Jeff Barker appointed to endowed professorship

Jeff Barker, professor of theatre and speech at Northwestern College, has been appointed to the Northwestern College Endowed Professorship.

The professorship provides annual funds to support the recipient’s scholarly work. The funds can be used for summer research, the purchase of materials, travel to pursue research, or assistance to student researchers.

The endowed professor must be a committed Christian who has a distinguished record as an outstanding teacher; is recognized for scholarly and leadership contributions to his or her discipline; has provided exemplary service to his or her academic department, Northwestern and the larger community; and has demonstrated a commitment to the college’s mission.

Barker, a member of Northwestern’s faculty since 1988, has written over 50 plays. They include Kin, about a 1920s Supreme Court case, which won grand prize in the 2002 New Voices Iowa Playwrights Competition.

Barker’s play September Bears, about events surrounding 9/11, has toured nationally and was featured on the FOX News Channel in 2003. In 2004, Northwestern’s DeWitt Theatre Arts Center opened with And God Said, a musical Barker wrote in collaboration with Broadway composer Ron Melrose.

In 1991, Barker and his wife, Karen, received Northwestern’s Sears-Roebuck Foundation Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award. The Barkers were named Gold Medallion award recipients by Region Five of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCATF) in 2003.

A graduate of Seattle Pacific University, Barker was recognized for outstanding alumni achievement by his alma mater in 1997. He also earned a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of South Dakota.

Barker’s appointment is for a five-year period beginning this fall. The first three recipients of the Northwestern College Endowed Professorship were Dr. Doug Anderson of the history department, Dr. Fred Van Dyke of the biology department and Dr. Keith Fynaardt of the English department.