Personal Story - Errica Philpott-Barber (Program Manager, Faculty Affairs, Member of DEI Comittee)

Errica Philpott-Barber is the Program Manager of Faculty Affairs for the CBMG department. Her primary role over the last 11 years has been supporting the Chair and managing all faculty-related affairs within the department, including Tenure/Tenure Track and Professional Track Faculty. This position incorporates training of faculty, ongoing yearly reporting, Chair designee approval of grant submissions, managing search, selection, appointment, promotion, tenure, post-tenure, and emeritus of faculty from start to finish. Errica trains other staff in other departments in APT processes and policies and has created/developed documents currently utilized by other CMNS departments. About 70% of her “free time” is being “mommy uber” :-) to basketball or baseball games, training, workouts, etc. The other 30% of the time, she is usually travelling, reading, volunteering, and/or just hanging out with family and friends. 

Hey Yawl!! I grew up in southern Virginia, in a place called Leatherwood (closest city is Martinsville) where everyone knew you or your family and had a Village mentality in raising kids.  I am a 1st-gen college graduate, George Mason University, 2002, BA History.   I have lived in the DMV area since 1997 and primarily in Maryland with my sons, Ethan (22) and Isaiah (16) until I recently got married this past May. Now I have a third son, Makhai (14) so I am the ultimate “boy mom.”  At the moment, I am a die hard sports mom, as my boys play(ed) the following sports over the years: Basketball, Baseball, Football, Soccer, Track & Field, Wrestling, Tae Kwon Do and Boxing.    


I had a strong sense of community service passed down by my grandparents. Growing up in a small rural area, we did not have accessible playgrounds, parks or community centers. Recognizing the need, my grandmother generously donated land in the early 80s and my grandfather built the Rob Lee Community Park, a beautiful facility and park for the entire community to enjoy.  The park was named after both of my Great Grandfather’s, whose names were both Rob Lee.  Because of my grandparent's vision, the children in the community had a safe place to play basketball, tennis, and enjoy swings and other playground equipment.  My grandfather who was a carpenter by trade, didn’t stop there, he built the 1st community center in Leatherwood after, where people often came to buy, sell, and trade goods, purchase dinners, listen to music etc while socializing with others.  Throughout almost four decades, the Rob Lee Community Park has hosted many birthday celebrations, graduations, family reunions and receptions. This type of togetherness is what started my passion for community and service.

From a young child, I was heavily involved in community service.  I would participate and win a number of 4-H speeches in the Henry County region.  I was a passionate reader and even created my own library system at home, church and the community center.  In high school, I was a member of the Track & Field team, Basketball team, Cheerleader, Marching and Concert band (clarinet), Class Vice president, President of Future Business Leaders of America, SADD, SODA, etc. At GMU, I was in the Honors Program, Program Board and Black Student Group.


I am a 3rd generation member of the Gravely-Morrison Cousin's Club, a 501c organization established in 1983 to promote genealogical research of my family.  Founded by three family matriarchs who saw the need to keep the family bond strong, currently there are more than 300 active family members. As a former Vice-President, I hold a seat on the Board of Directors and help establish policies and procedures for the entire family.  I have volunteered/currently volunteer with numerous organizations: National Capital Region Big Sister Big Brother Foundation, MERGE DMV, The Lifting As We Climb Foundation (LAWCF), SOME, Maryland National Park and Planning Commission, Prince George’s County and Fairfax County Public Schools, Building Hope Foundation, Boys and Girls Club, AC-a-d'AM'ic) K-12 Solutions tutoring, shelters, food banks etc. I have also ensured that I make my kids tag along with me on these volunteer efforts to ensure that they understand how the community has always been an important part of my life and has helped me in raising them to be productive and active.


I came to the UMD/CBMG in December 2011, as the Chair coordinator.  Since I have been here I have tried to find ways to get involved, whether it was helping the administrative office with seminars, event planning and support, beta testing new systems for the college and helping implement travel templates etc.  In 2013, I decided to recreate mini APT training sessions for CBMG and Biology faculty who missed the campus training sessions to help junior faculty understand a complicated process and system. Some of the steps I created have also been shared and utilized by other departments within CMNS.  I have served on several Search Committees for Staff in CBMG and Biology as well as coordinated various Faculty Searches for CBMG, and chair searches for Biology and Entomology.  I served on the University Faculty Affairs Senate for 2 years and helped create and implement the new PTK policies and procedures that are now active on campus.  For the past three years I have served as a CMNS Terrapin Strong Facilitator, where I have had the opportunity to train incoming freshmen and transfer students on diversity, equity and inclusion.  I was able to facilitate that information via online workshops to the CBMG Faculty and Staff as well.  I have served on the Inaugural CMNS Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council for the past 3 years as well as the CBMG DEI Committee.  On both I have been able to help create and implement a draft diversity scorecard for departments, coordinate events such as the Back to School Events, Juneteenth, Dia De Los Muertos and the most recent World Cup Watch Parties. I look forward to helping be a part of the CHANGE that is often needed in ensuring that others feel as if they have a SAFE place where they belong and are accepted.