Garcia Contreras Recipient of Outstanding Contribution to Service Learning Teaching Award
Assistant Professor Rogelio Garcia Contreras receives the Service Learning Outstanding Teaching Award.
Rogelio Garcia Contreras, teaching assistant professor and director of social innovation in the Walton College of Business at the U of A, was named the recipient of the 2021-22 Outstanding Contribution to Service Learning Teaching Award. The Service Learning Committee recognized the extraordinary commitment and accomplishments of Garcia Contreras through his service-learning courses — Social Entrepreneurship, Honors Strategy Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and Consulting for Social Impact. He was also recognized for his work in directing multiple service-learning-based honors theses, helping instructors across campus navigate service learning experiences during COVID, and promoting service learning through his efforts on the Service Learning Committee.
The award ceremony was held Monday, March 14, to honor Garcia Contreras. In addition to the Service Learning Committee, attendees included Lynda Coon, dean of the Honors College; Jason Ridge, professor of strategic management and department chair of the Department of Strategic Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Walton College of Business; Anne O'Leary-Kelly, the William R. & Cacilia Howard Chair in Management and senior associate dean in Walton College; and Alan Ellstrand, professor in management and associate dean for programs and research in Walton College. Other faculty colleagues and community partners were also in attendance both in person and on Zoom.
Using one word to describe him, Garcia Contreras's colleagues contributed adjectives such as "intentional," "compassionate" and "innovator."
Garcia Contreras and his students work with different partners each semester, which are mainly organizations, non-profits, businesses, corporations and government entities that lead, design or implement initiatives with a strong social or environmental mission. Some of the partners they have worked with are Seeds that Feed, Engage NWA and 7Hills Homeless Center.
He says the benefits of his service learning classes are that they provide "a constant opportunity to learn, appreciate the creativity of students, look at things with a fresh and unique perspective, and connect the dots in our collective efforts to design viable, sustainable and scalable solutions to some of the challenges faced by our partners." The students in these classes gain hands-on experience in the assessment, design and implementation of viable solutions that address the local manifestation of global challenges. Garcia Contreras' passion for his work in service learning, and student and partner enjoyment, is evident in his courses' many successes. He was previously named the 2020-21 Service Learning Committee Member of the Year.
Nominees for the 2021-22 Outstanding Contribution to Service Learning Teaching Award were also recognized at the ceremony for their contributions to service learning courses. They include:
Jeanne Eichler, assistant professor of occupational therapy in the combined UA/UMS OTD Program
Margie Gilbertson, instructor in communication sciences and disorders
Laura Herold, assistant teaching professor in human environmental sciences
Jacquelyn Mosley, professor in human development and family sciences
Tiffany Murphy, professor of law, associate dean for academic affairs, and director of Criminal Practice Clinic
Lanier Nalley, professor in agricultural economics and agribusiness, graduate program coordinator
Tim Tarvin, professor of law, director of Federal Practice and Transactional Clinics
Anne Marie Velliquette, clinical assistant professor of marketing, faculty director of Walton Honors Program
Lisa Wood, clinical associate professor of soil and environmental sciences, assistant dean for honors and international programs
About the Service Learning Initiative: The Service Learning Initiative is a joint initiative of the University of Arkansas Provost Office and the Honors College with the purpose of formalizing and expanding Service Learning opportunities on campus. Since 2014, when the Initiative was launched, more than 200 courses have been designated as Service Learning. Each semester, faculty and course instructors are encouraged to apply for Service Learning course designation. More information regarding Service Learning Course Designation can be found on the Service Learning Initiative website.
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