Jon E. Cawthorne has been selected to serve as the next dean of the Wayne State University School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) and the University Libraries, ending a national search to replace retiring dean Sandra Yee. He will begin at Wayne State on Aug. 1, 2017. The announcement was made by Provost Keith Whitfield.
“The search committee, faculty and staff were impressed with Jon’s background, experience and knowledge,” Whitfield said. “I am sure that his passion, intelligence and leadership across academic, public and special libraries will greatly benefit the SLIS. This is a kind of a homecoming for Cawthorne, who was director of the main branch of the Detroit Public Library earlier in his career.”
Cawthorne comes to Wayne State from West Virginia University (WVU), where he has served as dean of libraries since 2014. In this role, he is responsible for seven libraries and 132 library, faculty and staff members. During his tenure, several significant research collections were obtained by WVU, including the Pearl S. Buck manuscripts, the Jay Rockefeller Senatorial Archives and the Rahall Congressional Papers.
Prior to joining WVU, Cawthorne was interim dean at San Diego State University, Library and Information Access; interim deputy director at the Detroit Public Library; and reference librarian and coordinator for outreach services at the University of Oregon. He earned a B.A. in English and radio communications from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and his M.L.S. at the University of Maryland at College Park, Maryland. Cawthorne received his Ph.D. in managerial leadership in the information professions from Simmons College in Boston.
“I am extremely excited and honored to join the Wayne State University Library System,” Cawthorne said. “This is a tremendous time to lead libraries, particularly to be able to influence and support future directions of libraries and library education.”
Whitfield thanked Yee for her long service as dean of SLIS. “Dean Sandra Yee has provided incredible leadership to SLIS and Wayne State University. We owe her a great deal of gratitude and appreciation for all she has done for the university over the years. I will sorely miss her passion and commitment for our great university.”