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CHASSE Announces 2024 College-Level Faculty Excellence Winners

The UA Little Rock College of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences, and Education (CHASSE) has announced Neveen Shafeek Amin, Edma Delgado-Solórzano, Heidi Skurat Harris, Daryl Tate, and Kiel Thorlton as the 2024 Faculty Excellence winners for the college.

The UA Little Rock College of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences, and Education (CHASSE) has announced Neveen Shafeek Amin, Edma Delgado-Solórzano, Heidi Skurat Harris, Daryl Tate, and Kiel Thorlton as the 2024 Faculty Excellence winners for the college.

The university-level Faculty Excellence winners will be announced at the April 4 ceremony at 5:30 p.m. in the EIT Auditorium in the Engineering and Information Technology Building.

More information on the CHASSE winners and excerpts from their nomination letters are below:

Faculty Excellence Award for Public Service

Dr. Edma Delgado-Solórzano is an assistant professor of Spanish who is deeply involved in service in her program, at the university, and in our larger community.

In highlighting her work at UA Little Rock, her nomination letter states “she is the heart and soul” of supporting Spanish heritage speakers through recruiting students to the program, supervising Spanish language testing requirements, writing memos to the registrar, and advising and mentoring these students.

“Her years-long work with LULAC, El Zócalo Immigrant Resource Center, Mamas Unidas in Little Rock, the Hispanic Women’s Organization of Arkansas in Springdale, and El Centro Hispano in Jonesboro are a testament to a hard-working individual who strongly believes in setting an example for her community,” her nomination letter states. “And these organizations have awarded her efforts with the 2023 Mentor of the Year Prize from Mamas Unidas, as Arkansan of the Day (July 17, 2023) by THV Channel 11 News, and Recognition for Community Service (October 13, 2023) from Univision Arkansas.”

Faculty Excellence Award for Research and Creative Endeavors

Dr. Heidi Skurat Harris is an associate professor and graduate coordinator in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing. With a decade of experience at UA Little Rock, Harris has made significant impacts in the research field.

“Her three primary research areas involve online instruction… online writing program development and administration, and archival research on the writing and publication process of the novella ‘A River Runs Through It’ by Norman Maclean,” states her letter of nomination.

“In the last five years alone, Dr. Harris has published in four edited collections and book chapters, a bibliography, twelve journal articles, and two co-edited books (Routledge 2024),” her letter continues. “In addition, she collaborated with faculty and students from across disciplines and across the country. Her work appears in seminal books, like “Foundational Practices in Online Writing Instruction” and in some of the top journals in the field, including “Technical Communication Quarterly,” “Computers & Composition,” and “Communication Quarterly.” She has maintained this research pace while simultaneously developing and coordinating the Graduate Certificate for Online Writing Instruction (the only of its kind in the nation and recipient of the CSSC 2017 Curricular Innovation Award) and serving as the graduate coordinator for [the] department.”

Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching

Dr. Neveen Shafeek Amin is the coordinator of the sociology program and an associate professor of sociology who emphasizes mentoring and student-oriented service.

“[Dr. Shafeek Amin] is well versed in scientific teaching and uses evidence-based methods to improve her students’ learning outcomes,” her nomination letter continues. “She uses several pedagogical strategies with her students to encourage active learning, which has been shown to improve students’ retention. For instance, in her Introduction to Sociology classes, she has her students engage in service-learning activities and write reflective papers about the experience (for this work, she was named a Service-Learning Advocate by the College of Social Science and Communications in 2020.)”

Her work in teaching and learning continues outside the School of Human Inquiry as well. Her nomination letter states, “This year she was selected to serve as one of the three co-directors for the Academy of Teaching and Learning (ATLE). [Dr. Shafeek Amin] is extraordinarily well suited to this role. She has regularly attended ATLE programming since she began working at UA Little Rock and has received numerous recognitions from the group, including a curriculum innovation award, numerous teaching fellow awards, and a Lifetime Participation award. Her leadership in this organization demonstrates her commitment to ongoing improvement in teaching, not just for herself, but also for her colleagues. Through this work she is working to improve the classroom experience for all students by providing continuing education for the educators.”

UA Little Rock Social Justice Award

Dr. Daryl Tate, associate professor in the School of Education, coordinates the Learning System Technology Education Program. He is also UA Little Rock’s inaugural eLearning Fellow.

According to his nomination letter, “[Dr. Tate] has been a much sought-after person to address equity for all in the online environment; he has done so via his publications, scholarly presentations, media interviews, grants, and direct action with students to facilitate programming. On his grants, two of them focused on how to provide open educational resources (OER) to his students as a student retention effort… In essence, his programming has a lasting impact that promotes and defends social justice in the form of access to education.”

Regarding Tate’s entire body of work, his nomination letter goes on to state: “Dr. Tate’s pivotal work to provide educational access using technology and pedagogy innovatively approaches student success. It also exemplifies his commitment to ensuring UA Little Rock remains relevant in producing student scholars who will function with this same focus on inclusionary access for all to learn.”

UA Little Rock Rising Faculty Award for Excellence

Professor Kiel Thorlton, assistant professor in the School of Mass Communication, joined the university in 2020. Since that time, he has taught 11 different classes in the area of video production.

His nomination letter states: “In addition to his considerable teaching load, Prof. Thorlton also serves as the coordinating producer for ESPN+ in conjunction with UA Little Rock athletics. In this capacity, he is responsible for all student crews for roughly 100+ broadcasts in an academic year.”

In addition to his service to the university and in the larger community, he also continues to thrive in scholarship/creative activity. “Since 2010, Kiel has been the director, cinematographer, and owner of Falling Leaf Productions, a company that specializes in video production ranging from narrative film to commercial work,” his nomination letter continues. “Perhaps the most notable of the work his company has produced is the feature film ‘A Place Called Home,’” which was released worldwide on Dec. 20, 2022. Thorlton served as the writer, director, and co-producer of the movie.