Dr. Amorette Barber, associate professor of biology and director of the Office of Student Research at Longwood University, has earned an Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) for her impact both in and out of the classroom according to a release from the university.
Only 12 awards are given each year from more than 100 nominations.
The awards recognize superior accomplishments in teaching, research and public service. Barber joins previous SCHEV honorees from Longwood University: Dr. Melanie Marks (2006) and Dr. Jim Jordan (1992).
“It is an honor to be recognized and to join the company of such accomplished faculty members from across the state,” said Barber, who is in her ninth year at Longwood and serves as the vice president of the Virginia Academy of Science. “That the award is for teaching in the classroom underscores one of the things I love most about Longwood — its emphasis on teaching faculty and the relationships we are able to forge with students.”
Barber’s work in her research lab has broken new ground — in 2018 she earned a patent for developing an immunotherapy treatment for numerous cancer types in her lab. That came as she has mentored dozens of students who have gone on to medical school and some of the top graduate programs in the country.
Barber’s groundbreaking research program in T-cell immunology and in developing new therapies for cancer has led to multiple presentations, publications and a patent.
“I encourage the students to investigate new topics independently while also being available to guide them when needed and to apply this knowledge to a problem or a research project,” said Barber. “Through my teaching, research and service commitments, I aim to provide transformative research opportunities to as many students as possible, and I hope to encourage the next generation by sharing the excitement of discovery with students.”
Barber, who began at Longwood in 2011, is typical of many Longwood faculty members who balance their own research with a heavy teaching load. She is known as an engaging teacher who challenges her students while keeping the classroom environment lively and captivating.
“Simply put, Dr. Amorette Barber is the most outstanding faculty member in Longwood’s recent history,” said Dr. Larissa Smith, provost and vice president for academic affairs, in her recommendation letter for the award. “Her groundbreaking research program in T-cell immunology and in developing new therapies for cancer has led to multiple presentations, publications and a patent. She has engaged undergraduates all along the way, mentoring 28 students in her research lab, many of whom have continued to graduate school. She stands as an outstanding role model to both her colleagues and her students.”
One of those students, Dr. Savannah Barnett, spoke of Barber’s impact on her life in a recent article in Longwood’s alumni magazine.
“Dr. Barber saw something in me that I didn’t yet see in myself, and she knew that I could succeed,” said Barnett. “So I took that leap of faith and, because of that, got to experience a whole different part of the country, meet people I would never have met and be challenged intellectually on a level I never thought possible.”
Barber has also won several internal awards, including the Junior Faculty Award (2014), Cook-Cole College of Arts and Sciences Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring (2015), Faculty Excellence in Mentoring Award (2016, 2018) and the Provost’s Scholarship Award (2019), in addition to the Virginia Academy of Science J. Shelton Horsley Award in 2015, the highest honor bestowed by the Virginia Academy of Science for original research.