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Office of the Provost

  • 2023 Faculty Award Winners

USC recognizes 2023 faculty award winners

The Office of the Provost is always proud to spread the word about the University of South Carolina’s world-class faculty. The annual faculty awards ceremony is a time to intentionally recognize the outstanding work our faculty are doing and shed light on some of the particularly remarkable teaching, advising, service and research coming out of this high-caliber team of scholars.

This year, twenty faculty and staff members from five different schools or colleges and one system institution will receive awards for their service to their peers, students and communities. Though the awardees come from a wide range of disciplines and boast incredibly diverse resumes of achievements, they share a common dedication to excellence and are all making a lasting mark on campus through the work they do.

“The faculty recognized this year exemplify the academic excellence thriving across this university.  I am thankful for their efforts to advance research and scholarship, to teach and mentor our students, and to serve our communities,” says Cheryl Addy, Vice Provost and Dean of Faculty.

Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Donna Arnett agrees. “Academic excellence is what drew me to the University of South Carolina,” says Arnett. “This type of excellence only comes from purposeful commitment and investment in teaching, advising, research and service. The work done by this year’s faculty award winners is evidence of the tremendous things that we are accomplishing across campus. It is an honor to retain such stellar scholars at the university.”

Please view this year’s award winners below.

USC Columbia Teaching Awards

Dr. Alicia Flach portrait

Dr. Alicia Flach, PT, DPT

Clinical Associate Professor
Exercise Science
Arnold School of Public Health

Dr. Alicia Flach is a clinical associate professor in the Department of Exercise Science and Physical Therapy Program at the Arnold School of Public Health. She also works as a physical therapist, clinical specialist, and expert consultant for the physical and specialty therapists neuroscience team at Prisma Health Richland Hospital. Dr. Flach directs the USC Rehab Lab, where she researches the role of physical activity in gait and balance for individuals with Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease. She prioritizes research mentorship for her undergraduate and DPT students and focuses on creating a collaborative, flexible environment where students can practice hands-on skills with real patients while benefitting from extensive opportunities for feedback and self-reflection.

Dr. Christina Cox portrait

Dr. Christina Cox

Associate Professor
Clinical Pharmacy and Outcomes Sciences
College of Pharmacy

Dr. Christina Cox is an associate professor of Clinical Pharmacy and Outcomes Sciences in the College of Pharmacy. In addition to her role at USC, she also serves as a clinical pharmacy specialist in pediatric intensive care and neonatal intensive care at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital. As an instructor, Dr. Cox prioritizes decreasing the gap between the classroom and clinical practice. She believes in integrating students into real-life, high-stakes situations alongside healthcare professionals in every aspect of patient care. Dr. Cox is a proponent of fostering student autonomy and curiosity through hands-on learning opportunities, and she consistently provides outstanding, innovative education and supportive mentoring to her students.

Dr. Northrop Davis portrait

Northrop Davis

Media Arts
College of Arts and Sciences

Northrop Davis is a professor of Media Arts in the School of Visual Art and Design. He has been with the university since 2008 and is a past winner of the Michael J. Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Award. Professor Davis teaches screenwriting, television writing, and manga/anime studies. He has sold three Hollywood projects and leverages his extensive network of Hollywood screenwriters to bring in guest speakers to his class sessions, allowing students to interact with professionals in the field and make connections with potential future employers and colleagues. His excellent instruction and mentoring, in addition to his active role in helping students secure screenwriting internships and position themselves for successful job placement, combine to create a robust classroom experience. We are pleased to name Professor Davis the 2023 Michael J. Mungo Distinguished Professor of the year.

Dr. Michael Myrick portrait

Dr. Michael Myrick

Chemistry and Biochemistry
College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Michael Myrick is a professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences who has been with the university since 1991. He is an expert in analytical and industrial chemistry. Dr. Myrick has been involved in three start-up businesses, and following the sale of one company based on patents from his research, he requested that part of the funds be used to establish summer workshops for the university’s chemistry graduate students. These workshops are just one of the several opportunities Dr. Myrick has created to engage his students; others include one-on-one teaching sessions and extensive research support and mentorship. He challenges his students in his chemistry courses but also shares his knowledge of management and planning so that they can fully benefit from his expertise in STEM-related start-ups.

