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UW’s American Heritage Center Director Resigns; Search to Follow Consultants’ Report

November 27, 2017

The University of Wyoming will likely begin a search late in the current academic year for a new director of the American Heritage Center (AHC), following the resignation of Director Bridget Burke.

Burke has submitted her resignation, effective Dec. 8, to take a position as associate dean for special collections with the University of Oklahoma Libraries starting Jan. 15. Her resignation was unexpected.

UW’s Office of Academic Affairs has indicated that the selection of a new leader will proceed at a measured pace. The first steps will include engaging a small team of external consultants who are expert archivists to give UW advice on how archives such as the AHC are best managed. It is anticipated that this team would visit campus early in the spring semester and talk with a wide range of stakeholders about the AHC and its role at UW and across the state. A report, submitted by consultants, will be used as the basis for decision making in moving forward with a search for a new leader, which likely would begin in late spring.

In the meanwhile, UW Dean of Libraries Ivan Gaetz also will serve as interim director of the AHC. Gaetz became dean of UW Libraries in 2016, after serving as library director at Colorado College for four years. He also served as dean of the library at Regis University in Denver from 2001-2012; and library director at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, from 1993-2001. Before that, he held a number of library positions at Columbia University and libraries in Alberta. His work at Regis and at Colorado College involved close collaborations with their archives and special collections; both institutions saw significant advances in collections and programming. These experiences will be an asset as UW moves the AHC forward.

The AHC is UW’s repository of manuscripts collections, rare books and the university archives. It is among the largest nongovernmental archives in the nation. The AHC’s collections focus on Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain West, and nationally on the topics of environment and conservation, the mining and petroleum industries, air and rail transportation, the performing arts (particularly radio, television, film and popular music), journalism, U.S. military history and book history.


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