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Provost Ochoa appoints Scott Walter as new dean of the Library.

Walter, whose appointment begins July 31, currently serves as university librarian and professor at Illinois Wesleyan University. Joining SDSU, Walter succeeds Gale Etschmaier, who retired in fall 2018, and Patrick McCarthy, who is serving as interim dean. 

Walter holds more than 20 years of experience at academic libraries, including previous administrative positions at DePaul University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Kansas. 

At Illinois Wesleyan, located in Bloomington, Ill., Walter also served as university copyright officer and co-interim chief technology officer. He is also a past editor-in-chief of the scholarly journal of the Association of College & Research Libraries.

“Walter is a skilled administrator and expert historian who joins us at the most ideal time. Through our strategic plan, we will expand and elevate our global impact, research enterprise and the quality of our scholarship — driven by enhancements to our research infrastructure, which includes our library,” Ochoa said. 

“The library has a direct and tangible impact on student learning and engagement and faculty and staff scholarship,” Ochoa said. “Walter will define the long-term vision and plan for a highly engaged library community that will meet our teaching and research needs in an ever dynamic environment and context brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Walter said he is committed to helping the library and its staff “in our shared commitments to educational access and affordability, academic innovation and student success, and new approaches to student, faculty, and community-centered scholarship.”

SDSU has a demonstrated record and commitment to innovation and collaboration across academic and student service programs, all to promote student, faculty and staff success, Walter noted.  “Initiatives like the Digital Humanities Center and the Latinx Resource Center demonstrate the impact the library can have both on scholarship and on student success when we embrace its potential as a hub for campus programs and a catalyst for change,” Walter said. “Few institutions have demonstrated the capacity for innovation, or benefited from the potential for strong partnerships in the community and across the state, as much as SDSU,” he added. “I can think of no better place to work together with colleagues to shape a brighter future for our students, our city, and our state.”

Walter has earned numerous degrees: a doctorate in higher education administration from Washington State University; Bachelor of Science degrees in both Russian and linguistics from Georgetown University; a Master of Arts in Russian area studies, also from Georgetown; a Master of Arts in education from American University; a Master of Library Science and a Master of Science in history and philosophy of education from Indiana University at Bloomington.

    The SDSU Library has a collection of nearly two million physical items that include monographs, media, and journal volumes, provides access to numerous electronic resources and offers a variety of user-focused services, including over 600 public workstations, a computing hub, electronic classrooms, and a digital humanities center. Special Collections and University Archives holds over 80,000 printed volumes, over 500 manuscripts and archival collections, 800 linear feet of university records, numerous graphic and ephemera collections, and digital collections. 

    Ochoa also expressed appreciation for the search committee, chaired by SDSU Library head of collection management Wil Weston, for their “thoughtfulness and dedication,” and gratitude to McCarthy for his leadership during the interim period. Other search committee members were:

    • Janet Bowers, an Associate Professor in the College of Sciences
    • Sophie Chance, a student representative
    • Troy Compton, head of the circulation desk at the SDSU Library 
    • Philip Greiner, director of the  School of Nursing
    • Roberto D. Hernández, an associate professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies and Chair of Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Affairs
    • Pamella Lach, the Digital Humanities Librarian
    • Amanda Lanthorne, University Archivist
    • Glen McClish, Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Letters


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