1. How long have you known the nominee and how did you come to know him or her?
I first came to know Ms. Alice K. Juda, reference librarian at the Eccles Memorial Library of the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) in Newport, Rhode Island, when I attended the new students' library services orientation in late fall, 2007. I've enjoyed knowing her, now, for two years.
Looking back at my first encounter with Alice, I'm embarrassed to admit, I went into the orientation with a rather closed mind. Being all too familiar with government presentations (a.k.a., Death by PowerPoint'), I braced myself for the worst. Also, having already obtained a professional postgraduate degree, I was a quite puffed-up, thinking to myself, What could these people POSSIBLY teach me about research?' In very short order, though, I received a well-deserved comeuppance. The presentation impressed me, in both form and content; it was clear, concise, and gave an interesting overview of the specialized library's collection and the services offered. Most of all, the orientation was full of useful information : a delightful change from the standard Death by PowerPoint' fare.
The research and reference library team that gave the presentation, too, was quite impressive. They were sharp, enthusiastic, professional, warm, and welcoming. The ever-expansive Alice Juda, however, stuck out right from the start and I made a point of speaking with her following the presentation. Her erudite demeanor and engaging personality put me immediately at ease. I made somewhat of a vow to make Alice the first stop whenever a reference question or research challenge arose : and I'm glad I did. When I later sought her assistance, Alice always seemed to have an answer at her fingertips, or at least within easy reach. Every resource she pointed me toward did the trick. Sometimes, though, it wasn't a book or article she recommended, but a person. Every individual she referred me to was just as helpful, informative, intelligent, and friendly as Alice.
I am deeply indebted to many people at NWC who make the programs there so rewarding : and Alice is at the top of the list. Literally thousands of individuals from the world over have crossed paths with Alice in the hallowed halls of Eccles Memorial Library since she first arrived back in 1988. I'd say scores, if not hundreds, of those people maintain contact with her directly and through colleagues at NWC. From my own experience, and through the sampling of numerous testimonials that I've had the privilege of reading and hearing, I can attest that many people not only love the NWC librarian, Alice K. Juda, but cherish a life-long friend, as well.
2. Please list a few ways in which the nominee has helped you and others and made your experience of the library a positive one.
As a kid in grade school, then in high school, subsequently at college and seminary, I've always had positive experiences of libraries. Until I began my studies at NWC I'd say that my favorite library was the O'Neill Library of Boston College. However, the stellar staff at NWC's Eccles Memorial, most notably Alice Juda among them, handily unseated top-ranked Boston College in very short order (although BC does remain a very close second). First, a little background and context, then I'll show how Alice had a hand in the upset:
One of the key courses at NWC is Joint Military Operations (JMO). In JMO, U.S. military officers, our civilian counterparts from various federal agencies, and foreign personnel with whom we'll one-day work, study, among other things, operational planning. In essence, good operational planning enables military leaders to achieve objectives across a wide Range of Military Operations (ROMO) by effectively employing all resources at their disposal, throughout an operational time, across an operational space. Considering that the scope and scale of non-kinetic military operations is dramatically increasing over time (e.g., in the form of security and stability operations, reconstruction missions, peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts), operational planning is growing exponentially more complex and evermore Joint' (i.e., including all the uniformed military branches, integrating various governmental agencies, utilizing all the elements of national power).
One course requirement in JMO is a major research paper that critically examines a topic pertinent to operational planning or Joint Operations. The paper must demonstrate one's ability to research and write at advanced levels. The best papers, often studied by higher military staffs outside of NWC, must make a positive contribution to the body of knowledge on the particular topic. While the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) accredits NWC, JMO plays a significant role in winning a special military accreditation from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS). JMO and this paper are, therefore, pretty big deals.
My role as a Navy chaplain serves to focus my interest in military operations. My primary concern is meeting the spiritual needs of military members and their families. I'm equally concerned with the overall wellbeing and morale of all service members, regardless of their religious sensibilities.
During my initial readings and research for my JMO paper, specifically related to the chaplain's role in Joint Operations, I came across a Joint Publication (e.g., a document promulgated by the CJCS; also called a (Joint Pub') prescribing various chaplain roles. Certain aspects of one particular function : namely, the chaplain as advisor to commanding officers : didn't sit well with me. I was concerned that dimensions of this function encouraged chaplains to become too involved in military operations proscribed by International Humanitarian Law. At first read of the Joint Pub, I wasn't sure if I was missing something, but the more I mulled it, the more uneasy I became.
