Wilfrid Laurier University Library appoints two new directors as culture commons initiative gathers momentum

The Wilfrid Laurier University Library has appointed two new directors to its leadership team to help realize the vision of the Library as a hub of learning, research, culture and creative exchange for the university and surrounding community.

Lisa Quinn has been appointed to the position of Director: WLU Press, which was vacated in December, 2015 with the retirement of Brian Henderson.

Nick Dinka has been appointed to the role of Director: Communication and Cultural Programming, a new position.

“We continue our work to realize the vision of the Library as a centre for the intellectual and cultural growth of the individual, a nucleus for academic and creative exploration, and a happening place for the Laurier community and community at large,” said Gohar Ashoughian, Laurier’s university librarian. “Our ultimate goal is for an environment that brings together research, learning and cultural engagement to connect minds through active discourse and imagination. I look forward to working with Lisa and Nick in their new roles as we pursue this bold undertaking.”

Ashoughian continued: “I also would like to take this opportunity to thank Brian Henderson for his work and contributions to WLU Press. During his tenure the Press has acquired the high acclaim and reputation it currently enjoys.”

Director: communication and cultural programming

Reporting to Ashoughian, Dinka is tasked with the strategic planning and oversight of the Library’s art and cultural initiatives, as well as the management of communication and promotion programs and activities aimed at students, faculty, staff, alumni and the broader community. His portfolio includes the Robert Langen Art Gallery, which is curated by Suzanne Luke, its longtime steward and an addition to the Library team with the Gallery’s integration into the Library’s organizational structure in the spring of 2015.

Since coming to Laurier in 2010, Nick has held a number of outreach roles at the university, encompassing strategic communication, media relations, events management, and the editing of the university’s alumni magazine, Campus, as well as other publications. He joined the Library as communications officer in 2012, and since that time has helped build the Library Culture Series and Community Author events.

A former journalist, Nick has worked as contributing editor at Toronto Life magazine and written on literature and the arts for the Globe and Mail, Quill & Quire, Maclean’s and many other publications. In the field of public relations, he has managed accounts for numerous startups in the technology and biotech sectors, and led media relations for disability rights campaigns that resulted in positive changes to national legislation.

“I’ve been energized and inspired by the vision of the Library as a hub of creativity and the arts,” he said. “The Waterloo region has had enormous success in nurturing emerging technology talent, and we see an opening to learn from that example as we look to help develop the next generation of creative leaders – both as participants in the broader community and as talent to be celebrated on their own terms.”

Nick holds a Master of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of Toronto and is in the final stages of a Master of Business Administration degree at the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Laurier.

Director: WLU Press

Reporting to Ashoughian, Quinn is tasked with the strategic and operational leadership of the Press, including providing direction for the editorial program and business development.

WLU Press currently publishes approximately 25-30 titles annually, with a staff of six. Founded in 1974, the Press has a reputation for excellence in scholarly publishing in the areas of literature, life writing, history, military studies, sociology, social work, religious studies, film and media studies, indigenous studies, and environmental humanities. In the spring of 2015, the Press was integrated into the organizational structure of the Wilfrid Laurier University Library.

Lisa joined WLU Press as acquisitions editor in November, 2006. During her tenure in that role, she acquired numerous book projects that went on to receive major Canadian publishing awards. In addition, she was recently awarded an Employee Achievement Award from the university (“Collaborates to Promote Team and Organizational Success”).

She is an active participant in Canada’s scholarly publishing community, regularly leading workshops, giving conference presentations, authoring papers, and teaching as an adjunct in Western University’s Master of Library and Information Science program. She is currently vice president of the Association of Canadian University Presses, and has served on the Association of American University Presses’ Library Relations Committee.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to contribute to building Gohar’s vision of the Library as a cultural commons at a moment when our systems of scholarly communication are in transition,” she said. “University presses are key sites of knowledge and educational resource production, scholarly and creative exchange, and public outreach—our core mission shares a deep connection with that of libraries as we collectively support the creation and dissemination of Canadian scholarship, and the intellectual and cultural development of current and future generations.”

Lisa holds a Master of Library and Information Science degree from Western University and a Master of Arts in English Literature from Concordia.

Thank you to Brian Henderson

The Library and Press would like to thank Brian Henderson for his sixteen years of service as director of the Press. Through his tenure, Henderson transitioned the Press from print to digital production through several key decisions including early digitization of the Press backlist, which established Laurier as a leader in digital scholarly publishing. A Governor General’s Award-nominated poet himself, Henderson also established the popular Laurier Poetry series, which continues to introduce the work of Canadian poets to broad audiences.