McComas, Kulczak, Cantu Earn Collis R. Geren Awards

From left: William McComas, Lisa Kulczak, Amanda Cantu
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From left: William McComas, Lisa Kulczak, Amanda Cantu

William McComas, Lisa Kulczak and Amanda Cantu have been named winners of the 2018 Collis R. Geren awards for excellence in graduate education.

The Collis R. Geren award is given to faculty and staff members who demonstrate exceptional commitment to graduate education. The award was initiated in 2010 in honor of Geren, who served as the dean of the University of Arkansas Graduate School for nearly 20 years.

McComas, the Parks Family Professor of Science Education for the College of Education and Health Professions, is the Collis R. Geren university faculty award recipient. McComas was honored for the many ways he supports the university's graduate students. He directed the former Preparing for the Professoriate program, has served as a faculty advocate for students during grievance proceedings and is an advisory board member for the newly formed Razorgrad Institute for Success and Engagement.

"Dr. McComas was nominated by several people who specifically highlighted his dedication to students," said Patricia Koski, associate dean for the Graduate School and International Education. "That is so true; I cannot tell you the number of times I have sent students over to Dr. McComas for advice. Clearly, we value his input and perspective, and he is an example of why we cannot do our jobs without our faculty partners."

Kulczak, the associate registrar for curriculum management, is the Collis R. Geren university staff award winner. Kulczak was acknowledged for the constant support she provides to Graduate School staff members, which helps them better serve students.

"Lisa is the consummate professional," said one of her nominators. "Her intelligence, ability to communicate complex UA Connect issues for the sometimes user and her calm demeanor are so appreciated. She is always available, with a smile, to deal with them for you. She is very, very valued and appreciated."

Cantu, the director of communications and director of graduate retention and graduation for the Graduate School and International Education, is the recipient of the Collis R. Geren Graduate School and International Education staff award. She was recognized for the behind-the-scenes work she performs to help the unit succeed.

"Amanda actually plays two roles within our unit," Koski said. "Most people would find one of those jobs to be overwhelming, but Amanda is able to produce an amazing amount of excellent work while remaining calm and professional. Probably by now, everyone knows the work she puts into making the All-University Commencement ceremonies successful, but not everyone sees how many everyday things she does to move our unit forward."

The Geren award recipients were honored at the annual Graduate School and International Education appreciation cookout last week.


Amanda Cantu, director of communications
Graduate School and International Education


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