Previously having sought Alice's help with reference and research, I knew she was immensely resourceful. Having had numerous conversations with her about all sorts of topics : school, work, family, food, education, the military, arts and entertainment, religion, politics and current events, you name it : I liked her perspective on a wide range of issues. Her regular reading of numerous legal and defense-related journals fostered my confidence in her currency regarding matters pertinent to my research. (Besides, hailing from The Bronx, Alice reads The New York Times on a daily basis; who could ask for anything more? And, yes, she does both the crossword puzzle and KenKen in pen.) Having earned her Master of Arts in Teaching from Harvard, and having taught for several years before arriving at Eccles, I valued her intellectual gifts. With twenty-one years experience at Eccles there are few, if any, more seasoned librarians to whom one can turn. To me, she seemed to have sound judgment. Most of all, students and faculty talk : and word on the NWC street was that Alice is 'good-to-go.' True to my personal vow to make Alice the first stop when such situations arose, I headed, once again, to the reference desk at Eccles Memorial Library.
When I told Alice that my understanding of the chaplain's role as described in the Joint Pub was making me uneasy, after listening, she pensively looked a little past me, thought for a brief moment, looked me in the eye and let loose with You need to go see Mike Schmitt. Do you know Mike Schmitt? He's the Stockton Chair. Tell him, Alice sent you.' Go see Mike Schmitt.' (The Stockton Chair being the Stockton Chair of International Law at NWC.) That was Alice's first bit of help regarding my JMO paper.
Alice's word being as good as gold, I then knew Professor Schmitt was the man I had to see. But I also knew that he was, at that time, busier than most people at NWC: he was in the middle of a major project; concluding his stint as Stockton Chair; packing up his household goods for an overseas move and a deanship at the Marshall Center in Garmisch, Germany. (We'll read more about Professor Schmitt, later.) I also knew that, if Alice's word is as good as gold, a referral from her is like platinum! I fetched myself up sharply and headed to see Professor Schmitt.
Despite his full plate, the professor was gracious enough to see me, and my mention of Alice's referral elicited from him a smile and, 'She's something else, isn't she?' Then, it was down to business. I told him why I was there, about what I'd read in the Joint Pub and why I found it so troublesome. It was almost a replay of my earlier encounter with Alice: after listening, he pensively looked a little past me with his brow wrinkled for a brief moment, then he looked me in the eye, then pensively looked past me again, looked quizzically back at me and said, 'Hmm. Are you sure?' After I replied affirmatively, he swiveled around to his computer, typed a little, printed off a page, handed it to me, and said, Yes, it sounds as though there's a problem.' He referred me to the Geneva Conventions and their associated commentaries, with the pertinent links printed on the paper now in my hand, and sent me on my way. Buoyed by his affirmation of my suspicions and knowing I was on the right track, I was now off to the races, but not until I first saw Alice to give her a 'thumbs up.'
Now more focused, I resumed my reading and research for the JMO paper as though I were a man possessed. As always with such research, there were fits and starts, some speed bumps, detours, and dead ends along the way : but the Eccles staff, especially Alice, was there to smooth the way. When Eccles didn't have some of the books I wanted to flesh-out my research, Alice was always at the ready with a blank inter-library loan card. (The books invariably arrived in no time, an advantage of being so close to so many other great schools in New England.) When my database searches yielded unwieldy results, Alice's extensive experience with the 60+ subscription databases at NWC came in handy : her counsel concerning the idiosyncrasies of each database helped me hone my queries, and I achieved more manageable and fruitful results. After locating a title in the online card catalog, I'd sometimes head down to the stacks and not find the book where it was supposed to be (or at least where I thought it was supposed to be). The ever-patient Alice would explain the intricacies of the Eccles system and why certain books and monographs were in certain collections and where those collections were located. If Alice caught me on my way to the periodical stacks, she'd stop to make sure I knew what journals were where, lest I waste precious time on a wild goose chase. (Yes, the journals are in alphabetical order, but since I was often running around like a chicken with its head cut off, Alice did her best to keep me going in the right direction.) Even later, after my paper was finished, Alice made comments about my footnotes; simple suggestions she said made the paper appear more professional : a veritable walking Chicago Manual of Style, that Alice Juda!
(Speaking of formatting footnotes and bibliographies, I've noticed an interesting phenomenon at Eccles Memorial Library. The closer one gets to a deadline for term paper submissions, the farther the line of students clamoring for formatting assistance extends from the reference desk, several hardcopies of the Chicago Manual of Style within easy reach on the reference shelves, notwithstanding. At those times of the semester, Alice and her reference colleagues are cheerfully long-suffering, to say the least.)
By design, the workload at NWC is heavy, a practice used to prepare future leaders for the hectic pace of military staff work. During JMO I sometimes found that my mind was loaded with information vacillating between an inchoate jumble and only slightly more organized than that. At those times it was immensely helpful to talk aloud to someone aside from myself; not that I was looking for answers or advice, but my thoughts more readily fell into place when someone else was there to hear me think out loud. At those times fellow students were the last people on earth to fit the bill since they too, were neck-deep in their own research quagmires. At those times although Alice might not have had ample time to spare, she spared it, nonetheless. At other times, Alice would ask how the paper was going. At all those times, and every time in between, Alice was a godsend. Hers was truly a genuine concern.
