Welcome to Arkansas State University!

Honors Professor of the Year

2022 Recipient – Mr. Matthew Robins 

Matt Robins Square.JPG

Mr. Matthew Robins is the Communication Center Director and an Instructor of Communications. Mr. Robins teaches Honors Oral Communications

Quotes from student nominations:

An amazing professor who was really understanding, and kept students engaged in class due to the fun  environment.”

Great professor, passionate and engaged, willing to work with students to make sure they succeed, great attitude and extremely skilled at their job!”

“This professor was an amazing teacher who did he very best to make sure we were learning. He kept class interesting and I loved him.”

 “Hands down one of the best educators that I have ever had!”

 “He is the nicest professor at Arkansas State. Not only is he very kind, but also he is also understanding of what being a student is like. He encourages his students and makes public speaking less stressful.”

"I loved him when I had Honors Oral Comm!"

 Nominees for the 2022 Honors Professor of the Year: Ms. Shanon Brantley (Communication Disorders), Dr. Eric Cave (Philosophy), Dr. Mark Lewis (Business Law), Dr. Jake Qualls (Computer Science), Mr. Matthew Robins (Communication), Mr. Bill Rowe (Art & Design), Dr. Hao Yang Teng (Statistics), Mr. Clint Vogus (Management)

2021  Recipient – Dr. Margaret Hance

Margaret Hance

Dr. Margaret Hance is an Assistant Professor of Psychology. Dr. Hance teaches Honors Introduction to Psychology.

Quotes from student nominations:

“She is an awesome professor! She made the material easy to understand and fun to learn. When I had her last spring she brought her dog, Luna, in to help us understand conditioning. I am still super bummed that we were not able to finish out the semester as planned as I loved the class and it's material. (P.S. Dr. Hance please give Luna lots of scratchies and pets for all that she missed out on from students due to Covid).”

“Dr. Hance was my professor last semester. She was the only professor I had who made me excited to engage in her online lectures and continue with my schooling. Her easy banter, anecdotes, and support got me through the beginning of the pandemic- arguably the roughest time in my life. I cannot thank her enough and believe she should be awarded Honors Professor of the Year 2021.”

 “Dr. Hance is dedicated to her students, and I thoroughly enjoyed her lectures. She made sure that the information was comprehended, and helped make my freshman experience a positive one despite the pandemic.”

 “Dr. Hance explains the class material very well! Even though I took her class virtually, things were still engaging. She is also very kind! Thank you Dr. Hance :)”

 “I did not have Dr. Hance for my honors course, but I still took her Intro to Psychology class and it was easily one of my favorites last semester, from the way the class was laid out to the distribution of coursework throughout the semester! Dr. Hance is the best!!”

"She is amazing, funny and very helpful!"

"Dr. Hance is an overall amazing instructor. She really wants to help you understand the material, while being funny and enticing!"

"Dr. Hance is very good at helping you learn and understand the material and is very understanding of any problems you may have in her course. Although she switched her course to online this year, she still made herself open to any type of help we may have needed. She explained her material in ways we could easily understand, and unlike many professors who have switched to online, she posted lectures and actually taught us rather than telling us to read a textbook and expecting us to know everything."

 Nominees for the 2021 Honors Professor of the Year: Dr. Hans Hacker (Political Science), Dr. Margaret Hance (Psychology), Dr. Patricia Robertson Johnston (Law), Dr. Suzanne Melescue (Mathematics), Dr. Vicent Moreno (Spanish), Dr. Jake Qualls (Computer Science), Dr. Kristen Ruccio (English), Dr. Rollin Tusalem (Political Science)

2020 Recipient – Dr. Katherine Baker


Dr. Katherine Baker is an Associate Professor of Art History. Dr. Baker teaches Honors Fine Arts Visual.

Quotes from students nominations:

“I had Dr. Baker when I was a freshman in college. I was nervous to take her class because I had never studied anything about art in my entire life. Dr. Baker quickly alleviated my anxiety. She really made the class interactive and helped the artwork come to life. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the different meanings and representations hidden within artwork. Dr. Baker truly cares for her students, which always makes class so much more welcoming.”

