On June 10 the University of Oregon announced that Mark Watson, associate dean for research services, UO libraries, has been named interim dean of UO libraries. Watson has worked in various capacities in the UO libraries since 1986, including stints as interim head of UO science libraries and co-interim dean of libraries. He will begin this new role starting July 9. ACRL-OR caught up with the incoming interim dean to answer a few questions about his new role:
What can you tell us about why Adrienne Lim (current dean UO Libraries) is leaving and where she is going?
Adriene Lim has accepted a position as Dean of Libraries at the University of Maryland in College Park. Dean Lim is a recognized leader in the national academic library community, and her record of achievement, leadership and scholarship has been recognized and rewarded by this offer to take the helm at one of the country’s largest research libraries. As a respected leader at the University of Oregon, she will be sorely missed.
What do you most look forward to as interim dean?
As interim Dean, I will have the opportunity to work directly under the University’s Vice President and Provost for Academic Affairs. Involvement at this level of governance and the opportunity to help shape the academic direction of the institution is an exciting prospect. Within the library, I look forward to working with the same great team of colleagues but in new ways. As the interim Dean, I will be able to deepen and extend my efforts to support them in providing excellent library service to the campus community.
What is the biggest challenge you see in the year to come for the UO libraries?
Like many of its peers, the University of Oregon is dealing with a downturn in enrollment, especially when it comes to international students, with the consequence that all sectors of the institution are facing funding constraints. It will be challenging to maintain fiscal balance and still deliver the quality service that faculty and students have come to expect. This challenge extends to both maintaining adequate levels of staffing and the library’s ability to build collections commensurate with teaching and research needs.
What can you tell us about the search process for a permanent dean?
The UO is facing the prospect of recruiting several new Deans during the coming year; however, the stated expectation is that a search for a permanent Dean of Libraries will commence sometime in the fall.
Anything else you’d like the Oregon academic library community to know?
As interim Dean, I will have the opportunity to attend more meetings and conferences where I hope to meet new colleagues and interact with people I already know. I look forward to making new connections with my Oregon colleagues!
ACRL-OR extends our best wishes to Mark Watson and to the UO Libraries during this interim leadership and search for a new dean of UO Libraries.