Honors College welcomes inaugural cohort of Tarkow Teaching Fellows

Amanda Durbak, Les Grey and Christopher Josey

April 9, 2024

For 50-plus years, Ted Tarkow has shared his passion for philosophy, literature and art with thousands of University of Missouri students. Tarkow, a professor emeritus of classical studies, has held a variety of roles during his Mizzou tenure, including several within the Honors College.

To honor Tarkow’s incredible teaching legacy, the Honors College announced the development of the Tarkow Teaching Fellows late last year. Funded in part through an endowed gift in honor of Ted and Marjorie Tarkow, the Teaching Fellows will form a collaborative cohort that will work with Honors faculty and administrators to develop and teach the one-credit Extended One Read course.

Now, the Honors College is excited to welcome its inaugural class of Tarkow Teaching Fellows – Amanda Durbak, Les Gray and Christopher Josey.

“When I speak with Honors alumni across the country, some of the most enduring memories they describe are the small Honors seminars where they discussed, dissected and debated topics with their classmates and developed lasting connections with their professor,” said Catherine Rymph, dean of the Honors College. “We want to make that opportunity available to more students and to honor Ted Tarkow, who is itruly a master teacher and forged enduring bonds with his students.

Amanda Durbak

Amanda Durbak is an associate teaching professor of biological sciences. She joined Mizzou in 2011 as a postdoctoral fellow after finishing her Ph.D. at the University of Arizona. With research interests in plant molecular genetics and development, her teaching focus is on both genetics and cell biology. Durbak said the opportunity to add to her teaching experiences, especially through a program honoring Tarkow, is an exciting one.

Les Gray

Les Gray joined Mizzou in 2020 and currently serves as an assistant professor of theatre. Gray’s research looks at the intersections of trauma, terror and Black cultural production with an orientation to outcomes of joy, solidarity, healing and resistance. While Gray’s teaching career at Mizzou is just getting started, they are ready to jump into a new challenge as a Fellow.

Christopher Josey

An associate teaching professor of communication, Christopher Josey received his Ph.D. in speech communication from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Josey is a long-time affiliate faculty member in the Honors College and has served in a variety of ways over the years. The chance to mentor more Mizzou students as a Tarkow Teaching Fellow was incredibly appealing to Josey.

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