REFORMA LA Member Spotlight: Dr. Michele A. L. Villagran

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Name: Dr. Michele A. L. Villagran

Title: Assistant Professor, San José State University, School of Information

Primary service roles: Dr. Villagran is an Assistant Professor with the San José State University (SJSU) iSchool. Her research focuses on diversity and social justice in library and information science and cultural intelligence phenomena within libraries. She currently teaches INFO 200, Information Communities. Dr. Villagran also serves as CEO of CulturalCo, LLC consulting in areas of cultural competency, diversity & inclusion, conflict resolution, and emotional intelligence.

How does your work align with service to Latinos and Spanish-speaking communities?: At SJSU, Dr. Villagran is the iSchool’s REFORMA liaison. In this role, she shares and communicates programs, events, scholarships, and other activities of REFORMA and its chapters with our school to share with students and alumni. This fall, she will be developing an SJSU iSchool REFORMA student group for current SJSU students and alumni that are REFORMA members to help continue to foster and assist Spanish-speaking communities. As an educator, many of her students and alumni are interested in serving the diverse needs of these communities. Assignments have been focused on examining these information communities’ information seeking-behaviors within INFO 200. Additionally, her research aligns with service to Latinx because of the breadth of cultural diversity that she focuses on.

Gratifying aspects of your work: One of the most gratifying aspects is teaching and getting to know her students, even in an online environment as the Masters program is 100% online. Being able to help and support those from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds, and to see them progress through their educational journey and beyond is very rewarding. She has often had students contact her after a course or after graduation to thank her for inspiration and support, and stays connected with many alumni to follow their careers. Another gratifying aspect of her work is giving back in a service capacity to the organizations that have helped her get to where she is today.

Some words of advice to other librarians and/or present and future MLIS students: Advice to other librarians: Continue to foster a community of support and engagement for our present and future students. Offer opportunities for professional development. Stay engaged with your associations and an active contributor to the profession.

Advice to present and future MLIS students: Start connecting early with informal and formal mentors that can offer guidance throughout your program. Take a variety of courses that will prepare you for the job you want in the future, not the current job you have today. Challenge yourself to be the best you can be in your program and soak up as much knowledge as you can.

Previous programs that I have done: For a full list of Dr. Villagran’s activities, keynotes, speaking engagements, publishing, consulting and other activities, please see her CV. Her focus has primarily been around areas of diversity & inclusion, emotional intelligence, legal issues, leadership, cultural intelligence, and conflict management.