Category Archives: Elections

Meet the Candidates: Jon E. Cawthorne

Editor’s Note: In the lead-up to the 2015 ALA/ ACRL election, we’re profiling the 2015 ACRL Board of Directors candidates. We’ll feature one candidate in slate order each weekday from March 13 — 20. Complete details on candidates for ACRL offices are available on the election website. Make sure to vote for the candidates of your choice starting March 24.

Jon CawthorneJon E. Cawthorne is the Dean of Libraries at the West Virginia University Libraries in Morgantown, West Virginia, and a 2015 candidate for the ACRL Board of Directors as Director-at-Large.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Learner, Positive, Communicator.

2. What are you reading right now (or listening to on your mobile device)? How Universities Work by John V. Lombardi; Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier; The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure and the Search for Mastery by Sarah Lewis; and the On Being podcast, interviews by Krista Tippett.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Collaboration, Networking, Future.

4. Why do you value about ACRL? I value ACRL for the energy, network, and ability to think broadly with colleagues about positioning academic libraries toward the future. I appreciate ACRL’s committees, programs, and publications that focus on leadership development. The association is the right place for all of us to explore the exciting opportunities that build an inspiring, strong, and sustainable future within higher education.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I am privileged every day to work as Dean of Libraries at West Virginia University. I believe my encouragement, communication, and positive outlook with staff at all levels creates a learning environment. I am especially excited about the opportunities to support our University Press. Externally, I work with every dean to position the library and the press to support the work of this land-grant institution that has become more important than ever to the state of West Virginia.

6. In your own words: I love my job, the WVU Libraries, and the state of West Virginia. I have equal passion for diversifying the academic library profession and creating pathways to leadership. Although I’ve learned from many library environments (academic, public and special), my career began by asking, how does one get to be a Dean of Libraries? Imagine how grateful I am not only to serve in the position, but to work with talented people to build on the incredible opportunities at West Virginia University Libraries and Press.

Candidates Forum Recording Available

The 2015 candidates for ACRL vice-president/ president-elect participated in an open online forum on Tuesday, March 17, 2015. Scott Walter and Irene M.H. Herold discussed their platforms and vision for ACRL and fielded questions from the audience. Walter is university librarian at DePaul University, and Herold is university librarian at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.

A recording of the forum is now available.

Complete information on the 2015 ACRL election, including links to candidate statements from C&RL News, a podcast interview with the candidates for vice-president/ president-elect, profile of Board of Directors candidates, and a full slate of candidates for ACRL section offices, is available on the ACRL website.

Voting in the 2015 ALA/ ACRL election begins on Tuesday, March 24. We strongly encourage you to help shape the future of your associations by casting a ballot for the candidates of your choice!

Meet the Candidates: Beth McNeil

Editor’s Note: In the lead-up to the 2015 ALA/ ACRL election, we’re profiling the 2015 ACRL Board of Directors candidates. We’ll feature one candidate in slate order each weekday from March 13 — 20. Complete details on candidates for ACRL offices are available on the election website. Make sure to vote for the candidates of your choice starting March 24.

Beth McNeilBeth McNeil is Associate Dean of the Purdue University Libraries in West Lafayette, Indiana, and is a 2015 candidate for the ACRL Board of Directors as Director-at-Large.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Dedicated, knowledgeable, optimistic.

2. What are you reading right now (or listening to on your mobile device)? I am reading: Yes Please by Amy Poehler, Dear White People by Justin Simien, and Assessing Liaison Librarians: Documenting Impact for Positive Change by Daniel Mack and Gary White; and listening to Invisibilia, with Alix Spiegel and Lulu Miller (NPR podcast).

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Innovative, connected, resourceful.

