As Dr. David Barnes takes the helm at Grace University, he is positioned personally and professionally to lead the University to the next level. After a year-long national search, Dr. Barnes was selected by the Board of Trustees because of his strong Christian character, proven ability to lead strong teams, and his successful execution of proactive plans to build academic institutions.
“We are excited to have someone of Dr. Barnes’s caliber leading the University. He has the knowledge and experience to build on our mission and enhance our historic strengths to meet the needs of today’s Christian students,” said Mike Whealy, Chairman, Board of Trustees.
With 25 years of practical experience in ministry, business, teaching, and administration, Dr. Barnes has proven his leadership skills. His education and career have prepared him for the Christian servant-leader model that is the vital center of Grace University.
“The faculty and staff have worked hard with the Trustees to build Grace University into a strong, stable institution,” said Curt Hofer, Search Committee Chairman, and Board of Trustees. “We are pleased that Dr. Barnes is up to the challenge of taking the University to the next level.”
Dr. Barnes is coming to Omaha after serving at the Phoenix, Arizona, site of Ottawa University (OU) based in Ottawa, Kansas. While at OU, Dr. Barnes gained a reputation for being skilled in strategic planning, the accreditation process, community relations, and undergraduate and graduate program development. He used his experience working in faith, business, and academic communities to increase enrollment and revenue.
“What I look forward to at Grace University is getting to know those already serving at Grace, students, and constituents; to join in with what God is doing and to add my gifts and abilities to God’s purposes for the coming days. Isabel, Noah, Lucas, and I are thrilled to follow God’s call to join the Grace family,” said Dr. Barnes.
His most recent position at OU was Dean for the New School of Education where he was tasked with building a nationally recognized teacher education program with bachelor’s and master’s degrees. In addition, he has been responsible for launching new academic programs, expanding revenue, increasing awareness of the school within the community, enhancing facilities, increasing enrollment, and expanding the donor base.
While at OU, Dr. Barnes held the titles of Professor of Education, Provost, Vice President for Adult and Professional Studies, and Vice President for Enrollment Management. Through these positions, Dr. Barnes gained experience in marketing, personnel management, and program development. Prior to working with OU, Dr. Barnes served at Arizona Christian University in Phoenix as the Executive Vice President and he was the Founding Dean in the School of Adult Learning. He also served as the Associate Vice President for Adult Programs at Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky, where he oversaw the development and management of accelerated programs for nontraditional students.
Dr. Barnes’s academic degrees provide a solid mix of biblical studies and professional studies across disciplines. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Mars Hill College, Master of Divinity in Christian Education from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and his Doctor of Education from Spalding University.
Accompanying Dr. Barnes to Omaha are his wife Isabel and their sons, Noah and Lucas. Dr. Barnes and his family are looking forward to relocating to the Metro Omaha community and serving the Lord as the next President of Grace University.