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2009 Faculty Award Winner Profiles

Profiles of 2009 Faculty Award Winners Profiles of 2009 Faculty Award Winners (PDF)
Presented April 23, 2009 at the Faculty Award Presentation


Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award

Joshua Cooper (Mathematics)

Joshua Cooper is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Consulting Faculty Member in the USC Jewish Studies Program. He has been with USC since August 2006. Dr. Cooper’s research interests include Quasirandomness, Discrepancy, and Discrete Geometry. From the voice of one student, it is “Dr. Cooper’s enthusiasm, inspiration, and genuine interest in undergraduate research that qualifies him as a top-notch candidate for the Faculty Mentor of the Year Award.”


J. Alexander Ogden (Languages, Literature, and Cultures)

Alexander Ogden is an Associate Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature and is the Russian Program Director in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. He has been with USC since 1998. The impact Dr. Ogden has had on his students is best reflected in one student’s comment: “He pushed me to a new level of academic success and at the same time allowed me to make mistakes and to set the tone of my project. He provided a perfect balance of guidance and supervision.”

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Ada B. Thomas Outstanding Faculty Advisor

John M. Grady (Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management)

John Grady is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sport Entertainment Management who teaches graduate courses in Sport Law and Risk and Security Management and undergraduate courses in Business Law and Risk Management. His research interests focus primarily on the legal aspects of the business of sport, which includes the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act by the sport and entertainment venue industries, as well as intellectual property protection by professional and collegiate sport properties. He is the principal investigator on funded research investigating the risk perceptions of international venue managers in accommodating patrons with disabilities.

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Russell Research Award for Humanities and Social Sciences

Nicholas Vazsonyi (Languages, Literatures & Cultures)

Nicholas Vazsoyl is an Associate Professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures and has established an international reputation in the field of German Studies, Comparative Literature, and Music. He has written two books, edited two others, and has published upward of twenty-six articles and book chapters. His first book, Lukacs Reads Goethe: From Aestheticism to Stalinism was widely and favorably reviewed in both the United States and Europe, while his second, forthcoming from Cambridge, The Wagner Enterprise: Making an Industry, is already being hailed as a fundamentally new approach to Wagner, a role model, ”the most exciting work in Wagner studies today.”

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Russell Research Award for Science, Mathematics and Engineering

M. Hanif Chaudhry (Civil & Environmental Engineering)

Hanif Chaudhry is Associate Dean for International Programs and Continuing Education and Professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. His work on resonance of pipelines is recognized as authoritative, and he is a leader in the expanding field of computational hydraulics. The National Science Foundation cited his work on modeling, simulation, and analysis of the Hurricane Katrina levee breech of the 17th Street Canal in New Orleans as transformative research that promotes new methods for emergency teams worldwide to use in responding to large-scale flooding events.

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USC Educational Foundation Research Award for Health Sciences

J. Mark Davis (Exercise Science)

Mark Davis is a professor in the Department of Exercise Science in the Arnold School of Public Health and has served the University for over 26 years. During this time, his research on the neurobiological mechanisms of mental and physical fatigue, on nutritional countermeasures for mental and physical fatigue, and the effects of nutrition and exercise on immune function and disease resistance has gained national and international recognition. His current research focuses on the efficacy and safety of herbal extract/phytochemicals on fatigue and immune suppression during mental and physical stress and disease. His work has been especially useful to the Department of Defense in advancing their research to improve combat troop health, performance, and recovery from injury and fatigue.

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USC Educational Foundation Research Award for Humanities and Social Sciences

Thomas M Lekan (History)

Thomas Lekan is a pioneering scholar in the fields of German and environmental history. His first book, Imagining the Nation in Nature: Landscape Preservation and German Identity, 1885-1945, published by Harvard University Press, linked cultural and environmental studies to explore the meaning of German identity in this fraught era. In addition to more than a dozen published articles on related topics, Dr. Lekan’s current project on German nature loving eco-tourism promises to be a major contribution to the field that he has helped invent: global environmental history. Dr. Lekan has one documentary project completed on the lowcountry and another ongoing on the Lower Richland Country Heritage Corridor.

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USC Educational Foundation Research Award for Science, Mathematics and Engineering

S. Michael Angel (Chemistry and Biochemistry)

Michael Angel is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He has a highly innovative research program in spectroscopic instrumentation, which has had strong impact in many areas of application related to remote and in-situ measurement techniques using optical spectroscopy. He discovered a new dual-pulse, laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy approach that gave over an order of magnitude enhancement over previously reported results. He extended this technique to underwater analysis and deep ocean applications are considered the most interesting and original applications of dual-pulse, laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy. He pioneered remote Raman spectroscopy by diode laser on solid samples, with which he made measurements on high explosives at long distances, up to 50 meters, improving on the earlier record of 20 meters.

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USC Educational Foundation Outstanding Service Award

James Augustine (Pharmacology, Physiology & Neuroscience)

Jim Augustine is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology & Neuroscience in the USC School of Medicine and has conducted truly outstanding service for the University of South Carolina for over thirty three years. He has served as an educator, course director, student advocate, faculty advisor, and has chaired and participated on numerous search committees. He was elected Chair by the Faculty Senate for a one-year term and eventually served two additional years. Since 2007, Jim has served as the University’s ombudsman for the faculty on the Columbia and the regional campuses. His CV lists over 65 committee assignments during his tenure at USC, which are too numerous to mention. He is an active member and ordained elder in his church, serving as teacher and chairing multiple committees. Jim’s service to the University, as well as the community, is indeed remarkable.

