School of Law Announces 2022 Dean's Circle Award Winners

From left: Carol Goforth, Christopher Kelley, Sharon Foster and Tracy Deffebaugh.
Photo Submitted

From left: Carol Goforth, Christopher Kelley, Sharon Foster and Tracy Deffebaugh.

The U of A School of Law has announced the 2022 Dean's Circle Award recipients. The awards were created to recognize faculty for their excellence in teaching and advising, research and scholarship, and public service, as well as a staff member for their commitment and dedication to students and the school.

Professor Carol Rose Goforth received the Dean's Circle Faculty Award for Scholarship, professor Christopher Kelley received the Dean's Circle Faculty Award for Teaching, professor Sharon Foster received the Dean's Circle Faculty Award for Public Service and Tracy Deffebaugh received the inaugural Dean's Circle Award for Outstanding Staff Member.

"We have an amazing faculty who excel at teaching, scholarship and service, and we have a dedicated tireless staff, so picking winners is extremely hard," said law school interim Dean Alena Allen. "I want to congratulate the winners for their commitment to excellence."

The Dean's Circle Faculty Award recipients are recommended by the awards committee to the dean. These awards honor up to three outstanding teachers and one staff member, and each award carries an honorarium payment of $1,000.

The committee was chaired by University Professor and Vincent Foster Professor of Legal Ethics & Professional Responsibility Howard Brill. Other members included Ann M. Killenbeck and 2021 award recipients Danielle Weatherby, Annie Smith and Jordan Blair Woods.

Faculty Award for Scholarship – CAROL ROSE GOFORTH

The selection of this award is based on scholarship that is novel or inherently excellent, addresses complex material, is well-researched, well-written, well placed, well received by experts in the field and is influential among lawyers, judges or the legal academy.

"While it is always nice to be recognized, it is especially gratifying when the honor comes from those you most respect," Goforth said. "And it is even better when it puts you in company like the others who are being recognized this year. Thanks to the law school and my amazing colleagues for supporting me in all that I do."

Goforth specializes in business associations and securities regulation, and she has become a leading expert on the regulation of cryptoassets and transactions. West Academic recently published the second edition of her textbook, Regulation of Cryptotransactions. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in University of Massachusetts Law Review, Maryland Law Review, St. Louis University Law Journal, U.M.K.C Law Review, University of Memphis Law Review and Banking and Financial Law Review. She has written more than a dozen published journal articles focused on the regulation of cryptoassets, and she provides regular commentary on the subject, including serving as an expert commentator for CoinTelegraph, with her posts receiving thousands of views. She is also on the board of advisers to Honeycomb Digital Investments.

A University Professor and the Clayton N. Little Professor of Law at the U of A School of Law, Goforth served as former associate dean for academic affairs and former Arkansas Bar Foundation Professor of Law. She is also a member of the Academic Faculty Network at the Sam M. Walton College of Business Blockchain Center of Excellence.

Faculty Award for Teaching – CHRISTOPHER KELLEY

The selection of this award is based on implementing pedagogical techniques in the classroom that engage students in reflecting on their own learning process, stimulate critical and creative thinking, and incorporate formative assessment. 

"I am honored to receive the Dean's Circle Faculty Award for Teaching," Kelley said. "I am grateful to my colleagues and students. I especially thank the Ukrainian and Moldovan students who remotely participated in my Rule of Law Colloquium this spring semester. They and their colleagues here were the true teachers in that course. And they taught unforgettable lessons about human dignity and the values underlying the rule of law."

Kelley teaches in the J.D. as well as the LL.M. Program in Agricultural and Food Law. His courses include Agriculture & the Environment; Agricultural Perspectives; Administrative Law; Interviewing, Counseling, and Negotiation; and Rule of Law. In the Spring 2022 semester, there were 49 U of A law students and 34 Ukrainian and Moldovan students in his Rule of Law class, which also became the subject of several media pieces this year, including "Students connecting from abroad put UA law class's focus on Ukraine" and "Ukrainian classmates inspire UA law students" by Arkansas Democrat Gazette, and interviews for ABC10, KFSM-TV and FOX16.

