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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

  • TOY
  • Kevin So Researcher of the Year Award
  • Staff Member of the Year, Tim Burke

2018 HRSM faculty and staff awards

The University of South Carolina College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport management took time to celebrate a successful school year and honor some particularly outstanding faculty and staff at an awards ceremony and luncheon May 1.

“Congratulations to all of the award recipients, and thank you so much to the committees who worked hard on selecting this year’s honorees,” said Dean Haemoon Oh. “Today is a special day of recognition and celebration, but we are so fortunate to have amazing success happening every day across our college.”


Harry E. and Carmen S. Varney Distinguished Teacher of the Year

Scott Smith, assistant professor

Congratulations to Assistant Professor Scott Smith of the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management on receiving the 2018 Harry E. and Carmen S. Varney Distinguished Teacher of the Year award! This student-nominated award is selected by a committee of faculty, staff and students with hundreds of nominations each year. After a rigorous review process, three finalists are chosen each year to represent three of the primary departments within the college.

Senior Instructor Susan O’Malley was the 2018 finalist and department honoree from the Department of Sport and Entertainment Management. Her students nominated her for her mentorship, tremendous knowledge, fun teaching approach and dedication to student success. Assistant Professor Annette Burnsed was also a finalist and top nominee for the Department of Retailing. Her students nominated her for her fun classes, study abroad experiences, career development and tireless work ethic.

As the college-level award recipient, Smith’s students nominated him for his role model behavior, encouragement, knowledgeable teaching and willingness to spend time getting to know and help students both in and outside the classroom. As a theme park and attraction tourism expert, Smith’s primary areas of research are pricing and revenue management in the hospitality industry. He also provides consulting to the hotel, resort and theme park industries, and leads students in an annual Maymester class in Orlando, taking a closer look at theme parks. He was also ranked the eighth Best University Professor in the United States for 2008 according to www.ratemyprofessor.com.

Congratulations to all three finalists for representing the very best in education excellence, and thank you for your continued impact on all of your students.


Patricia G. Moody Researcher of the Year 

Kevin So, assistant professor and research associate 

The 2018 Patricia G. Moody Researcher of the Year Award went to Kevin So, an assistant professor in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management and a research associate in the Richardson Family SmartState Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development.

The award is the most prestigious recognition of scholarly achievement given by the college. Any full-time faculty member of the college with evidence of quality research within the previous four years may be nominated by their peers. Nominations are evaluated by a committee of their peers across a number of criteria including the importance of the research and scholarship to the discipline, creativity of the scholarship, authorship, grant funding, and ranking/impact of the journal published among other criteria.

Since So joined the University of South Carolina in 2014, he has published 17 journal articles, of which 14 appeared in HRTM “A+” journals, one appeared in an HRTM “A” journal, and one appeared in one of the top two services marketing/management journals.

So has earned a number of international awards, including the Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing Martin Oppermann Best Article of the Year Award in 2014; the Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research Article of the Year Award in 2015, and the 2014 Emerald/EFMD Outstanding Doctoral Research Award in the Hospitality Management category. Most recently, his article “The role of customer engagement in building consumer loyalty to tourism brands,” published in the Journal of Travel Research, was ranked the most downloaded article published in the journal in 2017.

So has submitted nearly 30 competitive research grant proposals, of which 11 have been successfully funded, with a total award of approximately $400,000.

John Grady and Richard Southall were also recognized as finalists for the award this year. Grady’s research focuses on sport law and risk and security management in sport. Southall’s research specializes in college sport management, and he is director of the College Sport Research Institute.


HRSM Staff Member of the Year

Tim Burke, graphic design manager for HRSM

HRSM Graphic Design Manager Tim Burke received a standing ovation as he was named the 2018 Staff Member of the Year. Burke received the most nominations for the award and was nominated by individual faculty members, fellow staff members and even support staff units.

Nominations described Burke as “one of the friendliest people to work with” and as someone who “has high standards for everything he does and represents the college well in his work.”

Another nomination described Burke’s talent and teamwork as exceptional and noted that he is also recognized and respected campus-wide for the quality of his work, his integrity and the meaningful interaction he has with others.

Burke has an extensive background in advertising and design and joined HRSM in 2014. He leads the college’s graphic design in addition to photography support as part of the marketing and communications team.


Brian J. and Linda L. Mihalik Global Scholar Award 

Rich Harrill, research professor

Rich Harrill, director of the International Tourism Research Institute, was awarded the Brian and Linda Mihalik Global Scholar Award.

This endowed award was created to support teachers who are working hard to create opportunities for students to gain global experience and study abroad. By providing more pathways to global knowledge and scholarship, the college is able to enrich students’ education as well as our impact on the future of worldwide industries.

Harrill conducts studies on applied research to provide practical solutions to increase U.S. and international tourism industry competitiveness, resulting in additional revenues and strong economic development opportunities.

He has also, as Brian Mihalik put it, “opened the doors to China for us.” Harrill has vastly increased the reputation of the University of South Carolina in China by building strong international ties that have led to research and exchange agreements with top Chinese universities, including Peking University, Nanjing University, Nankai University, Shandong University, and Sun Yat-Sen University, along with the Institute for Tourism Studies, Macao, enriching the academic experience for students.


Garnet Apple

Sandy Strick

The week prior to the HRSM college-level awards, Associate Professor Sandy Strick was honored with a Garnet Apple Award from the university’s Center for Teaching Excellence. The annual Garnet Apple Award for Teaching Innovation honors the University of South Carolina’s most exceptional faculty who demonstrate a commitment to best teaching practices and an ongoing record of developing innovative strategies to enhance student learning in their courses. Strick was selected for effectively including active learning, real world applications, student-centered learning, backward-design and interactions within her courses.


State Service Milestones

Also recognized at the ceremony were dedicated faculty and staff who have celebrated milestone decades of service as South Carolina state employees. Each honoree received a certificate and pin to signify the state’s, university’s and college’s gratitude for their contributions.

30 Years of Service

  • Cathy Gustafson, Associate Professor in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management
  • Sandy Strick, Associate Professor in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management

20 Years of Service

10 Years of Service

“The College of HRSM is the best college of its kind, and it is a privilege to work with such innovative, talented and dedicated colleagues,” said Oh. “We have strength in our diversity and opportunity in our collaboration towards a common vision. It is exciting to look toward new goals that we will exceed together.”


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