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2011 News Releases

Longwood appoints two deans

September 12, 2011

Longwood University
Suzy Szasz Palmer

Suzy Szasz Palmer

Dr. Jeannine Rajewski Perry

Dr. Jeannine Rajewski Perry

Longwood University has two new deans, one of whom is a familiar face on campus.

Dr. Jeannine Rajewski Perry, a member of the Longwood faculty since 2003, is dean of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies. She had been a part-time assistant dean since August 2009, splitting that position with her teaching duties. Suzy Szasz Palmer, who had been deputy librarian at the Library of Virginia and previously worked in the library systems at Cornell University and the University of Louisville, is dean of the Greenwood Library.

Perry, associate professor of education, started Aug. 25 as dean of what had been the "Office" of Graduate and Professional Studies but become a College in 2010. "Our focus is serving adult and non-traditional learners," she said. "Professional studies includes certificates, workshops and institutes. We also serve off-site undergraduate programs in Martinsville, Emporia, Fort Lee and Stafford County and oversee online and distance learning."

Longwood averages more than 700 graduate students enrolled every semester and has about 50 undergraduate students at its off-campus sites, said Kathy Charleston, assistant dean, who served as acting dean before Perry was appointed.

Before becoming dean, Perry had been program coordinator of the graduate-level Literacy and Culture program in the College of Education and Human Services since 2004. During that time, the program grew from 35 students to more than 100, an endorsement-only option was created; the curriculum and delivery were redesigned; and the first fully online program was delivered to a cohort. Now that she is dean, she will no longer coordinate the Literacy and Culture program and also will not teach, though she retains her faculty status.

Perry has been co-director of Longwood's Summer Literacy Institute, which has been held annually since 2004. She has published in several professional journals on literacy education; presented regionally and nationally on numerous literacy topics; and has been active in several professional organizations. Her areas of interest are nonfiction and content area literacy, comprehension instruction, writing instruction, learning communities, and program design and development for adult learners.

Before coming to Longwood, Perry taught for 14 years in public schools, mostly at the elementary level, in the Shaker Heights City School district, which abuts the eastern edge of Cleveland. As an adjunct instructor at Kent State and Cleveland State universities, she taught university-level courses and continuing education workshops for more than 10 years. A native of Burton, Ohio, Perry is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hiram College (B.A., summa cum laude, in English with a secondary teaching endorsement) and has a master's degree in English and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction: reading and language arts, both from Kent State University.

Palmer, who began June 25, had been at the Library of Virginia since June 2007. She started as director of research and information services and was promoted to deputy librarian in July 2009.

Palmer held various positions at the University of Louisville Libraries from January 2003 to  May 2007, finally as associate dean for collections, preservation and digital initiatives. From 1979 through 2002, she held numerous positions in the Cornell University Library, including head of public services for rare and manuscript collections, reference coordinator and bibliographer, and special project assistant to the deputy director of the Olin Library, Cornell's largest library. At the time, Cornell University Library consisted of 20 libraries and was about the 10th largest academic library in the country, Palmer said.

Palmer is active in the library profession regionally and nationally. Most recently, she served as vice president/president-elect of the Richmond Academic Library Consortium and the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies/State Library Agency Section, a division of the American Library Association (ALA). She also chaired the Hot Topics in Front Line Reference Discussion Group of the ALA's Reference and User Services Association from 2008 to 2010, and she has chaired the Publications Committee of the Virginia Library Association since 2008. She has twice served as editor-in-chief of what is now Microform & Imaging Review, was a member of the editorial board for the New Dictionary of the History of Ideas, and recently was appointed to the editorial board of Public Services Quarterly, a library publication. She has spoken nationally and internationally on a variety of topics including the ethics of reference service and the future of the book.

Her goals for Greenwood Library are that it "become a more flexible and nimble organization that can adapt to change. I think there will have to be a re-thinking and a re-shifting of how we do our jobs to meet the needs of our clients. I'm pleased that there is a vibrant atmosphere in this library and a staff dedicated to customer service."

Palmer is the author of a book about living with lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease she was diagnosed with at the age of 13. LUPUS: Living With It: Why You Don't Have to be Healthy to be Happy, published in 1991, is still in print. A copy of a revised paperback edition, published in 1995, is in Greenwood Library. Palmer, a native of Syracuse, N.Y., is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Syracuse University (A.B., summa cum laude, political philosophy) and has a master's degree in library science, also from Syracuse.