Updates on Library and IT Leadership

March 26, 2020

I write to share some important and exciting news regarding changes in the leadership of The Graduate Center's library and our IT department.


March 26, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

I write to share some important and exciting news regarding changes in the leadership of The Graduate Center’s library and our IT department.

I invite you to join me in congratulating Polly Thistlethwaite, who was appointed interim university dean for library services at CUNY, effective March 2. Polly served The Graduate Center as chief librarian for nine years, and, before that, as associate librarian for public services. She is already missed on campus, but we are delighted that she is still part of the CUNY family. The entire University will benefit from her energy and insight.

Polly brought welcome innovation to our library systems and services, ensuring that our library thrived as an information network, even in the age of Google. Among her many achievements, she championed CUNY Academic Works, which provides digital access to research by scholars throughout the University. We are proud to count her among the alumni of our Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program.

Emily Drabinski, our former critical pedagogy librarian, will serve as our interim executive chief librarian, while we undertake a search for our next chief librarian.

Emily, who joined The Graduate Center in 2019, is well-known and highly regarded throughout CUNY and among academic librarians. She is a respected researcher and frequent presenter with an extensive Twitter following. She just won the Women & Gender Studies Award for Career Achievement from the Association of College and Research Libraries. Prior to coming to The Graduate Center, she held library positions at LIU Brooklyn and at Sarah Lawrence College.

I am grateful to her for assuming this new role. Already, she has shown excellent leadership in adapting to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis.

Important changes are also taking place in our IT department.

After 43 years in higher education, including 14 years at The Graduate Center, Robert Campbell, vice president for information technology and administrative services, is retiring on March 31.

A trusted member of our senior leadership, Bob has not only spearheaded our IT department, but he also stepped in to manage a number of operations during his Graduate Center career.

I thank Bob for his support, dedicated leadership, and devotion to The Graduate Center. An avid traveler, Bob will undoubtedly pursue new adventures in his well-deserved retirement.

We are fortunate that Elaine Montilla, assistant vice president for information technology services, already has been leading the day-to-day operations of our IT department. With Bob’s retirement, she will stay on in her assistant vice president role. She and the entire IT department will report to Brian Peterson, interim vice president for finance and administration and dean for academic initiatives and strategic innovation.

This new alignment allows for a streamlined leadership structure while CUNY’s search for The Graduate Center’s next president continues. I thank Elaine and Brian for graciously adapting to new roles and responsibilities.

I am confident that we will continue to fulfill the needs of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and I thank all of you for doing your part to keep The Graduate Center strong at this time of change and challenge.


James Muyskens
Interim President