Barta named interim dean of health sciences and human ecology

Dr. James Barta, currently serving as associate professor in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership at Utah State University, will be Bemidji State University’s interim dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Ecology, beginning Aug. 1.

Barta has spent the last two years helping establish a teacher education program at Utah State University – Eastern in Blandin, Utah. The program is focused primarily on developing American Indian teachers, working with under-represented communities to recruit students and to develop programs intended to further diversify Utah’s population of teachers.

He also is an adjunct member of the graduate faculty at the University of Alabama, where he will be teaching in an international mathematics education program until December of 2015.

“I am very excited to accept the position of interim dean of health sciences and human ecology at Bemidji State,” Barta said. “As an educator with more than 30 years of experience at virtually every level of education, from early childhood to doctoral, I intend to provide appropriate leadership for the university and serve as a member of an outstanding team that will move the university forward.”

Barta got his start in higher education as an assistant professor of early childhood education and reading at Georgia Southern University, where he spent four years before joining the faculty at Utah State-Eastern. There, he has been an assistant and associate professor in the College of Education and Human Services and associate department head for Utah State’s regional campus and distance education programs in Salt Lake City. He also spent one year on a sponsored sabbatical as a guest professor in the Office of First Nation and Inuit Education at McGill University/Concordia University, and also taught math education in the University of Quebec’s Department of Teaching and Learning.

“Dr. Barta has extensive experience in teacher preparation, curriculum, pedagogy, accreditation, global education and distance learning,” said Dr. Martin Tadlock, Bemidji State’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. “He also is nationally recognized for his work in mathematics. Jim is approachable and collaborative, and he is a good fit for where we are going as a university.”

He has been on the leadership boards of three national mathematics organizations, three editorial panels and a number of university programs. He also provides leadership for HELPS International, working to provide health care, education, community and economic development and agricultural innovations in Guatemala. He has developed an international reputation in ethnomathematics, which studies the relationship between culture and mathematics. His research focuses on the mathematics of indigenous cultures and communities.

Barta has a bachelor’s degree in industrial science education from Colorado State University, a master’s degree in learning disabilities and emotional behavior disorders from the University of Northern Colorado and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction in early childhood education from the University of Oregon.