Krispin Wagoner Barr – Class of 1982
Assistant Teaching Professor of Higher Education, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC

For many college students, participation in school activities outside of the classroom helps provide more opportunities for learning and a better educational experience. Krispin Wagoner Barr serves as an Assistant Teaching Professor of Higher Education at North Carolina State University, and much of the focus of her career involves an emphasis on that full college involvement.

“I am a professor who teaches graduate students who want to become administrators at colleges or universities (similar to being a principal or director of a program at a high school). The aspect I enjoy most about my job is teaching aspiring college administrators about the best practices in working with college students to support their success. Research shows that getting involved in campus life makes students more likely to be satisfied with their college experience and to go on to graduate. I know from my own personal experience that involvement in activities is enriching. I was fortunate to be able to go to college at Appalachian State University and study history there. I thought I wanted to be a journalist, so I got a job as a writer for the student newspaper and got very involved on campus in lots of student clubs and activities. I had been a majorette in the band at East Burke, so I continued as a majorette at Appalachian and also was an orientation leader and a Resident Assistant (RA) in the residence halls. I joined a sorority, a service club, and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

“Prior to joining the faculty at NC State, I worked in college and university administration for almost 30 years. Specifically, I worked in Student Affairs, which is the specialized area of university administration that manages programs and services for students for everything outside the classroom that supports their academic success - like housing and residence life, student activities, fraternity and sorority life, career services, student conduct, international student programs, new student orientation, and health and counseling services

“Some of the jobs I held previously included working as a coordinator of leadership programs and student activities at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, and Lehigh University, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. What I loved most about these jobs was working and living in two completely different parts of the country from the South where I grew up (the Midwest and the Northeast, respectively). I met people from many different cultures with different backgrounds and religious beliefs. These experiences broadened my worldview and helped me have the confidence to believe that I could work professionally anywhere. I will add that I also grew up as a huge sports fan (both college athletics and professional sports), so it was like a dream come true to go to Big 10 football games and be close enough to cities like Cincinnati and Philadelphia to regularly attend major league baseball and professional football games.

“I was also the Dean of Students at Salem College in Winston-Salem and worked in Student Affairs at UNC-Greensboro, Cedar Crest College in Allentown, PA, and Queens College (now Queens University) in Charlotte.

“The biggest challenges of my profession right now are related to learning the many ways to support students entering college from different backgrounds, since the demographics of college-going students are continuing to diversify as the population of our country grows more diverse. We also have lots of new students entering college who are ‘first-generation,’ meaning they are the first member of their family to go to college - so it is exciting to be a part of their journey! It is very rewarding to work in Student Affairs at a college and meet new students entering as first-year students who don't know what to expect, then to watch them get involved in campus life and eventually graduate and begin their careers.”

Krispin earned a BA degree in history from Appalachian State University, an MA in Higher Education Administration from The Ohio State University, and a Ph.D in Educational Research and Policy Analysis from NC State University.

“I definitely credit several teachers at East Burke for inspiring me to believe in myself academically and for giving me the confidence to go away to school and try new things. I remember learning to love learning at East Burke because I had so many great classes and excellent teachers. I especially enjoyed French class with Mr. Roy Sweezy, orchestra and band classes with Miss Kathryn Siphers, and the infamous Literary Criticism class (we called it ‘LitCrit’), rumored to be one of the toughest classes in the school, taught by Mrs. Sherron Prewitt.

“When I look back on my experiences at East Burke, I was inspired by many of my classmates who were outstanding athletes because they were establishing our reputation as a new high school in Burke County with strong sports traditions and tremendous school spirit. We were fortunate to be at East Burke in the early 1980s when it was just a few years old. We were all part of a grand experiment attending classes in a building with an innovative ‘open classroom’ design, and we were actively involved in creating new traditions and generating pride in our new school.

“I remember Alan Shuping, one of our football players, was the model for the Cavalier mascot statue that was installed inside the front entrance of the school. I also remember talented athletes like Keith Abee, who was our star point guard for basketball; Eddie Bleynat, who was the center and was recruited to play for Clemson (and who Coach K came to a game to scout for when he was a young coach at Duke); Valerie Connelly, who ran track and went to Appalachian; Susan Abee, who played softball and also went to Appalachian; and, of course, Bill Viggers, who played football at Carolina. and Paul Kiser, who played football at Wake Forest. Another great athlete was Richard Neale, who we nicknamed ‘Hollywood’ because of the spectacular catches he made and who was recruited to play football at Guilford College.

“I also remember memorizing and singing our beautiful East Burke alma mater after every football game, win or lose. When I got to grad school at The Ohio State University, I was surprised the tune of East Burke’s alma mater was also the OSU alma mater, called ‘Carmen Ohio.’ Whenever I would hear it at OSU, I would naturally think of home. The OSU band can be viewed on YouTube playing this lovely tune, Ohio State Marching Band Plays Carmen Ohio the Alma Mater at the Skull Session Oct 19, 2013.
Listen on YouTube

“I plan to continue teaching at NC State and maybe do some writing in the future. Although I originally thought I wanted to be a newspaper journalist when I was in high school and college, I now think it could be fulfilling to do some writing for scholarly journals or possibly write about higher education for popular media.

“On a related note, I would definitely be interested in talking with any East Burke students who are interested in going to college or want to learn more about opportunities to go to college and then work in higher education after they graduate!”

Published April 2021

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