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2011 Faculty Award Winner Profiles

Spring 2012
Faculty Awards

The 2012 Faculty Awards Presentation was held on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 in the Program Room in the Hollings Library.

Below is a list of the 2012 Faculty Award Winners for each award presented at the ceremony.

Profiles of 2012 Faculty Award Winners

John Gardner Inspirational Faculty Member Award

Leslie Hendrix (Statistics)
Leslie Hendrix is an instructor in the Department of Statistics.  Currently, she teaches STAT 110 and STAT 205.  Her research interests include Psychometrics - Item Response Theory, Posterior Predictive Model Checking, Multidimensional Testing Data Analysis, Markov Chain Monte Carlo (Dissertation titled “FAST EM BASED POSTERIOR APPROXIMATION FOR IRT ITEM PARAMETERS") and Statistical Education. 

Over the past three semesters, the staff of the Academic Centers for Excellence and Residential Learning Initiatives has collaborated on residential study groups. Dr. Hendrix has championed this initiative from the beginning and generously piloted residential study groups in her undergraduate Statistics course.  She demonstrates a true devotion to students living on-campus and them maximizing peer-to-peer learning experiences.


Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award

Norma Frizzell (Pharmacology, Physiology and Neuroscience)
Norma Frizzell is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology & Neuroscience at the School of Medicine. Her research focuses on investigating the non-enzymatic regulation of proteins by chemical modifications and understanding the role of metabolism derived protein modifications and how they may relate to mitochondrial stress in diabetes, cancer and mitochondrial neurodegenerative disorders. Her abilities as a mentor can best be described by her students: “Working with Dr. Frizzell has given me a feeling of accomplishment and that I am able to positively influence and contribute to the University of South Carolina.” “Dr. Frizzell is much more than a mentor in the lab, she is a friend, who has made my undergraduate research experience wonderful.”

Xinyu Huang (Mechanical Engineering)
Xinyu Huang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. His research interests include mechanics and durability of functional and structural composite materials, in particular, composite materials in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells, solid oxide fuel cells, structural composites, and coatings. Dr. Huang’s impact on mentoring undergraduate researchers is best reflected in his student’s comments: “Working for Dr. Huang has allowed me to see the engineering method come to life. Dr. Huang’s enthusiasm and direction has enabled me to become more capable as a student/engineer and has contributed very positively to my future prospects in the field.”


Ada B. Thomas Outstanding Faculty Advisor

Wayne Outten (Chemistry and Biochemistry)

Wayne Outten is an associate professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He advises numerous undergraduate students, and uses his experience to help them tailor their courses to suit their individual goals and that will help advance their long-term career plans.  In 2009, he founded and currently manages the Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity for local minority undergraduate students from historically black colleges and Universities in South Carolina.  To date, 9 minority undergraduates and 8 USC Chemistry faculty have been involved with the comprehensive research training experience.  His contribution to the students at the University can be summed up by one of his medical school students, “Having talked to most of the class I wanted to let you know of the great support the class has for Dr. Outten…Regardless of how we as a class do, I think we all enjoy his lectures and I think he will be a tremendous asset to the instructional faculty here.  Again, this is not simply my opinion, but is a consensus from everyone to whom I have spoken.”


Russell Research Award for Humanities and Social Sciences

Geoff Alpert (Criminology and Criminal Justice)

Geoff Alpert is an international leader in the area of police risk management, police relationships with the public, racial profiling, and policies of police pursuit and use of force. He has amassed a daunting number of publications: 20 books, over 100 articles. As one reviewer put it: “Geoff’s work defines and changes policy; you would be hard pressed to find a correctional administrator not familiar with his work.” Indeed, his scholarship has been cited over 2,900 times, and his research has had an impact not only in the academic community, but in police departments around the world, as far away as Australia, where he was recently invited to work in an advisory capacity. Another of his reviewers writes: “Professor Alpert has been a pioneer on the use of careful empirical research methods and statistical analysis to study and evaluate high-risk police behavior. He is a first-rate scholar who applies his sociological training to real-world applications.”


Russell Research Award for Science, Mathematics and Engineering

Kenneth Reifsnider (Mechanical Engineering)

Professor Ken Reifsnider is this year’s recipient of the Russell Research Award in Science, Math, and Engineering.  He was elected into the National Academy of Engineering in 2004 for his contribution in "development of strength-life relationships in composite materials and structures." Professor Reifsnider has been elected fellow of several professional societies, including the American Society for Mechanical Engineers, the American Society for Composite Materials, and the American Society for Testing and Materials.

Another testimony to his expertise and knowledge is his appointment by the White House in 2009 to serve on the US Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, which he still does today. He joined the University of South Carolina (USC) in 2007 to initiate and direct the Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) Smart State Center. In less than five years, the SOFC Center at USC has grown into the largest and most comprehensive SOFC research cluster at a university in the entire nation. Today the SOFC Center has seven active faculty members, over 40 graduate students and 9 technical and administrative staff and has won funding to USC for 39 competitive research grants, published 168 refereed publications and filed 9 US patent applications. 

