Dr. Barber comes from the University of Michigan where he earned his Ph.D. from the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education. Barber worked in student affairs administration at Davidson College in North Carolina, and Southern Methodist University in Texas after receiving his Master of Arts in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University and his Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature from Grand Valley State University. He is the recipient of the 2010 Dissertation of the Year Award from NASPA.
Dr. Barber was drawn to William & Mary "because of the value it places on good teaching. I bring experience as both a practitioner and a researcher, and try to incorporate each perspective into my teaching. My practical experience as a student affairs administrator and my research experience with the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education complement one another to provide a strong foundation for exploring complex issues like student development and integrative learning."
Dr. Barber found that W&M has a balanced expectation for excellence in both teaching and research among its faculty. He stated that "the reputation of W&M is well-known nationally, and I have known several graduates personally who spoke very highly of their experience here. I had great interactions with faculty and students when I visited campus for an interview, and feel that the Higher Education Program is a place where I can jump right in and make a contribution from Day One. All of this, plus a new, state-of-the-art School of Education facility."
Dr. Barber's current research interests are "very much influenced by my previous work as a student affairs administrator. Broadly, I am interested in investigating the relation of student learning and student development. Much of my recent work has been investigating 'integration of learning', i.e., how students make connections between ideas, skills, and knowledge across contexts. Right now, I'm continuing work on a longitudinal study of integrative learning." He has a passion for studying undergraduate student experiences including projects related to fraternity/sorority learning outcomes, study abroad experiences, and issues of alcohol use/abuse. He is a strong supporter of study abroad, and would love to promote more international experiences for students in the higher education program.
His first impression of the students and faculty in the School of Education is that "they are very collegial. I can see strong relationships between faculty and students that extend beyond the classroom." During his first visit to W&M, he had "some very authentic conversations with both faculty and students" which he hopes will continue throughout his W&M career.
His wife, Carin, is working as an adjunct professor for the SOE. They have a one-year old daughter, Lucy, who "keeps us on our toes!"