The JMO semester progressed, I submitted the paper, it was returned with an outstanding grade, and recommended for submission to the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) database. Although I declined to have the paper electronically archived, a hardcopy is archived in Eccles. Subsequently a graduate student at Emory University conducting his own research on a related topic has sought my paper as a source. An NWC staff member, knowing the topic to be of interest in certain circles in Washington, D.C., suggested that I forward my paper there.
Although the JMO semester ended, that wasn't the end of the paper. Alice asked Professor Schmitt : now one foot out the NWC door on his way to Garmisch : to provide his critique of the paper; and she didn't let up until he complied! The professor's comments were favorable and he suggested that I collaborate with an expert on the pertinent laws, tweak the paper, and submit it for publication. While I was unable to pursue that course of action, the paper entitled 'The Joint Forces Chaplain: Advisor to the Joint Force Commander or Unlawful Combatant?' was awarded the Vice Admiral James H. Doyle, Jr., Military Operations and International Law prize at NWC in June 2009.
Winning the prize was great. A student wanting my paper for his research was grand. Even the thought that it might be worth publishing was flattering. But the reading, research, and creation of that paper was even better than all that. However, the assistance and support I received from my teachers, Professor Schmitt, the staff at Eccles, and many others was the most edifying part of the entire experience, my fondest achievement of my academic career. I am grateful that Alice K. Juda was at the heart of it all, and at virtually every step along the way.
In retrospect, one of the most amazing things about the whole JMO episode is that I was, by no means, the only patron that Alice helped at the time. There were hundreds of other students, all seeking various kinds of assistance from her. There were numerous research requests coming from faculty and staff : including such NWC luminaries as department heads, the provost's office, and the president of NWC, himself an admiral. Naturally, Alice fielded all these ably and admirably. Her fame having spread far and wide, Alice received requests from researchers outside NWC, such as the commanding officer of the U.S. Naval Heritage and History Command in Washington, D.C., yet another admiral.
In fact, Alice is so renowned that the Australian historian, John Bradford, once sought her assistance. Having somehow obtained a 'thank you' note penned by a previously stranded U.S. Sailor to his Aussie rescuers during World War II, the historian was eager to find out more about the missive's author. When Bradford presented his problem to NWC faculty attending a conference in Canberra, they suggested that he contact Alice Juda in Newport. After Alice joined the effort, she had the mystery behind the missive's author solved in virtually no time at all. That too, is no isolated incident; faculty and staff, both former and current, constantly refer colleagues to Alice. (To find out more about the note, please visit http://users.picknowl.com.au/~wjb718/uss%20peary.html.)
As you read a few moments ago, Alice has fielded requests on behalf of NWC's president and the commander of the Heritage and History Command, both admirals. Alice has also assisted other admirals, some from foreign navies. As you may know, the rank insignia for admirals of the U.S. and many foreign navies is the five-pointed star, with admirals wearing from one to four stars, depending on rank. While some people might consider David Smith of the New York Public Library to be 'Librarian to the Stars,' I submit, in view of her service to these admirals, that Mr. Smith's actually a pretender to that title, the honorific rightly belonging to Alice! (Business card or no business card! Nothing personal, Mr. Smith. Although I will concede that Mr. Smith sounds at least as helpful to his customers as Alice is to hers. Cf. 'The Library's Helpful Sage of the Stacks,' by Sam Roberts, The New York Times, December 31, 2007.)
There are other eminently satisfied library patrons, luminaries in their own right, who have enlisted Alice's expertise in their scholarly efforts. The testimonials, below, are taken from books bearing the fruits of Alice's labors. Like me and many others, these authors and editors, some of whom I know, undoubtedly have had a more positive experience of Eccles because of her help. As the following acknowledgements attest, Alice's influence is felt throughout the academe, as well:
- In the preface to 'Foundations of Moral Obligation,' published in 1992, Joseph Gerard Brennan, thanks all those at the Naval War College who had a hand in [producing the book], particularly Alice Juda, finder of the unfindable' (pp. xxiv-xxv);
- In 'Terrorism: Documents of International and Local Control,' published in 1997, editor Howard S. Levie acknowledges that, 'As usual, I have received unstinting assistance of the two reference librarians at the Naval War College Eccles Library, Ms Alice Juda and Ms Maggie Rauch.';
- In 2003, the editors of 'Naval Mutinies of the Twentieth Century' note that they owe a considerable debt to Alice Juda and Evelyn Cherpak for library and archival assistance above and beyond the call of duty';
- The editors of 'Naval Blockades and Seapower: Strategies and Counter-strategies, 1805-2005,' released in 2006, acknowledge their considerable debt to Alice Juda, Wayne Rowe, and Bob Schnare for library assistance';
- In the 2007 release, 'Waves of Hope: The U.S. Navy's Response to the Tsunami in Northern Indonesia,' the author writes that at the U.S. Naval War College library, Ms. Alice Juda, Mr. Wayne Rowe, and Mr. Robert Schnare helped me locate appropriate information';
- The chairwoman of NWC's National Security Decision Making department, Professor Joan Johnson-Freese, in her recently released 'Heavenly Ambitions: America's Quest to Dominate Space,' devotes a whole paragraph to Alice: 'Alice Juda at the Naval War College Library is always able to find a needle in a haystack, and I have asked her to do so many times. Without the willing assistance of professional research librarians like Alice, authors like me would be stymied. Thank you Alice.'
