SMU CUL Dean Gillian McCombs announces her retirement, effective summer 2017

Gillian McCombs

SMU CUL Dean Gillian McCombs announces her retirement, effective summer 2017

Gillian M. McCombs, Dean and Director, SMU Central University LibrariesGillian McCombs, dean and director of SMU’s Central University Libraries, has announced her retirement from that position effective in summer 2017.

SMU Provost Steven Currall will announce the timeframe for the search for a new permanent dean and director this fall.

McCombs joined SMU in 1998 and guided the University’s central library system through a transformation of resources, facilities and services in response to changing student and faculty needs. One of the most visible examples of her leadership is the Fondren Library Center renovation. The Fondren Foundation Centennial Reading Room and new Hillcrest Foundation Exhibit Hall opened April 15, marking the completion of the first phase. The final phase includes a Starbucks Café and Collaborative Commons, which will open with a student-centered celebration in September 2016.

> SMU News: SMU celebrates Fondren Library transformation

“Great libraries are the heart of the University, and at the heart of Dean McCombs’ leadership of SMU Central University Libraries has been an unwavering focus on our library users’ evolving needs, particularly those of our students,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “A prime example is the CUL Student Advisory Council she created to provide the student perspective as library staff shapes programs, services and spaces that enhance the user experience and support academic achievement. Gillian has been a passionate advocate for CUL, and we are grateful for her many contributions to the University.”

McCombs oversees three libraries on the main campus – Fondren Library Center, including the Norwick Center for Digital Services; DeGolyer Library, SMU’s principal repository for special collections in the humanities, the history of business, and the history of science and technology; and the Hamon Arts Library in Meadows School of the Arts – as well as the Fort Burgwin Library at SMU-in-Taos and the SMU-in-Plano Library Resource Room.

“Dean McCombs has had a longstanding and distinguished career leading Central University Libraries at SMU. In addition to being an insightful voice about advancing libraries at SMU, Gillian is a globally recognized intellectual leader about the future of libraries, digitization of documents, and the creative use of library buildings to foster innovation and interdisciplinary collaboration,” said SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven Currall. “One of the crowning achievements of her career was the recent renovation of SMU’s Fondren Library to ensure that it meets the current and future needs of SMU faculty and students. Gillian has been an inspiring leader of the CUL staff, a true academic partner with SMU’s other deans, and an invaluable colleague in advancing SMU.”

Among her SMU career highlights:

  • McCombs led CUL’s observance of the University’s Year of the Library in 2013, joining SMU President R. Gerald Turner in welcoming the acquisition of American explorer John Maley’s travel journal (1808-1812) that represented the libraries’ four-millionth volume. The gift was made by the SMU Board of Trustees in honor of former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush and the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
  • She launched a digital collections initiative, which now numbers 51 collections comprising 50,000 images, documents, videos and other materials from SMU’s special collections, all available to the public online. CUL also scaled up its delivery of e-resources and now provides access to over one million e-books and 75,000 e-journals.
  • As dean and director, she guided CUL’s participation in several major collaborative ventures including the Greater Western Library Alliance’s Occam’s Reader Project, a groundbreaking e-book pilot program; the Association of College and Research Libraries’ three-year research initiative studying the impact of academic libraries on student achievement; and a partnership with the George W. Bush Presidential Library and the Mount Vernon Ladies Association to bring George Washington’s personal copy of The Acts of Congress to campus.

Throughout her service to SMU, McCombs has published extensively in the areas of organizational culture, technology and digital services, leadership and management, fundraising and historical children’s literature. She has won numerous awards in the library profession and serves on the editorial board of portal: Libraries and the Academy, a research journal focused on the evolving role of academic libraries and librarians.

Her professional affiliations include membership on the Greater Western Library Alliance Board of Directors. She has represented the United States on the International Federation of Libraries Association, Academic Libraries standing committee and has served on numerous committees and advisory boards of the American Library Association. In North Texas she has served on the Dallas Museum of Art’s Libraries, Archives and Imaging Services Committee, the University of North Texas School of Library and Information Sciences Board of Advisors and the Texas Woman’s University School of Library and Information Studies External Constituent Board.

McCombs began her professional career in England as the music librarian at Huddersfield Public Library in her native Yorkshire. Her career in the United States started in Washington, D.C., where she worked at the Landscape Architecture and Garden Library at Dumbarton Oaks, as well as such federal libraries as the National Library of Medicine, the Federal Reserve, and the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Prior to joining SMU, she served as assistant director of technical services and systems for 16 years at the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY), where she earned a master’s degree in public administration.

McCombs received a bachelor’s degree in French and European literature (honors) from the University of Warwick and a master’s degree from the Leeds School of Librarianship in England.

August 2, 2016|For the Record, News|

Central University Libraries’ 2015 Food for Fines program continues through Wednesday, Dec. 16

Stock photo of canned foodsSMU’s Central University Libraries (CUL) is once again giving students, faculty and staff members an opportunity to help the community – and possibly save some cash as well.

