Beth Barnes

Special Assistant to the President, Office of the President 2014 Womens History Month

What is your current job title and responsibilities (please make sure we know your College, Department, etc.)?
Special Assistant to the President
Vice President Emerita
Office of the President
I retired in 2008 and returned to the university in January of 2013 to handle special projects for President Hitt.  At the moment, I am the lead on the university’s application for the 2015 Carnegie Community Engagement Award, the chair of the university’s committee on our graduates’ preparation and employability, and the university’s representative to the University Alliance, a consortium of eleven universities who seek, among other things, to increase the admission and success rates of low income students.

What is your history at UCF? (past job titles, responsibilities)
I was a charter faculty member in the Department of English where I taught freshman composition, British and American literature surveys, the English novel, eighteenth century British literature, and one of my favorite courses, Paperbacks and Popcorn, a study of film adaptations of literary works.  Over the years, I served as Director of Freshman Composition, Coordinator of Graduate Studies in English, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Faculty Assistant to the President, Chief of Staff in the Office of the President, Vice President and Chief of Staff in the Office of the President, and now Vice President Emerita and Special Assistant to the President.

What is your favorite UCF memory?
The Board of Governors’ meeting in which the Governors approved the establishment of the UCF College of Medicine.

If you could change one thing at UCF, what would it be? ($ and time no object)
I would increase the support we offer to graduate students so that we could attract the best and brightest in a number of targeted areas, including areas in the humanities.   AND I would field UCF men’s and women’s triathlon teams now that triathlon has been approved as an NCAA and Olympic sport.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
Bloom where you are planted.

What is your favorite restaurant or food?
Thai, French, and Southern.  Jestine’s in Charleston.

If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be and why?
The swimming pool at the Recreation and Wellness Center.  I have taught many, many hours of swimming lessons there.

If you could have lunch with anyone at UCF (who you do not normally eat lunch with), who would you choose and why?
Julee Waldrop.  I admire her intelligence, her athleticism, and her personality.

Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
Three people.  Charlie Millican and Charlie Micarelli, who are both gone now. They gave me my start at UCF and believed in me.  John Hitt, who has made a major difference in my life.

Name and describe a teacher or researcher from your past who truly inspired you and why.
Joseph Bentley was a professor of English at the University of South Florida when I was working on my bachelor’s and master’s degrees there.  Everyone was afraid of him, but for some reason, I was not. He was not really so formidable. I found him to be an inspiring teacher. He was brilliant, had an acerbic wit, was something of a literary snob, and yet was willing to work with me and my ideas.

What undergraduate or graduate class/program/experience inspired you the most and why?
A class in Boswell and Johnson taught by Robert Haig at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill convinced me of the area of concentration for my PhD.  I had been wavering between British lit and the same time period in American lit. Haig had such a dry wit that we would suddenly find ourselves laughing at something he had said five minutes before, and he had a compelling teaching style–after hearing his version of the discovery of the Boswell papers at Malahide Castle, I knew I was a goner for Restoration and eighteenth century British literature.  And, Tristram Shandy had something to do with that, too.


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Contact Us

Linda Walters, Director of the UCF Center for Success of Women Faculty

Fran Ragsdale, Administrative Assistant

Phone: 407-823-4240

Mailing Address
Center for Success of Women Faculty
University of Central Florida
P.O. Box 160955
Orlando, FL 32816-0955

Physical Address
4000 Central Florida Blvd. Orlando, FL 32816

Internal Mail (UCF)
Center for Success of Women Faculty
CL1 Room 207