Announcement of the new Dean of Libraries and University Librarian Designate
February 17, 2023 11:01 AM

Dear Students, Staff and Faculty,

It is my pleasure to announce that Claire Stewart has been selected as the next Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Dean of Libraries and University Librarian Designate beginning May 16, pending approval by the Board of Trustees. Professor Christopher Prom will continue to serve as interim dean until that time.

Professor Stewart currently serves as the Dean of Libraries for the University of Nebraska- Lincoln and chairs the University of Nebraska Consortium of Libraries Executive Committee. Her tenure at Nebraska was marked by a number of important milestones for the library. Under her leadership, Nebraska completed a major renovation of the library’s second largest facility. She rejuvenated the library’s philanthropic support program by reengaging existing donors and building new connections for future private support. She initiated a university-wide effort to develop a comprehensive research data strategy. And she developed new collaborative relationships with colleges and units that resulted in major new research partnerships in disciplines that ranged from agriculture to the digital humanities.  

Professor Stewart has a deep record of service to national associations, recently completing a term as chair of the Advocacy and Public Policy Committee for the Association of Research Libraries. She currently serves as chair of the Board of Governors for HathiTrust and is a member of the steering committees for the Big Ten Academic Alliance’s BIG Collection and Geospatial Data projects. She is also a member of the American Council of Learned Societies’ Commission on Fostering and Sustaining Diverse Digital Scholarship.

From previous positions at the University of Minnesota and Northwestern University, Professor Stewart brings a deep, working knowledge of the scholarly, educational and engagement missions that define Big Ten research universities. Professor Stewart’s combination of experience, academic achievement and her demonstrated record as an innovative, thoughtful, and strategic leader made her the clear choice to be the next leader of our University Libraries at Illinois.

I want to thank the members of the search committee, chaired by Dean Tracy Sulkin of the College of Media, for their thoughtful and careful work. And I also want to thank Professor Christopher Prom for his service as the interim dean.

I hope you will all join me in congratulating Professor Claire Stewart on her selection as the new Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Dean of Libraries and University Librarian.

We are all looking forward to welcoming her to our university and into our community.


William T. Bernhard
Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost

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