University Libraries dean search committee named

Shirley K. Baker, vice chancellor for scholarly resources and dean of University Libraries, to retire June 30, 2012


A search committee to identify candidates for the position of dean of University Libraries has been appointed by Provost Edward S. Macias, PhD, executive vice chancellor and the Barbara and David Thomas Distinguished Professor in Arts & Sciences.

Shirley K. Baker, vice chancellor for scholarly resources and dean of University Libraries, will retire after 23 years of service to WUSTL on June 30, 2012.

The 16-member search committee will be chaired by Henry L. “Roddy” Roediger III, PhD, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and dean of academic planning in Arts & Sciences.

“Libraries are a critical resource for Washington University’s academic enterprises,” Macias says. “I have great confidence the search committee will identify exemplary candidates for this important position.

“In addition, I would like to thank Shirley Baker for her two decades of outstanding leadership,” Macias says. “I look forward to University Libraries continuing to play a key role in supporting the fast-changing world of university research and teaching.”

Search committee members

Besides Roediger, the members of the 16-member search committee are as follows:

  • Stephanie Atkins, head of access for University Libraries;
  • Adrienne Davis, JD, vice provost and the William M. Van Cleve Professor of Law;
  • Erik Herzog, PhD, associate professor of biology in Arts & Sciences;
  • Carolyn Lesorogol, PhD, associate professor of social work;
  • Linda Nicholson, PhD, the Susan E. and William P. Stiritz Distinguished Professor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in Arts & Sciences;
  • Gail Oltmanns, associate dean of University Libraries;
  • Patricia Olynyk, the Florence and Frank Bush Professor in Art and director of the Graduate School of Art;
  • Elizabeth Maggie Penn, PhD, associate professor of political science in Arts & Sciences;
  • Mark Rollins, PhD, professor of philosophy in Arts & Sciences;
  • Laura Rosenbury, JD, professor and associate dean for research and faculty development at the School of Law;
  • Jay Turner, PhD, associate professor of energy, environmental and chemical engineering;
  • Melissa Vetter, coordinator of subject librarians for University Libraries;
  • Gary S. Wihl, PhD, dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences and the Hortense and Tobias Lewin Distinguished Professor in the Humanities in Arts & Sciences;
  • Todd Zenger, PhD, the Robert and Barbara Frick Professor of Business Strategy; and
  • Lisa Siddens, senior executive assistant to the provost and executive vice chancellor.

Shirley K. Baker

Baker joined Washington University in 1989 as dean of University Libraries. At Washington University, Baker has led the strengthening and improvement of University Libraries.

In the past decade, she has been particularly successful in expanding the University Libraries’ rare, unique and distinctive collections to include primary sources critical for the understanding of 20th-century America — the Film & Media Archive (home to the Henry Hampton Collection) and the Modern Graphic History Library (comprised of illustrators’ archives) — as well as literary manuscripts and rare books.

She directed the renovation and expansion of the Olin Library and the creation of library services for support of digitization and digital scholarship. Baker also oversaw the building of the new Kranzberg Art & Architecture Library and the Rettner Earth & Planetary Sciences Library.

Baker’s career has focused on the uses of technology to describe, promote, share and preserve library resources regionally, nationally and internationally. Among her many professional activities, Baker has been a board member and president of the Association of Research Libraries; served on the Online Computer Library Center Members Council and the boards of the Coalition for Networked Information and BioOne; and, in Missouri, was a founder and twice president of MOBIUS, a resource-sharing consortium.

Before coming to WUSTL, Baker was associate director of libraries for public services at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1982-89 and a librarian at Johns Hopkins University from 1976-1982. She also served as a librarian at Northwestern University for two years following the completion of a master’s degree in library science from the University of Chicago in 1974.

Baker also earned a master’s degree in South Asian languages and civilizations from the University of Chicago in 1974 and an undergraduate degree in economics from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa., in 1965.

Her experience also includes working in computing for AT&T and the L.E. Myers Co. of Chicago and serving as a Peace Corps volunteer for two years in India. Her husband, Richard Baker, is a book and paper conservator in private practice. The couple has two grown children.