Exceptional USC Upstate Faculty Honored for Extraordinary Service

June 10, 2016 at 10:44 am

Student success is closely aligned to experiences in the classroom. College professors who make it exciting to learn, who ignite a student’s passion and inspires students to remain curious and engaged are critical to a college education. USC Upstate prides itself on having exceptional faculty who lead to the kind of enrichment a college education should provide, and serves as valuable preparation for thoughtful, successful engagement with the world following graduation.

Six faculty members who have extraordinary records of service to our institution and our community recently were awarded for their accomplishments and contributions.

For the very first time, USC Upstate has two faculty members who have received the prestigious Fulbright Fellowships and will travel to Central Europe to teach this fall.

Dr. Allison Pingley

Dr. Allison Pingley

Dr. Allison Pingley, associate professor of political science, will teach two classes at Eötvös Lorand University in Budapest, Hungary this fall. She will teach a bachelor’s course in contemporary issues of politics, and a master’s course in U.S. campaigns and elections. The course in campaigns and elections will focus on the U.S. electoral system and process, including the upcoming presidential election. For the contemporary issue of politics course, students will discuss hot topics such as immigration, abortion, gun control, gay marriage, and drug laws, examining how the American approach to these issues is similar or different from those taken by other countries.

Dr. Pingley was also selected by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) to attend a faculty seminar abroad this summer. Pingley is attending a seminar titled, “The Everyday Social, Psychological, and Economic Effects of Communism” in the Czech Republic, June 6-16.

Dr. Vince Connors

Dr. Vince Connors

Dr. Vince Connors, professor of biology and executive editor of “Comparative Parasitology,” will travel to the Slovak Republic this fall to teach graduate seminars and classes in Symbiosis and Parasitism at Pavel Jozef Safarik University in Kosice. In addition, he will conduct research on fish parasitic diseases at the Slovak Academy of Science’s Institute of Parasitology, also in Kosice. The teaching and research will focus on parasitic diseases of humans and wildlife, both of which are extensions of his long-term studies of a wide range of parasites, ranging from a deadly human pathogen to parasites that effect the performance and health of economically important fish along the East coast.

Dr. Connors was also named the 2015-2016 recipient of the USC Upstate Annual Award for Faculty Excellence in Scholarly and/ or Creative Pursuits. His scholarly focus is on immunobiology, with special emphasis on host-parasite relationships. His research holds significant potential for advancing studies in human parasitology and also contributes to our knowledge of the natural environment of coastal South Carolina. Based on an invaluable body of data collected over decades of meticulous fieldwork, Dr. Connor’s interpretations and analytical insights have contributed greatly to complex, large-scale studies that monitor the vitality of our regional ecosystem.

Three faculty members were recognized for excellence during the 2015-2016 academic year.

Dr. Tina Herzberg

Dr. Tina Herzberg

The inaugural USC Upstate Annual Award for Excellence in Service was presented to Dr. Tina Herzberg, director of graduate education programs, for exceptional service that revolves around her work with the Visual Impairment Education program in the School of Education and her leadership in efforts to significantly increase knowledge of the braille code and braille instruction across the state. She has worked creatively and effectively to make this program a major leader and advocate for sustainable high quality visual impairment education in South Carolina. One of her federal grants paired the USC Upstate Visual Impairment Program with the South Carolina Vision Education Partnership to provide in-home services to more than 100 individuals with visual impairment around the state. She developed activities and short-term statewide programs such as the “Technology Olympics” students and coordinated braille code classes in Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Greenville and Spartanburg to serve almost 50 visually impaired adults.

The USC Upstate Excellence in Teaching & Advising Award recognizes two individuals for sustained excellence in undergraduate instruction and academic advisement.

Beer Andrew

Dr. Andrew Beer

Dr. Andrew Beer, associate professor of psychology, and Dr. Gary Bradley, assistant professor of middle level/secondary education, were this year’s recipients. Dr. Beer was recognized for consistently excelling in both teaching and advising and for the value his students place on his expertise and commitment. His classes emphasize exploration, creativity, and critical thinking in the study of individual differences and his students are exposed to the science of personality, and learn to analyze the human variability they see all around them. As a result, many are led to carefully evaluate their own behaviors, in light of their ultimate goals, and to better understand and appreciate the motives and actions of others. This broadening of perspective, with a focus on critical thinking and intellectual growth, marks Dr. Beer’s approach to teaching and advising. He is committed to the general welfare of students and their development across domains, helping them to become informed, creative, perceptive, and mature.

Dr. Gary Bradley

Dr. Gary Bradley

Dr. Gary Bradley truly is a symbol of all of the humble, dynamic, creative, passionate, kind, caring, fun, hard-working, and considerate faculty and staff on our campus. Dr. Bradley joined the School of Education faculty in fall 2011 and has continually used his passion for education to inspire and encourage his students to become educators. His influence reaches far beyond his own classroom, because his students will soon become teachers and use the same skills and passion to inspire thousands of the next generation.

Professor Jimm Cox

Professor Jimm Cox

Jimm Cox, professor of theatre and director of the Shoestring Players, has received
much deserved recognition and accolades for the significant contributions he has made during his 43 years with the USC System.

“He is an institution here. If I had to choose one member of our community to embody the best of what USC Upstate is, it would be him,” said Dr. Ben Myers, chair of the Department of Fine Arts and Communications Studies.

Professor Cox was awarded the Carolina Trustee Professorship in May, which is presented to faculty who are committed to teaching excellence in any phase of the university’s educational mission.

Professor Cox singlehandedly negotiated a collaboration with The Rose Theatre in London that has allowed the theatre’s international program to expand beyond imagination. Students now have the opportunity to perform five week internships at the London facility and Stephen Unwin, an English theatre director, conducts master classes for USC Upstate students and invited guests each year.

“It’s stunning when you actually stop and think about it: to consider how rare it is that a midsize regional state school in the South has a vibrant partnership with one of the most prestigious theatres in London. Quite simply, this partnership would have never happened without Professor Cox,” said Myers.

Additionally, the theatre program has been juried into London’s International Youth Arts Festival for the past six years. Professor Cox’s enthusiastic leadership, commitment to the students, vision for the arts program, and tireless energy are all responsible for the robust offerings that now include majors in communication, theatre, art education, art studio (graphic design), and commercial music. His record for success extends four decades and his unwavering mission to create opportunities for students has improved thousands of lives.

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