Athena N. Jackson has been selected for the position of dean of University of Houston Libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell chair, effective February 15, 2021.
Jackson joins UH from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where she has served as director for UCLA Library Special Collections since October 2019, providing leadership and strategic vision to shape the future of special collections and archives; and developing initiatives that advance diversity and inclusion as integral to academic excellence through the work of special collections and throughout the Library. At the institutional level, she has served on the Library Management Council and the Strategic Directions Planning Task Force.
“Ms. Jackson brings a wealth of expertise and experience to lead the UH Libraries,” said Paula Myrick Short, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “Her passion for the University of Houston and the region will be an advantage for our entire university community.”
Jackson’s previous roles include the Dorothy Foehr Huck chair and head of the Eberly Family Special Collections Library at Penn State; associate director of the University of Michigan Special Collections Library; special collections librarian at the University of Miami; project manager and librarian for the Digitizing Louisiana Newspapers Project at Louisiana State University; and North Carolina Newspaper Digitization Project coordinator and archivist at the North Carolina State Archives. She has broad experience empowering teams and individuals to engage in contemporary access, authentic inclusion, and transformative learning opportunities and has a passion for working with faculty, staff, students, donors, researchers, and communities.
Jackson holds a Master of Science in Library and Information Science from the University of North Texas and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Houston; and is a proud graduate of Wharton County Junior College. She has published and presented on topics related to special collections leadership and management, public engagement and outreach, and diversity and accessibility in archives. She is active in the American Library Association (ALA) Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS).
“As an alumna of UH and native of the Houston region, I have a deep commitment to the advancement and success of the University within this vibrant city,” Jackson said. “I hope to support UH’s institutional achievement through effective, innovative, and inclusive leadership of the Libraries.”