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UA Little Rock Announces Sponsors of Faculty Excellence Awards Program 

The 2023 Faculty Excellence Awards ceremony will be on April 6.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has announced several university partners have stepped forward to sponsor the annual Faculty Excellence Awards.

“I am grateful for their sponsorship of the annual faculty excellence awards,” said Christian O’Neal, vice chancellor for university advancement. “These awards recognize the outstanding contributions of the UA Little Rock faculty, and their generous support ensures UA Little Rock continues honoring our faculty in this meaningful way.”

The Faculty Excellence Awards began 35 years ago in 1988 when the Foundation Fund Board supported three awards to recognize faculty in the areas of teaching, research or creative endeavors, and professional and public service. In 2022, the UA Little Rock Faculty Senate created two new award areas: rising faculty award for excellence and award for excellence in social justice.

The awards are presented annually each spring. A winner is named for each college and the William H. Bowen School of Law, and an institutional winner is selected from the college finalists.

Below is more about each of the awards and the generous sponsors supporting them:


The Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching is designed to distinguish those teachers who maintain high expectations of their students and who ensure academic rigor in their courses. The teaching award, first established and funded by Dr. Ted and Virginia Bailey, is now funded by the Bailey family, who continues to honor this legacy through a Centennial Campaign commitment toward supporting teaching excellence.

“The Bailey family is delighted once again to sponsor the university teaching award,” said Sharon Bailey. “The great faculty are fundamental to UA Little Rock’s success, and our family is honored to help recognize their work.”

The Bailey Family’s partnership with UA Little Rock includes financial support for scholarships, community service initiatives, and leadership on numerous boards and committees. In addition to sponsoring the Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching, the Bailey family financed the university’s alumni center that is named in their honor.

Research or Creative Endeavors

The Faculty Excellence Award in Research or Creative Endeavors encourages and rewards those individuals whose research or creative endeavors have been particularly successful and are so recognized locally, regionally, and nationally.

Dr. Jaafer Golzar, a cardiologist and chief medical officer for Avinger, Inc. and his family have stepped forward to sponsor this award.

“As a proud alum of UA Little Rock, having the opportunity to sponsor this award means so much to me,” said Golzar, who is the 2021 recipient of the university’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. “This award will encourage our faculty to continue their academic pursuits, which helps make our state and nation better.”

Social Justice

The Faculty Excellence Award in Social Justice recognizes a faculty member’s commitment to the broad concept of social justice through teaching, public service, and research or creative endeavors. Just Communities of Arkansas is the sponsor of this year’s award.

“Just Communities of Arkansas is so excited to sponsor the Faculty Excellence Award in Social Justice at UA Little Rock,” said Hilary Trudell, executive director of Just Communities of Arkansas. “This award aligns with our mission, and we are honored to help encourage those who are focused on doing this important work.”

Just Communities of Arkansas works to build inclusive and equitable communities across Arkansas through capacity building, connection, and collective action.

Rising Faculty Award for Excellence 

This Rising Faculty Award for Excellence is designed to recognize, encourage, and reward the contribution of any full-time faculty demonstrating exceptional promise in teaching, research or creative endeavors, or public service during their first five years at UA Little Rock. The Bowen Family Foundation has agreed to sponsor the award.

“Attracting and retaining high quality teaching faculty is critical for the long term success of any university,” said Dr. Scott Bowen. “I am pleased to support the UA Little Rock Faculty Excellence Award helping to maintain strong teachers so our students can succeed.”

The Bowen Family has a strong connection with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, as the William H. Bowen School of Law is named in honor of a member of the family.

Public Service 

This final award presented is the Faculty Excellence Award in Public Service. This award is designed to recognize, encourage, and reward those individuals who have brought credit to the UA Little Rock through their successful efforts in applying the content or skills of their academic disciplines in service to the community, state, or nation in areas of public interest.

The 2023 Faculty Excellence Awards ceremony to announce the winners is scheduled for April 20, 2023.

Learn more about the Faculty Excellence Awards. 

Learn more about how you can support program excellence at UA Little Rock.