By Lauren Lavelle
Rider’s College of Education and Human Services recently welcomed Jason Barr as its associate dean, a newly established position in the department.
“I always knew of the good reputation Rider had and heard people talk very fondly of it,” said Barr. “I was looking to make a move and when I heard that the position was open, it sounded like a good opportunity.”
Barr began his higher education journey at the University of Hartford where he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
After graduating, Barr worked with juvenile offenders at the Hartford County Correctional Facility, a job he said took an emotional toll on him.
“I always thought it was really depressing because a lot of them enjoyed the jail,” he said. “It was very structured. They got three meals a day, they weren’t being abused, they got to go to school and some of them got to see a doctor for the first time. Most of them were like, ‘This isn’t so bad.’”
According to Barr, he wanted to be more proactive in the lives of children and, after a short stint at a children’s home, he decided to pursue a doctorate in psychology and focus on research rather than clinical practice.
“I wanted to understand how systems like our education system and our welfare system help children,” he said. “I ended up seeing higher education as a great opportunity to work with future teachers, psychologists and counselors that can really make an impact on children’s lives. Although I’m not interacting with them directly, I see it as an opportunity to really affect large groups of children.”
Now, as the first to hold the position of associate dean of Rider’s College of Education, Barr hopes to keep up the department’s highly accredited reputation through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
“CAEP is the highest level of accreditation that a college of education can have, and it shows that we have met the highest, most stringent standard for a college of education for training teachers,” he said. “We have met the highest standards for accreditation since the 1970s and it’s been continuous. The job that I was hired to do is to oversee this whole process of accreditation, so my goal is to have our application in by August after we complete a comprehensive self-study of the entire college of education.”
According to the head dean of the College of Education and Human Services, Sharon Sherman, the lengthy CAEP renewal process is not an easy one and Barr was the perfect fit for tackling the task.
“When I became dean nine years ago, leading an education school was far less complex,” she said. “This is not a one-person job anymore. Our search committee interviewed many qualified candidates, and Dean Barr rose to the top.”
Sherman highlighted his immense qualifications and painted him as an asset to the education community.
“Dean Barr is a student-centered individual who will assist our students well,” she said. “His extensive experience in graduate education will provide much-needed assistance to graduate program directors and faculty.”