Darr, associate professor of communication arts at Indiana University Kokomo, recently was one of 11 IU faculty members selected for induction into the faculty program, which is committed to promoting outstanding teaching across all campuses.
“It’s a huge honor to have this kind of value placed on your teaching,” said Darr. “The faculty included in FACET are the best of the best. To be thought of in that class of people and teachers is pretty awesome.”
Scott Jones, dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, nominated Darr for membership, calling him an “outstanding, innovative faculty member” at IU Kokomo.
“His students appreciate his dedication and talent as a teacher, and his colleagues appreciate his generosity as a mentor,” Jones said.
Darr began his career in broadcast journalism, but enrolled in graduate school within six months. His own positive undergraduate experience inspired him to teach at the college level.
“I always loved college,” he said. “I fell in love with the idea of expanding your mind. I loved it so much, I decided I was never going to leave.”
He came to IU Kokomo in 2006, and teaches classes including interviewing, communication research methods, political communication, and his favorite, argumentation and debate. Darr uses debate as a teaching tool in many of his classes, allowing students to apply what they have learned.
“When you know you are going up against someone, you want to do better work,” he said. “It’s one thing to learn about how to give a speech or prepare for a debate, but it’s another to apply them and give a good speech, or participate successfully in a debate.”
His political communication classes currently are focused on the 2016 presidential elections, studying how the candidates apply or don’t apply the principals of communication and debate discussed in class.
“When you understand how the process works, you’re able to participate in an informed manner,” Darr said. “What these students are learning makes them better citizens.”
He’s also known for his end-of-semester events, in which students have debated topics including drug laws, hate speech, and drug testing for student athletes, with a championship belt awarded to the winners.
“It’s fun to watch students gain confidence in their ability over the course of the semester. My goal is for students to be good, confident communicators, whether they are speaking or writing.”
Darr, who lives in Lafayette, also has served as president of the IU Kokomo faculty senate.
FACET was established in 1989 as the service oriented teaching academy of IU. Members are chosen annually through a peer review process. Each year, members are involved in collaborative activities at the campus, university, and national level, promoting inquiry and engagement in teaching and learning.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.