Cheryl Barnard, the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, is leaving Quinnipiac April 30 after spending 17 years in the position. She will be promoted to a new title: Dean of Students, at St. Joseph College in West Hartford.
Barnard began her career at Quinnipiac July 1, 1990 and said that during that time she has been able to watch the university evolve.
“Someone said to me the other day ‘you’ve [almost] lived through a generation of students,'” she said. “I think our students are smarter, more driven than when I first started. Admissions has gotten tougher and more students have gotten involved.”
Barnard said that the decision to leave for another university was a difficult one.
“It was a hard decision,” Barnard said. “Quinnipiac has been my home for 17 years, so it’s sort of bittersweet.” She attributes her move to a number of factors.
“It’s a promotion, it’s only 10 miles away from my house and it’s small,” Barnard said, “It’s about the size Quinnipiac was when I started.”
Barnard’s self-described passion for working with students also influenced the move. “I went into this field to work directly with students and if it wasn’t for the Orientation Leaders, I wouldn’t have much direct contact with students at all,” Barnard said.
In her current position, Barnard oversees Qunnipiac’s Orientation – her favorite part of the job.
“It’s one of the few things where I have one-on-one contact with the students and they’re high-energy leaders. It’s nice to work with the cream of the crop,” Barnard said.
Some of the students she’s worked with over the years say that she has a contagious energy for her job.
“You can tell just by talking to her that she loves her job so much and she’d do anything for any student,” sophomore orientation leader Tiffany Onorato said.
“Just the way she talked to us, you could tell she loved us,” Onorato said. “She always told us how amazing we were and how she never met a bunch of kids as awesome as us. It was good to have a constant reminder that someone was there cheering us on and giving us support.”
Not only does Barnard inspire students through the orientation program, but does so in the classroom as well.
“I see her face actually light up when she interacts with her students,” said sophomore Gemma McFarland, who had Barnard for QU 101 and also performs her work study in Student Affairs. “Cheryl has been a very influential person in my life here at Quinnipiac, and I am sad to see her go. The things she taught me in QU 101 inspired me to get involved on campus beginning my freshman year.”
In addition to Orientation, Barnard works with SHADEs (Students Helping and Advocating Diversity Education), which hosts Multicultural Mondays. Barnard also coordinates research for the division of Student Affairs and supervises Ed Kovacs, Director of the Student Center and Student Leadership Development, and Vince Contrucci, Director of Community Service.
One thing that Barnard will take with her to her new position is always making time for students. “I think it is critical for my job,” she said.
“Whoever takes over for Barnard is going to have huge shoes to fill,” Onorato said.
“I was so upset when I found out she was leaving. It was like a part of orientation was leaving Quinnipiac – part of the excitement. We’re upset but so excited for her at the same time because it’s such a great opportunity.”