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Meet Kawanna Bright, head of Information Services and Student Engagement
Jun 15, 2012
"Making the decision to accept this position was an easy thing for me," said Kawanna Bright, head of Information Services and Student Engagement at the UTSA Libraries. "I had heard so many good things about UTSA."
Kawanna, who grew up in Tullahoma, Tenn., joined the UTSA Libraries in August 2010. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Oklahoma.
At the university, she worked as an aide in the Chemistry-Mathematics Library, starting her down the path of librarianship. She went on to earn her master's in library science from the University of Washington.
Before starting at the UTSA Libraries, she held positions at the University of Tennessee and at North Carolina State University where she served as instructional services librarian.
While at North Carolina State University, Kawanna acted as the library’s liaison to the First Year College and First Year Writing Program, and developed innovative orientation activities and exhibits for incoming students, among many other initiatives.
The ability to focus on student needs and lead a then-new department attracted her to the position at UTSA.
"I enjoy helping first-time and first-generation students succeed," she said. "I really like the fact that we are willing to try new things here if it means better service for our students."
During her time at the UTSA Libraries, Kawanna has seen a number of changes and her department has experienced substantial growth. The addition of two new user experience librarians has allowed the department and the Libraries to focus on users’ needs – in the way they use library space and how they digitally interact with the library.
The department now heads new programs, such as the Peer Coaches program, which is dedicated to having students educate their peers on library use, as well as assisting with other library-related projects and events.
“Working with the peer coaches has been a true joy,” Kawanna said. “Watching them help their peers and seeing the impact they have, reminds me to step back and really think about what our students need. If you lose sight of that, then you aren’t able to offer them the services they need. The peer coaches help me to stay connected to the student population at UTSA, and also ensures that the students have a voice.”
Outside of her busy professional life, Kawanna unwinds by baking (I've been called the 'cookie monster,' she jokes), playing tennis, singing karaoke, competing in pub trivia, and knitting – a hobby she took up just recently. "Baking is nice, but not so appealing when it’s hot outside," she says.