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New SIS dean stages meet and greet

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Posted: Saturday, September 16, 2017 10:27 am | Updated: 2:24 pm, Fri Sep 22, 2017.

The Undergraduate Library welcomed its new dean of the School of Information Sciences Jon Cawthorne with a formal meet and greet in the library’s atrium on Sept. 14.

At the event, Cawthorne discussed his future plans for the library and expressed his excitement to be back in the Detroit.

“I’m excited to be back. I’m truly interested in the community and culture that surrounds Detroit,” said Cawthorne, who was the previous director of the main branch of the Detroit Public Library.

Since formally beginning his term in August, Cawthorne and his staff have already started to implement a few changes.

“We have been experimenting with seating in the library. We have gotten rid of the bean bag chairs and we are focusing on ways to make a more constructive learning environment,” Cawthorne said.

He said he wants the changes in the library, like the seating arrangements, to reflect the students and their ideals.

The Associate Director of Marketing and Communications Jill Wurm said, “[Cawthorne] brings a new innovative look to the position. He is excited to become engaged with the students and the community.”

Cawthorne said he is looking forward to learning from the students and the people who make up Wayne State.

“I’m really excited about meeting all the people at this institution because they truly are the heart and soul of this institution,” said Cawthorne. “As the dean of the School of Information Sciences, I’m really into the research aspect of the library, I want to know things like what makes a student become a librarian.”

The Director of Innovation Warrior Aubrey Agee said she believes Cawthorne’s views as the dean directly reflect the ideals of his group.

“He’s really trying to incorporate integration as well as collaboration and equity into the library, which is what I’m truly excited about because that is what my group is really about,” Agee said.

Cawthorne said his main priority is securing library funding to ensure its ability to provide students the resources and space they need to succeed.

“As the dean, I have to make sure we secure funding," he said. "This library is staffed by 211 people and costs $25 million to run. I just have make sure that happens.” 

Cawthorne said one of the biggest reasons his transition into his new position has gone over so smoothly, is thanks in part by former Dean Sandra Yee.

“I have been really lucky to have [Yee] with me every step in the transition. She is a truly amazing woman. She was such an asset to the profession and she left behind some really big shoes to fill," Cawthorne said.

Cawthorne said he is looking forward to developing relationships with students and the community at large.

“If there is anything that I really want to stress to the students, it is that I want the students to be able to come and talk with me, “ he said.

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