Library Searches for First Assistant Dean, Invites Finalists to Campus

As the search for the first associate dean of the Claremont Colleges library nears an end, the library invited three finalists for the position to campus over the past three weeks. 

Search Committee Chair and A.J. McFadden Dean of the Library Kevin Mulroy said that the Associate Dean of the Library is a new endowed position at the Honnold/Mudd Library. Mulroy’s position is also newly endowed this year. Mulroy  joined the library in July as the library’s first dean.

“It’s an effort to raise the stature of the library by making it a dean rather than a directorial position," Mulroy said. "It was suggested that my position would also be able to recruit for an associate dean position to help lead this new organization." 

While the Claremont University Consortium (CUC) used to oversee the library, a joint governance model was implemented October 2012 so that the Claremont Colleges now share oversight through a committee whose leadership rotates every five years and currently rests with Claremont Graduate University (CGU).  

Mulroy said that the assistant dean will be responsible for budgeting, planning, working with academic deans, and representing the library when Mulroy is traveling.

“Ideally, we want somebody who’s coming through academic libraries so they really understand how academic libraries work; are used to working with faculty, staff, and students; and have a broad understanding of collections, services, and programs associated with a library like this,” Mulroy said.

The 10-member search committee includes staff members from different parts of the library, representatives from the CUC, a CGU student, and a CGU faculty member, Mulroy said. The committee began the search process in September by advertising nationally through organizations such as the American Library Association, Association of College and Research Libraries, and the Oberlin Group. 

After soliciting applications for about a month, the search committee selected six semifinalists, whom they interviewed via Skype before inviting three finalists to visit the library for two days to give presentations, have in-person interviews, and attend a lunch with students. 

“We had a lot of applications and they were very impressive," said search committee member Lori Anne Ferrell, a professor of early modern history and literature at CGU. "It was not a quick decision that we made in terms of looking at our finalists. I think a search [was] a chance to speak about our aspirations for the library, a chance to make an impact on the future.”

The three candidates are Jennifer Duvernay, the interim director of the Downtown Phoenix Campus Library at Arizona State University; Rebecca Lubas, director of Discovery, Acquisitions, and Consortial Services at the University of New Mexico Libraries; and Kelly Miller, director of Teaching and Learning Services and head of the College Library at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Stephanie Mora, a CGU student, attended the lunch with Lubas Nov. 26. Mora said that she likes how the library is giving students the opportunity to participate in the search.

“I felt the luncheon went great overall," Mora said. "I appreciated the fact the candidate wanted to hear from the students and their concerns."

"However, I would have liked to hear more of what the candidate wanted to implement in regards of the library,” she added. “I want an associate dean that continues to involve students in matters of the library and is aware of needs of the students.” 

The search committee will meet next week and hopes to make an offer before winter break, Mulroy said. The new associate dean will begin January 2014 if everything goes according to schedule.

“I am looking for someone who recognizes how special, if differently special, all [Claremont] schools are,” Ferrell said. “All of the students at our colleges and university do a lot of significant research and that really requires a world-class library. We need the library in new and different ways and I am looking for a new associate dean to be dedicated to the research aspirations of all the students and faculty.”