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2011 Faculty Award Winner Profiles

Spring 2011
Faculty Awards

The Spring 2011 Faculty Awards Presentation was held on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 3:00 pm in the Program Room in the Hollings Library.


Profiles of 2011 Faculty Award Winners Profiles of 2011 Faculty Award Winners (PDF)
Presented April 27, 2011 at the Faculty Award Presentation

Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award

Dr. Melissa Moss (Chemical Engineering)
Melissa Moss is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering. Her research focuses on Alzheimer's disease. She has mentored ~30 undergraduates since she joined USC in 2004, 12 of whom are Magellan Scholars. In fact, Dr. Moss has mentored the most Magellan Scholars of any faculty member on the USC campus. Her abilities as a mentor can best be described by her students: “Dr. Moss is an excellent gauge of the abilities and interests of her graduate and undergraduate students. …she [also provides] great personal guidance and understanding. This environment of great intellectual and personal rapport with the mentor creates a dynamic experience in the lab. I can say with the utmost confidence that she is the perfect candidate for the Faculty Mentor of the Year Award.”

Dr. Edward Callen (USC Aiken-Psychology)
Edward Callen is professor and chair of Psychology at USC Aiken. His research focuses on the study of the basic principles in learning and motivation with emphasis on conditioning and extinction of human and animal fears, development of an animal model of alcoholism based on stress and relaxation, and the physiological motivational variables involved in anxiety and other maladaptive behaviors. Dr. Callen mentored the first Magellan Scholar on a USC campus other than Columbia in 2007. He was instrumental in establishing USC Aiken’s Research Day in 2008 (similar to Discovery Day) and in 2009, established a fund to provide an annual monetary award for outstanding student research in the field of psychology at USC Aiken. His impact is best reflected in his student’s comments: “Dr. Callen set an example for all that I hope to be. He taught me how to be a knowledgeable researcher, how to think critically, and to push myself to achieve goals I never would have thought to establish. I was extremely fortunate to have a mentor that truly wanted me to improve as a researcher, a scholar, and an individual.”


Ada B. Thomas Outstanding Faculty Advisor

Thomas J. Hilbish (Biological Sciences)

Thomas J. Hilbish is a professor of Biological Sciences. His research emphasis is on ecological genetics and physiological ecology of marine invertebrates. Professor Hilbish also serves as the Director of Graduate Studies in his department.  He publishes regularly and has served as director of many dissertation committees. Dr. Hilbish is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Michael J. Mungo Distinguished Professor of the Year.


Russell Research Award for Humanities and Social Sciences

Elena Osokina (History)

Professor Elena Osokina is an Associate Professor of History.   Her career has included academic appointments in Russia and the United States.  She has had prestigious fellowships at the Davis Center for Russian Studies at Harvard University and Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Dr. Osokina has successfully worked across academic cultures and developed an international reputation for scholarly innovation.  As one of her nominations noted enthusiastically: “Dr. Osokina’s research is path-breaking both in its wealth of source material and in the conclusions this material has enabled Dr. Osokina to draw—conclusions that have become the basis for a new  field of Russian historical studies that focuses on Soviet trade and consumption during the Stalin period.”  Dr. Osokina has pioneered the study of “everyday life” under Stalinism and the unorthodox ways that the Soviet regime raised money to finance its forced industrialization projects during the 1930s and beyond.  The result has been an astonishing degree of productive scholarship: including three books; nearly fifty articles and essays in Russian, English, German, French, and Italian; a prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship; and two book projects underway.  Through numerous radio interviews and magazine articles, she has helped audiences in Russia, the United States, and Canada make sense of her home country’s troubled twentieth-century history and the ways in which the legacy of Stalinism shapes current affairs.


Russell Research Award for Science, Mathematics and Engineering

Ralph E. White (Chemical Engineering) 

Dr. Ralph E. White is a Distinguished Scientist and professor of Chemical Engineering. Professor White’s contributions during his extensive career have resulted in numerous honors and awards, nearly 300 refereed papers, and over 45 books as author or co-author. Professor White has been recognized within the Chemical Engineering field both academically and commercially, specifically for his service to NASA from 2009 to the present. Arguably the most notable accomplishment of his career is the patent he received for the Electrochemical Method for Producing Hydrogen and Sulfur. 


