The Power of the Professor: Recognizing Outstanding Faculty

Category: Fraternity

Becky Reed Barker

We may or may not remember their names, but we remember their faces, what they said, what they didn't say, how they could make class enjoyable and learning invigorating. The special ones separated themselves from the others by going the extra mile, creating an engaging classroom experience, challenging us to grow in ways we didn’t think were possible, and believing in us—when maybe we didn’t. Not everyone has this type of experience with a faculty member in college, but when we do, it is special.

The professor has power, not only to assign and submit grades, but also to impact a student in a profound and personal manner: to stir a passion for a particular subject, research topic, or learning experience. To inspire a young person to select a major and ultimately impact a career path and her future. This is the power of influence. During my undergraduate years, I experienced two such professors, but they never knew the true impact they had on me.

I wish we had a formal way to say thank you to those professors back then, the faculty members everyone had heard of, recommended, or who impacted their story so powerfully. We would’ve recommended them for an honor had there been one. We would have collectively let them know how they made a difference in our lives. I wish I could do that today; with hindsight and wisdom that comes through the years, I would like them to know they made a difference to me.

The power of the professor is strong...in so many ways. I hope you'll spend a few moments reflecting on your college experience and about which faculty members had an impact in your life. If you are still able to, I hope you will extend them a thank you. Each year, Kappa Alpha Theta chapters have the opportunity to do this very thing: to recognize faculty members who have influenced students and made a difference on campus. Our Outstanding Faculty Award is a wonderful way to highlight those who go the extra mile, light a spark of interest, or challenge growth. Chapter members recommend a professor based on the four points of the Theta kite: intellectual curiosity, leadership potential, commitment to service, and personal excellence.

It is a treat to read the nominations, to learn how gifted teachers truly inspire and change our members. Join me in congratulating the faculty selected for this year's honor. Not only are they making a difference in the lives of our members, they are a now a special part of these chapter's stories.