Emeritus and Retired Faculty and Staff Association

Debra Barger


Regional & Continuing Education

Debra Barger served Regional & Continuing Education (RCE) for 30 years in a series of increasingly important positions, playing a vital role in advancing the priorities of Chico State and the North State in the process.

Barger began her career as director of extension and summer session. In her later positions as associate dean and dean of RCE, she led the way in creating grants that enabled students to attend winter and summer sessions in order to graduate in a timely manner.

Distance education has long been a hallmark of Chico State. During Barger’s tenure, she was instrumental in the conversion of the University’s innovative distance education programs from satellite to online delivery. Through Barger’s efforts, RCE also helped transform educational outreach to lifelong learners. Chico State received two $1 million endowments from the Bernard Osher Foundation in support of the University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute as well as a $1 million endowment to provide financial support to re-entry students.

“She was most meticulous and precise in her analysis of continuing education potential for proposed programs,” said former RCE Dean Ralph Meuter. “Debra was relentless in pursuing excellence and demanding academic quality.”

At President Paul Zingg’s request, Barger also spearheaded the University’s North State Initiative, a project that enumerated the many ways the University aided its service area and looked for new areas of collaboration. Chico State greatly benefited from Barger’s vision regarding the remodel of Colusa Hall. Under Barger’s leadership, RCE invested $2.8 million to revitalize the campus’s oldest building, and create a much-needed meeting space. The project emphasized harmony between the built and natural environments through the creation of the Creekside Plaza and the adjacent educational gardens between the RCE building and Big Chico Creek that feature native plants identified by signage in the Mechoopda language.

Barger’s civic engagement includes serving the Butte County chapter of the League of Women Voters for nearly 20 years, currently as president. She previously served as treasurer for the KIXE TV Board of Directors and continues to pitch at pledge drives for North State Public Radio.

Barger completed her baccalaureate degree at Smith College and graduate degree at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin.

Portrait of Debra Barger