“Dr. Baker is the best professor that I have had at A-State. I have had her twice and I wish I could continue to be taught by her forever. She is super passionate about art history and it is easily shown in the way she describes each artwork. Baker put so much work into a study abroad trip to Paris, and happily and excitedly researched restaurants to accommodate me (as I am vegetarian). Despite our trip being cancelled due to Covid-19, she kept her and her student's spirits high. When class got moved to online, she was very accommodating to everyone's specific needs and lenient which is a very kind thing to do in our given situation. Dr. Baker definitely deserves Honors Professor of the Year 2020. She already has in my eyes.”

 “Katherine Baker was an amazing professor. I had her class at 8 am and she somehow made it interesting every day through a lecture. She genuinely wanted us to succeed and had a true passion for the subject she taught.”

 “Dr. Katherine Baker has been one of my professors since my first semester of college and is also my academic advisor. She has inspired me to become an art history major and has given me an opportunity to discover my passion. I am truly grateful to not only have her as my professor and advisor, but my role model as well. It is not often one has an inspirational, caring, and amazingly intelligent professor, and I believe Dr. Baker is what all should aspire to be. While I want to sit here and discuss how I feel like I am her favorite student, there is something to be said about how she makes all of us feel that way. Dr. Baker creates a classroom environment of care and attentiveness and is helpful and kind to all. While discussing with any student, she breaks down the intimidating dynamic that most professors create, and acts as an equal, making everyone feel special, cared for, and heard. I have gotten the privilege of knowing her the past couple of years and I hope to know her while following in her footsteps after I graduate.”

 “Dr. Baker is a phenomenal professor, and helped me see the amazing qualities that art history as a career path can have. I've enjoyed every class I have had With her, she is passionate, driven, friendly, and extremely accommodating during these times.”

 Nominees for the 2020 Honors Professor of the Year: Dr. Than Boves (Biology), Dr. Katherine Baker (Art & Design), Dr. Jessica Curtis (Psychology), Dr. Jeff Jenness (Computer Science), Ms. Jordan Jones (Spanish), Dr. Rollin Tusalem (Political Science)

 2019 Recipient – Mr. Philip Mielke

Mr. PhilipPhilMielke Mielke is an Instructor of Music. Mr. Mielke teaches Honors Fine Arts Music.

Quotes from student nominations:

This professor has been a major positive influence on me this semester. This person is engaging, intelligent, and dynamic. He is open to hearing the needs and wants of the class and changing plan accordingly. He is kind and easy to reach. Very deserving of Honors Professor of the Year.”

This professor loves his job and his students and goes to great lengths to help his students understand the topic and how it changed alongside, and against the grain of society. Music has and still does play a role in society and after taking this class it is a lot easier to see the effects of music in our everyday lives.”

 “Prof. Mielke always made class so fun! I genuinely enjoyed coming to class, especially on the days when he would sing or play the piano. He greatly broadened my knowledge of music while also providing interesting stories of his own experiences from the time period. I would recommend him to anyone and I know he deserves this award.”

 I am a musician myself, but this wasn't just any ordinary Fine Arts Music. Prof. Mielke was so passionate about the topic and always kept me and my classmates engaged. I learned more than I ever thought I would in that class, but also found myself not wanting to leave. Pair that with the fact that Prof. Mielke is extremely funny and nice, and you have one of the best classes I've ever taken during my entire academic career. I truly wish I could take his class again, or at least just have him as a professor again!”

 Nominees for the 2019 Honors Professor of the Year: Dr. Katherine Baker (Art & Design), Dr. Kris Biondolillo (Psychology), Dr. Derek Jenkins (Music), Dr. Dixie Keyes (Teacher Education), Mr. Philip Mielke (Music), Dr. Joshua Williams (Criminology)


2018 Recipient - Dr. Diane Gilmore

GilmoreDr. Diane Gilmore is an Instructor of Biology. Dr. Gilmore teaches Honors Human Anatomy & Physiology and Honors Structure & Function.

Quotes from student nominations:

An amazing professor who brings such energy and passion to her lectures! She makes it impossible to not love the topics as much as she does. She inspires curiosity and instills excitement in all of her students. I am lucky to have had her for three classes and cannot wait to take another course in the fall with her as well!”

