CoE alumna honored with teaching and innovation award

The University of Louisiana Lafayette awarded College of Education alumna Aimee Barber (Ed.D. ‘19) with the Dr. Ray P Authement Excellence in Teaching Award for her dedication to teaching and innovation. 

Barber is an assistant professor in the University of Louisiana Lafayette Department of Curriculum and Instruction. She is also an undergraduate adviser for 35 elementary and early childhood education students at the university. 

She has several research interests including examining ways college educators can help future elementary school teachers identify educational inequities and merging language arts instruction with STEAM subjects – science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

Barber believes a lot of her work as an educator involves innovation. She teaches educational technology and building learning communities to undergraduate education majors in my current role, and a lot of that content is focused on what students experienced in their years of schooling, what else is out there and working, and their ideas for innovation within their own teaching practice, she said.

Barber aims to teach courses out in the field as much as possible to foster interactive learning environments

“Having this access has allowed for future teachers to work with real students consistently across a semester to experience what it’s like to build relationships and watch their teaching efforts translate into student growth right in front of their eyes,” Barber said. “The intersection of where research-based theory meets practicing with real students is a sweet spot for innovation.”

Barber attended the University of Louisiana Lafayette to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. In 2019, she graduated from UF with a doctorate degree in curriculum, teaching and teacher education. 

Barber said her core group of professors at her UF program inspired her in her pursuit of a career in education. 

“Seeing models of exemplary teachers who are also fierce researchers, engaged in informing practice, was inspiring to me and something I strive toward,” Barber said. 

Barber has taught at K-12 public and private schools and at the higher education level for almost two decades. 

Eighteen years after being in the education field, Barber still couldn’t imagine a professional field with more opportunity for broad impact, she said. 

“As educators, we get to see lightbulbs of learning go off in real-time and we get to watch as our students grow in their ability to step into their own voice and power,” Barber said. “There is so much power and responsibility in teaching, and I hope the world is realizing that.”

The Teachers, School and Society (TSS) EdD program

Barber participated in the Teachers, School and Society (TSS) EdD program during her time at UF. 

The TSS EdD program supports practicing educational professionals as they draw on educational theory and research, and the expertise of colleagues and UF faculty, to identify, examine and address pressing problems of practice in their unique contexts. TSS EdD students work full time as teachers, administrators and other educational professionals as they engage in online coursework directly related to their work as educators.

Though primarily online, the TSS EdD model supports student engagement through a range of asynchronous assignments and synchronous learning opportunities.

“I was in a hybrid doctoral program that allowed me to keep my job and family in my home city,” Barber said. “The cohort model allowed us to get comfortable with our classmates while also learning from fellow educators from around the world.” 

Aimee Barber