UCA alumni and long-standing biology professor, Leah Horton, was named the Associate Dean of Schedler Honors College at the beginning of July. 

Horton accepted the offer of Associate Dean but still plans to teach courses in the upcoming academic year at UCA. 

Horton has been teaching for 17 years with honors classes ranging from her education in chemistry, biochemistry, and cell biology. Horton discussed the advantages that come from teaching honors. 

“I love seeing students sort of get things, you know, that stereotypical light bulb moment,” Horton said. “I love helping students sort of develop their own interests and develop their own potential.”

Horton has been involved with the biology department for 15 years and was an alum of the Schedler Honors College after graduating with honors in 1997. 

“I love being able to work with students in both the Schedler Honors College and the University Scholars program,” Horton said. “We're at a really exciting time where we're growing.”

In 2014, Horton explained that she started teaching at least one honors class each year because of an arrangement that the Honors College had with the College of Natural Science and Mathematics. 

Horton said, “I really loved teaching an honor and it kind of rekindled my love of interdisciplinary learning and interdisciplinary teaching.”

Horton’s daily life will become more administrative in the position of Associate Dean, including working with advising and mentoring of students. 

“As an Associate Dean, I won't be teaching as much, I'll be teaching three classes a year as opposed to three or four each semester, so that will be different,” Horton said. “Now what will take the place of that, of course, are several administrative responsibilities and then also mentoring and advising several different student groups within the Honors College.”

As Associate Dean, Horton now has research expectations to uphold for Schedler Honors College, UCA and higher learning institutions. 

“I'm really excited about having and making the time to really develop and commit to a research agenda,” Horton said. “One of the things that I'm most excited about investigating are some issues within leadership studies.”

Through Horton’s work with the Biology department at UCA and the Honors College, the step to Associate Dean was a positive achievement in her career. Horton plans on using her past experiences with honors to help other students.

“The lessons that I learned and the values that I learned as part of the Honors College are still being revealed to me as an adult,” Horton said. “I'm just really thankful to be in a position where now I can hopefully help to instill those experiences and values in another generation of students that have the potential to be just as long-lasting and impactful for them.”

Horton is expecting to teach an introductory scholars course in the fall, along with a Schedler Honors College junior or senior seminar on food insecurity. 

In the spring, Horton plans on teaching another Honors junior seminar revolving around women and indigenous people of color in STEM.

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