- The tribute I like the most, one that echoes my sentiments exactly, is found in Douglas V. Smith's 'Carrier Battles: Command Decisions in Harm's Way,' released in 2006. In addition to acknowledging several people at NWC and Eccles library for their assistance, Professor Smith writes that, 'Mrs. Alice K. Juda, reference librarian at the Naval War College Library, found material I'm convinced no one else could find by doggedly pursuing any lead she could uncover. Moreover, Mrs. Juda provided daily encouragement for me to complete this project, without which my enthusiasm could have easily have vanished.'
From authors and admirals to students and staff, regardless of rank or station in life, whoever comes to Alice for help is not leaving bereft. And although there are many outstanding professional and tech-savvy reference librarians out in the academe, ne plus ultra is Alice. What matters most about Alice is that she cares. She cares about delivering outstanding service. She cares about our projects. She cares that we not only get what we want, but that we get what we need : whether we know we need it or not! She cares about her patrons and our very wellbeing; and, yes, hers is a genuine concern. Although Alice is always busy, she is never too busy for those whom she serves. For many, our experience of Eccles Memorial Library is exceptionally more positive because of Alice K. Juda, reference librarian extraordinaire.
3. How has the library, and the nominee in particular, had an impact on students and faculty and the teaching and learning process? Please be specific.
Eccles Memorial Library and Alice Juda positively affect NWC students, faculty, and the interactive learning process between them in many ways. Some ways are more direct than others, and some we've already seen. For instance, virtually every new student's first encounter with Eccles and its staff is the initial orientation where they learn about library resources and services. That orientation, which Alice had a hand in designing and helps deliver, is indispensible for those wishing to make their academic careers at NWC more rewarding. Here, Alice's expertise in course development : gained during her former life as a teacher and over her twenty-one years at Eccles : serves the audience well. The informal panel discussion format by the library staff and the associated PowerPoint presentation are well organized, informative, complement each other nicely : nothing short of impressive, especially when compared to your run-of-the-mill military and government presentations. (I daresay the presentations offered by Alice and her colleagues compare highly favorably to others in certain quarters of the NWC community, too!)
Another significant impact that Alice and the Eccles staff has on virtually every student comes early in the JMO semester: a special presentation to all JMO students equips them with powerful research methodologies that are essential if one wishes to prepare an exceptional paper due that semester. Naturally, those skills are practical beyond JMO, too. As with the new student orientation, Alice's expertise in curriculum development, applied to the JMO presentation and its associated research guide, serves JMO students well. Both the presentation and guide are well organized, clear, concise, and, above all, useful. The guide is especially handy on nights and weekends while accessing the library's databases and researching from home when there's no reference librarian at one's beck and call. (At least I don't think Alice and her colleagues field questions from their homes in the wee hours of weekend mornings!)
While I found the JMO research presentation and guide useful in the development of my JMO paper, discussed earlier, I know others have appreciated Alice's JMO efforts, as well. A recent JMO class presented Alice with an apt token of appreciation: a gift certificate to a local bookstore. JMO professors, too, are quick to laud Alice's professionalism and personalized approach when it comes to helping students.
In addition to the JMO research presentation and the new student orientation, two smaller, more specialized groups at NWC benefit from similar offerings by Alice and her colleagues. One of these cohorts is the Stockdale Group, named for former prisoner of war and NWC president, the late Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale. 'Inspired by Admiral Stockdale's experiences as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam,' and by his interest in philosophy and the phenomenon of leadership, the eponymous group generated a course and, eventually, a book entitled 'Foundations of Moral Obligation.'* The book's author, you may recall from above, gratefully accords Alice the moniker 'finder of the unfindable' for her uncanny ability to ferret out the most hidden information and esoterica (p. xxv). Alice's work with this group enhances their research capabilities, definitely a contribution to the learning process, if ever there was one. (*Cf. 'NWC History' at http://www.usnwc.edu/about/history.aspx. For more information on the Stockdale Group please visit (NWC History' at http://www.usnwc.edu/about/history.aspx).
