Faculty award winners, from left, were G. David Gearhart, Suzanne Kucharczyk, Michael T. Miller, Jim Maddox, Gema Zamarro, Charlene Johnson Carter and Kara Lasater. Not pictured: Allison Ames Boykin.
College of Education and Health Professions Dean Brian Primack recently honored 2021-22 outstanding faculty award winners at an end-of-year celebration event.
Each year, the faculty College Council reviews applications for various awards, targeting essential aspects of professorial life and work. “Each of these recipients has made exceptional contributions to their fields,” Primack said. “We thank them for their dedication to teaching, mentoring and research.”
Allison Ames Boykin, assistant professor of educational statistics and research methods
Rising STAR Award
Since joining the Educational Statistics and Research Methods Program in 2018, Boykin has made significant contributions to the measurement and methodological studies field. “Dr. Boykin’s scholarly output is not only demonstrated in its quantity but also acclaimed for its high quality,” nominators noted. Boykin was also praised for her grant work (unique among junior faculty members), excellent student evaluation scores, and mentorship. She mentored several doctoral students who then secured summer internships or professional jobs. Boykin also excels at supervising graduate assistants who provide training workshops for students learning statistical software. She oversees the Statistical and Measurement Support Services program that provides research assistance to the college’s faculty, students and staff.
Charlene Johnson Carter, associate professor of education
Faculty Career Award
Over her decades-long career at the U of A, Carter has demonstrated leadership as an administrator, teacher, researcher, and mentor that has been critical to the success of many students and faculty, nominators stated. “She challenges all of us to be better teachers, learners, and researchers. She has worked tirelessly to enhance awareness of how culture influences teaching and educational practices and processes,” one noted. Another cited her dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion, noting that “it is not a buzzword, phenomenon, nor new initiative for her; it is a substantial lens of research and teaching that permeates every aspect of her academic life. She has written, presented, and taught extensively about race, culture, and marginalization. Most importantly, her prowess to elevate and give voice to the experiences of marginalized communities empowers others to do likewise.” Carter earned praise as an active scholar and devoted teacher educator who promotes student success.
G. David Gearhart, chancellor emeritus and professor of higher education
Faculty Career Award
Gearhart, who has a longstanding record of outstanding service, has been a tenured professor in the college since 1997. He was appointed U of A chancellor in 2008 and served in that role until 2015. He then joined the college’s Higher Education Program. As a faculty member, he developed three new courses and achieved high composite student ratings across all his courses. In 2019, Gearhart received an Outstanding Faculty Award from the Associated Student Government and an Outstanding Teacher Award from the Department of Rehabilitation, Human Resources, and Communication Disorders. Gearhart has published 24 refereed articles and four books and completed nine conference presentations.
Suzanne Kucharczyk, associate professor of special education
Denny STAR Award
In addition to teaching, Kucharczyk serves as program coordinator for Inclusive Educational and Clinical Programs in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction. She also serves as chair of the department’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Nominators lauded Kucharczyk’s mentorship, research and innovative teaching strategies. She was awarded a Wally Cordes Teaching and Faculty Support Center grant in 2021 to develop new technologies for online fieldwork instruction. She is the principal investigator on three grants from the U.S. Department of Education and has published seven refereed manuscripts this year. Kucharczyk was awarded the Tom E. Smith Early Career Award by the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities in 2021.
Kara Lasater, assistant professor of educational leadership
Rising Star Award
Lasater is the advisor for the Educational Leadership Program’s Ed.D. students until they choose a committee chair. She serves on the department’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team and leads its work in framing research through established shared values and principles. Nominators noted that Lasater’s teaching evaluation scores are consistently higher than the U of A average. Students repeatedly commented on the quality of feedback and accessibility, they said. At the national level, Lasater is a leader in the American Educational Research Association’s special interest group on Data-Driven Decision Making in Education. She also has a strong publication record. “It is rare for a junior professor to have such an impact on service at both the local and national levels,” one nominator stated. Lasater’s research has appeared in Educational Administration Quarterly, a leading journal in the field. She has also published 20 peer-reviewed articles and four book chapters as the lead or sole author for 15 of those publications.
Jim Maddox, teaching assistant professor of human resource and workforce development
Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring Award
Nominators cited Maddox’s innovative teaching techniques, including a weekly podcast, “Chatting About Change with Dr. Jim Maddox.” The podcast features a wide range of guest interviews that share strategies that individuals and organizations can use to engage in positive, transformational change. Students are encouraged to continue the discussion with Maddox’s distinguished guests on LinkedIn so learning can continue beyond the designated assignments. Students noted that the podcast enhances their educational experience and is a resource for them throughout their careers. The podcast aligns with Maddox’s teaching philosophy, which states, in part, “students learn best when they see utility and application of the materials.”
Michael T. Miller, professor of higher education
Outstanding Advising and Mentoring Award
Miller advised 21 doctoral and 15 master’s students and chaired seven successful dissertations in 2021. His students describe him as helping them become the best possible version of themselves. One said when the global pandemic led many students to feel overwhelmed and anxious, Miller challenged his advisees to “achieve more than they ever thought possible while making room for each student to be human.”
Gema Zamarro, professor of economics and education reform, Endowed Chair in Teacher Quality
Significant Research Award
Nominators stated that Zamarro has emerged as one of the nation’s leading researchers about the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly its impacts on teacher labor markets, educational opportunities for families, and gender differences in work life, home life, and mental health. Her scholarship has been published in first-tier academic journals such as Educational Researcher and featured in prominent media outlets such as Scientific American, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Zamarro’s research continues to be cited as scholars study the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
About the College of Education and Health Professions: The College of Education and Health Professions offers advanced academic degrees as well as professional development opportunities and learning communities in service to the education and health systems of Arkansas and beyond. The college provides the education and experiences for a variety of professional roles, ranging from community mental health counselors to school teachers and leaders. Programs in adult and higher education, along with educational technology and sport management, offer a broad range of options. In addition to education-related opportunities, the college prepares nurses, speech-language pathologists, health educators and administrators, recreation professionals, rehabilitation counselors and human performance researchers.