4. Why do you value about ACRL? I value very much the resources and expertise made available to me through my ACRL membership. ACRL programming and publications are always first-rate and advance librarianship. Through participation on ACRL committees I feel I have been able to make an impact in higher education.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? On my campus I find ways to connect the work of our libraries and librarians with the teaching and research initiatives taking place each day in the academic departments and through student success units. My role is to facilitate these connections and to build partnerships and collaborations, around our collections and services, that advance student information literacy that will enable our students to be successful academically and in their professional careers and support faculty in new modes of scholarship and open access to research.

6. In your own words: Life as an academic/research librarian is always changing, challenging, and full of interesting opportunities. In 25+ years I have never once regretted my career choice.  My career has been energized by student curiosity and eagerness to learn and faculty commitment to teaching, both of which give me confidence in the future.

Meet the Candidates: Lori Ostapowicz Critz

Editor’s Note: In the lead-up to the 2015 ALA/ ACRL election, we’re profiling the 2015 ACRL Board of Directors candidates. We’ll feature one candidate in slate order each weekday from March 13 — 20. Complete details on candidates for ACRL offices are available on the election website. Make sure to vote for the candidates of your choice starting March 24.

Lori Ostapowicz CritzLori Ostapowicz Critz is Head of the Faculty Engagement Department at the Georgia Institute of Technology Library in Atlanta, Georgia, and is a 2015 candidate for the ACRL Board of Directors as Director-at-Large.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Passionate, Committed, Energetic.

2. What are you reading right now (or listening to on your mobile device)? As this semester’s (teaching) faculty book club offering, I’m re-reading The Power of Mindful Learning by Ellen J. Langer. The 1997 book is a thought-provoking extension of Langer’s interpretation of mindfulness, with a bend to teaching and learning applications, and it is precipitating some wonderful, reflective discussions about instruction and our students.

I’m also re-visiting Sue Grafton’s alphabet mysteries — and am finding them just as fun the second time around!

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Strategic, Responsive, Progressive.

4. Why do you value about ACRL? ACRL has always been the welcoming beacon within a very large, and sometimes daunting, organization. For me, the value of ACRL is three-pronged:  ACRL is unfailingly the trusted source for current, critical information of interest to academic libraries and librarians; ACRL provides extraordinary professional development opportunities for academic librarians across the spectrum; and ACRL is an approachable organization where every academic librarian can find a “home”.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? The job descriptions and assignments of academic librarians are as varied as the campuses we serve. Regardless of the job title, however, all academic librarians are well poised to make significant, value-added contributions to their institutions. My examples give some insight into several opportunities for campus integration and contribution, from the perspective of a public services academic librarian.

Over the past eighteen months my most notable and far-reaching contributions to the campus have revolved around two strategic activities: the Library Renewal project and the SACS reaffirmation of accreditation process. For the Renewal – a complete renovation of both the facilities and our provision of services – I serve as part of a three-man Steering Group working with faculty shepherds, myriad campus stakeholders, strategic consultants, and a large (architectural) Design Team to help ensure that the renewed library will be an outstanding and innovative 21st Century library poised to serve as an intellectual crossroads for our research-intensive, student-centered university. For reaffirmation, I wrote one of the Comprehensive Standards (3.8.2) on library services and resources, and am working closely with the faculty team developing the new QEP (Quality Enhancement Plan) for Georgia Tech.  Written as part of the documentation for this campus-wide plan, I authored the 17+ page comprehensive literature review.

As a Faculty Engagement librarian, a primary component of my position centers on faculty, graduate student, and postdoc engagement. In this role I explore new models of service to these campus constituents.  For example, I serve as campus coordinator (and co-developer) for the Graduate Communication Certificate Program. This Program is a multi-unit partnership designed to provide a structured series of communications-related workshops and Capstone Experiences for graduate students looking to hone their professional communication skills. It was developed at the request of our graduate student government, and has been well-received by the students as a non-departmental opportunity for addressing these critical skills.