A wonderful professor and I learned a lot from her. Her Honors project for the class was also incredibly beneficial to me because it allowed me to shadow and be exposed to professionals in my chosen career field!”

She really cares we know the information, and not just memorizing it. I feel like people don't appreciate her enough, because she is a hard teacher. I loved that. I don't want people getting into the nursing or PT program not knowing where anything is or why it works. She provided such a good foundation for when I start medical school in the fall.”

Gilmore is hands down one of the best Honors professors I have ever had! She really cares that you not only understand the material but that you can apply that knowledge to your professional career and potential patients. She goes above and beyond in explaining difficult information by relating it to simple processes that we all know. This helps students like myself to remember the role that that particular structure has in our bodies, and even retain this information after tests. She makes learning Structure and Function fun and enjoyable! 

Nominees for the 2018 Honors Professor of the Year: Dr. Bob Bennett (Biology), Dr. Maureen Dolan (Biology), Dr. Diane Gilmore (Biology), Dr. Suzanne Melescue (Mathematics), Dr. April New (Spanish), Dr. Marcus Tribbett (English), and Dr. Ferebee Tunno (Mathematics)

2017 Recipient - Dr. Loretta Neal McGregor

Screen Shot 2018-07-18 at 2.15.51 PM

Dr. Loretta McGregor is a Professor of Psychology and Counseling. Dr. McGregor teaches Honors Intro to Psychology

Quotes from student nominations:

“She has made me fall in love with this discipline.  Not only do you take something away from class every day, but she teaches us valuable life lessons that will eventually allow us to go out and make an impact on the world.  She challenges us to use the knowledge we gain to make a positive impact on our own lives and on the lives of others."

She explains difficult and abstract concepts in simple terms and through funny analogies that would allow the students to understand. She always shows up to class in a good attitude and bright mood. She typically gives my classes pep-talks about our future and our choices in life. She is a wonderful educator and person!:

“Not only does she make the class really interesting and fun, she also takes the time to help you with getting more comfortable in college and answering any college related questions. As a freshman, it was nice knowing I had a professor to help me with any questions or concerns I had.”

“I love Dr. Mack! I learned a lot in her class and she genuinely cares about her students and their success! There is no one more deserving of this."

Nominees for the 2017 Honors Professor of the Year: Dr. Than Boves (Biology); Dr. Kristi Costello (English); Dr. Maureen Dolan (Biology); Dr. Anne Grippo (Biology); Dr. Suzanne Melescue (Mathematics); Dr. Ed Salo (Heritage Studies & History) 

2016 Recipient - Dr. Julie Huggins                                                                                         

huggins2 Dr. Julie Huggins is an Instructor of Biology.  Dr. Huggins teaches Honors Anatomy and Physiology I.

Quotes from student nominations:  

"She presented the material in a way that was practical and easy to understand. She didn't mess around with anything unnecessary to the course or even our respective majors. When she could sense we weren't understanding a topic, she would try a different approach and then give an example of it in her personal life. She also provided numerous resources for study and all assignments were prevalent to the course. Overall, she was a kind, caring, funny professor and I would recommend her to anyone thinking about taking a course that she taught."
"I love how she made the material not just easy to learn, but she made it fun as well. All the funny stories stuck in my memory better       
 than the boring examples from the book, and as a result I remember a lot more than I would have taking the A&P class with anyone

"Julie Huggins was one of my first professors I ever had at Arkansas State University. The passion she has for what she does is easy to see and she is hands-down one of my favorite professors I've had thus far. Her humor and genuine care for her students is what makes her the best selection for Honors Professor of the Year"

Nominees for the 2016 Honors Professor of the Year: Prof. Tim Bohn (Theatre), Dr. Justin Castro (History), Dr. Brent Cox (Disaster Preparedness/Emer Mgmt), Dr. Amanda Lambertus (Mathematics & Statistics), Dr. Loretta McGregor (Psychology), Dr. Suzanne Melescue (Mathematics & Statistics), Dr. Marcus Tribbett (English & Philosophy), Dr. Ferebee Tunno (Mathematics & Statistics)

2015 Recipient - Dr. Shane Hunt

Dr. Shane Hunt image 2015 Honors Professor of Year

Dr. Shane Hunt is Dean of the College of Business and an Associate Professor of Marketing in the Department of Management & Marketing. Dr. Hunt teaches Honors Marketing.

Quotes from student nominations:

"This professor makes their classes come alive by relating real life experiences with the material that we are learning. They act more as a mentor than a professor because they’re eager to get us involved with the community through volunteer opportunities, internships, and real world experience. I’m not just sitting in class learning the “How to’s” of my major.  This hands-on-experience will benefit me in the future.  This Honors course has been one of the most beneficial classes that I have taken. After finishing the course, I am confident in my knowledge and in knowing that I always have a mentor to help push me to be the best student and professional that I can be."

"This professor came in to class every day exuding a passion and love for what he was doing. It's never been more obvious to me that a professor genuinely cared about the quality of my education and the outcome of my future. He is always an inspiration. And when he loves something, he loves it full force. Some of those things include Diet Dr. Pepper, Hulk Hogan, and most of all, A-State and its students and athletics. He talked about all three often, but never left the classroom without ending the period with his Wolves up saying "Go Red Wolves."

Nominees for the 2015 Honors Professor of the Year: Nicole Arnell (Art), Eric Cave (English & Philosophy), Lauren Schack Clark (Music), Argelia Lorence (Chemistry & Physics), Steven Weimer (English & Philosophy) 

 2014 Recipient - Dr. Kate Krueger

Dr. Kate Krueger Photo

Dr. Kate Krueger is an Assistant Professor of English in the Department of English & Philosophy, College of Humanities & Social Sciences. Dr. Krueger teaches Honors Literature courses. She served as faculty for Honors Lanjaron, Spain study abroad program 2014.

 Quotes from student nominations:

 “This professor has pushed and challenged me in ways that no other professor has, both inside and outside of the classroom. She has gone above and beyond for every one of her students who needs her. She genuinely cares about her students' futures and is willing to devote time to help them figure things out. I've taken several of her classes, and each one has been enjoyable, challenging, and motivating-- exactly what an Honors professor's classes should be.”

 “This professor deserves this award because she not only knows that there are different types of learners, but makes more than an effort to reach all of them in her lessons. Though she isn't one of the 'quiet ones' herself, she knows that we're out there and always gives us a chance to talk, even when that talking is slower-going than most of the other students.”

 “This professor challenged me in ways I have not been challenged before, even in an honors class. She provided clear and consistent expectations, and she always took the time and attention to each of us individually, especially on the many essays and projects we produced. Thanks to her, I developed tools and strategies to use as a future teacher. Her model for group work and discussion is one that I hope to implement in my own classroom someday.”

 “This professor is deserving of this recognition because she proves to her students that she expects big things out of them, while also putting a tremendous effort forth herself. She challenges her students to see the world differently and has introduced me to ideas I have never considered before. She also clearly strives to make the A-State campus itself a better one through her work with the Women and Gender Studies Dept. as well as the Multicultural Center. She has been the best teacher I've had throughout the entirety of my education.”

 “Dr. Krueger has been either my professor, advisor, and mentor for the past four years.  I can literally say that I would not have been able to get through my undergraduate career without her.  She knows when to challenge me and she has been the biggest help the past four years, especially being my mentor when writing my thesis.  Dr. Krueger is kind, dedicated, and hardworking.  Despite the fact that she was writing her own book this semester while being my professor in Spain, she managed to help me through every step of my thesis.  She would do anything to help me with my college career and I am so grateful to have had her has my professor, advisor, and mentor.  The things she has taught me will be things I can carry with me for the rest of my life.”

Nominees for the 2014 Honors Professor of the Year: Dr. Catherine Calloway (English), Dr. Irina Khramtsova (Psychology), Dr. Amanda Lambertus (Mathematics), Dr. Melissa Wilkinson (Art)

2013 Recipient - Dr. Ruth Owens

Ruth Owens Portrait

Dr. Ruth Owens is an Associate Professor of Spanish in the Department of World Languages & Cultures, College of Humanities & Social Sciences. Dr. Owens teaches Honors Spanish courses.

