The College of Arts and Sciences is announcing 21 McCausland Innovation Fund Awards to programs that will meet the emerging needs of our students and will serve as models
of interdisciplinary, interactive learning.
"Everything we do in the College of Arts and Sciences connects to the impact we have
on our students and our community, and these projects will expand that impact in important
ways,” says Joel Samuels, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
“The McCausland Innovation Fund allows us to invest in these programs that build on
community partnerships, promote teaching and research, and enhance the student experience.
I look forward to seeing the success of these projects as they move forward.
“I wish to thank Peter and Bonnie McCausland for their visionary support that enables
us to invest in these creative new activities."
TheMcCausland Innovation Fund is designed to inspire and support bold advances in the College of Arts and Sciences.
It is one ofthree programs created by a gift from Peter McCausland, a 1971 graduate of UofSC’s history program,
and his wife, Bonnie McCausland.
The 2022 McCausland Innovation Fund awardees have created projects that will contribute
to a culture of innovation in the college, inspire student creativity, and expand
The fund supports projects including creating an online course in reducing public
speaking anxiety, lifting up our communities by acknowledging the Black experience
at the Baruch Marine Field Laboratory, and establishing a student-run design studio
that supports local businesses and gives undergraduates valuable work experience.
“We propose to develop a Molecular Biology Lab Skills Workshop to increase the participation
of first generation and underrepresented students in undergraduate research experiences,”
says biological sciences professor and awardee Beth Krizek.
“Increasing diversity is critical for scientific progress and innovation as individuals
with different backgrounds and perspectives approach problems in new ways and ask
Anthropology instructor Kelly Goldberg proposed creating a Public Heritage Lab at
the University of South Carolina, to provide a unique way for students to engage in
and understand the importance of community collaboration and outreach as critical
components of the research process.
“Students participating in the lab will have the opportunity not only to create public-facing
interpretations of archaeological heritage projects, but to directly contribute to
collaborative networking initiatives, connecting the university, local high schools,
and Columbia-based heritage groups such as the Historic Columbia Foundation,” Goldberg
“By creating, contextualizing, and sharing copies of historical artifacts with educational
institutions, UofSC students will help to share the stories and amplify the voices
of individuals underrepresented in historical documents, while simultaneously raising
an awareness of the educational value of archaeological resources.”
Eight projects receiving McCausland Innovation Fund awards were designed to enhance
the student experience and, promote interdisciplinary teaching and research and build
partnerships in the community.
Lead: Minuette Floyd (School of Visual Art and Design)
Team Members: Althea Counts (Director, Trio Program); Nancy Tolson (Assistant Director,
African-American Studies); Sherrie Belton (Parent & Family Engagement Specialist,
This beyond-the-classroom experience will allow underrepresented and first-generation
students the opportunity to study abroad in Ghana, West Africa. Students will engage
with the peoples and rich culture of the region while examining cultural misconceptions
through artmaking and storytelling. Carolina students will hone their programming
with Richland School District One elementary school students prior to traveling abroad.
Lead: Kelly Goldberg (Anthropology); Lana Burgess (Graduate Director, McKissick Museum)
Team Members: Laura Kissel (Director, Media Arts); Adam King (Director, SCIAA); James
Spirek (SCIAA); John Sherrer (Historic Columbia Foundation)
Students, faculty and staff will collaborate with local partner institutions to increase
access to cultural heritage materials using three-dimensional copies of significant
archaeological and cultural artifacts. This new facility will allow collaborators,
including the McKissick Museum, to spotlight and bring to life the experiences and
stories that remain untold while increasing public access to historical collections
Lead: Beth Krizek (Biological Sciences); Charles Andy Schumpert (Biological Sciences)
Undergraduate students in their first semester will learn fundamental laboratory and
research skills with the goal of increasing participation of underrepresented and
first-generation students in STEM fields. Graduate students in the Department of Biological
Sciences who also belong to underrepresented or first-generation groups will teach
the Saturday sessions with the help of upper-level undergraduates.
Lead: William Strosnider (Baruch Institute)
Team Members: Tameria Warren (Undergraduate Studies Program Coordinator, SEOE); Bruce
Pfirrmann (BMFL Research Resource Specialist); Steve Williams (Historian); Patti Burns
This project seeks to uncover, acknowledge, and honor the contributions that enslaved
individuals made in creating the landscape that now houses the Baruch Marine Field
Laboratory. In collaboration with the University of Dayton, efforts will be made to
intensify engagement with local African American communities, gather primary sources
concerning the Black experience on that land and integrate this new information into
current and future USC courses.
