The UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law has honored five faculty members as the winners of the 2023 Faculty Excellence Awards.
Bowen has selected andré cummings, Nick Kahn-Fogel, Suzanne Penn, Kelly Terry, and Aaron Schwabach as its top professors of the year.
The university-wide Faculty Excellence winners will be revealed during a 5:30 p.m. ceremony on April 20 in the auditorium in the Engineering and Information Technology Building.
More information about the winners:
Faculty Excellence Award for Public Service
Suzanne Penn is an assistant professor of clinical legal education at the William H. Bowen School of Law. Penn has provided life-changing legal services to underrepresented Arkansas for years.
In 2014, Penn suggested the idea of creating a clinical experience for law students in the Delta region of Arkansas, which has long been underserved by attorneys and is home to many individuals unable to afford an attorney even if one was available. The Delta project consists of two different courses: The Delta Experience course and the Delta Clinic course. The Delta Experience course is a two-week, two-credit summer intersession course open to all students who have completed their first year.
During the first week of the course, students learn about Arkansas divorce law and requirements for process in divorce proceedings and the history of the Arkansas Delta. Students also prepare teaching materials to use and share with low-income citizens. In the second week of the course, Penn and her students travel to the Delta to educate low-income citizens about grounds for divorce and what is necessary to obtain one without attorney representation.
They conduct client interviews, perform fact investigations related to case success, prepare divorce complaints, motions for fee waivers for clients, and appear in courts as needed to represent their clients and also observe sessions of the courts. The Delta Project exemplifies Bowen’s mission of access to justice and public service.
Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching
Nicholas Kahn-Fogel is the distinguished professor in constitutional law at the William H. Bowen School of Law. Students comment on his rigorous but nurturing and intellectually challenging classes.
Kahn-Fogel uses a modified version of the Socratic Method in most of his in-class instruction, in which he randomly calls on students. This increases the likelihood that all students will have the opportunity to engage in class discussion. Recommendations from students have positively commented on this.
Kahn-Fogel’s colleagues have also praised his dedication to teaching. Several of his colleagues have commented on his preparation for class and have called Kahn-Fogel meticulous when it comes to knowing his class materials. Some have even gone so far as to comment on him rarely canceling class in order to not disrupt student class time. Students have recognized his dedication and have selected him for several graduation honors.
Faculty Excellence Award for Research and Creative Endeavors
Kelly Terry is the Ben J. Altheimer professor of law, director of externship programs and pro bono opportunities, and the associate dean of experiential learning and clinical programs at the William H. Bowen School of Law. Her research has been influential in the area of experiential legal education.
Terry works to provide law faculty with the theory and best practices to make a legal education more beneficial for students. Over the last five years, Terry has published three books on best practices when it comes to course design, curriculum integration, teaching methods, and assessment of student learning in a legal education. Law professors from around the country have praised and noted these bodies of work. She has also received national recognition for her work.
In March 2022, the White House Counsel’s Office asked Terry to serve on a panel with four other law professors for a webinar on the role law school experiential education programs play in delivering critical legal services and equip students with professional skills. She was also asked to serve on the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, Resources on Outcomes and Assessments Committee, which focuses on learning outcomes to provide guidance, best practices, and real-life experiences on outcomes and assessments.
Faculty Excellence Award for Social Justice
andré douglas pond dummings is the Charles C. Baum professor of law and associate dean for faculty development at the William H. Bowen School of Law. Along with professor Anastasia Boles, he founded and directs the Center for Racial Justice and Criminal Justice Reform at the law school.
The center was launched in September 2021 to advance racial equity, access to justice, and fairness in Arkansas and the region through academic legal research. The mission of the center aligns with Bowen’s core values of access to justice, public service, and professionalism. Boles and cummings have secured more than $1.3 million dollars in grants and gifts for the center from organizations such as the Walmart Foundation, Winthrop Rockefeller, and Building Black Communities just to name a few.
With this funding, and along with law school students, they have developed five primary center projects, which includes preparing more than 80 students of color to take the LSAT and the development of the Center for Racial Justice Speaker Series. Overall, the center has employed more than 44 law students in social justice work, including state-wide court observation and enhancing community policing.
He has also developed a national reputation as a scholar on social justice in regards to the law. His work has been widely received and has been downloaded over 13,500 times from the Bepress Bowen Law Repository and 11,400 times from the Social Sciences Research Network. Since joining the law school, he has published or is in the process of publishing 13 law review articles, two books, four book chapters, and one Amicus Brief filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Faculty Excellence Award for Rising Faculty
Aaron Schwabach is an associate professor of law at the William H. Bowen Law School of Law. Schwabach has been praised by his colleagues at the law school particularly in the development of the new Master of Study in Law degree (M.S.L.).
The M.S.L. degree provides legal training for non-lawyers who wish to develop legal expertise that will aid them in their current jobs or facilitate career advancement. Schwabach drafted all the materials needed for the American Bar Association to acquiesce to the degree, which the association did in February 2021.
Beyond service to the law school, he is also a member of several legal organizations, on the editorial boards for the Hungarian Yearbook of International and European Law and the American Bar Association Probate & Property Journal, and a peer reviewer for the Fulbright Specialist Program.
Schwabach has been a productive scholar as well. He has published one book chapter and five peer-reviewed journal articles since joining the law school two years ago. In spring 2022, he received a Jumpstart Faculty Scholarship from the Office of the Provost at the university.