University library leadership

Dear USF Community,

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Shawn P. Calhoun as university library dean, effective Aug. 1. Shawn has been serving as acting dean since February 2020. 

Shawn CalhounShawn is known for the thoughtful, equity-minded, and mission-focused leadership he provides to the Gleeson Library community and to USF. As he moves into the permanent dean’s role, Shawn brings the invaluable perspective of someone who understands our libraries from the ground up. He started in 2002 as the facilities coordinator at Gleeson and, over the next two decades, he has learned and worked his way through multiple aspects of library operations. This includes serving as associate dean for public services, where he has overseen reference and research services, special collections and archives, access services, and scholarly communication. During his tenure, Shawn has been instrumental in implementing Gleeson Library’s strategic plan; launched the Library Advisory Council, a shared governance body within the library; created an Open Education Resources (OER) librarian position to expand the reach and accessibility of scholarship; supported and encouraged librarians in the development of a Collection Development Diversity Statement; expanded staff development resources; maintained a deep commitment to mentorship and creating opportunities for library staff; and grown the the library leadership team to include key leaders in library instruction and outreach and library electronic resources and systems.

In his scholarship, Shawn has focused on how we teach and how students learn, researching the effectiveness of different instructional methodologies on students’ information literacy. While earning his library science master’s at San Jose State University, he investigated the impact of open source concepts on scholarly publishing and researcher access. Shawn is also a proud “double Don,” earning both his bachelor’s in information systems management and his education doctorate from USF. His family enjoys three generations of Jesuit-educated Calhouns, including his father and both of his sons, one of whom recently graduated from USF.

In addition to his roles in national professional organizations such as the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) and the AJCU Ignatian Colleagues Program, Shawn has served as chair of USF’s Council of Associate Deans, and is presently a co-chair of the advisory council guiding implementation of USF’s first strategic plan, work that will draw on learnings from the library’s longtime strategic planning efforts. He has also been an essential presence on numerous search committees that have been instrumental in finding talented leaders for our campus.

Throughout his time at USF, Shawn’s commitment to equity and student success has been central. He has mentored first-generation students through the Muscat Scholars Program. He served as chair of USF’s Black Community Council and as advisory board chair of the Black Achievement, Success and Engagement (BASE) initiative, which has led the growth of USF’s enrollment of Black-identified students to record numbers. Last year, he helped create the USF Black Student Union Collection, a physical and digital archive managed by the library to retain and share the important history of the BSU on our campus. 

In his 20 years of service to USF’s libraries and to multiple campus initiatives designed to recruit and retain diverse educators, staff, and students, Shawn has embodied a steadfast commitment to building a culture of opportunity and inclusive excellence on our campus. His centeredness, equity-minded leadership, and deep institutional knowledge make him an exceptional voice to have in leadership at a time of growth and transformation.

In his role as dean, Shawn will prioritize fostering effective shared governance, collaborative leadership and transparency, student success, and advancing antiracism and DEI through library collections and services. Please join me in congratulating Shawn and wishing him every success with the important work ahead.

Chinyere Oparah
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs