Barker named Faculty of the Year

The Honors College Faculty of the Year Award is given annually to an outstanding Honors faculty member for “going beyond the normal classroom duties to find ways to motivate and enhance the students’ learning experiences.” Faculty members considered for this award are nominated and voted on by the Honors College student body.

This year the Honors College and Honors Congress will present the award to Dr. Lewis Barker during the Honors College Medal Ceremony on May 5.

Dr. Barker has most recently taught Honors Introduction to Psychology, as well as contracted non-honors classes for honors credit such as Behavioral Neuroscience and the Psychology of Learning.

A few of his nomination statements include:

“I’d like to nominate Dr. Lewis Barker who teaches Honors Intro to Psychology in the Fall. This is his last semester at Auburn before retirement, and I don’t think there is a more fitting way to send off the best professor I have ever had.”

“This man truly understands what sets honors students and courses apart from the rest. His class is one which requires diligent effort and a heathy work ethic, but unlike so many professors, he does not see the word “honors” and think more work of the same difficulty. His honors course is taught in a different way from anything else I have ever taken and develops a far deeper understanding of material. It is tailored to a student already assumed to be hard working and well read, and therefore skips the tedious elements of “proving you want the grade” which many other professors require.”

“At the end of this semester, I will have 23 honors hours, but this course truly stands out to me. Dr. Barker is funny, captivating, brilliant, insightful, kind, understanding, and knowledgeable. I enjoyed his class so thoroughly that I begged him to let me into another of his classes this semester, and despite my lacking the prerequisite, he graciously welcomed me. He has worked with me patiently to make up assignments when I was ill and never passes up the opportunity to teach should it arise- even if that means differing from his perfectly organized syllabus. He makes students want to learn and feeds their thirst for knowledge instead of forcing facts down their throats.”

“Dr. Barker also incorporates readings from academic journals into his course to expose students to a new type of learning. Each reading is followed by a creative reflective response to promote synthesis and understanding over reiteration. This man is an incredible teacher by nature and an even better professor. Because of him, I am now a psychology minor, but more than that, I am a better learner and student all around. He deserves this award.”

(Biography provided by Auburn University College of Liberal Arts)

Lewis Barker received his BA in psychology from Occidental College in Los Angeles and an MA and Ph.D. from Florida State University. He taught for 28 years at Baylor University in Texas where he was Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience. He chaired the Department of Psychology at Auburn from 2000-02 where he is currently Professor of Psychology.

Over his career he has taught 18 different undergraduate courses, 9 graduate courses, and 5 labs. Introduction to Biopsychology, first taught in 1974, was among the earliest freshman-level course offering in evolutionary and physiological psychology in the U.S. He has numerous publications and book chapters, two edited books in the general area of human and animal learning, a textbook in learning, a textbook in general psychology, one unpublished screenplay, and one unpublished novel. Barker is married, has three adult daughters and two grandchildren.