Text title treatment: Dialogue with the Deans

University Libraries

Pattie Orr, Dean & Vice President for Information Technology


What is the greatest challenge or opportunity that students at Baylor will face, and how is Baylor preparing them to face/address it?

One of the greatest opportunities and challenges today's Baylor students face is the amount of information that is available at their fingertips. Our devices keep us connected with current events around the globe and enable us to gather rich, real-time and historical data about the world. Information gathered by these and other applied technologies is being analyzed and applied in the arenas of commerce, health and government.

In the Baylor Libraries, we cultivate technology literacy by providing leading resources for guiding research and managing education. Our dedicated library faculty and staff teach information literacy through one-on-one research assistance and discipline specific workshops designed to help students navigate data. Finally, we encourage data literacy by working with graduate and undergraduate students managing large data sets for their research and by instructing our entire community in the strongest practices for information security. Effectively managing and interpreting data can yield the information Baylor students will use to chart the course for their future success.

What is the most significant thing Baylor graduates offer to the world?

A Baylor degree, with its faith perspective and strong academic core curriculum, broadly prepares students to face the complexities of a rapidly changing world. Our graduates are "future proof" because their education provides a deep context and the skills essential to solving problems in any field.

What is the most exciting/meaningful thing about being dean of Baylor's Libraries?

Bringing people together. The Central Libraries--Moody Memorial Library and Jones Library--form an academic life center that stands at the heart of the Baylor campus. With over 1 million entrances this past year, the Central Libraries is teeming with faculty and students who gather as a community of scholars to learn and solve problems. The Baylor Libraries also bring people together as a virtual community through online degree programs, digital collections and other research resources. Whether a prospective family touring the campus, a current student or faculty member, an alumnus, or a member of the broader community, the Baylor Libraries draw people from all walks of life and bring them together to fulfill the academic mission of the University.

Do you have a mentor/memory or experience from your time at Baylor (or elsewhere) that deeply influenced who/where you are today?

From the first day of my tenure as dean of University Libraries, I sought out the counsel of Dr. Sue Margaret Hughes, former director of libraries and Library Board of Advisors member. She served the Baylor Libraries for decades, leading the move from the space in Carroll Library to Moody Memorial Library in 1968. She taught me about the culture of service that has always been the hallmark of the Baylor Libraries. As we expand our online and print resources and develop our learning environments, the mentorship that Dr. Hughes provided helps me to continue a service-oriented perspective throughout our libraries.

Is there anything you want alumni or parents to know about you or your plans for the Libraries? Please explain.

As we prepare to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Moody Memorial Library in 2018, we are struck by the shift in the role of the libraries in the modern research university. From our humble beginnings in Independence, Texas, to today where 85 percent of the library collections' budget is dedicated to digital research resources, the library’s changing role is evident. We are making plans that will transform the physical structure of Moody Memorial Library in ways that will serve and support Baylor undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and other learners online from around the world for the next 50 years and beyond.