Dr. April Hiscox portrait

Dr. April Hiscox

Associate Professor
College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. April Hiscox is an associate professor of geography in the College of Arts and Sciences, where she conducts research in boundary layer meteorology. Her primary teaching goal is for students to unlearn limiting concepts to better understand the world, and she makes an impact in the classroom by using introductory level courses to challenge students’ preconceived notions about science, weather and climate, and gender roles in the STEM field. Dr. Hiscox’s approach to instruction is to model dynamic learning and instill curiosity, which she fosters through innovative assessment structures such as a collaborative quilting project to visually represent spatial relationships. As a scientist who pushes the limits of knowledge by taking risks and experimenting with new strategies, Dr. Hiscox eagerly adopts the same approach to improve her teaching.

Dr. Morgan Stefik portrait

Dr. Morgan Stefik

Associate Professor
Chemistry and Biochemistry
College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Morgan Stefik is an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences. He has taught General Chemistry 111 for the past ten years while also mentoring 20 undergraduate researchers, requesting his assignment to introductory level courses to maximize his impact on the largest segment of the student body. In his time teaching General Chemistry, Dr. Stefik has effectively implemented active learning strategies such as the use of iClickers, think-share-pair learning, live demonstrations, and chemistry jingles to help foster learning. Thanks to his commitment to sound pedagogy, strong mentorship, and engaging instructional strategies, Dr. Stefik’s students consistently outperform other General Chemistry 111 students, and his courses have a success rate of 90%.

Dr. Katherine Ryker portrait

Dr. Katherine Ryker

Associate Professor
School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment
College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Katherine Ryker is an assistant professor of geoscience education in the College of Arts and Sciences and has been with the university since 2018. Her research focuses on discipline-based education research, and she eagerly shares her strategies for outstanding teaching with faculty and graduate students at seminars with the Center for Teaching Excellence. She models scientific thinking for her students rather than viewing herself as the sole dispenser of knowledge, never lecturing for more than 15 minutes in a class session and encouraging social learning through think-pair-share activities. Dr. Ryker emphasizes inquiry-based, active learning that is designed to increase student motivation by making geology accessible and relevant.

Dr. Alexander Gasparian portrait

Dr. Alexander Gasparian

Clinical Assistant Professor
Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences
College of Pharmacy

Dr. Alexander Gasparian is a clinical assistant professor of drug discovery and biomedical sciences in the College of Pharmacy. He has been with the university since 2019 following a successful decades-long career in research and the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Gasparian researches molecular signaling in normal and cancer cells and has published four research papers in peer-reviewed journals since beginning his work with the university. Two of these papers include contributions from undergraduate students. Dr. Gasparian focuses on creating a classroom environment that encourages evidence-based, active learning and allows students to benefit from a combination of his expertise, up-to-date research in the field, and students’ own lived experiences.

USC Columbia Research Awards

Dr. Greg Forter portrait

Dr. Greg Forter

Associate Chair and Professor
English Language and Literature

College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Greg Forter is the associate chair of the Department of English and a professor of English Language and Literature in the College of Arts and Sciences who has been with the university since 1998. He is a remarkably productive and rigorous researcher in a wide range of fields including U.S. and global literature, gender studies, psychoanalytic theory, and postcolonial theory. Dr. Forter has published three self-authored manuscripts as well as over 20 major peer-reviewed journal articles, and he has given talks internationally, in Ireland and Norway, as well as at prestigious American institutions such as Harvard, Boston University, and the University of Pennsylvania. His works are considered revolutionary in his field and have firmly established him as an influential figure in postcolonial studies.