The second specialized cohort is the Strategic Studies Group (SSG). This cadre of bright-minded individuals functions in the manner of a think tank, deals directly with the Chief of Naval Operations, and is at the tip of the spear' in charting the Navy's future course. SSG requires nothing less than the best Eccles Memorial Library has to offer : and they get it when Alice gives them specialized training in online research strategies. Here, as with the Stockdale Group, her work enhances research capabilities, thus enhancing the learning process : a veritable intellectual 'force multiplier.'
Alice has had a positive impact on the learning process at NWC, even more directly, in the area of course development. The Strategy and Policy (S&P) department at NWC teaches students to think strategically and to prepare for strategic leadership' positions. S&P employs an interdisciplinary approach drawing on the disciplines of history, political science, international relations, and economics' and relies heavily on the case study methodology (Cf. 'S&P' at http://www.nwc.navy.mil/academics/courses/sp/overview.aspx). S&P faculty hail from exceptional academic and professional backgrounds, and possess both a breadth and depth of knowledge the likes of which you've never seen. Therefore, when it comes to research, they rely on cream-of-the-crop professionals like Alice. Most recently, Alice's expertise was enlisted in the development of case studies about Pakistan and India, two historically and strategically vital areas of interest. The S&P faculty always delivers a quality product and now, thanks to Alice, that portion of the S&P curriculum dealing with South Asia promises to be equally as excellent.
Another NWC department that recently sought Alice's assistance was the National Security Decision Making (NSDM) department. NSDM educates 'students in the effective selection and leadership of military forces within the constraints of available national resources' and prepares 'military and civilian students for senior level command and staff assignments' (Cf. 'National Security Decision Making' at http://www.nwc.navy.mil/academics/courses/nsdm/overview.aspx). While every department and course at NWC examines some aspect of leadership, NSDM gives special scrutiny to the phenomenon of leadership at the highest levels throughout our federal government. When an NSDM faculty member was recently studying the similarities and differences between Secretaries of Defense Gates and Rumsfeld, you can be sure he, like his S&P colleagues, wanted to enlist top-notch performers in the effort. Naturally, Alice Juda was the research guru he turned to first. This professor's research, once integrated into the NSDM curriculum, will be yet another positive influence on learning that Alice has had within the hallowed halls of the U.S. Naval War College.
Then, too, there are more informal, but no less direct, ways where Alice's positive influence on the learning process is felt. For instance, when users query online catalogs, we sometimes wind up facing several thousand results, many of dubious relevance. (Or, at the other extreme, we wind up facing nothing at all!) At those times, Alice or one of her reference colleagues is often within easy reach and eagerly comes to our rescue. But sometimes, like when we're working from home, there isn't a reference librarian handy. It's then that Alice's manual of online catalog searching tips does the trick. Alice will do everything in her power, in person or by proxy, to help us learn.
In a similar vein, the 'Naval War College Library News,' a periodic newsletter produced and promulgated by Alice, keeps the NWC community informed of the latest and greatest technology, acquisitions, and research techniques that Eccles Memorial has to offer. The information contained therein can help enhance the learning process for even the most sophisticated library user.
Among the most meaningful ways Alice enhances the learning process at NWC occurs when an individual approaches her with a reference question. Seizing the pedagogical moment, Alice will not only answer the question, but she'll invariably advance that individual's knowledge about some related aspect of the library, other resources, or research. Personalized customer service at its best!
If I recall, correctly, from my long-gone undergraduate days, the verbs 'to educate' and 'to lead forth' derive from the same ancient root. Everything about Alice, in collaboration with her colleagues at Eccles Memorial Library, is about leading forth people more deeply into the learning process, more deeply into the world of information and ideas. In that respect, Alice is an educator, par excellence. In that respect, few, if any, individuals at NWC have a more wide-ranging impact than does Alice K. Juda.
4. How does the nominee make the college, community college, or university a better place? Please be specific.
The program at NWC is cohort-based. As such, students, en masse, descend upon its campus on the Narragansett each morning. At the conclusion of classes, the campus sees somewhat of a reverse of the morning rush. There are no dormitories at NWC. The school has no student union. Its cafeteria is quite limited in both size and hours of operation. Given such a state of affairs, Eccles Memorial Library, by accident or design, is the de facto hub, academically and socially, of the U.S. Naval War College : and the library staff is the heart and soul of that hub. Although everything we've already looked at about Eccles and its staff goes toward making the college a better place, there are some interesting stories that will illustrate Alice's role in such improvements.
