Watkins, Barbara

Barbara
Watkins, PhD
Year Inducted: 
2002
Barbara Watkins
Highlights: 
  • 1973: Received the Outstanding Young Woman of America Award
  • Recipient of multiple national and regional awards for her work as codirector of the Langston Hughes National Poetry Project
  • Twice recipient of the NUCEA Phillip E. Frandson Award for Continuing Excellence in Programming in the Arts, Sciences and Humanities
  • 2001: Recipient of the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center Lifetime Achievement Award for Community Service
  • 1956-1963: winner of several city, university, and state tennis championships
Biography: 

In recognition of her far-reaching impact on KU and the Lawrence community, Dr. Barbara Watkins, has been referred to as “an icon of the University of Kansas to the community at large.”  Barbara, the Coordinator of Curriculum and Projects for KU Continuing Education since 1984, has helped to design community education programs to bring information to those with a passion for learning.    And “passion” aptly describes Barbara’s interest in sharing her love of Kansas and Lawrence.  Through the Kansas Studies Program at KUCE, she has been able to develop materials that are used throughout the state of Kansas in both college and high school classrooms.  She has directed several series on Kansas history that were broadcast on 35 radio stations and published in approximately 100 Kansas newspapers.  Although these were produced in the 1980's, they can still be seen on local stations and have become media classics.  She has co-authored and co-edited regional best-sellers on Lawrence history and culture and one of these series is now being considered for a national award from the American Association for State and Local History. 

Lynn Anderson, Public Relations Manager, KUCE, says, "if a project has educational value and integrity, Barb will support it.  She will sweat over it.  She will bring her clear thinking and eagle eye to bear on it.  And she will make it better."  This commitment and dedication can be illustrated in her work with the Langston Hughes Centennial Symposium.  Due in large part to Barbara’s work, Langston Hughes has been assured a place of honor as Lawrence’s leading literary light.  Dr. Nancy Heibert calls her, "the glue who holds the project together and can get the impossible accomplished."  The website for the symposium, which she also coordinated, will not only serve as an archive for the Symposium and a testament to her dedication but will also help to facilitate the upcoming Langston Hughes National Poetry Project which she is spearheading. 

Barbara has not only helped bring Lawrence's history to light, she has also worked to make its future brighter.  Through her work with the Bert Nash Mental Health Center and Independence Inc, she has introduced many important projects, including a collaborative housing project, called Accessible Residential Options, Inc. (ARO) to provide accessible housing for disabled individuals and a highly utilized computer lab which serves as a job training site for the disabled.    She also co-authored a book on the history of the Bert Nash Mental Health Center her after many years of devoted service and most recently was awarded the Center's Lifetime Achievement Award for Community Service.  Her willingness to develop an idea to reality has benefited countless members of the Lawrence community.  Barbara is indeed an icon in our community. 

Honors & Achievements: 
  • Universities Continuing Education Association (UCEA) Region V, Innovations and Contributions Award for the Langston Hughes centennial symposium, 2002
  • UCEA Conferences and Professional Programs Community of Practice Exemplary Program Award--Langston Hughes centennial symposium, 2002
  • UCEA Outstanding Noncredit Program Award-- special recognition for the Hughes centennial symposium, 2002
  • Association for Continuing Higher Education (ACHE) Region VIII Exceptional Noncredit Program Award for the Hughes symposium, 2002
  • The Hughes symposium also received a national gold award and two regional awards (one gold, one silver) from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)
  • Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center Lifetime Achievement Award for Community Service, 2001
  • UCEA Region V Noncredit Award for KU for Lawrence, 2000
  • NUCEA Region V Innovations and Contributions Award for the Kansas Studies Program, 1995
  • NUCEA Phillip E. Frandson Award for Continuing Excellence in Programming in the Arts, Sciences and Humanities 1991, 2002
  • United States Department of Justice Graduate Research Fellowship, 1979–81
  • Phi Delta Kappa (education honorary fraternity), 1976
  • Outstanding Young Woman of America Award, 1973
  • Several city, university, and state tennis (woman’s singles and doubles) championships, 1956–63
Books: 
  • On the Hill: A Photographic History of the University of Kansas
  • Old Fraser
  • Dyche Hall
  • Embattled Lawrence: Conflict and the Community
  • Commitment to Community: A History of the Bert Nash Mental Health Center
  • The Foundations of American Distance Education
  • The First and the Forced: Essays on the native American and African American Experience, coeditor

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