The Libraries’ Jill Sexton wins Equity for Women Award

Jill Sexton, the Libraries’ Associate Director for Digital & Organizational Strategy

Jill Sexton, the Libraries’ Associate Director for Digital & Organizational Strategy

Jill Sexton, the Libraries’ Associate Director for Digital & Organizational Strategy, has been chosen as the winner of the 2021 Equity for Women Award in the faculty category from the Council on the Status of Women.

The Equity for Women Awards recognize faculty, staff, and students for their outstanding leadership, service, and scholarship in establishing equity for women at NC State. Sexton was honored among other winners and nominees at the Council’s annual Sisterhood Dinner event, held online on Monday, Feb. 22. Anne Burke, the incoming chair of the Council on the Status of Women and the Libraries’ Associate Head of Learning Spaces and Services, closed the ceremony.

In helping to advance women in IT, Sexton serves as a member of the Women in Tech (WIT) leadership team. An original co-founder of WIT in 2019, Jill has been instrumental over the past year in shaping an agenda that has engaged speakers to present on topics ranging from how to handle challenges women face from managing imposter syndrome to dealing with microaggressions. Sexton is devoted to bringing about change on our campus so that women feel more empowered, connected, and included, even while dispersed across campus and sometimes the only woman on their local IT teams.

Sexton’s nominators lauded her for creating a culture at the Libraries in which women are thriving in the IT field—and especially now, during a time when female employees are taking on the lion’s share of at-home care and homeschooling responsibilities. They credit her for making sure these employees are empowered to create their own work/life integration so they can find balance in an unprecedented time.

Sexton is also the administrative sponsor for the Library Technology Career Jumpstart Program, which recruits students into career paths in library technology. This past summer saw the first (virtual) cohort of the program with a diverse pool of eight participants—seven of whom identified as women. The program, run by Tori Culler and Kevin Beswick, has generated national interest in the academic library world. 

An expert in providing vision for information technology in the context of libraries, Sexton has expanded that scholarship to focus on creating spaces for women in technology. Additionally, she co-presented at both state and national conferences on how to create women in technology groups and on lessons learned when leading in a crisis.

“Jill is the first to remind me that she is one of several women at NC State working hard to raise the profile of women in information technology leadership and notes that Emily Lynema (the Libraries’ Department Head of Information Technology)  is among those leaders,” says Greg Raschke, Senior Vice Provost and Director of Libraries. “Jill wants to make sure this recognition is shared with colleagues on campus, but I am proud to single her out for her many achievements in the Libraries, on campus, and broadly in academic libraries.”

In this past year, Sexton has served on the Strategic IT Committee, helping shape IT decisions that impact resource allocations, and on the Digital Transformation of Higher Education Strategic Planning Task Force, shaping the vision for campus technology in our next 10-year University Strategic plan. Perhaps Sexton’s most visible leadership role this past year in advancing equity for women has been chair of the Campus IT Directors (CITD) group. Sexton’s nominators pointed out that, in a male-dominated field, it is not often that a woman chairs this group.

“I am humbled by this recognition, especially in this year when so many of our exceptional students, faculty, and staff are leading efforts to promote equity at NC State, in their communities, and in the world,” Sexton says. “I’m grateful for our Women in Tech community and proud of the work we’ve done to create a forum for women and allies to build an inclusive IT culture and to promote the growth and development of women leaders. I am excited to continue our work!”