Regional executive dean Barton retires after 32 years of service

Rebecca Odell

Shirley Barton will pack her belongings and leave her corner office in the Michael Schwartz Center on June 30.

Barton, who served as executive dean for regional campuses for seven years, is retiring after 32 years of service to Kent State University.

“She was delightful to work with,” said Gay Lindsay, assistant to the executive dean for regional campuses. “She is very structured, very disciplined and finishes any tasks handed to her.”

Barton became acquainted with Kent State in 1964 when she was pursuing her master’s degree in business education.

She returned to Kent when she accepted a faculty position at Tuscarawas Campus in 1976. She taught at the campus for 13 years before she was named interim director for two-year programs in 1989.

Barton said transitioning from her role as a teacher to administrator was unexpected.

“I love teaching and never thought I would leave the classroom,” Barton said. “This was an unexpected aspect of my career.”

Barton worked as assistant dean of academic and student services before she advanced to dean of academic and student services. She was promoted to executive dean for regional campuses in 2001.

Tuscarawas Dean Gregory Andrews said he had the opportunity to work with Barton for more than 20 years.

Ashtabula Dean Susan Stocker said she worked closely with Barton when she accepted a position at Kent in 1990, and Barton played an instrumental part in her promotion to dean.

“Dr. Barton is very professional and an advocate for the regional campuses,” Stocker said. “I will miss working with her.”

Barton said she will not miss the long meetings she attended over the years, but she will miss the relationships she developed with administration and staff.

Barton said she learned in her years as executive dean the importance of working collaboratively and cooperatively with others.

“We accomplish little by ourselves,” Barton said.

Barton said she plans to pursue personal goals after retirement, including traveling domestically and internationally and spending time with her family.

Lindsay, who worked with Barton for all seven years she was executive dean, said Barton’s abilities as an administrator would be missed.

“She has been an excellent leader,” Lindsay said.

Contact regional campuses reporter Rebecca Odell at [email protected].