus on marketing and promotion.
Where do you see ULS going in the future? How does it need to change and evolve to stay relevant to academic librarians?
I see ULS becoming more relevant to academic librarians as we navigate an ever-changing role within higher education. We need to continue to evaluate the relevance of existing committees and discussion groups, as well as be flexible and proactive in revising priorities, charges, and activities in order to respond to the evolving challenges and opportunities facing academic libraries. As we identify new needs, or information gaps, we can create opportunities to engage and support our members.
Tell us something interesting about yourself that not very many people know.
I enjoy traveling, scuba diving, and yoga. I’m also trying to learn Spanish. I was a competitive swimmer throughout school and my varsity career, specializing in sprint butterfly and freestyle events. I now compete on a part-time basis for a Masters team, but it’s mostly social.
Read our interview with the other candidate for ULS Vice Chair/Chair-Elect, Nicole Sump-Crethar, here: http://www.acrl.ala.org/ULS/2017-uls-candidate-for-vice-chairchair-elect-nicole-sump-crethar/