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Valeda F. Dent to serve as Emory’s inaugural vice provost of libraries and museum

As vice provost of libraries and museum, Valeda F. Dent will unite Emory Libraries and the Michael C. Carlos Museum under a new leadership structure. She will formally take the role in July 2022.

Valeda F. Dent will serve as Emory University’s inaugural vice provost of libraries and museum, the Office of the Provost announced. Dent comes to Emory from Hunter College of the City University of New York in New York City, where she serves as acting provost and vice president for academic affairs as well as vice president for student success and learning innovation. Expected to formally take the role in July 2022, Dent will begin to engage with libraries and museum staff in a consultative way in the new year. 

The vice provost of libraries and museum is a new position at Emory. Dent will unite Emory Libraries and the Michael C. Carlos Museum under a new leadership structure, working closely ­­with the Office of the Provost and providing support in planning for the future of both areas, including advancing shared discovery and conservation of the university’s extraordinary collections while continuing to expand access, programming and community engagement.

As a librarian who has consistently held leadership positions of increasing responsibility, Dent notes, “Leadership of today’s academic libraries and campus-based museums is anything but routine. These entities continue to evolve; thus, one’s ability to anticipate emerging trends and evaluate their potential is key.”

Among those movements? “The socialization of library and museum resources (open access), growing collections that support social inclusion and justice, designing empirical models for demonstrating the value of the library and the museum, and emerging and entrepreneurial technology are all spaces where rich opportunities for dialogue and collaboration reside,” she explains.

At Hunter College, Dent is co-chair of the Presidential Task Force for the Advancement of Racial Equity. Important to her work at Emory, Dent believes strongly in the role of the library and museum in civic outreach and has a deep understanding of libraries and museums as centers of community empowerment and civic responsibility. Dent is an active scholar who travels, conducts and publishes high-impact research, and presents globally. She has a robust and consistent record of scholarly achievement in the areas of chronic poverty and literacy, rural African libraries, and literacy culture development and is a Fulbright Scholar. 

In her role at Emory, Dent will help shape the libraries’ and museum’s support of the student flourishing and AI.Humanity initiatives. “Aligning teaching, learning and research opportunities with the mission of Emory University,” Dent remarks, “can help build a community of caring, well-informed and civically engaged students, and the museum and libraries can play a pivotal role.” 

“Emory Libraries and the Carlos Museum are at the heart of Emory in both our research and teaching missions. We recognize that our libraries and museum are critical to our mission of discovering and teaching new knowledge in the service of humanity, so the next leader of our libraries and museum will play an important leadership role on our campus. Valeda is a proven, mindful leader who understands university systems and places a premium on libraries and museums as places of cultural understanding and responsibility. We’re fortunate to have her lead us into this new era for the libraries and museum,” says Ravi V. Bellamkonda, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

Prior to her appointments at Hunter College, Dent served as dean and university librarian at St. John’s University in Queens, New York, and dean and chief operating officer for the libraries at Long Island University. She holds a PhD in information science from Long Island University, an MSW and an MILS from the University of Michigan, and a BA in film studies from Hunter College.