Five University of Arkansas – Fort Smith faculty members were honored for their services to the institution during the 12th Annual Faculty Appreciation Day, which took place April 12 on campus.
Recipients were Lana K. Bell of Greenwood, recipient of the Luella M. Krehbiel Adjunct Teaching Excellence Award; Pamela Davidson of Greenwood, recipient of the Excellence to the University, to the Profession, and to the Community Service Award; Dr. Daniel Settlage of Fort Smith, recipient of the Excellence in Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities Award; Dr. Jerry West of Greenwood, recipient of the Lucille Speakman Master Teacher Award; and James Brandli of Mulberry, recipient of the Lori Norin Faculty Appreciation Award presented by the Student Government Association.
Lana K. Bell
Lana Bell has an adjunct faculty member in the dental hygiene program since 2011. She is responsible for both clinical and classroom teaching responsibilities while concurrently working in private practice.
“Her many years as a private practice hygienist enhance her skills as a clinical instructor, making her invaluable to both students and faculty,” said Virginia Hardgraves, associate professor of dental hygiene, who nominated Bell for the award. “She intuitively knows how to relate to students and make clinical skills relevant to working in the real world."
Hardgraves also noted that, in addition to her teaching duties, Bell has created a clinical notebook for faculty to help with calibration of clinical protocols and also assists as adjunct faculty in the radiology lab. Her instructional courses have included web-enhanced classes in nutrition and ethics, for which she received Blackboard certification.
“I am grateful and humbled to be this year’s recipient of the Luella M. Krehbiel award,” Bell said. “It is such an honor to be recognized for doing something that I love and enjoy so much.
Pamela Davidson, assistant professor of dental hygiene, was nominated for the Excellence to the University, to the Profession, and to the Community Service Award for her exceptional service to the community through various initiatives that provide individuals in the community with access to much-needed dental treatment. These include free extraction events on campus, traveling with students to Mena to perform sealants on children’s teeth, and establishing student rotations to the Community Dental Clinic.
Most recently Davidson co-wrote a grant to the Blue & You Foundation through which she was awarded $30,000 to create After School Smilz, a bi-annual event that provides free cleanings, exams, and preventative measures to area children who lack access to dental care. To date the dental hygiene program has hosted eight clinics with the intent of continuing to offer after school clinics each semester.
Davidson holds a Bachelor of Science in dental hygiene from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock and a Master of Education in adult education from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
Dr. Daniel Settlage, professor of economics, is one of the top researchers in the College of Business, having produced nine peer-reviewed journal entries and presenting 14 papers at conferences across the United States in the past five years.
“I am nominating him primarily because he collaborates with his peers in the COB extensively, both within and outside his discipline,” said Dr. Larry Faulk, associate professor of management, who nominated Settlage for the Excellence in Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities Award.
In addition to Settlage’s impressive record of publishing and presenting research, several of his projects have practical application within the college as changes have been made based on his findings.
“Research is an inherently collaborative process,” Settlage said. “All research is built upon the work of those who went before us, and the best research is conducted in cooperation with others. This award would not have been possible without the collaboration of my dedicated colleagues, both within and outside of the College of Business."
Settlage holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville and a Ph.D. from Purdue University.
Dr. Jerry West, assistant professor of mathematics, has taught at UAFS for more than 10 years and still finds enjoyment helping students understand the challenging concepts of math. Before joining the UAFS full time, West taught as an adjunct faculty member while also instruction in the math department at Lavaca High School.
West was nominated for the Lucille Speakman Master Teacher Award not only due to his demonstrated outstanding classroom teaching, but also for providing positive learning environments, developing strong modeling skills to assist students in practicing and self assessing their general education skills, and assisting students in preparing research projects every year.
“Dr. West has the ability to demonstrate and explain complex mathematic principles and problem-solving methods to university students in ways that are engaging and visually memorable,” said Dr. Lois Yocum, coordinator of secondary education, who nominated West for the award. “His students describe him as caring, respectful, inspirational, and an amazing lecturer.”
As a testament to his teaching abilities, in 2016 West was ranked 11th out of the top 25 professors in the United States by RateMyProfessor.com. He was also the only faculty member in Arkansas to receive this recognition.
“We have so much amazing talent at UAFS, and it is humbling to be recognized publicly,” West said. “I love teaching mathematics and statistics, and I value all of my students, coworkers, and those who have supported me over the years.”
James Brandli, instructor of biological science, began teaching at UAFS in 2015 as an adjunct faculty member. His research focuses mainly on aquaculture and aquaculture sustainability with a focus on recirculating aquaculture systems, but his focus on campus is for his students. This was made evident in the nominations from students for the Lori Norin Faculty Appreciation Award.
“Mr. Brandli is not the type of professor that just wants student to regurgitate information; he wants his students to appreciate biology as much as, if not more than he does,” said one student nomination. “This is evident in his continual effort to accommodate every student’s individual needs and learning styles.”
“He is always optimistic about students’ capabilities to achieve success,” another nomination stated. “He bends over backwards to help accommodate students and give them a leg up to become an active part of the scientific activities at UAFS. I am thankful for the constant thought he puts in to helping students achieve greater things.”
Brandli holds a bachelor’s degree in history and anthropology from UAFS and a master’s in sustainable food systems from Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vt.