Quotes from student nominations:

"I’ve taken three courses with this professor, only one of which was in a formal academic setting.  In serving as my advisor for Honors Independent Study and Honors Senior Thesis, this professor proved to be just as genial and conscientious outside the classroom.  Discussing my ever-evolving thesis, whether in an office, through email, or even at Petco, was truly a pleasure, not only because of this professor’s receptiveness to new ideas, but also because of this person’s subtle sense of humor that made this incredibly daunting task seem less austere.  The reality of college, I’ve discovered, is that one’s expectations are often challenged upon entering its environs; many professors exceed these expectations by furnishing a novel or exceptionally effective method of instruction.  Undoubtedly, this professor has exceeded my expectations.  From rescheduling committee meetings due to my slow writing process to digitizing films loaned from all over the United States, this professor displayed a commitment shared by few.  I feel certain the experience this professor facilitated in the course of my senior thesis must reflect that which was envisioned by the Honors College itself."

"Though I have only known this professor for a few short months, this person has proved to be an extremely intelligent, helpful, and concerned individual.  Not only is this professor very knowledgeable in their discipline, but is also a great mentor to many students.  This professor puts forth every effort to ensure everyone in the class has an equal opportunity to succeed.  In the classroom, this professor provides an active learning environment that caters to all learning styles, and is genuinely concerned that students learn beyond the required objectives of the class."

"I first met this professor at Honors Reception Day when I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go to college or what I wanted to do.  She ate lunch with my family and told about the Honors Class she was teaching in the Fall.  She was extremely nice and afterward I was determined to sign up for her class.  Now, a year later, I have had two Honors Spanish Classes.  You can tell from being in her class that she absolutely loves teaching Spanish and she has encouraged me to want to minor in Spanish.  This summer I am traveling to Costa Rica with this professor and 10 other ASU students for an entire month.  From responding to all of my mom’s questioning and worrisome emails about Costa Rica to encouraging her students to do their best every day, this professor is always there in support of her students."

"Dr. Owens deserves to be the Honors Professor of the Year because she is an amazing professor who truly cares about her students.  She knows all of her students by name and she wants them to learn.  Dr. Owens is the only professor I know that will bring her entire set of kitchen utensils and dishes to class so her students can pretend like they’re cooking Spanish food.  It shows how far she will go to help us learn our Spanish and have fun doing it.  She even brought a suitcase full of clothes for us during our shopping unit so we could practice using our Spanish for bartering.  I’ve had Dr. Owens for a full year now and I know she will do anything for her students.  She is most deserving of this award!"

Nominees for the 2013 Honors Professor of the Year: Dr. Alyson Gill (Art History), Dr. Glinda Hall (English), Dr. Joseph Key (History), Ms. Hanne Pardos (World Languages & Cultures), Dr. Melodie Philhours (Marketing), Dr. Thomas Risch (Biology), Dr. Rollin Tusalem (Politcal Science) 

2012 Recipient - Linda Clark

Linda Clark Portrait

Linda Clark is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies, College of Communications. Ms. Clark teaches Honors Oral Communications every semester.

Quotes from student nominations:

"This professor was so enthusiastic and fun! She challenged my thinking."

"She's funny and knows how to make learning enjoyable. She's a great teacher."

"I loved being in this professor's class in the fall.  It has been one of my favorite classes throughout the year."

"Ms. Clark has been such an inspiration to me, even though I am now out of her class. She taught me how to speak in front of an audience, whether it is my peers or people I don’t know. She taught us in a way that was fun, not like other classes that are taught in a formal manner. She gave examples of how we should speak on certain topics by choosing and sharing information about her, letting us get to know the real Ms. Clark.  She always went over the time limit, setting a pretty bad example in that area, but she always made up for it with her humor and suspense. If it weren’t for her, I would not have been able to stand in front of over 450 guests at Honors Reception Day and speak. I truly appreciate her and her class, and she helped to make my first semester at ASU a blast!"

"Her class is the type of class you actually WANT to wake up early in the morning and go to.  I always found myself looking foward to Tuesday's and Thursday's.  She is willing to work with any student she has and even adjusts her teaching style along the way based on her students' suggestions and requests.  Also, in my situaiton as a quadriplegic, she adjusted the group projects so I wouldn't feel left out.  She edited the tests so I could take them with the class instead of being the "outcast" and having to take them at disability services.  She is the most down to earth teacher I've ever met. And she uses a teaching style I describe as a "headfake" of sorts.  She makes her class fun, and in the process, you learn everything she intends for you to learn without ever realizing it.  That, I believe, for a teacher, is the ultimate headfake.

