Dr. Barbara Bales serves as the Director of PK-20 Strategic Initiatives and Educational Programs in the UW System Administration Office of Enrollment & Student Success. She brings stakeholder partners together to recommend, plan, and develop strategic policies and programs to build an equitable and seamless sequence of PK-20 educational opportunities for Wisconsin students. She conducts research that examines relationships among teacher education policies, preparation programs, teacher professional development, and students' opportunities to learn, particularly among those historically underserved. The findings offer a research base from which to recommend and execute strategic initiatives and innovations to address the state’s PK-20 equity gaps in educational opportunity and achievement. She also supports the development and implementation of academic programs across their lifespan on select campuses.
She also holds an Associate Professor position at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, where she served as Department Chair, Director of Graduate Programs, and Director of the Center for New and Professional Educators. She is active in the World Educational Research Association, American Educational Research Association, and American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. She also served on the Editorial Boards of Urban Education and The Journal of Urban Teaching, Learning, and Research.
She earned a Ph.D. and M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction at UW-Madison, each with a minor in Educational Policy. She received a B.S. in Education from the State University of New York College at Cortland. Other experiences include 18 years in higher education; 17 years as a middle school health and science teacher in Syracuse, New York, and Bettendorf, Iowa; multiple summers with Upward Bound and the UW-Madison P.E.O.P.L.E. programs; as well as many innovative professional development and licensing programs for teachers and school administrators.