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Professor Virginia Bartel
School of Education

Professor Virginia Bartel


Helping Others--On and Off Campus
By Kate Nyquist

Author Les Brown once said, "Help others achieve their dreams, and you will achieve yours."

This simple, yet insightful quote can easily sum up Dr. Virginia "Jinny" Bartel. She is an associate professor in the Department of Early Childhood, Elementary, and Middle Level Education, who not only makes an impact at the college, but strives to change and help the community through service-work in various organizations and service-learning projects in several of her courses.

Mary Blake Jones, a colleague in the School of Education, says, "She has a heart of gold and has spent much of her time here providing services to organizations dedicated to the welfare of young children in the Lowcountry."


Bartel, who is originally from Winston Salem, N.C., received her bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The ambitious Bartel was interested in becoming many things. "I changed my major 13 times!" After testing the occupation of carpentry, Bartel decided it was not her line of work, so she went back to Chapel Hill and got her master's degree in guidance and counseling, with the dream of becoming a guidance counselor.

However, fate intervened when Bartel visited an elementary school in Charlotte. "It was so wonderful, I decided I wanted to be a teacher," she said. This took her again back to school to attain 30 more credit hours needed in addition to her master's degree for certification to teach. Although many would take this as a discouraging challenge, Bartel was excited, and was able to work for a year at the school in Charlotte as a student teacher.

With a smile still, Bartel likes to speak of the lasting impact of this school on her own development as she continued to teach and help children throughout the community and the South.

Her first teaching job was in Charleston at Mitchell Elementary School, then later at Memminger Elementary, which is located just a few blocks from the College of Charleston campus. She also served the school district as a parent educator in 16 different schools. Memminger Elementary remains a large part of her life, as she wrote her dissertation on it when she earned her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Her first academic job was in 1989 at the University of Rhode Island.

In 1990, Bartel accepted a job at the College of Charleston so she could be near her beloved sister who was ill, and in 1994, she became chair of her department and remained in that position for seven years.

Since "stepping up" to regular faculty, she has been able once again to work with Memminger Elementary as a co-chair of the Memminger--School of Education Partnership.

"At the college, teaching, scholarship, and service are all important," Bartel says. "I take each very seriously."

In Charleston, she is on the Vision Council of Success By Six ( Trident United Way) and an elected director of First Steps, a state initiation based on Smart Start in North Carolina. Both organizations aim to improve the lives of families and their young children.

"She bends over backward in her attempts to accommodate those who have special needs," Jones says.

About her research interests, Bartel says, "The majority of my research and scholarship are related to improving education both on the system and individual classroom levels."

The research she is planning now relates to the federal No Child Left Behind law. This law was made to improve education for all children. "Unfortunately, though, there have been many glitches," says Bartel about this federal mandate. Through random selection, she will be interviewing teachers, children, and parents in the Lowcountry about their perspectives of this law and how it has impacted life in the classroom.

When Jinny Bartel is not trying to save the world, she enjoys reading, playing with her dog, Tally, and sailing. "I am sad to say I don't currently have a boat," Bartel remarks, "but I am bound and determined to get another one!" Bartel married for the first time when she was 54 years old and has been happily married ever since.

Another interest of Bartel is utilizing technology in the classroom. She has attended the Faculty Technology Institute twice in order to help her use the latest technologies in her classroom. She is hoping to soon make time to utilize the new skills she just acquired earlier this year.

"She is one of the warmest, most caring people I know. Her dedication to children and families goes beyond anyone else that I know. Jinny is an inspiration," says Christine Finnan, fellow education professor at the college.

Bartel is very excited about the work she does and wants you to be excited about it as well. Her caring spirit revolves around helping to serve and improve the lives of children. "A dream of mine is to reduce the amount of poverty in the world," she says.

It is hard to meet a truly genuine and caring person, let alone be taught by one; but the College of Charleston lucked out in finding Dr. Bartel, a genuine asset to the faculty at this school.