Building and navigating pathways for students’ success

Chelle Batchelor standing and smiling between shelves of books in a library

Shelve all the notions you may have about what it takes to properly manage a college library.

Especially now that Chelle Batchelor has taken the helm at Hamersly Library.

With more than 25 years of experience working in college libraries, Batchelor was chosen as Western Oregon University’s dean of Library and Academic Innovation, a new position.

Selected for her leadership skills, Batchelor is charged with navigating WOU through the uncharted waters of the rapidly evolving changes in higher education and librarianship, and building bridges from the Hamersly Library to the divisions.

“Everything excites me about this job,” Batchelor said. “I am eager for the challenges to work to have academic innovation dovetail with library innovation. I believe what students are learning in the classroom should seamlessly bridge with what’s happening in the library.”

She said she is eager to support WOU’s faculty in their goal to be the best teachers they can be while working with WOU employees on continuing to support student success in the classroom and beyond.

Batchelor said WOU’s focus on student success “is a mission close to my heart.”

WOU Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Rob Winningham said Batchelor has a track record of excellence in library management and the use of technology in higher education.

“In her current role, Chelle has to work with a wide range of constituents, and it was clear to the search committee and me that she would excel at WOU,” he said.

The opportunity to bring Hamersly Library and Academic Innovation into what she calls a new paradigm is one of the reasons Batchelor is wanted to work at the university.

“Western Oregon is in a period of fundamental transition and advancing in a positive direction,” Batchelor said. “I am committed to being a part of that change.”

Before joining the WOU community Aug. 1, Batchelor was the interim associate dean for Research and Learning Services at the University of Washington. She has worked at libraries at the University of Oregon and University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

Growing up in Keizer where she graduated from McNary High School and received her associate’s degree from Chemeketa Community College, Batchelor said she feels like she has returned to her roots.

Batchelor first knew she wanted to pursue a career as a college librarian in 1995 while she was a student-employee for the Knight Library at the University of Oregon. Her love of college libraries has evolved.

“I think at first it was my love of books and getting to play with the new technology and figure out how it worked,” she said. “My reason now is I love how a college library supports the learning happening in the classroom.”

Her responsibilities are divided between leading what’s happening at the library and rebuilding the Academic Innovation unit to support teaching and technology advancement with an emphasis on building support for online and technology-enhanced teaching.

Describing her leadership style as being open and collaborative, Batchelor said she brings interested colleagues to the table to work as a team on projects.

Batchelor is dedicated to keeping college affordable for WOU students. One project she is working on with employees is open education resources, where a professor can create an online textbook for students to download for free.

Dedicated to brainstorming and collaborating with faculty and staff to discover ways to best serve students, Batchelor said the Academic Innovation unit is a resource for faculty members to explore, create and implement new teaching methods.

Winningham said Batchelor has the opportunity to increase WOU’s ability to create and manage high-quality online and technology-enhanced courses, which is good for students and the university.

“In her role as the leader of Hamersly Library, she will continue the tradition of innovation and personalized service and support that WOU faculty and students have come to expect,” Winningham said.

Batchelor said she likes how WOU is focused on helping students get to where they want to go in life.

“That message resonates with me because I had the opportunity to go to college and become more than I ever imagined I would be,” she said. “That is why I am so excited about helping students learn and about the library supporting their learning.”

An associate professor and public services librarian, Janeanne Rockwell-Kincanon shared she is energized by Batchelor’s leadership style.

“She is really engaging with campus in many contexts, both contributing interesting ideas and soliciting and incorporating ideas from others into plans,” Rockwell-Kincanon said. “She is also balancing aspirations with practical aspects of implementation.

On a tour of the library, Batchelor’s enthusiasm and pride in what Hamersly has to offer students and staff was apparent. She emphasized that there’s more to the library than books. It has places for students to meet for study groups, check out equipment, purchase coffee or food and, most importantly, to receive assistance finding materials.

Batchelor said her main priority is to serve students in their quest to achieve their academic goals.

“Our students and faculty have a world of information available to them, and my staff is here to help them navigate it,” Batchelor said.

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