Elizabeth Yakel to serve as interim School of Information dean

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Elizabeth Yakel, the C. Olivia Frost Collegiate Professor of Information and senior associate dean for academic affairs in the School of Information, will step in as the school’s interim dean starting Aug. 15.

Yakel, a distinguished archivist, scholar and educator with years of experience as a faculty member, administrator and researcher, will succeed Dean Thomas A. Finholt and maintain the position until a permanent dean is appointed.

Photo of Elizabeth Yakel
Elizabeth Yakel

Finholt was appointed vice provost for academic and budgetary affairs by Provost Laurie K. McCauley last month. Finholt’s appointment will be effective Aug. 15 and runs through Aug. 31, 2027.

“Dr. Yakel has a long and distinguished record of service to the University of Michigan coupled with extensive experience in academic affairs and administration in the School of Information,” said McCauley, who recommended her appointment. “I am confident the school  will maintain its positive momentum during this interim period under her leadership.” 

Yakel’s research focuses on digital archives and curation, specifically data reuse, teaching with primary sources and the development of standardized metrics to enhance repository processes and the user experience.

“I am honored to serve as interim dean of the School of Information during what I anticipate will be a busy and exciting time,” Yakel said. “I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve the needs of students, faculty and staff in this new role and to maintain the school’s excellence in teaching, research and engagement.”

Yakel received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University in 1980. She enrolled at U-M in 1980 and received her Master of Arts in Library Science from the School of Library and Information Studies, and in 1997 earned a Ph.D. from the School of Information.

Her dissertation, “Recordkeeping in Radiology: The Relationships Between Activities and Records in Radiological Processes,” won the 1997 Eugene Garfield Doctoral Dissertation Award from the Association of Library and Information Science Educators.

Yakel was an assistant professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh from 1997-2000. She then returned to the U-M School of Information in July 2000 as an assistant professor, was promoted to associate professor in 2005 and to professor in 2011.

She was named associate dean for research and faculty affairs in 2015. In 2021, she was named the C. Olivia Frost Collegiate Professor of Information and currently serves as senior associate dean for academic affairs.

Yakel has successfully published numerous peer-reviewed articles, and she currently edits the leading journal in her field, Archival Science. Her work includes more than 130 writings and has been cited more than 2,600 times.

Her many accolades and accomplishments include a Regents’ Fellowship in the School of Information from 1992-95, a Research Fellowship for the Study of Modern Archives from the Bentley Library in 1994, and election as a fellow of the Society of American Archivists in 1999.

She has received several best paper awards including a 2013 International Digital Curation Conference Best Research Paper Award for “Trust in Digital Repositories,” and the Society of American Archivists Fellows’ Ernst Posner Award for the best paper in American Archivist in 2008. In 2020, she received the Society of American Archivists, Council Exemplary Service to the Profession Award for the Archival Metrics Research Project.

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