Outstanding College Faculty & Staff Earn Awards
The Education Museum was crowded with college faculty and staff on April 16th as everyone waited for the much anticipated 2013 College of Education Faculty and Staff Awards to be announced and the recipients to be recognized.
Dr. Meir Muller was celebrated with The Early Career in Teaching Award. Muller is a past recipient of the Scholastic Early Childhood Educator of the Year and served on the Council for NAEYC Accreditation. Muller is the creator of innovative practices, coordinator of adjunct instruction, home host, school administrator, and model instructor. Muller is a clinical assistant professor within the Department of Instruction of Teacher Education for Early Childhood Education. (Drs. Bethany Bell, Christian Anderson and Jan Yow were also nominees for this award.)
The College of Early Career Research Award was bestowed to Assistant Professor in Educational Leadership and Policies Dr. Peter Moyi for his significant line of research and contributions to advancing educational reforms in sub-Saharan Africa. Moyi has received national and international recognition for his work as the CIES ASIG Chair, service on the college's Advance Programs Governance Committee, a faculty associate of the Walker Institute for African Studies, a prolific researcher, and published author on South African educational issues. (Dr. Erin Miller was also a nominee for this award.)
The College of Education Research Award acknowledges faculty who have been at USC for at least seven years and established a sustained record of outstanding research and scholarship that has had significant impact on their field of study. Fortunately for the college, two individuals earned this distinction – Dr. James M. Mensch of the Department of Physical Education and Athletic Training and Dr. Susi Long of the Department of Instruction and Teacher Education.
Since coming to USC in 2000, Mensch has secured over nine million dollars in grants. His research endeavors involve collaborations across several healthcare professions and that work has been instrumental for integrating athletic trainers into Ft. Jackson's basic combat training. The Department of Instruction and Teacher Education Professor of Early Childhood Education & Language and Literacy Dr. Susi Long's work focuses on collaboration with teachers to generate culturally relevant literacy practices to address achievement in classroom and community settings. Early in her career, Long received National Council of Teachers of English's (NCTE) "Promising Research Award," serves on their Consulting Network and is a former assistant chair of the NCTE Elementary Section Steering Committee. In 2009, Long was named the Moore Child Advocacy Chair for her research record. Her published works are extensive – among her renowned publications are Tensions and Triumphs in the Early Years of Teaching; Many Pathways to Literacy; and Supporting Students in a Time of Core Standards, K-2. (Dr. Donna Gibson was also a nominee for this award.)
The award given to a faculty member who has demonstrated service above and beyond the call of duty to the college, USC and most especially to the students and staff is called The Leonard F. Maiden Spirit of Service Award. Dr. Diane Stephens' lifetime literacy efforts include working with adults as well as children from elementary to high school as a reading resource teacher, assistant clinical supervisor, director of two reading clinics, a full-time researcher, a senior scientist, a counselor and GED instructor, a professor, and as a former department chair of the College of Education's Department of Instruction and Teacher Education. Since arriving at the college in 1999, she has been a teaching team member with the South Carolina Reading Initiative (SCRI) and the NCTE's Reading Initiative as a Statewide Development Project, and contributed greatly to the college's graduate programs in language and literacy.
Carper then transitioned to recognizing the staff award winners, nominees and retirees. The three staff awards were Rising STAR, STAR, and Hidden Gem. The STAR awards stand for Service Teamwork, Attitude and Reliability. The Hidden Gem award recognizes a staff member who goes "above and beyond the call of duty" and shows a daily commitment to reliability and precision to their work.
The Rising STAR Award recognizes an outstanding staff member who has worked at least but no more than three years in their current program, office or department. This year, the college was fortunate to have two such outstanding employees – OSA Student Services Coordinator II Lauren Brown and ITE Administrative Assistant Alesia McQueen.
The Hidden Gem Award was bestowed upon Student Services Coordinator Sheryl Horton in the Office of Educational Outreach.
The STAR Award is given to a staff member who has worked at least three years in their current position; has consistently excelled in that position; made outstanding contributions in the area of service and dedication to the college, promoted teamwork and collaboration; worked to improve his or her unit, program, office or department; and consistently done so with a positive attitude. This year's college STAR is the Office of Educational Outreach Program Coordinator Julie Niehaus.
Dean Watson concluded the event by gratefully recognizing those retiring from the college – Jim Carper, Nancy Freeman, Margaret Gredler, Beverly Nates, and Cathy Schachner.