University of South Carolina

New faces on campus

By Liz McCarthy, lizmccarthy@sc.edu, 803-777-2848

This week USC welcomed new faculty members to campus. From Michigan to Georgia, Carolina’s newest teachers come from a variety of backgrounds. We caught up with these new Gamecocks at the new faculty orientation (hosted by the Center for Teaching Excellence). Here’s just a few of the new faces you may see on campus this year:  

Ronnie Horner, Arnold School of Public Health

Ronnie HornerPosition: Professor and director of Institute for the Advancement of Healthcare

Coming from: University of Cincinnati

Why Carolina? 

“It was a real opportunity to do research that would have a more direct and immediate impact on health care for individuals as well as change policies. While most academics are involved in writing papers or doing grants, much of that work does not result in an immediate change. Here, I’ll be working with the Greenville Health System, and they’re very eager to do research that will further improve the way  they provide care.” 

Dawn Minton, College of Education

Position: Clinical instructor in the athletic training program

Dawn Minton



Why Carolina?
“I’ve been here and I’ve invested a lot into the university. I have a lot of pride in where it’s going and I’m excited about where our department and our program are going. I wanted the opportunities to do research, to teach and to mentor students.”  Coming from: Minton has been working on her doctoral degree in exercise science from the Arnold School 

Phillip Mohorn, South Carolina College of Pharmacy

Phillip MohornPosition: Clinical assistant professor

Coming from: Residency training at University of Virginia Health System

Why Carolina? “Definitely the city was appealing and the school. When I came for my interview, the College of Pharmacy was a welcoming place. It had great opportunities in terms of research and teaching and that was what drove me here.”    


Gail Ward-Besser, College of Arts and Sciences, statistics

Position: Instructor


Gail Ward-Besser

Coming from: Retired from Blue Cross Blue Shield and returning to USC after 22 years (she previously taught in the School of Public Health)

Why Carolina?  “I’m calling it ‘retirement practice.’ I’m looking forward to teaching and interacting with the students. I really enjoyed that. I’m hoping to use what I know from the business world to prove to them that statistics is not scary stuff and that they really use statistics every day.”

Josh Grace, College of Arts and Sciences, history

Josh GracePosition: Assistant professor

Coming from: Michigan State University

Why Carolina? “It’s a very strong department and has quite a breadth in terms of what they teach. It’s a really good institution that I wanted to be a part of.”  



Julie Ann Justo, South Carolina College of Pharmacy

Position: Clinical assistant professorJulie Ann Justo

Coming from: Fellowship training at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Why Carolina?  “I was attracted by the position’s unique blend of clinical service, teaching and research. The college offers great potential for career growth and strong mentoring as well. Columbia also has a very warm community that I’m excited to get to know.” 

Tia Stevens, College of Arts and Sciences, criminology and criminal justice
Position: Assistant professor

Tia StevensComing from: Michigan State

Why Carolina? “The department has some of the best faculty in the field and the resources on campus and the support of research also attracted me here.”




Sara Ernst, School of Music

Position: Assistant professor of piano and piano pedagogySara Ernst

Coming from:  Princeton, N.J.

Why Carolina? “USC has a fabulous piano pedagogy program, a real support for training teachers. I’m looking forward working with undergraduates and helping them become teachers.”




Joy Young, College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

Position: Adjunct instructor

Joy YoungComing from: Young is the current director of human resources for the South Carolina Arts Commission

Why Carolina? "HRTM is a great program and it will be terrific to work with the students. I’ve partnered with the College in researching arts-based tourism and in training people who serve in the arts and tourism industries. Teaching human resources management is another opportunity to support the goals of the college."  

Jenay Beer, College of Engineering and Computing

Position: Assistant professor with a joint appointment in the College of Social WorkJenay Beer

Coming from: Beer is wrapping up her dissertation with Georgia Tech

Why Carolina? “To me it was a no-brainer. When I interviewed, the faculty and staff were amazing. The type of research being conducted here is something that I want to be a part of. The people are passionate. The joint position was a really good match for me. When I interviewed here it kind of felt like home.”

Daniel Jones, Moore School of Business, economics

Daniel JonesPosition: Assistant professor

Coming from: University of Pittsburgh

Why Carolina?  “The economics department is a really great fit for what I’m interested in doing in my research. Some of what I do requires a particular facility – an experimental lab – and not a lot of economics departments have one but USC does. I really liked the people in the department and it seemed like a nice department to work in.”   

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Posted: 08/14/13 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 08/15/13 @ 4:31 PM | Permalink