September 5, 2019 | Erin Bluvas, firstname.lastname@example.org
The SEC has selected Toni Torres-McGehee, associate professor of exercise science and director of athletic training programs for the athletic training program, to receive one of the conference’s two Academic Leadership Development Program Fellowships. Torres-McGehee is the second UofSC faculty member to be named a fellow in the program’s three-year history.
The fellowships provide an opportunity for alumni of the program, which Torres-McGehee completed in 2015-2016, to visit other SEC universities. These exchanges are aimed at strengthening the fellows’ administrative leadership skills while they work to address an area of growth for their home institutions.
Torres-McGehee will travel to the University of Florida, University of Georgia and Texas A&M during the upcoming academic year. While spending time with administrators at these institutions, she plans to appraise how they foster a culture that minimizes bias and recognizes systemic inequities.
“I strive to bring back ideas on how to best integrate new voices and expertise to help advance the common good,” Torres-McGehee told the SEC. “I expect to uncover best practices for our institution to recruit diverse leaders, faculty, staff and students; identify the best action we can take to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace and classroom environments; and improve data collection and transparency so we can measure progress.”
The project aligns perfectly with an administrative role that Torres-McGehee took on in 2018 when she was named Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at UofSC’s Arnold School of Public Health. As a Mexican-American who grew up in an impoverished community and was the first in her family to graduate from college, Torres-McGehee has long viewed her personal and professional surroundings from a perspective of diversity, equity and inclusion. The talented athlete earned scholarships to play basketball as an undergraduate at Cochise College and Southern Utah University and then completed a master’s in sports health/preventive rehabilitation from Texas Tech University.
After gaining three years of experience as an athletic trainer, Torres-McGehee earned a Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from The University of Alabama in 2006 – joining UofSC as a faculty following her graduation. In addition to growing her robust research program and numerous service and mentoring activities, she has steadily gained leadership experiences (e.g., Pipeline for Academic Leaders fellowship program, SEC Academic Leadership Development Program, various committees and boards including diversity chair for the College of Education, executive board member for the Latino Faculty Caucus, and committee member of the President’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee) that have helped inform her approach to leading the Arnold School’s diversity, equity and inclusion strategies and actions. She will add to these experiences through the knowledge she gains during her exchanges as a fellow.
“Research is an essential part of every Southeastern Conference university,” Dr. Torie Johnson, SEC Associate Commissioner said in an SEC story. “Dr. Torres-McGehee has spent many years exploring ways to enhance the experiences of students and faculty at the University of South Carolina, and being able to support her efforts in this area is extremely important to the SEC.”