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Center for Teaching Excellence

Faculty and Staff

The faculty and staff of the CTE pursue ongoing professional development in order to stay abreast of current trends in higher education and specific CTE programming areas. Individual staff members seek out research and publication opportunities in their areas of expertise, in order to contribute to new knowledge and establish CTE as statewide and national leader in the field.


Augie Grant

August (Augie) Grant, Director

Augie Grant has been teaching at the university level since 1983. Grant earned his Ph.D. at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California, and has spent the past three decades teaching, consulting, and researching emerging communication technologies and their application to business, education, and social institutions. Grant is best known as editor of Communication Technology Update and Fundamentals, which he created in 1992. In addition to exploring new communication technologies, Grant's research explores media audience behavior, convergent journalism, radio and television broadcasting, and applications of network analysis to the study of media organizations and audiences. Grant is past chair of the University of South Carolina Faculty Senate and is past president of the Broadcast Education Association.

Nate Carnes

Nate Carnes, Associate Director

Nate Carnes served the Department of Instruction and Teacher Education (ITE) since 1996 after several years of teaching science in Ohio elementary and middle classrooms. His research interests include science teaching and learning issues connected to classroom environments, as well as preservice teachers' images of science teaching and learning. Additionally, he has an extensive service record that includes a diverse array of leadership roles within national, state, and local organizations. Currently, he serves as a reviewer for international and national journals. Among several citations, Dr. Carnes is the recipient of the prestigious 2007 ASTE Science Teacher Educator of the Year, a recognition of international distinction, and the College of Education 2011 Lee Maidment Spirit of Service awards.

Maureen Petkewich

Maureen Petkewich, Faculty Fellow

Maureen Petkewich joined USC in 2005 and is a Clinical Assistant Professor and the Assistant Chair in the Department of Statistics.  She received her Ph.D. in Educational Research and Psychology from the University of South Carolina in 2016.  Her research interests include educational measurement and statistics education. She has been very active in Carolina Core course design and assessment. Petkewich is a 2017 recipient of the College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate teaching award for faculty not on the tenure track. She spent over ten years as the coordinator for STAT 201, a high enrollment Carolina Core course. She is a faculty fellow for the Center for Teaching Excellence and leads the Community of Practice for Coordinators of Large Undergraduate Courses. 

Alan White

Alan White, Faculty Fellow

Alan R. White is professor of Biological Sciences, currently focusing on evidence-based instructional practices in introductory biology BIOL 101 courses.  Previously, he served as associate dean for Undergraduate STEM Education for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of South Carolina (2013-2017), dean of Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences at East Carolina University, in Greenville, N.C. (2005–2013), and dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at North Dakota State University in Fargo (2000–2005), where he also was chair of the Department of Botany (1997–2000). Alan is a plant cell biologist, with a BS in Biology and a Ph.D. in Botany from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a faculty fellow for the Center for Teaching Excellence and leads the FLIP, Focus on Learning, Innovation and Pedagogy, community of practice.

Instructional Design Team

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Aisha Haynes, Assistant Director

Aisha Haynes is the Assistant Director at the USC Center for Teaching Excellence.  She oversees the design, creation, delivery and ongoing improvement of distributed learning (online and blended) delivery methods.  Haynes is a certified Quality Matters Peer and Master Reviewer, and has earned Online Teaching certifications from the Online Learning Consortium. She teaches technology courses for the College of Engineering and Computing, College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management, USC-Union and Palmetto College. Her research interests include: instructional design in online learning environments, online course accessibility, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), learning styles, and collaboration and engagement in online learning environments.

In 2014, Haynes established the Dr. Aisha S. Haynes Endowed Scholarship Fund.  The scholarship is awarded to first generation/low-income college students in TRiO Programs (Opportunity Scholars Program) at USC.  More specifically, the scholarship is awarded to rising seniors who have at least a 3.0 GPA and who have shown exemplary University or community service.

Lydia Frass

Lydia Frass, Senior Instructional Designer

Lydia Frass is an Instructional Designer in the USC Center for Teaching Excellence. She is currently working with faculty in online course design and development and quality assurance reviews. In addition, she is facilitating our Instructional Designer's Community of Practice. Lydia holds a PhD in Adult Education and MPH from The University of Southern Mississippi. Prior to joining CTE, she coordinated the South Carolina Public Health Training Center which provided professional development opportunities for current and future public health practitioners. 