Lead: Marius Valdes (School of Visual Art and Design)
Select students in the School of Visual Art and Design will lead this design studio
and incubator to innovative learning opportunities beyond the classroom and bring
community visibility to the work of student designers. The studio will function as
a self-sustaining small agency with students collaborating with faculty directors
to sell products, engage with the community, and potentially gain international recognition
for their work.
Lead: August W. Fountain III (Chemistry and Biochemistry)
Team Members: Amy Taylor-Perry (Senior Instructor, Chemistry and Biochemistry); Demi
Garvin (Consultant, Pharm.D., F-ABFT, Director of Forensic Services, Retired SLED)
In response to the anticipated growth of the forensic science profession over the
next decade, the department will endeavor to establish a minor in Forensic Science.
This project aims to redesign CHEM 107 and CHEM 622 courses to align with the requirements
of the Forensic Science Education Accreditation Commission (FEPAC), making USC one
of only two FEPAC certified universities in the state. Partnerships with SLED and
a new lab component will further prepare graduates to enter this in-demand occupation.
Lead: Valinda Littlefield (History), Brent Morris (ISRE at USC-Beaufort)
Team members: Rhonda Carey (Director, Project Reconstruction); Melissa DeVelvis (Augusta
University); Minuette Floyd (Art Education); Nicole Maskiell (Director, Public History
Program); Victoria Smalls (Director, Gullah Geechee Corridor)
In this interdisciplinary project, faculty and graduate students will work closely
with middle and high school students on archival research and collecting oral histories
and other materials about the 1st South Carolina Volunteers. Documenting the history
of African American soldiers serving in the US Armed Forces will serve local communities
and partner organizations while equipping secondary students to present their work,
in a variety of mediums, at a special event.
In service of USC students and the many professional track faculty (PTF), this addresses
a need for teaching-focused professional development. Using a peer-to-peer format
based on the Japanese Lesson Study, this project will pilot a scalable implementation
of a pedagogical training program beginning with select departments. PTFs will take
an active role in the building and assessment of this program, in which teachers support
one another within a community learning context.
The fund also is supporting efforts to develop online offerings for more than 17 courses,
allowing greater flexibility in teaching and learning while improving students' online
Leads: Rodney Taylor and Kendall Deas and Team Member: Kimberly Simmons (African American
First taught in Fall 2021, AFAM 200 has proven to be a very popular Founding Documents
class that has received many requests from students to be taught online. This Carolina
Core class is a study of the United States founding documents that emphasizes how
the experiences of African American citizens throughout history and culture shape
the country’s values, norms and ideals.
Lead: Qiana Whitted (English Language and Literature and African American Studies)
Moved online during the pandemic in a remote delivery format, this cross-listed course
(with WGST 515) explores the representation of race and gender in comics with a special
emphasis on the experiences of African Americans. As part of the McCausland cohort,
the faculty lead will revise the course to be a completely asynchronous, high-quality
online course designed to meet the flexibility of today's students and to increase
access to students throughout USC.
Lead: Kimberly Simmons (Anthropology and African American Studies)
This highly engaging course explores the African American identity in popular feature
films and investigates cultural representations, constructions, production and consumption.
The rich resources available through University Library's educational streaming films
and highly engaging technology provide an opportunity to move this course online to
better reach and engage students in this field of study.
Lead: Rebecca Stern (English Language and Literature)
ENGL 280, Literature and Society, fulfills two Carolina Core requirements (both AIU
and VSR) and has been popular, attracting a range of majors and minors to the College.
Developing a fully online version of this course enhances flexibility for students.
Lead: Tara Remington and Team Members: Jerry Mitchell and Grayson Morgan (Geography)
Moving this GIS course online will help provide students flexibility in learning introductory
principles and methods of geographic information systems including discussion of computers,
spatial data, analysis and display. This course not only includes discussion of applications
but also hands-on experience — all of which is enhanced through online delivery.
Lead: Grayson Morgan and Team Members: Jerry Mitchell and Tara Remington (Geography)
This 500-level GIS course introduces students to theory and application of geographic
information systems including discussions of automated input, storage, analysis, integration
and display of spatial data. Students will learn to use an operational geographic
information system in an online format.
