Dean of the Leatherby Libraries Kevin Ross

Chapman University’s Leatherby Libraries Champions Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Leatherby Libraries, in alignment with Chapman University, values and understands the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in an academic institution. To demonstrate our values, the Leatherby Libraries works diligently to provide equitable access to resources, programming, comfortable seating and study spaces, and services that emphasize these values in meaningful ways. 

By working collegially and collaboratively through collective effort, the Leatherby Libraries staff, librarians and administrators are committed to seeking opportunities to support and emphasize diversity, equity and inclusion for students, faculty and researchers in order to create an environment that is conducive to teaching, learning and research, and where users from diverse backgrounds and experiences feel welcome, safe and valued.

Over the past few years, we have become more intentional in our DEI efforts. We created a DEI Strategic Plan, built an accessible and comprehensive DEI website and promoted Essraa Nawar from librarian coordinator of DEI initiatives to the position of assistant dean – this promotion recognizes the importance of DEI work and the library’s commitment to aligning this effort at the highest level with Chapman University’s strategic priorities.

Recently, we were named a recipient of the inaugural 2024 Insight Into Diversity magazine’s “Library Excellence in Access and Diversity” (LEAD) Award and received several previous DEI awards from the Council of Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) related to our library events, virtual and physical exhibitions and newly added library resources. Additionally, members of library administration have participated in academic scholarship and certification training to highlight our commitment to supporting DEI initiatives across campus.

To continue the momentum of our commitment to DEI, the Leatherby Libraries has identified five DEI goals that guide our thinking and actions, and these include the following:

1) Curriculum: Expand diversity and inclusion in the Information Literacy curriculum and student learning outcomes.

2) Recruitment: Be mindful in the recruitment and selection of students, staff and librarians that encourages a diverse and inclusive library workforce.

3) Climate: Develop and implement programs, services and physical spaces that cultivate a welcoming campus library.

4) Community: Develop and sustain meaningful outreach programs and partnerships with our diverse local communities.

5) Institutional Prioritization: Align the institutional and library priorities to strengthen the commitment to diversity and inclusion through leadership behaviors and initiatives.

The Leatherby Libraries view DEI initiatives as an opportunity to work collegially across campus. We aim to showcase our strengths through a pluralistic and collective vision that is inclusive of our library patrons. This vision demonstrates, through words and action, that the Leatherby Libraries and its employees support our vision to be a preeminent portal to the world’s knowledge, an intellectual and cultural center of campus, and a distinguished resource for teaching, learning and scholarship at Chapman University.