Gloria Washington

Gloria Washington, Instructional Designer

Gloria Washington is an Instructional Designer at the Center for Teaching Excellence with 19 years of experience in higher education at USC. She is a Blackboard Certified Trainer and a Blackboard Exemplary Course Program Reviewer. Gloria completed the Quality Matters’ Applying the QM Rubric and Higher Education Peer Reviewer courses.  Prior to coming to CTE, she worked in Teaching and Technology Services and as a Technology Director for the Ted Mimms Foreign Language Learning Center. Gloria holds a Doctor of Education in Educational Technology, Master of Arts in Education, and Master of Business Administration. Her expertise is in the pedagogical use of technology to support teaching and learning. Gloria’s instructional design philosophy is “pedagogy first, technology second.”

Casey Carroll

Casey Carroll, Instructional Developer

Casey Carroll is an instructional developer with the Center for Teaching Excellence at USC. Casey works with the instructional design team to support faculty who are teaching online, produce technology-enabled course materials, and conduct quality assurance course reviews. In addition, he facilitates our Instructional Design Community of Practice. Prior to joining CTE, Casey designed curriculum for professional training and leadership development. He has also taught First-Year English and English as a Second Language at the University of South Carolina. Casey holds a master’s degree in linguistics from USC and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and psychology from Pacific Lutheran University. He also holds the Associate Professional in Talent Development credential from the Association for Talent Development.


Xavery Hopkins

Xavery Hopkins, Program Manager

Xavery Hopkins is the Program Manager of Operations and Faculty Events for the Center for Teaching Excellence.  She is responsible for providing advanced direction and planning of programs and services for the CTE.  Xavery has over 15-years of experience leading and facilitating special projects.  She coordinates the work of CTE staff to implement programs and services for University faculty, instructors, and teaching assistants.  Xavery is responsible for all matters related to day-to-day management, workflow, processes and business operations of CTE.  She is also responsible for identifying and initiating partnerships with other units, and with individuals to support faculty development, providing leadership and support for initiatives that promote faculty collaborations, drives strategic initiatives and manages special programs for the CTE.  

Xavery earned a Master's degree of Public Health from the University of South Carolina and an MBA from Winthrop University, and is a graduate of the Kenan-Flagler Business School of UNC Chapel Hill's Executive Management Program.

Michelle Hardee

Michelle Hardee, Program Manager

Michelle Hardee is the Program Manager for all graduate student Teaching Assistant training at the University. Michelle is responsible for developing the CTE’s graduate TA/IA training seminars, developing and teaching the GRAD 701 Teaching Assistant Development course required of all new TA/IAs, and helping students progress through the Preparing Future Faculty Program. She regularly coordinates with the Graduate School and other university academic partners on graduate student professional development workshops and events. Michelle received her B.S. in Zoology at Texas A&M in 1995, an M.S. in Marine Biology at the College of Charleston’s Grice Marine Laboratory, and her Ph.D. in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina. Additionally, Michelle teaches the Honors section of the Marine Science Program’s Oceans and Society course every semester.

Helena Johnson

Helena Johnson, Web and Multimedia Developer

Helena is responsible for developing, editing, and delivering information about the Center's programs and services through Internet-based communications, multimedia and print. With degrees in Media Arts and Computer Programming, Helena began her career in corporate communications. Prior to joining CTE she worked for creative and production companies as producer and writer. 

Kim Elia

Kim Elia, Administrative Coordinator  

Kim Elia is the Administrative Coordinator for the Center for Teaching Excellence. She serves as the human resources liaison, budget coordinator, and the hiring manager. Her position additionally coordinates the CTE’s general administrative activities, manages data collection, maintains databases regarding CTE events and activities, and assists in the preparation of reports and other informational documents. Kim is the senior staff member at the CTE, having started at USC in 1994 in the Office of Distance Education and Instructional Support before joining the CTE in 2007.

Laurie Sambenedetto

Laurie Sambenedetto, Program Assistant

Laurie Sambenedetto is the Program Assistant for the Center for Teaching Excellence. She serves as the first point of contact for CTE clients and provides office and logistical support for CTE staff and events. Laurie manages the CTE front desk, fields phone calls and inquiries and assists senior CTE staff with basic clerical and administrative tasks including purchasing and procurement paperwork. She also handles registration, technology, catering arrangements and assists with maintaining the CTE space. Laurie joined the CTE in the summer of 2017.