Professor Profile: Dr. Barnett

Misha Khan

Photo courtesy of Carole Barnett

A wise person once said that the best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book. At Jacksonville University, students have the unique opportunity to get close to their professors who not only impart their knowledge but help establish careers as well. One such teacher at JU is Carole Barnett, Ph.D. and professor of Humanities.

Dr. Barnett received her formal education at Florida State University and can empathize with students working and going to school full time. She was a wife and a working mother when she returned to graduate school. Though she would have loved to apply to many institutions for graduate school, she found exactly what she was looking for at FSU.

“They had a wonderful Interdisciplinary Humanities Program at FSU, and I found that it was my cup of tea as I am interested in so many areas,” Dr. Barnett said. “It provided a focus for me to see the interrelatedness of so many things and the cycles of life, economies and cultures.  Later, I was lucky enough to be awarded two National Endowment of the Humanities Grants.”

Dr. Barnett has always been interested in other cultures and meeting new people; the study of humanities is just something that came naturally to her. She began by taking a few humanities courses and the next thing she knew, she was receiving her Master’s and Doctorate in the field along with teaching full-time, a move she has never once regretted.

“I consider myself very lucky to have been able to turn my love of culture into a job,” said Barnett. “I also love young people, their ideas and enthusiasm. For me it was much more exciting to walk into a classroom of energy and open minds than a boardroom where it was more static than dynamic.”

For “Dr. B,” as most of her students call her fondly, being a professor would be worthless if it was not for her students. A great many are now her life-long friends. She has always expected her students to engage in what she spoke about in class. This engagement in her classes has led to several class discussions, debates, presentations and even performances. And like any other good professor, she can recognize when her students are engaged and when they aren’t.

“It is always nice to have an intellectual flow going with classroom experiences when one students comment will inspire another,” said Barnett. “Learning can be fun and challenging if you let yourself connect with the material.”

Dr. Barnett even studied the origins of Islamic Culture at the University of Chicago and spent time teaching in the Middle East at United Arab Emirates University. She enjoys hearing back from her former students, most of whom are doing quite well, and listening to them talk makes her feel humbled and worthy to have been their professor.

Karla Reigosa, junior, believes there is more to her professor than her good hummus.

“Dr. Barnett is the type of professor who is passionate about what she says and knows her stuff,” said Reigosa. “Most of the places she speaks about are from firsthand experience; she has lived in the Middle East, and she has gone to see the pantheon.”

Dr. Barnett teaches from her heart, not from a book, which is what makes her a valuable and respected professor at Jacksonville University.