News Release – Diné College is the first tribal college to grant faculty status to their librarians

Diné College Library Faculty in Refurbished Library
Diné College Library Faculty in Refurbished Library

Diné College is the First Tribal College to Grant Faculty Status to their Librarians


August 23, 2021

TSAILE, Ariz. — Diné College has marked another “first” among tribal colleges by granting faculty status to their librarians. This is a common practice at many four-year institutions.

“Many of the most prestigious colleges and universities give faculty status to their librarians,” said Dr. Herman A. Peterson, Director of Libraries and newly appointed Associate Professor of Humanities. “Among these are the University of New Mexico, Fort Lewis College, and Oklahoma State University.”

Faculty status will give the librarians the opportunity to work up through the ranks of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and full Professor. This is a rigorous process which involves academic activities like grant writing, serving on committees, and peer-reviewed publications.

“The faculty ranking system motivates me to move forward professionally as an Indigenous librarian,” observed Rhiannon Sorrell, Instruction and Digital Services Librarian and newly appointed Assistant Professor of English. “Working through the ranks gives me a goal and helps me to focus on what’s important for the students. It helps me to be the best librarian I can be.”

Many things are expected of ranked faculty. The quality of their work is evaluated each year by the school Deans and judged by a committee of their peers before they can be promoted.

“Ranking our faculty members keeps them engaged in service, research, and teaching,” said Dr. Geraldine Garrity, Provost of Diné College. “They engage in service to the community, the College, and the profession. Research and the communication of their findings through publication is integral, each according to their own subject expertise. Excellence and innovation in teaching is expected and evaluated annually.”

The librarians at Diné College are excited about embarking on the rigorous road of the faculty ranking system at the first tribal college where that is possible.

The Diné College library will soon be rolling out the Ebsco Discovery Service, which will allow students to search the library’s catalog simultaneously with most of the College’s other databases. This service is widespread at other universities, and will now be available at Diné College.

Additionally, a refurbishment of the second floor of the Tsaile Kinyaa’áanii Charlie Benally Library has been completed and is now open for use. Supplementary shelf space for the College’s growing collection and many new and exciting study spaces for both individuals and groups has been created. The refurbishment also included details incorporating elements of the Navajo culture throughout the second floor.

Diné College is a four-year tribal college located on the Navajo reservation with six campuses and two microsites across Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah and primarily serves Navajo students. The school offers 20 bachelor degrees, 16 associate degrees, and 6 certificate programs. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The college, established in 1968, is the first tribal college and was formerly named Navajo Community College.


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