USC Educational Foundation Research Award for Health Sciences

Lawrence P. Reagan (Pharmacology, Physiology and Neuroscience)  

Lawrence P. Reagan is an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology & Neuroscience at the School of Medicine. Dr. Reagan’s research focuses on the impact of diabetes in the brain, neuroplasticity, and mood disorders with concentration on the “understanding of the underlying structural, neurochemical, and functional changes that are produced by stress in the hippocampus in order to achieve a greater understanding of how these alterations may contribute to the development of cognitive impairments in a variety of clinical situations, including recurrent depressive illness.” He has been consistently funded over the last seven years.


USC Educational Foundation Research Award for Humanities and Social Sciences

Robert H. Brinkmeyer, Jr. (English)

Bob Brinkmeyer is the Emily Brown Jeffries Professor of English and Professor of Southern Studies, as well as a world-recognized scholar of Southern American literature and culture.  His five monographs on 20th-century southern writers and forty-five articles aided greatly in the establishment of the present paradigm of southern studies—the global south.  The international stature of his work has been recognized by visiting appointments to the University of Vienna and the University of Helsinki.  His most recent book, The Fourth Ghost: White Southern Writers and European Fascism, 1930-1950 received the 2008 Warren-Brooks Award for Academic Excellence and the 2010 Prose Award, from the Association of American Publishers, for the best book in literature, language, and linguistics in 2009. He is also a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2004.  


USC Educational Foundation Research Award for Science, Mathematics and Engineering

James T. Morris (Biological Sciences)

Professor James T. Morris is the Director of the Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences. He is a professor of biological and marine sciences and is the Class of ’32 Distinguished Professor of Marine Studies. His research spans the basic and applied aspects of the physiological ecology of plants adapted to wetland habitats.  He conducts his research within the North Inlet estuary of South Carolina.  His work allows students to understand the effective combination of field work, analytical chemistry, and numerical modeling. Professor Morris has spearheaded several funded projects with an emphasis on Carolina’s Coastal Wetlands.


USC Educational Foundation Outstanding Service Award

Elizabeth Patterson

In 2003, Professor Elizabeth Patterson, “Libba,” returned to the School of Law, following four years as State Director of the South Carolina Department of Social Services. She has been a Professor of Law at USC since 1980, specializing in child and family issues, legislation and statutory interpretation, constitutional law, and welfare law. Libba “goes about her work without fanfare and without claiming credit for herself.”  She has shared her expertise from revising the tenure and promotion standards in the Faculty Manual to assisting with a case being taken to the United States Supreme Court.

Professor Patterson was instrumental in creating the Children's Law Office at the USC School of Law and the Children's Committee of the South Carolina Bar, and served as the initial leader of both organizations. Professor Patterson has been active in reforming South Carolina's laws relating to family and health issues, and drafted much of the state's 1996 Child Protection Reform Act, as well as legislation governing living wills, health care powers of attorney, and medical decision-making by surrogates.


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

Ann E. Kingsolver (Anthropology)

Professor Ann Kingsolver is the chair of the Department of Anthropology. Ann Kingsolver’s scholarship in cultural anthropology is focused on contributing to a broader social project of recognizing and addressing inequalities. Her long-term ethnographic research concerns situated interpretations of experiences of globalization.  She has been doing fieldwork in her hometown in eastern Kentucky since 1986 on interpretations of identity, place, and livelihood through development discourses, especially linked to tobacco production. In 1992 she initiated a long-term, collaborative research project on interpretations of NAFTA and related neoliberal policies in Mexico, Kentucky and California. In 2004, as a Fulbright Lecturer/Researcher, she interviewed Sri Lankans associated with the tea industry about globalization. Her theoretical interests merge interpretive and political economic perspectives. Her work assumes epistemological parity between those in and outside academic contexts. Professor Kingsolver has received numerous awards in recognition of her contributions to the University of South Carolina such as the Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award (2007) and Michael J. Mungo Graduate Teaching Award (2002). She also advises graduate students and has an outstanding record of publications.


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

Roger A. Dougal (Electrical Engineering)

Roger Dougal is a Professor of Electrical Engineering and holds the Thomas Gregory Professorship.  Professor Dougal is a member of the Board of Directors of the Electric Ship Research and Development Consortium.  He oversees the project of coordinating the University of South Carolina’s activities related to new power generation, processing, and distribution technologies for ships, and coordination of those activities with other member schools. Professor Dougal is also Site Director of the new NSF-sponsored Industry/University Cooperative Research Center. Dr. Dougal currently supervises about a dozen graduate students, several post-doctoral scholars and research faculty, and a number of undergraduate researchers. He has published more than 70 articles, 160+ proceedings, and presented all over the world.


