After 17 years at the University of Northern Colorado, Lyda Fontes McCartin is leaving the Rocky Mountains for the Palmetto State’s CIC. Sunshine, school spirit and SEC football await her arrival as the next director of the iSchool.
McCartin was the director of the University of Northern Colorado’s Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning.
“There, I oversaw campuswide faculty development in pedagogy and assessment,” she said. “So it’s a very different kind of teaching where you’re working with faculty to make sure that the students are getting a good experience.”
McCartin emphasizes her commitment to enhancing students’ learning experiences, preparing them for life after college.
McCartin has held a number of other positions at the University of Northern Colorado — from library practitioner to faculty member to department chair.
“The iSchool faculty and staff, Dean Reichert, and I are extremely pleased that Dr. McCartin is our new iSchool director,” professor and interim director Karen Gavigan said. “Lyda brings years of experience in the field, research and teaching expertise, and strong leadership skills to our program. She will be an asset to the iSchool, the CIC and USC.”
“USC is committed to promoting the dissemination of knowledge, cultural enrichment and quality of life for the state’s citizens,” she said.
McCartin is excited about the South Carolina Center for Community Literacy, Cocky’s Reading Express, the Words and Warriors book club and the school’s library program.
“These programs are really working to engage the community, and that was a big draw for me,” she said.
McCartin hopes to establish the iSchool as “the destination program for students who want to impact technology, information industries and the library profession,” she said, by prioritizing student learning enhancement and community outreach.
McCartin envisions getting USC’s iSchool ranked No. 1 in the country, growing the school’s Bachelor of Information Science program, she said. McCartin wants to build partnerships with local businesses, providing students with valuable field experience, paid internships and post graduation job placement.
“We want to ensure we’re a competitive program,” she said. “We want to make sure students have the soft and hard skills that they need to get hired and be successful in those jobs.”
McCartin plans to engage alumni with the question,“If you could go back and do it again, what would you do differently?” She hopes to learn from their feedback and make the necessary changes to improve student career readiness.
McCartin holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Meredith College, a Master of Library and Information Studies and a Master of History from the University of Alabama and a Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership from the University of Northern Colorado.
Calling herself a “military brat,” McCartin lived in many places, including Hawaii, England and Guam.
After years of travel, accommodating her mother’s military career, McCartin landed in Virginia Beach for high school.
McCartin moved from Colorado with her husband Charlie, their two dogs, Chai and Louise, and their Eastern Box Turtle, JP. She is a huge reader, foodie and adrenaline junkie who enjoys snowsports, hiking and rock climbing.
“Colorado is a fascinating place because you’ll be snowboarding and you think you’re doing this really cool thing, and then you see a two-year-old fly past you,” she said. “Same thing when you’re hiking and someone’s doing it barefoot, or you’re rock climbing and someone’s doing it without a rope.” McCartin uses these examples to push herself harder.
After a cold and snowy winter, McCartin is ready to move to the South. She explains how selling and buying a house at the same time can be stressful, but she is excited to move into her new Lexington home and explore Columbia.
More than anything, McCartin is eager to engage with iSchool alumni, students and faculty members and find her place in the USC community.