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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Yoder, Al-Rizzo, Flinn Win Faculty Excellence Awards

Dr. R. Paul Yoder, associate professor of English in the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, won the $10,000 Ted and Virginia Bailey Foundation Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching May 21 at the University’s 21st Annual Faculty Excellence Award ceremony.

Dr. Hussain Al-Rizzo, associate professor of systems engineering in the Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology (EIT), won the $5,000 University Faculty Excellence Award for Research sponsored by PepsiAmericas.

_dsc0115Dr. Juliana Flinn, professor of anthropology in the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Studies won the $5,000 University Faculty Excellence Award for Service sponsored by the UALR Foundation Fund Board.

The awards were announced at the annual banquet – UALR’s premier event honoring the University’s outstanding faculty – in the Donaghey Student Center’s Ledbetter Hall.

A national panel of judges selected the top three recipients.

Yoder was described by colleagues as a skilled and gifted communicator who achieves a high level of teaching through the use of innovative and thoughtful methods.

“In over 30 years of teaching, I have met only a handful of teachers I would call ‘brilliant,’ and Paul is among those; indeed, in my estimation, he is the best of the best,” said Dr. Michael Kleine, professor of writing and rhetoric at UALR.

Yoder has taken journaling to the next level with his classes, requiring that students chronicle their classroom experiences online. The approach helps the associate professor keep up with what students retain from his lectures and allows him to adjust his teaching from week to week in the course of a semester.

Dr. Yoder maintains a website to keep students active and engaged, speaking to them through their own tools. His enthusiasm, according to student evaluations, is infectious, and he has been instrumental in helping many students pursue graduate work when they had not considered that option previously.

Dr. Yoder earned his bachelor’s degree in English from LSU and his master’s degree from Ohio State University. He received his doctorate from Duke University and has been a visiting fellow at the Yale Center for British Art. He is a member of the Modern Language Association, the Milton Society of America, the National Council for Teachers of English, and Phi Kappa Phi.

As one of the world’s leading experts in the areas of applied computational electromagnetic antennas and propagation, wireless communication systems, adaptive and statistical signal processing, and global positioning systems, Dr. Hussain Al-Rizzo could focus solely on his research and have a vibrant career.

However, the associate professor in systems engineering serves as an active mentor to both graduate and undergraduate researchers, guiding them to success in their own projects. Dr. Al-Rizzo ensures their work is as productive as his has been for more than two decades. He has earned several patents, written over 30 peer-reviewed publications, and made countless presentations for international meetings and conferences.

Dr. Al-Rizzo earned a bachelor of science degree in electronics and communications and a postgraduate diploma from the University of Mosul in Iraq. In addition, he received a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Mosul and a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. Dr. Al-Rizzo is a member of the International Council for Systems Engineering and the Materials Research Society.

Dr. Flinn earned her bachelor’s degree at Barnard College and her Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University’s School of Health. She received her doctorate in anthropology from Stanford University. She is a member of the American Anthropological Association and the Arkansas Coalition for Excellence and a fellow in the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania.

She teaches by example how public service has incredible potential to enrich and empower both volunteers and those organizations and individuals who are recipients of that generosity. She not only espouses the virtue of public service through her direction of the American Humanics program at UALR, she also gives her own time and talent to model those behaviors for students and faculty as well.

Dr. Flinn has personally worked with nonprofit organizations for more than 30 years. She served as a member of the local American Red Cross Disaster Action Team and assisted with shelter operations and fundraising. Through a Fulbright Award, Dr. Flinn lived in Belarus and had the opportunity to study the indigenous culture. When she returned, her experiences there led her to develop a workshop for Little Rock teachers on the culture of Belarus.

A seven-member panel of judges selected the three top winners from among the college-level winners. They are Jo Allen, senior vice president and provost at Widener University in Chester, Pa.; Harry J. Berman, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Illinois at Springfield; Dr. Jerilyn S. McIntyre, the first female president of Central Washington University (CWU) in Ellensburn; Suzanne Ozment, vice chancellor of academic affairs at the University of South Carolina and former dean of undergraduate studies at the Citadel; William M. Plater, director of International Community Development at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and Chancellor’s Professor of Public Affairs, Philanthropic Studies, English, and Informatics; Fred J. Taylor, chancellor and professor emeritus at the University of Arkansas at Monticello and a consultant for the Arkansas Aging Initiative of the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging; and Gail W. Wells, vice president for academic affairs and provost at Northern Kentucky University.

Other UALR faculty nominated in their colleges for Faculty Excellence in teaching are:

  • Janet Bailey, associate professor of management in the College of Business
  • Gail Hughes, associate professor of educational leadership in the College of Education
  • David Montague, assistant professor of criminal justice in the College of Professional Studies
  • Hong Li Wang, associate professor of biology in the College of Science and Mathematics
  • Haiyan Xie, assistant professor of construction management in the College of Engineering and Information Technology
  • Philip D. Oliver, Altheimer Distinguished professor of law, William H. Bowen School of Law

Other college winners in research are:

  • Moira Maguire, assistant professor of history in the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
  • Sung-kwan Kim, associate professor of management, College of Business
  • T. Gregory Barrett, assistant professor of educational leadership, College of Education
  • Avinash Thombre, assistant professor of speech communications, College of Professional Studies.
  • Eric R. Kaufman, professor of mathematics and statistics, College of Science and Mathematics
  • Theresa M. Beiner, professor of law, William H. Bowen School of Law

Other college winners in public service are:

  • Lawrence Powell, assistant professor and Whitbeck Chair in economics and finance, College of Business
  • Sharon Ann Richardson, assistant professor of educational leadership, College of Education/li>
  • Bruce Plopper, professor in the School of Mass Communications, College of Professional Studies
  • James K. Carr, associate professor of construction management, College of Engineering and Information Technology
  • Lynn C. Foster, professor of law, William H. Bowen School of Law

The College of Science and Mathematics chose not to nominate a recipient for the public service award.