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Mark Barrow receives Diggs Teaching Scholars Award

April 23, 2017

Mark Barrow
Mark Barrow’s own research centers on environmental history, including the cultural and environmental history of the American alligator.

Mark Barrow, professor and chair of the Department of History in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, has received the university’s 2017 Diggs Teaching Scholars Award.

Sponsored by the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research, the Diggs Teaching Scholars Award was established in 1992 and is presented annually to up to three Virginia Tech faculty members to recognize exceptional contributions to the teaching program and learning environment. Diggs Teaching Scholars are invited to lead the Diggs Roundtable, a series of presentations and a discussion of their innovative teaching.

Since his arrival at Virginia Tech, Barrow has developed and taught eight new courses for the Department of History, the Honors Program, and the Department of Science and Technology in Society, along with an additional class for ASPECT, the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought. He collaborated with several colleagues to author a series of online teaching modules designed for introductory U.S. history classes, an innovation that promoted student engagement and the interpretation of primary sources.

After receiving a 4VA Competitive Research Grant, “Teaching Hidden History,” Barrow worked with colleagues at George Mason University to provide a course that guided graduate students through the process of developing online learning modules.

Many of Barrow’s students have authored award-winning research papers under his mentorship, including five winners of the History Prize awarded annually to the best undergraduate research paper in the department as well as two students recognized with the Wilson Prize for Best Undergraduate Essay awarded by the Mu of Virginia Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. Additionally, four students have had work published in the Virginia Tech Undergraduate Historical Review, and one student paper was recently accepted into the Utah Historical Quarterly.

Barrow’s commitment to undergraduate research is demonstrated by his co-creation of “The Book Project,” which fosters research, writing, and collaborative skill development by organizing the senior research seminar around the construction of a class book. Barrow has further promoted research through building an undergraduate research webpage, securing funding for annual undergraduate research days, and leading curriculum reform that puts research skills at the forefront.

Barrow has received numerous other teaching honors and awards, including the Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching, the XCaliber Award for Technology-Assisted Teaching and Learning, three Certificates of Teaching Excellence, two Faculty Excellence Awards from the History Graduate Student Association, and the Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

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