2024 School of Law Dean's Circle Award Recipients Announced

Top from left: Blair Bullock and Daniel Rice; and bottom: Will Foster, Brooke Holt and Greneda Johnson.
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Top from left: Blair Bullock and Daniel Rice; and bottom: Will Foster, Brooke Holt and Greneda Johnson.

The U of A School of Law has announced the 2024 Dean's Circle Award recipients. The awards recognize faculty for their excellence in teaching and advising, research and scholarship, and public service, and staff members for their commitment and dedication to students and the law school community.

Assistant professor Daniel Rice received the Dean's Circle Faculty Award for Scholarship; assistant professor Blair Bullock received the Dean's Circle Faculty Award for Teaching; Will Foster, Arkansas Bar Foundation Professor of Law, received the Dean's Circle Faculty Award for Public Service; and Greneda Johnson, director of Community and Engagement, and Registrar Brooke Holt received the Dean's Circle Awards as Outstanding Staff Members.

"I commend the awards committee for their diligence in choosing this year's award recipients," said Dean Cynthia Nance. "Every one of them has played a significant role in enhancing the law school, the profession and the lives of our students. These faculty colleagues' research has been recognized for its significant contribution to scholarly discourse. We are truly fortunate to count all of them as dedicated and impressive individuals and colleagues."

The School of Law Awards Committee recommends the Dean's Circle Award recipients to the dean. These awards honor up to three outstanding professors and typically one staff member. Each award carries an honorarium payment of $1,000. The committee was chaired by associate professor Caleb Griffin and consisted of professors Carol Goforth, Howard Brill and staff members Tracy Deffebaugh and Bob Wheeler.


The selection criteria for this award is 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.

"I am so honored to have received this award - and very grateful for my colleagues' support as I pursue projects that matter to me," Rice said. "It's exciting to be doing this work at a law school with a justly earned reputation for excellence in scholarship."

The committee selected Rice for this honor "in recognition of his significant contributions to wider discourse on important scholarly issues, which also enriches the classroom experience for students in his Constitutional law courses. He is a prolific scholar whose recent articles have been published in leading law reviews, including the Michigan Law Review, Harvard Journal on Legislation, University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities and Duke Law Journal."


This award recognizes a faculty member who implements 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 thrilled to be recognized for my teaching, particularly by my colleagues who have themselves taught me so much," Bullock said. "I have come to learn teaching includes teaching outside of the classroom, as well as inside. I value each moment spent with my students and am glad that it shows."

The committee agreed that "Professor Bullock is deeply committed to our students and their learning, well-being and professional success. She is a diligent and effective educator, having also been recognized as the Lewis E. Epley, Jr. Professor of the Year for Excellence in Teaching. In addition, she has received the Student Bar Association Awards for Most Influential 1L Professor, Most Influential 2L Professor and Most Influential 3L Professor."


This award recognizes a faculty member who models excellence through outstanding service to law school, legal academy or legal community, which is particularly important at a public, land grant university. 

"I am grateful to Dean Nance and my colleagues for this recognition," Foster said. "The Dean's Circle Service Award demonstrates the administration's commitment to the student experience, the legal profession and the community beyond the law school. I'm honored to help in those efforts."

The committee selected Foster "for his steadfast commitment to serving the law school community. We are particularly grateful to professor Foster for his work to support pro bono and public service opportunities for students, for his service as an adviser to numerous student organizations and initiatives, and his years of service to the Arkansas State Bar."


These awards, nominated by the Class of 2024 and selected by the committee, honor staff members who have greatly impacted a graduating student or students.

"I am deeply honored and grateful to be presented with the Dean's Circle Outstanding Staff Member Award," Johnson said. "This acknowledgment of my dedication is truly appreciated, and I am thankful for the chance to contribute to the law school that holds a special place in my heart. My commitment to our students remains unwavering, and I am determined to create a community in which they can thrive."

Holt said, "I am humbled to have been nominated and selected for the Dean's Circle Award. It's an honor to be recognized along with the current and previous award recipients, who all work hard to support our law school community."

The committee members explained that they "recognized Brooke for her years of exceptional service to the School of Law. Her dedication, organization and planning are vital in ensuring that the School of Law runs smoothly. She is unfailingly helpful, and we are fortunate to have her as an essential part of our community. We recognized Greneda for consistently going above and beyond in helping our students and community. Her warmth and support enrich the law school community and the student experience on campus. We honor her extraordinary collegiality, kindness and devotion to the School of Law."

About the School of Law: The law school offers J.D. as well as an advanced LL.M. program, with classes taught by nationally recognized faculty. The school offers unique opportunities for students to participate in pro bono work, externships, live client clinics, advocacy and journal experiences, and food and agriculture initiatives. 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. Follow us at @uarklaw.


Erin Feller, director of development and external relations
School of Law
479-575-3468, feller@uark.edu


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