Co-Directors and Graduate Assistants

There is an entire team behind the Academy for Teaching and Learning Excellence: 3 co-directors and 2 graduate students. Find out more about them below.


Co-Directors

Laura Barrio-Vilar
(pronouns: she/her/hers)
Co-director since 2019
Photo of Dr. Laura Barrio

Dr. Barrio is an Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Her research and teaching interests include African American literature, Afro-Caribbean literature, postcolonial studies, gender and women’s studies, and critical race theory. Several of her classes include a service-learning component, which allows her students to establish connections between their experiences volunteering in community organizations and the concepts and texts covered in class. Additionally, she often teaches core classes online.

Dr. Barrio’s research explores how race, gender, and class affect migration patterns and the notion of citizenship in the African Diaspora. She also investigates the connections between literature and social justice. Since she joined UA Little Rock in the fall of 2011, she has been engaged in numerous service activities on and off campus. She is a faculty senator, an affiliated faculty member of the Institute on Race and Ethnicity and of the Gender Studies Program, as well as an active member of the Safe Zone committee.

Dr. Barrio joined ATLE as a co-director in the fall of 2019, and will complete her three-year term in the spring of 2022.

Contact Dr. Barrio: (501) 916-3161 lxbarrio@ualr.edu


Tom Tudor
(pronouns: he/him/his)
Co-director since 2020

Photo of Dr. Tom Tudor

Dr. Tudor is a Professor of Management in the Department of Management, Marketing, and Technology at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

He has a passion for teaching and thoroughly enjoys his students. He has twice received the College of Business Teaching Excellence Award and twice received the university’s Ted and Virginia Bailey Teaching Excellence Award. He has developed and taught 9 different management courses and has taught 6 of them fully online. Internationally, he has taught short courses in Peru, France, and Vietnam.

He is a member of International Friendship Outreach, an organization that helps international students while in the United States. He enjoys getting to know international students and sometimes visits student alumni in their countries.

Outside of academia, he has held previous positions in the United States as a Research Manager with the Virginia Labor Studies Center, a Management Analyst Senior with the Department of Labor & Industry, a Grants Administrator with Virginia Tech, a Contract Specialist with the Department of the Navy, and a professional intern with the IBM Corporation. He brings extensive consulting, private, and public sector experience to the classroom.

He is also an avid researcher with 30 journal publications and extensive grant awards. He has twice received the College of Business Faculty Research Award. In addition, he has made 26 research presentations at conferences in Taipei, Bangkok, Dublin, and London and all over the United States.

Dr. Tudor joined ATLE as a co-director in the fall of 2020, and will complete his three-year term in the spring of 2023.

Contact Dr. Tudor: (501) 916-6765 trtudor@ualr.edu


René Shroat Lewis
(pronouns: she/her/hers)
Co-director since 2021

Dr. René Shroat-Lewis is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences. She began teaching at UA Little Rock in 2012. In addition to a variety of geology courses, René teaches two first year courses, Science and Society I and II, for the Donaghey Scholars Program. Her research interests include echinoderm paleoecology, coral reef diversity, and geoscience education. She has worked in conjunction with the Disability Resource Center to create materials and field experiences that provide full access opportunities that make the geosciences inclusive and accessible for students with diverse abilities. She has published her research in the journals PALAIOS and The Journal of College Science Teaching.

René actively seeks opportunities to learn how to bring innovative teaching methods into her classroom. She regularly attends the Earth Educators Rendezvous hosted annually by the Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College. In 2018, René received the Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching in the Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology (now housed in DCSTEM). She has been the recipient of two Graduation and Retention Advocate awards, having been named in the surveys by graduating seniors who are asked to identify an individual who was instrumental in their success.

René is a certified Climate Reality Leader for the Climate Leadership Corps, which provides training in climate science and communications to better tell the story of climate change. She is an alumnus of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.

Outside of academia, René is a lifelong learner and avid traveler. She believes that learning about the history of a place and its people is one of the ultimate delights of traveling. She loves spending time each year sharing her love for science and teaching with her granddaughter in the Santa Barbara tidepools.

Dr. Shroat-Lewis joined ATLE as a co-director in the fall of 2021, and will complete her three-year term in the spring of 2024.

Contact Dr. Shroat-Lewis: (501) 916-5763 rashroatlew@ualr.edu



Graduate Assistants

Mehnaz Fatima
(pronouns: she/her/hers)

Sinaly Karamoko
(pronouns: he/him/his)