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Associate dean taking on dual role in library services

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Denise Cobb has announced that Lydia Jackson will serve as an assistant to the provost for library and community engagement and an associate dean in Library and Information Services.

In this split appointment, Jackson will focus 60 percent of her efforts as an assistant to the provost and 40 percent as associate dean.

As assistant to the provost for library and community engagement, Jackson will provide critical support to a set of new and ongoing initiatives on behalf of the Office of the Provost. “Lydia’s expertise in information literacy and public outreach will allow her to support our East St. Louis Center programs and work with colleagues to positively influence our K-12 pathways to higher education,” Cobb said. “Additionally, we can already see that Lydia’s administrative experience, commitment to East St. Louis, and knowledge of the university can help strengthen the relationship between SIUE programs at the East St. Louis campus and the Edwardsville offices with which they work.”

Jackson is already an integral contributor to SIUE’s Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation programs, and she will contribute in areas of equity, anti-racism, and community engagement in ways that will align with current institutional efforts and academic goals.

“My hope is that over time, she will work closely with Dr. Tim Staples (East St. Louis Center director) and the staff at the East St. Louis Center grant programs, Dr. Gina Jeffries (CHS director) at the Charter High School, Dr. Makesha Harris-Lee (assistant director for pre-collegiate programs) and our college preparatory (CORE) programs, while nurturing other campus and community collaborations,” Cobb said.

“I am elated to begin a new role which affords the opportunity for me to collaborate with partners throughout the university and greater community,” Jackson said. “I look forward to continuing relationships already developed and building new ones. My primary goals will focus on strengthening communication and connections between the SIUE East St. Louis Center and the university. In addition, I am committed to the integral work with all colleagues on anti-racism.”

“As associate dean, Jackson will serve as a senior member of the LIS administration team, including providing vision and strategic directions on library operations and issues related to anti-racist policies for LIS and SIUE,” said LIS Dean Lis Pankl, PhD.

As part of those efforts, Jackson will engage as a thought-leader with colleagues across LIS and SIUE in advancing institutional goals toward creating an anti-racist community committed to equity and social justice; develop and implement measurable goals and metrics, and use data, research, and evidence-based practice to identify and change institutional culture. She will identify and pursue avenues for LIS to support education, reconciliation, restoration, and cultural transformation with regard to bias and discrimination against any group or people, including racism in all its forms. She will also serve as a leader in collection development in business, social work, anti-racism and social justice, including building anti-racism collections and grant projects at Lovejoy Library and the East St. Louis Center with the diversity and engagement librarian.

Jackson will also serve as coordinator for the Eugene B. Redmond Learning Center, encompassing its collections, digitization and programs, and supervision.

Jackson’s associate dean appointment continues her important role in serving the needs of LIS and its patrons, including serving as interim LIS dean from 2018-20. She began her professional affiliation with SIUE in 1983 as a library technical assistant III. She provided reference services, conducted library instruction sessions, managed computing problems, and assisted in the development, planning, implementation, promotion and assessment of instructional programs.

In 1998, Jackson was named assistant instruction and reference librarian. As a tenure-track and tenured library faculty member, she has served in leadership roles such as instruction librarian, director of instruction and outreach, and director of the research commons. Before joining SIUE, she held positions at the Saint Louis University Medical Library and the East St. Louis Public Library.

Jackson earned a bachelor’s in government and sociology from SIUE in 1983. She also holds master’s degrees in both instructional technology and library science.

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