Dr. Alison L. Barton, an associate professor in the Clemmer College of Education’s Department of Teaching and Learning, is the 2014 recipient of the ETSU Distinguished Faculty Award in Teaching .
Barton joined the ETSU faculty in 2005 and teaches courses in developmental psychology, educational psychology and human development and learning. She is the coordinator of the education foundations program as well as the Honors-in-Discipline program for the Department of Teaching and Learning.
One nominator described Barton’s classroom and online teaching models as exhibiting “best practices in pedagogy.”
“She bases her teaching decisions on empirical evidence and implements that evidence consistently in her classroom,” the nominator wrote. “Dr. Barton’s courses are known to be challenging and demanding, but I believe her students would say that she is fair, supportive, available, innovative, and inspiring. (She) makes certain that her courses are well-developed and organized in a way that is intended to engage and encourage her students throughout the course.”
The nominator added that Barton provides a number of workshop sessions through the Office of eLearning for faculty regarding best practices in online education.
Another nominator wrote, “Dr. Barton continuously seeks ways to motivate her students and help them succeed in her courses. She appreciates that learning involves not just knowledge, comprehension and recall, but also emotions and attitudes, and she engages students at every level.”
An ETSU faculty member described how Barton was one of seven ETSU faculty selected as an INtopFORM fellow, and that for her project she, along with Dr. Patrick Brown from the College of Public Health, developed a course, “Teaching for Learning in Higher Education,” which helps faculty learn to implement student-centered, active learning strategies in their classrooms.
“I took the course the first semester it was offered and had the privilege of experiencing first-hand what it is like to be a student in her class,” another faculty member wrote. “She combined theory and practice with the best practices of andragogy (teaching strategies for adults). Because of that course, I made a number of immediate changes to my own courses and have multiple ideas for things I want to implement in future courses.”
“Dr. Barton is one of the most challenging instructors that I have encountered at ETSU, but this is really only the greatest of compliments,” a student wrote. “(Her) class is in no way too difficult, but rather challenges students past their perceived comfort zone and into the zone of proximal development, where the most concrete and lasting learning occur.”
Another student added how Barton “challenges her students to use their critical thinking skills while encouraging (them) to ‘step outside the mold.’ Her incredible wit and sense of humor make her teaching particularly enjoyable.”
Barton graduated with honors from the University of Kentucky with a B.A. degree in psychology, and she was awarded her M.A. in clinical psychology and her Ph.D. degree in school psychology from Northern Illinois University.