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.


René A. 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

A. Naeem Bajwa
(pronouns: he/him/his)
Co-director since 2023

Dr. Bajwa is an Associate Professor of Management in the Department of Management, Marketing, and Technology at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Dr. Bajwa holds a Ph.D. in Operations and Management from The University of Alabama. He has been a faculty member at UA Little Rock since 2013. Prior to this, he worked in the industry in a variety of roles including senior leadership positions in project management, supply chain planning, and management consulting a wide range of industries. He brings with him a breadth of professional experience in planning, manufacturing, and customer service.

His research focuses on cross-functional interfaces between Operations and Marketing functions within an organization. His teaching interests include Production and Operations Management, Supply Chain Management, Negotiation Skills, and Business Strategy. He is an active member of various professional and academic organizations and volunteers in social work.

Dr. Bajwa received the College of Business Research Excellence Award in 2019. He has also received multiple Student Advocate Awards, and the Teaching Fellow Certificate at UA Little Rock.

He is passionately involved in hiking, running, traveling, and the financial markets.

Dr. Bajwa joined ATLE as a co-director in the spring of 2023, and will complete his three-year term in the spring of 2025.

Contact Dr. Bajwa: (501) 916-6759

Neveen Shafeek Amin
(pronouns: she/her/hers)
Co-director since 2023

Dr. Neveen Shafeek Amin is an Associate Professor of Sociology in the School of Human Inquiry at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been a faculty member at UA Little Rock since 2015. She is affiliated with the Middle Eastern Studies Program (MEST) at UA Little Rock and served as the Coordinator of the Middle Eastern Studies Program from 2020-2022.

Dr. Shafeek Amin holds core research interests in migration, gender, race/ethnicity, mental health, healthcare utilization, sleep, food insecurity, and health disparities/outcomes in the United States. A dominant theme throughout her work is attention to social and cultural influences on population health and well-being. Dr. Shafeek Amin is proud to be counted among the limited number of sociologists/scholars who focus on the experiences of the Middle Eastern origin population in the United States. Her research has been published in Ethnicity and Health Journal, Journal of Child and Family Studies (JCFS), the International Journal of Sociology (IJS), Journal of Family and Community Health (JFCH), and International Social Science Review (ISSR).

Dr. Shafeek Amin has participated in a countless number of professional development workshops and trainings and has received numerous honors and awards in research and teaching. These include the Pilot Jumpstart Program for Faculty Scholarship and Creative Works (2021), College of Social Sciences and Communication (CSSC) Service-Learning Champion Award (2020), Scientific Teaching Fellow (2019-2020), CSSC Summer Research Grant (2019), CSSC Research and Creative Activity Fund/Grant (2018 & 2019), Student Advocate Awards (2018), CSSC Faculty Mentor of the Year Award (2017), Open Educational Recourses (OER) Mini-Grant (2017), and Curriculum Innovation Award (2016). She was also nominated for ​College of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences, and Education (CHASSE) Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching.

In addition, she was named the Lifetime Participant, Master Teacher, Distinguished Teaching Fellow, and Teaching Fellow Medallion recipient by the Academy for Teaching and Learning Excellence (ATLE).

She is an active member of various professional and academic organizations. She served as the President-Elect and Vice President-Elect of Arkansas Sociological and Anthropological Association (ASAA), from 2018-2020 and the Faculty Sponsor of the Sociology club at UA Little Rock from 2015-2022.

In her free time, she likes to read, travel, and cook.

Dr. Shafeek Amin joined ATLE as a co-director in the fall of 2023, and will complete her three-year term in the spring of 2026.

Contact Dr. Shafeek Amin (501) 916-5058

Graduate Assistants

Nusrat Jahan

Saima Parveen