Faculty and Staff
The faculty and staff of the CTE pursue ongoing professional development in order
to stay abreast of current trends in higher education and specific CTE programming
areas. Individual staff members seek out research and publication opportunities in
their areas of expertise, in order to contribute to new knowledge and establish CTE
as statewide and national leader in the field.
August (Augie) Grant, Director
Augie Grant has been teaching at the university level since 1983. Grant earned his
Ph.D. at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California,
and has spent the past three decades teaching, consulting, and researching emerging
communication technologies and their application to business, education, and social
institutions. Grant is best known as editor of Communication Technology Update and Fundamentals, which he created in 1992. In addition to exploring new communication technologies,
Grant's research explores media audience behavior, convergent journalism, radio and
television broadcasting, and applications of network analysis to the study of media
organizations and audiences. Grant is past chair of the University of South Carolina
Faculty Senate and is past president of the Broadcast Education Association.
Nate Carnes, Associate Director
Nate Carnes is the Associate Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence. In addition to three
education degrees and a permanent Ohio teaching certificate, he earned his Ph.D. in
Education Administration with an emphasis in science education at Miami University
(OH). His teaching performances, that span almost 40 years, have resulted in awards
and citations of teaching excellence at the University of South Carolina, state, regional
and international levels. Among these citations, he is the recipient of the prestigious
2007 ASTE Science Teacher Educator of the Year, a recognition of international distinction;
South Carolina Association for Middle Level Education 2018 Jennifer L. Wilson Teaching
Excellence; and the College of Education 2011 Lee Maidment Spirit of Service awards.
His scholarly activities explore pedagogical issues and innovations within and beyond
Aisha Haynes, Assistant Director
Aisha Haynes is the Assistant Director at the USC Center for Teaching Excellence.
She oversees the design, creation, delivery and ongoing improvement of distributed
learning (online and blended) delivery methods. Haynes is a certified Quality Matters
Peer and Master Reviewer, and has earned Online Teaching certifications from the Online
Learning Consortium. She teaches technology courses for the College of Hospitality,
Retail and Sport Management and Palmetto College. She also teaches Dissertation Preparation
courses for the Curriculum Studies program in the College of Education. Her research
interests include: instructional design in online learning environments, online course
accessibility, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), learning styles, and collaboration
and engagement in online learning environments.
In 2014, Haynes established the Dr. Aisha S. Haynes Endowed Scholarship Fund. The
scholarship is awarded to first generation/low-income college students in TRiO Programs
(Opportunity Scholars Program) at USC. More specifically, the scholarship is awarded
to rising seniors who have at least a 3.0 GPA and who have shown exemplary university
or community service.
Elina Levina, Faculty Fellow
Elina Levina joined the Department of Biological Sciences at USC in 2012. She coordinates
Introductory Biology Labs (BIOL 101L). More than 1500 undergraduate students are enrolled
in 60+ sections of BIOL 101L every year. Dr. Levina graduated magna cum laude from Moscow state University with MSc in Biochemistry. She received her PhD in Biology
from Cancer Research Center in Moscow, Russia. She has more than 15 years of international
research experience in the field of cancer biology. Elina Levina is a recipient of
2015 Instructor Professional Development Award. She won a Teaching Innovation grant
for Flipped Course Development in 2015/2016. Dr. Levina served as an invited member
of College of Arts and Sciences Task Force on Teaching Innovation and Enhanced Student
Learning. She is a faculty fellow for the Center for Teaching Excellence and leads
the Community of Practice for Faculty Coordinators of Large and Multi-0Section Courses.
Alan White, Faculty Fellow
Alan R. White is professor of Biological Sciences, currently focusing on evidence-based instructional
practices in introductory biology BIOL 101 courses. Previously, he served as associate
dean for Undergraduate STEM Education for the College of Arts and Sciences at the
University of South Carolina (2013-2017), dean of Thomas Harriot College of Arts and
Sciences at East Carolina University, in Greenville, N.C. (2005–2013), and dean of
the College of Science and Mathematics at North Dakota State University in Fargo (2000–2005),
where he also was chair of the Department of Botany (1997–2000). Alan is a plant cell
biologist, with a BS in Biology and a Ph.D. in Botany from the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a faculty fellow for the Center for Teaching Excellence and leads the FLIP, Focus
on Learning, Innovation and Pedagogy, community of practice.
Instructional Design Team
Lydia Frass, Senior Instructional Designer
Lydia Frass is an Instructional Designer in the USC Center for Teaching Excellence.