In 2008, Professor Reifsnider assembled and led a team to respond to the first-ever DoE Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) solicitation. The proposed team involved seven universities and three national laboratories, resulted in a research grant worth $12.5 million for five years to conduct energy-related research, one of the largest single competitive grants in the history of USC.

During the last four and a half years since he joined in USC, Professor Reifsnider has obtained as PI and/or Co-PI a total external funding of over $ 25.5 million. He has authored or co-authored more than 25 journal articles during this period.  During his illustrious career he has supervised 32 MS students with thesis, and 35 PhD students; several of his PhD students are themselves now leaders in their fields.

Currently he is supervising 3 post doctoral researchers, 3 PhD students and two MS students.  Since 2008, Professor Reifsnider has given invited lectures in the US as well as in Latvia, Greece, Portugal, Turkey, Korea, China, Germany, Japan, Virgin Islands, Slovenia, Mexico, Brazil (in 2012), and Italy.  These keynote and invited lectures are clearly a reflection of his international stature.  In 2009, he received the Silver Award from the Royal Aeronautical Society for their paper which opened a new vista in the science of dielectric materials; he was the principal author on that paper.


USC Educational Foundation Research Award for Health Sciences

James Fadel (Pharmacology, Physiology and Neuroscience)

James Fadel is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Neuroscience at the School of Medicine. Dr. Fadel received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from The Ohio State University and was a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University Medical Center prior to accepting a faculty position at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in 2002. His focus is the study of the anatomical and neurochemical basis of age-related cognitive and homeostatic changes, work that has been supported over the past five years by multiple NIH grants. Additionally, he has collaborated on projects related to the biology of neuropsychiatric disorders, earning him Young Investigator Awards from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, and the International Congress on Schizophrenia Research. He has been a member of the American Federation for Aging Research National Scientific Advisory Council since 2003, and in 2009 was elected to the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and serves on the editorial board for the College’s eponymous journal. Dr. Fadel has been prolific in his years at USC, publishing over forty peer-reviewed papers and reviews in respected and high-impact journals.


USC Educational Foundation Research Award for Humanities and Social Sciences

Patricia Sullivan (History)

Patricia Sullivan is one of the foremost historians working on race, civil rights, politics and social change in America. Her research has shaped and revised understandings of the origins, history and consequences of the Civil Rights Movement. She has published three major books: Days of Hope: Race and Democracy in the New Deal Era (1996), Freedom Writer: Virginia Foster Durr: Letters from the Civil Rights Years (2003), and Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement (2009), which have earned her an international reputation in her field. One of her reviewers called Lift Every Voice a “stunning achievement,” while another calls Sullivan “a leading light among scholars who are reshaping how we write about the history of modern American social movements.” Her current project, tentatively entitled, Robert F. Kennedy and the Struggle for Racial Justice during the 1960s, promises to be a fascinating exploration of the intersection of the key social movement of the twentieth century with one its most complex and interesting political figures.


USC Educational Foundation Research Award for Science, Mathematics and Engineering

James Ritter (Chemical Engineering)

James Anthony Ritter is this year’s recipient of the USC Educational Foundation Research Award in Science, Math, and Engineering.  Dr. Ritter is the L. M. Weisiger Professor of Engineering in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of South Carolina.  Dr. Ritter began his academic career at USC in August 1993 and was promoted to Professor in 2003.  He currently serves as the Graduate Director for the Department of Chemical Engineering.  During his time at USC, Dr. Ritter has published approximately 140 refereed journal articles and obtained several million dollars for his research program from government agencies including the Department of Energy and NASA, and from several companies.  Dr. Ritter also has one patent based on his work on hydrogen storage in metal hydrides.  Dr. Ritter has graduated 14 PhD students, 6 MS students and he has served as the senior thesis director for seven South Carolina Honors College students.  Dr. Ritter has also earned a very impressive H-index of 30, which is a reflection of his work being highly cited by others.  He has numerous papers with well over 100 citations by others and one with over 300 citations by others.  Dr. Ritter’s PhD advisor Professor Ralph T. Yang, who is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, had this to say about Dr. Ritter:  “Currently, no academic in the USA can compete with Jim on pressure swing adsorption (PSA) process fundamentals, modeling, and technology development.  He is definitely the world’s leader in PSA research.” 


