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Head of Special Collections and University Archives

Northern Kentucky University
Highland Heights, Kentucky, United States
Salary Not Specified
Date posted
Dec 1, 2023

Job Details

Posting Details

Position Information

Working Title
Head of Special Collections and University Archives

Steely Library

Full Time or Part Time?
Full Time

Position Number

Commitment to Inclusive Excellence

Northern Kentucky University ( NKU ) seeks excellence by enriching its educational environment and culture through the diversity of its administration, faculty, and staff and by embracing inclusiveness, equity, and global awareness in all dimensions of its work. NKU is an Equal Opportunity/Equal Access/Affirmative Action institution. We encourage applications by members of diverse groups and by persons with a demonstrated commitment to issues of diversity and experience in achieving goals relative to inclusive excellence. Our vision is that NKU will be nationally recognized for being a student-ready, regionally engaged university that empowers diverse learners for economic and social mobility. We will do this while promoting a culture of excellence, acting with integrity, fostering a community of belonging, working with creativity and innovation, and maintaining a climate of collegiality. In your role, you will be expected to ensure that students who interact with you have a high-quality experience that supports the vision of the institution.

Purpose of Position

The W. Frank Steely Library at Northern Kentucky University seeks a collaborative, visionary, and service-oriented individual to serve as University Archivist. The University Archivist is the Head of Special Collections and University Archives, which also includes the University Records and Information Management program. This non-tenure-track renewable faculty position is responsible for department personnel, budgets, and financial expenses; all archival functions, including policy and procedure creation; management of the physical space and equipment assigned to the department; and security and physical safety of all department resources and collections. The University Archivist determines how the department directs its energy as it simultaneously supports the university strategic plan and library goals. The University Archivist advocates for department needs and promotes its expertise and resources internally, externally, and within the profession. As a faculty member, the University Archivist will be expected to participate on library and campus-wide committees. As a department head, this position serves on the Library’s leadership team and will contribute to the development and implementation of the Library’s vision and goals. This position leads the Special Collections and University Archives Department, and reports to the Dean of the Library.

The W. Frank Steely Library provides a wide range of library services to support the University’s commitment to its Success by Design strategic framework, which promotes student success by embracing inclusiveness, equity, global awareness, and academic needs of students and faculty in each academic college. Library faculty and staff have enhanced traditional services to better address 21st century information needs and are collaborative partners across campus.

NKU is a public comprehensive university located in the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati, Ohio metropolitan area. The university delivers innovative, learner-centered education and engages in impactful scholarly and creative activities, all of which empower students for fulfilling careers and meaningful lives while contributing to the social and economic vitality of the region. NKU has almost 14,000 students, over 2,000 faculty and staff. It offers 79 undergraduate degree programs, master’s degrees in 21 disciplines, graduate certificates in 15 areas, two doctoral programs, a law degree, and in a partnership with the University of Kentucky and St. Elizabeth Hospital opened a medical school in the fall of 2019.

Primary Responsibilities

Leadership and Supervision
• Supervises and leads a team of librarians and staff in the Special Collections and University Archives Department, including special collections, university archives, and records management.
• Responsible for the security of the physical space dedicated to the department; the security and physical safety of the university records, historical collections and other materials constituting the department’s collections; and departmental equipment.
• Monitors budget allocations and ensures effective stewardship of funds.

Archival Management

• Develops and manages the archival arrangement and description program for permanent university records and special (historical) collections in all formats. Sets policy for application of archival descriptive standards and best practices. Strives to make the materials as accessible as possible both on campus and remotely, using the most current technology available.
• Appraises potential new Special Collections donations and determines what to accept.

Records and Information Management
• Overall responsibility for the University Records and Information Management ( RIM ) Program, including representing, promoting, advocating for and developing the program at the university level; influencing university policies and practices to adopt, apply or reflect records and information management best practices; overseeing the Records Manager who manages the program on a daily basis. Serves as the University Records Officer.
• Works to develop a program for the management and preservation of the university’s permanent digital records; and to provide appropriate access to digital records managed by the Archives that complies with copyright, intellectual and other property rights.

Research Assistance

• Provides specialized research assistance to on-site and distance researchers using materials in Special Collections and University Archives, including individual research assistance as well as class instruction on conducting archival research.
• Provides general weekly research help services, including reference desk hours, virtual chat, and consultations, to support in-person and virtual users.

• Other duties as assigned.

• Participates in library and campus-wide committees.


Minimum Requirements
• Master’s degree from an ALA accredited library or information science program or an ALA approved foreign equivalent, or an equivalent advanced degree and relevant experience.
• Demonstrated experience with special collections and university archives in an academic or research library.
• Supervisory experience and/or evidence of the ability to be an effective team leader who fosters an inclusive, efficient, and collegial workplace.

Preferred Qualifications
• Experience with and/or knowledge of records management (including physical and electronic records).
• Experience with and/or knowledge of how to develop and support instruction and/or outreach programs in special collections and university archives.
• Demonstrated experience with donor relations in special collections and university archives.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
• Knowledge of current and emerging trends and technologies related to special collections and university archives, library services, and higher education.
• Understanding of best practices in performing archival appraisal, accessioning, arrangement and description, research, and reference service; current archival descriptive standards (like DACS, EAD ) as well as library standards like Dublin Core; and experience with ArchivesSpace or similar archival collection management software for accessioning and finding aid creation.
• Knowledge of applicable standards and experience working with digital files including strong file management skills, file transfer methods, recommended preservation file formats; experience scanning photographs and documents; knowledge of or experience managing server space.
• Exemplary interpersonal and communication skills.
• Ability to work successfully in a highly collaborative environment and to prioritize various projects and departmental initiatives.
• Demonstrated commitment to training and professional development/achievement of faculty and staff especially in the area of special collections and archives.
• Demonstrated commitment to participating in and building an inclusive, equitable, and diverse campus community dedicated to student success and sense of belonging.

Although the position will remain posted until filled, priority consideration will be given to applicants who apply before January 15, 2024.

Any candidate who is offered this position will be required to go through a pre-employment criminal background check as mandated by state law.

Minimum Education
Master's Degree

Preferred Education
Master's Degree

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Applicant Documents
Required Documents
  1. Cover Letter/Letter of Application
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. References
Optional Documents
  1. Other


NKU is a growing metropolitan university of more than 16,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus near Cincinnati.

Located in the quiet suburb of Highland Heights, Kentucky—just seven miles southeast of Cincinnati—we have become a leader in Greater Cincinnati and Kentucky by providing a private school education for a fraction of the cost. While we are one of the fastest-growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names.


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