During the pandemic, the Libraries established a shared governance structure, including plans to create a DEAI Council. Based on urgent recommendations from its staff-led DEAI action plan team, the Libraries created this interim position to guide the formation of the council and engage immediate needs to integrate the Libraries’ DEAI priorities into its campus service operations.
Over the next 12 months as interim director, Soenksen will lead the launch of the Libraries’ DEAI Council, and she will help shape the DEAI director role in advance of a national search to fill the permanent, full-time position. Soenksen and the DEAI Council will advance the Libraries’ DEAI action plan in collaboration with all Libraries staff members, campus DEI initiatives, and other university stakeholders and units. Their work will examine local, national, and global events that affect the experience of students, faculty, and staff from historically marginalized groups and populations.
In her role, Soenksen will represent the DEAI Council with a seat on the Libraries’ Leadership Team, providing a voice to enact meaningful change through evidence-based decision making that will influence Libraries-wide strategic planning, policy development, and resource allocation.
Soenksen holds an MA in Afro-American Studies and an MLIS, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a BA in English from the University of Northern Iowa. Her professional experience includes work in human resources and Equal Opportunity and Diversity at Iowa State University and other business organizations.
At the University of Iowa Libraries, Soenksen created an anti-racism subject guide as a resource for campus and the wider community and is currently collaborating with the UI’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to raise awareness of additional resources on campus.
The University of Iowa Libraries welcomes and serves all, including people of color from all nations, immigrants, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+, gender diverse people, people of all faiths and beliefs, and the most vulnerable in our community. The Libraries expects all members of its staff to contribute to building this environment, both within the Libraries and throughout the campus community.