School of Library and Information Science to bring in a new year with a new director

Tomas Lipinski named new director of the School of Library and Information Science

Tomas Lipinski named new director of the School of Library and Information Science

Tyler Singleton

The School of Library and Information Science welcomes its first director in nearly two years.

Tomas Lipinski, professor at Indiana University’s School of Library and Information Science, will replace interim director Don Wicks in January 2013. According to U.S. News and World Report, Indiana University’s School of Library and Information Science ranks seventh in the country. Kent State was ranked 20th in the country.

“The school and college are very well positioned because of the intellectual assets it has,” Lipinski said about Kent State. “I have worked in a number of universities, and it not always the case to find a group of people like this that get along well together and are great individuals. I am excited for that.”

Wicks has served as interim director for the past two years. According to Jeff Fruit, former director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and head of the search committee, this is not typical.

Fruit said the university-wide hiring freeze beginning in December 2010 slowed the search for a new director.

The search committee went to Dallas last January to conduct interviews. The group was available to speak with any interested candidates. Lipinksi was one of those candidates.

“My school was going through some changes, and I had the opportunity to have a similar position here in the School of Informatics,” Lipinski said. “However, I’ve known the school and faculty’s reputation for years.”

The committee took the 10 candidates from phone interviews down to four or five candidates by spring break of 2012. These individuals visited Kent State for a formal presentation for the position as new director.

Fruit said the committee had to consider how each candidate would fit for the school’s initiatives, such as distance learning. He said Lipinski fit this initiative because of his experience with distance learning at Indiana University.

“It is a challenge to continue to have programming that is innovative and attractive to students not only in Ohio, but beyond because so many of the schools in the college are offering online programs,” Lipinski said. “This offers some wonderful opportunities to compete nationally with other programs.”

Fruit said directors have to work with various groups of different individuals. He said this ranges from students to faculty and up to administrators above Lipinski.

Lipinski comes to the school with a strong background in administrative duties. He has also served as a professor and said he hopes to continue to teach at Kent State.

Fruit, who also served as a director at Kent State, said he enjoyed the fluidity of the position. He was able to work at the student level and consider their perspective and take his findings to the deans and provost at Kent State.

Fruit said the position is demanding because directors have to lead while considering a vast combination of voices from faculty, students and leaders at the university level.

Fruit said the committee also spoke to other faculty members within the School of Library and Information Science. Fruit said Lipinski had strong support from the university community.

The committee then relayed this information after vetting each candidate to Stanley Wearden, the dean of the College of Communication and Information.

Wearden made the final selection of the new director.

“Over my career, I have been in situations where I have had to interact at all levels,” Lipinski said. “I have always made students my priority. I want to make sure that the concerns they have about the future of the program and school are being listened to and addressed.”

Contact Tyler Singleton at [email protected]