Kathleen H Barnes – A Passionate Leader In The Student-Centered Education System

3 min


An effective education system can prove to be vital to the success of students and society as a whole. As societies evolve, they work on upgrading all the basic pillars that hold it up, and education needs special care and attention. As education is one of the main pillars that hold up a society, any level of indifference shown to education can spell disaster for that society. There’ve been instances in history where once a society stopped developing or becoming indifferent to the needs of education, a downfall for that society became inevitable and even imminent. The pages of history are filled with the rise and fall of entire civilizations, just on the basis of attention or attention to education, depending on the case. In other cases, education that became diluted with legends and myths instead of scientific research and facts, societies stopped their progression, which led to actual loss of knowledge, and those societies eventually began their downward spiral. And when societies or even whole civilizations become rigid in their ways and do not accept the adoption of new knowledge to further the education of their citizens, they stop their development and collapse after reaching a certain point. 

So, it goes without saying that education, which is focused on imparting knowledge based on sound concepts to the members of the society, is an important aspect of the development and growth of that society. Another important aspect is to find better ways to impart knowledge. The rigidity discussed earlier can be relevant in this context as well. If a better way can be found to spread education, then the society as a whole has to adopt that system, rather than staying indifferent to the newer and better way to teach. The same can be said about the widely accepted, contemporary education system. The current education system, colloquially called the teacher-centered system or the ‘sage on the stage’ system, has existed for a long time. Although it has given us many leaders in all fields of society, it isn’t exactly without its own flaws. A more recent method that is gaining popularity on the merit of its ability to impart knowledge is called the student-centered education system or the ‘guide on the side’ system. This system, also called the learner-centered system, is defined as a combination of methods that impart knowledge to students by shifting the focus to the student rather than the teacher. There are many educators today who are championing the cause of the student-centered education system. One such educator who remains involved in the movement to implement this system universally is Kathleen H Barnes.

Born on October 11, 1952, in Springfield, Massachusetts, Kathleen “Katie” Hildreth Barnes is an American pediatric physical therapist and a university administrator with a vast background in the education system. Kathleen spent her early years in Monson, Massachusetts, and when she turned ten years old in 1962, her family relocated to Old Saybrook, Connecticut. There, she attended the Old Saybrook Senior High School, and consequently, she earned her A.A. in liberal arts from Endicott College, Beverly, Massachusetts. As a student at Endicott College, Kathleen was involved in student leadership. Later on, Kathleen went on and earned her B.S. in Physical Therapy from Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Connecticut, where she continued her student engagement and leadership activities in various student clubs and organizations. Upon graduation from Quinnipiac University as a physical therapist, Kathleen embarked on a journey in physical therapy. Later in her career, Kathleen received her M.S. in Physical Therapy from the University of Indianapolis and her Ph.D. from the Union Institute & University, Cincinnati, Ohio, in Arts and Sciences.

Earlier in her career, she was licensed to practice in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Providence Plantations. She has been involved with the state chapters of the American Physical Therapy Association since graduation and the neuro-development treatment therapist group. She was very active in the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America and held several leadership positions within the organization between 1988 and 2004. She was an early pioneer of Assistive Technology for children. Appointed by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Kathleen served as a member and then chair of the Board of Allied Health Professions from 2001 to 2010, following her passion for ethical clinical practice. Her work in regulations and ethics led her to become a member of the Federation of State Boards in Physical Therapy, where she was active from 2002 to 2011 in many positions. The last position that Kathleen held as a member of the Federation of State Boards in Physical Therapy was the Chair of the Legislative and Ethics Committee. After having a successful career as a pediatric physical therapist at Meeting Street School, in Providence, Rhode Island, North Shore Consortium in Beverly, Massachusetts, and CAST, now located in Wakefield, Massachusetts, Kathleen entered the world of higher education at Endicott College in January 1993, a very diverse career path, including teaching and advising. Kathleen spent twenty-eight years at Endicott College, where she began as the Academic Coordinator for Clinical Education for the Physical Therapist Assistant Program. Later she became the Director of the Program, and leadership roles followed that position in the School of Arts and Sciences and The Division of Academic Success. During the last three years of her career at the Endicott College, Kathleen was the Senior Vice President, Interim President, and Interim Provost. Kathleen was the sixth President of Endicott College.

Kathleen is currently licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Maine. She is also a current member of the Registry, the Gold Standard for Interim Placements in Higher Education.

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