Head, Special Collections and Archives

Mission or Goal of Unit

The VCU Libraries transforms our communities by enriching scholarship, learning, creative endeavors, and clinical care through inclusive and equitable teaching, collections, and leadership.

Chief Purpose of this position

The Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries invites applications and nominations for the position of Head, Special Collections and Archives. The Head provides innovative, collaborative leadership and overall management and administration of the recently combined Special Collections and Archives units. The department consists of seven faculty positions, three staff members, and multiple student and hourly employees supporting two locations. The Head will provide vision and strategic direction to advance the educational, research, and outreach mission of Special Collections and Archives. The successful candidate will join a culturally and academically diverse faculty of the highest caliber.

Position Responsibilities

Reporting to the Associate Dean and Director, Health Sciences Library, the Head provides vision and leadership for VCU Libraries Special Collections and Archives. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to reorganize the recently unified department. The Head is responsible for working across the VCU Libraries through internal partnerships; collaborating with colleagues, the University, and the community; and participating in pan-Libraries planning and prioritization. The Head leads the department in community engagement, as well as fundraising and grant-seeking in collaboration with the VCU Libraries Development Office. Engages in regional and national communities integrating best and emerging practices. Additionally, the Head, Special Collections and Archives will work collaboratively to appraise and acquire materials and records of historical significance such as official records; promote the relevance and significance of Special Collections and Archives through exhibitions, programs, services, digital preservation, digitization, and other outreach activities; direct space and facilities utilization, design, and planning for Special Collections and Archives; and establish and steward relationships with communities and organizations that foster trust and engagement.

This position is an essential member of the division’s leadership team and is expected to play an integral role in the success of division-wide operations and collaborative initiatives. As a member of VCU Libraries Management Council, the Head will work with colleagues to advance the strategic initiatives of the libraries.

The Head, Special Collections and Archives is expected to be active professionally and to contribute to developments in the field. Faculty with VCU Libraries are evaluated, and promoted, on the basis of job performance, scholarship, and service.

Required Qualifications

  • ALA-accredited graduate degree or accredited graduate degree in another appropriate discipline. 
  • Progressively responsible experience, including supervision of archivists/librarians and staff, in special collections and archives at an academic or research library, archives, or major historical society. 
  • Demonstrated experience working in and fostering a diverse faculty, staff, and student environment or commitment to do so as a faculty member at VCU.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion through archival practice, scholarship, and service. 
  • Knowledgeable about current and emerging trends, issues, standards, and best practices in archives and special collections. 
  • Knowledge and capacity to lead initiatives related to the appraisal of born-digital materials, digital preservation, and digitization.
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively within and across organizational and community boundaries in a diverse and evolving organization with a wide variety of users. 
  • Experience in collaboratively building donor relations and growing philanthropic support as well as building and enhancing partnerships and community engagement opportunities. 
  • Experience writing and administering grants. 
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing. 
  • Certification from the Academy of Certified Archivists.

Candidates need not meet the preferred qualifications to be fully considered. We value many individual and unique skills that would strengthen the VCU Libraries and our teams.

Salary: Salary commensurate with experience, not less than $90,000 annually. This is a full-time, non-tenured faculty position. 12-month faculty benefits apply, including 24 vacation days annually and choice of retirement and annuity plans; relocation assistance, as well as a professional development allowance.  For more information about benefits, see the Faculty Benefits page. 

Interviews: Initial interviews will be conducted virtually. We anticipate inviting finalists to campus.

Learn about the position in an online information session

We are hosting information sessions for interested applicants in advance of the March 31, 2022 review date. Please consider joining one of these sessions to learn more about the position, meet the supervisor (Teresa L. Knott, Associate Dean, VCU Libraries and Director, Health Sciences Library), and get answers to your questions about the position.

Join one of our info sessions via Zoom:

Monday, March 14, 2022 | 4:30-5:15 pm EDT

Tuesday, March 22, 2022 | 1:00-1:45 pm EDT

Friday, March 25, 2022 | 11:00-11:45 am EDT

The attendee list for each Zoom session will be hidden and those asking questions may do so anonymously. Live captioning will be provided. To attend a session, please complete the confidential form to receive a Zoom link.
Questions? Please contact Teresa L. Knott at

Virginia Commonwealth University and the VCU Libraries

As one of only 71 public universities with academic medical centers to be designated by the Carnegie Foundation as “Community Engaged” with “Very High Research Activity,” Virginia Commonwealth University ranks among Virginia’s largest research universities, enrolling over 29,000 students. Located in the heart of Richmond, VCU offers 42 doctoral, 68 masters, 3 professional, and 68 baccalaureate degree programs. Thirty-four of VCU's graduate and professional programs are ranked by U.S. News & World Report as among the best in the nation, with 29 programs ranking in the top 50 and sculpture and nurse anesthesia ranked number one. Over 2,500 faculty comprise the University's teaching force. Research strengths at the University include health and life sciences, education, engineering, social work, behavioral sciences, public affairs, advertising and design, and the fine arts. Sponsored research funding totals over $360 million, placing VCU among the top 100 research institutions in the United States. 

Libraries at Virginia Commonwealth University, including the James Branch Cabell Library on the Monroe Park Campus and the Health Sciences Library on the MCV Campus, employ over 65 professionals and 80 staff with annual expenditures exceeding $22 million. VCU also operates academic programs in Doha, Qatar, supported by a library there, and in various locations throughout the U.S. and the world. The VCU Libraries is a member of the Association of Research Libraries, the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries, Center for Research Libraries, Coalition for Networked Information, National Digital Stewardship Alliance, Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, and the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA), a statewide networking consortium for shared access to electronic and print resources, as well as a Resource Library in the Network of the National Library of Medicine, among others.  The VCU Libraries uses the following packages for its system architecture: Alma, Primo, Islandora, Digital Commons, ArchivesSpace, ILLiad, and Omeka.

The Monroe Park Campus of VCU is located in Richmond's Fan District, a large, residential neighborhood of townhouses, shops, and cafes. The campus is home to most of the University’s undergraduate and many of its graduate programs, including the School of the Arts, the Colleges of Humanities and Sciences, and Engineering and the Schools of Business, Education, and Social Work. The School of Social Work also offers the Masters of Social Work at the Northern Virginia Campus in Alexandria, Virginia. In addition, VCU’s Qatar campus in the Middle East offers degree programs through the School of the Arts. 

The MCV Campus, located in historic Court End near state and local government and financial centers, is home to the VCU Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy; VCU College of Health Professions; the Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research; and VCU Health. VCU Health includes VCU Medical Center, a Magnet Recognized hospital with 812 inpatient beds, outpatient clinics, a Level 1 trauma center, and over 800 physicians in 200 speciality areas, many of national and international renown, as well as the Children’s Hospital at VCU and Massey Cancer Center, Virginia's first NCI-designated cancer center. In addition to multidisciplinary centers for cancer, cardiology, neurosurgery, and transplantation, VCU Health offers virtually every form of contemporary medical service.

For more information about the VCU Libraries, please visit our home page at Review of applications will begin March 31, 2022 and will continue until the position is filled. To apply, go to VCU Careers, complete the application and submit a cover letter, CV/resume, and the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of three references.

Virginia Commonwealth University is an urban research institution with a richly diverse university community and commitment to multicultural opportunities.  Virginia Commonwealth University is an equal opportunity affirmative action university providing access to education and employment without regard to age, race, color, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, veteran’s status, political affiliation or disability.  

Apply at VCUJobs