By BRETT BOGGS
AKRON — Dr. Barb J. Burdge graduated from Tippecanoe Valley High School in 1990 and earned a Bachelor of arts degree with highest distinction from Indiana University in 1994 and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. She went on to earn a Master of Social Work degree with high distinction from IU in 1998 and a Ph.D. in social work from IU in 2013.
Now an associate professor and social work program director at Manchester University, where she consistently earns high ratings for teaching, she frequently is invited to speak professionally on matters related to civil rights, social justice, cultural diversity and reducing prejudice. Her work has been published in academic journals.
She describes her primary focus as preparing new social work professionals for careers serving the most vulnerable people/groups in society. She works to promote acceptance of cultural diversity through formal educational programs and professional training. An advocate for inclusiveness, she has had a personal battle with internal and external homophobia, her sexual identity, discrimination and mental illness.
She teaches a variety of undergraduate courses at Manchester University and addresses a variety of social issues in talks at Manchester and throughout the region. She and her partner, Marsha Haffner, live in Roann in a historic home they have renovated together.