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Dean Hendrix returns home to serve as dean of UTSA Libraries

Dean Hendrix returns home to serve as dean of UTSA Libraries

Dean Hendrix, UTSA dean of Libraries

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(May 12, 2016) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) has a new dean of libraries. And his name just so happens to be Dean.

In April, Dean Hendrix returned to San Antonio for the first time since he was a teenager. He's spent the last 12 years at the University of Buffalo where he was most recently the associate university librarian for research, education and outreach. He assumed his new position at UTSA on May 1.

We asked Dean Hendrix a few questions to get to know him better. What attracted you to UTSA?

From my research and during my interview, the culture at UTSA fits my personality. There is an ambitious and innovative spirit at UTSA that I felt from everyone from the undergraduates to the UTSA library staff to the administrators.

The opportunity to build a Tier One library system is especially attractive to me. In the libraries, a solid foundation had been built by my predecessors, namely the renovation of JPL and the creation of the UTSA Faculty Center. With a campus-wide focus on scaling up its research enterprise, UTSA's current goals dovetail nicely with my professional experiences building relationships between libraries, offices of research and decanal units.

As an undergraduate of the University of Texas, I took several classes in Mexican-American Studies and wrote my undergraduate thesis on La Raza Unida Party, a political party that focused on issues affecting the Chicana/o community in the 1970s. The opportunity to build distinctive South Texas collections was very attractive.

Finally, I felt that everyone I talked to believes in San Antonio, and the promise of our community. They also believe that UTSA is a vital part of any growth and prosperity. I strongly believe that, too.

UTSA has grown significantly since you grew up in San Antonio. What do you remember about it?

My first recollections of UTSA are from 1980. I was in 4th grade. My mother was taking a computer science class and I remember her taking me to the computer lab. To keep me occupied, she gave me stacks of computer punch cards to draw on, but really I had my eye on the Tandy TRS-80 that she was working on. In school, I had just had my first exposure to the microcomputer, and I was anxious to put my new BASIC programming skills to good use. After crashing her TRS-80 with a "10 PRINT; 20 GOTO 10" loop, I was back to drawing on punch cards.

Driving out to UTSA seemed to take forever. I remember thinking that UTSA was out in the desert.

What impresses you the most about UTSA now?

Like I mentioned earlier, everyone I've talked to believes in the Tier One vision without a hint of cynicism or negativity, and is working really hard toward that goal. To develop and promulgate that common purpose across such a large campus is really impressive to me. That clarity of vision influences how the San Antonio community views UTSA as an integral part of its future growth and prosperity.

What is your vision for the UTSA Libraries?

My vision for the UTSA Libraries is to be recognized as a Tier One research library system that advances research and discovery, promotes the growth of knowledge and stokes creativity for personal transformation, and local and global impact.

I believe the Libraries achieves this by being distinctive, innovative, flexible and connected. We will grow and leverage our unique collections in focused areas, so that UTSA Libraries is the library of record for those particular research areas. We will foster a forward-thinking and risk tolerant atmosphere that is also necessary to effectively anticipate and respond to the constantly evolving teaching, learning and research landscape. For us to reach our vision, the culture in the Libraries must be one of continuous improvement through ongoing assessment, so flexibility will be key. Finally, Libraries staff and I will spend a lot of time being engaged campus citizens, building relationships and collaborating on strategic projects that move us toward Tier One.

My personal vision is to be a Dean of Libraries dedicated to UTSA's core values: excellence, integrity, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation.

You've lived in New York for a while. Are you prepared for the San Antonio heat again?

To be honest, I'm probably not ready. After 12½ years in Western New York, my blood is pretty thick. It's shocking to say but I used to look forward to highs in the upper 40s in March and April. Though overall the weather in San Antonio is far superior, I will miss Buffalo's paradise season from mid-May to mid-September.

My other conundrum is what am I going to do with all of the coats and jackets I own? I have coats for all types of temperatures and weather conditions. One UTSA faculty member suggested I set up an online shop on eBay.

What have you missed most about San Antonio? What are you looking forward to?

It goes without saying that I've missed my family and long-time friends the most. There is something indescribable about coming home wherever that is for people. Everything from how the air smells to watching a Spurs game at an outdoor icehouse, there is a comfort and belonging that can't be replicated anywhere else.

I am looking forward to building partnerships across campus and our community to make our libraries, university and our city world-class.

How do you feel about being Dean Dean Hendrix?

It's great! It's been a great name to have in academia. Even as a grad student, I was hardly ever sent directly to voicemail. And now as the new guy at UTSA, everyone remembers my name.

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Lean more about Dean Hendrix.

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UTSA's Mission

The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA's Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA's Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

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