NSF News

NSF appoints Charles 'Chuck' Barber as chief diversity and inclusion officer

The U.S. National Science Foundation has appointed Charles "Chuck" Barber to serve as chief diversity and inclusion officer, a newly created role included in the CHIPS and Science Act. In this role, Barber will serve as NSF's senior advisor responsible for providing vision, strategic leadership and management for ongoing agency programs and new initiatives related to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, or DEIA, in the NSF workplace and the STEM enterprise.  

As NSF CDIO, he will be responsible for leading the integration and sustainability of DEIA into the agency's culture and mission and all aspects of agency operations and decision making, including special emphasis programs, employee resource groups and other related functions. He will ensure that DEIA remains a priority at NSF and provides an organizational channel for agency accountability. Barber will also be responsible for coordinating NSF's work to address the requirements of Executive Order 14035: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce. The EO includes assessing DEIA within NSF and developing and advancing a strategic plan to advance DEIA and remove any potential barriers to DEIA in the NSF workforce.   

"Charles Barber's expertise and experience are exactly what we need to pursue a comprehensive strategic approach to eliminate barriers to equal opportunity and advance racial equity for the benefit of all NSF personnel," said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. "Barber's previous work has demonstrated that he will provide strong, steady and thoughtful leadership that will help guide the agency into the future by nurturing and sustaining a diverse and inclusive workforce, to benefit the scientific enterprise and staff within NSF." 

Barber assumed the duties as director of the Department of the Navy's diversity, equity and inclusion programs in September 2021. In this role, he was responsible for the integration and implementation of strategic DEI initiatives into the Department of the Navy's culture, policies, programs and core functions. Prior to his appointment at the Navy, Barber was a primary author on the Navy's Task Force One Navy report that led to the Operational Navy's DEI Implementation Strategy. As a recognized DEI expert, he was the featured DEI TED speaker at the 2022 TEDx conference hosted by the Defense Acquisition University.  

With more than two decades of experience, he has led a broad range of diversity efforts, including the development of cultural intelligence capabilities and strategy, organizational leadership, critical data analysis and business transformation initiatives. These efforts have provided world-class human resource and transformational leadership support to a dynamic range of public and private sector clients to include military service members, civilians and their families. 

"It is an absolute honor be selected for this role. As the CDIO, I want to leverage some of the success I’ve had in the DEI culture space, to further integrate DEI into the structure and operational DNA at NSF and the scientific enterprise as we need these efforts to be enduring," said Barber. "If we build DEI culture capabilities that are constructive and non-divisive, we can move conversations about these issues from being opinioned based, to evidence based, and we make it absolutely possible to show love and pride for this country while we reconcile with past indiscretions and vice versa — we get better together from here."   

He has a doctorate degree in transformational leadership from Bakke Graduate University and other degrees in organizational leadership and business management from Columbia Southern University and Excelsior College. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma master black belt and a previous guest lecturer at Harvard Kennedy School's Senior Executive Fellows Program for political science and government. 

Barber is a U.S. Army veteran with deployments to Kosovo and Iraq. A native of Bald Knob, Arkansas, he also starred as a sprinter on the Ouachita Baptist University and all-army track teams. Most recently, he was inducted into the Arkansas track and field hall of fame class of 2022. 

Barber will begin his CDIO appointment Jan. 16, 2023.