John J. Duffy Excellence in Teaching Award

2010: Pearl Fernandes (USC Sumter)

Pearl Fernandes is an Associate Professor of Biology at the Sumter Campus, an Affiliate Faculty in Women’s Studies, and an Associate Faculty in the School of the Environment. She teaches lecture and lab courses in Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, Principles of Biology, and Genetics for biology and health science majors. She also teaches a Women's Studies Course and General Biology for non-science majors. Her bench research projects with undergraduates focus on water quality issues in wetlands around Sumter and Clarendon County, and the use of molecular and cellular methods to identify field Peromyscus species in Sumter County. Dr. Fernandes coordinates linked interdisciplinary English and Biology courses focusing on Southeastern Wetlands for which she has received external funding.  She is a mentor to many undergraduates, including the first Magellan Scholar from the regional campuses of the USC System, and considers mentoring to be an important part of the young student’s intellectual and professional growth.

Dr. Fernandes has twice been selected by students as USC Sumter’s Student Government Association Teacher of the Year, has been nominated by the faculty for the Governor’s Professor of the Year award, and has received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the USC Sumter administration.

2009: Sarah Miller (USC Salkehatchie)

Sarah Miller joined the University of South Carolina - Salkehatchie faculty in 2006 and is an assistant professor of history.  Her field of study is the Early American Republic particularly the Constitution and the history of Native Americans. She has made presentations at conferences of the South Carolina History Association, the Society of Historians of the Early American Republic, and numerous other professional associations.  Dr. Miller has also mobilized the Salkehatchie tenure-track faculty in the pursuit of scholarship, spearheading the creation of a faculty forum to discuss research interests.

Dr. Miller has been a faculty member for only five short years at the Salkehatchie campus, but her involvement in the affairs of the campus, service to the University system, and community has distinguished her as one of our most outstanding faculty members. At the campus level, she has served as chair of the faculty organization, is an academic advisor, is a volunteer for the opportunity scholars program  and  has been a faculty sponsor of the student government association.

Dr. Miller’s hallmark is the inspiration she provides to her students. She has been selected as the student’s choice for professor of the year for three consecutive years. Brice Griffin, a Salkehatchie graduate, expresses the sentiments of many Salkehatchie students when he says, “Dr. Miller is the model on being a caring, complete, and outstanding teacher. She really cares about her students and her school.”


Clinical Practice Teaching Award

Betsy Blake (Pharmacy)

Betsy Blake is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the South Carolina College of Pharmacy’s Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Outcomes Sciences on the Columbia campus. The South Carolina College of Pharmacy recognized Dr. Blake in 2010 as the Teacher of the Year for dedication to students in the college. She has been highly instrumental in developing the unique and relevant course of Pharmacy Political Advocacy elective. Dr. Blake brings “quality and innovation to her interactions with students.” She serves as the Advisor and Faculty Representative to the Institute for Health Improvement Open School, a nonprofit organization whose purpose is advancing quality health care and patient safety through interdisciplinary education.

Rachel Brown (Medicine)

Dr. Rachel Setzler Brown joined the clinical faculty of the University of South Carolina, School of Medicine in 2003 after completing her Family Practice Residency with Palmetto Health Richland. During her residency she served as a staff physician at Carolina Urgent and Family Care, Lancaster, South Carolina, and at North Greenville Fitness and Cardiac Rehab, Travelers Rest, South Carolina. Dr. Brown served as Co-Director of Predoctoral Education, Clerkship Director and Acting Internship Director for the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine until July 2009. She currently serves as Associate Program Director of the Palmetto Health Richland Family Practice Residency. In her seven years with the University, Dr. Brown has been honored with a number of distinctions and is the recipient of five different teaching awards, cementing her status as an outstanding professor in the eyes of both peers and students.


Michael J. Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Awards

Erin Connolly is a Professor of Biological Sciences whose teaching and research is geared towards the long-term goal of engineering plants that specifically accumulate elevated levels of iron and, thus, have a higher nutritional value. In 2009, Dr. Connolly was the Magellan Scholar Mentor collaborating with student research on the topic of Bioavailable Iron Sources in the South African Diet. Currently, Professor Connolly serves as a 2014 First Year Mentor for the Office of Fellowships and Scholars Program.