During the 2015 Food for Fines program, CUL will accept food donations for the North Texas Food Bank in return for waiving library fines.

For every donation of a can or package of nonperishable food, SMU faculty, staff members and students will receive a $2 credit toward fines for overdue materials from Fondren Library Center and the Hamon Arts Library.

Learn more about the North Texas Food Bank

To collect your credits, just bring food donations to either of these libraries through Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. All SMU community members are welcome to participate – even those who have no library fines to cancel. Last year, the SMU community donated 374 cans, equaling $748 in waived library fines.

The Food for Fines program began in 2000 as a way for students to reduce or eliminate library fines while also giving back to the community. “The initiative encourages students to take a look around their dorm rooms to see if they do have any books that might well be overdue,” said Gillian McCombs, dean and director of Central University Libraries. “It is easy to forget these deadlines when you are powering away on a research paper during finals.”

Visit SMU’s Central University Libraries online

Waiver credits do not apply to lost book replacement charges or processing fees. Credit only applies to overdue book fines currently assessed; no future credit can be applied. Overdue fines cannot be waived if they have already been sent to the Bursar’s Office for collection.

“Every year we see students show enthusiasm for the program,” said Sam Cavanaugh, front desk receptionist at Fondren Library. “Last year we had several students bring in cans that amounted to more than their library fines. It’s great to see students giving back.”

— Emily Hooper

December 4, 2015|Calendar Highlights, News, Save the Date|

Linda Darnell exhibition celebrates two gifts to SMU arts library

Linda Darnell

Actress and Oak Cliff native Linda Darnell was named one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood by Look magazine. SMU’s Hamon Arts Library hosts a retrospective of her life and career through May 17, 2013.

Two recent gifts will expand the special collections housed in SMU’s Jake and Nancy Hamon Arts Library. A gift of personal materials from the estate of Dallas philanthropist and arts patron Nancy Hamon includes $1 million to endow, preserve and exhibit the collection. In addition, a planned estate gift of movie archives valued at $1.5 million has been made by film historian and collector Jeff Gordon.

Members of the public and the SMU community will receive a preview of the Gordon collection through “Linda Darnell from Dallas to Hollywood: Selections from the Jeff Gordon Collection.” The exhibition will be on view through May 17, 2013 in the Hawn Gallery, Hamon Arts Library. A preview reception at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, will be followed by a lecture by Jeff Gordon at 7 p.m. in the Hamon Arts Library. RSVP online at smu.edu/friends or by calling 214-768-3225.

Although the entire collection will not be transferred to SMU until a future date, Gordon is curating the Linda Darnell exhibition as a sneak preview of his collection. The show will include posters, photographs and materials from recently acquired scrapbooks of Darnell, a Dallas native who grew up in Oak Cliff and became a major movie star in the 1940s. She starred in cinema classics such as My Darling Clementine, The Mark of Zorro and A Letter to Three Wives with leading men including Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda, Kirk Douglas and Robert Mitchum. Her career peaked with Forever Amber in 1947. She later appeared on television and stage before her tragic death in a house fire in 1965.

Nancy Hamon, who died in 2011, provided $5 million in 1988 to establish the Hamon Arts Library at SMU, which opened in 1990. A branch of SMU’s Central University Libraries, it houses materials relevant to the visual, performing and communication arts in support of Meadows School of the Arts. Its archives include the G. William Jones Film and Video Collection, which will house the Gordon Collection, and the Jerry Bywaters Special Collections, where the Hamon materials are located.

“These two new collections will greatly enrich and broaden the holdings of the Hamon Arts Library,” said Gillian McCombs, dean and director of SMU’s Central University Libraries. “The Gordon gift will significantly increase our ability to support teaching and research in American film. And the Hamon Collection will draw researchers interested in Dallas history and the cultural history of the Southwest.”

The Gordon collection bequeathed to SMU includes hundreds of original movie posters, over 1,000 other film-related advertising materials, more than 15,000 35-millimeter slides of movie memorabilia (some of which have already been delivered to SMU), several thousand original movie photos, a 16-millimeter film collection with more than 200 features, more than 20 Warner Bros. cartoons, 100 television programs and a large group of Elvis Presley materials. The Gordon archives focus primarily on movies made from the 1930s to the 1970s.

The Hamon materials include photograph albums, diaries, records of Nancy Hamon’s elaborate theme parties in the 1950s and ’60s, memorabilia, personal correspondence with seven U.S. presidents and other prominent leaders, and materials related to her husband’s long career in the oil business. Among highlights of the collection are photos of the Hamons’ trip to China with George H.W. and Barbara Bush in the 1970s.

In 2013, as part of its Second Century Celebration, SMU will commemorate The Year of the Library — the 100th anniversary of the University’s library collections, which began to be acquired in 1913. In addition to marking historic milestones, the commemoration will recognize new commitments to update and expand the campus libraries. New gifts such as the Gordon and Hamon collections count toward Second Century Campaign goals, which include new investments for library facilities, endowments for acquisitions and library staff positions, and expansion of special collections.

