UA Little Rock Honors Lytle, Glazier, Grace, Baillie, Kirk as 2023 Faculty Excellence Winners – News

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has Dr. Robert Lytle, Rebecca Glazier, Stephen Grace, Mark Baillie and John Kirk as winners of the 2023 Faculty Excellence Awards.

Lytle, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology, won the Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching sponsored by the Bailey family. Glazier, a professor at the School of Public Affairs, developed Dr. Jaafer Golzar and his family-sponsored Faculty Excellence Award in Research and Creative Endeavors, while Grace, Associate Professor of Biology, received the Faculty Excellence Award in Public Service.

In addition to two new awards this year, UA Little Rock also honored Dr. Mark Baillie, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, as the first recipient of the Rising Faculty Excellence Award sponsored by the Bowen family, and Dr. John Kirk, George W. Donaghey Distinguished History Professor, received the Faculty Excellence Award in Social Justice sponsored by Just Communities of Arkansas.

“Our winners’ commitment to scholarship, teaching, research, public service and social justice has a profound impact on our institution and the broader academic community,” said Provost Ann Bain. “They have shown a commitment to excellence that inspires us all and sets a high standard for future generations of educators. On behalf of the university, I would like to congratulate all award winners and thank you for embodying the spirit of excellence that defines our institution.”

UA Little Rock annually celebrates the achievements of the year’s top professors who are making a difference in the community through their contributions in teaching, research and creative work, public service and social justice. This is the highest honor UA Little Rock bestows upon its faculty members. Each faculty winner will receive a $5,000 prize.

Established in 1989, the Faculty Excellence Awards provide a way to recognize the great work of UA Little Rock faculty over the past 34 years and are made possible by the valued contributions of the Office of the Chancellor, Office of the Provost, UA Little Rock Chancellor’s Circle and the Bailey Foundation.

The UA Little Rock Board of Visitors selected the university-wide winners from among the 19 faculty members selected as the top faculty members for the 2022-23 academic year in each of the five categories at their respective colleges and the William H. Bowen School of the Act.

Faculty Excellence Award for teaching

dr Robert “Bob” Lytle is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology and Graduate Coordinator of the School of Criminal Justice and Criminology. Lytle has been praised by students and peers for his dedication to students and his passion for teaching.

There are several examples of Lytle’s teaching excellence. One of these is notably found in his teaching of doctoral level statistics courses in the Ph.D. Program. Students often find these courses daunting and difficult, but students and colleagues alike have praised Lytle for his ability to teach these courses and teach them well.

One student in particular said Lytle turned a daunting advanced-level statistics course into a manageable and even enjoyable course. Colleagues and students also highlight the labeled folders he creates for each of his statistics students. These folders contain everything from the syllabus and additional credit allocations to 125 pages of content written by Lytle relating to material used in the statistics classes and even a statistics refresher. The binder can be used in both high school criminal justice and criminology statistics courses, and the binders are structured so that they can be reorganized and added to at the student’s discretion.

Lytle has also served in a variety of roles during his seven years with UA Little Rock. He is also the Graduate Coordinator for his school and has also served as the School Evaluation Coordinator for over five years. Lytle has chaired five student thesis committees and served as editor for six other thesis projects while at UA Little Rock. He currently chairs six dissertation committees and is editor of 14 other dissertations.

Since 2016, Lytle has published 14 peer-reviewed articles, four of which were written in collaboration with students. This shows his commitment to teaching, but also to supporting students in their own research. Finally, Lytle is currently the Co-Principal Investigator on four outside grants and contracts totaling over $1 million. This provides undergraduate and graduate students with the opportunity to actively participate in research projects that would not be available without Lytle’s commitment to teaching and student success through teaching and research outside of the classroom.

Faculty Excellence Award for research and creative endeavors

dr Rebecca Glazier is a professor at the School of Public Affairs. She is known for her research on religion and politics, as well as pedagogical research in higher education.

Glazier is known and acclaimed for the Little Rock Congregations Study (LRCS), which she founded 11 years ago. The LRCS is a longitudinal study of religion with the goal of increasing understanding of the impact of faith-based engagement in the community, bringing students out of the classroom into the community to learn and giving back, and providing the community with relevant and meaningful insights to deliver. She has received over $30,000 in grants from community groups related to this study, and two of her peer-reviewed articles were co-authored with students she mentored during the study.

