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UA Little Rock honors Geissler, Ghosh, and Briscoe as top professors of 2020

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has selected Drs. Gary Geissler, Anindya Ghosh, and David Briscoe as the 2020 winners of the Faculty Excellence Awards.
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has selected Drs. Gary Geissler, Anindya Ghosh, and David Briscoe as the 2020 winners of the Faculty Excellence Awards.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has selected Drs. Gary Geissler, Anindya Ghosh, and David Briscoe as the 2020 winners of the Faculty Excellence Awards

Geissler, professor of marketing and advertising, will receive a $10,000 award as the winner of the Bailey Teaching Award. Additionally, Ghosh, professor of chemistry, was named the UMR Faculty Excellence in Research and Creative Endeavors winner, while Briscoe received the Faculty Excellence in Public Service award. They will both receive $5,000.

“For more than three decades, we’ve recognized the hard work of our outstanding faculty members through the Faculty Excellence Awards,” said Chancellor Christina Drale. “It signifies the value we place on excellent teaching, research and creative activity, and service to our community. Though this has been a year filled with uncertainty, it helps us all to remember that we can be certain of the unwavering commitment of our faculty who spend every day making a difference in the lives of our students.” 

Created in 1989, the Faculty Excellence Awards has provided a way to recognize the great work of UA Little Rock faculty for the past 31 years and is made possible through the valued contributions of the Office of the Chancellor, the Office of the Provost, the UA Little Rock Chancellor’s Circle, Bailey Foundation, and UMR. The winners are selected by the UA Little Rock Board of Visitors.

“Our faculty excellence winners represent the university’s commitment to superb instruction, outstanding research, and community service,” Provost Ann Bain said. “Each of the winners has made immeasurable contributions to the UA Little Rock community and to the lives of their students and colleagues. We thank them for their service.”

In addition to the Faculty Excellence Awards, UA Little Rock has selected the Department of Management in the College of Business as the first university-wide winner of the new Department Student Success and Retention Awards.

This award recognizes exceptional activities that involve broad, collaborative participation within academic departments or schools to support student success and improve retention at the undergraduate level. The awards are funded by gifts from Bain and Dr. Daryl Rice, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs.  

An announcement of the winners can be found at the Faculty Excellence Awards website.

Bailey Teaching Award

Dr. Gary Geissler, professor of marketing and advertising, has been selected as the 2020 Faculty Excellence in Teaching award winner for UA Little Rock.

“There are many outstanding professors and great colleagues throughout the university. To be singled out for the university teaching award is a tremendous honor that I will always treasure,” Geissler said. “I am very appreciative of the university and the award sponsors, judges, and organizers. It has been a privilege to teach and mentor so many excellent students at UA Little Rock for the past 18 years. The diversity of our students and their unique backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives are real strengths. I attribute any personal success to my students’ successes.”

A key teaching method that Geissler has used extensively throughout his career is the client­-based class project. He has directed around 200 of these semester-long projects, greatly benefiting many students and well over 170 businesses, non-profit organizations, and government agencies.

“Dr. Geissler’s teaching is innovative and emphasizes experiential learning,” said Roger Dorsey, associate professor of accounting. “In particular, his use of class projects involving real-world businesses, non-profit organizations, and government agencies has been enormously beneficial to students. Dr. Geissler exemplifies the sort of teaching that prepares students for life and career success.”

In recent years, Geissler has demonstrated his high-quality, high-involvement teaching approach by sponsoring, mentoring, and leading teams of students who won two different National Marketing Championships and finished as the top American team in a major, international competition.

In the past, he led a team of students who won Taziki’s National Marketing Challenge competition. Additionally, Geissler led a team to win AT&T’s Campus Brand Challenge. The team developed and implemented an integrated marketing communications plan for AT&T.

“Dr. Geissler is the most active and involved professor that I have ever had the privilege of being mentored and taught by,” said Brandi Glover, a UA Little Rock graduate and former student of Geissler’s who was a member of the AT&T Campus Brand Challenge National Champion Team. “There is no length that he would not go within his power in order to help a student achieve their goals and aspirations.”

Most recently, a team of Geissler’s students were one of three finalists from throughout the world who competed in the Facebook Global Digital Challenge as part of P2P: Challenging Extremism, an initiative mandated by the White House National Security Council.

