UA Little Rock announces new academic department chairs

Six faculty members at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock are new chairs in their respective academic departments this year. 

New chairs include the following:

Dr. Hank Bray – Construction Management and Civil and Construction Engineering

Dr. Bray taught construction management at the University of Louisiana Monroe for 26 years before joining the UA Little Rock faculty four years ago. He has a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in civil engineering from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and a Doctor of Engineering from Louisiana Tech University.

For the past year, Bray has served as coordinator of the construction management degree program. He also been very involved in accreditation of construction management programs. In 2015, the construction management program at UA Little Rock was the first program to be accredited under the American Council for Construction Education’s new standards. In his new role as department chair, he will oversee the seven programs in the department. Aside from teaching, Bray is a certified professional constructor and a professional civil engineer.

Dr. Sloan Davidson – Nursing

Dr. Davidson is interim chair of the Department of Nursing, which serves about 800 nursing students in the associate and baccalaureate programs. She has been a faculty member in the Department of Nursing at UA Little Rock since 2008 and has been the associate degree program coordinator since 2014. Her nursing specialty is obstetrics, which she has practiced since 1992. She teaches nursing fundamentals, medical-surgical nursing, pediatric nursing, and mental health nursing.

Dr. Davidson has an associate degree in nursing from Arkansas State University-Beebe, a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Florida Hospital of Health Sciences, a master’s degree in nursing education from Walden University, and a Ph.D. in nursing science from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Dr. Jeremy Ecke – English

Dr. Ecke, an associate professor of English, is the new chair of the English Department. He is the director of linguistics and currently serves as the coordinator for the Mentored Signature Experience Awards. Dr. Ecke’s areas of focus include literary linguistics, the history and structure of English, poetics, and medieval literature. He earned a Ph.D. in English with a Linguistic Emphasis from the University of California at Berkeley. Before joining UA Little Rock, he was an assistant professor of English at Belmont University in Tennessee.

Dr. Stephen Kapp – Social Work

Dr. Kapp is the new director of the School of Social Work within the College of Education and Health Professions. He will oversee 16 faculty members and two academic programs within the school, including the Bachelor of Social Work and the Master of Science in Social Work degree programs. In addition, he will work collaboratively with the director of the MidSOUTH Center, which is the community service arm of the school.

Kapp has been a faculty member at the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare for more than 20 years. He has held leadership positions, including that of associate dean for academic affairs and interim dean of the School of Social Welfare. Before working in higher education, Kapp was a social work practitioner for 15 years.

He holds an interdisciplinary doctorate in social science and social work from Michigan State University; a Master of Social Work from University of Michigan; and a Bachelor of Arts in social work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dr. Vicki Lind – Music

Dr. Lind will chair the Department of Music within the College of Arts, Letters, and Sciences. She has a Ph.D. in music education from the University of Arizona and Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music Education degrees from Wichita State University. She has extensive teaching experience at the elementary, secondary, and university level. Prior to her appointment at UA Little Rock, she served on the music education faculty at the University of California Los Angeles and the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Her research interests include issues of equity and access in music education, music teaching, and teacher education. She has published articles in numerous journals, regularly presents at national and international conferences, and she is involved in the design and implementation of professional development programs for public school music teachers.  

Dr. Mary Ellen Nevins – Audiology and Speech Pathology

Dr. Nevins is the interim chair of the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology. She is a professor and director of the graduate certification program in auditory based intervention. She has a Bachelor of Arts in speech pathology from Rutgers University, a Master of Science in speech and hearing education of deaf children from Washington University, and an Ed.D. in education of the hearing impaired from Columbia University Teachers College.

Dr. Bruce Smith – Education

Dr. Smith is the interim director of the School of Education. He has worked at UA Little Rock since July 2007 as associate dean of the College of Education. He is also the assessment coordinator for the School of Education and helped the UA Little Rock unit and programs involved in teacher preparation successfully achieve accreditation in 2018 from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

His areas of expertise include classroom management and discipline, child and adolescent development, students with mild disabilities, educational assessment, and the self-study of teacher education. He currently teaches courses in the introduction to special education, classroom management and discipline, educational assessment, and educational psychology, but has also taught numerous other courses in the field of special education and educational psychology.

He earned a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles in educational psychology with an emphasis in special education, and he taught special education in the Los Angeles area for 10 years before he moved to Arkansas in 1989 to become a professor of special education.


Top photo: Drs. Vicki Lind, Hank Bray, and Bruce Smith are among the new academic chairs this semester.

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