First, though, I'd like to turn to Malcolm Gladwell's 'Tipping Point.' In his popular book he writes that 'Connectors' are 'people with a special gift for bringing the world together' (p. 38). If you've ever sought Alice's help at the reference desk, attended one of her presentations, or even simply seen her in action from afar, you cannot but wholeheartedly agree that she is, if anything, a Connector.
Do you recall that earlier story about my JMO paper, how Alice connected me to Professor Schmitt? Do you remember that Professor Schmitt was, at the time of my meeting him, in the midst of an overseas move to assume a deanship at the Marshall Center in Germany? If you pull the thread on the professor's affiliation with the Marshall Center, you'll find at its very beginning Alice's handiwork. Here's how:
Over a decade ago, Professor Schmitt was a student at NWC where he and Alice first made their professional acquaintance. Following Professor Schmitt's studies at NWC, he later found himself on the staff of the U.S. Air Force Academy. Coincidentally, Alice, with an insatiable appetite for reading, was perusing a professional journal in which she came across a position vacancy announcement posted by the Marshall Center. Recalling Schmitt from his NWC days, Alice thought that he'd be a good fit for the Marshall Center post. Alice hunted Schmitt down, found him at the Academy, and told him about the job. Professor Schmitt applied for, was offered, accepted, and assumed the post at the Marshall Center. The rest is history. Almost.
Several years after that, Professor Schmitt's and Alice's paths crossed again, this time when he returned to NWC as faculty. After some time at NWC, Professor Schmitt was offered a deanship at the Marshall Center, a position he currently holds. Now the rest is history, at least for the time being.
Reading Dean Schmitt's curriculum vitae makes one sit up and take notice. Much like Alice, he's extremely bright and has a wealth of experience. Through my encounter with him during my JMO semester, I found that he, like Alice, is extraordinarily generous with his time and talent. I cannot help but wonder how many students : from NWC to the Marshall Center, and everywhere in between : have profited from their association with Professor Schmitt. I do know, however, that we beneficiaries owe a debt of gratitude not only to Dean Schmitt, but to Alice, with her special gift for bringing the world together,' as well. That is but one powerful example how Alice, the Connector, has helped make NWC, at the very least, a better place.
Here's yet another, and to my mind amusing, anecdote illustrating Alice's singular, almost uncanny, ability as a Connector: A professor in the S&P department, Sarah Paine, was once studying the morphing boundaries of Inner Mongolia. In her need for several particular maps, Professor Paine contacted Alice. Alice's research uncovered a reference to a book of historical Chinese maps that contained exactly what she and the professor wanted. However, the book was apparently not available : at that time, for purchase at least : in the U.S. For many a mere mortal, that would've been the end of it. Alice, when confronted with just such a challenge, redoubles her efforts : this mission being no different. Alice flew into action and contacted someone who she'll say is simply 'a source' in the State Department. Her 'source,' in turn, contacted someone who knew someone else 'who was traveling to China to purchase books' (so sayeth Alice Juda). Rest assured, that last 'someone' returned from China with at least one book more than was originally intended. The book of historical Chinese maps was then dutifully connected to Professor Paine at NWC. Alice K. Juda will spare no effort in order to make NWC a better place.
Not only is Alice a Connector, but she's also a 'Connectee,' a role that arose precisely because of her success as a Connector. Earlier I mentioned some of the printed accolades Alice received from authors and editors, testimonials to her professionalism and indefatigability. Important as that type of recognition is, people demonstrate their appreciation of Alice's assistance in other ways, and here the truism 'actions speak louder than words' comes to mind: Individuals consistently refer colleagues to Alice for help. Recently, for instance, a foreign researcher and writer in the midst of a dilemma, who happens also to hold the rank of admiral in his nation's navy, contacted his American colleague, an NWC faculty member. The admiral, writing a book, found that one of his chapters needed more information concerning certain aspects of maritime military operations in support Operation Iraqi Freedom. In very short order, Alice had for the admiral three references, a tip for his online database searches, and the promise of more to come. The librarian to the stars having struck yet again, it's only a matter of time before we read another author's grateful acknowledgement of Alice's professional prowess. Even while benefitting people far away, Alice makes the NWC community a better place when people there know they and their friends can count on her.
Back inside the NWC community, there's a popular aphorism that students learn in very short order: 'It's only a lot of reading if you do it!' (I'm here to tell you, NWC students are pretty conscientious about getting most, if not all, of that reading done, on time. NWC assigns a serious grade for class participation. You can bet that military personnel/students are among the most competitive students you'll ever meet.) Although I'm not certain how that little saying came into being, I'm sure it has something to do with the 600 pages of reading that S&P assigns its students per week. That workload doesn't count the reading assigned by electives and doesn't take into account any papers or reports due, either. To say the least, an NWC student will be busy beyond belief. Despite the hefty amount of work, that doesn't deter Alice and her colleagues from seeking any and every opportunity to teach their patrons something, at every twist and turn. For example, in the lobby of Eccles Memorial Library : which serves also as a major passageway to other parts of the NWC complex : there are several display cases. Each case is filled with books, pictures, memorabilia, knick-knacks, you name it, devoted to some small facet of military history, national security, or other timely topic of interest to the NWC community. As Veterans Day approaches, the Eccles staff will be busy building their history of Armistice Day display; when the anniversary of the founding of the U.S. military service academy approaches, you'll see a display about that particular event and institution.
