Dr. Barri Bumgarner Receives President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching

Westminster College is excited to announce that Dr. Barri Bumgarner, Associate Professor of Education and Digital Blue Coordinator, is the 2020 President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching recipient.

The first faculty member from the Education Department to receive the award, Bumgarner was recognized on Aug. 10 during Fall Semester 2020 faculty orientation via Zoom — a digital platform the tech expert knows well.

Dubbed WestMo’s “Digital Blue Guru,” Bumgarner is the primary face and bubbly, encouraging personality behind the College’s Digital Blue iPad Initiative. Little did anyone know the devices distributed to all students beginning Fall Semester 2019 would become central to the Spring 2020 Semester, when Westminster pivoted quickly to a virtual format.

At the time, Bumgarner led the effort by conducting emergency training sessions for Westminster faculty. She also became a resource throughout the state for many K-12 educators who reached out to her for help with their online platforms during quarantine. In addition, Bumgarner organized a multi-faculty, impromptu road trip spanning 800 miles to visit each 2020 graduate who earned a degree in Education from the College.

The creative efforts described above are just a few of the reasons Bumgarner is the recipient of the 2020 President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, explains Dr. David Roebuck, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty.

“Westminster’s faculty are among the most active and engaged anywhere in the country, and none contribute more to Westminster and its success than Barri,” Roebuck says. “She is among the first to volunteer, she offers creative ideas for transforming teaching — such as Digital Blue — and she works tirelessly with the students. She also is highly respected by her colleagues.”

For her part, Bumgarner says she was thrilled to receive the award and only wishes she could have celebrated with others in person. “I am deeply honored and humbled to receive the award,” she reflects, adding, “It was frustrating it had to take place over Zoom, because I couldn’t express my appreciation for it!”

Bumgarner is Chair of the Education Department and a certified Apple Learning Specialist. She teaches digital literacy to Education majors, reading/writing education courses, and teacher preparation courses that focus on the exceptional individual.

In 2018, Bumgarner was named Alpha Chi Professor of the Year. She received the Bushman Research Award in 2017. Bumgarner also has received the Buschman Deans Junior Faculty of the Year Award and a Winney Award.

Bumgarner earned a Ph.D. in English Education and Digital Literacy from the University of Missouri-Columbia, an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Missouri, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in English and Pre-Med from Missouri State University in Springfield, MO.

In addition to her long list of professional accolades, Bumgarner’s hours away from Westminster are filled with accomplishments. She has published three novels, with another coming out this fall, and recently was featured on both NBC and the Oxygen Network for her extensive research into a local murder.

The self-described crazy Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Cardinals fan lives in Columbia, MO, with her better half, Marsha Tyson, and two furry “kids”: Cali, a Boston terrier and Chihuahua mix, and Kaycey J, a Fox terrier.

Roebuck says Bumgarner’s wide range of interests and energy level make her someone students respect and love. He adds, “In every way, Barri is a model faculty member, and Westminster is fortunate she is here.”

The Excellence in Teaching Award is given to one Westminster faculty member annually after a voting process and recommendation by the Faculty Personnel Committee.



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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.