KU announces interim leadership and upcoming search for dean of KU Libraries

LAWRENCE — Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Kansas, has selected two individuals to serve as interim co-deans for KU Libraries.

Scott Hanrath, associate dean for research engagement, and Beth Whittaker, director of the Kenneth Spencer Research Library and associate dean for distinctive collections, will each bring their talents to help shepherd KU Libraries over the coming year. In early June, Kevin Smith, dean of libraries, announced his appointment as director of libraries for Colby College in Waterville, Maine, a move which allows him to be closer to family.

“Kevin has built a great leadership team within KU Libraries, and it’s why I’m confident our interim leadership will be well-resourced and supported throughout the upcoming search,” Bichelmeyer said.

Hanrath will take primary responsibility for internal operations, and Whittaker will take primary responsibility for community relations and continuing the work of donor engagement in preparation for the centennial anniversary of Watson Library. Whittaker and Hanrath will be supported by two KU Libraries veterans. Kent Miller and Mary Roach, executive associate deans, will serve as special advisers to the interim co-deans. Miller will provide mentorship and support regarding fiscal operations and library budgeting practices. Roach will provide mentorship and support regarding leadership of library operations and human resources activities.

Leadership of the University Press of Kansas was incorporated into the KU Libraries dean’s responsibilities in March 2021. To ensure ample stewardship of UPK during this interim period, its board of trustees is finalizing the appointment of an interim director. UPK, which is based on the KU Lawrence campus, is a consortium under the Kansas Board of Regents that serves and supports the state’s six universities.

Bichelmeyer expects to launch a search for the next dean of KU Libraries in the coming weeks with the goal of completing the search before the end of the 2022-23 academic year. Arvin Agah, dean of the School of Engineering, and Mary Walsh, chief information officer, have agreed to serve as co-chairs of the search committee. Invitations will be extended to the rest of the committee members in the near future, with the first meeting of the search committee planned for mid-August.

“I anticipate there will be several opportunities for the KU community to be involved in the search,” Bichelmeyer said.

Details for the search will be available online. 

Tue, 07/19/2022


David Day

Media Contacts

David Day

Office of the Provost