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Palmetto College Excellence Awards honor Scholarship, Teaching, Service

Each spring, the Palmetto College Campuses Excellence Awards for teaching, scholarship and service are announced.

The John J. Duffy Excellence in Teaching Award for Palmetto College Campuses has been presented annually since 2009 to a faculty member who exemplifies excellence in and out of the classroom. The 2017-2018 Duffy Teaching Award was presented to Shelley Jones, assistant professor of English in Extended University.

Jones created free online research modules as a student success initiative and developed a new Palmetto College course, PALM 495: Service Learning. Students had previously been required to spend 140 hours on-site – about 10 hours a week – for an internship class. The new course is a first of its kind at the university. Instead of working on-site, students can complete their work on their own time as long as they meet preset deadlines.

Of her own teaching, Jones said “I strive in all forms of my teaching to create a community of learners in conversation not only with me, but also with their colleagues, their texts, their culture and their lives outside the classroom.”

The Chris P. Plyler Excellence in Service Award for Palmetto College Campuses is presented to a faculty member who personifies excellence in service to the campus, university, community and profession. This award was first given in 2015. The 2017-2018 Plyler Service Award was presented to Ray McManus, associate professor of English at USC Sumter.

McManus’ service to his campus, USC Sumter, has included roles as faculty organization chair, director of the Center for Oral narrative and director of USC Sumter Summer Scholars Series.

His service to Palmetto College, the Columbia campus and the university system include memberships on the Palmetto College Academic Advisory Committee, the Provost Creative and Performing Arts Grant Committee and the USC System Faculty Leadership Council.

McManus’ community service includes roles as creative writing director for Tri-District Arts Consortium, coordinator for Poetry Out Loud (Region II) and workshop leader for Serious Young Women Writers Conference. McManus was recently named the inaugural writer-in-residence at the Columbia Museum of Art.

The Denise R. Shaw Excellence in Scholarship Award for Palmetto College Campuses, first given in 2017, is presented to a faculty member who exhibits outstanding scholarship. The 2017-2018 Shaw Scholarship Award was presented to Christine Sixta Rinehart, associate professor of political science at USC Union.

She has published two books, two book chapters, two peer reviewed articles, two book reviews and one newspaper article. She has also presented at six conferences and received three research grants. Her research interests include international terrorism, female terrorism, and security and counterterrorism.

Her first book, Volatile Social Movements and the Origins of Terrorism: The Radicalization of Change, was published in 2012 by Lexington Books.

Rinehart’s second book, Drones and Targeted Killing in the Middle East and Africa: An Appraisal of American Counterterrorism Policies, was published in 2016. Of her second book, Brian Glyn Williams of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth declared that Rinehart’s book was “a must-read for scholars interested in probing beyond the headlines into the murky world of drone counterterrorism operations.”

She recently traveled to Israel to interview four incarcerated female terrorists in an Israeli prison. Rinehart’s third book, Sexual Jihad: The Role of Islam in Female Terrorism will be published in late 2018.