Trish Barefield

Trish Barefield

Associate Director – Disability Resource Center & University Testing Services

Restorative – Strategic – Learner – Intellection – Input

Trish was nominated by a colleague, who offered the following:

I nominate Trish Barefield, Associate Director of the Disability Resource Center and University Testing Services. Trish assumed a leadership role in UTS a month before the pandemic. She and her team were able to pivot thanks to creativity and collaboration to provide a seamless transition to online assessment allowing students to complete their entrance exams and meet graduation requirements. Trish is dedicated to the mission and success of her departments, the division and the University.

Are you from Georgia? If not, where are you from? (i.e., where do you call “home”?)

I grew up in Lexington, Michigan on the shore of Lake Huron and attended Central Michigan University before moving to Athens with my spouse (who is from Georgia).

How long have you worked at UGA?

I started in July 2012, so almost a decade!

What’s your favorite UGA tradition?

I love the energy of orientation and graduation: both bring families to campus and mark major transitions for our students.

What does a “day in the life” look like for you at work?

The areas I work in are very seasonal and unpredictable. UTS is busiest in the summer and around graduation and various application deadlines. Alternative text is busiest at the beginning of the semester preparing materials for new classes. Accommodated testing is busiest during midterms and finals. We all help each other during the busy seasons, and my attention shifts to wherever it’s needed most. And, of course, students and customers can have an issue at any time that supersedes the other things going on.

What are three things you love most about your job?

  • I love the complex issues that come up in disability services. We have a great staff who can work through seemingly impossible challenges to make sure a student has full access to course content.
  • My teams are dedicated to our work, and that is a pleasure to be around each day.
  • More superficially, my office has great windows: a great view and natural light.

Who do you look up to/ admire?

The faculty that I am studying under in the Mary Frances Early College of Education. They are so accomplished and simultaneously approachable and kind. I aspire to be like them.

What are your hobbies or favorite things to do for fun?

I have too many hobbies considering I work full-time and am working on my PhD. I enjoy gardening, cooking, yoga, running, creating visual art, playing video games, and I’m learning how to play guitar.

What might be something that you would like other staff to know about your job?

I think staff should be more aware of how interconnected UTS is with partners across campus. We offer standardized exams through our Prometric lab, but a major aspect of what we do is in partnership with academic departments for placement, application to high-demand majors, or graduation. We’re a hub that sees students at the major transition points of their academic journey, and I’m proud of the atmosphere we’ve created for testers.

What might be some ways that staff could collaborate or partner with you?

I’m happy to work with other departments on accessibility training and making more connections to UTS in general.

What advice would you have for new staff joining UGA Student Affairs?

Making connections and gaining an understanding of the interconnected pieces of the university is important.

What is your favorite spot on campus or in Athens?

I enjoy walking around campus, Normaltown, Boulevard, and Cobbham, especially in the spring. Coming from a place where the snow doesn’t melt until April (or May), I take full advantage of Athens’ weather.

What is one question you wished we asked and what is the answer?

What are your academic interests?

I’m focusing on adult education, organizational development, and qualitative research methods. Specifically, I’m researching future directions for graduate instruction and ways to keep higher education relevant in our rapidly changing society.

What is the coolest thing you have ever done and why?

Hiking a mountain in Kyoto [Japan] where the whole path was under thousands of torii (bright orange gates).

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