Heller-Ross takes over as dean of LIS
Published: Friday, September 7, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 7, 2012 17:09
For Holly Heller-Ross, becoming the new Library and Information Services dean was unexpected, but not something impossible.
Recently named new dean on Sept. 1, Heller-Ross had formerly worked for PSUC as an associate dean for LIS from 2007 to 2012. Last January, she took an interim dean position when Cerise Oberman stepped down as LIS dean after 23 years of service.
Good news came to Heller-Ross as a surprise. In the spring, PSU conducted a national search to find a new dean, while on campus Heller-Ross learned the jacks of the trade from Oberman. Once an interim dean, Heller-Ross realized the differences between the associate and dean positions. Not only is the amount of work greater, but also the pace is busier.
“The level of responsibility is different. Several tasks are delegated, but the budget work is not.”
Among the different tasks a LIS dean has to deal with are the constant strings of meetings, never-ending work, and library updates. Performance reviews, for example, need to be fair and consider the careers of other co-workers as well as the needs of PSUC, Heller-Ross said.
The path that took Heller-Ross to her current position was not a straight one. In the 80s, she was one of many environmentalists who were affected by former President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, and his Reaganomics. A firm believer of the trickle-down system, Reagan brought giant cuts to environmental programs during his administration.
The basic theory was if the big entrepreneurs and businessmen in the upper sphere of the economical hierarchy benefitted from tax cuts and less governmental regulations, the obtained wealth would trickle down the pyramid. This was not the case for Heller-Ross, who had a hard time as an environmental science undergrad in that period.
As a result from the economy, Heller-Ross took temporary and volunteer jobs after working as a painter, banker, and worker at a fast-food chicken place, our current LIS dean got the idea to pursue a Master of Library Science in SUNY Albany after realizing how much time she spent at the library. Her path took her back to Plattsburgh, where she worked at Plattsburgh Public Library for 2 years, and at CVPH Library for four more, before joining to PSUC’s faculty.
When asked about Heller-Ross’s new LIS position, the supervisor of LIS, Provost Dr. James Liszka said, “She’s experienced with the operation, and has expertise on the library side, as well as the tech side.”
Former LIS dean, Cerise Oberman believes Heller-Ross’s appointment was correct.
“Philosophically, her goals mirror much of what LIS had been doing to serve the needs of students and faculty.”
Students should expect a lot of improvements involving Library and Information Services these upcoming semesters at PSUC. Some examples are new reading and presentation rooms on Feinberg’s 3rd floor, reference texting and printing from laptops. Work-study students will also benefit from these improvements, due to tech workshops and cross-training programs LIS will implement.
On the job training will be possible thanks to a partnering with the career development center.
“We want students to know we are working hard on that, to give us feedback and suggestions,” Heller-Ross said.
When talking about the LIS relationship with the student body, Heller-Ross seemed enthusiastic. Since many students use the Library building and its resources, a strong relationship between the student body and LIS is essential considering the mandatory educational tech fee. Regarding strong endorsements the Student Association gives to LIS,
“It’s a lot of money. We should spend it wisely,” Heller-Ross said.