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August 27, 2004

Outstanding ULM Faculty Member Studies at Cambridge University

ULM Staff Member Studies at London School of Economics and Political Science

Between classes, a nice surprise arrived via the Internet for University of Louisiana at Monroe English instructor Robert Erle Barham. After applying to several universities to begin work on his doctorate, Barham was elated to find that he had been accepted to the prestigious Cambridge University in England. His program accepts only 8-12 students each term. He leaves for Europe today.

"It was nice to know. I was surprised. It came during the middle of the week and a student walked in as I was confirming the acceptance, and it was a delayed response so I did not have a lot of time for it to sink in," Barham said.

Barham, from Oak Ridge, started teaching at ULM in January of 2003. He believes his relationships at ULM assisted his acceptance at Cambridge.

One of the first people Barham told about his good news from Cambridge was ULM Professor Jeff Galle. Galle helped Barham apply for admission by writing a letter of recommendation and says he is happy for his former co-worker. "For the past two years I have enjoyed working with Mr. Barham, one of our composition instructors. His presence here, in both a professional sense and on a more personal level, has been wonderful, judging from the enthusiastic endorsements of him by other instructors and by his students as well. It is certainly so for me, for Mr. Barham is one of the brightest, most likable young instructors I've known in more than twenty years of teaching. He combines a striking intelligence and intellectual curiosity with an affable, settled manner," said Galle.

With a great interest in Renaissance and Medieval literature, Barham knows he will be right at home at Cambridge. He says he absolutely loved his time teaching at ULM. "I told Dr. Galle that teaching in the English department at ULM has changed the way I think about literature, learning and about the role a university can play in an area. "It augmented my understanding of teacher-student relationships and the way a university works and how much teaching English can influence students and how a university can influence an entire region. "It was a pleasure, I could not have planned it to work out better."

At Cambridge, Barham will spend a minimum of three years studying Renaissance and medieval literature. He then hopes to return to the United States to teach.

Barham's close friend and fellow Louisiana State University alumnus, ULM Assistant Director of Marketing, Kevin Stuart, is also enrolled in a prominent university in Britain. Stuart will attend the London School of Economics and Political Science.

The program Stuart is in accepts only 12-14 students each term. It begins in a few weeks and runs through the first week of July. Stuart will study comparative politics.

Stuart and Barham have been pals since meeting at LSU their freshman year, over seven years ago. They have since lived and worked in close proximity and will keep with that trend when they both go to Europe.

"We have a great friendship and it's nice that we have such similar interests. Neither one of us is following the other, it just happens to work out this way," Stuart said. "It will be nice to have someone to call when I run out of Tony Chachere's and hot sauce. It will be nice to have a friend close."

Stuart is looking forward to studying in London, but says he has a long way to go before achieving his dreams. "The ultimate goal is to get a doctorate but I am keeping my options open and will likely be returning to the United States," Stuart says of his future ambitions.

Both Stuart and Barham had to submit transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement and writing samples in order to apply for admission.

Stuart's job at ULM helped him gain admission to the London School. He said, "The experiences that I had here on staff contributed a great deal to my personal statement. British schools value the personal statement highly; it is given heavy weight and consideration."

ULM President James Cofer is extremely proud of both Barham and Stuart. He said, "Cambridge has a world-wide reputation for outstanding academic achievement, and the London School of Economics and Political Science is the world's leading social science institution for teaching and research. This is proof that ULM has exceptional faculty and staff."

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