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Dr. MarQuita Barker


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Vice President for Student Development Dr. MarQuita Barker Reflects on Her First 90 Days at Knox College

Dr. MarQuita Barker

Dr. MarQuita Barker joined Knox College in January 2022 as the College's new vice president for student development. Here, she reflects upon her first three months leading the division and her work to support Knox students.

What was it like for you to move to Galesburg from North Carolina in the winter time?

Everyone gave me the raised eyebrow when I said I was moving to Illinois in the middle of winter. We arrived in Galesburg on December 31 and there was a heavy snowstorm on January 1. Being from the south, we had never seen that much snow! But, my family loved it and we are adjusting well to Galesburg.

What have your first 90 days at Knox been like? What have you been doing?

My first 90 days at Knox have been filled with meetings, listening sessions, and impromptu conversations about where the College is and where we need to go.

What has stood out to you?

I've been so impressed with the community of faculty, staff, students, and alumni who genuinely care about each other and want the College to succeed on all levels.

What do you want to do next?

As the Vice President for Student Development, I have many goals and am eager to collaborate with the community as we plan for what a Knox education and student success look like in the years to come. I, like other leaders, have stepped into this new role with passion and zeal, wanting to make real change so students can thrive.

What are your priorities for Knox students?

Student health and wellness has always been at the forefront of my work. Students need to be healthy in foundational ways by ensuring they are taking care of their physical well-being. Sleeping, eating, and exercising can all make a difference in our day to day lives. It is my belief that students can't focus on their academic success if they are worried about their physical comfort. Mental health and well-being have been salient topics for college campuses for years, and the past two years have amplified those concerns. Many of the initiatives I will dedicate my time to over the next year will have a strong emphasis on holistic community well-being.

What are you most hopeful for?

As we approach the end of this academic year, I am hopeful that students can regroup and become revitalized.

What do you want the College community to know about you?

I view the work we do in Student Development as crucial to student success. I will always commit to partnering with students, their families, faculty, etc to ensure the best possible outcomes.

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Printed on Friday, May 20, 2022