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Dean’s Update: The Start of a New Year

January 20, 2022

Being just 5% into 2022, we still can declare and wish for a Happy New Year! 

Progress is seen at the start of this new year toward overcoming the most recent disruptive barriers to experiencing the excitement and rewards of learning in institutions of higher education. Students are back on campus after two weeks of remote classes. Applications for enrollment next year are greater than before.  

However, the year also begins with many unknowns. COVID-19 continues to threaten our well-being and challenges us to require changing precautions to stay healthy and safe. Teaching and attending classes while practicing physical distancing, and exploring new technologies and techniques to communicate and seek information, require time to master changes in expected behaviors to engage with learning. 

Uncertainty about who and how many will come on campus or log in remotely adds challenges to plan adequate support and levels of customized assistance provided by diverse experts in multi-faceted learning environments. Academic leaders face added complexities to strategically envision paths and create programs that will help inspire new students, enable emerging researchers, and sustain productivity of seasoned academics for the pursuit of learning and disseminating researched knowledge.

Many of these changes affect the strategic and managerial library leaders responsible for implementing successful contributions that academic libraries provide their institutions. At the Drexel Libraries, we strategically continue to take a managerial approach to deliver our service and program deliverables in support of the University’s mission and initiatives. However, as many others, we are faced with diminished resources, at least in the short term. The result is we enter a period that may be welcomed by some for freedom to explore entrepreneurial opportunities, but stressful for others less comfortable in piloting organizational change.   

This issue of In Circulation offers readers a snapshot of a few paths taken during our current period of changes that affect what we set out to do at the start of the fiscal year. The Libraries’ 2021 Annual Report, now posted online, summarizes the past calendar year’s activities.

A recap of the first 10th anniversary event in the Libraries’ signature ScholarSip series illustrates how we worked to return to an in-person program format after 18 months of virtual-only events—a key feature of this series that has built cross-campus community around shared interest in Drexel research for the last decade.

A third featured article describes a pilot that aims to help fund Article Processing harges (APCs) Drexel authors must pay to publish in Open Access journals, while raising awareness of changes in scholarly publishing and supporting faculty productivity and research reputation. 

Readers are invited to read other news items, including one on the Libraries’ approaches to support student wellness with our focus on enhancing intellectual wellness through use of selected resources to prepare for learning.

Our wishes for a happy new year come with hope for continued energies to work toward making 2022 a successful year, while ensuring we will remain healthy and inspired to do so.

Danuta A. Nitecki, PhD
Dean of Libraries