Dean of Libraries Janice Welburn to retire

Janice Welburn, dean of University Libraries, will retire on Oct. 22, 2021, after 15 years of service to Marquette University. During her tenure, Welburn led Raynor Memorial Libraries through a period of significant change in response to advances in teaching and scholarship by integrating traditions in libraries with new approaches to library services.

Welburn has been a visible and active member of the Marquette community in her work with the University Leadership Council and Deans’ Council, as co-chair of the Community Campaign, in her work with the University Academic Senate, and as a member of various campuswide committees. As dean of Raynor Memorial Libraries, she encouraged involvement by her staff in the life of the campus through collaboration and service.

A leading achievement of her tenure has been the Digital Scholarship Lab, a facility established in 2015 as the centerpiece of a growing suite of library services aimed at fostering digital scholarship. Additionally, a signature of her commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion was the launch in 2016 of the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. prayer service, which was inspired by a similar annual event hosted by the American Library Association.

“Janice has been a steady and innovative leader for our libraries. Her strategic direction has led to new and advanced ways of delivering vital research and scholarly resources to our students and faculty,” President Michael R. Lovell said. “Her leadership has been invaluable to advancing the educational mission of Marquette University, and I am grateful for her years of dedication to our community.”

“My goal during my time as dean has been to develop and extend services that build relationships between the library and the rest of the campus,” Welburn said. “Those relationships are built by people, so my focus has remained on people, whether students, faculty, or my colleagues in the library and in my profession. I have a lifelong commitment to learning and helping others achieve their goals, and I have enjoyed mentoring young professionals and working on issues of diversity, equity and social justice.”

Prior to joining Marquette in 2006, she served as associate dean of libraries at the University of Arizona. During her time there, Welburn served as a member of the campus tenure committee, the campus ombud’s committee and the University Millennium Report Oversight Committee. Previously, she was at the University of Iowa libraries for 13 years where she served in many leadership and administrative positions, including director roles for public services, facilities, human resources and technical services.

Earlier in her career, Welburn held librarian positions at New York University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Indiana University (where she was interim head of the Medical Sciences Library) and Princeton University, where she was head of the Psychology Library. She also served as a librarian for the Indianapolis–Marion County Public Library and at Bishop College in Dallas, where she began her professional career.

Welburn published extensively and made numerous presentations in the areas of diversity, leadership and human resources. Her extensive academic and professional engagement currently includes serving as an American Library Association endowment trustee and as a member of the ALA Philanthropy Advisory Group, the ALA Information Technology Policy Advisory Committee, and the Association of College and Research Libraries 2022 President’s Program Committee. In 2011, Welburn was selected by her peers as the ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year, a national award recognizing her contributions to the profession of librarianship. Welburn also served as a two-term elected at-large councilor on the ALA Council, past chair of the Catholic Research Resources Alliance Board, past vice chair and past secretary of the Center for Research Libraries Board, past elected service on the ALA Council and former editorial board member of Portal: Libraries and the Academy.

Welburn also is an active community leader. She currently serves as a member of the Friends of the Haggerty Museum board and the School of Information Studies advisory board. In addition, Welburn is immediate past president of the Milwaukee chapter of Links, Inc., a national service organization for professional women of color that works to strengthen African American communities.

“It will be hard to leave my position,” Welburn added. “But while I will remain active in my profession, I will always have Marquette with me wherever I go from here. I am grateful for the many  opportunities that Marquette has afforded me.”

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