2022 Winners of King, Nolan and OMNI Awards Announced

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Old Main on the U of A campus, home to the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.

The Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the U of A has selected the 2022 recipients of several of its most prestigious endowed faculty awards, including:

“The amazing strides these faculty members have made through their service, teaching and care for our greater world community is just astounding,” said Todd Shields, dean of Fulbright College. “We are lucky to have each of them as part of our college, and they are a true inspiration.”

“The difference they’ve made in the lives of our studentsnot to mention in each of their respective fields is phenomenal, and for this we cannot thank them enough,” Shields added.

JOHN E KING AWARD

portrait of Ron WarrenThe John E. King Award for Outstanding Service was created and endowed by Fulbright College faculty members to recognize colleagues who exhibit exemplary service to the campus and community. They named the award for King, a professor of social work, as a tribute to his “leadership and extraordinary ethic and record of good deeds.”

Recipient Ron Warren’s research focuses on children, families and media; media and civic engagement; and advertising. He’s served as the Department of Communication’s associate chair, director of Graduate Studies, director of Undergraduate Studies, Honors Program coordinator and faculty adviser for the Lambda Pi Eta Communication Honor Society.

Additionally, Warren has served as vice chair of the Fulbright College Cabinet, on the UA Institutional Review Board for 15 years and on the City of Fayetteville’s Telecommunications Board. Warren has also served on the editorial boards of three top-tier journals and reviewed grant proposals and reports for the US Department of Education. He is frequently sought after as a reviewer for over two dozen journals.

Warren has also consistently taken on a higher-than-average number of independent study projects, has conducted several research projects that have been of service to both state and national agencies, and has worked with seven municipal governments in Arkansas and with the Heartland Forward Foundation to gather data on broadband internet deployment in underserved areas of the state.

“For 25 years, Dr. Warren has tirelessly served our department, the college, the university and far beyond into our community,” said Stephanie Ricker Schulte, chair of the Department of Communication, who nominated him. “More than anyone I have ever known, Dr Warren embodies a service mentality. His desire to help, to care, to serve, to support and to collaborate are unmatched.”

NOLAN FACULTY AWARD

Portrait of Ryan Neville-ShepardThe Nolan Faculty Award was endowed by the William C. and Theodosia Murphy Nolan Foundation to support the career advancement of faculty members who provide the highest quality teaching research and service to the college.

Recipient Ryan Neville-Shepard’s research is in the areas of political communication, rhetorical criticism and argumentation, and tends to focus on the communication of political outsiders. His contributions to teaching, research and service have earned him an excellent reputation in both the Department of Communication and in the field at large.

“Dr. Neville-Shepard has made a significant impact on our program, and especially after he assumed the role of graduate director in 2019,” said Schulte, who nominated him. “He has also proven to be an inventive, dedicated and excellent teacher, aiming to increase options for students interested in rhetorical approaches to communication.”

Since 2016, he has served on 10 MA thesis committees, eight MA capstone committees, two comprehensive exam committees and several undergraduate honors committees. He also advised two MA theses and two MA capstone projects, turned most of his classes into combined 4000/5000-level sections and developed four new graduate seminars in six years.

Neville-Shepard also received the New Faculty Commendation for Teaching Commitment from the Wally Cordes Teaching Faculty Support Center in 2017 and 2018, and the Outstanding Mentor Award from the U of A’s Office of Nationally Competitive Awards in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021.

“He is a highly successful teacher who brings exceptional compassion to his students,” Schulte said. “As a result, our MA program is receiving the highest number of applications we have seen in years.”

OMNI KEELING/HANSEN AWARD

Portrait of Geoboo SongThe OMNI Keeling/Hansen Climate Science Award was created to “promote cutting-edge climate science research conducted by Fulbright College faculty and students in developing knowledge of the causes and impacts of global climate change, in developing tangible solutions to mitigate global climate change and its deleterious effects on humanity and global ecosystems, and in communicating the urgency of the climate catastrophe.”

Recipient Geoboo Song’s general research interests lie in the systemic explanation of the variations in individuals’ perceptions of policy problems, their policy preferences and their behaviors under certain policy arrangements within highly contentious and controversial domains. Specifically, Song has been intrigued by the ontological and epistemological nature of various risks, the different ways individual members of society interpret and perceive risks and the related impact on society in general and certain individuals and groups in particular.

“Dr. Geoboo Song is an ideal recipient for the OMNI Keeling/Hansen Climate Science Award,” said Peter Ungar, distinguished professor in the Department of Anthropology and director of the Environmental Dynamics Program (ENDY). “With this award, he will focus on examining the origins of Arkansans’ climate change risk perceptions, policy preferences and behaviors and crafting the most effective way of communicating the reality of climate change with an emphasis on doing so by telling a story.”

To do so, Song will apply a comprehensive, interdisciplinary, theory-driven data analytics approach while focusing on surveying more than 4,000 Arkansans’ cognitive attributes, and on implementing survey experiments designed to test the efficacy of climate change stories with varying structures and storytellers to better communicate key climate change issues.

Song will then participate in research conferences where he can share his findings with other scholars and practitioners around the world.

OMNI CENTER PEACE AWARD

portrait of Laurence HareThe OMNI Center for World Peace and Justice Faculty Award was created to “recognize exceptional research, teaching and service by faculty who promote the studying and teaching of peace and justice and the practice of nonviolence, conflict resolution and diplomacy.”

Recipient Laurence Hare’s research specialties include the cultural and intellectual history of Germany and Scandinavia in the 19th and 20th centuries, and his publications trace the history of nationalism in Europe, with an emphasis on the transnational dynamics of creating national cultures and the role of academic disciplines in crafting identity.

As a European and global historian, Hare’s work also examined cultural and intellectual exchange in European borderlands during periods of conflict. In addition to being a history faculty member, Hare previously served as director of the U of A’s International and Global Studies Program.

“Based on his strong record of promoting peace education and sustainable community development, I am pleased to recommend him for this award,” said Todd Cleveland, professor in the Department of History, who nominated Hare. “He has been working since 2016 to develop peace studies at the U of A and to promote a culture of peace and sustainability in the institution’s work with communities in Arkansas.”

Hare also developed an official degree concentration in peace, security and human rights in the international studies BA, and a similar focus area in peace and conflict as a core component of a new proposed BA curriculum in history.

Hare’s work also includes a project he launched in cooperation with the colleges of Agriculture, Business and Engineering called “Arkansas Global Changemakers.” The program is an applied research and educational initiative connecting Arkansas communities with communities around the world to discuss common global challenges.

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