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Dickinson gets new faculty master

Jeffrey S. Barker, associate professor of geological sciences and environmental studies, has been named faculty master in Dickinson Community.

Barker, a geophysicist whose research focuses on earthquakes, is a 21-year veteran of the faculty. He said he sees the new position as a natural evolution of his work in the classroom and his uplifting and invigorating experiences as a member of the Pep Band and Fencing Club.

“It’s just an expansion of what I already do,” Barker said. “I see my role as a faculty member as being a facilitator of learning.”

Barker said he looks forward to participating in Dickinson traditions such as Mutant Mania. The self-professed “computer geek” said he’s also eager to work with residents of the Computers, Robotics and Engineering (CoRE) living unit.

“Dickinson has a real sense of community, a sense of history,” he said. “It seemed like a really comfortable situation to step into.”

Building on the community’s traditions and developing a strong sense of what makes Dickinson Dickinson will help ease the community’s eventual transition into new facilities, he said. If that happens, he said, the people will define the new facilities rather than allowing the buildings to define the community.

Barker did his undergraduate work at Pomona College and the University of California-San Diego before earning a doctorate at Pennsylvania State University. A recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, Barker has served as undergraduate director in geology and chaired the steering committee for the Institute for Student-Centered Learning. He has also been a faculty fellow in College-in-the-Woods.

This summer, he has plans to play French horn with the orchestra at the Grassroots Festival in Trumansburg. He’s also organizing the fencing tournament at the Empire State Games and leading a workshop for high school teachers about earthquakes.
In the fall, he’ll teach a Binghamton Scholars course on natural hazards as well as a field-based course on environmental geophysics.

Barker has two grown children, a son who majored in computer science at the University of Illinois and a daughter who studied philosophy at the New College of Florida. Their radically different experiences, both in terms of area of study and size of the school, have helped to inform Barker’s view of student life. He sees Binghamton as positioned somewhere in the middle, neither small nor large.

Barker will begin a renewable three-year term as master on July 1. He succeeds geography Professor Burrell Montz, who is returning to her department as chair.
Barker joins a group of five other faculty masters -- Robert Emerson, Anthony Preus, Elizabeth “Libby” Tucker, Al Vos and William Ziegler -- who provide a stable faculty presence in all of the University’s residential areas.

“The academic and residential life staff all look forward to working with Jeff in his role as faculty master and appreciate his interest in providing the best possible living-and-learning experiences for BU’s undergraduate students,” Provost Mary Ann Swain said.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08