Meet the Candidates: Rebecca Miller Waltz

Editor’s Note: In the lead-up to the 2022 ALA/ACRL election, we’re profiling the 2022 ACRL Board of Directors candidates. We’ll feature one candidate in slate order each weekday from March 2-11. Complete details on candidates for ACRL offices are available on the election website. Make sure to vote for the candidates of your choice starting March 14.

Rebecca Miller Waltz is the interim associate dean for learning and undergraduate services at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, PA and a 2022 candidate for the ACRL Board of Directors as Director-at-Large.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Energetic, optimistic, courageous.

2. Describe ACRL in three words: Community, transformative, evolving.

3. What do you value about ACRL? ACRL has been a place of truly transformative learning for me.  ACRL offers a mix of formal and informal learning opportunities, as well as opportunities to learn and grow through service, leadership, and new connections.  The people I have met and the experiences I have had through ACRL have challenged me in surprising and important ways.  I am grateful that ACRL has been a space where I can learn and lead with vulnerability, be curious, and connect with resources and support for growing knowledge, awareness, empathy, and competency in so many different areas.

4. What would you as candidate for the ACRL Board like to see ACRL accomplish in the area of EDI? As a white, cisgender woman working in an R1 institution, I recognize that my experience of ACRL has been a privileged one. While I am grateful that ACRL has been a supportive and safe space where I can be vulnerable, learn, and grow, I recognize that ACRL is not that kind of space and place for many others. I would like to see this change. For this change to happen, ACRL needs to become more accessible in every way possible, remove barriers to opportunities, resources, and services, and embrace different perspectives in leadership, scholarship, and practice. ACRL’s vision for libraries to constantly transform ourselves, our institutions, and our communities requires that we invite, value, and integrate voices currently missing from our conversations. The past few years have been unimaginably challenging in many ways, and our profession and higher education are changing dramatically and swiftly.  We must do things differently, seek new kinds of expertise and experiences, and create new paths to and within academic librarianship in order to create a clear, inclusive, and sustainable future for our libraries and for ACRL. As a candidate for the ACRL Board, I look forward to continuing to learn, grow, and expand my own boundaries and understandings through the work of helping ACRL transform theirs.  

5. In your own words: Although I’ve most recently served in the roles of department head and administrator, I am an information literacy and instruction librarian at heart. My leadership is informed by my experiences as a teacher, and I strive to bring the attention, care, motivation, and support that I cultivated in the classroom to the colleagues I serve through my leadership roles.   My professional identity has three main facets: teacher, learner, and leader. I may wear many different hats throughout the day, but these three elements of teaching, learning, and leading are always with me. I feel fortunate to be part of a profession that values teaching and learning in so many ways, and am particularly grateful for the supervisors, mentors, and role models who have shown me what learning and reflective practice can look like.  I’ve shared here about the areas in which I think ACRL and our profession need to learn, grow, and change; while we certainly have a lot of work to do, I am very excited about what we will learn and eager to see the new areas we will lead as we engage in that work. 

6. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile devices)? I just finished Matrix by Lauren Groff and can’t stop thinking about it! I’m a big fiction reader, but I also just started In the Great Green Room: The Brilliant and Bold Life of Margaret Wise Brown by Amy Gary.  Our toddler demands Goodnight Moon every night, so I’m looking forward to reading about the woman who created it.