James Holloway, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs at The University of New Mexico has named Leo Lo as dean of the College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences (CULLS).
“After an extensive national search, I’m pleased to welcome Leo to the Lobo family – he brings experience, vision and strategy that will be crucial in ensuring CULLS continues to be a vibrant contributor to our academic and research communities,” Holloway said. “Leo’s commitment to equity, inclusion and affordability mirror the culture we’re promoting at UNM, and I look forward to welcoming his ideas and perspectives to our campus.”
Lo comes to the Land of Enchantment from The Pennsylvania State University, where he currently serves as Penn State University Libraries Associate Dean for Learning, Undergraduate Services and Commonwealth Campuses.
“I am honored and delighted to be joining The University of New Mexico as Dean of CULLS,” Lo said. “I look forward to collaborating with the outstanding faculty and staff within the college and across the University to support the research, teaching, learning and service missions of the University.”
He will replace Dean Rick Clement, who retired last year. Mark Emmons served as Interim Dean since January and Fran Wilkinson served in the interim role from July to December of 2020.
In his current role, Lo oversees library operations at the 20 Penn State Commonwealth Campus Libraries across Pennsylvania, as well as the undergraduate services, access services, library instruction and library assessment teams at Penn State’s University Park campus, totaling more than 300 faculty and staff. He also leads the strategic planning process of the University Libraries, supports the promotion and tenure process of Penn State library faculty and has been the lead on the Libraries’ COVID response.
His extensive experience in library management and strategy will be put to good use at UNM’s College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences, which boasts more than 1.5 million visits to the University Libraries per year, offers a variety of degrees through the OILS programs, and houses the award-winning UNM Press.
“I’m most excited about the unique structure of CULLS, with the degree granting Organization, Information & Learning Sciences program, the highly reputable UNM Press, and the academic library all housed within one college. I believe there is tremendous potential, and I am looking forward to working with the talented faculty and staff to leverage the strengths of all these units,” Lo said.
“I care about the accessibility and affordability of higher education,” he explained. “It was one of the reasons that attracted me to UNM, with its diverse student populations, and the high percentage of first-generation students. I, myself, was a first-generation college student, so I know that there are many challenges. Therefore, one of my goals as the Dean of CULLS is to promote Open and Affordable Education Resources to help students lower their expenses. At the same time, I look forward to creating collaboration and partnerships with libraries throughout the state.”
What makes you most excited about New Mexico or what do you look forward to experiencing/exploring?
“New Mexico is a special place. I am fascinated by its culture, and the people. My wife and I are both “food enthusiasts”, so we are so excited about all the food we are going to try in New Mexico. I have heard of Hatch, NM, the “Chile Capital of the World”, and can’t wait to visit.”
Red or Green?
“I’ve visited Albuquerque twice, so I’ve only had a small sample of green and red chile. I must say the green chile pork stew I had was absolutely top notch, so I am going with green right now. But I am very open to being persuaded otherwise.”
Lo’s research supports this vision, focusing on Open Educational Resources and student understanding of textbook costs, as well as library leadership, developing a research culture among library faculty, and career development for librarians.
Lo began work as a Multicultural Studies Librarian at Kansas State University in 2009 and represented the libraries to work closely with the Associate Provost for Diversity in increasing the university’s diversity efforts. He also took on the position of Research and Development Librarian in the Office of Library Planning and Assessment. He was then the Head of McLure Education Library at the University of Alabama, the state’s flagship university. In 2016 Leo became Associate University Librarian at Old Dominion University, where he actively participated in the university’s diversity efforts, and was the Secretary for the Asian Faculty Caucus.
In addition to being selected as an American Library Association (ALA) Emerging Leader in 2009, Lo is currently an elected Councilor-at-Large on the ALA Council. He earned a MLIS from Florida State University, and a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania.