Each year, the Arkansas Alumni Association and the University of Arkansas proudly recognize the exemplary achievements of faculty through the Faculty Distinguished Achievement Awards and the Charles and Nadine Baum Faculty Teaching Award. This year’s recipients, Gary Ritter, Viswanath Venkatesh and Molly Rapert will be honored during the Alumni Awards Celebration during the 2012 Homecoming weekend.

Named the recipient for service, Ritter is a professor of education and public policy and holder of the Endowed Chair in Education Policy in the department of education reform in the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas. He is also the director and founder of the Office for Education Policy at the university. The office serves as a resource that aids state legislators, school board members and other policymakers in thoughtful decision-making concerning K-12 education in the state of Arkansas. Ritter has been a faculty member at the U of A since 2000.

Venkatesh, a distinguished professor and the first holder of the George and Boyce Billingsley Chair in Information Systems in the Sam M. Walton College of Business, is receiving the award for research. Venkatesh, who completed his doctorate at the University of Minnesota in 1997, joined the University of Arkansas faculty in June 2004. He previously taught at the University of Maryland. In addition to presenting his work at universities across the world, he has held many visiting appointments at Australian National University, Helsinki School of Economics, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Indian School of Business, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Hawaii. His research focuses on understanding the diffusion of technologies in organizations and society.

Rapert (B.S.B.A. 1985, M.B.A. 1987), associate professor in the department of marketing in the Sam M. Walton College of Business, is receiving the Charles and Nadine Baum Faculty Teaching Award. She is also the director of the Walton College of Business Center for Teaching Effectiveness. An annual member of the Arkansas Alumni Association, Rapert is a two-time U of A graduate with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration.

She returned to the University of Arkansas in 1991 after receiving her doctorate from the University of Memphis and teaches in the area of marketing management and global consumers. Passionate about teaching, she incorporates the unique approach of a readings-based, seminar-style undergraduate course that is designed in collaboration with her advisory board of 20 executives. In their evaluations and emails, her students often write that her classes are the best they have ever taken, often because of the energy and enthusiasm she brings to the classroom to make her class relevant to real-world experiences.