USC Aiken Faculty Awarded

Staff Report From Aiken CEO

Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

The University of South Carolina Aiken presented several faculty members with awards at the end of the spring semester.

The Part-Time Faculty Teaching Excellence Award went to Professor Barbara Laura.

Laura has done an "outstanding job" as a part-time instructor, teaching public speaking in the communication department. Public speaking is a general education class.

"Professor Laura's ability to maintain freshness and enthusiasm in every class is remarkable. Her commitment and care to students helped students overcome fear of public speaking. Her set marks are well above the university mean almost every semester," said one of her nominators.

Students appreciated Laura's assistance throughout the course.

"She helped me be successful in public speaking even with my social anxiety," said one.

Laura plans to retire from teaching after this semester.

Dr. Jeremy Culler earned the Excellence in Advisement Award.

The assistant professor of art history "personifies excellence" in advising his students

His attention and care extends well beyond the perfunctory task of assuring students' course selections will help them progress to graduation. Culler's advising philosophy centers on students' claiming ownership of their education while recognizing that this goal is best achieved with the assistance of guidance and thoughtful advising.

"Because no prescriptive formula for advising exists, Dr. Culler invests in short-term and long-term development of each advisee by building trust," said a colleague.

"These trusting relationships result in students' increased options and resources tailored to their needs, and students' increased willingness to engage them."

The 2019 University of South Carolina Aiken Scholarly Activity Award went to Dr. Todd Hagstette.

He has amassed a scholarly record during his time in the USC system that explores topics related to his primary areas of expertise: Early American and Southern literature. To that end, he has orchestrated a research portfolio that helps to expand national understanding of the antebellum South and its people.

His work has manifested in recent years in his authorship of several peer-reviewed articles and critical introductions, editorship of two university press edited collections and a national academic journal, and presentation of research at multiple national and international conferences.

"Overall, he has helped to broaden awareness and consideration of the southern region, its key practices, and most notable figures," said a peer.

The Community Service Award was presented to Dr. Sanela Porca.

Her personal motto is "service above self," which is also the guiding belief of the Rotary Club, of which she is an active member.

Porca was involved in Leadership Aiken County Program and organized educational sessions for the USC Aiken class of 2018-19. She has volunteered at the Salvation Army, served on the board of Aiken County United Way, is a board member of the CSRA University of Tennessee Alumni Chapter, and is an active member of St Mary's Help of Christians Church where she volunteers at St. Mary's School.

Her latest contribution to the Aiken community was to organize a Business Leadership Symposium at USC Aiken during Homecoming Week which reached more than 300 business men and women.

Dr. Edward Callen earned the 2019 University of South Carolina Aiken University Service Award.

He is "a role model and exemplifies a true service leader at this university," according to one.

Callen has been frequently asked to chair and serve on important university committees. He has also served as Chair of the Retention, Progression, and Graduation Committee, serves on Chancellor's Strategic Planning task forces, worked on revising the faculty evaluation system, while also handling the administrative duties of being chair of the psychology department, as well as being a research mentor and professor.

"[Dr. Callen's university service is viewed by so many with] admiration, with awe, with inspiration, and with the most profound sense of respect," said one colleague

The Excellence in Teaching Award was presented to Dr. Nancy Stark.

The assistant professor of nursing, draws on 40 years of nursing experience to help her students "bridge learning from the classroom to clinical care."

She breaks down complex information and presents hypothetical scenarios to help students "build knowledge, skills, and attitudes" within an applied, real-world context.

"By all accounts, her teaching is a model of best practices in the field, and her passion for the profession is clear in her devotion to her students, both in the classroom and in clinical settings, as she helps them develop the qualities and competencies necessary to be effective and successful in the nursing profession," said a member of the campus community.