The UConn chapter of the Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society recently awarded Dr. Keith Barker, professor of computer science & engineering, the 2017-2018 Faculty of the Year Award. Every year, members are asked to nominate a professor that had a profound impact on their career at UConn.
Professor Barker, commonly referred to as KB, was nominated by a student whose nomination letters reads as follows:
“KB was truly the best professor I have ever had at the University of Connecticut. I took the online Digital Logic Design course with him. All of the videos were accompanied by a short introduction by KB guiding us on how to approach the material. He presented the difficult subject in such a way that it was fun, easy and interesting. I have never enjoyed studying anything as much as I did in this course. KB related each of the subjects we were studying to a song and it made things much easier to remember. During our weekly labs, not only was KB present at each of them throughout the semester, but he also went to every one of the lab sections (and there were quite a few of them). KB came up to each student – helping, giving advice, explaining or just saying something nice. Thanks to KB I went from ‘why am I even taking this class, I cannot understand a single word’ to ‘I love what I am doing and I want to know more’. I have never seen a professor who participated and cared about his students’ success more than KB.”
A CSE alum received KB’s mentorship and is following his example today helping other students in the field of Computer Science:
“Dr. Keith Barker was caring, available, and his door was always open. He was perceived as an honest grader, though the early lab projects were not easy. When you had a problem, he was never far away to explain the technical aspect and use the time to mentor his students. Thanks to KB I got involved early with Special Projects, university industry partnerships. These were real life assignments, and I had the privilege of doing three of them. I remember presenting one of these in front a huge panel audience and was admittedly scared. KB came to me right before the presentation and said, ‘don’t worry, you know this subject better than any of the judges do.’ It was in moments like this when KB switched from teaching to mentoring and coaching, going that extra mile for his students.”
Dr. Barker’s career of over 50 years in higher education covers 18 years at the University of Sheffield in England teaching electrical engineering before he came to the University of Connecticut CSE Department in 1983. When asked about his experience teaching, KB stated “My life has been devoted to the education of both undergraduate and graduate students and to the betterment of the teaching faculty.” This statement exemplifies how dedicated Professor Barker is to sharing his vast knowledge with others to help them succeed in business and in life.