Me, December 15, 2007 – University of North Texas
Yeah, I can’t believe they let me have a Masters degree either, especially after the other five year anniversary post I wrote about the process of being waitlisted and ultimately declined.
To mark the occasion I’m sharing excerpts of my 2009 nomination letter for Dr. Ana Cleveland, who received the 2010 ALISE Award for Teaching Excellence in the Field of Library and Information Science. It tells a story that many know parts of but not as a collective whole and certainly not with the picture that says a thousand words.
My name is Nicole Dettmar and it is an honor to support the nomination of my former professor and lifelong inspiration Dr. Ana Cleveland, Regents Professor and Director of the Houston and Health Informatics Programs of the Department of Library and Information Sciences at the University of North Texas (UNT) for the ALISE Award for Teaching Excellence.
On the day Dr. Cleveland called to notify me that I had been accepted as one of the fellows but needed to be a full time student as part of the fellowship program, I tried to decline the opportunity as I didn’t see how this would be possible while working and raising a family. Dr. Cleveland refused to allow me to do so. I will never forget her saying “Do not despair! We will support you!” and was humbled by her confidence in me and my abilities when I had little in myself.
Dr Cleveland was true to her words of support then, numerous times throughout the sixteen months it took to earn my Masters of Science in Information Science degree with a 4.0 average, and now as I am one year into my professional career. When I was a student, she advised me on a course load each semester that included challenging core courses and her health informatics curriculum with other classes that allowed balance for school, work and life. Dr. Cleveland contacted several of her colleagues in the Seattle area about me, an essential introduction that gave me a vital boost from being an unknown distance education student at a Texan school living in Washington to ‘one of Ana’s students.’
Nine days before graduation in December 2007, our house flooded from a storm. I called Dr. Cleveland in tears, once again not seeing how things would be possible for me to still graduate. “Do not despair!” She took the lead and contacted all of my other professors, explaining the situation and coordinating times for me to work out modified final project arrangements with them. I could not have made it through that time without her support and was grateful to still be able to fly out to Texas with my family for graduation after all. Her beaming smile behind me on the platform speaks a thousand words of pride.
I cannot envision a more dedicated, knowledgeable advocate for students and professionals in the medical information field, nor a more genuinely supportive professor than Dr. Ana Cleveland. I also cannot adequately express how grateful I am for the many opportunities she has given me.
Forever and always, thank you Dr. Ana.