Dr. Ken Shimizu portrait

Dr. Ken Shimizu

Chemistry and Biochemistry
College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Ken Shimizu is a professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences. He has been a faculty member at the university since 1997 and served as department chair for six years. Dr. Shimizu is a leader in the field of supramolecular chemistry, where he has done fundamental research on the principles of chemistry and helped develop molecular measurement devices. He is a past winner of the SC ACS Chemist of the Year, as well as the Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Award. His work in research is multidisciplinary, with high citation rates in fields such as organic reaction development, drug design, and theoretical studies.

Dr. James Hebert portrait

Dr. James Hébert

Health Sciences Distinguished Professor and Director of the South Carolina Statewide Cancer Prevention and Control Program
Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Arnold School of Public Health

Dr. James Hébert is the Director of the South Carolina Statewide Cancer Prevention and Control Program and a Health Sciences Distinguished Professor of epidemiology and biostatistics in the Arnold School of Public Health. He has been an innovative and productive public health researcher for more than 45 years, with nearly 800 publications and 2,000 citations per year. Dr. Hébert studies nutritional epidemiology and cancer epidemiology and is credited with the invention of the widely used Dietary Inflammation Index. He is actively involved in community engagement, researching health issues impacting underserved communities and creating opportunities for these groups to access healthcare. Dr. Hébert champions inclusivity, incorporating community members as co-authors on his papers, and has a strong track record of mentoring students and including them in his research as well.

Dr. Brooke McKeever portrait

Dr. Brooke McKeever

Journalism and Mass Communications
College of Information and Communications

Dr. Brooke McKeever is a professor of journalism and mass communications in the College of Information and Communications. She is an internationally recognized researcher in the field of mass communications, one of the most productive and accomplished scholars in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, and a leader in health and public relations communications. Prior to her time at the university, Dr. McKeever worked for Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital and did communications work for a stem cell research foundation near Boston. She currently researches practical topics relating to leadership, communication, and combatting misinformation in the face of public health concerns such as HIV, gun violence, and vaccine hesitancy. Her courses incorporate real-world examples, in-class experiences, and service-learning projects with nonprofits including the American Red Cross, South Carolina State Parks, and the National MS Society.

Dr. Varsha Kulkarni portrait

Dr. Varsha Kulkarni

Physics and Astronomy
College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Varsha Kulkarni is a professor of physics and astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences who has been with the university since 2000. She is world-renowned for her work in the field of extragalactic astrophysics. Dr. Kulkarni has helped revolutionize the research surrounding galaxy evolution and is one of the most productive researchers in the College of Arts and Sciences. Her work has secured the funding of NASA and NSF for over 20 years, and she has earned thousands of observation hours in front of highly competitive technology such as the Webb and Hubble Telescopes. In addition to supervising over 70 undergraduate and graduate students, Dr. Kulkarni is also dedicated to sharing physics and astronomy with both her local community and internationally recognized research collaborators.

USC Columbia Other Awards

Dr. Amy Grant portrait

Dr. Amy Grant

Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity and Assistant Professor
Office of the Dean

College of Pharmacy

Dr. Amy Grant is the associate dean for student affairs and diversity as well as an assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy. Since she came to USC in 2009, she has served in student-centered, student-facing positions, including her roles as Director of Experiential Education, Assistant Dean for Student Services, and currently, Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity. She is responsible for managing the structure, activities, and advising of the undergraduate Pre-Pharmacy program, recruiting students into the Pre-Pharmacy and Doctor of Pharmacy programs, coordinating and implementing college admissions processes, advising students individually and in groups, and leading DEI initiatives. Dr. Grant is a strong proponent of the person first, student second approach, and she excels at encouraging students but also navigating difficult conversations. She prioritizes an individualized approach incorporating goal-setting and NACADA-aligned values.

Kristi Kinslow portrait

Kristi Kinslow, M.Ed.

Director of Pre-Professional Studies and Recruitment
Office of the Dean

College of Pharmacy

Kristi Kinslow is the Director of Pre-Professional Studies and Recruitment for the College of Pharmacy. She has been an advisor at USC since 2017 as well as an instructor of University 101. In addition to these roles, Kinslow serves as an advisor for the Carolina Association of Pre-Pharmacy Students, where she offers bi-weekly programs to support student professional development, and oversees the Bachelor of Science, Pharmaceutical Sciences degree program within the College of Pharmacy. Her relationship-centered approach to advising is a critical component in creating an environment where all students feel supported and equipped to succeed in their chosen career paths, and she ensures that her advisees know that they have an advocate on campus outside of the 30 minutes to an hour spent in her office.

