College of Education and Health Professions Honors Outstanding Faculty
The College of Education and Health Professions presented awards to outstanding faculty at a meeting May 4 in the Graduate Education Building.
“We truly have an outstanding group of faculty and staff members,” said Michael Miller, dean of the college. “Those honored today really do represent the best of the best, and their work has paved the way for both our students’ success and our growing national reputation as a leader in education and the health professions.”
The College Council reviews nominations for the annual awards.
- Sean Connors, associate professor of English education, George Denny STAR Award for Outstanding Service, Teaching, Advising and Research
Nominators cited Connors’ scholarship about young adult literature in journals that resulted in two awards, including best article in the ALAN Review, excellent teaching scores from students, research projects involving students, integration of his teaching with community groups, and service to the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and its students. He received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant with a U of A colleague to design and facilitate a summer institute for teachers to focus on literary adaptation.
- Nicholas Greene, assistant professor of exercise science, Significant Research Award
His research in cancer-induced cachexia, which is progressive muscle wasting, is supported by a $413,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health. About 40 percent of deaths from cancer can be linked to death of skeletal muscle, and Greene’s research has a high potential to provide better opportunities for intervention. He works with students in the Integrative Muscle Metabolism Laboratory he established, and he was asked to serve as an ad hot NIH grant review panel member.
- Erin Kern Popejoy, assistant professor of counselor education, Rising STAR Award for Outstanding All-around New Faculty Member
Her research publications included an article in the counseling field’s flagship journal, her teaching included significant course development, and she served on college and university committees. Popejoy also served as clinical coordinator for clinical mental health counseling students, redeveloped some of the program’s policies and procedures, and advised the program’s honor society chapter.
- Gary Ritter, Twenty-First Century Chair in Education Policy, Career Faculty Award in Recognition of a Career that Exemplifies Outstanding Performance
A faculty member since 2000, Ritter has received numerous awards from the university and the college, nominators said, and they said his greatest accomplishment may be the development of Arkansas Teacher Corps. They cited his teaching, generating $3.2 million through more than 20 research grants, generating and providing evidence that aids state lawmakers and policymakers through the Office of Education Policy he founded, and his mentoring of students and their resulting success in state and national posts after graduation.
- Peggy Schaefer-Whitby, associate professor of special education, Superior Service Award
She coordinates the inclusive educational and clinical programs through shared decision-making and faculty governance, ensuring that program discussions are informed by analysis of data and faculty feedback. A state legislator noted her efforts to develop a program in which professionals can complete the coursework needed to sit for behavior analyst board certification, and another nominator cited her participation on committees of the Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities of the Council for Exceptional Children.
- LJ Shelton, clinical assistant professor of higher education, Outstanding Mentoring and Advising Award
She has focused on helping students become leaders in the field and competitive job seekers, organizing an annual meeting for them to learn about attending national conferences as well as facilitating their attendance. She started a professional development series that pairs master’s students with educators across the nation, is working with a doctoral student as a teaching apprentice with whom she is also conducting research, and coordinates all recruitment for the master’s program, focusing on bringing in a more diverse student population.
- Sarah Stokowski, assistant professor of recreation and sport management, Innovative Teaching Award
Nominators cited a graduate course Stokowski developed called “Social Issues in Sport” that includes a group assignment in which students write a “sportography” examining and assessing the impact of sports on people’s lives in different social contexts. The final project required students to use sport to change the world, resulting in their involvement with local organizations and with children and families facing challenges.
The College of Education and Health Professions enrolled 4,043 undergraduates and 1,323 graduate students last fall.