The UA Little Rock College of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences, and Education (CHASSE) has selected Drs. David Briscoe, Bronwyn MacFarlane, and Ed Anson as its 2021 Faculty Excellence winners.
UA Little Rock annually celebrates the achievements of the top professors of the year who are making a difference in the community through their contributions in teaching, research and creative works, and public service. This is the highest honor UA Little Rock awards its faculty members.
Created in 1989, the Faculty Excellence Awards have provided a way to recognize the great work of UA Little Rock faculty for the past 32 years and is made possible through contributions by the Office of the Chancellor, the Office of the Provost, the UA Little Rock Chancellor’s Circle, the Bailey Foundation, and UMR.
Briscoe, MacFarlane, and Anson will compete for the university-wide Faculty Excellence Awards, which will be announced April 15.
Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching – David Briscoe, professor of sociology in Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Briscoe said he learned the value of education early in life when he attended a one-room school in Mars Hill, North Carolina, during the period of racial segregation in the South in the late 1950s.
“The school had a legacy because my father and grandfather attended the school when they were students,” Briscoe said. “The school only went to the 6th grade. In many ways, I never thought I would go any further.”
Briscoe would go on to earn undergraduate (‘80) and graduate (85′) degrees from UA Little Rock and a Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (’93). He has taught at UA Little Rock for nearly three decades, beginning his career in 1992.
During that time, Briscoe has been awarded nearly 60 honors, earned professional development certification from Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard Divinity School, Princeton Theological Seminary, Oxford Round Table, and was twice named a Distinguished Teaching Fellow for the UA Little Rock Academy of Teaching and Learning Excellence. He has received the Graduate and Retention Advocate Award four times and received the Faculty Excellence in Public Service award for the College of Social Sciences and Communication in 2020.
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 Awards Committee, the Chancellor’s Race and Ethnicity Advisory Committee, the Centennial Campaign Cabinet, and the Institutional Effectiveness Committee.
As the NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative, Briscoe assists with the certification and undergraduate education of UA Little Rock’s student-athletes. He is also well-known and admired in his role as a national volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America. 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 million students throughout the United States.
Faculty Excellence Award in Public Service – Bronwyn MacFarlane, professor of gifted education in the School of Education
Bronwyn MacFarlane has contributed extensive public service in the field of gifted education. She has served as a nationally elected and recognized leader in the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) in the roles of chair of the STEM Network with more than 1,000 members and chair of the Counseling and Guidance Network, which serves over 700 members.
For three years, MacFarlane wrote the popular column “The Curriculum Corner” in NAGC’s national magazine, “Teaching for High Potential.” She also serves as an editorial assistant and guest editor for the academic journal “Roeper Review.”
“From classroom and district gifted program responsibilities to nationally elected leadership roles, Dr. MacFarlane has served in many leadership capacities where she gently challenges those around her in developing new ideas, approaches, and products,” said Dr. Debbie Dailey, chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning at the University of Central Arkansas. “Her valued service leadership contributions support the bridge from scholarship to best teaching practices in local schools and classrooms and beyond to benefit individuals and improve their educational experiences.”
MacFarlane has served as chair or a representative on more than 25 UA Little Rock committees, on over 15 national and state education committees, and has held or continues to hold several state and national leadership positions in gifted education. In Little Rock, MacFarlane is a regular volunteer judge and guest speaker for events like the Central Arkansas Regional Science Fair, Arkansas 4-H, and Girls in STEM Leadership Conference. She provided expert commentary in interviews to the local media for parents to support children’s learning and mental health during the pandemic.
MacFarlane has received national and international recognition in the field of gifted education. Some of her awards include the Early Leader award from the National Association for Gifted Children in 2018, the Wedge Distinguished Scholar award at Western Kentucky University in 2017, and the Challenger Award from the Arkansans for Gifted and Talented Education Association in 2016 for her cutting edge book “STEM Education for High Ability Learning.” A professor for only 13 years, she has been recognized with the Faculty Excellence Awards three times in the past seven years. She twice received the Faculty Excellence Award for Research and Scholarship for the College of Education in 2014 and for the College of Education and Health Professions in 2019. She has been named a Distinguished Teaching Fellow for the UA Little Rock Academy of Teaching and Learning Excellence, received the New Faculty Teaching Commendation, and twice received the Graduate and Retention Advocate Award.
“Public service is integrated into my work, and my activities focus on ways to develop talent in different settings,” MacFarlane said. “My service activities at each level, whether local, university, state, national, or international, can be best summarized as contributing my time and expertise to supporting the talent development of others. Whether I am volunteering locally, evaluating federal projects and university programs, or speaking to parents and teachers about education, I am always focused on doing what I can to support someone’s talent development and growth.”
Faculty Excellence Award in Research – Edward Anson, professor of history in the Department of History
As a specialist in the Hellenistic Era, Anson has contributed significant research in the field of ancient history during his 45 years as a professor at UA Little Rock. He is considered an expert in Alexander the Great studies. His latest books, “The Campaigns of Philip II and Alexander the Great,” and “Ptolemy I, Soter: Themes and Issues” will be published in 2022.
His most recent publications include “Philip II, the Father of Alexander the Great: Themes and Issues” in 2020. In the same year, Anson also co-edited “Affective Relations and Personal bonds in Hellenistic Antiquity: A Festschrift Honouring of the Career of Elizabeth D. Carney” with Dr. Monica D’Agostini and Dr. Frances Pownall.
“His publications on Macedonia military innovations, defining ethnicity, the chronology of the early Hellenistic period, and the career of the green commander and administrator Eumenes under Alexander and the early successor have transformed modern scholarship on these topics and have become the standard ‘go-to’ references by other scholars,” said Dr. Pownall, professor of classics at the University of Alberta.
His overall publication record includes numerous books, more than 50 articles or book chapters, and over 50 encyclopedia entries with peer-reviewed journals and presses. He also serves as associate editor of “Ancient History Bulletin,” an assessor for classics for the Australian Research Council, and a fellow of the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Hellenistic Studies.