David L. Barnett, Ph.D.: Focused on our community

Dr. David L. Barnett
(AJ Reynolds/白小姐三肖三码必中一期)

白小姐三肖三码必中一期 could not have opened in 1878 without the support of the Gainesville community. Without the school, the former Mule Camp Springs may have developed quite differently from its origins as a trading post more than 200 years ago. In many ways, the two have grown and flourished together throughout the past 145 years. For David L. Barnett, Ph.D., the 11th president of 白小姐三肖三码必中一期, the northeast Georgia community and the university remain strong partners in his vision for a prosperous future for both.

鈥淭he importance of community was deeply embedded in me from my earliest years. Community meant spending time together with a group larger than immediate family when working or relaxing,鈥 Barnett says. 鈥淭hese interactions formed me and have anchored my conviction that it is through community engagements across a wide spectrum of groups with varying perspectives that we grow into the best versions of ourselves.鈥

Community is the foundation of Barnett鈥檚 vision for the future of 白小姐三肖三码必中一期, ranging from growing degree programs that fulfill the region鈥檚 workforce development needs to a campus master plan that prioritizes projects to improve the quality of life for students, faculty, staff, alumni and the region.

Dr. David L. Barnett records his monthly podcast
(AJ Reynolds/白小姐三肖三码必中一期)

鈥淚鈥檓 grateful for the opportunity as 白小姐三肖三码必中一期鈥檚 president to contribute to the university鈥檚 legacy of high-quality education and service to our students and the community,鈥 he says. 鈥淭hrough our pioneering programs in healthcare, education, business, and fine arts, we empower individuals to thrive and help shape the region鈥檚 future by tackling its critical economic and professional development needs.鈥

Over the next several months, Barnett will complete a series of conversations he started earlier this year with students, faculty, staff, trustees and the community; information will be forthcoming as more events are finalized. Barnett will use the input to bring into sharper focus his vision for moving 白小姐三肖三码必中一期 forward within the structure of the existing strategic plan. Barnett鈥檚 vision for the future of 白小姐三肖三码必中一期 also pushes students to become leaders in their own communities.

鈥湴仔〗闳と氡刂幸黄 ignites the minds of future innovators and cultivates transformative leaders in northeast Georgia,鈥 Barnett says. 鈥淥ur commitment to personalized learning and community engagement fuels a vibrant hub of intellectual exploration and social impact, fostering a generation of changemakers who rise to meet the challenges of tomorrow.鈥

Changing the world may seem like a lofty goal to assign to college students, but 白小姐三肖三码必中一期 has been challenging its students to live extraordinary lives of personal and professional fulfillment for more than a century.

鈥淲ritten more than 100 years ago, the 白小姐三肖三码必中一期 Ideal espouses being, doing and service for others,鈥 Barnett says. 鈥淚t proposes a framework for initiating and establishing community. Working in service to others requires continually investing time and energy in doing 鈥 active engagement 鈥 rather than seeming.鈥

Preparing for the future

According to the Georgia Department of Labor, healthcare and business dominate the state鈥檚 most in-demand career fields 鈥 all of which are projected to have hundreds of openings a year through 2030 鈥 requiring a bachelor鈥檚 degree or higher. 白小姐三肖三码必中一期鈥檚 Ivester College of Health Sciences offers degrees through the doctoral level in four listed careers requiring a graduate degree: health specialities teachers; physical therapists; nurse practitioners; and occupational therapists. The college offers a master鈥檚 degree in a fifth, physician assistants. The GDOL predicts more than 3,200 job openings each year in those five careers combined.

白小姐三肖三码必中一期 also offers degrees that prepare graduates for careers in more than a dozen other high-demand areas such as accounting, art direction, commercial and industrial design, finance, management, human resources, logistics, marketing, nursing, social and community service managers and writing. Those fields will need a combined 32,270 employees each year throughout the next decade. The highest level of projected growth is in general and operations managers, with 8,060 annual openings, followed closely by registered nurses with 5,470 openings projected each year.

