Liberal Arts Faculty and Staff Awards

Created in 2010, the annual School of Liberal Arts faculty and staff awards recognize the amazing talent of those who work diligently to promote the vision of the school. The awards are:

  1. Outstanding faculty research or creative activities award
  2. The April Brayfield outstanding faculty teaching award
  3. Outstanding faculty service award
  4. Outstanding staff award
  5. Staff Award for Innovation
  6. Community & Belonging Award

The SLA faculty awards are open to all regular faculty members (not visitors or adjuncts). The staff awards are open to all full-time SLA staff. Each award carries with it a $2500 prize, and names will be added to the plaques in the SLA Dean's Office.

Nominations in each of these categories should include an explanation of the individual’s exceptional contributions as well as a c.v.

2024 Faculty and Staff Awards

Outstanding Faculty Research or Creative Activities Award

William Balée, Department of Anthropology at Tulane University

William Balée  
Department of Anthropology

Professor of Anthropology William Balée, a distinguished scholar in the field of ethnobotany, has been awarded the Outstanding Faculty Research or Creative Activities Award. Balée's expertise lies in studying the peoples, societies, and landscapes of the Amazon River region. His contributions have garnered recognition, including the prestigious "2023 Distinguished Ethnobiologist Award" from the Society of Ethnobiology. Balée has authored numerous publications, including monographs and edited collections, that explore ethnobotany and historical ecology. He has also received accolades such as the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Mary W. Klinger Book Award. Balée’s impact extends beyond his research; he has served as a dissertation director for several students, further fostering scholarship in his field.

April Brayfield Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award

Felix Rioja receiving the April Brayfield Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award from Dean Brian Edwards

Felix Rioja  
Professor and Cowen Chair in Latin American Social Sciences  
Department of Economics

Felix Rioja, an esteemed Economics professor, received this year’s April Brayfield Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award. Rioja teaches four courses on macroeconomics and developing countries' economies. His dedication to teaching is evident in his outstanding student evaluations, with an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 for his introductory macroeconomics course. Students praise Rioja for his ability to break down complex concepts, his genuine care for their learning, and his personal investment in their success. He goes above and beyond by knowing each student by name and meeting with them individually for lunch every semester. Rioja's teaching style creates an engaging and interactive classroom environment, incorporating real-world examples that resonate with his students.

Outstanding Faculty Service Award

Ana Ochoa, Tulane University School of Liberal Arts

Ana Ochoa Gautier
Chair and Professor  
Department of Music

Ana Ochoa Gautier, chair and professor for the Department of Music, has been honored with the Outstanding Faculty Service Award. Ochoa Gautier has demonstrated exemplary leadership by spearheading the development of a new curriculum for a BFA and MFA that effectively encompasses the intricacies and unique aspects of various performance subfields. She has been instrumental in championing the inclusion of Black American Music and Creativity and Technology Music studies. Ochoa Gautier has also collaborated with other departments, including SLAM, Native and Indigenous Studies, and Theater and Dance, in their hiring efforts. Her commitment to diversity in academia and the de-Westernization of curricular canons is unwavering. Additionally, Ochoa Gautier has played a vital role in mentoring junior faculty during their tenure review process and actively serves on the MA Exam Committee in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, as well as the Global & Experimental Humanities committee.

Outstanding Staff Award

Terry Spriggs, Outstanding Staff Award, Executive Secretary, Department of Sociology

Terry Spriggs  
Executive Secretary  
Department of Sociology

Terry Spriggs, administrative cornerstone for the School of Liberal Arts, has been honored with the Outstanding Staff Award. Her journey at Tulane began as a student worker, and she has since dedicated over a decade of service to the Department of Spanish & Portuguese before moving to the Department of Sociology two years ago. Colleagues commend Spriggs’ exceptional organizational skills and her ability to streamline university record-keeping and expense reporting systems. She has been instrumental in facilitating departmental operations and has consistently gone above and beyond to support faculty and create a sense of community. Her contributions, including training workshops, resource awareness initiatives, and her personal touch of homemade baked goods, have greatly enhanced the daily lives of both faculty and students.

Staff Award for Innovation

Rebecca Snedeker, James H. Clark Executive Director, New Orleans Center for the Gulf South

Rebecca Snedeker  
James H. Clark Executive Director  
New Orleans Center for the Gulf South

Rebecca Snedeker, an innovative force within the Tulane community, has been recognized with the Staff Award for Innovation. In her role as executive director for the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South, she has created groundbreaking initiatives that have successfully bridged the gap between Tulane and the New Orleans community. Snedeker has been at the forefront of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) efforts, even before the establishment of an official university office. Her transformative work includes branding the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South and promoting community engagement. She has led projects such as the Anthropocene project and received grants from the Mellon Foundation to develop the associated curriculum. Snedeker has also organized immersive research trips and collaborative programming, fostering interdisciplinary connections and addressing critical environmental and social issues. Her motto of "Dare to look around. Dare to look within." encapsulates her commitment to pushing boundaries and creating meaningful change within Tulane and New Orleans.

Community and Belonging Award

Andres Gonzalez, Community and Belonging Award, Tulane University

Andres Gonzalez  
Senior Administrative Program Coordinator  
Interdisciplinary Programs

Andres Gonzalez, Senior Program Coordinator for Africana Studies, Gender & Sexuality Studies, and the City Community and Culture PhD program, has been honored with the Community and Belonging Award. He has been pivotal in cultivating a sense of community and inclusivity at Tulane. Gonzalez has organized the Black Studies Book Club and has been instrumental in promoting interdisciplinary and cross-generational connections. His creative designs have extended the reach of the book club beyond Tulane, engaging various institutions within the New Orleans community. Gonzalez has also collaborated with program directors to develop unique graduation cords and initiate the "GESS What? Series," which promotes gender diversity and awareness on campus. Through his dedication, Gonzalez has fostered an environment where students, faculty, and staff feel a sense of belonging and support.

Past Liberal Arts Faculty and Staff Awards