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Carolina Trustee Professorship in the Humanities, Law, Social Sciences and Business Areas

Andrew Billingsley (Department of Sociology and African American Studies)

Andrew Billingsley is professor of sociology and African American studies and is senior-scholar-in residence at the Carolina Institute for Families in Society. His interests include the study of childhood and family life, particularly in the African American Community and the study of community institutions including the black church as a social institution. He is a recent Fulbright scholar to Ghana, and an author of several books of sociology including the seminal work Black Families in White America. His other books include Climbing Jacob’s Ladder: The Enduring Legacy of African American Families; Children of the Storm; and the recently published Mighty Like a River: The Black Church and Social Reform. His recently published book, Yearning to Breathe Free, Robert Smalls of South Carolina and His Families, has put him in demand for numerous speaking engagements including the Congressional Black Caucus and the National Press Club.

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Carolina Trustee Professorship in the Health, Engineering, Medical and Science and Mathematics Areas)

T.S. Sudarshan (Electrical Engineering)

T.S. Sudarshan is Department Chair and Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Information Technology. His research group in the Silicon Carbide Research Lab emphasizes novel techniques of growth of silicon carbide (SiC) bulk and epitaxial films and device/defect correlations. In the Spring of 2006, Prof. Sudarshan was awarded the Michael J. Mungo Distinguished Professor of the Year award, USC's highest award for teaching excellence, and in the winter of 2006, he was a finalist for the Governor's Distinguished Professor Award by the Commission on Higher Education. He is a Carolina Distinguished Professor and has held that appointment since 1986.

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Michael J. Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Awards

Elise Blackwell (English)

Elise Blackwell is Assistant Professor in the Department of English. Her areas of interest include creative writing and contemporary fiction. William Rivers, Chair of the Department of English Language and Literature, states that Elise is an exceptionally talented and devoted teacher. As a novelist she writes with a special grace and poise that pulls readers, irresistibly and delightedly, into her plots and characters. Clearly, in her teaching she is working the same magic as she helps her students develop their own talents and commitment to their art.

John Lavigne (Chemistry & Biochemistry)

John Lavigne is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. His research interests include molecular recognition, supramolecular chemistry, sensors, materials, and bio-organic and physical organic chemistry. He teaches the largest class of organic chemistry offered by the department, which typically includes 150-180 students and consistently has large numbers of undergraduates working on research projects. Most of his undergraduate lab students have stayed for multiple semesters and two have chosen to stay for 3 years. To date, fifteen of his research publications have undergraduates as co-authors.

David Simmons (Anthropology)

David Simmons is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology with a joint appointment in the Arnold School of Public Health. His research focuses on the relationship between human rights abuses and health outcomes for Haitian agricultural workers, or braceros, in the Dominican Republic. His department chair, Ann Kingsolver, states that Dr. Simmons’ has demonstrated consistent commitment to his teaching and mentoring activities and has found creative ways to combine research, teaching, and service, as in his ongoing direction of undergraduate service learning opportunities in batey community of Haitian agricultural workers.

Stephen Thompson (Education)

Stephen Thompson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Instruction and Teacher Education. He is the Principal Investigator on the Diverse Pathways in Teacher Preparation Project. The goal of this project is to create technical to 4-year college teacher certification pathways across the state. Dr. Thompson’s colleagues and chair have consistently rated his teaching as superior. He has been the recipient of the USC Office of Student Affairs Recognition of Teaching Excellence in 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

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Michael J. Mungo Graduate Teaching Award

Katherine Chaddock (Educational Leadership and Policies)

Katherine Chaddock is on the faculty of the Higher Education and Student Affairs Program in the College of Education. Her research, writing, and teaching are in the areas of higher education history, policy and curriculum; adult and continuing education; and organization theory and practice. She is the author of four books, several book chapters, and dozens of journal articles. Dr. Chaddock has won national recognition for research and writing that was named "Publication of the Year" by the National Association of Continuing Higher Education. She has received the Lackey Award for Inspirational Teaching and the student-nominated Faculty Member of the Year Award in the College of Education. One reflection of Professor Chaddock’s mentorship is noted in the fact that one of her doctoral students won the Dissertation of the Year Award from the International Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.

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Michael J. Mungo Distinguished Professor of the Year Award

Susan Anderson (Theatre and Dance)

The Michael J. Mungo Distinguished Professor of the Year Award is considered the highest honor for teaching on USC’s Columbia campus. The award is given annually to a truly exceptional educator and I am very proud to announce this year’s winner, Professor Susan Anderson.

Professor Susan Anderson, a member of the Columbia Dance scene for over thirty years, is a professor in the Department of Theater and Dance. She received her MFA from the University of California Irvine under the legendary choreographer Eugene Loring. Her professional dance career was with Ballet Celeste of San Francisco, Los Angeles Dance Theatre, and Moving South. She has been instrumental in building the dance program at USC. She was the Founding Director of the USC Dance Company, the USC Dance Conservatory, and the South Carolina Summer Dance Conservatory which hosts international students and world renowned faculty and choreographers. In addition, Professor Anderson was instrumental in implementing the BA major in Dance, the BA degree track in Performance/Choreography, and the BA degree in Dance Education, a K-12 Teacher Certification Program

She is noted among her students and colleagues as one of the very few individuals on campus who not only knows all of her own students but also the names and faces of every student in her Department, students she considers to all be part of her extended family. Her teaching is recognized by both its breadth and variety of approaches, and her ability to teach both in groups and individually in the same class, thus insuring that each and every student gets the attention they need to succeed. A demanding but caring instructor, she is the epitome of the best that the University has to offer its students.

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