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Nia Rodgers named new librarian liaison for Wilder School and political science department

March 27, 2018


Stephani ("Nia") Rodgers becomes the new Public Affairs Research Librarian, effective April 10, 2018.

As Public Affairs Research Librarian, Rodgers will serve as a liaison to the L. Douglas  Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs and department of Political Science. In this role, she will advance public affairs research and learning through course-integrated instruction, workshops, individual consultations, and creative academic outreach. Rodgers brings extensive and distinctive experience and education to her new position. She will build on relationships she has established as a liaison to the Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness program, a role she has held since 2010. In addition, she is currently the User Services coordinator and Government Documents Coordinator at Cabell Library and has worked for VCU Libraries in different capacities since 2007. Rodgers holds the Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from North Carolina State University, the Master of Arts in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness from Virginia Commonwealth University, and will complete the Master of Library and Information Science from the University of South Carolina in May 2018. More on her credentials and CV

What interests and experience do you bring to The Wilder School that will help you serve students and faculty?   

I think that it helps me to connect with many of the Wilder School denizens that I have a master’s in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness from VCU, and that I remain very interested in the matters of public affairs in all its Wilder School forms. I am interested in the diversity of  views that the Wilder School brings together to create change. I would like to help facilitate those conversations however possible. 

Please share any observations you have about the unique nature of The Wilder School and any unique research/materials challenges its diverse interests present?

It has been my experience that Wilder School faculty and students are generally practical and data driven. They know that often the best policy is made or changed through provable results, so I expect to be doing more with data sets than I have been in the past. When it comes down to it, the Wilder School programs all have the same goal - making a safer, better, and more equitable world to live in, which is a goal I both admire and want to support.

What are your goals for 2018 in this new role?

I would like to connect with any faculty who are interested in library support for their classroom activities, from Blackboard links and courses to research guides to teaching a session about the library in their classrooms or in the library. I am also excited to help faculty and graduate students reach their personal and professional research goals in whatever ways I am able - from hunting for data and information to acting as a sounding board for ideas.

What are the most common questions or issues researchers face at the Wilder School?

I don’t know yet! One of the things I am most excited about with my new position is to learn what the needs are and how I can best support researchers.

How do you hope to become actively engaged with faculty and grad students?

The first step is communicating with the Wilder School faculty and graduate students. I will also be contacting faculty who have requested or had sessions with librarians before to introduce myself and let them know I am available for library instruction. I will be attending the grad orientation fair and the new faculty orientation fair in the fall, so hopefully I will get a chance to chat with lots of Wilder School folks. I would like to attend more lectures and events at the Wilder School as well.

Are there particular services or opportunities VCU Libraries provides that you want to stress?

The VCU Libraries are trying to help professors adopt more affordable course content approach to replace expensive textbooks. We know that buying books is a financial stressor for a lot of students and we want to help faculty remove that barrier to student success. Whether that means helping faculty to find open access materials, or materials that the libraries already own that can be put on Course Reserves or linked to in Blackboard, we want to help you assemble the best, most current information for your students to use.

What ideas do you want to share, specifically, with Wilder School faculty regarding how you can assist them in their research or teaching?  

I want the Wilder School faculty to know that I am excited about learning from and with them, and that I want to be a partner going forward. I have worked in academic libraries for 20 years, so I feel that I am fairly adept at the research process. I want to learn your processes, and to connect with what is important to you and learn how I can support your work.

That being said, there is the practical matter of creating and maintaining electronic resources in Blackboard and on the Libraries’ website that will help you and your students hone in on the best sources of information and guidance. This trail has been blazed by librarians before me, and I hope to build on these past best practices and add new resources and delivery methods tailored specifically to instructors and courses in the Wilder School.

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