top of page





I have always loved language, and working with writers to shape their words and sentences into more powerful and beautiful prose is my passion. I have experience with a variety of types of writing, including journalism and educational pieces. My first love, though, is academic writing, from theses and dissertations to academic articles and books. I am familiar with MLA, APA, Chicago, and Turabian styles, as well as AP.


I offer several levels of editing. I will be happy to consult with you on what you need.

Developmental Editing: Structural and organizational issues; places where the argument breaks down or where more explanation is needed.  As a former writing teacher, I have years of experience helping academic writers remember to structure their writing so the reader can easily follow them.

Substantive Copy Editing: Paragraph- and sentence-level issues including awkward wordings, transitions and sentence errors like number agreement and parallel construction, plus grammar, usage, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and adherence to a style, including Works Cited or References.

Copy Editing: Mostly grammar, usage, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and style issues, with some suggestions for minor rewriting.

Proofreading: Looking for typos and minor errors that escaped correction in a previous pass. This happens last, when the paper or book is ready for submission or is being prepared for publication.

For my rates, please contact me.


I have a BA in English from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota; a Master of Liberal Studies from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D in English from the University of North Dakota, earned in 2015. I have worked in community journalism as a reporter and editor, and have written and edited a number of nonprofit newsletters, often as a volunteer. I have been a free-lance editor and proofreader for 15 years, helping graduate students with theses and dissertations, editing essays and articles for clarity and rhythm, reviewing CVs and resumes, creating bibliographies for academic articles, and ensuring adherence to style.


Words on the Street

Besides being an experienced writer and teacher, Betsy is a deeply contemplative thinker and problem solver. She brings a depth of personal wisdom and understanding to all of the projects she gets involved with. It is refreshing to work with a person who comes from such a high place of personal integrity and who functions in an ego-less capacity to serve others.

Candia Lea Cole, CEO and Founder

Eco-Learning Legacies

Betsy is a meticulous editor who catches my papers' spelling or punctuation errors carefully. She is also very flexible. If you need your paper to be edited as soon as possible, she can usually get it done within a short period of time.

Lichen Zhang, PhD Candidate, Economics

Dr. Barnum (AKA “our Betsy”) is a critical scholar and trusted relative with BPC.  She exemplifies what an emancipated and decolonized process for editing means for diverse work products (published paper, power point presentations, scholar lecture, client report, etc.) that must be shared with intersectional and diverse audiences that span disciplines, sectors, and communities of practice and use. Going above and beyond traditional editing and grammar, she provides human and social-emotional support as an engaged process with the author(s) of the work product.  Her timing is extremely responsive, attention to detail is supreme, and her attention to culture, equity, and justice in her professional editorial practices is the best BPC has ever worked globally.  We trust her.  We cherish her. And we are stronger and more impactful with our work products because of her. 

Dr. Nicole Bowman (Lunaape/Mohican)

President/Founder of Bowman Performance Consulting

Betsy helped me edit my piece on time, and was very kind and supportive!

Jade, PhD Candidate

Betsy worked with me over a period of two years, during which she edited individual chapters as well as my completed doctoral dissertation. She would edit at any level useful to me--whether overall structure and argument or copyediting and APA formatting. Betsy's feedback on drafts was often more helpful to me than that of faculty members. She was always flexible and aimed to minimize turnaround time.

Dr. Vidhya Shanker, PhD in Evaluation Studies

Betsy is great to work with. Her suggestions are always helpful and she delivers them in a timely manner. She's very good at helping you communicate the right tone using few words.

Aradhya Sood, PhD Candidate,




Betsy Barnum, Ph.D.

Things I like:

Knitting is a need of my soul. I worked part-time at a yarn store on and off for 15 years.

Gardening fulfills many needs and values, including fresh vegetables and herbs grown without chemicals, providing habitat for butterflies and bees, and much-needed exercise.

I am car-free by choice, so I use public transit to get around.

A recently discovered favorite meal is avocado toast.

Get In Touch


Please see my listing on the Professional Editors Network website.


Laptop & Coffee
bottom of page