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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management


Cheers to teaching excellence

Posted on: October 15, 2018
By: Lauren Schwartz, laurencs@email.sc.edu

Sandy Strick is a 30-year veteran of the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management (HRTM) faculty. As a nationally-known sommelier and the founding director of the Wine and Beverage Institute at Carolina, Strick transfers her excellence to the students in her undergraduate and doctoral-level classes.

Strick was awarded the 2018 Garnet Apple Award, honoring exceptional faculty who are committed to best teaching practices and innovative strategies that enhance learning. The Garnet Apple Award is one of the most prestigious teaching accolades of the university, awarded by the Office of the Provost to no more than six professors each year.

The hands-on learning experiences are what set Strick’s classes apart. She is an expert at cultivating critical thinking and practical application skills in her students. Strick’s popular Global Classroom trips were so successful they resulted in an international presentation last year.

Strick knows that many of her students may not pursue careers in the hospitality field, but her goal is to impact their futures in some way. Her wine classes aim to enhance various aspects of students’ lives — whether it be cultural awareness, hospitality excellence, or improved culinary knowledge and dining enjoyment.

The most rewarding part of my career is watching students go off and do great things. If I can inspire them to look at the world a little differently beyond my classroom, I achieved my goal.

— Sandy Strick, professor
     hotel, restaurant and tourism management

“Sandy is such an understanding and relatable professor. She makes going to class really enjoyable,” said hospitality management senior Audrey Karas. “She has so much background knowledge in the beverage industry and students get a chance to learn about applicable topics in their career fields.”

In addition to university students, Strick imparts her wisdom on community members. She teaches wine and beer classes at the McCutchen House on a monthly basis, with topics varying based on the time of year. The courses are consistently sold out. 

Her transformative teaching may have won her the distinguished Garnet Apple Award, but affecting students’ lives is what makes Strick most proud.

“The most rewarding part of my career is watching the students go off and do great things,” says Strick. “If I can inspire them to look at the world a little differently beyond my classroom, I achieved my goal.”