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Barbara J. Burch receives 2018 Curry Award for Faculty Excellence

One of Three Significant Faculty Awards Each Year


Submitted on January 22, 2018

Not only does Georgetown College’s annual Founders’ Day Convocation mark the official start of the spring semester, it also is when the Curry Award for Faculty Excellence is presented. The 2018 recipient of the prestigious honor is Barbara J. Burch, Professor of English.

“This year, the award goes to someone who is recognized in the nomination letters as a key figure in upholding the core principles of our liberal arts mission,” commented Rosemary Allen, Provost, as she prepared to announce Professor Burch as the recipient.

“Her scholarship often addresses this issue, but more importantly for the life of the college she has modeled and promoted the central tenants of our educational values. With faculty, she has conducted faculty workshops, taking the lead for many years in the development of effective practices for teaching in a liberal arts context. She has been central to the development of our general education program for over a decade and initiated the creation of the Georgetown College Skills Manual.

“As a member of the College Planning Council, she has been a stalwart advocate for liberal arts education. She was an exemplary department chair, but perhaps her greatest impact has been in the vision she has brought to our Honors Program since she took over in 2009 – bringing personal investment and innovation that allowed us to strengthen the program and increase its success rate, tripling the number of students who complete their Honors degree.”

Noting that Professor Burch “has already won just about every other award this College gives for teaching, advising, and mentoring students, since she has always been 100% committed to a student-centered vision of a faculty member’s vocation,” Dr. Allen added that, “she is one of Gwen Curry’s special spiritual daughters, and I know that Ralph and Gwen are out there joining me in celebrating the presentation.”

The Curry Award, one of three significant faculty awards given each year, is named for Drs. Ralph and Gwen Curry, long-time leaders of the College’s faculty and former chairs of the Department of English. It is intended to recognize three elements of faculty life that were important to the Currys: service to faculty, excellence in scholarship, and dedication to students. The award recognizes faculty who combine excellent teaching and academic research with the very important behind-the-scenes work of faculty committees and the special projects.

Dr. Burch has been on the faculty since 1994. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Kentucky where she earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

Founders’ Day also recognized two couples whose lives have long been intertwined with Georgetown College, honoring them with induction into the Hall of Fame. Mary Ann and the late Thomas Walter Dowling, Jr. and Debra and Franklin Ensor joined the select list of outstanding alumni and friends who have been honored since the Hall of Fame recognition began in 1993.

The Founders’ Day ceremony was recorded and it, inclusive of the meaningful address by Lindsey Apple, Professor Emeritus of History, the featured speaker, may be viewed online at https://livestream.com/georgetowncoll/events/8017512. Dr. Apple reflected on the history of Georgetown College from the days before its founding in 1829 to the current time. He cited numerous examples of individuals whose dedication to the ideals of a Christian higher education through the years have benefitted thousands of graduates who now hold leadership positions in a variety of careers and who now, themselves, support Georgetown College and its mission.


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