Best of Core at ALA Annual Conference: Libraries, Campus Partners, and Student Success

Description: The trend of bringing campus partners into academic library buildings started 20 plus years ago, with the intention of supporting and increasing student success. Some early models were rooted in decisions to re-purpose space within academic libraries, and the groups that found themselves together did not necessarily have common goals or alignment. Today, there is a shift to campus partnerships that are driven by the partners and are strategic, sharing service values and goals. The changing roles of academic libraries, shifting from focusing on print collections to services has expanded partnership opportunities. Attendees will learn about and explore existing campus partnerships as well as learn about new partnerships just forming. Attendees will also learn about different approaches and methods for developing the partnerships and will gain perspective from different partners to better understand where there are common goals and overlap by hearing from four institutions: Grand Valley State University, an early adopter of campus partnerships; Seattle University, currently launching an effort to expand campus partners; Kenyon College, who started their planning process for these models by gauging student needs; and Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi, who partnered with their Office of Student Success to move reference services entirely online.


Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the webinar, attendees will:
  • Learn about and explore existing campus partnerships as well as learn about new partnerships just forming;
  • Be able to assess different approaches and methods for developing the partnerships; 
  • Gain perspective from each of the different groups to better understand where there are common goals and overlap; and
  • Discover how space and planning decisions can enhance and improve access to services.


Who Should Attend: Metadata librarians, catalogers, archivists, library administrators, and public service librarians.



David Zenk is the managing principal for GUND Partnership Architects in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The firm works with higher education institutions across the country, focusing on the design, planning and programming for academic libraries. He has been a leader for several of the firm's most significant projects, including Chalmers Library at Kenyon College and the award-winning renovation of the main library at the Ohio State University. David is an active member of ALA and Core Buildings for College and University Libraries Committee. He graduated from University of Minnesota Architecture School, is a member of the American Institute of Architects and a LEED BD+C accredited professional.


Kristin Meyer is an Associate Dean at Grand Valley State University Libraries in Michigan. Kristin has a passion for creating user-centered library spaces and services, and it has been a true honor for her to have been part of the story of the Mary Idema Pew Library, Learning, and Information Commons since this state-of-the-art facility opened in 2013. 

A native New Englander, Sarah Barbara Watstein has worked in academic libraries for her entire career, including public and private institutions on both coasts. She currently serves as Dean, Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons, Seattle University. Sarah co-edits Reference Services Review (RSR) a quarterly, refereed, international journal dedicated to the enrichment of reference knowledge and the advancement of reference and library user services. She also serves on the editorial board of portal: Libraries and the Academy, a Johns Hopkins University press publication focusing on important research about the role of academic libraries and librarianship. Currently, she serves on the Board of the Orbis Cascade Alliance, a library consortium serving academic libraries in the Pacific Northwest.

Amy E. Badertscher was involved in designing and preparing the campus for a new library building from the beginning first meetings in 2013 and through the logistical challenges of planning, relocating, and managing library services in temporary spaces. She currently serves as Associate Vice President for Libraries and Strategic Innovation at Kenyon College. We opened Chalmers Library in the fall of 2021 to the largest first-year class in Kenyon’s history; the building is a busy and vibrant student hub. Amy’s role continues to impact the planning and programming in Kenyon’s new student-focused Chalmers Library.

Cate Rudowsky has over 23 years of experience in libraries, with 19 of those being in public academia. She currently serves as Dean of University Libraries at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, where she has worked since 2014. Previously, she worked for 10 years at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania in various roles with progressive responsibility, including serving as Library Faculty Chair. Dr. Rudowsky earned a Ph.D. in Communication Media and Instructional Technology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She also holds a Master of Business Administration from IUP and a Master of Library and Information Science from University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Jerel Benton, a native of Lexington, KY, has over a decade of experience in higher education, focusing on equity, diversity, and student success. Holding degrees in Nursing, Adult and Higher Education, and Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, his research aimed at enhancing African American students' first-year success. Benton's roles have included Minority Retention Coordinator at Morehead State University, Director of African American Affairs at Minnesota State University – Mankato, and Senior Diversity Officer at the University of Wisconsin – Superior. Currently, he is the Associate Vice President for Student Success at Texas A&M – Corpus Christi, where he has developed new advising and tutoring models, initiatives like Finish In 4 and First Generation, and led to the creation of the Office of Student Success.


Tech Requirements

Core Webinars are held in Zoom. Speakers or a headset for listening to the presentation are required. You may interact with the presenter and ask questions through text-based chat. Closed captioning is available in the Zoom platform. The webcast will be recorded and the link to the recording shared with registrants shortly after the live event.