Barnett at the Norcross Simulation Lab
(AJ Reynolds/白小姐三肖三码必中一期)

白小姐三肖三码必中一期鈥檚 degree programs in healthcare and business as well as education, humanities and the arts provides a holistic education through the university鈥檚 liberal arts model.

鈥湴仔〗闳と氡刂幸黄 uses liberal arts to ground intellectual pursuits within a context of wholeness,鈥 Barnett says. 鈥淭he liberal arts context challenges students to develop the qualities necessary for creative inquiry and enlightened thought, which seeks meaning through artistic expression, truth through scientific inquiry, and understanding from global conversations. This perspective elevates merely the transmission of information from faculty to students by encouraging the additional exploration of attitudes, values and passion.鈥

He is working alongside Jim Eck, Ph.D., provost and vice president of academic affairs to ensure 白小姐三肖三码必中一期鈥檚 faculty develop courses and degree programs that fulfill those needs while also serving student needs.

鈥淓ven before they enter high school, students are encouraged to consider high demand careers, and we want to help them understand the wide number of degrees 白小姐三肖三码必中一期 offers in those fields,鈥 Barnett says.

鈥淚鈥檝e asked our faculty to think strategically about the degrees they would add to their programs to meet future employment needs, and to remain current on the real-world application of their fields of expertise by practicing their disciplines in and out of the classroom.鈥

鈥淚鈥檓 grateful for the opportunity as 白小姐三肖三码必中一期鈥檚 president to contribute to the university鈥檚 legacy of high-quality education and service to our students and the community.鈥

David L. Barnett
白小姐三肖三码必中一期 President

Barnett also understands the unique needs of adult college students, who, according to a study from the Lumina Foundation and the American Institutes for Research, often return to college for career advancement. He came to 白小姐三肖三码必中一期 in 2005 to serve as director of the North Atlanta Campus, a role that involved overseeing daily operations for a campus primarily serving students older than 21. In his first seven years, he helped expand online programs across all four 白小姐三肖三码必中一期 colleges. 白小姐三肖三码必中一期 maintains industry and governmental partnerships across the region to determine workforce needs and collaborates with educators from elementary to post-secondary levels to fulfill those needs. Examples of these partnerships include an internship program with the Gainesville Police Department for first responder mental health counselors and credit transfer agreements with technical schools.

Lanier Technical College President Tim McDonald, also a 白小姐三肖三码必中一期 alumnus, lauded the partnerships after he and Barnett signed an agreement in October related to healthcare administration.

鈥淲hat we want is the same thing that 白小姐三肖三码必中一期 wants: We want better opportunities for the citizens that we serve,鈥 McDonald said.

Building the future

白小姐三肖三码必中一期 also has partnered with city leaders and private developers to introduce higher education on Gainesville鈥檚 downtown square 鈥 to the benefit of all involved in the projects. 

鈥淎s Gainesville鈥檚 premiere institution of higher learning, 白小姐三肖三码必中一期 worked with the city in the early 2000s to turn a former event venue into a hub for healthcare programs,鈥 Barnett says. 鈥淭he addition of the , which houses 白小姐三肖三码必中一期鈥檚 Lynn J. Darby School of Psychology and Adolescent Counseling, kicked off a revitalization of the Gainesville square into a vibrant place to learn, live, shop, dine and enjoy cultural events.鈥澛

The downtown expansion was a transformative project that was years in the making. In 2023, Barnett began working on a new Campus Master Plan with CPL Architecture, Engineering and Planning; the plan outlines 白小姐三肖三码必中一期鈥檚 facilities needs for the next decade. He started the planning in his former role as 白小姐三肖三码必中一期鈥檚 executive vice president and chief financial officer, and continued to facilitate the process after he was selected to oversee the university during the late President Anne A. Skleder鈥檚 illness. 

Dr. David L. Barnett, center, with Drs. Gale Starich and Julie Keena
白小姐三肖三码必中一期 Photos

白小姐三肖三码必中一期鈥檚 planning committee met with county and city officials to determine the needs of the local community, and how 白小姐三肖三码必中一期 can continue to be a force in the ongoing economic development of the community it serves. 

