Frances C. Wilkinson, Ed.D, was appointed interim dean of the College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences (ULLS) on July 1, 2020. She is retiring at the end of December. Prior to becoming interim dean, she was the ULLS senior associate dean and administrative director of the Organization, Information & Learning Sciences program (OILS). Wilkinson brings her vast experience, research, and years of leadership within the ULLS to her new position. Amidst navigating the College’s ongoing response to the pandemic, Wilkinson oversees Development activities to ensure a prosperous future within the college.
Wilkinson has been making an impact on The University of New Mexico community for years. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Master of Public Administration and later obtained her Doctor of Education in Education Leadership from UNM. Wilkinson also received a Master of Library Sciences from the University of Arizona.
Wilkinson’s history within the College began with her work as a staff member before being appointed to the faculty as the director of the acquisitions and serials department. She became the senior associate dean in 1998 and has served as interim dean two times prior to this occasion. “Fran’s successes are numerous, and they brought great improvements to the Libraries. It was due to her efforts that the Libraries were successful in obtaining a new space for the Fine Arts Library, which is now in a beautiful location in Pearl Hall. Recently, Fran was instrumental [with the former dean] in obtaining the funds for the much needed and long sought-after high density storage facility, the South Campus Repository,” said Sever Bordeianu, ULLS director of technical services and colleague of 32 years.
Her impact goes beyond the ULLS with years of participation in leadership organizations nationally, regionally, and most recently with committees across campus. She is very active on UNM faculty senate committees, currently serving as chair of the Faculty & Staff Benefits Committee. In addition, she serves as a mediator for the UNM Ombuds/Dispute Resolution Services. Wilkinson works closely with the office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs to advocate for the ULLS. “For many years, I’ve had the pleasure and honor to work, directly and indirectly, with Interim Dean Fran Wilkinson. She exemplifies commitment to the institution through her leadership, mentorship, care and stewardship of the one of the university and broader community’s most precious resources – the College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences,” said the Senior Vice Provost, Barbara Rodríguez. “At the University of New Mexico, where “Each of Us Defines All of Us”, Interim Dean Wilkinson, through hard work and unwavering dedication, continues to make a difference in the lives of our students, staff, faculty, and in the lives of New Mexicans.”
Wilkinson has been influential within the Organization, Information, and Learning Sciences program as a faculty member and administrative director. Victor Law, OILS program director, said “Fran has been leading the program starting from the first day. When the program moved to the ULLS, it only had three tenured faculty and now the number of tenured/tenured track faculty has grown to seven. The undergraduate program enrollment has grown steadily, more than doubling since joining the College.” Amidst her busy schedule, Wilkinson continues to teach graduate courses and act as a faculty advisor for students, she currently chairs six dissertation committees.
Wilkinson is the author of eight books and over fifty articles, chapters, columns, and reports. Her research and consulting interests include leadership, organizational development, qualitative research, competitive procurement, disaster preparedness and recovery, acquisitions, and computer ergonomics.
Under Wilkinson’s leadership, the ULLS recently reopened their doors to the public and continue to practice safe guidelines; monitoring the amount of individuals within a building and enforcing cleaning practices to ensure the safety of both employees and patrons. She has effectively guided the development of ongoing projects within the college. This includes the creation of more student spaces within the libraries and an offsite storage facility. “Her leadership will be particularly critical as we put the final touches on the South Campus Repository and complete construction of the Graduate Commons and the Parish Library Services space” said Mark Emmons, associate dean of ULLS. “Personally, I am looking forward to working closely with Fran to ensure a smooth transition. She has so much valuable knowledge and experience to share and I can’t wait to sit down with her (virtually, of course) to just listen and enjoy her company. She will leave big shoes to fill.”
Associate Dean Mark Emmons, will act as interim dean of the College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences effective January 1, 2021 until the new dean is on board.
Emmons joined UNM in 1998 and became full professor in 2012. He became associate dean in 2015, and has contributed greatly to the operation of the University Libraries and has been a key contributor to the development of the University’s COVID response. Emmons has written about reference materials on film and cinema and information literacy, and is an active member of local and national library organizations.
UNM Provost and Executive Vice President James Holloway is in the process of forming the search committee for the new dean for the College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences. The national search is expected to begin this fall with interviews in Spring 2021 and a preferred start date of July 2021 if all goes smoothly.