- 1976-1978: Chair of the French Department
- 1973: received the Standard Oil of Indiana Award for Excellence in Teaching
- 1974: named an Outstanding Educator of America
- 1983: received second-ever Chancellor’s Club Career Teaching Award
- 1970-1974: elected member of the Delegate Assembly of the Modern Language Association
- 1977: invited to France to attend the World Congress on Medieval Theatre
Barbara M. Craig, Professor of French and Italian at the University of Kansas from 1947-1984, is remembered as an exemplary teacher and a true leader of the French Department. Dr. Craig received her BA in 1937 and her MA in 1939 from Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada. From 1937-1938, she studied in France on a French Government Scholarship for the province of Ontario. She served as a graduate fellow at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania from 1939-1941, and earner her PhD there in 1949.
From 1941-1943, she put her linguistic talents to use for the Canadian government in their Censorship Department reading German Prisoner of War mail. Afterwards, she worked as an instructor of French from 1943-1946 at Mount Royal College in Calgary, Alberta Canada before coming to the University of Kansas in 1947, where she remained for 37 years until her retirement.
During her first fifteen years at the University, Dr. Craig regularly taught and was the Chair of all multiple-section freshman-sophomore courses in the department. From this position, she was able to single out some of the best students in these courses and encourage them to become French majors. She organized and usually taught the seminal junior-senior literature introductory course to French Literature and Composition and organized and chaired the honors seminars for the graduate-level courses. She served from 1976-1978 as Chair of the French Department, and she also spent her time as the principal French major advisor for several years.
Dr. Craig was often lauded for her outstanding work in the classroom. In 1973, she received the Standard Oil of Indiana Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 1974, she was named an Outstanding Educator of America. Frequently nominated for the student-awarded HOPE Award, she received the second-ever Chancellor’s Club Career Teaching Award in 1983.
Besides teaching numerous graduate and undergraduate courses, Dr. Craig remained a busy scholar. She directed fourteen dissertations in medieval and sixteenth century literature, and she was the author of numerous publications herself. She spent time in France on sabbatical leaves in 1959, 1967, and 1975, and performed researched in that country during the summers of 1954, 1963, and 1971. In 1983, a French literature publication company produced her book The Evolution of a Mystery Play, a work on early medieval French literature and drama.
From 1970-1974, she served as an elected member of the Delegate Assembly of the Modern Language Association. Dr. Craig was also a member of the Medieval Academy, the American Association of University Professors, and the American Association of Teachers of French. In 1977, she was invited to France to attend the World Congress on Medieval Theatre.
Dr. Craig passed away in 1987, but her memory lives on at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas, where the Barbara Craig Collection holds a variety of her personal papers including publications, awards, and medals.