Kelley is a nonresident professor at the Kyiv Taras Shevchenko National University Law Faculty in Kyiv, Ukraine, where he teaches legal writing in English every semester and occasionally lectures on various other subjects. He frequently teaches in person and by distance at universities, law firms, corporate legal departments and nongovernmental organizations in Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus. He also has taught multiple times in Lithuania, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation. Moreover, he has taught remotely in Uzbekistan and Poland. He was the first American law professor to teach at the Belarusian State University Law Faculty in Minsk, Belarus. His international teaching is mostly focused on negotiation and legal writing in English.

Faculty Award for Public Service – SHARON FOSTER

The selection of this award is based on modelling excellence through outstanding service to law school, legal academy or legal community, which is particularly important at a public, land grant university. 

Upon receipt of the award, Foster quoted Tom Brokaw, "It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to make a difference."

Foster joined the School of Law faculty in 2000 and became a tenure-track assistant professor in Fall 2006. Prior to her arrival, she was an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles from 1998 to 2000. She taught in the Legal Research & Writing Program and has offered courses in international legal research and international finance. She has also coached the Jessup International Law Moot Court team.

Between 1987 and 2000, she was in private practice in Los Angeles, focusing on construction and international law. Her recent writings have been in the area of antitrust and international law.

Outstanding Staff Member – TRACY DEFFEBAUGH

Nominated by the Class of 2022 and selected by the committee, this inaugural award was to honor a staff member who made a tremendous impact on a graduating student or students.

"Those who inspire others believe in collective power," Deffebaugh said.

Deffebaugh is the assistant director of admissions. She began work at the U of A Law School in 2016. In the first quarter of 2018, she was the recipient of the Employee of the First Quarter and was also selected Employee of the Year for 2018-19. Deffebaugh has received numerous awards from student organizations for being an advocate for their organization, and in 2021 and 2022, she was selected to receive the Above and Beyond Award from law students.

Deffebaugh is a native of Chicago and recently graduated from the U of A with a B.A. in interdisciplinary studies. She enjoys motivating and encouraging law students as they navigate through the most challenging times of becoming attorneys.

About the School of Law: The law school offers a competitive J.D. as well as an advanced LL.M. program, which are taught by nationally recognized faculty. The school offers unique opportunities for students to participate in pro bono work, externships, live client clinics, competitions, and food and agriculture initiatives. The school strives to identify, discuss, and challenge issues of race, color, ethnicity, and the impact(s) they have on students, faculty, and staff members in an effort to achieve a diverse, inclusive, and equitable community. From admitting the Six Pioneers who were the first African American students to attend law school in the South without a court order to graduating governors, judges, prosecutors, and faculty who went on to become President of the United States and Secretary of State, the law school has a rich history and culture. Follows us at @uarklaw.




Yusra Sultana, director of communications
School of Law


Groundbreaking for Fine Arts Center Restoration Nov. 29

The U of A will host a groundbreaking ceremony for the restoration of the Fine Arts Center at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29, at the courtyard off Garland Avenue. The event is free and open to the public.

Ranch Horse Team Goes from Stock Horse of Texas World Show Reserve Champ to Overall Title

The U of A ranch horse team won the overall Division II collegiate title at this year's event in October, and student Jessica Bookout won the reserve all-around championship.

Honors College Recognizes Exceptional Faculty

The Honors College will recognize eight faculty members at the annual Honors College Faculty Reception from 5:30-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6, in the Fowler House Conservatory.

Malloy, Shumaker, Kelley Win Hoyt Purvis Awards for Aiding International Programs

Sarah Malloy of the Office of Study Abroad, Camilla Shumaker of ITS and Christopher Kelley of the School of Law were honored with the Hoyt Purvis Award for their service to the field of international education.

Joe Hatfield, Communication Faculty Member, Wins Dissertation of the Year Award

Hatfield's dissertation merges multiple methodological frameworks to analyze the mediated history of trans suicide, with a focus on the 2014 suicide of 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn.

News Daily