Bob Qualls, adjunct instructor in journalism at Lyon College, received the Journalism Educator of the Year Award Friday at the Arkansas Press Association’s (APA) convention in Bentonville.
The APA presents the journalism educator award each year to a deserving college or high school teacher.
Qualls has been an instructor at Lyon for 17 years. After almost 30 years in the newspaper business, he became the director of public relations and communications at Lyon while also serving as the College’s journalism instructor. He retired from his public relations position in 2013 but continues to teach journalism part-time.
The journalism concentration at Lyon has produced numerous professional journalists in print, broadcast and online media, as well as those who went on to careers in public relations and the law.
“I am honored to be recognized for educating young journalists,” Qualls said.
“It is gratifying to hear former students say that I have changed their lives and helped them achieve their career goals. That’s what every teacher wants to hear.”
Qualls is also known in Batesville as a writer and news reporter. He covers local government and education for WRD Entertainment radio stations and is frequently published in the Batesville Daily Guard and Arkansas Weekly. His articles have also appeared in Talk Business & Politics magazine, among others.
Qualls served as executive editor of the Baxter Bulletin, a daily newspaper in Mountain Home, for 13 years. The newspaper and its staff won more than 200 awards during his tenure as editor. He also worked at the Log Cabin Democrat newspaper in Conway in various positions, including reporter and news editor.
Two former students wrote testimonials that were read at the convention.
SAMANTHA JONES, Associate Editor, Carroll County News: “Bob Qualls changed my life. He was my teacher at Lyon College, and he guided me into the career I have today. That’s not how he changed my life, though. I was in an abusive relationship in college and my performance in class suffered. Bob saw past that. He gave me a second chance when no one else would. He inspired me to be better. I am so, so grateful to have known him.”
RITA BROWN HASTIE, Editor of EnergyVoice.com, Aberdeen, Scotland: “Bob Qualls is singlehandedly the biggest influence in my professional career and one of the biggest in my life. If it weren't for his journalism classes and belief in me, I have no idea what I would be doing. Because of him and his guidance, I’ve traveled the world and interviewed everyone from the neighborhood bobby (police officer) to the UK Prime Minister. He mastered his craft and then mastered the art of instilling the hunger for a scoop in the next generation of journalists.”
Lyon is more than just a college. It's a community distinguished by its academic curriculum, unique honor and social systems, and award-winning professors.