Glazier is also deeply involved in teaching and learning how to improve the teaching of students. She has published seven peer-reviewed articles and three book chapters on building relationships in the classroom and the book Connecting in the Online Classroom: Building Rapport between Teachers and Students with Johns Hopkins University Press (2021). This has made her very influential in the pedagogical circles of higher education. Over the past five years, Glazier has published 20 peer-reviewed articles, three book chapters, and a self-authored book with several other works.

Faculty Excellence Award for Public Service

dr Stephen Grace is Associate Professor of Biology at UA Little Rock. Grace is a plant physiologist specializing in plant biochemistry and founding director of the UA Little Rock Campus Garden.

The UA Little Rock Campus Garden was founded in 2013 with the intention of bringing together students, staff, faculty and community members who share a common interest in sustainability and gardening. The Garden’s primary mission is to create a viable urban farm that provides organizations and individuals with fresh local food, and to create an educational facility on urban land use, food studies, and sustainable agriculture for students, faculty, staff, and community members.

As director, Grace oversees service, teaching and outreach activities, coordinates food delivery to food banks and other organizations, and serves as a faculty advisor for the Campus Garden Alliance. The garden’s success has also led to several partnerships with internal and external organizations such as the Root Cafe, River Valley Horticultural Products and Arkansas Grown.

In the past six years, the garden has received more than $60,000 in grants and funding. External funding and grants were provided by the Pulaski County Conservation District, L’Oreal, the UA Little Rock Alumni Association, and the AHRA Emergency Relief Grant. Grace’s work with the garden illustrates the university’s role within the wider community.

Faculty Excellence Award for emerging faculty

dr Mark Baillie is an assistant professor of chemistry in the School of Physical Sciences at UA Little Rock. Baillie has been commended for teaching, service, research and grants.

Baillie has focused much of his career on the science of teaching. Examples of his efforts are numerous, but one example is the drastic reduction in DFW rates, the percentage of students in a course or program who receive a D or F grade or drop out of his general chemistry classes. His class has less than half the DFW rate observed in traditional classes, but the students perform at the same level on the nationally standardized in-class exams. This shows that there has been no reduction in class standards.

Baillie brought expertise from the National Institute on Scientific Teaching and has used that expertise to deliver Mobile Institute on Scientific Teaching (MoSI) workshops to UA Little Rock faculty and graduate students. In the past four years, he has trained 87 faculty members and 18 graduate students. The focus of these workshops is to foster a more engaging learning environment for students through the use of evidence-based practices and active learning. Baillie also co-founded the university’s first Learning Assistant (LA) program in the chemistry department with the School of Physical Sciences. This program uses students to act as peer mentors and active learning collaborators. It has also been replicated in other units across campus.

Baillie’s primary scholarship was teaching and learning. He led an interdisciplinary team that was awarded a prestigious $2 million NSF grant to promote active learning in STEM classrooms at the university.

Faculty Excellence Award for Social Justice

dr John Kirk is the George W. Donaghey Distinguished Professor of History in the Department of History at UA Little Rock. He is an internationally recognized civil rights movement scholar and has continually worked over the years to help the public and students understand the struggle for social justice.

Kirk has taught several courses related to racial justice since 1954, including the Introductory Race and Ethnicity and Civil Rights Movement classes. He also played a key role in establishing the Race and Ethnicity minor at UA Little Rock. Students have praised his courses as transformative, and he has helped students with their own social justice publications.

Outside of the classroom, Kirk is a well-known civil rights activist and social justice advocate. His scholarship is extensive and includes The Civil Rights Movement: A Documentary Reader, a consultancy for a Netflix series on schools and race, a CNN podcast on the 1959 Arkansas Negro Boys Industrial School fire, and an AETN documentary via Little Rock’s West 9th Street.

Kirk has produced more than 400 Arkansas Moments radio segments, published his work in newspapers and magazines, conducted numerous media interviews, prepared reports on racist attitudes, and organized several community conferences. In addition to this extensive work, he developed the award-winning Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail, which was added to the national US Civil Rights Trail in 2018.