The University Libraries have appointed two associate deans. Lori Birrell, former head of Special Collections, has been appointed associate dean for Special Collections. Joel Thornton, former head of Research and Instruction Services, has been named interim associate dean for Research and Learning. A national search for a permanent associate dean for Research and Learning is anticipated to begin in spring 2020.

The Special Collections divison collects, preserves and makes available for research the Libraries’ unique resources. Under Birrell’s leadership, the divison has made approximately 200 collections available for use, worked with faculty to provide over a dozen new instruction sessions in support of the university’s curriculum, begun offering unpaid academic internships for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as initiated a graduate student speaker series with the goal of providing graduate students the opportunity to share their research with the campus community.

In his new role, Thornton will provide overall strategic leadership for the following public-facing units and branch libraries: User Services, Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery, Instruction and Liaison Services, the Chemistry and Biochemistry Library, the Fine Arts Library and the Physics Library. He will manage academic content and resource selection strategies. Through campus engagement, under Thornton’s leadership, this division strives to meet the information needs of the teaching and research programs of the university and ensures that services across the Libraries efficiently serve users.

“I’m thrilled to have Lori and Joel join the Libraries’ administrative team and bring their experience and perspective to our work,” said Dennis Clark, dean of Libraries. “The Libraries are committed to the university’s guiding priorities, and these new appointments will help us engage with those priorities, particularly focusing on student success and advancing research.”