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Knox College Announces New Vice President for Student Development

MarQuita Barker, Ed.D., Vice President for Student Development, Knox College

MarQuita D. Barker, Ed.D., a highly accomplished educational professional with a track record of developing high-impact programs and services to advance student learning, development, and success, has accepted the position of Knox College vice president for student development. She will start in her new role at Knox on Monday, January 10, 2022.

A native of Virginia, MarQuita earned her B.S. in communications and M.S. in higher education administration from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. She also earned her M.B.A. from Elon University in Elon, North Carolina, and earned her Ed.D. in leadership and learning in organizations from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. MarQuita wrote her doctoral research on “Residential Colleges and Their Impact on Students’ Sense of Belonging.” She is currently assistant dean of campus life/director of residence life at Elon, a highly-ranked private liberal arts institution with a strong commitment to experiential learning and global engagement.

“MarQuita will be an innovative, inclusive, and engaging leader for the Student Development division at Knox College,” said Knox President Andy McGadney. “I am absolutely delighted that she has chosen Knox as the best institution for her to continue her already successful career and am confident that our students and all other members of the campus community will appreciate her talent and skill as much as I already do. I want to give a huge thanks to the search committee and the Knox community for their work to select our new vice president for student development.”

In her current role at Elon, MarQuita leads the university’s academic-residential partnerships to create a premier student residential experience. She manages and strategically plans all aspects of an extensive program of residence life functions for 4,100 students, facilitates the transition from on- to off-campus living, and directs the recruitment and development of a diverse staff of more than 160. She developed nationally-recognized student-centered programs, conferences, and learning communities, in addition to other university-wide residential campus initiatives that have positively impacted residential students at Elon. Previously, MarQuita was senior associate director of campus life, associate director of resident life operations, and assistant director in the office of residence life and multicultural center at Elon.

“The opportunity to lead student development for Knox was irresistible, given the mission of the College and the talented people leading, teaching, and learning at the College,” said Barker. “I look forward to working across the campus community to support moving Knox forward and ensuring that the student development division is serving Knox students and the institution as effectively as possible.”

Previously, MarQuita was senior associate director of residence life at Elon, where she built a more inclusive housing selection system for new and returning students, eliminated equity gaps, improved customer service by updating procedures for hiring and training front office employees, and enhanced business processes for the entire department. She was also associate director of resident life operations, where she led a number of improvements, including organizing an advisory group of parents and students that aided in departmental decision making; and assistant director in the office of residence life and multicultural center where she fostered a safe and healthy atmosphere of diversity and inclusion for 760 students within suite-style and apartment living residential communities.

The search committee conducted an extensive and thorough search, working with C.V. O’Boyle, LLC. The search was chaired by Philip Sidney Post Professor of Chemistry Mary Crawford ’89. Members of the committee were: Sophia Bowley ’22, secretary of the Knox College Honor Board; Tianna Cervantez ’06, executive director, diversity, equity and inclusion; Amy Chambers, assistant vice president of human resources; Mujtaba Hassan ’22, Student Senate president; Daniella Irle, director of athletics; Chad Simpson, associate professor and chair of the English department; and Paul Steenis ’85, vice president for enrollment and dean of admission.

MarQuita will be joined in Galesburg by her husband, Robert, and their two children, Isley and Ian.

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Printed on Saturday, June 15, 2024