Dean Finalists Visit Columbus State, Meet with Stakeholders

Dean finalists Barry, BucknerCOLUMBUS, Ga. -- Two finalists to become the next dean of the College of Education and Health Professions at Columbus State University will visit campus Nov. 29-Dec. 3, meeting with faculty, staff, students, administrators and community partners.

They are Barbara Buckner, associate provost at Coastal Carolina University, who will visit Nov. 29-30, and Nancy Barry, head of the Department of Curriculum and Teaching at Auburn University, who will visit Dec. 2-3.

“After the finalists' visits to campus, the (search) committee will convene to deliberate concerning the strengths and weaknesses of these candidates,” said committee chair Jan Burcham, CSU’s Moselle Worsley Fletcher Distinguished Chair in Teacher Education.

Faculty from all departments and centers in the college were represented on the 20-member search committee, plus an undergraduate from nursing, a graduate student from teacher education and a couple of COEHP community stakeholders. Atlanta-based Parker Executive Search presented 31 applications resulting from national advertising, and the committee then conducted video conference interviews with nine top applicants. Burcham said the committee would report on what it considered the finalists’ strengths and weaknesses to interim Provost Tom Hackett and President Tim Mescon, who will make the final hiring decision and extend any employment offer. They would also negotiate the start date for the new dean.

The public is invited to attend an open presentation by each dean candidate as well as a more informal “meet and greet” session. The presentations will all be given in the auditorium of the Center for Commerce and Technology, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 29 for Buckner, and 3:30-4:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2 for Barry. The “meet and greet” sessions are from 8-9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 29 in Jordan Hall 132 for Buckner and 8-9 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 2 in Jordan Hall 140 for Barry.


Buckner has been at 8,400-student Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C., since 2005, first serving as associate dean of the Spadoni College of Education.  She was promoted to associate provost for assessment and accreditation in mid-2007. In both roles, she worked closely with accrediting bodies: the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education on behalf of the education college, and then the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools on behalf of the university. Earlier, she was an education professor at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., from 2000-2005, spending her final year as interim associate dean of Longwood’s College of Education and Human Services. She began her higher education career at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, serving there from 1988-2000.


A former elementary and middle school teacher, Buckner earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Ohio State University, a master’s in science education from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate in elementary education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.


Barry has been at Auburn University for two stints, first as a faculty member from 1990-2000, rising from assistant professor to professor in AU’s Department of Curriculum and Teaching. Then she left to serve from 2000-2007 as professor, chair and graduate coordinator of the Music Education Division of the School of Music at the University of Oklahoma. In 2007, she returned to Auburn as professor and head of Auburn’s Department of Curriculum and Teaching. Before joining Auburn’s faculty, she worked as an elementary music specialist and instructor at public and private schools in the Murfreesboro, Tenn. area.


She earned her doctorate in music education from Florida State University, as well as a master’s in music education and a certificate in computers and music. Her bachelor’s in music education is from Middle Tennessee State University.


More information on the two dean finalists is available at


Columbus State’s new dean of the College of Education and Health Professions will replace David Rock, who resigned last summer to become dean of the School of Education at the University of Mississippi. He had previously been an education professor at Ole Miss. Ellen Roberts, longtime professor of physical education and associate dean of the college, has been serving as interim dean since Rock’s departure.