Kent State Selects Kenneth Burhanna as New Dean of University Libraries

Following a national search, Kent State University has named alumnus Kenneth Burhanna as the new dean of University Libraries, effective March 1, 2019. University Libraries supports the study and research needs of Kent State students, faculty, staff, alumni and local communities across the university system. Mr. Burhanna has served as interim dean of Universities Libraries since the retirement of its previous dean, James Bracken, Ph.D., on July 1, 2017.

Kent State University has selected Kenneth Burhanna of Kent, Ohio, to serve as the new dean of University Libraries, effective March 1, 2019.

“In Ken Burhanna, we have hired an award-winning author whose growing national reputation for excellence was confirmed recently by competitive appointments as an Association of Research Libraries Leadership Fellow and as a UCLA Senior Fellow,” said Todd Diacon, Kent State’s executive vice president and provost. “Ken’s experience and nationally recognized excellence will serve us well at Kent State.”

As dean, Mr. Burhanna will lead University Libraries’ ongoing efforts to provide a student-friendly environment, broad access to materials, and professional support for teaching and research in an effective and efficient manner. He will serve as the principal administrator of and spokesperson for University Libraries’ eight-campus system, providing strategic direction and advocating for staffing, collections and facilities needs of University Libraries.

The dean of University Libraries oversees the Kent State University Library and the architecture, fashion, map and performing arts branch libraries on the Kent Campus. The dean also works collaboratively with libraries on each of Kent State’s Regional Campuses and the College of Podiatric Medicine. University Libraries includes multiple units: Administration, Circulation, Communications, Copyright Services, Course Reserves, Instruction, Interlibrary Loan, LaunchNET, Reference, Spark Innovation Studio, Special Collections and Archives, Statistical Consulting, Student Multimedia Studio, Systems, Technical Services and the Kent State University Press. The new dean will lead more than 25 faculty and more than 50 professional and support staff members.

“I am honored to continue my service to Kent State University as the dean of University Libraries,” Mr. Burhanna said. “I look forward to building on our historic strengths while providing vision and leadership for future growth and success within the libraries, on campus and across the Kent State University system.”

Mr. Burhanna joined Kent State as an assistant professor in University Libraries in July 2004. He was promoted to associate professor in July 2010 and professor in July 2018. At University Libraries, he has served as First-Year Experience librarian, head of instructional services, assistant dean for engagement and outreach, interim assistant dean for Collections, Circulation, Copyright and Document Services, and interim director of Kent State University Press. He also served as a Provost’s Fellow in the Division of Academic Affairs from August 2015 to May 2016, overseeing day-to-day operations of programs and projects on behalf of the provost.

Mr. Burhanna has received local, statewide and national awards and recognitions, including the 2009 Ilene F. Rockman Publication of the Year awarded by the Association of College and Research Libraries, the 2012 Distance Learning Visionary awarded by the Academic Library Association of Ohio and the 2014 Librarian Recognition Award from the American Library Association.

He is a member of the Academic Library Association of Ohio, the American Library Association, the Ohio Educational Library Media Association and the Association of College and Research Libraries.

Mr. Burhanna earned his two degrees, a Master of Library and Information Science and a Bachelor of Arts in English, from Kent State.

He lives in Kent, Ohio, with his wife, Taryn, and daughter, Virginia.

For more information about University Libraries at Kent State, visit

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Photo Caption:
Kent State University has selected Kenneth Burhanna of Kent, Ohio, to serve as the new dean of University Libraries, effective March 1, 2019. 

Media Contact:
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595

POSTED: Tuesday, February 26, 2019 03:13 PM
UPDATED: Friday, December 09, 2022 06:47 AM
Emily Vincent