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2010 Faculty Award Winner Profiles

Spring 2010
Faculty Awards

The Spring 2010 Faculty Awards Presentation was held on Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 3:00 pm in the Campus Room of the Capstone Center.

Profiles of 2010 Faculty Award Winners Profiles of 2010 Faculty Award Winners (PDF)
Presented April 28, 2010 at the Faculty Award Presentation

Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award

Debra Rae Cohen (English)

Debra Rae Cohen is an assistant professor in the Department of English. The impact Dr. Cohen has had on her students is best reflected in one student’s comment: “Dr. Cohen is a dynamic mentor who has nurtured many facets of my scholarship. She mentors with dedication and seriousness. … I appreciate the way she pushes me to think innovatively, and I am a better scholar as a result of her mentorship.”

David Reisman (Biological Sciences)

David Reisman is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. Dr. Reisman has also been recognized with the Mungo Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching and the Mortar Board Excellence in Teaching Award. More significant are the words of his own student, “Dr. Reisman deserves this award in every facet, for he exudes such strong compassion towards his position as a mentor with his encouragement, dedication and support. I would certainly not be where I am today without having Dr. Reisman as my mentor.”


Ada B. Thomas Outstanding Faculty Advisor

Nina Levine (English)

Nina Levine is an Associate Professor in the Department of English. Dr. Levine teaches Shakespeare and Renaissance literature. She is the author of Women’s Matters: Politics, Gender, and Nation in Shakespeare’s Early History Plays andco-editor of A Touch More Rare: Harry Berger, Jr., and the Arts of Interpretation. She’s received numerous department and university teaching awards, including the Michael J. Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Award.


Russell Research Award for Humanities and Social Sciences

Laura Dassow Walls (English)

Professor Laura Dassow Walls is the John H. Bennett Jr. Chair of Southern Letters in the English Department. Her work on Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and the Transcendentalists has won several prestigious grants, including grants from the National Endowment for Humanities and American Council of Learned Societies. Professor Walls has been described as “a distinguished Americanist, a scholar of enormous learning.” Her most recent book: Alexander von Humboldt and the Shaping of America published by the University of Chicago Press was just awarded the Merle Curti prize by the Organization of American Historians and recognized as “the best book in intellectual history” published during the last year.


Russell Research Award for Science, Mathematics and Engineering

T. S. Sudarshan (Electrical Engineering)

T.S. Sudarshan is Department Chair and Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering. His research group in the Silicon Carbide Research Lab emphasizes novel techniques of growth of silicon carbide (SiC) bulk and epitaxial films and device/defect correlations. In the Spring of 2006, Professor Sudarshan was awarded the Michael J. Mungo Distinguished Professor of the Year award, USC's highest award for teaching excellence, and in the winter of 2007, he was a finalist for the Governor's Distinguished Professor Award by the Commission on Higher Education. He is a Carolina Distinguished Professor and has held that appointment since 1986.


USC Educational Foundation Research Award for Health Sciences

Sara Wilcox (Exercise Science)  

Sara Wilcox is an Associate Professor in the Department of Exercise Science. Professor Wilcox has gained regional, national, and international distinction for her efforts to translate scientific information about being physically active into practical applications and empirically studying the effects of these translation efforts.  Her most recently funded grant focuses on financially disadvantaged African American women served through community health centers and promotes interventions addressing pronounced health disparities in cardiovascular disease in that subgroup of the population. She has authored/co-authored over 90 publications stemming from these research studies.


USC Educational Foundation Research Award for Humanities and Social Sciences

David S. Shields (English)

David Shields is a Professor in the Department of English and is the McClintock Professor of Southern Letters. As the author or editor of five books and some three dozen articles and chapters, his published work extends across the fields of Early American Literature, the intellectual history of the colonial Atlantic world, 19th century food and agriculture, and 20th century performing arts photography. His many and varied accomplishments are clearly marked by originality, insight, and generosity. Professor Shields is considered to be one of the most distinguished scholars in his field.


USC Educational Foundation Research Award for Science, Mathematics and Engineering

Pencho Petrushev (Mathematics)

Pencho Petrushev is a Professor in the Department of Mathematics. Professor Petrushev recognized the role of Besov spaces in nonlinear approximation and introduced needlets, which are analogues of wavelets on a sphere. This theoretical work has profound applications in numerical work with geospatial data in earth sciences.  His research has had continuous support from the National Science Foundation and several defense agencies.


