Barkley to lead newly created position in academic, student affairs at JWCC

Barkley, Shelley

Shelley Barkley | Photo courtesy of John Wood Community College

QUINCY — Shelley Barkley is the new vice president for academic and student affairs at John Wood Community College. Her position combines the areas of instruction and student services as part of a new, streamlined approach for JWCC. 

In a press release, JWCC president Dr. Bryan Renfro said, “Combining instruction and student services into one service area enhances classroom and support services to improve the student experience. It streamlines operations, but more importantly it builds a team of professionals focusing on the student to ensure they choose the right career path and get the individualized support they need to achieve their hopes and dreams.”

After working with faculty and staff in student services and instruction, Renfro created the position as part of JWCC’s entry into the national Guided Pathways and Caring Campus movements, which focus on helping students identify career pathways as early as possible and tailoring course selection, course content and practical experiences to better prepare and connect students for their chosen careers.

In addition to providing more intentional career pathway instruction, JWCC recently began the Caring Campus initiative to help identify and remove barriers students face when completing a college credential, such as transportation, childcare, food insecurity and mental health concerns.

“When this position was created, we knew it would take a special leader to combine instruction and student services,” Renfro said. “We are extremely fortunate to have a professional like Dr. Barkley leading this group. She has dedicated her career to the community college mission and in a few short months has already demonstrated a unique capability to connect with faculty, student services and our students through her empathy, research and wisdom.”

Barkley has more than 20 years of instructional and administrative experience in Illinois community colleges. She previously served as dean of general education, transfer programs, academic support services, distance education, and dual credit for Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon.

Before that role, Barkley served as assistant dean of academics for Sauk Valley and served as an assistant professor of psychology. In addition to her roles at Sauk Valley, Barkley was an adjunct instructor of psychology for Kishwaukee College in Malta.

“It is truly an honor to join the John Wood Community College family and lead this incredible group of professionals dedicated to our students,” Barkley shared. “I am confident that combining instruction and student affairs will further benefit students, our workforce and our community.  Being part of the pathways movement is very exciting because it is all about helping students explore, choose and complete programs efficiently and affordably that align with their future career.

“While we are at the beginning of our journey, so many pieces are already in place that make the future very bright. John Wood is already one of the top community colleges in the country, and I will do all I can to make it even better.”

Barkley has served on statewide and community committees, including the Illinois Community College Systems Foundation, Illinois Council for Community College Administrators and United Way of Lee County. She holds a doctorate in community college leadership from Ferris State University, a master of science in applied family and child studies and bachelor of science in family and individual development from Northern Illinois University, and a general education core curriculum credential from Joliet Junior College.

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