Barbara B. Lockee, a professor of instructional design and technology in the School of Education, has been named associate vice provost for faculty affairs at Virginia Tech. 

In this newly created role, Lockee will report to Ron Fricker, the vice provost for faculty affairs, as she develops and supervises initiatives to help faculty thrive throughout their careers, including elevating the intellectual community at the university, improving professional development opportunities for post-tenure faculty, and helping faculty seek external recognition for their work.

“Barb brings to this office her many years as an outstanding faculty member,” said Fricker. “Because she’s come up through the ranks of the university, she’s had the experience of going through the promotion and tenure process and being a member of a department. Barb truly represents the faculty. We need that voice in our office.”

Lockee joins the Office of Faculty Affairs after nearly 30 years in the Virginia Tech community. In 1996 she earned a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction at Virginia Tech, after which she became a postdoctoral fellow in the Office of Distance Learning, then an assistant professor of instructional technology. She was promoted to associate professor in 2001 and to full professor in 2007. Twice she has served as the associate director for educational research and outreach in the School of Education, where she supported faculty implementation of research programs and managed a $20 million–plus portfolio of funded research for the school.

Looking to take on a new post-tenure challenge, Lockee became the first faculty fellow in the Office of Faculty Affairs in 2018. “I so much appreciate the culture of the Office of Faculty Affairs and its focus on enhancing the quality of faculty life,” said Lockee. “The group offers many avenues of support for faculty at the university and is constantly striving to determine and address faculty needs as they emerge. I’m grateful to be part of the team to further these goals.”

"Barbara’s new role is aligned with our commitment to supporting faculty and their professional growth, and creating opportunities to elevate their scholarly achievements," said Executive Vice President and Provost Cyril Clarke. "I am confident that her expertise, experience, and the relationships she has built across campus will help to position our faculty for future success and advance Virginia Tech’s academic and research mission.”

Lockee's research on instructional design and distance learning has made her a leader in her field. She’s authored dozens of peer-reviewed publications and received more than $14 million in funding from various federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. She is past president of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology and currently serves as vice president for education of the International Academic Forum, based in Nagoya, Japan.

During the global pandemic, her scholarship and professional development efforts supported the transition to remote education at Virginia Tech and other K–12, higher ed, and workplace learning contexts around the world. A paper she co-authored for Educause Review to clarify the nature of emergency remote teaching has become one of the most highly cited articles about remote education since the start of the pandemic.

Higher education, Lockee believes, is at a historic point after two long pandemic years. “This is an important time to think about how the evolving nature of higher education in this post-pandemic era will impact us as faculty, and to consider what we need in order to remain engaged, productive, and satisfied in our work.

“I'm most excited for the chance to support the advancement and success of our faculty colleagues around the university and across the career trajectory,” Lockee continued. “We’re already exploring new strategies to grow professional development opportunities for post-tenure faculty and enhance recognition for the wide array of faculty contributions and accomplishments that make a Virginia Tech world-class institution."

“Barb and I have known each other for years as faculty colleagues," said Fricker. "I am absolutely delighted that we now get to work together on behalf of Virginia Tech faculty. We both very much welcome ideas from the university community on how Faculty Affairs can support and promote our faculty and further develop Virginia Tech as a community of scholars.”

Lockee earned her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction in 1991, and her bachelor’s degree in communication arts in 1986, both from Appalachian State University, which recently inducted her into its honorary Rhododendron Society to acknowledge her exemplary accomplishments in education and service to her community. She is also a past winner of Virginia Tech's Zenobia Lawrence Hikes Award and the Association for Educational Communication and Technology’s Distinguished Service Award. 

Written by Melody Warnick