As a liaison and subject specialist, I support the students and faculty in my assigned areas, and make sustained contributions to our campus through appropriate selection of resources, customized research assistance, and targeted instruction across a wide spectrum of topics and subject areas.  Increasingly, this work is affording me the opportunity to deeply embed in the schools and departments I serve, and provide value-added assistance at the point-of-need. My partnership with Biomedical Engineering (BME) has been particularly fruitful, as I work with every BME undergraduate – as they first begin their major-specific courses – to develop the information literacy competency needed to succeed in this research-intensive major.

6. In your own words: I’m approaching my 15 year anniversary in librarianship and I note (almost daily!) the constant state of flux in academic libraries, and for academic librarians. We see enormous changes in technology, and its integration into our daily lives.  We see the proliferation of information available, and the accompanying challenges in providing access to this expanding universe of sometimes free, but often for fee, information. We see the shifts in user needs and expectations and seek to provide relevant spaces, services and resources to meet these needs. And, increasingly, we see the need to demonstrate our value to our institutions — in an environment where funding is always an issue and where outcomes, and not outputs, are key indicators of that value.

While change is inevitable, and often precipitates new and exciting opportunities, I believe the core values of librarianship remain in place – and remain as relevant as ever. And, although we may see the need to update the terminology in the 5 Laws, Ranganathan’s principles still apply, and still guide our daily work! I am delighted and humbled to witness the ever-expanding accomplishments of academic librarians in this time of perpetual change.  We are increasing our repertoire of services and skills, and embracing new opportunities to partner in research, to embed in the teaching and learning cycle, and to foster new collaborative efforts and adventures. It’s an exciting time to be an academic librarian, and I’m looking forward to the next 15 years!

Meet the Candidates: Jack Fritts

Editor’s Note: In the lead-up to the 2015 ALA/ ACRL election, we’re profiling the 2015 ACRL Board of Directors candidates. We’ll feature one candidate in slate order each weekday from March 13 — 20. Complete details on candidates for ACRL offices are available on the election website. Make sure to vote for the candidates of your choice starting March 24.

Jack FrittsJack Fritts is the University Librarian at Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois, and a 2015 candidate for the ACRL Board of Directors as Director-at-Large.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Forward-thinking, loyal, thoughtful.

2. What are you reading right now (or listening to on your mobile device)? You may be sorry you asked! I am frequently handed books by my teenage daughter to read, so right now on that front I’m reading The Duff and a book titled The Murk. Beyond those I am working through The First Christmas by Borg and Crossan, The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, Dragons at Crumbling Castle by Terry Pratchett, God’s Secretaries by Adam Nicolson, and a variety of materials dealing with the court and court life of Elizabeth I in order to go play Renaissance with my daughter this summer. And, finally, there are the various mystery and suspense series I’m working through as time allows.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Advocate, transformative, educational.

4. Why do you value about ACRL? I value the fellowship, growth, and learning opportunities ACRL offers through the availability of groups focused on specific interest or work areas. The Section model is an example of the possibilities we can pursue.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? I see my role as multi-faceted. Internally, my primary task is to provide the support and opportunities that allow the library personnel to soar to their own levels, while offering occasional reminders of our operational focus. Externally, within the campus, I serve to build relationships at higher levels, to be a strong advocate for the library and its operations, and to work collaboratively with the deans and other administrators to keep the library in the center of ongoing growth and development.

6. In your own words: There are a lot of writings about ideal or dream jobs. I believe that mine is a dream job, because it’s very difficult to fall into a rut. Yes, a library lives to certain rhythms, and there are always the normal ongoing events, but those serve as a backdrop to whatever else is really going on. I have learned to expect the unexpected, and I never know at the start of a day where that day might end. By definition, at least my definition, unexpected does not always mean good, but even some of the less pleasant surprises are opportunities. I am sure that what comes next is true of all types of libraries, but some of the best things to me about the academic library world are the ability to explore, to experiment, and to build relationships both within an individual library and across the broader academic world.

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