Recalling what I mentioned earlier about Eccles being a hub, there's virtually always some group or other gathered in the library's lobby. It's not uncommon to find patrons talking to one another while, at the same time, examining the contents of those displays the staff has taken great pains to set up. Alice and her friends keep the community connected to current events and pertinent topics even when most folks there have about one-thousand-and-one other things on their minds. As far as making the community a better place, one student's testimonial says it all: 'Thank you to Alice, Julie and Jamie...for the displays in the lobby. You guys do a very good job keeping NWC looking both professional, interesting and relevant.'
Alice not only connects people with ideas and information, she keeps herself connected with ideas and information, too. In this, she resembles another of Malcolm Gladwell's types from 'The Tipping Point': the 'Maven,' 'one who accumulates knowledge' (p. 60). Although Alice is a civilian, as a professional researcher and reference librarian, she is as keenly interested in the subject matter her patrons study in the rarefied environment of NWC. It's no surprise, then, that you'll find Alice attending every open lecture NWC offers. From authors and experts to the movers and shakers at the highest levels of the Department of Defense, Alice is front row, center, taking in all they have to offer. (And heaven help the one who nods off during one of these presentations; you can be sure, after the lecture, Alice will engage other attendees in conversation. If you're unprepared to carry on a conversation with her about a point through which you've slept, you're guaranteed to feel like a fool!)
In a similar vein, Alice, the Maven, regularly devours professional publications and scholarly journals. Her quest to accumulate knowledge is for her own good, as well as the good of those who seek her reference and research help. Along with passing a wealth of wisdom and knowledge to her patrons, because of her voracious reading, she continually gleans titles of pertinent, soon-to-be-released books that she then passes along to the Eccles Acquisitions department, thus keeping the library connected and up-to-date. This is simply another example of how Alice makes Eccles a better place.
Another benefit of Alice's voracious reading is her 'Military Periodical Awareness Alerts.' In these alerts Alice emails to patrons the titles of and links to articles of interest. Akin to these alerts are the automated notifications from various sources and databases that Alice arranges for her patrons. During my work at NWC I was the beneficiary of these electronic notices. With Alice, a virtual Nancy Pearl of NWC, keeping connected and current couldn't be any easier.
Once one makes a connection with Alice that person and she are likely to remain connected for a long time to come. Although I've known her for only two years, I know of people with whom she's remained in touch for decades. One person who retains ties to Alice, a former NWC student, is now a commodore in the Indian Navy. Another contact is a retired admiral from the Argentine Navy. What's more, the Argentine admiral passed along his contact to his daughter, now a student at the Fletcher School of Tufts University. Having lived overseas, I know what it means to have a friendly contact in a foreign land. Alice's interesting and colorful connections to all these wonderful people make NWC a better, and richer place.
Her connections to current students are extraordinary, as well. Since the program at NWC is so intense, a fair number of students opt to leave their families settled back home while the student moves to Newport alone. Such students are what we fondly refer to as 'geographic bachelors.' Some students, too, are simply regular bachelors. In either case, any kind of bachelor can benefit from Alice's 'mother hen' instinct. I recall the recent case of a single officer who had finished his studies and was awaiting transfer overseas. With the support of his cohort gone, and being betwixt and between assignments, Alice and her husband took the fellow under their wings : and out to dinner! For the team of Mr. & Mrs. Juda, such acts of kindness are not uncommon. Even more beautiful is the fact that these little mitzvoth are extended to anyone, regardless of rank, race, religion, or way of life. While that may seem unremarkable to many of us, it is quite remarkable to some who hail from cultures quite unlike our own, cultures where rank, race, religion and way of life matter greatly. And whether one comes to NWC from near or far, I know that Alice's influence as a Connector, a special person 'with a special gift for bringing the world together,' is something we take with us wherever we may roam.
5. How has the individual demonstrated leadership in the campus community or the profession?
Effective leadership in the Navy is vital for good order and discipline, as one would expect in a military service branch. Without good leadership, operations would not run smoothly, at the lowest levels; national security objectives would remain unmet, at the highest. In certain situations, lives depend on good leadership. Regardless of what rank one enters into the sea services, whether as a deck seaman or junior officer, everyone learns that they will be required to exercise leadership in some way, at some time, in some form : and probably sooner rather than later. Be it helping your newest shipmate find the their rack in berthing, to sitting in the captain's chair on the bridge of a ship and directing every facet of complex missions, one must be prepared to lead : and lead well : at any given moment.
