Fulbright College Announces 2019 Annual Faculty Teaching and Research Awards

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The J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas has named the 2019 winners of its annual teaching and research faculty awards. The recipients were each selected for their demonstrated excellence in these areas.

"This was a tough choice because we have some stellar educators and researchers here," said Todd Shields, dean of Fulbright College. "But those selected this year have shown the very highest levels of dedication to their students, their research and their fields - we could not be prouder of such a passionate and inspiring group of faculty!"

Fulbright College Master Teaching Award

The college honors up to three outstanding teachers annually, and selection is based on a letter of nomination, teaching evaluations and documentation about the nominee's teaching activities. The 2019 recipients include:

Adnan Al-Rubaye, clinical assistant professor and associate director of the Cell and Molecular Biology Program in the Department of Biological Sciences, whom his colleague Timothy A. Kral describes as "simply unsurpassed as a teacher" whose "caring for his students is genuine… Adnan continually stresses to the students that he wants them to succeed." David NcNabb, the department's chair, added "[He] has demonstrated a strong commitment to education … He maintains the highest level of professionalism and enthusiasm in all aspects of his academic career. His extraordinary devotion to teaching and mentoring have made him an invaluable member of the Biological Sciences faculty."

Caree Banton, assistant professor in the Department of History, whom Yvette Murphy-Erby, vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion, describes as "going beyond to engage students and to support and build rapport with students. She maintains a highly visible and appreciated presence as a respected teacher in the university and broader Fayetteville community. Her commitment to excellence in teaching all, to teaching inside and outside of the classroom, to using her research experiences to inform her teaching and to mentoring and advising students, colleagues and community members and to enhancing curricula with diversity content exemplifies the essence of a Master Teacher."

Stephanie Schulte, associate professor and assistant chair in the Department of Communication, whom her department chair, Robert M. Brady, said "already is a master teacher. It is time for her record to reflect that." He described her courses and approach to teaching as "dynamic, inclusive, innovative, applied and responsive" and said she "perpetually reinvents … to try new teaching techniques, to integrate the newest scholarship, to adjust to contemporary news cycles and cultural constructs." Colleague Ron Warren added, "[Her] teaching is both prodigious and meticulous, her commitment to students is unwavering, and I am proud to count her among our faculty members."

Fulbright College Master Researcher Award

The honor is awarded to up to three outstanding researchers. Awardees are chosen based on a nomination letter, the nominee's research accomplishments documented in a one-page summary of his or her research outlining its importance, a list of 10 publications, supporting evidence of exceptional performance in research, his or her curriculum vitae and an evaluation by the departmental chairperson. The 2019 recipients include:

Grant Drawve, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology, whom his department chair, Anna Zajicek, said has "already established himself as an extraordinarily productive scholar with national and international standing." Drawve has participated in federal research projects funded at more than $1.5 million, "which is an extraordinarily high amount for the social sciences … His scholarship is not only innovative but also includes community stakeholders, propelling both the discipline of criminology and the practice of law enforcement … In over 24 years as a member of the Fulbright College faculty, I have seen only a few records in the social science area, mostly at the full professor level, as exceptionally strong as Dr. Drawve's."

Feng "Seymour" Wang, professor of chemistry in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, whom his department chair, Wesley A. Stites, described as a rising star in theoretical chemistry who "will continue to do great things that advance chemical understanding at a fundamental level and that will also have the practical effect of making our lives better." Wang is a recipient of the largest individual investigator award given by the National Institutes of Health, an R-01 grant. Stites added, "The fact that he has been funded by both the NIH and the National Science Foundation … shows that he is tackling not just questions of purely intellectual interest, but problems with likely impact on human health."

J. Hillman Yowell Award for Excellence in Teaching

This award is given to a Fulbright College graduate assistant in recognition of his or her outstanding contributions to the teaching mission of the college and university. Awardees are chosen based on a letter of nomination, a recommendation by the departmental chairperson, assessments of classroom visitations and other types of departmental review, his or her curriculum vitae, letters of support from faculty and peers as well as current and former students, a list of courses taught at the university and a summary of student evaluations for each course.

The 2019 recipient is Benjamin "Jared" Pack, graduate assistant in the Department of History. Since fall 2015, Pack has worked with over 600 students, offering courses at both survey and advanced levels, ranging from early America, to modern Latin America, to Europe in the 20th century. James Gigantino, chair of the Department of History, said this demonstrates Pack's "breadth and depth of knowledge, his versatility, capability, and amenability."

Gigantino also shared the thoughts of one of Pack's students, who wrote: "You've stimulated my mind and challenged me in ways that have helped me grow not just as a student, but as a person. I wish every professor adopted your teaching style, and your genuine care for your students. Your energy and eagerness for history and learning only heightened my love for history (which I didn't think was possible). I hope to be as great at my job as you are one day."


Andra Parrish Liwag, director of communications
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
479-575-4393, liwag@uark.edu


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