St. Joseph’s Welcomes New Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Heather Barry, Ph.D., charts promising path for continued academic excellence
By Brian Harmon
Heather Barry speaking at podium during ceremony
St. Joseph’s University, New York announced the appointment of Heather Barry, Ph.D., this spring as the institution’s new provost and vice president for academic affairs (VPAA), following a national search to fill the position.

Dr. Barry officially assumes the role on July 1, after serving as interim provost for the past year.

As the chief academic officer, she will be tasked with enhancing the quality and coherence of academic programs across all three campuses, collaborating with key academic units, and leading the University’s strategic planning efforts. She will also serve as the institutional liaison for licensure and accreditation with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

St. Joseph’s President Donald R. Boomgaarden, Ph.D., noted that Dr. Barry brings over two decades of experience and an impressive background in higher education leadership to her new position.

“Leading up to this and throughout her more than two-decade tenure at St. Joseph’s, Dr. Barry has held several impressive leadership positions, including associate provost from 2021 to 2022 and assistant provost for strategic planning and assessment from 2017-2021,” he said.

“Dr. Barry has an impressive résumé of accolades, professional development, speaking engagements and publications throughout her years in higher education.

“We are lucky to have her in this capacity and I look forward to the exciting work we will do together in the coming months and years,” Dr. Boomgaarden added.

Dr. Barry has also served as the director for the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning and as an associate dean at St. Joseph’s. Her strong academic background is built on 20 years of teaching history at the University, a Ph.D. in history from Stony Brook University, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in history from Pepperdine University.

Q&A With the New Provost and VPAA

Dr. Barry headshot
Soon after her appointment, Dr. Barry — who in November was honored among Schneps Media’s Power Women of Long Island — engaged in an enlightening Q&A session, exploring her goals and plans for SJNY’s academic future.

Q. What are your top priorities and goals as University provost and VPAA?
“Developing new programs and reinvigorating current programs to meet the needs of our students is my top priority. It’s also pivotal to retain our current students. So, efforts to foster retention are more crucial than ever before.”

Q. Describe your leadership style.
“Collaborative and collegial. I like to tap into the wisdom of people around me to develop creative ways to improve our institution. I also see myself as a servant leader because I am dedicated to helping others be successful.”

Q. What sets apart St. Joseph’s from other institutions?
“Our mission is what sets us apart. We prepare students for a life characterized by integrity, intellectual rigor, spiritual depth, social responsibility and service. Providing a liberal arts education is St. Joseph’s most valuable asset, and educating prospective students about how essential it is for not only finding the right career path, but more importantly for life, is key. The University is strong because of the dedicated faculty and staff, and the variety of programs that we offer.”

Q. How do you plan to support and promote diversity, equity and inclusion within the University community?
“I co-chair the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the Mission and Identity Committee. Both are dedicated to supporting our mission and leveraging it to strengthen SJNY’s reputation and continue the mission-driven ethos established by the Sisters of St. Joseph over a century ago. It’s essential to create an environment of openness, so everyone can explore and understand diverse ideas, traditions and cultures. I will continue to promote programming, policies and curriculum that support diversity and inclusion, so that we continue to have an open environment where learning can flourish.”

Q. What measures will you implement to enhance faculty development and support professional growth?
“Our next strategic plan has several strategies to foster excellence in faculty scholarship and teaching, while enhancing student engagement and bringing faculty expertise into the classroom and beyond. Highlighting faculty achievements is an important way to enhance our standing in the community. We provide our community with a vibrant academic life and we embrace the various opportunities to engage everyone in the learning process.”

Q. How do you envision the role of technology and innovation in shaping the future of the University?
“An essential part of our new strategic plan involves implementing innovative practices necessary to prepare students for the digital future. We intentionally promote the use of innovative technology tools that support high-impact learning practices and provide the infrastructure to foster the evolving needs for teaching, learning and student success.”

Living Our Mission: The Next Century

St. Joseph’s prepares for the future with a new three-year strategic plan
By Samantha Cheyenne Miller ’13
St. Joseph’s University is planning for its next century as an integral part of the world of higher education while embarking on a new three-year strategic plan.

In order to continue to grow the University in an enterprising and aspirational way — while maintaining focus and accountability — St. Joseph’s has established six goals, providing a framework for this important initiative that sets forth the University’s mission.

yellow and grey graphic of three people
Goal 1: Growing Our Vitality
Support and maintain the enrollment necessary to sustain the vitality of the University in the face of shifting conditions and changing student needs.
graphic of graduation cap
Goal 2: Advancing Our Academics
Advance the University’s standing as a dynamic institution committed to academic excellence integrally linked to promoting a values-oriented education.
Goal 3: Engaging Our Students
Provide a student-centered, transformational experience that prepares all students for meaningful and successful lives.
Goal 4: Telling Our Story
graphic of newspaper
Enhance public awareness, understanding and visibility of the University.
Goal 5: Expanding Our Resources
Identify and obtain the necessary resources (financial, human and physical) to support the mission and goals of the University.
graphic of messaging on laptop
Goal 6: Creating Our Digital Future
Identify and implement the innovative practices necessary to position the University’s three campuses for success in the digital future.