Four faculty members at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith received awards honoring their commitment to education, research and the community.

Recipients are Keith Fudge of Van Buren, the Lucille Speakman Master Teacher Award; Todd Timmons of Fort Smith, Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities Award; Billy Higgins of Fort Smith, the Faculty Service Award, given in recognition of excellence to UAFS, to the profession and to the community; and Marie Westphal of Van Buren, Luella M. Krehbiel Adjunct Teaching Excellence Award.

Keith Fudge

Keith Fudge, an associate professor of English, teaches composition and courses in American literature and culture, including courses on Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, John Grisham and literature of the American South. Fudge served as a faculty member at UAFS from 1997 through 1999 before returning in 2007.

Fudge has held faculty and administrative positions in traditional public schools and faculty positions at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Henderson State University, and at the Arkansas School for Math, Science, and the Arts. Currently, he serves as the NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative for UAFS, a position he’s held since 2007, and is a chair and founding member of the English department’s ReadThis! committee.

He has published articles on William Faulkner and in the area of 18th century studies, and his research interests at present are in Early American print culture and American popular culture. Most recently, he participated in a panel discussion of former curators of Rowan Oak, the home of Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner. In addition, he is also working on a collection of original short stories. In 2013, he received the Lion's Chronicle Favorite Professor Award.

Fudge earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Arkansas Tech University and a Master of Arts and a doctorate in English from the University of Mississippi. While a graduate student at Ole Miss, he served as the assistant, and for a time, the acting curator of Rowan Oak. He and his wife Danna live in Van Buren and are the parents of two sons, Daniel and Adam.

Todd Timmons

Todd Timmons is a professor of history at UAFS, where he has taught since 1988. His studies have focused on the history of the American scientific community in the 19th century, although his interests range widely over the history of science and technology.

Timmons teaches History of Modern Science, History of Technology and Society, History of Mathematics, and Survey of U.S. History. In addition to numerous journal publications and book chapters, he has authored three books -- “Science and Technology in Nineteenth-Century America,” published in 2005; “Makers of Western Science,” published in 2012; and Mathematics in Nineteenth-Century America,” published in 2013.

Timmons earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and master’s degree in mathematics from Texas Tech University. He also holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in the history of science from the University of Oklahoma.

He is currently working on his fourth book covering the conflict between Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz over credit for the invention of calculus. 

Billy Higgins

Billy Higgins, associate professor of history, has taught at UAFS since 1994. His studies have focused on Arkansas history and early American history, including the Jacksonian era. The courses he teaches include Arkansas history, The Age of Jackson and The New Republic. He will begin teaching a new course, Southwest Seminar, in the fall.

Higgins has authored two books -- “Stranger and a Sojourner,” which won the J.G. Ragsdale Award for Best Book Length Story in Arkansas History in 2005, and “The Barling Darling” -- in addition to co-authoring “UAFS: the First 85 Years.” He is currently working on a book on the C-124 Globemaster, an aircraft used by the military in the mid-twentieth century. He also wrote a booklet titled “Fort Smith: Vanguard of Western Frontier History” and is the editor of the Fort Smith Historical Society Journal.

He graduated with a master’s degree in history from the University of Arkansas, and earned his bachelor’s in economics from Arkansas Tech University.

In his spare time, Higgins plays tennis with his fellow history professors and hikes historic sites for research on future books. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Hardwood Tree Museum and the Fort Smith Boys and Girls Club.

Marie Westphal

Marie Westphal has taught as an adjunct faculty member in the English department at UAFS for five years. Previously, she graduated magna cum laude from the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith and was one of the school’s first recipients of a Bachelor of Arts in English degree. She holds a Master of Education from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and is a licensed Adult Education instructor.

Westphal, who also works full time for the City of Fort Smith, has taught composition I, II, and world literature I.

The Luella M. Krehbiel Teaching Excellence Award is named for Luella Krehbiel, who taught English and literature at the University from 1929 until 1958. The Speakman Award is named for a longtime teacher, administrator and Board of Trustees member, the late Lucille Speakman.

The four award winners, who each received monetary awards of $2,500, were recognized during a faculty appreciation ceremony held April 18 in conjunction with the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium at UAFS.


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Friday, April 18, 2014
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Four faculty members at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith received awards honoring their commitment to education, research and the community.