Lead: Derek O'Leary and Team Member: Colin Wilder (History)
HIST 201 has become a highly demanded course that will be taught each semester by
multiple instructors in the History Department from a variety of specialties. Designing
this course for online delivery will help provide instructional resources that will
help future instructors deliver high-quality History 201 instruction in an online
format to attract students who have different interests in American history and to
help meet the needs of students who need an online Carolina Core Founding Documents
and History option.
Lead: Saskia Coenen-Snyder and Team Members: James Risk (History)
A gateway course for history majors, this course lays the groundwork for students
who wish to explore the field and craft of history. An online hybrid format will allow
the program to reach more students, with greater flexibility and accessibility, and
the course will utilize the many digital resources available at USC.
Lead: Neil Levens and Team Members: Sam McQuillin and Amanda Davis (Psychology)
In response to the recent growth of the psychology program, the development of this
online class will provide a solution to scaling a new required course. Teaching hundreds
of students each semester, a creative format will allow for instruction as well as
a laboratory component.
Lead: Amit Almor and Team Members: Dawson Peterson (Ph.D. student, Linguistics) and
Sarah Wilson (Ph.D. student, Linguistics)
This interdisciplinary course satisfies major requirements in psychology as well as
minor and graduate requirements in linguistics. With few online offerings at the 500
level, this format will allow greater access for students and a faster path to graduation
as a summer course.
Lead: Erin Roberts and Team Member: Graduate Student Assistant (Religious Studies)
A Carolina Core class, RELG 101 provides foundational knowledge on the beliefs and
practices of the world's religions and the methods scholars use to study them. An
online version of this course will help reach more students in a more flexible format.
Lead: Stephanie Mitchem and Team Member: Graduate Student Assistant (Religious Studies)
In a two-for-one proposal, this team will develop RELG 205 for online delivery for
the first time and will revise a popular online course, RELG 270. RELG 205, another
Carolina Core class, introduces students to knowledge of the values and ethics developed,
contested and transmitted through a variety of religious practices. This course is
highly requested by students to be taught online. As part of this cohort, RELG 270
will be revised to meet current trends within the field of Religion and the Arts and
to incorporate new techniques, instructional materials and assignments for student
Lead: Stephanie Milling
The Master of Dance Studies program is a first-of-its-kind undertaking that will provide
graduate-level dance study with the goal to address the increasing need for teachers
in K-12 dance education.
Lead: Hanne van der Iest
The Summer of Sociology will be a highly-collaborative, accelerated minor program
that allows students to earn the minor in a single summer.
Lead: Hanne van der Iest and Team Members: Andrea Henderson (Faculty Expert), Atticus
Wolfe (Graduate Assistant), Victoria Money (Graduate Assistant), Valerie Barron (Graduate
Assistant), and Morgan Koziol (Graduate Assistant) (Sociology)
SOCY 360 is a high-demand, highly marketable sociology course that would constitute
one of the three core 300-level courses in our online minor. Developing this course
online through a team approach will provide a course that can meet the unit's need
for increased sustainability of this core Departmental online offering.
Lead: Hanne van der Iest and Team Members: Matthew Brashears (Faculty Expert), Nicholas
Heiserman (Graduate Assistant), and Nick Harder (Graduate Assistant) (Sociology)
Our Elementary Statistics course, SOCY 392, is a minor requirement with enrollment
numbers capped due to space constraints in our statistics lab. Moving this course
online will help the department to better serve the needs of its students and to offer
a variety of courses in a more sustainable fashion.
Lead: Hanne van der Iest and Team Members: Jaclyn Wong (Faculty Expert), Meg Routh
(Graduate Assistant), and Samantha Moser (Graduate Assistant) (Sociology)
A Carolina Core Integrative Course, this research course helps majors meet requirements
for both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees and provides students
the skills they need to conduct research. Developing this into an online format provides
flexibility for sociology students and an opportunity for non-majors as well.
Lead: Pat Gehrke (Speech Communication, English Language and Literature)
Many college students experience very high public speaking anxiety, and this online
course will provide tools to help. The asynchronous format will allow the reintroduction
of a course that has not been offered for nearly 20 years, with the scalability to
meet student needs.
Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.