Scott Garrison has been a part of Ferris State University since 2012, when he was
hired as dean of the Ferris Library for Information, Technology and Education. Before
coming to Ferris, Garrison was the associate dean for Public Services and Technology
at Western Michigan University Libraries, where he was committed to using data-driven
and user-centered research to make the libraries more efficient.
Garrison spoke with News Services about what he does at FLITE and why he loves his job.
News Services: Can you give a little background on yourself? Where did you grow up? Where did you get an education?
Scott Garrison: I grew up mostly in Washington, DC and southern California, with some years in Minnesota in between. I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and American Literature (with a Biology minor) at the University of California at San Diego, and a Master of Library Science degree from UCLA. I live with my wife and two sons (and two cats) in Rockford.
NS: What do your do for your job at Ferris?
SG: My job as dean of the Ferris Library for Information, Technology and Education is to provide vision, leadership and advocacy to ensure that FLITE’s collections, personnel, services, spaces and technology help everyone in the Ferris community succeed, in a responsive and sustainable manner. Day to day, that means working with FLITE’s librarians and staff and the university community to determine what Ferris people need and want to accomplish, and how we can continually refine what we do in order to lower barriers that people face. We work according to FLITE’s core values, which are aligned with Ferris’ core values.
NS: What attracted you to this job?
SG: This job provides me many opportunities to learn and grow as an academic library professional, from working with a diverse group of dedicated, talented and experienced professionals within FLITE and across the university, to keeping FLITE connected and responsive to where academic libraries and the institutions they serve are heading, across Michigan and the nation.
NS: What about your job makes you smile?
SG: In a word, it’s people. The people I work with often offer really good ideas for how we, as a library, can keep moving forward in a rapidly changing higher education landscape, in a variety of ways. Fostering, supporting and championing others’ good ideas is one of the things I most enjoy in my work.
NS: What is it like helping students be successful?
SG: Many of my colleagues would say that there’s no better feeling than helping a student build a future for herself/himself, and I would agree. I truly believe that our collections, people and the services they offer, space and technology, are critical building blocks for students’ future success. Whether I see students at Founders’ Day, at the Rock or the IRC, working in FLITE during finals week, or crossing the commencement stage, I’m very proud to lead the place on campus where arguably the majority of learning happens outside class.
NS: What advice would like to give students?
SG: Take advantage of everything your library has to offer. Start your research for assignments and projects with SmartSearch, from anywhere at any time. Consult with our librarians in person, by phone or online to find the most appropriate, trustworthy information for your work. Use our more than 50 study rooms and other spaces to work with your peers to learn together. Tell us how we could improve for you and future students, based on what you need to succeed. Don’t forget that college goes by really fast – make the most of it.
This question-and-answer interview was compiled by Kaitlyn Baase, a News Services and Social Media student writer in University Advancement and Marketing.