Deborah Ward, the interim vice provost for Libraries and University Librarian since 2019, has been appointed to the permanent position, effective May 1.
For nearly twenty-five years, Ward has tirelessly served Mizzou in a variety of roles: Director of the J. Otto Lottes Health Sciences Library and Veterinary Medical Library (1997-2021), Interim Associate Director for Research and Information Services (2009-2013), Associate University Librarian for Specialized Libraries (2017-2019), and Interim Vice Provost for Libraries and Interim University Librarian (2019-Present).
During her time as Interim Vice Provost for Libraries, Ward supported students and faculty during the campus closure for COVID-19; built on her vision to integrate the e-learning experience of students with e-resources from the Libraries; participated actively in the campus space reduction initiative; and found ways to bring the teaching collection of the School of Visual Studies into various spaces in Ellis Library. Most recently, she led a team effort to secure a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which will fund the renovation of the Ellis Library West Stacks. This renovation project was recommended through a formal feasibility study, is foundational to further renovations, and points to the need for a forward-looking library space master plan. She regularly works with faculty groups, students, and campus administrators to align library spaces, collections, and services with their stated priorities.
Prior to being named interim vice provost, Ward served as the Director of the Health Sciences Library, where she promoted the adoption of electronic information delivery to the hospitals and clinics, clinical librarian services, and the integration of evidence-based information into health care delivery. She was key to the development of a digital library to support rural healthcare providers in Missouri, and she created a new health research librarian position for the HSL. Ward also promoted strong outreach in the state through the HSL’s participation as a Library Partner in the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.
Ward received an AB from Eastern Kentucky University in German; an MA from Eastern Kentucky University in Education, with a library science emphasis; and an MSLS from the University of Kentucky in Library Science.