What is your current job title and responsibilities?
Associate Director for Information Services and Scholarly Communication, UCF Libraries
I lead a dedicated and active group of library faculty and staff to plan, develop and implement library services that support the academic mission, goals, and initiatives of the University. The division strategically collaborates with other campus units to shape learning-focused spaces and services by providing research assistance, instruction and programming, and guidance on the evolving role of scholarly publishing.
What is your history at UCF and before UCF?
I’ve been at UCF since 1998 and have held four positions in the library (Reference Librarian, Head of the Curriculum Materials Center, Interim Head of Research and Information Services, and Associate Director for Information Services and Scholarly Communication). Prior to UCF, I was a library department head at Louisiana State University and librarian at Miami University (OH).
What is your academic background?
Ph.D. Curriculum and Instruction, University of Central Florida
M.S. Library Science, University of Kentucky
M.A. Education, University of Kentucky
B.A. Anthropology and Political Science, dual major, University of Kentucky
What is your favorite UCF memory?
Any one specific memory that comes to mind is quickly eclipsed by the totality of seeing the institution metamorphose into a world class University. I have every respect for the President’s vision and the energy of an administration and faculty that helped implement it.
If you could change one thing at UCF, what would it be? ($ and time no object)
UCF is a very large institution and as a result students sometimes don’t feel part of the community. Class size and individual attention from faculty are also important factors for student success. If time and money were no object, I’d provide the resources needed to ensure that every student received adequate faculty interaction and access to campus services to be professionally and personally successful.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
Whether you’re new to UCF or you’ve been in academia for eons, surround yourself with people who support you and take the time to develop meaningful, long lasting relationships. Some of my best colleagues are now at other institutions, but I can still rely on them for professional – and sometimes personal – advice. And remember to be the kind of colleague you’d like to work with.
If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be and why?
As the John C. Hitt Library is off the table, I would like to have the as-yet-to-be-founded Center for Sustainable Living named in my honor. I am learning about, and trying to implement, ways to minimize my footprint on the earth. One of my passions is organic, locally grown food and I spend a lot of time in my garden and in the kitchen. My husband and I are looking at other ways to live a simpler, more energy-independent life.
If you could have lunch with anyone at UCF (who you do not normally eat lunch with), who would you choose and why?
This is a tough question (there are so many interesting people at UCF!), but I’d have to say Provost Whittaker. I never miss an opportunity to advocate for more library funding and having an opportunity to discuss how the library can tie into his initiatives and further support faculty and students would be too good to pass up.
Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
The first person I’d like to thank is Barry Baker, Director of UCF Libraries. Barry had the confidence in me to appoint me Associate Director for Information Services and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity. Two other people also come to mind… (then) Vice-Provost Alison Morrison-Shetlar and Chuck Dziuban, Director of RITE and UCF’s first Pegasus Professor. I attribute my success at UCF to each of these people, who opened many doors for me.
Name and describe a teacher or researcher from your past who truly inspired you and why.
Dr. Ken Coleman, professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Kentucky is both my personal “academic angel” and an inspiration. Dr. Coleman provided individual attention and nominated me for Phi Beta Kappa and the UK DOPS Amry Vandenbosch Award for Outstanding Political Science Senior. He also met with me to discuss graduate school options (when that wasn’t even on my radar), and these meetings were always at his suggestion. As the first person in my family to graduate high school, much less attend college, I had no expectations for individual recognition nor did I know to ask questions or develop a professional relationship with one of my professors. His outreach and mentoring directly impacted my academic and professional choices, and therefore me personally. It is this model that I aspire to live by, and why Dr. Coleman continues to be an inspiration.
What undergraduate or graduate class/program/experience inspired you the most and why?
Dave Boote, my dissertation chair and faculty advisor from the COEHP, inspired me to be the best academic I can be. Dave never accepted anything less than my best and I quickly learned that in the first of four classes I had with him. We collaborated on a number of research projects and articles, and at every step he pushed me to conduct more complex studies (add more variables), to think more deeply (really reflect on the study results), and to write more concisely (synthesize the literature).
What is your favorite restaurant or food?
I spent a month in Thailand on a culinary tour, then another few weeks in California learning to cook Thai food, so that’s at the top of the list. I also love seasonable, local, organic veggies, often eaten straight from the garden.
What is your favorite movie, book or music?
I’m not sure that a librarian can have one favorite book, but I recently went to Ireland and am reading Trinity by Uris and a book about Padraic Pearse, one of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Uprising.
What is your favorite vacation destination?
The next one! Travel is another passion and there are too many countries to visit to return to one. My husband and I just came back from a trip to the Azores (Portugal) and the scenery and people are amazing… but Ayutthaya (Thailand) has been my favorite destination so far.