Teaching Academy Inducts New Fellows and Presents Imhoff Awards

Christopher Shields
Photos by University Relations

Christopher Shields

The University of Arkansas Teaching Academy recently inducted seven new Fellows and named the finalists and the recipient of the 2017 Dr. John and Mrs. Lois Imhoff Award for Outstanding Teaching and Student Mentorship. The Imhoff Award, presented annually by the Teaching Academy, recognizes faculty that excel in teaching introductory courses and in mentoring students.

The Imhoff Award winner was Christopher Shields, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice. Shields is teaching two introductory sections of Criminal Law and Society, a new upper-division course on human trafficking, and multiple sections of internship which means supervision of about 100 students placed with dozens of agencies. Since 2009, he has advised the department's Criminal Justice honor society and orchestrates the annual career fair. Shields' students, describe him as kind, motivating, and understanding, and speak often to his deliberate outreach to them as individuals. Shields joined the U of A faculty in 2008 and earned his bachelor's and master's degree in sociology from the University of Arkansas as well as his law degree. He returned to the University to complete his doctorate in public policy. Shields is a past recipient of the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards-Outstanding Mentor Award in 2016 and the Golden Tusk Award in 2012 from the University of Arkansas, Division of Student Affairs.

Stephanie Schulte

Karen Sebold

The Teaching Academy also recognized two Imhoff Award finalists, Stephanie Schulte, associate professor and associate chair in the Department of Communication; and Karen Sebold, clinical assistant professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Political Science. 

Stephanie Schulte has taught or co-taught more than 20 courses on topics including Computer-Mediated Communication and Media, Community, and Citizenship. She serves as the faculty adviser to many student organizations, internship experiences, and student research projects. She has chaperoned the incoming Bodenhamer Fellows on a six-day summer journey to either Washington, D.C., or New York City annually since 2012. Her students and colleagues describe her work as "pioneering," "brave" and "inspiring."

Karen Sebold typically teaches two large sections of American National Government, and an upper-division political science course including Congress, the Chief Executive, or Money and Politics. She also serves as faculty adviser to the department's honor society, supporting a dynamic group of student leaders who have won multiple national grants to visit the Truman Presidential Library and WWI Museum in Kansas City and to attend a professional conference in Chicago. Most frequently described as "passionate" about her field, her students also rave about her "remarkable gift of inspiration" in helping students find their paths outside the classroom through internships, original research and career development events.

The Teaching Academy Fellows inducted for 2017 were Yuchun Du, Department of Biological Sciences; Michelle Gray, Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation; Christa Hestekin, Department of Chemical Engineering; Brinck Kerr, Department of Political Science; Laurent A. Sacharoff, School of Law; Kate Shoulders, Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and Technology; and Ron Warren, Department of Communication. 

Yuchun Du

Yuchun Du is a 2017 recipient of the Fulbright Master Teacher Award. Students and colleagues praise his ability to make complex mechanisms of cell and cancer biology understandable through the use of creative analogies.

Michelle Gray

Michelle Gray has been recognized with the College of Education and Health Professions Outstanding Advisor/Mentor Award, Office of Nationally Competitive Grants-Outstanding Mentor Award, Associated Student Government Faculty of the Year Award, and the HPER Department Outstanding Teaching Award. According to her colleagues, "Dr. Gray is an extremely effective teacher, sets high standards, and has an uncanny ability to successfully teach a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses."

Christa Hestekin

Christa Hestekin was awarded the College of Engineering Rising Teacher Award in 2017. Students comment that Hestekin "is prepared, knows her stuff, is fair, and cares that students learn."

Brinck Kerr

Brinck Kerr has previously received the Fulbright Master Teacher Award in 2016, the Geren Award for Excellence in Graduate Education in 2015, the Nolan Award for Fulbright Teaching, Research and Service in 2012, and recognized for Excellence in Teaching by the Associated Student Government and the University of Arkansas Alumni Association in 1999 and 2002. One of his undergraduate research methods students wrote simply, "The professor was awesome; the material was hard."

Laurent Sacharoff

Laurent A. Sacharoff is an Alumni Association Rising Teacher Award recipient from 2016 and Epley Faculty Excellence Award recipient from 2015. Students describe professor Sacharoff as funny, interesting and thought provoking, and they comment that he explains difficult material clearly and helps them to apply theory to solve problems. 

Kate Shoulders

Kate Shoulders is the Alumni Association Distinguished Rising Teacher Award and the NACTA Educator Award recipient for 2017. Her colleagues and students describe her as an engaging, innovative, creative and inspiring teacher. According to one student, "Dr. Shoulders reminded me of why I wanted to be a teacher in the first place."

Ron Warren

Ron Warren is a Fulbright Master Teacher and he was a Dr. John and Mrs. Lois Imhoff Award Finalist in 2016. Warren has also been recognized with the Nolan Award for Outstanding Contributions to Graduate Education. His students routinely praise his sense of humor, intelligence and obvious passion for teaching.

The Teaching Academy consists of faculty members who have been recognized by their peers, colleges, and the university for excellence in teaching. Other criteria include a professor's ability to establish a special rapport with students, to instill a love for learning, and to encourage students to go beyond the expectations of the classroom and to explore their disciplines for themselves.

The Teaching Academy logo represents a drop of water falling into a pond creating ripples spreading out in all directions, having an effect which can neither be controlled nor predicted. So it is with the effect of outstanding teaching on students. For more information on the Teaching Academy, see uateach.uark.edu.


Lori L. Libbert, special events manager
Teaching and Faculty Support Center
479-575-3222, libbert@uark.edu


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