Rockwell named 2020 Sun Belt Faculty Member of the Year

Dr. Casey Rockwell, assistant professor of marketing and advertising in the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Business, has been named the 2020 Sun Belt Conference Faculty of the Year.

After receiving UA Little Rock’s Faculty of the Year Award, Rockwell was selected as the overall faculty winner from the 12 universities in the Sun Belt Conference

“I was honored to be nominated by the UA Little Rock student-athletes for this prestigious award,” Rockwell said. “It is my pleasure to work with our athletes and all of the students at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Each student that enters our campus represents perseverance, a dream, and a chance to change the world around us. Some of our athletes have gone on to play professionally, build companies, and employ the skills learned at UA Little Rock to improve the world.”

This award recognizes a faculty member from each Sun Belt institution who displays valuable classroom skills such as developing relationships, being a good communicator and showing a passion for teaching, engaging and inspiring students, while also separating themselves from their peers outside the classroom by regularly attending athletics events and displaying enthusiasm for the athletics department.

“Dr. Rockwell is an extraordinary teacher and researcher,” said Dr. Jane Wayland, dean of the UA Little Rock College of Business, Health, and Human Services. “She maintains high academic standards in her classroom but also assists students to achieve those standards. She does not stay in her office but is often seen walking around talking to students in the building and reminding them what they should be doing. She encourages students to go the extra mile and helps them with research. Some of her students have presented and won national awards. UA Little Rock is fortunate to have Dr. Rockwell on the faculty.”

In the classroom, Rockwell has a reputation as a passionate and innovative teacher who creates unique activities and projects to engage her students.

“I have always had a passion for education. Within that passion comes the desire to meet each student where they are and help them reach their desired goals,” Rockwell said. “For example, when we study the concept of civil wrongs and torts, we go on a scavenger hunt within our community to locate potential areas of negligence. This appeals to my students who are hands-on learners. During our study of regulatory takings, we build a city similar to Little Rock and discuss the placement of I-630. Even when we talk about water law, we use Zoom to interview the oyster fishermen in Apalachicola, Florida, regarding their Supreme Court lawsuit. Each of these activities is designed to help each student learn and apply the content in a manner that they might see in the real world. Application is key.”

Rockwell has a heart of gold and would move mountains to help her students succeed, according to Cassidy Brady, a former volleyball player from Benton.

“From the first time she met me on a Tuesday morning before 7, I knew she was a saint and would do anything to help me succeed,” Brady said. “Often, it brought me peace to just sit across from her in her office and listen to her speak fruitful words of encouragement that inspired me to keep going. I have never met anyone who is more devoted to helping her students succeed than Dr. Rockwell.”

In addition to working with their busy schedules as student-athletes, Trojans appreciated that Rockwell would use examples related to their own life to explain material in a way that students could understand.

Photo of Casey Rockwell by Ben Krain.
Photo of Casey Rockwell by Ben Krain.

“Professor Rockwell was always willing to meet and go over the material and explain it in the best way, so I was able to understand,” said Aaron Funk, a baseball player. “When we were studying contracts, Professor Rockwell used the analogy of negotiating a major league contact to help me understand the importance of ‘consideration’ and not just a salary.”

Outside of the classroom, she is a dedicated Trojan fan who loves cheering for Little Rock’s Teams. UA Little Rock student-athletes have dubbed Rockwell the “Professor of the Rock” for her commitment to Little Rock Athletics.

“I love the Trojan athletic program. Getting to see my student-athletes demonstrate their skills inside and outside of the classroom is such a joy and the support that they receive from the campus is outstanding,” Rockwell said. “Each of the staff members is dedicated to the success of our student athletes. Each of our athletes has a high level of commitment and dedication. Whether it is watching shoot around in the gym or catching a baseball game on our beautiful field, our sports programs enrich the campus environment. 

Before joining UA Little Rock in 2016, Rockwell taught at University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College and Arkansas State University and served as dean of learning at the College of the Ouachitas.

She is active in the community and serves as president of the Junior League of Little Rock, a service organization of more than 1,000 members. She is a past president of the Arkansas Association of Women Lawyers and a past chair of the Continuing Education Committee with the Arkansas Bar Association. She’s been recognized by the American Bar Association with the Golden Gavel Award and by the Academy of Legal Studies in Business as an outstanding faculty mentor for student research.

Rockwell earned a bachelor’s degree in education policy from Hendrix College, a Master of Public Service from the Clinton School of Public Service, as well as a Juris Doctor and Doctor of Education from UA Little Rock.

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