When Joe Barrientos competed in the Honolulu marathon he hit a wall at mile 22 and had cramps so bad they forced him to recover at an emergency checkpoint. Barrientos, North’s Vice President of Student Development Services, had a choice then: he could stop the race or finish. He decided to finish, and the lesson he learned that day helped prepare him for his position at North.
A native of Maui, Hawaii, Barrientos is a product of the community college system. He sat down with TrueNorth to share what he likes about his job, what he does when he’s not working and his greatest achievement.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Having the ability to develop relationships and partnerships with staff and faculty to help students succeed is an incredibly rewarding part of the job.
What is the first thing you do when you arrive to work?
I turn my computer on, check my calendar, and look at what I have to do for the day. Checking my calendar allows me to figure out how I am going to pace my day, and how I am going to allocate my time and energy throughout the day.
How many times a day do you check your email?
I try to limit myself to 3 to 4 times a day. My phone is programmed to make different notification noises depending on who is emailing me.
What is your favorite part about North Seattle College?
My favorite part has been working with the leadership at the college. I have had strong support from the many different leaders on our campus community and from the staff in the Student Development Services.
What does the Vice President of Student Development do?
I work with different departments that impact students outside of the classroom on our campus. My “Umbrella” is academic advising and the support services for the students.
What do the other Vice Presidents do?
Kristen Jones is the VP of instruction. She is in charge of working with and hiring faculty. She also works with the different deans on campus to coordinate instruction.
Andréa Johnson is the VP of Administration, and is in charge of the business operations of the institution. She is also in charge of safety and security on our campus.
What is your greatest achievement?
I ran the Honolulu marathon! Running the marathon taught me that our minds are incredibly powerful, and that even if your body says “no” your mind can push you through. I hit a wall at about 22 miles in and had cramps and had to sit at an emergency checkpoint for about 30 minutes. The officer offered to drive me the rest of the way to the finish line and told me that I should still be proud of 22 miles. But I decided that I wanted to finish the marathon on my own. Running the marathon helped prepare me for my position at NSC and complete my doctorate at Seattle University, in Educational Leadership. It has taught me to look at different changes and embrace challenges.
What is your leadership experience?
My leadership experience ranges in the realm of higher education. My first leadership position was at South Seattle College. I was an academic advisor that assisted students in transferring to four year universities. After that I was offered a position at Seattle University as the associate director of Career Development Center at SU. This position assisted students that had four year degrees with furthering their education or transitioning into the workforce. I had the chance to head back home when I accepted a position at Hawaii Pacific University as the Director of Career Advancement, and more importantly it allowed me to gain more leadership experience. I held this position for two years and wanted to advance my career towards administrative services, so that I could reach a broader student base, have more of an impact, and continue leadership skills. I made this known to my boss, and was offered a position as the Dean of Academic Advising at HPU shortly afterwards.
Do you have a favorite committee you attend?
I am on a task force with the Seattle Central President, Sheila Edwards Lange, and a South Seattle College representative. The taskforce is looking at the current enrollment process of the three colleges, and is looking to see if we can make it more consistent throughout the institutions, and hopefully raise our enrollment.
Outside of work what do you enjoy spending your time doing?
I enjoy cooking.
If it was raining and you had a nice day what would you cook?
One of my favorite comfort foods is Arroz caldo, which is a Filipino dish. It is a dish with a lot of ginger, chicken, and rice.