Nov. 8-21, 2002
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Marva Barnett wins Zintl Award

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Marva Barnett wins Zintl Award

Marva BarnettBy Sarah Marchetti

As director of the Teaching Resource Center, Marva Barnett has given many awards to distinguished faculty. Now she is the one being honored: the U.Va. Women’s Center will present her with its annual Elizabeth Zintl Leadership Award.

Along with founding and directing the Teaching Resource Center, Barnett teaches in the French Department and currently is researching cultural differences in learning.

“She is upbeat, optimistic and always eager to foster the talents of others, make sure the University community benefits from their talents and celebrate others’ accomplishments,” said Cassandra Fraser, an associate professor of chemistry.

Through the center, Barnett has created workshops on specific teaching topics and initiated several teaching award programs, including the NEH Distinguished Teaching Professorship and the University Teaching Fellowships. She also wrote a handbook, “Teaching at the University of Virginia,” which has served as a model for handbooks at several other universities.

The leadership award annually recognizes women working at U.Va. whose professionalism, creativity and commitment mirror the extraordinary service that the late Elizabeth Zintl gave to the University as the president’s chief of staff until her death in 1997. The $1,000 prize is supported by a gift from the late David A. Harrison III, one of the University’s most generous benefactors. Past recipients include Shirley Menaker, associate provost for academic support; Claire Cronmiller, associate professor of biology; and Louise Dudley, assistant vice president of university relations; Dr. Sharon Hostler, director of the Kluge Children’s Rehabiliation Center; and Patricia Lampkin, vice president for student affairs, and Sylvia Terry, associate dean of African-American Affairs.

“I was surprised and pleased to receive the award,” Barnett said. “I was also honored because the past recipients are superb.

“Really, this is an award to the Teaching Resource Center and all the people I work with,” she added.

Arts & Sciences Dean Edward Ayers said he often recommends graduate students visit the center. “Invariably, the graduate students return to tell me of how much they have learned and how grateful they are for Marva’s patience, honesty and knowledge of the craft of teaching. Multiply that by hundreds of times and a dozen years and you get an idea of Marva’s impact,” said Ayers, adding that he could not imagine the University without Barnett’s commitment to teaching.

Barnett’s programs also reach faculty. The University Teaching Fellowships program, for example, matches junior faculty with senior mentors. The program helps young professors learn to find the synergy between research, teaching and service and develops their leadership skills.

“As a junior faculty fellow in this program and as a senior faculty mentor to colleagues, I’ve found the program to be an enormously rewarding, even life-transforming arena for collaboration and debate,” said English professor Jahan Ramazani.

Barnett said she will use the Zintl award money to defray some of the costs of her recent trip to speak at the Norwegian National Conference on Quality Reform in Higher Education, held at Agder University College in Norway.

In addition to helping others teach, Barnett still finds time to teach French to undergraduates in a 300-level course, The Reading and Writing of Texts, a major requirement.


Copyright 2002 by the Rector and Visitors
of the University of Virginia

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