USC Educational Foundation Research Award

for Professional Schools

Robert E. Ployhart (Management)

Robert E. Ployhart is the Bank of America Professor of Business Administration in the Department of Management. He is internationally known as a leading scholar in staffing and human capital. He has published 61 articles and three books, has given more than 100 peer-reviewed presentations at leading international conferences, and has given workshops and invited presentations around the globe. He has won numerous awards from international professional organizations and scholarly journals, including the American Psychological Association Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contributions to Applied Psychology, and the Best Paper Award and a Scholarly Impact Award from the Journal of Management. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Science, and Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.


USC Educational Foundation Outstanding Service Award

John H. Dawson (Chemistry and Biochemistry)

Professor John Dawson is a Carolina Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences.  He is the recipient of the Russell Research Award for Science and Engineering, the Carolina Trustee Professor Award, and the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Science Discovery.

He is a frequent grant and fellowship review panelist for NIH, NSF and the Howard Hughes Foundation.  He has been editor of the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry since 1996, and was an Editorial Board member of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Professor Dawson has been an actively engaged faculty member at the University, including serving as a Faculty Senator, Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Graduate Admissions Committee, and Graduate Director for his department.  He has been instrumental in graduate recruitment, with nearly a quarter of the 180 lectures that he has given at Universities specifically promoting graduate programs at the University of South Carolina. In his 30+ years as a tenured faculty at USC, he has produced 33 Ph.D. graduates and more than 200 research papers in refereed journals. 


Carolina Trustee Professorships

James Hebert (Epidemiology and Biostatistics)

Professor James Hebert is a Health Sciences Distinguished Professor and Founder and Director of the South Carolina Statewide Cancer Prevention and Control Program. In 2009 he received an Established Investigator Award in Cancer Prevention and Control from the National Cancer Institute, their highest recognition of training and mentorship. His students have gone on to become national leaders in their specialty areas, publishing in high-impact specialty and general medical journals.

Hans-Conrad zur Loye (Chemistry and Biochemistry)

Hanno zur Loye is a Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and holds the David W. Robinson Palmetto Professorship.  Professor zur Loye is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a fellow of the American Chemical Society.  He arrived at the University of South Carolina in 1996 and established an international recognized research program in the areas of Transition Metal Oxide Chemistry and Organic/Inorganic Coordination Polymers.  His research group has published over 300 refereed manuscripts, while he has personally given 38 research presentations at national and international meetings and 61 presentations at universities and industrial research centers. Dr. zur Loye has graduated 6 masters students, 14 doctorate students, and has provided research opportunities to over 36 undergraduates in his research lab.  He spends his summers helping to educate high school students, high school teachers, and professors from undergraduate institutions.

Juanita Villena-Alvarez (USC Beaufort)

Juanita Villena-Alvarez is a Professor and Chair of the Humanities and Fine Arts Department at the University of South Carolina, Beaufort. Professor Alvarez is the 2010 recipient of the South Carolina Governor’s Professor of the Year award. In the past three years, she has taught 28 courses in seven semesters, an outstanding achievement while also serving as chair of her department. Dr. Alvarez consistently presents her research at international conferences and actively pursues grant funding for USCB.


John J. Duffy Excellence in Teaching Award

2011: Leandro Junes (USC Sumter)

eandro Junes earned both a B.A. and M.S. in Mathematics while in his native Columbia and, in 2008, completed his Ph.D. in the same subject at SUNY Binghamton. He began teaching at USC Sumter later in the same year.

Describing his approach to teaching, Dr. Junes writes, “I teach my students skills beyond just mathematics. As an instructor, I am in a position to have a positive impact on my students’ academic lives.”

In addition to teaching a full load of mathematics courses, Dr. Junes has accumulated an impressive list of accomplishments in the four years he’s been at Sumter such as:

  • Founding MURGA, the undergraduate research group at USC Sumter, whose members have submitted and published over 10 proposed problems to The Fibonacci Quarterly.

But perhaps a classroom observation best describes the nature of Dr. Junes’ success in the classroom when it read, “The major characteristics of a quality teacher: maturity, reliability, integrity, work ethics, relationship with and care for the students are natural in Dr. Junes.”


Clinical Practice Teaching Award

Brandon Bookstaver (Pharmacy)

Brandon Bookstaver is a Clinical Associate Professor in the South Carolina College of Pharmacy’s Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Outcomes Sciences on the Columbia campus and works as a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist in Infectious Disease at Palmetto-Health Richland. In the short amount of time that Professor Bookstaver has been here, he has undertaken numerous research projects with students which focus on clinical care practices, most recently on of antimicrobial lock solutions and the use of antibiotic lock therapy in central-line associated bloodstream infections in cancer patients. In addition, he is well-known for his “infectious enthusiasm” and ability to engage students in the classroom. He is popularly known in the College of Pharmacy and at Palmetto-Richland for his involvement in many initiatives, including the residency track programs and research programs of the college, and has a huge impact on students by opening them up to the world of clinical pharmacy.

