Fulbright College Names New Academic Leaders

by | Aug 27, 2018 | Announcements, Dean's Corner, Faculty Points of Pride

Clockwise from top left: Nikolay Antov, Jim Gigantino, Bill Schwab, Kathryn Sloan, Calvin White, Jr., Anna Zajicek, Mathew McConnell, Marty Maxwell Lane

This fall, the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences named several new academic leaders to key positions in departments, schools and centers throughout the college.

These leaders serve as associate deans, directors and department chairs, supporting their faculty and staff, while guiding more than a third of the university’s students and helping them to succeed.

And these leaders have a big job ahead of them – serving the university’s largest college, comprised of three schools, 16 departments and numerous academic centers and programs spanning the fine arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences.

“We are excited to have these talented leaders in place, and securing them was a top priority for us over the summer,” said Todd Shields, dean of Fulbright College. “These leaders and their teams are continuously working hard to make sure our students are well-served and that they receive the best education and preparation for their futures.”

Shields said the college’s new leaders include:

Nikolay Antov, director of the Religious Studies Program — Antov is an associate professor of history, who specializes in history of the pre-modern Islamic world. He received his Ph.D. in Middle East and Islamic history from the University of Chicago, an M.A. in Ottoman history from Bilkent University in Turkey, and a B.A. from the American University in Bulgaria. His current research concentrates on the formation of Muslim communities in the early modern Ottoman Balkans with a special focus on the interplay between conversion to Islam and Turcoman colonization in the process. His first book, The Ottoman “Wild West”: The Balkan Frontier in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries, was published in 2017.

Jim Gigantino, chair, Department of History — Gigantino is an early American historian who specializes in African American History. His first book, The Ragged Road to Abolition: Slavery and Freedom in New Jersey, 1775-1865 focuses on how northerners successfully extended slavery in the aftermath of the American Revolution. His second monograph, William Livingston’s American Revolution, which will be released in October 2018, uses the life and experiences of New Jersey’s first governor to explore the role of revolutionary government under fire. He is the recipient of Fulbright College’s Master Teacher Award and Outstanding Advisor Award, as well as the University’s Diversity Award and is a member of the University Teaching Academy.



Bill Schwab, director of education, research and outreach, The David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History — Schwab is a University Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology who previously served as dean of the Fulbright College from 2008-2011, associate dean from 1993-1998, and was chair of the department twice, from 1989-1993 and from 1998-2008. In his new role, Schwab will help the Pryor Center expand upon its mission of education, research and outreach, and collaborate more closely with Fulbright College’s faculty and students, while making the Pryor Center’s lectures, and other audio and video collections more widely available.




Kathryn Sloan, director of the Humanities Program — Sloan is a Latin Americanist who specializes in the social and gender history of modern Mexico. She recently completed her third book, a social and cultural study of suicide in modern Mexico entitled Death in the City: Suicide and the Social Imaginary in Modern Mexico. Marshaling suicide inquests, goodbye letters, testimonies, newspaper reporting, illustrated broadsides, medical studies, and forensic reports, Sloan argues that suicide was a touchstone for public discourse about the consequences of modernity and changing gender roles in Mexican society. Sloan teaches a variety of courses in the social and cultural history of Latin America.



Calvin White, Jr., associate dean of humanities, Fulbright College — an associate professor of history, White formerly served as the history department chair and director of African and African American Studies. In 2012-2013, he served as a fellow in the SEC Academic Leadership Development Program. His research focuses on the U.S. South with an emphasis on the African American experience in the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. Under contract with Palgrave Macmillan, his second monograph Oscar Stanton De Priest: A Black Congressman in Jim Crow America examines how the migration of southern blacks and their access to the ballot impacted northern political machines, which led to the election of Congressman De Priest and other black congressional representatives. 



Anna Zajicek, interim associate dean of fine arts, Fulbright College — Zajicek is serving as interim associate dean while associate dean Jeannie Hulen is in Ghana as a Fulbright Scholar during the 2018-19 academic year. Zajicek has been chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminology since 2015. Her research interests include explorations of social inequality, including the intersectionality of gender, race, and class. She also studies gender/race and STEM Disciplines, institutional transformation, social policy, social change and discourse. She teaches courses on classical theory, social inequality, public policy, children and families, and race, class and gender.

Additionally, while Hulen is in Ghana and a search for the permanent director of the School of Art continues, associate professor Mathew McConnell has been named the new interim director and associate professor Marty Maxwell Lane has been named the new interim associate director of the school.

Mathew McConnell, interim director of the School of Art, holds an M.F.A. from the University of Colorado and a B.F.A. from Valdosta State University. He has held numerous solo exhibitions and his works have been included in over 50 group exhibitions nationally and internationally. McConnell has lectured widely, and has been the subject of feature-length articles in Ceramics Art and PerceptionCeramics Monthly and New Ceramics. In 2012, he was granted an Emerging Artist Award from the National Council on Education in Ceramic Art. He has also been an Artist in Residence at the Archie Bray Foundation, Greenwich House Pottery and Anderson Ranch Arts Center.




Marty Maxwell Lane, interim associate director of the School of Art, is a graphic design educator, maker, researcher and writer. Her research focuses on design that facilitates learning and empowerment through investigations pertaining to pedagogy, collaboration and participatory design. She has presented at competitive international conferences, served as a regular contributor to the design magazine Parse, has been published in books including Failing Forward and Type Rules! The Designer’s Guide to Professional Typography, and has a forthcoming book Collab + Design Ed: Collaborations in Design Education. She currently serves as co-chair for the national AIGA Design Educators Steering Committee, as well as on the advisory board for the Northwest Arkansas AIGA chapter.

For more information about Fulbright College or any of its academic departments or schools, please visit fulbright.uark.edu.

Andra Parrish Liwag

Director of Communications, J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences 

479-575-4393 // liwag@uark.edu