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Dean, Libraries / Instructional Design Studio

Dean Emeritus



Dean and Senior Librarian Margaret E. Auer's distinguished career at the University of Detroit Mercy spanned 56 years, beginning in the University of Detroit's Library Media Center in 1961. She held progressively responsible positions throughout the next two decades, including Department Head of the Educational Materials Center, Media Librarian, and Assistant Director for Public Services. Dean Auer was appointed as Director of Libraries in 1981 and served as the chief administrator of library, media, and instructional design services for 35 years, retiring as Dean of University Libraries and Instructional Technology in 2016. Dean Auer earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Detroit in 1965, and a Master of Science in Library Science degree from Wayne State University in 1972.

Dean Auer personified exemplary leadership, fiscal responsibility, and building stewardship throughout her career, never accepting the status quo. She was always looking to the future, using her innate sense of customer service and broad knowledge of library and technology trends to improve service. In a letter supporting Dean Auer's nomination, Dean Emeritus Leo Hanifin wrote: “[Auer] had the foresight to transform Detroit Mercy's library system and its functions from the old ‘the books are here, come and find what you need,' to ‘we're here to help you whether you're a student seeking digital resources or a faculty member wanting to teach in the digital age.'  She led the development and acquisition of staff and resources to accomplish that transformation, including the creation of the Instructional Design Studio and access to an immense array of digital resources. The university's user-friendly portal to access the peer reviewed digital resources was one of the first of its type in the nation.”  

As a library leader, Dean Auer touched countless lives, whether as a supervisor, mentor, colleague, or instructor. As Linda Farynk, former Associate Director of Public Services at Detroit Mercy, wrote in her letter of nomination: “My earliest impressions of what it was like to be a librarian were shattered by Margaret. She interacted often with faculty and administrators, she served on university committees, she aggressively promoted the library and librarians, she had an identity outside the library. She embraced change, encouraged new initiatives, and welcomed technology. She supported professional development and continuing education. She was a teacher, a team-builder, and a task-master. This was the learning environment she fostered. And so I, and many others over time, learned by her remarkable example.” 

Known for her ability to make the most of University resources, Dean Auer served as a good steward of both funds and space, seeking external grants and donations, and always looking for new ways to fund changes and improvements in service to students. The McNichols Campus Library's student-friendly organization is the result of Dean Auer's extraordinary abilities and vision. She did not stop at leadership in the library. In her work with instructional technology, she paved the way for online education at the University, creating the Instructional Design Studio, chairing the Alternative Delivery Task Force, taking on the complex and painstaking task of documenting and maintaining state authorization requirements, and opening the way for the University's distance education efforts.

A legend in the Michigan library community and beyond, Dean Auer was recognized for her leadership and service. She received the Michigan Library Association's President's Award (2012), Lifetime Achievement Award (2001), and Librarian of the Year (1988); Wayne State University Library Science Program's Distinguished Alumna of the Year (1992), and the Michigan Library Consortium's Certificate of Appreciation (1986). She received a Spirit of Detroit Award upon her retirement from the University (2017). She was also recognized at the University of Detroit Mercy, with a promotion to Senior Librarian (1986), twice serving as Grand Marshal for the McNichols Campus Commencement (2003 and 2015), and selected to deliver the keynote address at the McNichols Campus Commencement (2016).

Dean Auer's unrivaled commitment to the University is evident in her record of service on University committees, taskforces, and teams. Her resume includes more than 60 appointments, many in the role of chair. Her expertise in shared governance, parliamentary procedure, and University history, combined with her incredible ability to get things done made her an invaluable resource. Former Dean of the School of Architecture Steve Vogel wrote of Dean Auer's tenure on the Academic Leadership Team: “She was the wise sage of this group and provided the institutional memory as the longest serving dean. Everyone turned to her to provide rational advice on difficult and chaotic subjects. She always could focus us on the core issue.”
Dean Auer demonstrated exceptional professional commitment by serving on numerous boards and committees, including the American Association of University Women, the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Michigan (AICUM), the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) Library Deans and Directors, Detroit Area Library Network (DALNET), Detroit Libraries Region of Cooperation, the Library of Michigan, the Michigan Academic Library Association (Mi-ALA), the Michigan Academic Library Council (MALC), the Michigan Library Association, the Michigan Library Consortium/Midwest Collaborative for Library Services, OCLC, the Southeast Michigan League of Libraries (SEMLOL), and the Women's National Book Association—National and Detroit Chapter.

A plaque and portrait honoring Dean Auer is displayed in the McNichols Campus Library. The plaque, awarded by Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Pamela Zarkowski upon Dean Auer's retirement in 2017 and penned by Associate Librarian Julia Eisenstein, reads “In grateful recognition, heartfelt appreciation, and deep admiration of 56 years of service to the University of Detroit Mercy libraries and the professional community. Her dedication, commitment, longevity, vision, and many accomplishments are her lasting legacy.” These words are a fitting tribute to a librarian and leader whose life touched so many. Those who worked with her and benefitted from her dedication and service will be forever grateful.

Dean Margaret E. Auer's nomination for Dean Emerita was approved and conferred by Dr. Antoine M. Garibaldi, President of University of Detroit Mercy, on August 16, 2017.

University of Detroit Mercy

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