Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award-Adjunct Faculty
Adjunct Faculty, Department of Mathematics
Focus, confidence, and relaxation—according to Jack Barry, these are the keys to success in both mathematics and in golf. As an instructor of mathematics as Plymouth State University and a golf enthusiast, Barry should know.
In addition to being an instructor at PSU, Barry is an alumnus, with no less than three PSU degrees to his credit, a bachelor’s degree in mathematics education, a master’s degree—also in mathematics education—and a certificate of advanced graduate studies in curriculum and instruction.
For nearly two decades, Barry has enriched the educational experience of thousands of students at PSU. Prior to this, Barry taught high school mathematics in Wolfeboro and Weare. Throughout his career, he has striven to connect with all of his students, especially those who may lack confidence in their mathematical ability, or are anxious based on their past experience in math classes. “Given the time and the opportunity, these things can be fixed and repaired,” says Barry. “Everybody has a mathematical part of their brain, and everyone has the ability.”
In addition to his teaching, one of Barry’s most notable contributions to mathematics at PSU is the founding and leadership of the Math Activities Center, where students experiencing difficulty in their math studies can receive peer tutoring from mathematics education majors. It was his own experience as a PSU undergraduate that inspired the creation of the Center. At that time, the math department had only a few student tutors available, and when major tests or finals came around, they were in heavy demand.
At the Math Activities Center, everyone benefits; not only the students who require assistance, but also the mathematics education majors who get valuable teaching experience. Barry is pleased that the Center has taken off over the years. “Students come and get help, so it has been a good endeavor,” he says.
The Center’s success is a testament to Barry’s dedication to his students regardless of their academic interests or strengths. As Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Julie Bernier notes, “Jack thoughtfully employs a variety of student-centered and activity-based teaching strategies to engage a diversity of learners, honing their individuality and supporting their success.”