Western Carolina University

WESTERN ANNOUNCES NEW DIRECTORS                                                                                                 

Announcement of several major administrative appointments highlighted a busy agenda for Western Carolina University's board of trustees at its quarterly meeting Friday, March 24, as the board welcomed new directors of institutional research and planning, university assessment, and sponsored research.

Raymond Barclay, formerly director of institutional research and assessment at The College of New Jersey, is Western's new director of institutional research and planning. Barclay is filling a vacancy created by the retirement of Troy Barksdale, who had served as director of university planning since 2003.

In his new role, Barclay is responsible for a department that conducts institutional research, provides institutional data and engages in institutional planning designed to improve the effectiveness of the university's decision-making and management processes. He also oversees the completion of all state and federal data reports; coordinates the development, implementation and analysis of surveys and other information; and conducts comprehensive studies on topics such as student recruitment, enrollment projections, distance learning, retention and program effectiveness.

Barclay earned his bachelor's degree in philosophy and religious studies from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and master's degree in divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. He completed graduate coursework in public policy and federalism at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy, and is wrapping up his doctorate this year in educational psychology with a focus in applied statistics at Temple University. While at The College of New Jersey, Barclay served as director of the Institute for Education Design, Evaluation and Assessment. He previously worked as a policy and planning analyst for Burlington County College, and as director of research and planning for the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation in Princeton, N.J.

Melissa Wargo, formerly director of assessment at Texas Christian University, is WCU's director of assessment, a new position at the university. Wargo is responsible for all university assessment activities at Western, serving as the campus resource on current and emerging assessment practices, curriculum assessment and program review. She works closely with university departments to help them establish assessment plans, supervises the conducting of university surveys, guides the use of assessment findings in the review of undergraduate and graduate academic programs, and supports the accreditation efforts of academic departments and programs.

Wargo earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in anthropology at the University of Texas at Arlington, and is working on her doctorate in history, also at the University of Texas. Prior to joining TCU, she was coordinator of reports and assessment at the University of Texas at Arlington and coordinator for institutional research and assessment at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City. Wargo has served as peer evaluator for the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Michelle A. Hargis, administrative compliance coordinator for the Region VII Education Service Center in Kilgore, Texas, has joined WCU as director of sponsored research. A member of the staff of the Graduate School, Hargis is responsible for working with faculty, staff and outside agencies to identify funding opportunities for research projects at Western. She serves as a mentor to faculty and staff in the development of grant proposals, and provides guidance in writing successful grant proposals. She also serves as the chief compliance officer for sponsored programs. Her first challenge is to streamline both the pre- and post-award processes to make them more efficient and faculty-friendly, said Kyle Carter, WCU provost.

Hargis earned her bachelor's degree in business administration and her master's degree in student personnel services from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma, and her doctorate of education in higher education administration from the University of Sarasota. She worked previously as director of the Office of Sponsored Programs, Research Management and Special Operations for the University of Texas Health Center and as director of the Office of Grants Administration for continuing education at Northeastern State. She has more than 20 years of pre- and post-award experience on university campuses.

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Last modified: Tuesday, April 4, 2006
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