Charles J. Carter (Medicine)

Charles “Chuck” Carter is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Preventative Medicine in the USC School of Medicine. He is also Program Director of the Family Medicine Residency Program, and is an outstanding educator in the clinical setting due to his integration of teaching practices that include quality improvement and reflective practitioner training into the curriculum for students. His involvement in the residency programs is not only a testament to his commitment to continued improvements in the learning process, particularly in clinical training.


Michael J. Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Awards

Northrop Davis is an Assistant Professor for Media Arts, member of the Writers Guild of America, and a leading figure in the movement to bring Manga and Anime to American audiences. In addition to selling original screenplays to Warner Brothers Pictures and Fox, he successfully pitched a film adaptation of the manga Battle Angel Alita to James Cameron. This success in the field has translated to no less success in the classroom, where his courses on screenwriting and manga draw heavily on this real world experience and knowledge to give students rare insight into the realities of the business itself. Above all, Professor Davis is consistently praised by his students for his ability to inspire, his dedication to their growth both personally and as artists, and his passion for going the extra mile to see them succeed.

John L. Ferry is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry known for exceptional mentorship of undergraduate and graduate researchers, several of whom have received significant awards and fellowships under his guidance. His writing has been frequently published in high impact journals in the field of Environmental Chemistry.

Anthony Jarrells is a tenured Associate Professor of English whose focus is British Romanticism. In addition to having published several essays on the subject, his book, Britain’s Bloodless Revolutions: 1688 and the Romantic Reform of Literature was published in 2005. He has received several internal and external grants for research, including a Visiting Research Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, at Edinburgh University in the spring of 2008. Priding himself on cultivating great relationships with students and advisees, he always makes himself available, even when on research leave, helping not only with course decisions but personal projects, graduate school advice, and professional advice. In the classroom he strives for a balance between the specific subject material and honing the close reading and critical thinking skills students will continue to use throughout their academic lives and beyond.

Joseph Quattro is a Primary Faculty Member in the University’s Marine Science Program and a tenured Professor in the Department of Biology. He was a Sloan Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University from 1991-94, has numerous publications in the field of Marine Biology, and has ongoing involvement in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl. He has also recently co-authored a book, Freshwater Fishes of South Carolina, that he has integrated into classroom lectures and the laboratory. Dr. Quattro encourages student involvement in his ongoing research projects and has been an outstanding mentor, helping them create professional publications and presentations for national conferences. Students and faculty also highly value the excitement he brings to the classroom atmosphere and university as a whole. What makes Professor Quattro so outstanding, however, is the time he devotes to helping students learn difficult concepts outside of class.


Michael J. Mungo Graduate Teaching Award

Milind Purohit (Physics and Astronomy)

Milind Purohit is a Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.  He has taught graduate courses for almost two decades, and is consistently requested to teach graduate quantum mechanics by the students.  Dr. Purohit has served as Director of Graduate Studies and has been a member on the graduate admissions and graduate recruiting committees. Professor Purohit has graduated six Ph.D. students and is currently mentoring one.  All of his Ph.D. students have co-authored many publications in prestigious peer-reviewed journals with him.  He employs websites for each of his courses to ensure organization and preparation of each lesson in each course.  Dr. Purohit 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

Milind Kunchur (Physics and Astronomy)

Professor Milind Kunchur received his PhD in Physics from Rutgers in 1988.  He was a  Post-doctoral Fellow at Virginia, a ORISE Research Associate at Oak Ridge National Laboratories and a NRC Senior Fellow at Wright Patterson prior to coming to USC in 1997 as an Assistant Professor.  An internationally recognized expert in flux dynamics and superconducting materials, he has published over 45 peer reviewed papers and presented his work in over 70 venues both nationally and internationally during the past 15 years.  He has been a steady contributor to the Undergraduate instruction in Physics and developed classes both for science majors and for Non-science Majors including one on the physics of sound that has become a particularly popular and successful class for students who otherwise might chose an area different from that of Physics.

When asked about how it was to take a Physics class as one’s science distribution, students across a very wide range of non-science majors commented on his enthusiasm and dedication to teaching and how good he is at explaining things in clear simple terms.  Said one student, “he knows every student by name in spite of the size of the class, and every day before class he moves around the class asking how the students are doing and are they having problems with the previous day’s materials.”  He is known for adding humor to his lectures and, particularly for his non-sciences major’s class on physics and sound, bringing the science to a level where they can both appreciate and understand the basic physical components of sound and how the human ear hears it.  Said one student, “..he is always willing to let a student prove their knowledge in their own way.”  Another commented, “He actually cares about every one of us!”  Repeatedly his class commented that every question that gets asked always gets a clear informative answer yet he maintains a streamlined class that is to the point and focused.  These comments from students who likely would never have taken a class in Physics and are not likely ever again to do so speaks of the excellence that has resulted in the awarding of the Michael J. Mungo Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award to Dr. Milind Kunchur.


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