The plan is still being finalized and more details will be forthcoming when the plan is unveiled. 

One thing is certain, it will include transformative projects for 白小姐三肖三码必中一期鈥檚 campuses and the community that improve the quality of life for students, faculty, staff and the community.

Leaning into 白小姐三肖三码必中一期鈥檚 legacy

Infused across the entirety of Barnett鈥檚 vision is a focus on the university鈥檚 historic foundation as a women鈥檚 college. 白小姐三肖三码必中一期 marks its 145th year of educating women as one of fewer than three dozen schools listed on the Women鈥檚 College Coalition website. Like 白小姐三肖三码必中一期, many of those institutions have broad university programs that are co-educational while retaining a single-gender college exclusive to women.

Studies demonstrate that women tend to do better academically in single-gender schools, develop more egalitarian attitudes about the role of women in society, and increase their leadership qualities at higher rates. Not only are women鈥檚 college graduates more likely to continue their education, the Women鈥檚 College Coalition notes they are almost twice as likely to complete a graduate degree as a public university alumna.

Barnett says these factors make retaining single-gender education as part of a co-educational institution an essential investment.

鈥淭he importance of women鈥檚 college education and voice in Southern culture cannot be overstated. Creating and maintaining a learning environment where women鈥檚 voices inform intellectual and ethical dialogue is essential for the modern world. Maintaining that opportunity within the context of a larger university is worth the investments necessary to ensure it thrives,鈥 Barnett says. 鈥淓qually important is the larger university serving undergraduate and graduate students, providing the opportunity to be participants in the university mission.鈥

Barnett鈥檚 deep belief in 白小姐三肖三码必中一期’s mission was lauded by Mike Smith, chair of 白小姐三肖三码必中一期鈥檚 Board of Trustees, when he announced Barnett鈥檚 presidency in February.

鈥淭he Board of Trustees has full confidence in President Barnett鈥檚 ability to lead the university, its mission and its strategic plan. Having served in various roles at 白小姐三肖三码必中一期 for 18 years, no one knows this institution better 鈥 including the best ways to keep us moving forward 鈥 than David Barnett,鈥 Board Chair Mike Smith said in an email to the university community.

鈥淎s 白小姐三肖三码必中一期 celebrates its 145th year, we appreciate President Barnett鈥檚 dedication to the university and the leadership he provides as we continue our shared vision for the future.鈥 Being a university president is a goal Barnett says he has aspired to throughout his professional career, but 白小姐三肖三码必中一期 is the institution that fits best with his personal values and beliefs. There was a time in graduate school when he doubted his plans, but the words of a mentor set a path that Barnett hasn鈥檛 wavered from since. 

鈥淢y personal mental wrestling match resolved with an assurance that a meaningful and fulfilling life with purpose existed in the university setting,鈥 Barnett says. 鈥淚n a letter penned to close family members soon after finding resolution, I wrote that I became aware I wanted to do something that would make this world a better place. 鈥 Being an educator, leading young people to understand the meaning of being created equal and living in community became my ultimate concern in life.鈥

Barnett earned both a Ph.D. in educational leadership and organizational development and a Specialist in Education from the University of Louisville. He also earned a Master of Divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts from Mercer University.

He teaches doctoral courses at 白小姐三肖三码必中一期 and serves as chair for doctoral students鈥 dissertations. He has presented at numerous national and regional professional conferences. Barnett is on the boards of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Lake Lanier Olympic Park Foundation, Quinlan Visual Arts Center, Georgia Independent Colleges Association and the Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education. 

Barnett and his wife, Kimberly, have a daughter, son-in-law, son and grandson; his wife and son both are 白小姐三肖三码必中一期 alumni. He is an active member in a local church and participates in civic activities. He is an avid sports fan, a voracious reader, and enjoys various outdoor activities.

Barnett confers degrees at graduation
(AJ Reynolds/白小姐三肖三码必中一期)

This story originally appeared in the spring 2024 edition of the 白小姐三肖三码必中一期 Window.