University Leaders’ Gift to Honor Academic Units Helping Students Succeed

Two leaders of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock have donated $25,000 to honor academic units who are going above and beyond the call of duty to support student success.

Dr. Ann Bain, provost and executive vice chancellor of academic affairs, donated $20,000. Dr. Daryl Rice, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, donated $5,000. The gifts will be used to create a new award that celebrates innovative student success initiatives.

“I believe very much in our institution’s efforts to retain students and help them be successful,” Bain said. “I recognize that faculty have put a lot of energy into initiatives that enable student success. My past donations to UA Little Rock have been to a scholarship in my mother’s name, but I also wanted to do something that would give back to the faculty at this institution. UA Little Rock has been my home for a long time. I believe in our mission and our future, and I think it’s critical to be supportive in any way we can.”

The Student Success and Retention Awards aim to recognize schools and departments at UA Little Rock that have made significant contributions to improving the success and retention of our undergraduate students.

A $1,000 award will be given to a department or school within each of the university’s five colleges. One of the college winners will receive the university-wide award and a $10,000 award. The awards will be deposited in foundation accounts of the winning departments or schools to be used at their discretion within the bounds of normal regulations. The winners will be announced at the Faculty Excellence Awards on April 9.

The selection committee will review several factors, including the use of active or experiential learning pedagogies, curriculum redesign, reward structures, special support services, advising practices, early alert mechanisms, support targeting special populations, and use of data to inform and assess change.

“This award will help us to highlight our amazing faculty who are working hard and being innovative with student retention initiatives,” Bain said. “We can identify best practices that can be replicated at the university. We highly value collaboration, so we wanted this to be a group award versus an individual award.”

“In working with the University Retention Committee and the retention part of the strategic enrollment plan, the focus has been on what needs to change and what we need to do to improve,” Rice said. “That’s as it should be, but we also need to recognize that a lot of good people are already doing great things to support student success at UA Little Rock. The award process is a way for departments to share what they are doing and to honor the best of practices.”

Rice has also revealed himself as the mystery donor who provided $1,000 in 2019 and $1,000 in 2020 for a new staff award that recognizes excellent academic advising. The second recipient of the UA Little Rock Trojan Outstanding Advising Award will be announced at the Staff Achievement Awards on April 16.

“Over the course of my career, I’ve always enjoyed the opportunity to work with staff as well as faculty,” Rice said. “Good advising is known to be extremely important to student retention, and I wanted to create something that recognizes the hard work of professional advisors on the staff side.”

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