Since its inception in October 1884, the U.S. Naval War College has been about one thing: making better leaders. In its one-hundred-and-twenty-five-year history, the hallowed halls of NWC have seen many notable leaders as both staff and students. It has forged leaders who've helped this nation navigate through some of its most turbulent times (e.g., Nimitz, Halsey, King, and Spruance in WWII); it has produced leaders that are leading still (e.g., U.S. and foreign admirals, generals, and ambassadors who help meet national strategic objectives, and ensure stability and security throughout the global maritime commons).
Although civilians staff Eccles Memorial Library, I'd say that the most successful staff members are those who can hold their own, leadership-wise. As a leader, Alice definitely does more than hold her own : she leads with the best of them. Primarily, Alice leads by example: whatever challenge lies before her she'll engage it, full bore. When presented with a research problem, she seems to specialize in solving those where there is little useful (or sometimes correct) information from which to start. And the more esoteric a matter, too, for Alice, the better. She's known for 'going the extra mile' : her satisfied customers and fans frequently tell her as much, and we've already looked at some relevant examples, above; her superiors recognize her superior customer service : on that count she's been told as much, too.
Alice leads by taking initiative. When she sees something that needs doing, she simply does it : even when others fail to perceive the need. For instance, Eccles Memorial Library subscribes to over 60 online databases. Alice, as a professional librarian, very much appreciated that treasure trove of information. However, she perceived it as being an under-utilized asset. In her quest to keep her professional capabilities current, Alice took herself to a conference offered by the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services. There she learned some tricks of the trade, came back to Eccles, and began a marketing campaign that raised the community's awareness concerning the database assets it had right under its very nose.
Other institutions, too, benefit from Alice's initiative. The proprietors of the 'Digital National Security Archive' have recognized Alice for her evaluation of their database. Although some in the Navy say that 'N-A-V-Y' is really an acronym for 'Never again volunteer yourself,' Alice, on the contrary, is always eager to help.
Alice's initiative isn't limited to her professional or technological expertise. Even in more quotidian matters, such as pushing in chairs at library carrels, clearing library tables of newspapers and periodicals, filling library printers with paper, she is ready, willing, and able to pitch right in when others are oblivious to the chaos around them!
Alice's unending quest to advance her professional skills and keep current with relevant defense-related subject matter is also quite impressive. I'm at a perfect loss to explain how she manages to apprehend the literature, keep professionally current, and field an unending array of reference and research questions; each, it seems to me, a full-time job in its own right. It's almost as if Alice has a clone, or two. What's more, I've never seen Alice's energy wane; her exuberance really comes to the fore when she's juggling many different things at once.
In the Navy, an indication that an individual has strong leadership capabilities is, almost counter-intuitively, one's ability to work cooperatively and collaboratively. That is, those who make the team look good, over and above merely making themselves look good, are the real stars. I think one reason Alice has flourished for twenty-one years at the U.S. Naval War College is precisely because she puts the team : be it the reference staff, all the Eccles personnel, or NWC as a whole : first and foremost. And because Alice always puts the team first, the real winners are the patrons of Eccles Memorial Library who, invariably, get quality reference and research products delivered with stellar service, every time.
Alice leads in more formal ways, as well. As mentioned earlier, Alice is an educator in the truest sense of the word: she leads people forth into deeper and broader levels of knowledge and understanding. As mentor, she has shared her experience and insights with library school and college students interning at Eccles. There is no doubt in my mind that the profession will be better as her experience is passed to 'A Hipper Crowd of Shushers' (Cf. The New York Times, July 8, 2007). And, too, she has served for many years as a member of her local public library's board of trustees. If I'm not mistaken, with a stint as president, too.
To know Alice is to love Alice, as a friend, as a professional librarian. As this nomination of Alice for this year's 'I Love My Librarian!' award draws to a close, it is my hope that any deficiencies in this nomination won't obscure how great Alice really is. Turning again to military jargon, Alice truly does go 'above and beyond the call of duty,' and many of her satisfied customers have told her, and others, so.
Our Navy has a storied past, and but a piece of our proud tradition is the U.S. Naval War College. If Alice were to be awarded a Navy medal for her service, the citation for that award would definitely recognize her exceptional professional ability, steadfast initiative, and selfless dedication to duty, all reflecting great credit upon her, her profession, Eccles, and NWC. It is, therefore, my singular honor and privilege to nominate Alice K. Juda for the 2009 'I Love My Librarian!' award.
1. How long have you known the nominee and how did you come to know him or her?