A Northwestern College theatre professor has won the Iowa Professor of the Year Award from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Jeff Barker is one of the winners chosen from 43 states for the honor, and says the school in Orange City is one of the reasons for his success.
Barker says he teaches at a great school with a tremendous theatre department. Barker says he’s developed a special relationship with students in developing plays he’s written and the plays students have written. Barker says his method of teaching is personal.
Barker says part of it is his educational philosophy that “living and learning are integral,” and he tries to open the door of his heart, life and family. Barker says family is especially key in his position. He says he began teaching at Northwestern sharing a teaching position with his wife Karen. Barker says they both now have their own positions in the five-faculty theatre department.
Barker says students often already have a passion for performing and the theatre — but he works with them to develop that passion. Barker says it’s “naming the passion and encouraging the students to own their own passion.” He says it’s also diffusing a counter passion toward fame and fortune, which he says attracts artists away to the coasts. Barker says they try to claim the passion for wherever you are, even the small towns of Iowa.
Barker’s being honored at an event in Washington, D.C. today (Thursday), along with the other winners.