Riverland Community College has named Barbara Embacher as new vice president for academic and student affairs starting July 23.
Embacher has more than 25 years’ experience leading teams that support student and regional economic success. Specifically, she has supported students, faculty, and staff in a higher education setting, most recently as the Interim Vice President of Student & Academic Affairs for South Central College in Mankato and Faribault. She joined South Central College in 2013 where she served in various campus and system roles as the dean of workforce education and training and the dean of career & technical education, which included the leadership of academic programs in the allied health and nursing, business and technical/trades divisions. She also provided leadership to the customized training and continuing education division and led many special projects and grants for the college.
Emabacher also has extensive experience creating business education partnerships that address local employer workforce needs which has expanded career opportunities for students in high-wage, high-demand careers. Her contributions bear evidence throughout the greater Mankato and greater Faribault communities and the Minnesota State system where she served on many key campus and system strategic initiatives.
Prior to joining South Central College, Embacher served as the vice president of Greater Mankato Growth for six years. In this role, she engaged the leaders and employees from more than 800 businesses, non-profit organizations, and government entities to lead community and talent development programs such as the Leadership Institute, Young Professionals, Envision2020, Inter-City Leadership Delegations, networking events, public relations, membership services, the City Center Partnership, and overall community and economic development strategies that enhanced the vitality of the region.
Embacher enjoyed teaching teachers pursuing their master’s degrees at Minnesota State University, Mankato in the role of adjunct faculty, and teaching high school students in special education and career and technical education for a total of 14 years in Eau Claire, Wis. and Mankato. In the Mankato Area Public Schools, she served several roles including work-based learning coordinator, career education coordinator, special education transition coordinator, and teacher. She also served on a local school board and advocates for federal and state policies that impact student success. Emabcaher has built many regional programs and events that are still going strong today that enhance the career development of students and the talent pipeline for businesses across Minnesota, like Career Expos, Career Pathways, Dual Training, Dual Credit and Transfer Pathways.
She discovered how to combine her passion for serving students and her community which ultimately guided her to opportunities for progressive advancement in the role of higher education administration where she continues to leverage her passion and influence to shape P-20 education practices to keep our communities strong. Barb is a community servant, who works tirelessly for advancement among all in the areas of diversity and inclusion, education, philanthropy, socioeconomic equality, and workforce development at the local, state, and national levels.
Academically, Embacher is currently pursuing her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Higher Education Leadership from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire as well as a bachelor’s degree in Special Education and Vocational Rehabilitation from the University of Wisconsin-Stout.
Embacher believes in lifelong learning and enjoys inspiring others to find their passion, build self-confidence, and reach their goals. “We’re in the incredible business of changing people’s lives,” Embacher said.
“I’m thrilled Ms. Embacher will become part of the new leadership team we are building,” said Dr. Adenuga Atewologun, Riverland college president. “Her commitment to fostering a culture of respect, equity and collaboration will serve the students, area businesses, and our Riverland team well.”
Emabacher’s main office will be at the Austin Campus, but she will work closely with all faculty and staff at all three campus locations including Albert Lea and Owatonna.