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New Dean Appointed for WVU Libraries

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
February 7th, 2014

Jon E. Cawthorne, associate dean for public services and assessment at Florida State University Libraries, has been named dean of libraries at West Virginia University.

“Dr. Cawthorne brings a winning combination of experience and visionary thinking to WVU,” said Michele Wheatly, WVU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “As we work to achieve some ambitious goals for our libraries, I am excited to know that we will do so under his leadership.”

Cawthorne said, “I am thrilled to join a great institution at this time in their history. With so much support from the students, faculty and administration, I look forward to working with everyone to advance WVU Libraries in the years to come.”

Dr. Jon E. Cawthorne

Cawthorne, who will begin his new position on March 17, currently manages assessment, services and staffing in Strozier, Dirac Science and Engineering libraries and leads a writing institute for librarians and staff called, Braggin’ Writes. He recently completed his Ph.D. dissertation, Viewing the Future of University Research Libraries through the Perspectives of Scenarios, and is working on a guidebook for libraries on the process of scenario planning.

Cawthorne is co-principal investigator on two national Andrew Mellon Foundation grants. One explores new library service models (Centers of Excellence) and the other investigates the competencies needed to support Digital Scholarship in leading international universities. Cawthorne is scheduled to travel to Brazil, China, the U.K. and Japan in 2014.

He has consulted on creating underrepresented minority internships in research libraries and published articles on diversity, shared leadership and the importance of outreach. Prior to his current position, Cawthorne worked at Boston College Libraries, San Diego State and Detroit Public Library and participated in Association of Research Libraries’ Research Library Leaders Fellows Program, UCLA Senior Fellows and the Frye Leadership Institute. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Radio Communication from Evergreen State College and Master of Library Science from the University of Maryland at College Park.

The WVU Libraries have an annual budget in excess of $14 million, more than half of which is committed to maintaining and adding to the collection. The libraries’ collections include more than 2.1 million books. In addition, the libraries provide access to more than 350,000 e-books, 45,700 electronic journals and 246 electronic databases, and house the West Virginia and Regional History Center. The libraries are central to WVU’s teaching and research missions and goals.

Robert Jones, dean of WVU’s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, led the search committee that chose four candidates from a pool of applicants to visit campus in late 2013.

“Jon has an impressive vision for all three missions of the land grant university and a record of successful collaboration across disciplines and academic units. His excellent leadership skills are going to serve WVU well as we strive for the next level of national prominence,” Jones said.

Executive search firm Greenwood-Asher assisted the university with the search.

Myra Lowe, a long-time WVU librarian and administrator, has been serving very capably as interim dean of libraries since January of 2012. This was Lowe’s second time serving as interim dean; she served in the same capacity from 1998-1999.

“Myra has been invaluable to the WVU libraries and to the whole university over the past few years,” Wheatly said. “We are so grateful to her for assuming a leadership role during a critical transition period.”

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