The Student Government Association (SGA) at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock has created a new award to show appreciation for faculty members who have positively influenced the lives of students.
The SGA Faculty Appreciation Awards will be presented annually to one faculty member in each of the university’s colleges. The award is a one-of-a-kind, handmade glass heart created byPine Bluff glass artist James Hayes in the colors of UA Little Rock.
The glass hearts symbolize positive, influential support that makes a real difference in the lives of students. As students enter the university to pursue their education, faculty often play a nurturing role, guiding students through the learning process and working hard to foster an environment that best ensures success.
“The SGA is excited to offer students the opportunity to formally recognize their favorite faculty members through the new We HEART Our Faculty Award,” SGA President Katie Zakrzewski said. “We know faculty work very hard to promote the success of students. This award is one way students can return the favor.”
The winners include:
College of Social Sciences and Communication – Rebecca Glazier, associate professor in the School of Public Affairs
College of Arts, Letters, and Sciences – Mark Baillie, assistant professor of chemistry
George W. Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology – Thomas Wallace, senior instructor of web design and development
College of Education and Health Professions – Joanna Rostad-Hall, instructor of nursing
College of Business – Casey Rockwell, assistant professor of marketing and advertising
“I truly found my passion when I began teaching,” Rockwell said. “I get such joy out of watching the ‘ah ha’ moments happen in the classroom. To find out that my students have also found the same high level of joy in our classroom community is such a pleasure.”
Several winners were especially touched to receive the award and found it even more meaningful to be selected directly by the students.
“Student-selected awards are by far the most meaningful,” Wallace said. “Students are why we are all here and to have made an impact on their lives is the most fulfilling achievement I can think of in our profession.”
“Students are really at the heart of what we do and to know that the students made this call really means the world to me,” Glazier added. “It is incredibly rewarding and just warms my heart to know that they would honor me with this award.”
After teaching at UA Little Rock since 2017, Rostad-Hall believes her success in teaching is down to the amazing students in the Department of Nursing.
“UA Little Rock nursing has the most amazing nursing students, hands down,” Rostad-Hall said. “You won’t find more engaged, resilient nursing students anywhere. To be recognized by them means my passion and enthusiasm for nursing education is translating. I am blessed to get to work alongside these brilliant future nurses every day.”
Baillie, who also leads the annual Mobile Summer Institute on Scientific Teaching every summer, believes in utilizing evidence-based teaching practices to provide the best instruction for his students.
“The way I approach my teaching is that it is my job to help all students succeed,” Baillie said. “I utilize evidence-based teaching approaches in my classroom, which focuses on inclusive teaching practices, active learning, and alignment between assessment and what I most value students being able to do.”
Provost Ann Bain said she appreciates how this SGA initiative will continue to encourage faculty to invest themselves in students.
“Faculty are the heart and soul of our institution,” said Bain. “Faculty do so many things to help students succeed that most people do not recognize. I think it’s important that we can shine a light on all their accomplishments.”