Nominees for the 2012 Honors Professor of the Year: Dr. Eric Cave (Philosophy), Prof. Linda Clark (Communication Studies), Dr. Hans Hacker (Political Science),Dr. Cyndy Hendershot (English), Dr. Dixie Keyes (Teacher Education), Dr. Suzanne Melescue (Mathematics), Dr. Clint Relyea (Management), Dr. Paul Sikkel (Biology), Dr. Dale Thomas (Political Science), Dr. Steven Weimer (Philosophy), Dr. Jack Zibluk (Journalism)

 2011 Recipient - Dr. Allyn Ontko

Allyn Ontko Portrait

Dr. Al Ontko is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Physics within the College of Sciences & Mathematics. Dr. Ontko has taught several different chemistry courses for the Honors College. 

Quotes from student nominations:

"He is an amazing professor. He cares immensely and he expects his students to care. He only wants us to succeed in anyway that we wish to grow. He is a one of a kind professor that deserves recognition for the encouragement he provides his students."

"He really goes out of his way to make sure that he does all he can for his students."

"He is an amazing teacher who honestly cares whether we pass or fail. He gives his whole heart to his job. That alone makes him, in my mind, Honors Professor of the Year 2011."

"He focuses on our careers and tries to help us be more prepared for what we will face in the future. Overall great man."

"Honors Chemistry was an amazing class. He really works with the students to help them out and I respect that a lot!  While I do not have an A in his class right now, I will gladly earn the B in his class over an A in another class that might not challenge me as much."

"Dr. Ontko elevated the lessons in class to a higher level of thinking that took us deeper into conversation and really spiked interest in the real world applications of this subject matter. He was always present and prepared for class, and also available by email or in his office during convenient times. He went to the trouble to bring in demonstrations of material in lab experiments, that explained the topics in a visual sense."

Nominees for the 2011 Honors Professor of the Year: Prof. Jason Causey (Computer Science), Dr. Cyndy Hendershot (English), Dr. George Horneker (English), Dr. Veena Kulkarni (Sociology), Dr. Mark Lewis (Business Law),Dr. Suzanne Melescue (Mathematics), Dr. Jie Miao (Mathematics), Dr. Allyn Ontko (Chemistry), Dr. Robert Schroer (Philosophy), Dr. Dale Thomas (Political Science), Dr. Marcus Tribbett (English)

 2010 Recipient - Dr. Joe Bonner

Joe Bonner Portrait


Joe Bonner is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Music within the College of Fine Arts.  Dr. Bonner teaches Honors Fine Arts Musical.

Quotes from student nominations:

"I was a little nervous entering the class because I was not well-rounded in his subject, but he made it a great experience. I feel much more confident in discussing music and its form. He taught the class in such a way that the students learn without realizing it. That's amazing!"

"Great professor who challenges students to think about music in new ways along with the historical setting of the music."

"We learned a lot about music and how it has evolved over the years. It was very evident that he loves what he does as a teacher and musician."

"I absolutely loved this class. He did a wonderful job teaching and engaging the class in the topic discussions. The professor allowed us to learn without us realizing it; that takes talent."

"Professor Bonner is very enthusiastic and loves his students. He encourages discussion of different opinions, and he connects with the students unlike any other teacher on campus."

"Professor Joe Bonner is one of the most enlightening teachers I have ever come across. He really knows his subject and is a pleasure to be taught by."

"Professor Bonner is amazing. He made the class so interesting; the only thing I regret about Honors Fine Arts Musical is that I can't take it again. His knowledge of so many different areas of music is outstanding, and he knows how to keep us interested. My musical tastes have broadened thanks to him, and I listen to music in a totally different way than I used to."

"Professor Bonner makes learning an extraordinary journey. He deserves this award more so than any other professor I have been taught by.

Nominees for the 2010 Honors Professor of the Year: Dr. Ellis Benjamin (Chemistry), Dr. Joe Bonner (Music), Dr. Cyndy Hendershot (English)