Dean for Barnard Libraries and Academic Information Services

Dean for Barnard Libraries and Academic Information Services
Barnard College
New York, NY

Barnard College seeks an innovative and thoughtful leader as its next Dean for Barnard Libraries and Academic Information Services (BLAIS). Reporting directly to the Provost and Dean of Faculty, the Dean provides intellectual, strategic, operational, and visionary leadership for the Library in alignment with Barnard’s vision, mission, and strategic goals. Housed in the Milstein Center for Teaching and Learning, and integral to the activities of the building’s Academic Centers, the Dean will join an extraordinary team of scholars engaged in innovative research and transformative teaching within Barnard’s distinctive academic culture, which combines the benefits of an outstanding liberal education with the opportunities of a major research university.


The Dean of BLAIS provides leadership for an interdisciplinary, collaborative space of intellectual discovery, cutting edge research, and transformative teaching. The Dean will develop, articulate, and bring to life a vision for the Library’s future in support of the College’s mission; provide inspired leadership to a highly professional, collaborative, committed, and service-focused team; support, advocate for, and provide access to resources for research, teaching, and learning for faculty and students; and guide the continuing evolution and implementation of new technology and services that enhance the library’s digital and physical presence. 


The opening of the Milstein Center in 2018 has created a distinctive locus of community and intellectual collaboration. The Dean will join BLAIS at an exciting time of growth and will help chart its future course in developing a strategy to encourage integration and collaboration between and among the Library and the Academic Centers to support and enhance the evolving needs of researchers, educators, students, users, and innovators.


Key opportunities for the incoming Dean are as follows:

Serve as an architect and communicator of vision. The incoming Dean will join a well-respected and innovative organization. In the central roles of educator and scholar, facilitator and leader, the Dean will help to guide, articulate, and implement Barnard’s vision for innovative pedagogy, engaged learning, and meaningful research.


Provide inspired and supportive leadership. With the support of a talented team of librarians and professionals, the Dean directs the recruitment, development, and retention of the diverse and motivated team, and must have the ability to manage a complex and nuanced organizational structure with skill and respect. This leader will nurture a culture of inclusion, collaboration, and access, and will build and lead a high-performing team with an emphasis on creativity, empowerment, and professional growth. 


Enhance teaching, research, scholarship, and creative activity. Barnard Library and Academic Information Services supports and propels the College’s mission through the development of collections and informational resources, its collaboration with student and faculty researchers, and the development and support of new forms of digital scholarship and pedagogy. The Dean will foster excellence and achievement in collections strategy and development, in the development and implementation of technology and media, and in innovative teaching, learning, and digital scholarship. With campus partners, the Dean will bring dynamic programming and oversee thoughtful space allocation and planning to nurture the Center’s place as a welcoming, accessible center of intellectual inquiry and support.


Cultivate collaboration and connectedness. The Dean will play an integral role in working with BLAIS academic and administrative partners in the Columbia University network and in the wider academic community. The relationship with the Columbia University Libraries is integral to BLAIS, as it continues to serve as a point of intersection between the two institutions. The Dean represents Barnard at local, state, national, and international levels, and actively contributes to the profession through their participation. This professional and scholarly involvement advances the collaborative reputation of the library, creates multiple opportunities for innovation and collaboration, and enhances Barnard’s stature and service in the exchange of new ideas and best practices with peer institutions locally and nationally. The Dean’s ability to seek out opportunities to forge strong relationships and engage in active collaboration will be key to success, as a catalyst to encouraging a culture of collaboration, information sharing, support, and shared responsibility.


The successful candidate will bring extensive experience working in collaborative, innovative, digital, and interdisciplinary environments and will possess a deep understanding of current issues relevant to academic librarianship, including information services, pedagogy and inquiry, digital libraries and library technologies, scholarly communication, assessment, strategic planning, and advocacy. Working both with development and deployment of staff and material resources, the Dean will manage a highly collaborative and complex organization with skill, integrity, respect, and humor. A commitment to open communication and consultative leadership, combined with strong interpersonal, problem solving, and decision-making skills, is crucial.


The successful candidate will have demonstrated the following qualities and experiences in alignment with Barnard’s commitment to social justice and the values of diversity and inclusiveness, critical inquiry and engagement, openness and respect:


Strategic Vision: The incoming Dean will be a strategic and results-oriented leader who is experienced at articulating and implementing a vision for the Library and the centers at BLAIS in support of the College’s mission. This vision will be informed by knowledge of developments in higher education that affect research libraries and the scholarly process in research, teaching and learning, and awareness of best practices and emerging innovations in academic research library services and pedagogy.


Commitment to Diverse, Inclusive, Organizational Leadership: The incoming Dean will have a record of collaborative thought leadership and strong interpersonal and decision-making skills to set priorities effectively, build trust, and manage resources (human, financial, materials, and space) to achieve Center and College goals. Understanding the value of diverse and inclusive organizations, the Dean will bring enthusiasm for leading a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-generational organization with a highly skilled staff and an ability and initiative to find solutions and embrace challenge and change. They will demonstrate understanding of the ways in which issues of race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, and gender impact individuals, the workplace, and the profession, and will demonstrate capacity and willingness to actively seek varied perspectives. They will strengthen hiring, recruitment, and retention practices that foster equity in the workplace.


Exceptional Communication Skills: The next Dean will possess the ability to develop, articulate, and enact a vision for the Milstein Center Libraries and will communicate effectively, and with integrity, to a broad group of stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff, alumnae, and potential donors. The successful candidate will be adept interpersonally and will be a skilled listener, synthesizer, connector, and ambassador across the campus, the country, and around the world, communicating the value and impact of the Library and the Center to stakeholders and donors.            


Candidates should be accomplished professionals with at least ten years of progressive administrative leadership experience, including significant management and supervisory responsibilities in an academic or research library. An ALA-accredited graduate degree in library or information science and/or advanced degree in an academic discipline is required. Also required is a demonstrated commitment to diversity, social justice, and inclusive excellence and an ability to connect with others and cultivate relationships based on mutual trust and respect, collegiality, and kindness. 


Find the full position profile including additional information on Barnard College, BLAIS, the Milstein Center, Barnard leadership, and the relationship with Columbia University here.



Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Managing directors Amy Sugin and Beth Schaefer are leading this search, supported by consultant Malissa Brennan. To make recommendations or to express your interest in this role please connect with them here. All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.


Barnard College is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Barnard does not discriminate due to race, color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender and/or gender identity or expression, marital or parental status, national origin, ethnicity, citizenship status, veteran or military status, age, disability, or any other legally protected basis, and to the extent permitted by law. Qualified candidates of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds are encouraged to apply for vacant positions at all levels.