Nominator: Chloe Barnett
Nomination: In the Giovale Library, we often talk about how lucky we are to work with a collaborative and close-knit team. What the rest of the campus might not realize is that the success of our team, and the achievements
of individuals within our department, has so much to do with the outstanding leadership and mentoring of the Library Director, Emily Swanson. It is difficult to put into writing the many ways in which Emily is an "exemplary
Griffin"—but here goes.
1. Emily has instituted collaborative, departmental goal-setting within the library. Every year, our staff work together to determine, initiate, and accomplish goals for collection development, library services, teaching and learning, and
information access. This fosters collaboration among library staff, allows each staff member to take on a leadership role to help the team accomplish a specific... goal, and fosters new initiatives within the library.
2. For the last 2 years, Emily has organized a monthly professional development meeting for library staff. In this meeting, staff members present about something of interest to others (for example, providing research assistance in a
certain subject area) or a guest is invited to present on a topic important to our work. Guests have included Kim Zarkin, speaking about copyright law; Karen Hicks, speaking about disability services and accessibility; and Laura Kendellen,
speaking about UX Design.
3. Emily prioritizes staff professional development. Every year, she works with individuals to determine what professional development opportunities they would like to attend and ensures that there are funds set aside in the library budget
so that we can attend conferences, take online classes, and continue to grow professionally. She gently encourages library staff to share our work through conference presentations and publications and is always willing to offer feedback and
guidance as we prepare to present or publish our work.
4. Emily serves on many campus committees, including the Planning and Priorities Committee, the Curriculum Committee, and the Teaching and Learning Resources Committee. She represents staff and library interests in each of these
5. During COVID-19, Emily has led the library in the extremely difficult work of determining when to close the building to the public and how to continue to offer resources, services, and support to our patrons. She has prioritized the
library staff in this process, listening to our concerns about safety and to our ideas about how to move forward. During this very difficult time, she allowed for her staff to be heard, an act that has been extremely important and
6. Although Emily is a supervisor, she realizes that her staff are also her colleagues. She asks for our feedback and offers opportunities for each of us to nourish our strengths and to take on new challenges and leadership roles.
I started at Westminster 5 years ago, having worked at other institutions. Emily has, by far, been the best supervisor I have had during my career, and this is evident by the way my own resume has grown. Because of Emily, I have gained
confidence in my own work and in my potential as a leader. She has encouraged me to serve on campus committees, to take on committee and leadership roles in professional organizations, to present at conferences, and to take advantage of
opportunities to learn. She has never "pushed" me. Instead, she has helped me to see my own abilities and strengths by offering support and guidance.
Westminster College is lucky to have Emily Swanson... she is truly an exemplary Griffin.
Nominator: Valerie Burnett
Nomination: As an employee in the library, I know I have Emily's support to become the best I can be. She has high standards and makes specific efforts to enable us to fulfill those high standards. For example, she is the
first supervisor I've had who not only helps me to set lofty goals but works with me to set a plan on how to get there. Check-ins give me the opportunity to articulate my progress and map out the continued journey to success. If the
destination happens to change along the way, she has the flexibility to recognize that a change is necessary and to help me reach the newer goal, instead of insisting on just staying with the original plan when it no longer makes sense.
Emily serves on the Planning and Priorities Committee, advocating for the college as well as for the role of staff within the college. She also serves on TLR. She knows the library resources and offerings best of all, of course, so she can
advocate for the library to use its powers to ensure our students get the best learning experience available.
As part of Emily's efforts to be an excellent boss, she made the commitment to keep all meetings to the allotted time length and, in return, asked us to show up on time so she could start the meeting promptly. She has held to that
commitment, and we can count on our meetings wrapping up in a timely manner. Consequently, our meetings are efficient and effective.
Under Emily's leadership, the library has aligned its mission and efforts with the college-wide learning goals. Before we take on a new plan, or even before we continue business as usual, we ask if our plan is consistent with our goals and
will it further the college's mission.