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Pamela Barnett

Senior Fellow; Fellow, Best Teachers Institute

Pamela E. Barnett’s career and research in higher education have focused on advancing diverse student bodies, faculties, and curricula. She served most recently as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Distinguished Professor of English at Trinity Washington University in Washington, DC.  One of the few remaining women’s colleges, Trinity enrolls a student body that is majority Pell grant eligible, first-generation-to-college and underrepresented minority. As Dean, Pamela measurably increased first-to-second year persistence, retention, and graduation. In her previous role as Associate Vice Provost and Director of the Teaching and Learning Center at Temple University, Pamela brought the research on learning and best practices in higher education to support the university’s academic portfolio. Over the last ten years, she has worked collaboratively across sectors to bridge gaps between public high schools, community colleges and 4 year institutions, both public and private.

Pamela began her career as a professor of English and African-American Studies at the University of South Carolina where she was named an Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 2003. In South Carolina, she developed her first community based learning opportunities; students in a course on civil rights and black nationalism engaged in voter registration and reflected on voting rights and voter suppression in both historic and contemporary contexts. At Temple and Trinity she created programs and secured resources to support faculty to develop community based learning opportunities across disciplines. 

Her earlier writings focused on the literature of political and social liberation in the 1960s and 70s, while her more recent intellectual work aims to advance diversity and inclusion in higher education. She has also written about motivation for teaching in higher education, online teaching and advancing organizational change. As plenary speaker at the 2015 Lilly International Conference on College and University Teaching-Bethesda, she gave an address titled "How Good Teaching Can Change the World.”

Pamela is a graduate of Barnard College (B.A.) and Emory University (Ph.D.). In 2010, she earned a certificate in Diversity Leadership at Temple University which has deeply informed her work as a teacher and academic leader. She is a Fellow of the Best Teachers Institute and has consulted with higher education leadership teams on promoting diversity, managing conflict, and facilitating intergroup dialogue at all institutional levels. Pamela is an active member of Friends of Nebinger Elementary, her neighborhood public school. 

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Contact Information

Fels Institute of Government
University of Pennsylvania
3814 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 898-2600
Fax: (215) 746-2829

felsinstitute@sas.upenn.edu