UCA faculty honored at convocation

The University of Central Arkansas recently honored several faculty members with Faculty Excellence Awards at the 2020 Faculty Convocation. Due to COVID-19, the event took place via Zoom.

The university announced the following faculty award recipients and finalists: 

Public Service Award – Mary Ruth Marotte, Department of English. Finalists: Cindy Lea, Schedler Honors College; Twala Maresh, Department of Physical Therapy.

Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Award – Arijit Mukherjee, Department of Biology. Finalists: Matthew Gifford, Department of Biology; Femina Varghese, Department of Psychology and Counseling.

Teaching Excellence Award – Donna Bowman, Schedler Honors College. Finalists: Brent Gregg, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders; Benjamin Rider, Department of Philosophy and Religion.

Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Award – Amy Hawkins, director of the Center for Teaching Excellence.

External Funding Impact Award – Tansel Halic, Department of Computer Science. 

In addition, the university recognized UCA Employee of the Year recipients for the 2019-20 academic year. In the classified employee category, Nancy Bond was named Employee of the Year; Paula Myers was named a finalist. In the non-classified category, Billie Hill was named Employee of the Year; Garth Clayborn was named a finalist. 

The Public Service Award recognizes individuals whose service contributions to the UCA community, professional community and other communities outside the university have been outstanding. It is expected that individuals will have contributed both within and outside the university. Through service work such as volunteering for charitable organizations, serving on advisory boards, donating professional expertise, serving on committees and conducting outreach programs, these individuals have improved conditions within the community and enhanced the quality of life for all citizens.

The Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Award recognizes individuals whose contributions to their disciplines have been exemplary. Through original work in research, scholarship or creative activities (such as performances and artistic productions), they have expanded human knowledge, interpreted the human experience or enhanced the quality of lives.

Faculty who have consistently demonstrated exceptional performance in teaching are eligible for the Teaching Excellence Award. Recipients of this award strive to enhance student learning as they continually seek ways to improve their teaching.

“I feel that this award is really the highest recognition the university gives,” said Teaching Excellence Award recipient Donna Bowman. “Teaching is our primary mission as an institution. UCA recognizes that by enhancing this award even among the elite recognitions for faculty involved in service and research. I feel confident relating to students because my fellow teachers have affirmed that what I’m doing is valid and effective. This is without a doubt the peak of my career.” 

The Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Award recognizes individuals whose commitment to diversity and inclusive excellence on and/or off campus has made a significant impact on various ethnic groups and diverse populations in a positive way. These individuals have improved conditions at UCA and within the community that have enhanced society.

Established in November 2018, the External Funding Impact Award recognizes a faculty or staff member for excellence in obtaining external funding. The award promotes a culture of grant writing among faculty and staff and encourages grant recipients to track the impact of their grant work on individuals, the university, the community and their disciplines or fields of study.