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Barker selected as HCC dean

August 09, 1999|By BRUCE HAMILTON

Anna M. Barker has been named dean of administrative services at Hagerstown Community College.

Barker, 37, was promoted from director to the dean's position on July 1, becoming the second woman in the college's 53-year-history to be named a dean.

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The college has three deans - of instruction, student services and administrative services. Deans are above directors and below the president in the management hierarchy.

Since the college was founded in 1946, only one other woman has held the title of dean, according to HCC spokeswoman Patti Churchey. The late Ethel Grace Allison served five years as dean of student services 30 years ago.

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In an interview last week, Barker credited co-workers with providing a positive work environment and thanked the board of trustees for giving her a chance.

"If I am described as a go-getter, it has a lot to do with the people I work with," she said. "As far as caring for the people who work here, it's the best place I've ever worked."

When the college conducted a nationwide search to fill the job, 50 people applied, four were interviewed and Barker was the finalist, said Human Resources Director Rosemary Falck.

"She was clearly the No. 1 candidate," said HCC President Norman P. Shea.

Women now hold most of the college's management positions. The full-time executive and managerial faculty is 61 percent female, according to institutional research assistant Linda Vrboncic. That's up from 44 percent three years ago.

"We have a number of females emerging as leaders," said Shea. "Women are moving to the forefront in American higher education."

Nine Maryland community colleges have women presidents, said Shea, who praised Barker's listening and communication skills.

"The board of trustees have been very pleased with her work," he said. "They have a lot of confidence in her. She's done a really fine job."

Barker holds an associate's degree in accounting and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Shepherd College in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

She was the chief finance officer for Martinsburg before moving to HCC.

She was HCC's director of accounting services for 10 years. Aware that former administrative services Dean Arthur Barnhart was planning to retire, she said, "After several years, I saw it as a goal, a way to advance."

She enrolled at Frostburg State University to get her master's in business administration. Taking two classes a semester at FSU's Hagerstown center, it took almost seven years to get her degree.

Barker is married and has a son Evan, 11.

It was difficult balancing family, work and school, she said.

Many of HCC's students are adults with careers and families and she can empathize with them. "I understand what a lot of them are going through," she said.

She married Bret Barker 16 years ago, but they first met in middle school. "I think we had a crush on each other back then," she said.

At home she likes making crafts and reading mystery novels. She also enjoys her husband's hobby, bass fishing.

The last year at work has been a challenge, Barker said. She had to learn the operations of several other departments, including computers and networks, printing, purchasing, human resources, the cafeteria and bookstore.

"It's been quite a learning experience," she said.

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