Dr. Jani Barker

Dr. Jani Barker

Professor

"I hope students leave my classes with a deep intellectual and emotional engagement with literature and an ability to read literature closely, critically, and creatively."

Degrees held:

  • PhD in English – Texas A&M University, College Station, 2001
  • MA in English – Texas A&M University, College Station, 1992
  • BA in English – Hardin-Simmons University, 1990

Career highlights:

Published two articles on African-American historical fiction for young adults that have been cited in many scholarly articles, dissertations, and books and assigned as required reading for graduate courses on racially diverse children's and adolescent literature in education, library science, and English departments.

In which online degree program(s) do you teach?

M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction – English

Which classes do you teach online?

ENG 5980 Seminar [Adolescent Literature]. Also Children's Literature; Business & Professional Writing; Early Humanities; Middle School & High School Literature.

What do you want your students to take away from your classes? What do you want them to learn?

I hope students leave my classes with a deep intellectual and emotional engagement with literature and an ability to read literature closely, critically, and creatively. I want them to learn how to formulate interpretive arguments and support them with strong reasoning and specific textual evidence. Additionally, I want students to recognize the richness and depth of high-quality literature for adolescents and to understand how this literature can benefit adolescent students.

What's the best advice that you could give your students?

Be kind, to yourself and others. When multiple interpretations of a situation or of a person's words, actions, or motivations are plausible, choose to accept the most charitable one.

What is the one book you think everyone should read?

I have too many books that I love to list just one. I think everyone should read extensively, including books within and outside their comfort zone.

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