Pitt-Greensburg biology instructor receives Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award
GREENSBURG, PA – Barbara Barnhart, an instructor of biology at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, is the one of five faculty members to receive the 2019 Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award. The award, which recognizes teaching excellence, was presented by Chancellor Patrick Gallagher at the University of Pittsburgh Honors Convocation in February. In all, 13 University of Pittsburgh faculty members were honored with Chancellor’s Awards for Distinguished Public Service, Research, and Teaching. The awards carry a $2,000 prize and a $3,000 grant to support the work of the recipients.
The Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award recognizes teaching excellence through the manner by which faculty members fulfill the University’s mission to provide high quality undergraduate and graduate programs in the arts and sciences and professional fields. It includes how a member of the faculty generates intellectual excitement in students, how he or she motivates students to acquire the knowledge essential to personal and professional achievement, and it implies sustained commitment, effectiveness in helping students achieve meaningful goals, and overall teaching excellence.
Barnhart, of Amity, PA, joined the Pitt-Greensburg Division of Natural Sciences, Engineering, and Mathematics in 1991. She plays an vital role in the education of students majoring in the sciences at the campus, teaching foundational courses and labs. In particular, her role in developing the Science Seminar at Pitt–Greensburg was integral to the receipt of a National Science Foundation (NSF) Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) grant, as noted in her nomination materials and award citation: “The Science Seminar has been so successful at increasing retention and graduation rates of science students that it is now being adapted for use in other majors. As one of only two faculty currently advising nearly 200 biological science students, Barnhart has made an enormous contribution in the areas of course advising, registration, and student recommendations.”
“Barbara Barnhart personifies Pitt to the Power of One,” said Sharon P. Smith, PhD, president of Pitt-Greensburg. “She brings a passion for her subject, a devotion to her students, a commitment to excellence and continuous improvement, and a dedication to fostering a similar commitment among her colleagues and her students.”
Among the other awards that Barnhart has received are Pitt-Greensburg’s Distinguished Service Award (2003) and the Pitt-Greensburg Distinguished Teaching Award (2016). She has made multiple professional presentations, including many that focus on classroom discourse and argumentation as it pertains to critical thinking and scientific ethics.
In addition to her classroom and lab responsibilities, Barnhart has worked on studies and projects that received grant funding, including:
· Critical thinking assessments, with colleague Timothy Savisky, assistant professor of biology, funded as part of the Department of Education’s Title III Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP) grant awarded to Pitt-Greensburg;
· Improvements to the Foundations of Biology 1 course to include critical thinking curriculum;
· Critique and High Order Thinking in Science project, awarded from the Pitt School of Education;
· Continued development of a science seminar, funded in part by an R.K. Mellon Foundation grant;
Barnhart earned a bachelor’s of science degree in biological sciences from Pitt-Greensburg. She earned an MEd from the University of Pittsburgh, and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in education from Pitt’s Department of Instruction and Learning. She and her husband Tom, have two children, Zachary and Andrew.