Arkansas Tech University's Dr. Mary B. Gunter is the 2019-20 Great American Conference faculty mentor of the year.
The award recognizes faculty members for their dedication to supporting and mentoring student-athletes, as well as their commitment to GAC student-athletes’ lifelong learning, competition and well-being.
Gunter is distinguished professor of educational leadership and chief of staff at ATU.
"Dr. Gunter is an advocate for our student-athletes," said Abby Davis, interim director of athletics at ATU. "She provides them with an additional role model that complements the guidance they receive from their coaches, staff members and classroom instructors. We are fortunate to have her influence in our department and at our university. Dr. Gunter is representative of the positive impact that faculty mentors have on our intercollegiate athletics program."
Gunter holds membership on the ATU executive council, drives continuous pursuit of goals outlined in the university strategic plan and assists Arkansas Tech University President Dr. Robin E. Bowen in building and strengthening partnerships designed to facilitate student success.
A leader at the forefront of education growth and improvement for more than four decades, Gunter invested 22 years of her life as a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and educational co-op director. She also served as director of the Arkansas Governor’s Partnership on Education for two years.
In 1998, she joined the faculty at Arkansas Tech University and began developing a graduate level curriculum in educational leadership. Her efforts yielded the creation of the ATU Center for Leadership and Learning, an institute dedicated to producing innovative problem solvers at all levels of K-12 school leadership.
Gunter took on new leadership roles of her own, adding the title of dean of the ATU Graduate College in 2009 and dean of the ATU College of Education in 2015.
Along the way, the evolution of the ATU Center for Leadership and Learning led to the development and implementation of the first doctoral degree in Arkansas Tech history. Gunter is the visionary behind the ATU Doctor of Education degree in school leadership, a program that produced Arkansas Tech’s first doctoral graduates in spring 2017.
Gunter has shared her expertise in the realm of leadership beyond the K-12 community. She was a member of the project development team and now serves as the director of Leadership Tech, a program designed to build leadership capacity and serve as professional development for faculty and staff at Arkansas Tech University.
In 2018, Gunter collaborated with the ATU Division of Student Affairs and the ATU College of Education to develop a new leadership minor, an 18-hour course of study that equips Arkansas Tech graduates with knowledge and experiences so they may be better prepared to become leaders in both their professional careers and communities.
A first generation high school and college graduate, Gunter earned bachelor's, master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees in education from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.