Teaching Academy Inducts 2018 New Fellows and Presents Imhoff Awards

Lynn Meade of the Department of Communication receives the Imhoff Award for Outstanding Teaching and Student Mentorship.
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Lynn Meade of the Department of Communication receives the Imhoff Award for Outstanding Teaching and Student Mentorship.

The University of Arkansas Teaching Academy inducted five new Fellows and recognized the finalists and the recipient of the 2018 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 2018 Imhoff Award recipient is Lynn Meade, instructor in the Department of Communication. Meade has taught several introductory classes at the 1000 and 2000 levels, including Communication in a Diverse World (COMM 1023), Public Speaking (COMM 1313), Nonverbal Communication (COMM 2613), and Small Group Communication (COMM 2343). Meade is a pioneer in her department, often volunteering to provide new opportunities for students and paving the way for other instructors to adopt new approaches. She was among the first instructors to volunteer to create online courses; she involves undergraduate students in civic engagement projects; she was the first to write a study abroad course with an internship; and, she is one of a small group incorporating service learning into her class. She anchors each concept in "real-world applications."

Students consistently report that they learn a lot in her classes because she not only tells them what they are learning, but also why they are learning it. She creates an environment in class where students feel empowered to explore meaning, which is especially important because they often are exploring controversial topics and pushing their own boundaries.

Amy Farmer and Kristofor Brye

The Teaching Academy also recognizes two Imhoff Award finalists for 2018, Kristofor Brye, professor in the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences; and Amy Farmer, University Professor and the Margaret Gerig & R.S. Martin Jr. Chair in Business in the Department of Economics.

Kristofor Brye is a professor of soil physics and pedology. He teaches Introduction to Water Science, which he developed and incorporates scientific writing. He academically advises students, mentors students in research, and provides leadership with the departmental internship program. Brye has been coaching and instructing students in the U of A Soil Judging Team for the past 17 years, and the team has been competitive both regionally and nationally.

Amy Farmer teaches in the first year experience program in the Walton College, Freshman Business Connections, and at all levels. She is a leader in the creation of the Global Community Development Program and its three project sites in Belize, Mozambique, and Vietnam. Farmer has had demonstrated impact changing the way students think: about the world, about how people less privileged than themselves live, and the impact that the students can themselves have.

The Teaching Academy Fellows inducted for 2018 were Sean P. Connors, Douglas D. Rhoads, Jill Rucker, Christopher Shields, and Lisa S. Wood. 

Sean P. Connors is an associate professor of English education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Connors won a national teaching award given by the Initiative for 21st Century Literacies Research (2017), the Alumni Association's Rising Teacher Award for the U of A campus (2018), the Golden Tusk Award (2011), the COEHP Innovative Teaching Award (2011), and three departmental teaching awards (2011, 2015, 2016). He is described by his peers as "demanding, caring, inspiring, and focused." 

Douglas D. Rhoads is a University Professor of biological sciences and the director of the interdisciplinary graduate program in Cell and Molecular Biology. He has taught freshmen through graduate students and is described as a tireless advocate for his students and a champion for diversity. Previous recognitions have included the Academic Advising Council Outstanding Faculty Advisor award in 2012, and the Collis R. Geren Award for Faculty commitment to graduate programs, and the University of Arkansas Graduate School Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award in 2017.

Jill Rucker is an assistant professor of agricultural leadership and communications in the Agricultural Education, Communications and Technology Department. She teaches and advises in communications and leadership, and was responsible for developing the Agricultural Leadership major and minor programs, which are experiencing rapid growth. Rucker has received the John W. White teaching award in the Bumpers College as well as the U of A Outstanding Teacher of the Year award presented by the Associated Student Government. She has been recognized as a Distinguished Educator by the National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture.

Christopher Shields is a clinical assistant professor of sociology and criminology. Shields received the John and Lois Imhoff Award for Outstanding Teaching and Student Mentorship in 2017. Shields works with prospective students, teaches Introduction to Criminology, and Criminal Law and Society, and manages the internship program. He is described by peers as not only being effective and loved, but of having "Rock Star" status among the students.

Lisa S. Wood is a clinical assistant professor of environmental sciences in the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences. Wood teaches the natural science core Environmental Science and several other courses in plant, soil and environmental sciences. She takes hand-on approaches, employs place-based learning, and incorporates service learning. She was awarded the Gamma Sigma Delta Teaching Award in 2017 and the Arkansas Environmental Education Association Outstanding Environmental Educator-Formal Education in 2014.

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


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