Barrett faculty Dr. Diane Gruber showing something on a screen

Our faculty

Barrett Honors Faculty are 48 scholars exclusively dedicated to honors education across four campuses and online.

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Barrett honors faculty

Barrett Honors Faculty constitute a distinguished cohort of master teacher-scholars who perform the essential teaching, mentoring and leadership roles that help make Barrett, The Honors College widely recognized as the Gold Standard in honors education.

This interdisciplinary and talented faculty publish research in top-tier academic journals, write award-winning books, and win national teaching awards.They are deeply committed to sharing their scholarly passions with honors students in the classroom and beyond.

In addition to teaching the core honors classes, this faculty works closely with Barrett students on research, creative projects, and unique programming that bridges Barrett to global communities. Barrett faculty work with honors students to build new programs, clubs and initiatives that address the most urgent issues of our time. The Barrett faculty meet students during their first week at university, and support and guide them over the course of their undergraduate education. Honors students at ASU, the most innovative university in the nation, are able to follow their passions in achieving their education with strong and sustained mentorship from this dedicated faculty.

Faculty spotlights

Barrett Faculty, Jenny Brian

Jenny Brian

Faculty Chair and Honors Faculty Fellow

What is the focus of your scholarship, and how does it shape your teaching at Barrett?
My research focuses on the governance of reproductive technologies, health policy, and sexuality. I’m currently writing a book on long-acting reversible contraceptives and how our imaginations about users inform the policies about these technologies. I teach upper-division classes in bioethics and science and technology studies. In the Human Event and History of Ideas, my ethics training leads me to ask questions about power, representation, vulnerability and care.

What are you teaching in The Human Event this year that you’re especially excited about?
Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower is an incredible novel about a dystopian future society. Written in 1994, set in 2023, Butler imagines a world in which it hasn’t rained in 7 years, where state borders are like national borders, and where the disease of the future is “hyperempathy disorder.” It prompts fascinating discussions about the environment, disability, community and more.

What is an experience that you’re looking forward to in the year ahead at Barrett?
I am the coach and director of ASU’s Ethics Bowl team and ASU’s Regents’ Cup team. Regents’ Cup is a debate and storytelling competition among University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University. This year we lost the Regents’ Cup to UA, so next year we have to win it back!

Could you share a student success story with us?
Every day, I have the privilege of witnessing student success. It’s an honor to be surrounded by so many brilliant and enthusiastic young people who are taking risks and are eager to make a difference in their communities, including Zane Encinas, who is the 2022 Barrett Outstanding Graduate. Everything they do is motivated by a desire to help others and improve the lives of future generations, and it’s so inspiring.

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Barrett Faculty, Georgette Briggs

Georgette Briggs

Honors Faculty Fellow

What is the focus of your scholarship, and how does it shape your teaching at Barrett?
Biology, science education (including the communication of science), and the development of curriculum. Barrett has re-shaped my approach to create and design more integrated and accessible courses that utilize my plant biology background to provide new learning experiences to students across campuses. My GlobalResolve students also benefit from international service-learning projects with community partners focused on building capacity.

What are you teaching in The Human Event this year that you’re excited about?
Eric Williams’ Capitalism and Slavery. Williams was the first Prime Minister of my native Trinidad, but more importantly, the boldness and bravery of his ideas and his thesis were years ahead of their time, and still a catalyst for debate today! This text provides invaluable lessons and reminders to our students to keep challenging themselves.

What is an experience that you’re looking forward to in the year ahead at Barrett?
I led my out-going GlobalResolve project team to Tobago in December 2021 to get some on-site work done with our community partner and I am leading another GlobalResolve team to Kenya this summer 2022! This is an exciting time as travel has re-opened and our students can resume the connections with international communities and organizations and continue to work with them in impactful ways!

Could you share a student success story with us?
This is my third year at Barrett, so my student successes I see on a daily basis. The leaps in writing argumentative papers, in openly adding their voice and their point of view to a conversation. I had a couple students change majors from Engineering to English after my class and one has published a book! Wow! I am excited to be a small part of their learning journey and to learn from them as well!

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Barrett Faculty, Michael Ostling

Michael Ostling

Honors Faculty Fellow

What is the focus of your scholarship, and how does it shape your teaching at Barrett?
I study the history of witchcraft and magic, with a focus on how the accusation of witchcraft serves to dehumanize women and police their behavior. At Barrett, I teach an upper-division class on magic in the modern world, and a class on monsters as metaphorical mirrors reflecting human nature. Monsters come up in The Human Event as well–for example in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

What are you teaching in The Human Event this year that you’re especially excited about?
Lahontan’s Dialogue between the Author and a Noted Man among the Savages (1703). Recent scholarship takes seriously that this is a real two-person dialogue, so in class we work to recover the voice and ideas of its probable co-author: Kandiaronk, an Indigenous philosopher of the Wendat (Huron) nation.

What is an experience that you’re looking forward to in the year ahead at Barrett?
The Barrett Borderlands Learning Excursion – a non-credit experiential learning class I run every Spring (except during COVID). We visit the US-Mexico border, talk to migrants and activists, learn to make pupusas with an asylum-seeker. It’s a transformative experience.

Could you share a student success story with us?
I supervise several undergraduate research assistants on my project digitizing all the witch-trials from early modern Poland. One former RA made the maps for my most recent book, and is set to start a PhD in history. Another discovered their facility in translation during our work together, and is going into graduate work in folklore studies.

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Faculty Honors Advisors

Faculty Honors Advisors (FHAs) are disciplinary faculty members who serve as mentors to Barrett students in each academic unit. In addition to their primary faculty responsibilities, FHAs have chosen to be the point-person for honors students in their particular unit. FHAs help honors students identify thesis topics and find an appropriate thesis director, offer advice on undergraduate research or internship opportunities within their discipline, and provide general mentorship as honors students explore interests in their academic unit.

Faculty Honors Advisor with a student at graduation