Library Assessment Strategist
University of Connecticut
Susanna Cowan holds the position of Coordinator for Library Research & Assessment, the UConn Library’s first-ever dedicated assessment librarian role. This role is a natural progression from her previous experience in higher education, which spans librarianship, teaching, and administration. Leaving her hometown of Santa Cruz, CA, Susanna crossed the country to Pennsylvania to earn her BA in English (minor in German) at Swarthmore College, which incorporated a year of study at Oxford University. She earned her PhD in British literature from the University of Utah and spent 3 years during this period teaching English, Communication, and Honors courses at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff—a decade that instilled a lifelong love for the vast expanses and stunning peaks of the Mountain West. Susanna had opportunities to teach at several institutions, including unforgettably the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY (ask her about lunch there!!). In the early aughts,
Susanna moved to Connecticut and returned to a long-held interest in librarianship, obtaining an MLS from Southern Connecticut State University. Susanna started working at the UConn Library in 2003, focusing on information literacy work, and went on to lead the creation of the Undergraduate Education Team, which oversaw a series of complex assessment projects, including a full-floor observation study and several studies of student work and research practices. Susanna left the library in fall 2013 to direct UConn’s Summer & Winter Program, and returned to the library in 2018 to coordinate library assessment work. This year, she oversaw the running of ClimateQUAL, participated in the Strategic Framework Steering Committee, and found new ways to add pictures to our library budget story, among other projects. She has created a Reflection Log to help staff record how services have been transformed during the pandemic—work that will contribute to a large collaborative assessment project in coming months.