Dr. John Grady portrait

Dr. John Grady

Sport and Entertainment Management
College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

Dr. John Grady is a professor of sport and entertainment management in the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management. His research focuses on Olympic sponsorship and athlete endorsement with an emphasis on social media use and the policy implications for athletes and sponsors. Dr. Grady’s research has been published by Harvard Law School and presented at several national and international conferences, and he has published over 40 scholarly articles over the course of his career at USC.  He is an innovative instructor who creates partnerships for students to work at sports events such as the PGA Tour and Charleston Open, and he provides extensive mentoring to both undergraduate and graduate students. He is also a pioneer of distributed learning, which he introduced to his department in 2005.

Dr. Angela Liese portrait

Dr. Angela Liese

Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Arnold School of Public Health

Dr. Angela Liese is a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics in the Arnold School of Public Health who has been with the university since 2000. Her research focuses on diabetes epidemiology, diabetes-related health inequalities, and social determinants of health. Dr. Liese is an NIH-funded interdisciplinary researcher who has published over 228 peer-reviewed articles in her career, 81 of which were student-led. She demonstrates a strong commitment to training the next generation of epidemiologists and public health researchers, mentoring not only undergraduate and graduate students but also junior faculty members in her school. Dr. Liese has enhanced the visibility and reputation of the university by shaping the scientific agenda in her field, creating research symposia and formal mentorship programs at the national scale.

Dr. Jin Liu portrait

Dr. Jin Liu

Clinical Associate Professor
Educational Psychology and Research
College of Education

The Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity recognizes that instructors play a significant role in developing students of integrity. Dr. Jin Liu is a clinical associate professor of educational psychology and research in the College of Education. She researches academic integrity and proactive interventions, reflecting her commitment to creating a culture of ethical conduct based on core integrity beliefs. She is dedicated to student success and incorporates Universal Design for Learning principles in her courses to foster a supportive and encouraging environment, going above and beyond to ensure  that students have ample opportunities to revise assignments and earn additional points. She employs proctoring services and has students sign the honor pledge as additional safeguards to support an environment of academic integrity.

Dr. Shana Harrington portrait

Dr. Shana Harrington

Physical Therapy Program Director and Clinical Associate Professor
Exercise Science
Arnold School of Public Health

Dr. Shana Harrington is the physical therapy program director and a clinical associate professor in the Arnold School of Public Health. She has been with the university since 2017 and has proved to be exceptionally service minded through her heavy involvement in Paralympic sport activities at the national and international level. Dr. Harrington has served as head of domestic classification for para-sports activities governed by USA Triathlon and USA Paralympics since 2014, and from 2018-2021, she was head of international classification for Paratriathlon. She also served as a swimming educator for the International Paralympic Committee from 2011-2017. Dr. Harrington has provided distinguished and consistent service for well over 40 global events. At the university, she substantially contributes to the DPT program mission as program director, and she researches survivorship and patient reported outcome measures in cancer survivors.

Comprehensive Universities and Palmetto College Awards

Dr. Ellen Malphrus portrait

Dr. Ellen Malphrus


USC Beaufort

Dr. Ellen Malphrus is a professor of English at USC Beaufort and has taught at the university since 1998. Dr. Malphrus is a creative writer who has published 32 works of poetry, short fiction, and creative non-fiction and was a friend and mentee of the late Pat Conroy. She is the USCB Writer in Residence and was named the USCB professor of the year in 2022. Dr. Malphrus is an outstanding instructor who prioritizes the development of students’ creative voices and strong support in and out of the classroom. Several of her students have gone on to become published writers and credit her for the experiential learning opportunities she continues to provide through her writing workshops and the publishing practicum she helped establish for USCB’s nationally recognized literary journal, The Pen.

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