Nicole Campione-Barr

Nicole Campione-Barr

College of Arts and Science

Nicole Campione-Barr, a professor of psychological sciences in the College of Arts and Science, inspires her students to be at their best in their fields and in their lives.

“Early in the development of a new skill, individuals seek a warm and supportive mentor or model to aid and scaffold their learning,” Campione-Barr said in her teaching philosophy statement. “With increasing competence and maturity in the skill, however, individuals must be allowed to gain increasing autonomy from their mentors in order to achieve independent success.”

While some of her students might go on to be developmental scientists like herself, Campione-Barr acknowledges that many more will go on to be parents.

“Adults who are more knowledgeable about child development are more confident and competent parents, teachers and mentors,” Campione-Barr said.

Campione-Barr takes mentoring to heart, as evidenced by her teaching style with undergraduate students.

“Much of my most meaningful engagement with students has primarily occurred outside of the traditional classroom setting,” she said. “I have spent a significant portion of my academic effort on mentoring undergraduate students through the research process. I find that being able to work one-on-one with students in this way is extremely enriching; not only for the way I get to know these talented students, but also in the way that their enthusiasm sparks wonderful collaboration and new research ideas.”

 Campione-Barr gives her graduate students more autonomy than her undergraduate students.

 “It is necessary to give them more autonomy and control over their research process,” she said. “However, students early in their training still require more structure than those later in their training. I keep my graduate student numbers low at any given time to ensure that I can give them the individualized training and mentoring that they require at each stage of career development.”

 Her approach to teaching and mentoring was apparent to Alice Guo, a fifth-year doctoral student whom Campione-Barr has mentored since Guo’s first year.

“Dr. Campione-Barr uses a scaffolding approach to mentoring both graduate and undergraduate students, which is highly effective in establishing foundational skills and fostering independent learning and growth,” Guo said in her nomination letter. “She provides greater support at the beginning, with more detailed feedback on papers and more explicit instructions for what articles to read. This kind of support was exactly what I and the other graduate students needed in our first year, so that we have a strong base of knowledge to build up our own programs of study.”

In a joint letter nominating Campione-Barr for the Kemper Award, her department chair Debora Bell and colleague Amanda Rose praised Campione-Barr for her teaching methods.

“In our collective decades of working in academia, we can honestly say that neither of us have met a more talented or dedicated mentor of undergraduate and graduate students than Dr. Campione-Barr,” said Bell and Rose.

Campione-Barr’s efforts have led her to being awarded the Department of Psychological Sciences’ Robert S. Daniel Junior Faculty Teaching Award and the David G. McDonald Contributions to Undergraduate Teaching Award. On a campus level, her activities outside of teaching have earned her such recognition as the MU Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year, TRIO Champion, Ann Covington Undergraduate Research Mentorship Award and the national award of Outstanding Mid-Career Undergraduate Research Mentor from the Council for Undergraduate Research.

Since her arrival on campus in 2006, Campione-Barr has consistently received high teaching evaluation ratings by her students across multiple sized courses, including large student lectures with more than 300 students, mid-sized courses with 75-100 students and smaller professional development-style courses and graduate level courses.

“Students report that Dr. Campione-Barr is a warm and engaging instructor who explains not only the material, but her rationale behind her methods of assessment, because she truly cares about what students are gaining from the course,” said Bell and Rose.

Campione-Barr received a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from MU in 1999. She also earned a master’s degree and a doctoral degree in philosophy from the University of Rochester in 2006.