Former Director of Residence Life Heidi LeCount departed from Meredith College last semester after almost 21 years. In a statement to Residence Life staff, LeCount explained that she was leaving for a position as a full-time counselor in hopes of becoming a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor. Now taking on the role of Director of Residence Life is Carrie Barnhart.
Barnhart began her position in mid-July. Prior to coming to Meredith, she worked as the Residence Life director at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her experience in this field has given her many ideas to bring to Meredith’s campus, but Barnhart hopes to make a connection with Meredith community members first. “I think it is really important to get to know the Meredith community, Residence Life and Meredith students’ unique needs and concerns before implementing any changes to ensure they are best suited for our community,” she explained.
One important aspect of Meredith that Barnhart hopes to engage with is the ongoing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. “I hope to be a strong advocate by continuing to educate myself, listening to the wonderful student and staff advocates on campus and considering DEI in all decisions, policies and processes,” she said. Barnhart was able to meet students who have engaged in DEI work during an interview for her current position. “I was very impressed by their passion, advocacy for DEI and sense of community,” she stated, explaining that she hopes to meet more students like them in the future.
With Barnhart’s top Strengths — Arranger, Adaptability, Empathy, Consistency and Relator — she hopes “to engage with students by meeting them in their spaces, whether that is in the Residence Halls, the Oaks, Belk Dining Hall or at campus events.”
Some might have seen Barnhart during the summer in the Oaks or during freshman move-in. A fun fact about Barnhart is that she has a dog named Kya who passed the Therapy Dog International Test. “She is a small goldendoodle who loves college students,” Barnhart shared, and said Kya is looking forward to meeting people on campus.
As the semester progresses with COVID-19 regulations in place, Barnhart wants students to know that Residence Life is “continually reviewing Community Standards for all students to continue to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.” She said, “I hope students and staff will continue to come together to keep the Meredith community safe and healthy. I am looking forward to getting to know students and I am excited for my first semester at [Meredith College]!”
By Jeanine Carryl, Staff Writer, and Aminah Jenkins, Associate Editor