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SLU Names Next Permanent Dean for the Libraries and Museums


Dear Saint Louis University community,

I am pleased to announce that Jennifer Nutefall, MLS, will be joining the SLU community to serve as the next permanent dean for Saint Louis University’s Libraries and Museums, effective September 1, 2022.

Ms. Nutefall currently serves as the Dean of Libraries at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC), a position she has held since July 2020. Those libraries, comprised of the James A. Michener Library and the Howard M. Skinner Music Library, include 21 librarians and 24 staff.

During her time at UNC, Ms. Nutefall had several notable accomplishments, including:

Leading an inclusive strategic planning process for the Libraries, which resulted in new mission, vision, and values statements, along with the 2021-2024 Strategic Plan. Her team is currently leading the plan’s implementation.

Creating a diversity statement prompt for all librarian and exempt searches. She and her leadership team collaborated closely with UNC’s Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion on an antiracism/DEI library guide, and also created the Book Club in a Bag program to promote productive dialogue on issues of equity and inclusion. As part of their strategic plan, they created the Libraries DEI statement, an antiracism statement, and list of action items.

Overseeing the Mari Michener Gallery, which last year began focusing on exhibits that foster an environment for intellectual growth and critical conversations. The fall 2021 exhibit was El Movimiento: The Chicano Movement in Northern Colorado, which saw hundreds of visitors from both the university and the surrounding community. Their spring 2022 exhibit was Reflecting Back, Looking Forward, and featured the creative works of UNC students as they reflected on their experiences through the pandemic and looked to possibilities for the future.

Prior to her time at UNC, Ms. Nutefall was the university librarian at Santa Clara University in California, so she is deeply familiar with the Jesuit mission and how that sits at the core of everything we do here at SLU. In that role, she managed over 30 faculty and staff members. In addition to similar efforts from UNC, such as developing a strategic plan and implementing programs focused on diversity, she managed several space renovation projects at Santa Clara and in 2017, the libraries were the winner of the ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award in the university library category.

Prior to Santa Clara, she worked at Oregon State University, George Washington University, and SUNY Brockport in a variety of leadership and other positions. In those roles, she gained valuable experience in donor relations, assessment, teaching, service learning, and other areas that will serve her well as she takes on this important role here at SLU.

In speaking with Ms. Nutefall recently, she conveyed her excitement about joining the SLU community:

“I am excited to join SLU and to return to a Jesuit institution committed to social and racial justice. There is a lot of excitement as the university looks towards the future and I envision many opportunities to deepen the connection between the Libraries & Museums with SLU and the greater St. Louis community. I was impressed with everyone I met during my time on campus and I look forward to joining this vibrant community.”

I am excited to have Ms. Nutefall join our team here at SLU. Her previous experience and her vision for the libraries and museums align well with SLU's Jesuit Mission. In the coming months, she will begin interfacing with me, the library and museum faculty and staff, and a variety of other stakeholders to become acclimated to Saint Louis University.

I want to thank the members of the search committee, led by Dean Gary Ritter from the School of Education, for their tireless work over the last several months to conduct this search in a thorough and efficient manner. Unlike other searches, we did not use a search firm to assist us in this effort, and it is a testament to Dean Ritter and the search committee that they were able to identify a deep pool of very experienced and diverse candidates from across the country for this position.

I also want to thank outgoing Dean David Cassens for his service as dean of the libraries since 2013, and his work at SLU's libraries since 2006. His leadership and commitment focused on how to best serve our faculty, staff and students, and I wish him all the best in his retirement. For the next two months, I have asked Martha Allen and Patrick McCarthy to serve in acting leadership roles for the north and south campuses, respectively. I appreciate their willingness to serve their colleagues in the libraries and museums and the rest of the University until Jennifer’s arrival.

Finally, I want to thank the faculty and staff members from our libraries and museums, and throughout the SLU community, who participated in the search and engaged with all the candidates and finalists. The commitment of all those involved with the search shows a high level of dedication to SLU and to the future leadership of our libraries and museums.

We look forward to Ms. Nutefall joining our community in September and leading the Saint Louis University Libraries and Museums for many years to come.


Mike Lewis, Ph.D.