> Read the full story from SMU News

February 5, 2013|Calendar Highlights, News|

Engaged Learning Expo 2012 connects students with opportunities

SMU students who want to learn outside the classroom, tackle real world issues and explore potential careers as part of their university experience will find representatives from DFW-area organizations and agencies who want their help at Monday’s Engaged Learning Expo. The event also will be of interest to faculty who want to develop courses with community components and staff who want to expand opportunities for their programs.

Scheduled for 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Aug. 27, 2012, in the Umphrey Lee Center’s Mack Ballroom, the expo will celebrate 100 SMU undergraduates who worked on significant projects this summer, and provide opportunities to mix and match interested students with 15 different campus programs as well as 45 DFW-area community partners. Refreshments will be served, and participating students will be issued an Engaged Learning “passport” that can be entered into a lottery for prizes.

“A student who engages in a learning activity beyond the classroom has the opportunity to transfer the knowledge and skills of the classroom to a real-life situation, learn from the experience, reflect on it and use it as a basis for further learning,” said Susan Kress, director of Engaged Learning at SMU. “This is a taste of what it means to be a lifelong learner, and, for some, the first step in living a life of meaning and success in a complex world.”

SMU President R. Gerald Turner will speak about SMU’s commitment to community partnerships and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul Ludden will outline the impact of Engaged Learning on the University. Gillian McCombs, dean and director of Central University Libraries, will explain how the Digital Repository: Engaged Learning Collections will house the publications of students who produce Engaged Learning projects.

In addition, James Quick, associate vice president for research and dean of graduate studies, will announce the first recipient of the Excellence in Mentoring Award and introduce SMU’s first director of undergraduate research.

Kimberly Cobb

> Find a list of participating companies and organizations at SMU News

August 24, 2012|Calendar Highlights, News, Save the Date|

SMU Digital Repository ready for faculty submissions

SMU Digital Repository logoSMU’s Central University Libraries, Office of Research and Graduate Studies, and Office of Information Technology have combined resources to create the SMU Digital Repository, an online archive for collecting and sharing the scholarly work of SMU faculty, staff and students.

The repository is the product of a strategic partnership headed by CUL Dean and Director Gillian McCombs, Associate Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies Jim Quick, and Chief Information Officer Joe Gargiulo.

Using the Digital Commons software platform created by Berkeley Electronic Press, the SMU Digital Repository provides open access to research documents, articles, preprints, working papers, conference agendas and papers, and scholarly image collections created by SMU faculty, students, and academic staff.

The Digital Commons software also allows the publishing of open-access or subscription-based journals, and includes journal management software to customize workflows.

In the early stages of building the repository, “we’re focused on getting faculty members comfortable with the interface and with the idea of storing their work online,” says Josh Lupkin, faculty liaison for the Digital Repository. “Professors are used to communicating with colleagues in particular ways and publishing in venues specific to their fields. We’re not competing with those, but offering them another way to showcase their work and to make it more visible and accessible.”

Repository staff members are available to address any questions regarding storage, Lupkin says. For example, “some faculty members may have concerns about uploading papers to the Repository, because of publishing agreements. In those cases, we may be able to store an abstract with descriptive keywords and an outside link to the full publication.

“Above all else, this is a service to faculty that will afford them and their departments the benefits of increased relevance in Google and other searches.”

Details about the Digital Repository, including information about submitting materials, can be found at digitalrepository.smu.edu. Digital Repository team members are also available to present information sessions tailored to individual schools, departments and centers.

The University’s Norwick Center for Digital Services (nCDS) works with faculty and academic units to identify, manage, upload and present a wide range of text, image, video, audio, database, and other files that showcase SMU’s research and scholarly achievements. The Scholarly Digitization Program – offered by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies – funds digitization of materials through the nCDS for University faculty and staff members who would like to contribute nondigital materials to the Repository but lack the technology or funds required to digitize them. Up to $25,000 per semester is available, and applicants can apply for up to $5,000 of funding per project. The funding application form is available online.

The Repository is working with the Office of Engaged Learning to create a space for approved student work, Lupkin says. Papers from the first three students to complete Engaged Learning projects will be uploaded by May 2012. “The Repository will also give graduate students a forum for getting their work out into the world, after consultation with faculty advisors,” he adds. “It’s all about making connections.”

The Repository can even provide an online home for conferences hosted by a University center or department, Lupkin says. “This could mean anything from storing programs, papers and abstracts to presenting audio or video of individual sessions,” he says. “We can tailor the experience depending on the host entity’s needs.”

For more information, contact Josh Lupkin or Rob Walker at digitalrepository@list.smu.edu.

> Visit the SMU Digital Repository
> Create an SMU Digital Repository account
> Learn more from the SMU Digital Repository FAQ
Learn how to submit materials to the SMU Digital Repository

March 8, 2012|News|
Load More Posts