Faculty Excellence: Tim Barretto, Associate Professor of Community Leadership
By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
August 19, 2009
Many, many years ago, Tim Barretto volunteered with a state agency whose goal was to prevent child abuse. What he learned from that experience was this: his strength isn't in direct service, it's in words.
It was a valuable lesson that still guides him today as he weaves the passions of his life—teaching, service, and scholarship—into one broad cloth. Students, he says, witness him doing all three.
In 2000, he and colleague Kate Hanson cofounded the Community Leadership Program for students who want to become community leaders and activists. Among other things, students learn how to write public service announcements, press releases, and newsletters. The program won a Spirit of New Hampshire award in 2007.
"We felt there was a need for something in academia for those who want to be involved in changing the world in a positive way," Barretto says. "This is a way to teach people how to take action; how to take on leadership roles."
One of the founders of the Healthy Universal Beginnings (HUB) Family Resource Center in Dover, a nonprofit organization that provides support to families, Barretto continues to serve on the group's board of directors.
Last year, his first novel, Searching for Joy, was published, leading to numerous readings around the state—an extension of the public speaking class that he teaches. The book, which deals with a middle-aged man who is diagnosed with prostate cancer, has also resulted in Barretto participating in several discussions on cancer. (Ten percent of the sales from his book will go to the HUB Family Resource Center and 10 percent to Seacoast Hospice.)
"Part of my head is always thinking, how can I use this in my teaching or my writing?" Barretto says. "One of the most important things we learn is what are our strengths and what are our limits. I can speak in public, I can write, I can get on boards, and I can try to change policy. I think I've learned to practice what I teach and teach what I practice."