University Letter

UND's faculty and staff newsletter

Chris Nelson will chair UND Dean of Libraries and Information Services search

Chris Nelson, dean of the School of Graduate Studies, will chair a national search for a dean of libraries and information services at the University of North Dakota.

The announcement was made by Eric Link, UND provost and vice president for academic affairs. Link has requested the committee adopt a timetable that will permit an appointment at the earliest reasonable date.  A start date of on or before July 1 is anticipated, or as early as Jan. 1, 2023.

“The dean of libraries and information services serves a critical role in advancing the academic and research mission of the University of North Dakota. Finding a leader with the experience and vision to provide exceptional service in support of this mission is vital,” Link said. “I would like to extend my thanks to Chris Nelson for his leadership and to all the members of the committee whose unique perspectives will be key as we conduct this search.”

Dean of Libraries and Information Services Search Committee

  • Chris Nelson, search chair, dean of the School of Graduate Studies
  • Steve Brekke, UND Alumni Association & Foundation
  • Virginia Clinton-Lisell, associate professor, College of Education & Human Development
  • Avery Breiland, student representative
  • Erika Johnson, head of library resources, School of Medicine & Health Sciences
  • Rosemary Flynn, principal librarian and archivist, Energy & Environmental Research Center
  • Alfred Wallace, aerospace and sciences librarian, Chester Fritz Library
  • Laura Egan, head of collection strategies, Chester Fritz Library
  • Brittany Fischer, social science and scholarly commons, Chester Fritz Library
  • Wendy Wendt, director of Grand Forks Public Library
  • Brittany Borgen, academic core advisor, Student Academic Success & Career Engagement

The committee charge includes conducting the search, evaluating candidates, conducting initial interviews, hosting finalists and submitting an unranked list of acceptable candidates to the provost. The committee also will ensure that all stakeholder groups have the opportunity to participate in the process and/or provide feedback on the finalists. The search committee will be assisted by Greenwood/Asher & Associates Executive Search Firm in this process.

About Chris Nelson

Chris Nelson earned his doctorate in English from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2002, and served as graduate director of UND’s Ph.D. and Master’s programs in English for six years. Beginning as a School of Graduate Studies (SGS) faculty fellow in 2017, Nelson has developed and implemented: annual 3MT competitions and Graduate Research Achievement Days, an extensive graduate student professional development workshop series, entrance/exit surveys and data dashboards, and innovative degree structures leading to 25 Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s degrees and six Professional Science Master’s. Under Nelson’s leadership, UND’s SGS has thrived, with record-setting enrollment in each of the last five semesters. He has worked to build a culture of support for graduate students with attention to mental health, diversity and inclusion, and mentoring best practices.

Nelson also has raised UND’s national profile through his work with the Council of Graduate Schools, secured UND’s participation in the first wave of 10 institutions implementing the award-winning Accelerate to Industry (A2i) initiative to prepare graduate students for professional careers. In under two years, he has created strong relationships with city and state government and over 20 local and national employers, placed multiple interns and secured funding partners. Nelson has also played a significant role in advancing research by writing grants, stakeholder reports and white papers, especially in UND’s signature areas of national security and autonomous systems. Nelson is a passionate advocate for graduate students and graduate education, committed to continuing to grow the SGS as a driver of UND’s excellence and impact as a leading flagship research university.