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Faculty and Staff

1918660_173858836898_1241691_nDr. Simon Hawkins, Interim Director

Dating back to his honors program in anthropology at Swarthmore College, Dr. Simon Hawkins has been dedicated to education and the liberal arts. In 1988, his interests in other cultures led him to Tunisia as a Peace Corps volunteer, an experience that eventually became the center of his professional research. Upon returning from the Peace Corps he pursued an MA in secondary education at the George Washington University and briefly taught a high school social studies before joining the National Center for Improving Science Education where he conducted research on national and international education.

Rather than pursuing further graduate studies in education, he returned to anthropology at the University of Chicago. As a Fulbright Scholar, he moved with his wife and baby daughter to Tunisia in 1998 where he pursued his doctoral research on language learning and national identity.  Over the years he has taught at the University of Tunis, the University of Chicago, Vassar College, Montana State University, and Franklin and Marshall College.

His anthropological research in Tunisia has tackled a range of topics, including: national identity, schooling and language learning, relations with Europe, gender and modernity, and state construction of religion. He is an award winning teacher with particular skills in social theory and qualitative research methods. In addition to his academic work, he is a graduate of Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Clown College.

 

Dr. Jessica R. Scott, Assistant Director

Dr. Jessica R. Scott earned her Ph.D. in Environmental Dynamics and M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, and her B.A. in Anthropology and History from UALR. She taught for four years at UA-Fayetteville, including two years of teaching in the Fulbright Honors College, and has spent the last three years teaching in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at UALR. Dr. Scott teaches Introduction to Physical Anthropology, Human Paleontology, Dental Anthropology, and Egyptology. She also teaches Science and Society I and II for the Donaghey Scholars Program.

Dr. Scott is interested in the paleoecology of early human ancestors. She uses teeth to reconstruct the diets and local environments of fossil hominins and the animals that lived alongside them, including primates, carnivores and bovids. Dr. Scott has conducted research in Kenya, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Egypt and Great Divide Basin in Wyoming. She has published 16 articles in The American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Mammalia, The Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, The Journal of Human Evolution, The American Journal of Primatology, PLOS ONE, and Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, as well as a chapter in the edited volume, Technique and Application in Dental Anthropology.

 

vpVanessa Parsons, Administrative Specialist III

Vanessa comes to the Scholars Program after working as an Administrative Specialist for the state for three years.  Not your typical admin, she holds a BFA in Theatre Arts having majored in Costume Technology at DePaul University’s Theatre School in Chicago.  She has a variety of interests ranging from animal rescue to mythology to camping and enjoys discussing different topics with students and faculty.  Coming from a theatre and arts background, she has a strong focus on the importance of collaboration and compassionate support of those she works with.  Vanessa sees her role to be an aide-de-camp to everyone in the Program — from the director to each of the students — be that as a sounding board for ideas, a friendly ear, an extra set of hands, or an all-around administrative assistant.

 

_ISA3798edit2Dr. Earl Ramsey, Director Emeritus

Dr. Earl Ramsey earned his B.A. in History and M.A. in English from Rice University and his Ph.D. in English from the University of Florida. He began teaching as a graduate student at community colleges in Texas and in Florida, but his full-time career began at Yale, then at Bryn Mawr, one of the historic Seven Sisters women’s colleges on the east coast.

Now retired following 25 years as director of UALR’s top honors program, Dr. Ramsey has made a lasting mark on its development by stressing an interdisciplinary approach. A literary critic and theorist, Ramsey has taught a wide variety of courses throughout his career – from 18th century literature to the writings of Michel de Montaigne, William Shakespeare, William Faulkner and Virginia Wolfe. He also taught History of Ideas in the Donaghey curriculum.

He joined UALR in 1973 as an associate professor and earned full professor status in 1977. The Student Government Association named him Faculty Member of the Year in 1999, and he received the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences’ Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching in 2005.