Assistant professors in the fields of biology, statistics, folklore and ethnomusicology, speech and language, developmental psychology, and information systems will receive the 2023 Indiana University Bloomington Outstanding Junior Faculty Award.
The award identifies promising tenure-track faculty who have not yet been awarded tenure and provides resources to further develop their research programs or creative activity. It is sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research. Recipients are:
- Xindan Wang, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences.
- Amanda Mejia, Department of Statistics, College of Arts and Sciences.
- Brandon Barker, Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, College of Arts and Sciences.
- Brielle Stark, Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences.
- Sagar Samtani, Kelley School of Business.
- Tennisha Riley, IU School of Education.
Each will receive a $15,000 grant to support future research. A reception will be held in their honor at a later date.
“I am thrilled that the campus is able to recognize and support the excellent research of these award recipients,” said Eliza Pavalko, acting vice provost for faculty and academic affairs. “Selecting just six Outstanding Junior Faculty from the many extraordinary nominees was challenging for the committee, but these awardees stand out for the excellence, originality and impact of their research.”
Barker received his Ph.D. in English with concentrations in folkloristics, linguistics, and cognitive poetic approaches to literature from the University of Louisiana. In 2013, he joined IU’s Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology as a visiting lecturer and then was promoted to assistant professor in 2020.
His work focuses on the convergence of two kinds of empirical data: that closely aligned with the humanities, such as data collected in the field via folkloristic, sociolinguistic and ethnographic methods, and extant textual data in archives and published literature; as well as such data arising from the experimental laboratories of cognitive scientists, psychologists and others.
Barker has published two books (one as co-author, one as editor), the former of which won the American Folklore Society’s Opie Prize for the best book on children’s folklore. He has also written 12 peer-reviewed articles — 10 published, one in press and one under review — and three book chapters: two published and one under review.
He is director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology and works closely with the undergraduate student organization. He is affiliated faculty with IU’s Cognitive Science Program and has been asked by the associate dean for undergraduate education to serve on the College of Arts and Sciences Education requirement review committee.
Barker is editor of the Children’s Folklore Review journal and an editorial associate for the Journal of Folklore Research Reviews. He has mentored and supervised 27 associate instructors, four of them winners of the departmental Henry Glassie Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching.