Barlow Awards Recognize Faculty Excellence
Karen Ball and Ute Stargardt are the 2007 recipients of the Barlow Award for Faculty Excellence at Alma College.
First presented in 1982, the Barlow Awards recognize faculty members for excellence in teaching; scholarly, creative or performing work; and college and community service. Recipients receive $1,000 cash grants.
Recipients are nominated by faculty, administrators, alumni and student Barlow Trophy nominees and reviewed by the Faculty Personnel and the Barlow Award committees. The president selects the awardees, who are presented at commencement.
Ball, associate professor of exercise and health science, was described as “one of the smartest persons I’ve ever met” and “an amazing teacher” by one of her colleagues.
“She has the unique ability to make complex topics understandable,” said the colleague. “She does that with a minimum of audio visual aids — usually just a piece of chalk. She is very gifted.”
Her teaching responsibilities include human physiology, pharmacology and research methods. She has developed an advanced muscle physiology course in which the mechanisms of muscle function are studied at the molecular level. In more recent projects, she has focused on the mouse model for diabetes: What happens to mouse muscle when the mouse has diabetes? Her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health.
“She grows muscle in the lab,” says a colleague. “She starts with pre-cursor muscle cells that are going to turn into muscle. Then she has students go through the process of embedding the cells in Petri dishes, checking them daily, making sure conditions are right for the muscle cells to grow.”
In addition to teaching and research, Ball sits on numerous campus committees and serves as the Faculty Athletics Representative.
Stargardt, professor of English, was recognized for her high academic standards and her scholarship in the fields of medieval English literature and Holocaust studies.
“I have always been struck by the care with which Ute counsels students on their English composition skills,” wrote one of her nominators. “On any given day, I see her chair-to-chair with students in her office, pen in hand, pointing to mechanical and stylistic flaws in their work to help them improve their writing skills.”
Her nominators describe her has a hard-working scholar who has written articles, translations and a recent book and contributes on numerous committees.
“She also performs service that goes unheralded,” writes a nominator. “More than any other member of our community, I believe, Ute hosts receptions for visitors and dinner parties for faculty and friends during the academic year. Ute grades hundreds of composition and literary papers each semester, keeps up her research, performs traditional service activities, and she takes time to host her colleagues and friends.”
The Barlow Awards are made possible by a gift from Joel Barlow to recognize faculty members who have “contributed the most, by their work and example, often at personal sacrifice, to furthering the education mission of the college.”
Posted: Wed, May 16th, 2007 at 8:07AM