Faculty Excellence University-Level Winners

In 1988, the UALR Foundation Fund Board instituted awards for faculty excellence at both the college and university levels. Three categories of awards are given – in teaching, public service, and research or creative endeavors – and each award consists of a cash gift and a framed certificate. The college-level awards are in the amount of $1,000. The university-level awards are in the amount of $5,000 each for public service and research, and $10,000 for the award in teaching.

Drs. Jeffrey Gaffney, Nitin Agarwal, and Thomas Tudor are the 2015 recipients of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Faculty Excellence Awards in the categories of public service, research and creative endeavors, and teaching, respectively.

The faculty received the awards at a ceremony held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 16, in the EIT Auditorium at UALR. A reception followed in the lobby.

Each award consists of a framed certificate and a cash gift of $10,000 for teaching and $5,000 in research or creative endeavors and in public service. College winners are recognized and university winners are announced at the annual ceremony.

Since 1989, when the first award was given, the event has provided a way to recognize the great work of UALR faculty and is made possible through the valued contributions of The Bailey Foundation, Pepsi Beverages Company, and the UALR Chancellor’s Circle.

Winners were selected by a panel of national judges who reviewed the achievements of the college-level winners.

The college-level winners receive a $1,000 cash award and framed certificate.


Tom TudorDr. Thomas Tudor is an incredible teacher who is constantly updating his knowledge in the discipline of human resource management and challenging his students to learn. He remains involved in the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Central Arkansas Human Resource Association (CAHRA) so he may continue to replenish himself in the human resource (HR) field. He has also published research involving worker attitudes, work stress, environmental uncertainty, corporate giving, and neglected employment legal issues.


Nitin AgarwalDr. Nitin Agarwal is an internationally renowned researcher whose pioneering work in the social computing discipline has significantly advanced this fledgling area and helped open many doors for innovation for the scientific community. He studies the modern and complex systems of Information Communication Technologies, which is a connection between humans and computers that give rise to many interesting sociotechnical behaviors—a prime example of which is social media. These behaviors also include cyberactivism, crowdsourcing, health 2.0, hacktivism, and cyber warfare among others.

Public Service

Jeff GaffneyJeffrey Gaffney
College of Arts, Letters, and Sciences
Dr. Jeffrey Gaffney has used his insightful research to make the world a better place. He serves the community at both the local and national levels by sharing his important research climate change. Dr. Gaffney mentors others and provides data to influence energy policy as well as participates in community outreach.

Mentorship permeates Dr. Gaffney’s service record. As the Mentoring Coordinator for the Department of Energy’s Global Change Education Program (GCEP), he has mentored undergraduate and graduate student research and fellowships with the goal of increasing the numbers of climate change scientists to help deal with climate change issues. This program was implemented and designed under Dr. Gaffney’s leadership while he was at Argonne National Laboratory. But for the last seven years GCEP was administered from UALR in conjunction with Oak Ridge Universities. Dr. Gaffney continues to mentor nearly one hundred doctoral students who are now placed in positions as climate change scientists and policy makers at universities, in industry and in professional society as well as in state and federal government positions. His efforts were recognized by past GCEP participants who nominated him for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring, an award given by the National Science Foundation.

The celebration of UALR’s top faculty has been a tradition since 1988 when the university set aside an evening to honor the contributions and achievements of the faculty. The university winners, selected by a panel of national judges from college-level winners, were announced at a ceremony at the Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall.

Past University Award Winners


Teaching-Margaret E. “Beth” McMillan
Research-Nidhal Bouaynaya
Public Service-Nancy Landrum


Teaching – James Levernier
Research – Ann Robinson
Public Service – Mark Geise


Teaching – Gary Geissler
Research – Alexandru S. Biris
Public Service – Mary Parker


Teaching – Thomas Tudor
Research – Jeffrey T. Walker
Public Service – Jeanne Rollberg


Teaching – Paul Yoder, English
Research – Hussain Al-Rizzo, Systems Engineering
Public Service – Juliana Flinn, Anthropology


Teaching – Andrew Eshleman, Philosophy and Liberal Studies
Research – Xiu Ye, Mathematics and Statistics
Public Service – C. Fred Williams, History


Teaching – Hussain Al-Rizzo, Systems Engineering
Research – Robert Ulmer, Speech Communication
Public Service – Ashvin Vibhakar, Finance


Teaching – Charles Chastain, Criminal Justice
Research – Stephen Leslie, Earth Sciences
Public Service – Carol Snelson, Center for Developmental Skills


Teaching – Linda M. Pledger, Speech Communication
Research – Robert H. Bradley, Teacher Education
Public Service – Roby D. Robertson, Public Administration


Teaching – Steve Anderson, English
Research – Wei Zhao, Chemistry
Public Service – Johanna Miller Lewis, History


Teaching – Rama Reddy, Systems Engineering
Research – Dennis Baeyens, Biology
Public Service – Lana Strickland, Nursing


Teaching – Dale Ferguson, Biology
Research – Gary Thompson, Applied Science
Public Service – Ashvin Vibhakar, Economics and Finance


Teaching – Peggy Scranton, Political Science
Research – Tom Kaiser, History
Public Service – Ann Robinson, Teacher Education


Teaching – Carol Thompson, Speech Communication
Research – Ralph Burns, English
Public Service – Jeffrey Connelly, Earth Science


Teaching – Linda Rimer, Nursing
Research – Linda J. Dorn, Teacher Education
Public Service – Rosalie Cheatham, DISLS


Teaching – Wayne Chapman, Theatre Arts/Dance
Research – Charles R. Bowlus, History
Public Service – David Sink, Institute of Government


Teaching – David McAlpine, Spanish
Research – David Jauss, English
Public Service – Daniel Littlefield, English


Teaching – Charles M. Anderson, Rhetoric and Writing
Research – Carl Moneyhon, History
Public Service – Thea Spatz, Health Education


Teaching – Thomas J. Lynch, Biology
Research – Jerry Darsey, Chemistry
Public Service – Art English, Political Science


Teaching – Howard Hodges, Chemistry
Research – Ronn Hy, Public Administration
Public Service – Cal Ledbetter, Political Science


Teaching – Ranko Oliver, Law
Research – Ann Robinson, Gifted Education
Public Service – Roby Robertson, Public Science


Teaching – Frank Kenney, Religious Studies
Research – Daniel Littlefield, English
Public Service – Cay Holbrook, Special Education


Teaching – Michael Kleine, English
Research – Robert Bradley, Educational Foundations
Public Service – William Geiger, Special Education


Teaching – Mary Prentice, Special Education
Research – Bettye Caldwell, Early Childhood Education
Public Service – Alan Marks, Gerontology


Teaching – Lee Williams, History
Research – Tito Viswanathan, Chemistry
Public Service – Myra Taff-Watson, Rehabilitation