Annual Faculty Lecturer 2013-2014
Blakely (Blake) Barron was raised, along with his taller “little” brother Matt, by his loving and devoted parents, Paul and Neva Barron in Ventura County. It was from watching his parents work so hard that Blake learned his work ethic. While he was born in Fort Sill, Oklahoma (in an army hospital as his father was returning from Vietnam) he grew up entirely in Southern California. Fond thoughts of explorations and an innate curiosity for the outdoors dominate Blake’s childhood memories. Hiking, camping, swimming and reading were and still are among his favorite activities. He has always been a voracious reader and not surprisingly was drawn into the worlds of science fiction, fantasy and Dungeons and Dragons. As a self-described science geek, he was excited when his parents got him one of the earliest home computers, a TI-99/4A, with a whopping 16KB of memory! A fascination with technology, data collection and analysis was born.
He is a proud graduate of the public education system in California, which he attended from elementary school to the University of California, Santa Barbara. Some of his abilities as an instructor today come from this early exposure to innovative teaching by committed science teachers. He has always been attracted by the sea and after graduating from Moorpark High School in 1986 he washed up on the beaches near UC Santa Barbara. Blake earned a Bachelor of Arts in Physiology and Cell Biology from UCSB in 1991.
In graduate school at UCSB, Blake’s research was focused on various aspects of reproductive physiology in fish. Blake accepted the opportunity to not only be a Teaching Assistant for three different biology courses at UCSB but also to lecture one semester for an upper division vertebrate reproduction course. These rich experiences kindled a fiery interest in teaching. Blake earned his Master of Arts in Biological Science with an emphasis in Comparative Physiology in 1996 and he knew that, while research was indeed fascinating, a career focused on teaching was his desired goal. Blake reflects on this period as one of the luckiest times in his life. As one of his last T.A. positions at UCSB was ending, Blake was exceedingly fortunate to be hired as an adjunct faculty member by the Department of Biological Sciences at Santa Barbara City College in 1996. Between 1998 and 1999, Blake married his lovely wife Janet, purchased his first new car and was hired as a full-time, tenure-track professor at SBCC.
The past 17 years at SBCC have been tremendously fulfilling for Blake. There is a true sense of community at SBCC. With wonderful mentors in his department and around campus, Blake has learned to be the best teacher he can while simultaneously experiencing great personal growth. Much of his professional development comes from the opportunities Blake had teaching a range of 14 different majors and non-majors courses in the Biological Sciences Department. This diversity has provided Blake with a breadth of knowledge that he can continually integrate and share with students.
Blake enjoys being involved in multiple aspects of our campus culture. After briefly serving on the Honors Advisory and Student Services Committees, Blake jumped in the deep end of the committee assignment pool. He had the privilege of doing the important and sometimes difficult work performed by the Faculty Academic Senate from 2004 to 2007. Blake has been both Biomedical Sciences Coordinator and Biology 100 Coordinator and is member of the One Planet faculty. He currently serves as Department Chair for Biological Sciences and has previously served as co-chair. The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Transfer Program Faculty Workgroup is one of his favorite current committees as they develop strategies and pedagogy to facilitate student success in STEM courses. In 2011-12 Blake was honored to earn a SBCC Faculty Excellence Award.
Santa Barbara City College is #1 in the nation (2013, The Aspen Institute Prize for Community College Excellence) because our students are the focus. Blake was very proud to serve as the lead coordinator to write and guide the A.A. in Liberal Arts: Biomedical Sciences Emphasis degree through the campus- and state approval processes. Blake is most proud to be the Faculty Advisor for the Biology Club since Fall 2008. The level of dedication to service and exploration exemplified by the devoted student members of the SBCC Biology Club is impressive.
Blake’s teaching philosophy is characterized by high expectations for both himself and his students tempered with compassionate consideration of the diversity of our students and recognition of both their fears and potential. As primates, humans are social critters. Our survival and ability to thrive is predicated on our establishing effective relationships and staying connected. Blake looks forward to many more years of adventure, discovery and fun at SBCC!