SPRINGFIELD -- Barbara Burkhardt, associate professor of English at the University of Illinois at Springfield, has been named University Scholar for 2007-2008. She is one of 13 faculty members, and the only one from UIS, chosen for this award honoring and rewarding outstanding teachers and scholars at the three U of I campuses.
University Scholars receive $10,000 a year for three years to support research and other scholarly activities.
Materials nominating Burkhardt for the award hailed her as "a model teacher/scholar" who "uses her experience with research, writing, and publishing to benefit UIS students and enrich her classes at all levels" while at the same time enhancing the campus' reputation.
Burkhardt was a close acquaintance of William Maxwell, longtime fiction editor at The New Yorker, and conducted extensive interviews with him over a ten-year period before his death in July 2000 at age 91. The book that resulted, William Maxwell: A Literary Life, was the first major critical study of the renowned Illinois writer's life and work and drew praise from such publications as New York Newsday, The Washington Post, USA Today, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly.
A member of the UIS faculty since 2001, Burkhardt teaches graduate seminars on postmodern fiction, Mark Twain, and writers of The New Yorker, as well as courses on the American novel, Midwestern literature, and American women writers. She previously taught at the U of I at Urbana-Champaign and at Lincoln Land Community College. Burkhardt holds a Ph.D. in American literature from UIUC and a master's degree in English from UIS.
The University Scholars program was inaugurated in 1985 when the U of I Foundation celebrated its 50th anniversary. The program’s purpose, then and now, is to strengthen the University in meeting today's challenges and tomorrow's promise. Faculty do not apply for this award; they are nominated by their peers. A committee of senior faculty makes the final selection.