UMR Faculty Excellence in Research and Creative Endeavors

Dr. Anindya Ghosh, professor of chemistry, is being honored as the 2020 Faculty Excellence in Research and Creative Endeavors award winner for UA Little Rock.

“The award is a great honor,” Ghosh said. “UA Little Rock has given me the best possible platform to work on my research and succeed in it. I am proud of my university and the Chemistry Department. It is also a success for my students. I am lucky to have some excellent undergraduate and graduate students who helped me to become a better researcher and instructor.”

The primary focus of his current research is the development of novel catalysts and synthetic pathways that are strongly related to sustainable development. Using readily available reagents or renewable polymers, Ghosh and his co-researchers are developing catalysts that are highly useful in remediation of organic and biological pollutants. 

“His research efforts speak for themselves as a major contributor to developing new and novel methods that are being used in the Green Chemistry approaches to develop safer and cleaner chemical synthetic methods,” said Dr. Jeffrey Gaffney, professor emeritus of chemistry. “Dr. Ghosh’s research contributions are also leading the way to developing safer, more economic, and less environmentally impacting synthetic methods at the heart of the Green Chemistry movement, which is needed if we are to develop sustainable chemistry in the future.”

Ghosh’s recent research in the area of green chemistry, catalysis, and novel material research has resulted in six peer-reviewed articles and one book chapter in 2019 alone. He brings his research directly into the classroom and actively uses green chemistry experiments in his courses. 

Ghosh enjoys giving back by mentoring young students in scientific research. He regularly hosts middle and high school students in his laboratory who are conducting research projects related to his research areas. As a major adviser, Ghosh has supervised four master’s degree students and five doctoral students. Currently, he runs a research group of five graduate students and eight undergraduate students.

“I am really passionate about my research,” Ghosh said. “I believe in my work and the people who I work with, and together we make it possible. I can only excel if my students excel in their research activities and future endeavors.”

While at UA Little Rock, Ghosh authored more than 80 peer-reviewed publications and has 21 patents with three more pending. Ghosh was part of the scientific advisory committee which wrote a successful National Science Foundation EPSCoR ASSET III proposal of $24 million for the state of Arkansas. He has been co-leading a team of 20 researchers from 10 different universities in Arkansas for this proposal to develop novel materials for pollution remediation using cellulose as the starting material. 

He is also a part of a team of researchers that recently secured $5.1 million in funding from the Department of Defense. In a collaborative effort between UA Little Rock and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Ghosh’s role as a co-principal investigator is to develop novel, injectable, stimuli-sensitive polymeric materials for use in bone scaffolds.

Faculty Excellence in Public Service

Dr. David Briscoe, professor of sociology, is being honored as the 2020 Faculty Excellence in Public Service award winner for UA Little Rock.

“I received this coveted award in honor of my parents, the late David and Marjorie Briscoe, who led me down the pathway to service,” Briscoe said. “Public service is so important because it offers everyone an opportunity to share some aspect of themselves with others.”

Briscoe has been serving the UA Little Rock community for almost three decades. After earning undergraduate (‘80) and graduate (85′) degrees from UA Little Rock and a Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (’93), Briscoe returned home to UA Little Rock, where he has been teaching since 1992.

“Dr. Briscoe gives his life and his all to this university and to its students,” said Dr. Krista Lewis, chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. “He is very well-loved by his students and is known for his genuine interest in supporting people. It seems that hardly a week passes in which I am not contacted by students, community members, or organizations who wish to reach out just to praise the service and care that Dr. Briscoe has extended to them.”

Briscoe is known to enthusiastically advocate for students with disabilities and was voted among the Best of the Best Professors three times by the UA Little Rock student body. He serves on the National Phi Kappa Phi Dissertation Selection Committee, the Diversity Council, the Athletics Committee, and the Anderson Institute on Race and Ethnicity.

Briscoe is also well-known and admired in his role as a volunteer for the Boy Scouts. As a member of the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America, Briscoe became the inaugural national chairman of Learning for Life, an academic and character development program serving more than 1.7 millions students.

“David Briscoe is an outstanding leader to the Quapaw Area Council and the Boy Scouts of America,” said Marcal Young, scout executive. “His leadership has inspired others to serve and help change lives in thousands of youth in our program. Dr. Briscoe has been instrumental in building a vibrant boy scouting program in Arkansas and across the nation.”