BREAKING: Nicole Barco, Honors Program director, announces decision to step down

Nicole Sparling Barco (Courtesy Photo | Central Michigan University)

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story will be updated as more information becomes available. 

Central Michigan University Communications announced in a press release that Director of the CMU Honors Program Nicole Barco is stepping down from her position.

Chairperson of the Honors Council Patty Williamson will be the interim director of the program.

Executive Director of University Communications, Ari Harris, said Barco will return to her research and teach English Language and Literature, starting Aug. 16.

"Mentoring students has always been one of my favorite parts of working in higher education, and I have enjoyed working with each of you during my tenure in the role," Barco said in an email to the Honors community. "Your passion and enthusiasm for your studies has been uplifting and inspiring. I feel honored to have had the opportunity to play a role in your journeys and I am excited to see what you will do as you head toward your bright futures."

Below is the email sent to the Honors community.

Barco was appointed as director for a three-year term from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2023 by former Provost Mary Schutten. She replaced Phame Camarena in the role, who is now the dean of New Mexico State University's William Conroy Honors College.

The Honors Program Director is responsible for chairing the Honors Council as a non-voting member, as well as course scheduling, overseeing the Centralis scholarship program and developing honors-designated courses. 

Before she was the Honors Program director, Barco was the Cultural and Global Studies program director and an English Language and Literature faculty member.  She was also a Presidential Administrative Fellow for the 2019-20 academic year.

David Patton, interim associate vice provost for Academic Affairs, said in the press release that he will be meeting with the Honors Council to discuss a search committee for Barco's permanent replacement. The search will begin later this year, according to the release.