Dr. Barnes previously served as associate professor of English (1992-2003, tenured in 1999) and coordinator of African American studies (2001-2002) at Gettysburg College. From 2003-2006 she was a tenured associate professor of Africana Studies and concurrently director of the Lewis Walker Institute (Walker Institute) for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations at Western Michigan University. Most recently, Barnes served as interim associate dean of university studies and associate professor at North Carolina A&T State University (2006-2009).
Barnes is a charter founding member of the Toni Morrison Society and has been actively involved in teaching and researching in the areas of African American literature, comparative women’s literature, and lynching narratives. She has a strong record of research and scholarship and is the author of a textbook, I’m Buildin’ Me a Home: An Interdisciplinary Reader and Workbook about the African American Experience (2009).