USC Educational Foundation Research Award for Professional Schools

Erik Drasgow (Special Education)

Erik Drasgow is a Professor in the Department of Educational Studies and Programs in Special Education.  His research interests include language and communication intervention for individuals with severe disabilities, functional assessment and positive behavior support, and special education law. Professor Drasgow has authored or co-authored 65 publications and has secured more than 4.2 million dollars in external funding from the U.S. Department of Education.


USC Educational Foundation Outstanding Service Award

Russ Pate (Exercise Science)

Professor Russ Pate is an exercise physiologist in the Department of Exercise Science, and currently chairs the coordinating committee for the National Physical Activity Plan.  Dr. Pate’s interests are in physical activity and physical fitness in children and the health implications of physical activity. He is a past-president of the National Coalition on Promoting Physical Activity, and he is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education.  Professor Pate has served the Arnold School of Public Health as the Chair of the Department of Exercise Science and Associate Dean for Research.  He has also served the University as Vice Provost for Health Sciences.


Carolina Trustee Professorship in the Humanities, Law, Social Sciences and Business Areas

Lawrence Glickman

Larry Glickman is a Professor in the Department of History who teaches post-Civil War American history, with special interest in labor history, cultural history and the history of consumer society. Professor Glickman has recently published two books that explore the cultural history of the United States. His continuing research includes topics on transatlantic radicalism in the nineteenth century. He is continuing to chart the cultural turn in the United States history as well as the history of consumer politics. 


Carolina Trustee Professorship in the Health, Engineering, Medical and Science and Mathematics Areas)

Robert Thunell

Carolina Distinguished Professor Robert Thunell, in the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, is a highly acclaimed researcher in the field of paleoceanography, paleoclimatology, and deep sea sediments.  Professor Thunell is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, which is an honor given to 0.1% of the membership in any given year.  He is one of the highest rated undergraduate and graduate professors within the College of Arts and Sciences.


Michael J. Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Awards

Donna A. Chen

Donna A. Chen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  Professor Chen is deeply committed to undergraduate teaching and has developed a new recitation class for undergraduate physical chemistry that emphasizes problem-solving, interactive learning and conceptual understanding of physical principles.  In addition to undergraduate physical chemistry, Professor Chen has taught both semesters of undergraduate general chemistry to classes of 150-200 students, as well as two different physical chemistry graduate courses.

Bobby Donaldson

Bobby Donaldson is an Associate Professor of History and African American Studies.  Attentive to multiple learning styles and academic backgrounds, Professor Donaldson regularly encourages students to discover their own intellectual voices by devoting their energies and time to sustained research and investigation.    He has advised several Magellan and Ronald E. McNair scholars and led a series of service-learning collaborations in the Columbia area.  His research focuses on African American intellectual thought, education and religion, and he has served as a consultant for numerous documentary history projects.  Recently, Professor Donaldson was appointed as the next Faculty Principal of Preston Residential College.

Kevin Elliott

Kevin Elliott is an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy.  In many of his courses, including a new class that he developed on ethical issues related to food production and consumption, he aims to help students synthesize and critically evaluate material from multiple disciplines in an effort to address contemporary environmental problems.   Professor Elliot has also pursued service learning opportunities by bringing together community leaders, students in his classes, and Honors students that he has advised on senior projects.

Kimberly Eison Simmons

Kimberly Eison Simmons is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and African American Studies.  One of her aims as a cultural anthropologist in the classroom is to help foster a sense of cross-cultural awareness, sensitivity, and understanding by promoting engaged learning.  Professor Simmons encourages students to seek to better understand the world around them and to give something back to their communities as they develop an increased awareness about cultural and societal issues.


Michael J. Mungo Graduate Teaching Award

Michael Filaseta (Mathematics)

Michael Filaseta is a Professor in the Department of Mathematics who is to be commended on his outstanding graduate teaching and his creative approach to conveying concepts in number theory, which range from a card trick to explain probability theory to the construction of computer demonstrations, that according to his chair, “students rave about.”  He has literally perfect scores on his teaching evaluations (the best in his department) and supervises the most graduate students, but these numbers do not matters as much to this number theorist as the passion that brings his students to their subject and his efforts to help them realize their intellectual and professional aspirations.


Michael J. Mungo Distinguished Professor of the Year Award

Robert Jesselson

Dr. Jesselson, a Carolina Distinguished Professor in the School of Music, joined the University of South Carolina in 1981. For 15 years he was the director of the USC String Project, building the program into one of the largest and most prominent string education programs in the country. He is known to both his fellow faculty and his students as never accepting just "good enough", but rather expects and leads students to be nothing short of their very best.  Dr. Jesselson's cello program is noted for its rigor. He requires his students to learn everything about the cello—terminology, techniques, and of course, the music.


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