Jon E. Cawthorne, Ph.D.

Dean of the Wayne State University Library System and the University’s School of Information Sciences

August 8, 2018

Libraries in the 21st Century: Good for Universities, Communities, and the World

About the speaker

Jon E. Cawthorne, Ph.D. became dean of the Wayne State University Library System and the University’s School of Information Sciences on Aug. 1, 2017.

Located in the heart of Detroit, Mich., Wayne State University is a top-tier, preeminent leader in urban, community-based research. WSU is among just 2.5 percent of universities designated by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as R1 (Doctoral University: Highest Research Activity); and among just 1.3 percent of universities that also hold Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification. The WSU Library System comprises five libraries, including freestanding law and medical libraries; and the Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs, which houses the world’s largest labor archives. The Library System is headquarters for the Detroit Area Library Network, a consortium of 19 academic, public, school and special libraries; and information organizations committed to sharing resources and expertise toward greater efficiency and return on investment. Also operating under the Library System enterprise is the University’s School of Information Sciences, which offers three graduate degrees and five certificate credentials, including a Top 25, American Library Association-accredited library science program.

Jon Cawthorne began his library leadership career in Detroit, as director of the Detroit Public Library’s flagship branch, where he was later named interim deputy director to lead the entire 24-branch system through an organizational transition. Before becoming WSU dean of libraries, Cawthorne also held leadership positions at West Virginia University, Florida State University, Boston College, and San Diego State University. He holds a M.L.S. degree from the University of Maryland, and a Ph.D. in managerial leadership in the information professions from Simmons College. His published research bridges the realms of diversity, libraries, organizational culture, and leadership; with a shared focus on models that anticipate and plan for rapid change and the future through strategic capacity building and workforce development.

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