Alexandra Rivera was recently named Associate Dean for Diversity, Inclusion & Organizational Development for Michigan State University Libraries. The announcement was made by Dean of Libraries Joseph Salem, who said the position was conceived after the Libraries’ 2019 strategic planning process, which sharpened the Libraries’ commitment to diversity and inclusivity and helped identify and clarify ways to support that commitment. Rivera will officially start on December 1.
“I am thrilled to have been able to recruit Alex Rivera to East Lansing, to MSU, and to the Libraries,” Salem said. “As we welcome her we know she will help us welcome many. With this new position, and with Alex Rivera’s leadership in this role, we strengthen our commitment to promoting equal access to information and spaces for all. Rivera’s leadership will facilitate systemic and sustained work to ensure all members of our MSU community see themselves and thrive in our Libraries. She will lead the Libraries’ efforts in diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility – values that are fundamental to our Libraries, and values that must be tended with energy and enthusiasm. I’m confident Alex will bring her expertise as well as her extensive experience in community engagement to further strengthen the Libraries’ outreach to the MSU campus and the many communities the Libraries serve.”
“I am excited to join the MSU Libraries and MSU to help lead this growth,” Rivera said. “We need organized, concentrated efforts to expand our commitment to diversity and inclusion. We’ve seen – and experienced – tremendous changes during the COVID pandemic. We know, now, we are capable of change, and I think MSU Libraries are poised to truly effect change to ensure that all members of our MSU communities see themselves valued and reflected in our staff, resources, and services. I’m delighted to help advance strategic initiatives that will support this expansion. Our mission as a public institution aligns with this work and aligns with my own core values grounded in social justice. It’s tremendously significant that MSU Libraries have created this position. I look forward to working with students, staff, faculty, and community members; and I am excited to collaborate with colleagues in the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives.”
Rivera will report directly to the Dean of Libraries and will be responsible for engaging library staff and the university community in the creation, iteration, and implementation of a diversity and inclusion-specific strategic plan. She will be joining a growing cohort of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) leaders on campus and within the Big Ten Academic Alliance, and she will represent MSU on the national level. She will coordinate the Libraries’ Residency Program and serve as a supportive guide and administrative liaison to the Libraries’ Diversity Advisory Committee. She also will supervise several projects, people, and units, including the Libraries’ nationally recognized Accessibility unit, the Outreach and Engagement unit, the Communications unit, and the User Experience unit. Additionally, she will provide oversight for the Faculty Excellence Advocate and the Head of Organizational Development, and will oversee the creation and implementation of educational opportunities for all staff. These internal educational opportunities will position staff members to better contribute to and support a diverse and inclusive environment within the Libraries, and help them share a spirit of inclusion with those they engage with and support outside of the Libraries.
Rivera comes to MSU from the University of Michigan Library, where she served most recently as Senior Associate Librarian for Student Success and Community Engagement and previously as Interim Coordinator of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives. Prior to that work, she served as Assistant Librarian of Outreach and Instruction for University of Arizona Libraries. Nationally, she serves on the Executive Board of the American Library Association and the Joint Council of Librarians of Color, Inc. Board of Directors. She has a master’s degree in library and information sciences from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications/broadcasting/production from Northern Arizona University.
The MSU Libraries are at the center of academic life at Michigan State University, providing expertise, collections, and infrastructure for discovery and creation. The Libraries facilitate connections that support research, teaching, and learning in local and global communities. Faculty and staff at the Libraries are committed to providing equal access to Library collections, services, and facilities for all library users. Two important parts of this commitment are the Affordable Textbook Program, which offers students enrolled in certain courses with costly textbooks a way to read those books without buying them; and the Open Educational Resources (OER) program, which gives financial incentives to instructors to create or adapt OER course materials. Along with other emerging opportunities, these relatively new programs position the Libraries to take a lead role in teaching and learning initiatives for the University.