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Dean Wilson to Retire in 2021

Dean Betsy Wilson
Lizabeth (Betsy) Wilson

UW Libraries has formally announced that Lizabeth (Betsy) Wilson will step down as vice provost of digital initiatives and dean of UW Libraries at the end of the academic year, June 30, 2021. The Provost’s office has initiated the search for a new dean, including the formation of the search committee.

As dean of the UW Libraries since 2001, Betsy has led a network of 16 academic research libraries across all three campuses, and the UW Press. She is recognized internationally for her work in academic libraries, library management and technological innovation. With its collection of more than 9 million volumes, journals and digital resources, UW Libraries ranks among the largest and most innovative academic libraries in the United States.

"Under Betsy’s leadership, the UW Libraries has built an environment of collaboration, partnership, inclusion, and innovation resulting in a user-centered library enabled by a culture of assessment and extraordinary staff, said UW provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, Mark Richards. "I’d like to thank Betsy for her leadership as vice provost and dean and I wish her well in her next chapter."

Betsy took on the additional role of vice provost for digital initiatives in 2013, a role in which she developed an overall strategy on digital issues, including open access and open science. She has led the University’s efforts in digital scholarship and data stewardship, as well as the innovative use of information resources in teaching and learning.

From 1992 through 2000, Betsy was the associate director of the UW’s Libraries for Research and Instructional Services. Prior to that, she was the assistant director of libraries for Undergraduate and Instructional Services at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She holds a Master of Library Science degree from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University.

Throughout her career, Betsy has advocated for open access initiatives and programs, as she has worked to advance the role of research libraries and librarians in higher education and the public good.

The UW Libraries has undergone a number of capital projects in the last 20 years, including the seismic retrofit of the Suzzallo Library, phase one of the Sandpoint Remote Shelving Facility, the renovation of Odegaard Undergraduate Library, and the addition of the Research Commons. Betsy and her team have been successful in raising funding and other support for endowments and scholarships – exceeding their capital campaign goal by 50 percent.

She has held numerous industry leadership positions including ACRL President (2000-2001) where she helped establish the ACRL Institute for Information Literacy. As Board Chair of the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) from 2003-2007, she led the effort to bring OCLC and the Regional Libraries Group (RLG) together to deliver compelling value and services to research universities.

After twenty years, Dean Wilson leaves a legacy of success and innovation with the UW Libraries that is sure to endure long after her retirement.