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Andrea M. Garr-Barnes comes to Western Kentucky University from Bridgewater State University (BSU) where she served as the Director of The Center for Multicultural Affairs since 2001. In her role as Director, Ms. Garr-Barnes developed and implemented data driven strategic initiatives and policies aimed at increasing student success and degree completion for students of color, low income students and first generation college students.
Garr- Barnes led the institutional team which developed and implemented policies, protocols and structures that resulted in Bridgewater State University receiving SEVIS certification. Ms. Garr-Barnes served as the institution's Primary Designated School Official (PDSO) and Responsible Officer (RO).
In her role, Garr-Barnes collaborated with university constituents to increase the number of under-represented students participating in the university's Study Abroad Program. Ms. Garr- Barnes also partnered with The Office of Community Services to increase the number of under-represented students participating in Winter and Spring Break Trips.
While at BSU, Garr-Barnes also developed, implemented and facilitated The LINKS (Linking Individuals to Networks Knowledge and Scholarship) Mentoring and Retention Program. The LINKS Program is a one year mentoring program for first-year students of color. The LINKS Program provided students of color with a sense of belonging to the larger campus community.
Bridgewater State University is one of four institutions of higher education awarded a multi-year grant from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. Garr-Barnes is one of two Student Affairs administrators appointed to the university “Community of Practice”. The Community of Practice developed a culture of data driven decision making which promotes student success and degree completion. The implementation of an evidence based culture resulted in an increase in the degree completion rates for all students attending Bridgewater State University. In addition the persistence gap between first time full time students and students of color, first generation and students from low income families has been eliminated.
Her teaching experience includes serving as a visiting lecturer in BSU's under graduate School of Social Work, as well as an adjunct professor in BSU's graduate School of Social Work.
Garr-Barnes holds a Master in Clinical Social Work from Simmons College, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Human Development from Northeastern University.
Previously, Garr-Barnes served in leadership positions: Childrens Services of Roxbury as Director of Clinical Services, Program Director at ComCare Services, and Court Consultant for Bristol County Juvenile Courts.
Garr-Barnes has demonstrated a strong commitment to the inclusive excellence model of creating access and equity for under-represented students, faculty and staff.
Garr-Barnes is a member of National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE), National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), American College Personnel Association (ACPA), Southern Association for College Student Affairs (SACSA), and the Bowling Green Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.