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Harvard College Library News: News from around the libraries

Miles Finishes Year-Long Administrative Fellowship

stephanie miles  
Photo courtesy of Diana Liz Perez  

Stephanie Miles recently particpated in the year-long Administrative Fellowship Program.


June 15, 2010 – Shortly after moving to Boston in 2005, Stephanie Rocío Miles was invited to participate in an event for minority librarians, where she met Claudia Hill, who was then in the midst of a year-long fellowship at Harvard College Library as part of the University Administrative Fellowship Program (AFP). Inspired by Hill’s example, Miles, then a student at Simmons College, set her sights on becoming a fellow, a goal she achieved last year.

Created to attract minorities to careers in higher education, the fellowship offers participants a mix of management experience and professional development training. Throughout the year-long program, Miles, who now works as a cataloger in HCL Technical Services (HCLTS), and other fellows met bi-weekly with a variety of Harvard faculty and administrators to review management case studies and to discuss administrators’ career tracks, and the challenges they faced along the way.

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“Since 2005, HCL has proudly participated in Harvard’s Administrative Fellowship Program through its support of resident and visiting fellows,” said Associate Librarian Rebecca Graham. “AFP Fellows participate in an engaging series of workshops, presentations and discussion groups led by University senior administrators and faculty members.  The opportunity to meet these leaders and hear from them about their experiences and perspectives is both unique and enriching.  The program also provides Fellows with a forum to meet and network with other professionals.  Many of these relationships endure long after the program ends. HCL and other Harvard libraries benefit through the employment of participants returning with new and enhanced skills and insights. We are committed to the AFP’s goal of providing opportunities and resources to support professionals from various backgrounds in their career development.”

“It was extremely helpful,” Miles said, of the recently-completed fellowship. “Being able to participate in the seminars helped make me more aware of my own strengths in leadership and management, and those are skills I will be able to put into practice immediately.” With her immediate supervisor on maternity leave and HCLTS undergoing a unit-wide reorganization, the management experience offered by the fellowship couldn’t have come at a better time, Miles said. “I discovered that I very much enjoyed the management aspect of my work and combined with the opportunities I had through the fellowship I’m thinking about what the next step will be in my career.”

“During this period, I took over some of my immediate supervisor’s duties, including the daily management of our students and their training,” she said. “As part of the reorganization, I helped coordinate the temporary relocation of students and library materials before and after the renovations. Throughout the process, I also completed original cataloging of books from the Spanish and Portuguese backlog, and worked with students and other coworkers to process as much of the material as possible.”

Following the reorganization, Miles continues to supervise and train students, and is working to establish workflows and documentation for the User Services and Direct Access Processing department, and has begun training other staff.

Just as Hill’s example inspired her, Miles hopes her participation in the program will serve as inspiration to other Latinos interested in a career in academic libraries.

“I’m very interested in diversity in general, but Latino issues in particular,” said Miles, who is from Colombia. “Right now, I don’t have the years of experience needed to be a mentor to other staff, but after my experience in this fellowship, I believe I can apply my professional strengths to support HCL’s efforts to become a more diverse workplace by helping build professional networks and communities. I think it’s very important to help promote and support staff of diverse backgrounds, and this fellowship can help to that end.”