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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

  • Image of all faculty staff award winners, Armen Shaomian, Miyoung Jeong, Sandy Strick and Jessica Harris.

College of HRSM announces 2020 faculty and staff awards

By Brooke Stillwell,
Posted on April 30, 2020

While the spring 2020 semester was impacted by COVID-19 campus closures, there is still much to celebrate looking back at the year of hard work and accomplishments in the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management. The College of HRSM is proud to announce the winners of its 2020 Faculty and Staff awards, and the formal award ceremony is tentatively planned for fall.

“Congratulations to all of our award winners!” says Haemoon Oh, Dean of the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management. “Each winner is very deserving of their award for their outstanding research, teaching and service. Thank you for representing HRSM so beautifully and making your college shine throughout the year. I am proud of you all!” 

armen shaomian bannerMiyoung Jeong bannerJessica Harris banner

Armen Shaomian

2020 Harry E. and Carmen S. Varney Distinguished Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to Armen Shaomian, associate professor in the Department of Sport and Entertainment Management, for receiving the 2020 Harry E. and Carmen S. Varney Distinguished Teacher of the Year award — the college’s top teaching honor. The student-nominated award is determined by a committee of faculty, staff and students. After a rigorous review process, three finalists are chosen each year to represent three of the primary departments within the college, and then further evaluation of the finalists is conducted to determine a winner.

As this year’s college-level awardee, Shaomian’s students nominated him for his guidance in working in the entertainment industry and for his ability to help students make valuable career connections. Student Payton Orlando says, “Dr. Shaomian demonstrates a true passion for the entertainment industry and takes the time to take his students to many different shows like Monster Jam, Disney on Ice, and Wicked. He works hard to ensure that every student understands the material and finds their passion within the industry.” S.J. Anderson, another of Shaomian’s students, says, “He’s connected me with industry professionals and alerted me to opportunities such as NAMM and a recording research project.” Shaomian has an extensive background in the performing arts, education, and project management and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in live entertainment, entertainment law, live event promotion and the business of Broadway. He is also passionate about helping students gain a global understanding of the industry, and leads study abroad courses each year. He received the college’s Global Scholar Award in 2017, and was recently named president of the Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association. 

Top finalist in the Department of Retailing, Instructor Daniela Jankovska, was nominated by students for her hands-on teaching style and supportive nature. The students celebrated her for incorporating new technology into the classroom to prepare them for career success. Top finalist in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management, Assistant Professor Marketa Kubickova, was nominated for encouraging her students to pursue their biggest goals while teaching them perseverance and self-sufficiency. Kubickova teaches courses in hotel management and leads study abroad classes each year.

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

The College of HRSM and the Teacher of the Year committee would also like to recognize the following Ph.D. students who were also nominated for the award, although they were not eligible to win:

Sport and Entertainment Management 
Christopher Corr, Fei Gao, Jackie Hague and Timothy Koba
Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management
“Henry” Hyunsu Kim, Jing Li, Rebecca Neal, "Hailey” Hyejo Shin and “Hannah” Xiaonan Zhang

Miyoung Jeong

2020 Patricia G. Moody Researcher of the Year 

The 2020 Patricia G. Moody Researcher of the Year Award goest to Miyoung Jeong, professor in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management.

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. In addition to Jeong, faculty members Nicholas Wantanabe and Stephen Shapiro, both of Sport and Entertainment Management, were also nominated for the award this year. A peer review committee reviews each nomination across a number of criteria, including the research impact and importance, creativity, authorship, grant funding, and journal rankings for published work, among other criteria.

Since 2016, Jeong has published 22 refereed research articles, given 22 international and national research presentations, and secured more than $87,000 in research grant funding. Jeong’s research focuses on hospitality and tourism operations technology with an emphasis on social media, smart tourism technology, digital technology (AI, AR and VR), the sharing economy, and event and meeting management. Her research endeavors have led her to be appointed as an international scholar with Universidad de La Sabana in Colombia to build research collaborations with its faculty, and she is currently working on four research projects with them in that capacity. Jeong also serves as co-executive editor for the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Education, and has served as an editorial review board member for four hospitality/tourism research journals.

