Associate Dean for Special Collections and Area Studies

The Ohio State University Libraries aspires to be the model library advancing the educational, research, and engagement missions of a 21st-century public, land grant, urban, community engaged university. We seek a dynamic, growth-oriented, and values-driven leader to provide strategic direction for our Special Collections and Area Studies division in support of this vision. Reporting to the Vice Provost and Dean of University Libraries, the Associate Dean will lead organizational efforts to advance knowledge creation, enable student success, and broaden community engagement through the use of unique and distinctive collections in support of the university’s transformational academic plan and ambitious research agenda.

The Special Collections and Area Studies division comprises the University Archives; the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center Archival Program; the Ohio Public Policy Archives; Archival Technical Services; the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, which includes the William Charvat Collection of American Fiction; the Hilandar Research Library, which houses the largest collection of medieval Slavic manuscripts on microform in the world; the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, the world’s largest collection of materials related to cartoons and comics; the Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute collection of performing arts research materials; international collections supporting Chinese and Korean, East European and Slavic, Japanese, Jewish, Latin American, and Middle Eastern studies; and the Libraries’ exhibitions program.

A member of the Libraries’ senior administrative group, the Associate Dean joins a team that practices shared leadership, intentional communications, and participatory decision making and models The Ohio State University’s shared values.


  • Leads the Special Collections and Area Studies division, comprised of approximately 30 library faculty and staff who acquire and manage collections and provide research, instructional, and outreach services for the Ohio State scholarly community and researchers worldwide.
  • Leads the division in developing strategic directions, implementing efficient and effective operations, and assessing service quality.
  • Oversees a variety of educational public programs, such as symposia, lectures, and exhibitions that showcase and broaden the curricular and scholarly use of Ohio State’s unique and distinctive collections.
  • Advances the digitization, discovery, and use of unique and distinctive collections in partnership with the Assistant Dean for Technology and Digital Programs and Associate Dean of Content and Access.
  • Engages in growing philanthropic support to enhance collections, services, and outreach in partnership with curators, archivists, and the Libraries’ advancement team.
  • Fosters a supportive, collaborative work environment, and encourages cross-divisional partnerships.

Required Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in Library/Information Science from an ALA-accredited graduate program or another appropriate terminal degree from a relevant discipline such as history, archival administration, or museum studies.
  • Minimum of ten years of progressively responsible professional experience in a large academic or research library or comparable experience elsewhere.
  • Knowledge and understanding of significant trends and issues in area studies and/or special collections.
  • Demonstrated success in planning, oversight, and administration, including effective leadership, supervision, coaching, and budgetary skills.
  • Ability to inspire, build trust, lead organizational change, empower professional growth, and engage library faculty and staff in delivering user-centered services.
  • Strong commitment to actuating Ohio State’s shared values and promoting an organizational culture of excellence and impact, diversity and innovation, inclusion and equity, care and compassion, and integrity and respect.
  • Excellent interpersonal, oral, written, and collaboration skills for communicating complex issues and perspectives to a diverse range of constituencies.
  • Strong analytical and decision-making skills.
  • Record of research, publication, and scholarly achievement sufficient to warrant appointment with tenure at the Associate Professor level.

Desired Qualifications:

  • National or international reputation in archives, area studies, or special collections librarianship.
  • Significant record of participation in relevant collaborative initiatives and professional associations.
  • Experience in donor relations and growing philanthropic support.

Discover Ohio State

The Ohio State University’s Shared Values include Excellence and Impact, Diversity and Innovation, Inclusion and Equity, Care and Compassion, and Integrity and Respect. Our university community welcomes differences, encourages open-minded exploration and courageous thinking, and upholds freedom of expression. We define diversity broadly and value multiple dimensions of diversity including, but not limited to demographic, religion, country of origin, perspective, ability status, and background. 

Ohio State prides itself on welcoming a wide range of viewpoints and providing opportunities for all to deepen and develop their intellectual curiosities. As a land-grant university, we recognize and understand that a diverse faculty, staff, and student body in which all may engage in open dialogue, be exposed to new ideas and perspectives, belong, and feel valued and included is essential to our efforts in meeting our mission of academic excellence and public service. 

About The Ohio State University Libraries

The Libraries promotes innovative research and creative expression, advances effective teaching, curates and preserves information essential for scholarship and learning at Ohio State, and shares knowledge and culture with the people of Ohio, the nation, and the world. Libraries faculty and staff live these values in all that we do: Discovery, Connection, Equity, Integrity, and Stewardship.  Learn about our strategic directions here

The Libraries’ greatest resource is our faculty and staff. Their expertise produces value beyond the collections and their commitment to continual improvement and innovation is one of the most significant ways the Libraries meets the diverse and evolving information needs of university students, faculty, and staff, alongside scholars throughout Ohio and the world.

As a global leader, the Libraries is actively engaged in local, statewide, national, and international initiatives to help shape the future of academic research libraries. These activities and the innovations that result enhance our ability to acquire, manage, and preserve emerging information resources, support knowledge creation, and enable its effective transmission to future learners. Information about the Libraries is available at

The Libraries strives to provide welcoming, supportive environments for all to pursue and share knowledge. The Libraries is guided by our strategic priorities that facilitate, celebrate and honor diversity, inclusion, access and social justice. All positions are expected to contribute to building and advancing this environment, and we encourage candidates to apply who share these values.

Columbus: Full of excitement and opportunity

Columbus is the largest and fastest-growing city in Ohio, with a vibrant blend of arts and culture, including inspired culinary, fashion, music, and entertainment scenes, exciting collegiate and professional sports, and an open, entrepreneurial spirit. With a burgeoning downtown, lively urban districts and a diverse array of welcoming neighborhoods it’s a city that invites exploration. Learn more about the nation’s best kept secret at



This is a full-time, regular, 12-month appointment as a tenure-track faculty member. The candidate will be required to meet university and Libraries requirements for promotion and tenure. Faculty rank at either Associate Professor or Professor are dependent on qualifications and experience.

The Ohio State University believes in diversity in people and ideas. What Ohio State does matters. And how we do it matters. When we are at our best, we make a real difference to people. We believe the university should be a place where people can work and learn together in a safe environment, free of violence, harassment, discrimination, exploitation, and intimidation. As such, finalists for any faculty position that carries tenure must sign an authorization and disclosure form, which will allow current or prior employer(s) to share information to the University regarding any findings of employment-related misconduct or disciplinary proceedings against a candidate and/or any pending investigations related to alleged misconduct. Such information shall include findings and pending investigations with respect to sexual harassment, violence, or harassment; research misconduct; financial fraud or misconduct; foreign influence violations, grant misuse or misconduct; and/or any other type of finding or pending investigation relating to a candidate’s employer’s policies and rules governing faculty conduct that may reasonably be expected to affect a candidate’s appointment. If the University becomes aware of any past finding of misconduct or pending investigations that were not disclosed, Ohio State will treat that as a serious omission and reserves the right to rescind an offer or terminate employment. 



$145,000 to $170,000 annual salary negotiable.


Ohio State offers a comprehensive benefits package with a variety of options to meet your unique needs. Ohio State’s total rewards package includes benefits that support employees’ health, finances, work-life balance, and education. Learn more about our outstanding benefits at


Please submit cover letter, CV, references, and application at October 8, 2023.

The Ohio State University is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ancestry, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or expression, genetic information, HIV/AIDS status, military status, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. The Ohio State University is a member of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Diversity Alliance.