Six Retired Faculty Members Receive Emeritus Status

ATU Faculty Emeritus Honorees 2022
Photographed (from left-to-right): Dr. Gary Barrow, Dr. Rebecca Burris, Dr. Jan Jenkins, Dr. Larry Morell, Dr. James Moses and David Mudrinich.

Dr. Gary Barrow, Dr. Rebecca Burris, Dr. Jan Jenkins, Dr. Larry Morell, Dr. James Moses and David Mudrinich — who collectively performed more than 150 years of service on the Arkansas Tech University faculty — have received professor emeritus status from the ATU Board of Trustees.

Requirements for professor emeritus status for faculty members who have retired from Arkansas Tech include 15 or more years of consecutive service and nomination by any member of the university community who holds faculty rank.

Authority to grant emeritus status rests with the Arkansas Tech Board of Trustees upon the recommendation of the president of the university.

Below are bios for Arkansas Tech’s latest professor emeritus honorees as provided by the ATU Office of Academic Affairs.

Dr. Gary Barrow, professor emeritus of music

Barrow’s affiliation with Arkansas Tech began with his appointment to the ATU music faculty in the fall of 1981 after a distinguished performing career in the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” and as the principal trumpet in the Irving, Pueblo and Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestras. After arriving at Arkansas Tech, he continued to contribute to the profession through his numerous publications in the International Trumpet Guild and invited presentations on brass pedagogy and performance across the region. Barrow was also active serving the ATU community through his membership on the faculty welfare committee, chair of the university promotion and tenure committee, the university emeritus faculty selection committee and the institutional accreditation team. Barrow’s greatest legacy is the many trumpet and French horn students he recruited to ATU and mentored into the music profession.

Dr. Rebecca Burris, Professor Emeritus of Nursing

Burris joined ATU in 1991. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (1978) and a Master of Science in Nursing degree (1991) from Northwestern State University (La.) and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (2000). Burris was promoted to professor and department head in 2003, leading the ATU Department of Nursing until her retirement in 2020. Under Burris’ leadership, the campus pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing program transitioned from single annual admission to dual admission, providing twice as many graduates per year. In addition, the Fort Smith-based RN-to-BSN program expanded to a fully online program with three admission cohorts annually, the first Master of Science in nursing and emergency management program was developed and approved and the nursing program received continuous national accreditation by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC). During her tenure, she was an active member of many regional and state nursing groups. To promote the profession of nursing at ATU, Burris was instrumental in establishing the first Honor Society of Nursing and the charter chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. She was active during her tenure in several organizations: Accrediting Commission for Education in Nursing program evaluator and evaluation review panel member, Arkansas Center for Nursing Education co-chair, American Nurses’ Association, Arkansas State Nurses’ Association, Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society and the Southern Regional Education Board Council on Collegiate Education for Nursing. These accomplishments are in addition to numerous departmental and university committees. Her research interests are smoking in adolescents and nursing education. Her dissertation research earned her the distinction of American Nurses Foundation Scholar. Before joining academia, Burris practiced nursing in labor and delivery and women’s health.

Dr. Ellen Janet “Jan” Jenkins, Professor Emeritus of History

Jenkins joined the Arkansas Tech faculty in 1997. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and biology at the University of Texas at Dallas and a Master of Arts degree and Doctor of Philosophy degree in history at the University of North Texas. Jenkins taught history at UNT and the University of Arkansas at Monticello before coming to Arkansas Tech. While at ATU, Jenkins served as director of University Honors from January 1998-August 2021, during which time the program grew and prospered. She was director of the Green and Gold Cupboard food pantry for the ATU community from 2018-2020. Jenkins’ service activities also included Bridge to Excellence (2001-2019; mentor of the year, 2015); student research committee (2010-2019); dean’s council (2018-2020); study abroad committee (2014-2019); graduate council (2004-2007) and (2013-2016); and university assessment committee (1998-2014). In addition, she was active in the Arkansas Association of College History Teachers (1993-2020) and served as the organization’s secretary/treasurer (2006-2019). She arranged and conducted 12 trips to Europe for ATU students between 1999-2017. In 2008, Jenkins established the Neal and Melissa Jenkins Graduate History Scholarship and supported this award for 12 years. Jenkins has presented papers at professional conferences and has published over one hundred book reviews, as well as numerous articles and essays, as well as editing Eighteenth-Century British Historians, volume 336 of The Dictionary of Literary Biography (Thomson Gale, 2007). She retired as a full professor in May 2021.

Dr. Larry Morell, Professor Emeritus of Computer and Information Science

Morell received his Doctor of Philosophy degree in computer science from the University of Maryland in 1983 after earlier completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in math and computer science at Duke University and a Master of Science degree in computer science at Rutgers University. After completing his doctorate, he held several teaching positions prior to coming to Arkansas Tech, culminating in eight years as an associate professor at Hampton University before joining Arkansas Tech as an associate professor and department head for computer and information science in fall 1998. While at ATU, Morell served as department head for computer and information science for 10 years before stepping back to full-time teaching duties as a professor of computer and information science for his last 10 years with Tech. Morell continued to publish and present research finding during his time at Tech with at least 16 journal papers or conference presentations to his credit. He led the department through a time of change and growth which culminated in the initial accreditation of the computer science program in 2006. He remained active in departmental assessment and development efforts after leaving the department head position and remains an asset to the department’s programs even to the present time.

Dr. James Moses, Professor Emeritus of History

Moses is a native of Shreveport, La. He studied history at Louisiana State University-Shreveport and began his graduate work at the University of New Hampshire. He returned to his home state to pursue his Doctor of Philosophy degree in American history at Tulane University (La.). His dissertation was a study of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas. Moses began teaching full-time at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and then moved to ATU in 1999. A popular instructor at ATU for more than 20 years, Moses taught survey courses in American history, upper-level courses on the history of the U.S. Constitution, African-American history, American history through film, courses on popular culture in America and a variety of graduate courses on 20th-century American history. He is the author of the prize-winning book “Just and Righteous Causes: Rabbi Ira Sanders and the Fight for Racial and Social Justice in Arkansas, 1926-1963” (University of Arkansas Press, 2018). Members of the Moses family have been active members of Congregation B’nai Israel in Little Rock over the years. Moses and his family (both of his children hold degrees from ATU) have lived in Russellville, Maumelle and again in Russellville over the course of his ATU career. He and his wife, Anna, now reside in Hot Springs Village.

David Mudrinich, Professor Emeritus of Art

Mudrinich received his Master of Fine Arts degree in drawing and painting from the University of Georgia. He began teaching at ATU in 1998. During his 20-plus years of service, Mudrinich was awarded the ATU Faculty Excellence Award twice: once for scholarship and once for teaching. He participated in more than 64 group exhibitions and 18 solo exhibitions and received numerous awards and grants. His work can be found in public and private collections, including the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, the Windgate Museum of Art at Hendrix College, Fort Smith Regional Art Museum and the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas. His service was and still is not limited to his teaching. Mudrinich can still be found attending student gallery openings and exhibits. He is and will always be dedicated to his students.