Phi Kappa Phi honor society to recognize dean

August 9, 2012 | News, UToday
By Aaron Horn

Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s largest collegiate honor society of all academics disciplines, has honored a University of Toledo dean for his achievements in research, teaching, service and leadership.

Dr. Tom Barden with his book, “Steinbeck in Vietnam: Dispatches From the War”

Dr. Tom Barden, dean of the Honors College and professor of English, has been named the 2012-14 Phi Kappa Phi Scholar. He is the first UT representative to win this award.

Every two years, the national fraternity, which has chapters at 300 campuses in the United States, the Philippines and Puerto Rico, selects a person who exemplifies excellence in teaching, research and public service.

“I was thrilled to receive this award. This year has been wonderful for me all around. But I think the award must be related to the publication of my Steinbeck book,” Barden said.

In March, Barden’s book titled Steinbeck in Vietnam: Dispatches From the War was published. It chronicles the Nobel Prize-winning writer John Steinbeck’s journey to Vietnam in the 1960s and reprints all of the dispatches he filed to Newsday, the New York daily newspaper. The book received national attention and positive reviews from NPR, U.S. News & World Report, Huffington Post, Publisher’s Weekly and more.

“Dr. Barden combines a love of learning with a love of teaching that crosses traditional disciplinary lines,” said John C. O’Quinn, chair of the Phi Kappa Phi Scholar Selection Committee. “In addition to tremendous scholarship in the areas of American folklore, the oral tradition, and John Steinbeck, he has helped create interdisciplinary programs and fostered the careers of hundreds of students as the head of his university’s Honors College.”

Barden was nominated by UT Phi Kappa Phi Chapter Secretary Wade Lee, associate professor of library administration.

“Our chapter’s executive council was very proud to nominate Dr. Barden given his history of working to bring scholars and especially students together across disciplines, as well as his proven record of scholarship, teaching and service,” Lee said. “His work with the Honors College, UT Press, Writing Across the Curriculum, Disability Studies, and the Law and Social Thought Program show his dedication to the interdisciplinary nature of research, and he has received campus awards in the areas of teaching, research and community outreach and engagement.”

Phi Kappa Phi will present this award to Barden Saturday, Aug. 11, during the society’s annual national convention in St. Louis.

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