Warrior for diversity leaves EC

Lyssa Beyer

One of the most vocal and vigilant voices for diversity at UW-Eau Claire announced her resignation after nearly five years on campus.

Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Development and Diversity Kimberly Barrett accepted a job as vice president of student affairs at the University of Montevallo, a public liberal arts university located 30 miles south of Birmingham, Ala. She will begin her new duties Feb. 1.

“I got into administration to make a difference,” Barrett said, making reference to the numerous advancements for diversity during her almost five-year tenure at Eau Claire.

The differences created through Barrett’s work are noticeable throughout campus, particularly in her efforts to establish the Woman’s Gender Equity Center, which provides information and acts as an outlet for women and other gender related issues.

Barrett said other additions to Eau Claire said she is proud of include the creation of a number of diversity training programs and opportunities for faculty and support staff, as well as increasing the “visibility” of the Dean of Students.

“We’ve been having more students coming in for support,” she said. “Everybody needs to be a part of (diversity).”

Another highlight of Barrett’s career at the university is mentoring program she set up for student-faculty collaborative research for low-income and minority students.

Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich applauded Barrett’s work and commitment toward increasing diversity on campus.

Recently, Levin-Stankevich released his plan to restructure the administrative hierarchy on campus, which included combining Barrett’s position with associate vice chancellor of student services position into a new vice chancellor for student affairs.

Barrett said she did not resign because of the restructuring, noting she was looking for a job with more responsibility before Levin-Stankevich made the announcement in mid-December.

Though the new position must be filled by conducting a nation-wide search, Levin-Stankevich said “she could have been a candidate for that job.”

Barrett said she is looking forward to her new position because of the increased responsibility she will have as well as the opportunity to have more interaction with students. She also said the fact the university is a public liberal arts college allows her to fulfill her commitment to both public education and liberal arts education.

Barrett said she is unsure what the future holds for diversity at Eau Claire, but said the it “needs to make strides” despite the changes made over

the years.

Levin-Stankevich had a more optimistic outlook for the future of diversity, adding that he has made diversity a priority during his tenure as chancellor.

“(Diversity) is a tough nut for us to crack in this part of the state,” he said referencing some of the projects he has worked on with Barrett as well as the “moral leadership she exercised” toward diversity.

“She did an admirable job.”