Committee Chair Fang Meng says, “Dr. Jeong’s scholarship record demonstrates a high standard of research productivity in terms of refereed journal articles, book chapters, conference proceedings and presentations, grants, research reports, best paper awards, and doctoral student supervising.”  

In addition to her research, Jeong also teaches graduate level courses in conference and meeting planning, tourism information technology, quantitative methods in HRSM and more. She also leads the International Hospitality and Tourism Summer Academy.

Congratulations to Miyoung Jeong for continuing to add to the body of knowledge for hospitality and tourism researchers.

Jessica Harris

2020 HRSM Staff Member of the Year

Congratulations to Jessica Harris, winner of the 2020 Staff Member of the Year award! Harris is the administrative coordinator in the Department of Sport and Entertainment and joined the college in 2013. In her role, Harris manages 1,400 sport and entertainment majors each semester, attending to their needs and answering hundreds of course enrollment questions including those about class scheduling and course overrides. She also handles travel and purchasing requests by faculty and staff and helps oversee the general operations of the department. Harris was also applauded for her exceptional ability to multitask and for consistently going above and beyond – especially in helping her department transition to the new building and managing key operations and logistics during the move to Close-Hipp in 2019.

A few highlights from her many nominations include:

“Jessica is the lifeblood of SPTE. She is always available for any question which she not only answers, but also explains in a teaching moment for long-term success.”

“She is dedicated to the faculty and students of SPTE and constantly works on our behalf when dealing with offices across campus. Our office wouldn't function without her.”

“It is difficult to quantify what Jessica means to this department. She truly is an exceptional administrative assistant.”

Harris earned her B.A. in theatre from Winthrop University and worked in both undergraduate and graduate admissions at UofSC prior to joining the College of HRSM.

Congratulations to Jessica Harris for recognition of her excellent service to the college and its students.

Sandy Strick

2020 Brian J. and Linda L. Mihalik Global Scholar

Congratulations to Associate Professor Sandy Strick on receiving the 2020 Brian J. and Linda L. Mihalik Global Scholar award! This endowed award was created to support teachers who work hard to create pathways to global knowledge and scholarship through study abroad and international collaboration.   

Strick is a faculty leader for many of College of HRSM’s study abroad courses each year. These popular global classroom trips are so successful they resulted in an international presentation last year. This year in response to COVID-19, she and fellow faculty member Karen Edwards converted their traditional study abroad course on luxury management in Italy into a virtual travel online experience. Featuring international guest lecturers and delivered 100% online, the course enables students to explore Italy and its famed luxury brands through virtual reality tours, video conferencing and Strick and Edwards' extensive knowledge.

Strick is committed to fostering global knowledge through her research as well as her teaching. Her research areas include cultural diversity in the hospitality industry and international wine tourism, as well as wine marketing and meeting and convention trends. As a nationally recognized and certified wine specialist, Strick has taught wine and beverage classes at UofSC for 30 years – helping students explore cultures through a culinary lense. She has also participated in the Banfi Scholarship Tour which provides students and faculty with a Tuscan food and wine experience.

In 2018, Strick was awarded the Garnet Apple at UofSC honoring exceptional faculty who are committed to best teaching practices and innovative strategies that enhance learning. Strick’s hands-on learning experiences set her classes apart, and she is an expert at cultivating critical thinking and practical application skills in her students.

Congratulations to Sandy Strick for innovation in the global classroom. 

State Service Milestones

The College of HRSM would also like to recognize 10-year service milestones for Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management faculty Robin DiPietro, Kevin Ayres, Simon Hudson, Brian Mihalik and Retailing faculty member Deb Brosdahl. Thank you for a decade of service that has made a lasting impact on the state of South Carolina. All celebrants will receive a certificate and pin to signify the state, university and college’s gratitude for their contributions.

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