Columbia, MO – Dr. Michael Barger has been named dean of the School of Health Sciences at Stephens College. He will begin his duties this summer after serving as an associate professor in the Biology program since 2021. Dr. Barger replaces Dr. Dan Kissinger, Director of Counseling, who served as interim dean.

Dr. Barger earned his Ph.D. in Ecology and Parasitology from Wake Forest University. His research interests include parasite communities, parasite influence on host behavior, and biodiversity analytics. He has published nearly sixty original research articles, co-authored several book chapters and reviews, and served in leadership positions in his discipline. His research lab has been funded by the National Science Foundation, supporting the advancement of undergraduate students in research-based careers.

Before joining Stephens, Dr. Barger served in faculty roles at Westminster College and Peru State College.

“Michael’s professionalism and work ethic will provide the School of Health Sciences with a dedicated leader who is devoted to making our programs and our students extraordinary in their pursuit of excellence,” said Dr. Leslie Willey, Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Through the School of Health Sciences, Stephens College offers eight undergraduate and graduate academic programs that prepare outstanding professionals to serve as leaders in clinical and research settings. Programs include a three-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in partnership with Boone Health; a Health Sciences degree to prepare undergraduate students for medical, veterinary, and research-focused graduate programs; and a Master of Physician Assistant Studies program, among others. Starting in fall 2024, Stephens College will partner with the University of Missouri to create Women in STEM Research at Stephens College (WiSRsc), a biomedical research program for Stephens undergraduates, especially those interested in veterinary health careers.

In February, Stephens College received a $12.5 million five-year pledge from the Bill and Doris Scharpf Foundation supporting the School of Health Sciences that automatically renews every five years so long as the College meets basic mission and financial requirements. The College will name its School of Health Sciences in Doris Spiegelberg’s honor. Doris Spiegelberg Scharpf attended Stephens College from 1940 to 1942.

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