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Lecturer recognized with 2017 Distinguished Teaching Award

Janet Kiplinger Ciccone
May 01, 2017

Amy Barnes is an “educator who teaches students how to ask the tough questions.… She pushes students to think for themselves, to seek opportunities for learning, and to use their own talents and strengths to make the world a better place.”

Andrea De Leon (’13, Business Administration, minor in Leadership Studies) was one of multiple nominators who weighed in on why the then-senior lecturer in the Department of Educational Studies recently received the Ohio State Provost’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Lecturer.

The enthusiasm reflected in the nominations is ample evidence that Barnes’ students and former students appreciate her. Students also gave Barnes high ratings for her teaching over the years — typically a 5.0 out of 5.0 — as shown on student evaluations for her courses.

On March 31, Barnes was teaching students enrolled in the Undergraduate Leadership Studies Minor when Ohio State Provost and Senior Vice President Bruce McPheron entered her classroom. In front of an entourage including Dean Cheryl Achterberg and Barnes’ husband and children, McPheron presented the award to an astonished Barnes.

Recently promoted to clinical assistant professor, Barnes now directs the Educational Doctorate (EdD) in the Higher Education and Student Affairs program. In this new role, she will coordinate recruitment and admissions for that program and teach some of the courses. She will also continue her role of overseeing some of the undergraduate leadership courses for the department, as well as teaching some of them.

Strengthening students for success

Barnes has been teaching for 12 years. She specializes in critical perspectives of leadership theory and college student leadership development. She has ample experience in higher education and student affairs, having been a residence hall director who hired and trained assistant residence hall directors, residence advisors and office staff.

She was also coordinator, then assistant director for Ohio State's Undergraduate Admissions and First Year Experience, which builds foundations for student success. During the time of her service, the initiative served more than 7,000 students each year and became recognized as one of the finest of such university programs.

Barnes served on the planning committee to create the university's Undergraduate Leadership Studies Minor. She is well known among students for teaching the senior capstone course and counseling enrolled students. Beyond the university, she is a frequent leadership consultant for staff training and development.

Students praise Barnes for teaching, influence beyond the classroom

Students and alumni offered substantial accolades regarding Barnes’ teaching, mentoring and coaching.

I came to campus early for the first Year Leadership Collaborative, an initiative which gives incoming students the opportunity to explore leadership concepts and personal identities while networking with campus administrators. It was an experience that Amy created, and one that changed my life. – Chasmine Anderson (’15 Sociology)
Amy is so authentic and vulnerable with her students that it inspires everyone to find and cultivate the same sentiments in their own lives. And for me personally, my experiences in her classroom and under her guidance gave me the confidence to leave campus and Columbus, attend medical school in a new city, and become the doctor I was always meant to be. – Zachary Bittinger ('13 Biochemistry, MD in late May)
Dr. Barnes created a classroom that allowed for open discussion and sharing of controversial opinions…. This was important in college, where often opinions are not discussed for fear of retribution or ridicule. She created a ‘safe’ environment, meaning that no one would share what happened in class outside of class…. Dr. Barnes was always available to meet outside of class, and often required outside-of-class meetings for her courses. She pushed us all to become better without forcing it. – Nikhil Gupta ('15 Biochemistry)
Amy created a welcoming, engaging and safe environment for all her students to learn, contribute and grow together. She emphasized the power of vulnerability in our group setting and set the stage for a truly transformative class. – Jacob S. Miller ('13 Sport Industry, about the Senior Leadership Capstone course)
Amy exceeds all expectations of a college professor in the way that she empowers her students beyond the classroom into the realm of their personal and professional lives. Her way of relating concepts learned in class to friendship, goal setting, leadership, purpose and character has allowed me to grow as a person within the space of a semester. – Kristen Dilger (’15 Psychology)
She approaches teaching with such fervor that I am inspired to approach my jobs and career in the same way…. Her connections at KIPP (K-12 college preparatory school) made for a great service learning experience…. Amy actually came with us to our service learning placement and helped us structure our lessons. She was extremely supportive. Eliese Kendrick (master’s student, Public Administration)

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