Thomas Crawford formerly an industrial physicist with Seagate Technology, is an Associate Professor of Physics whose research interests range from fundamental studies of magnetism in magnetic nanostructures and novel magnetic materials, to applying magnetic recording for nanomanufacturing technology. In collaboration with the USC History department, he co-developed a seminar course, “The Way Things Work”, and taught the physics underpinning technologies such as electric power, the automobile, the transistor, and the disk drive. Crawford’s teaching accomplishments further include revamping four senior-level physics laboratory courses with modern apparatus, employing podcasts and wikis for active learning, mentoring 13 undergraduates in research, and co-authoring a scientific publication with an undergraduate researcher. One of his students wrote, “Dr. Crawford was always incredibly enthusiastic. He developed methods of teaching that were very effective to make sure that the students were understanding the concepts of physics.”

Catherine Keyser is an Assistant Professor of English Language and Literature. Her areas of specialization include Modern American Literature, American Women Writers, Humor, Periodical Studies, and Gender Studies. One of her chief goals as a literature professor is to communicate the pervasiveness and conceptual importance of ambiguity—she teaches her students that there are many “right” answers. Professor Keyser recently published a book through the Rutgers University Press entitled Playing Smart: New York Women Writers and Modern Magazine Culture.

Sara Schneckloth is an Assistant Professor of Art.   She works in a variety of media, drawing on the visual culture of science, creating images that speak to the physical and emotional processes of remembering.  The notion of the gesture strongly factors into her work, figuring as both the mark on the page and as an invitation for viewers to intimately interact with her drawings. Her work has been shown throughout the US and South Africa, and her essays on drawing theory and practice have appeared in the journal of visual culture and the Manifest International Drawing Annual. Professor Schneckloth teaches all levels of undergraduate and graduate drawing at the University of South Carolina. 


Michael J. Mungo Graduate Teaching Award

Mark M. Smith (History)

Mark Smith is the Carolina Distinguished Professor of History. It is clear that he is an inspired graduate professor and that he sees engagement with his students as a lifelong process, first encouraging them to find their niche as historians and then learning from them as colleagues. He is an innovative scholar in his own right, being acknowledged nationally and internationally as having helped found the field of sensory history and applying new understandings to discussions of the Civil War based on that sensory approach. His students have established their own areas of expertise – considering time consciousness, for example, or emotional dimensions – in historical analysis.

The committee was impressed by his attention to his graduate students as teachers of undergraduates. He prepares them well for faculty positions, but does not hover. Professor Smith sees graduate education as a form of apprenticeship, and he delights in his students becoming colleagues at the end of that period. He is sensitive to the challenges of mentoring first-generation university students and he does that very well. One of his students, now a faculty member at Iowa State University, wrote in her letter that Professor Smith’s course was “the toughest I took during my time at USC.” As a teacher, she said, he “demanded that his students carry the debate.” As a mentor, he “believed in me long before I believed in myself,” encouraging her confidence as a scholar by asking her to demonstrate it consistently along with her peers. Professor Smith inspires both enthusiasm and respect, and deserves to be recognized with a Mungo Graduate Teaching Award.


Michael J. Mungo Distinguished Professor of the Year Award

James S. Cutsinger

Dr. James Cutsinger, a graduate of Harvard University and Professor of Theology and Religious Thought, has been a member of the Religious Studies faculty at USC since 1980 where he currently serves as the Director of Undergraduate Studies.  An exemplary scholar of Theory and Religious Thought, he has published thirteen books during his academic career.  Dr. Cutsinger's recognition as an excellent teacher was apparent while he was still a young Assistant Professor; a reputation which has culminated today in the awarding of the University’s highest award for undergraduate instruction, the Michael J. Mungo Distinguished Professor of the Year.  Already the recipient of both the South Carolina College Distinguished Professor of the Year (1990) and the 1999 Michael J. Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Award, this new award reflects his students' respect for both his commitment to undergraduate teaching at the highest level and the rigor he demands of his students.  As one student puts it:

"Professor Cutsinger does an incredible job of bringing complicated material to life in a way that engages our minds.  He makes us think critically about our opinions and beliefs, and to truly evaluate them in depth.  He adroitly handles the material he teaches, with equal amounts of information and wit, one of the best ways to keep us engaged."

Another student said:

"Professor Cutsinger is the reason why I can say I am happy to have majored in the Humanities.  He does not simply teach material, he teaches new ways of thinking  Outside of religion, this has, and will continue to effect every part of my life as I continue to strive for truth and understanding."


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