She is currently working with faculty in online course design and development and
quality assurance reviews. In addition, she is facilitating our Instructional Designer's
Community of Practice. Lydia holds a PhD in Adult Education and MPH from The University
of Southern Mississippi. Prior to joining CTE, she coordinated the South Carolina
Public Health Training Center which provided professional development opportunities
for current and future public health practitioners.
Gloria Washington, Instructional Designer
Gloria Washington is an Instructional Designer at the Center for Teaching Excellence
with 19 years of experience in higher education at USC. She is a Blackboard Certified
Trainer and a Blackboard Exemplary Course Program Reviewer. Gloria completed the Quality
Matters’ Applying the QM Rubric and Higher Education Peer Reviewer courses. Prior
to coming to CTE, she worked in Teaching and Technology Services and as a Technology
Director for the Ted Mimms Foreign Language Learning Center. Gloria holds a Doctor
of Education in Educational Technology, Master of Arts in Education, and Master of
Business Administration. Her expertise is in the pedagogical use of technology to
support teaching and learning. Gloria’s instructional design philosophy is “pedagogy
first, technology second.”
Casey Carroll, Instructional Designer
Casey Carroll is an instructional designer with the Center for Teaching Excellence
at USC. Casey works with all who teach to support the creation of innovative and accessible
courses and the continued development of teaching skills. He also works with instructors
teaching online to help with course design and learning technologies. In addition,
he facilitates our Instructional Design Community of Practice. Prior to joining CTE,
Casey designed curriculum for professional training and leadership development. He
has also taught First-Year English and English as a Second Language at the University
of South Carolina. Casey holds a master’s degree in linguistics from USC and a bachelor’s
degree in Spanish and psychology from Pacific Lutheran University. He also holds the
Associate Professional in Talent Development credential from the Association for Talent
Xavery Hopkins, Program Manager
Xavery Hopkins is the Program Manager of Operations and Faculty Events for the Center
for Teaching Excellence. She is responsible for providing advanced direction and
planning of programs and services for the CTE. Xavery has over 15-years of experience
leading and facilitating special projects. She coordinates the work of CTE staff
to implement programs and services for University faculty, instructors, and teaching
assistants. Xavery is responsible for all matters related to day-to-day management,
workflow, processes and business operations of CTE. She is also responsible for identifying
and initiating partnerships with other units, and with individuals to support faculty
development, providing leadership and support for initiatives that promote faculty
collaborations, drives strategic initiatives and manages special programs for the
Xavery earned a Master's degree of Public Health from the University of South Carolina
and an MBA from Winthrop University, and is a graduate of the Kenan-Flagler Business
School of UNC Chapel Hill's Executive Management Program.
Michelle Hardee, Program Manager
Michelle Hardee is the Program Manager for all graduate student Teaching Assistant
training at the University. Michelle is responsible for developing the CTE’s graduate
TA/IA training seminars, developing and teaching the GRAD 701 Teaching Assistant Development
course required of all new TA/IAs, and helping students progress through the Preparing
Future Faculty Program. She regularly coordinates with the Graduate School and other
university academic partners on graduate student professional development workshops
and events. Michelle received her B.S. in Zoology at Texas A&M in 1995, an M.S. in
Marine Biology at the College of Charleston’s Grice Marine Laboratory, and her Ph.D.
in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina. Additionally, Michelle teaches
the Honors section of the Marine Science Program’s Oceans and Society course every
Helena Johnson, Web and Multimedia Developer
Helena is responsible for developing, editing, and delivering information about the
Center's programs and services through Internet-based communications, multimedia and
print. With degrees in Media Arts and Computer Programming, Helena began her career
in corporate communications. Prior to joining CTE she worked for creative and production
companies as producer and writer.
Kim Elia, Administrative Coordinator
Kim Elia is the Administrative Coordinator for the Center for Teaching Excellence.
She serves as the human resources liaison, budget coordinator, and the hiring manager.
Her position additionally coordinates the CTE’s general administrative activities,
manages data collection, maintains databases regarding CTE events and activities,
and assists in the preparation of reports and other informational documents. Kim is
the senior staff member at the CTE, having started at USC in 1994 in the Office of
Distance Education and Instructional Support before joining the CTE in 2007.
Laurie Sambenedetto, Program Assistant
Laurie Sambenedetto is the Program Assistant for the Center for Teaching Excellence.
She serves as the first point of contact for CTE clients and provides office and logistical
support for CTE staff and events. Laurie manages the CTE front desk, fields phone
calls and inquiries and assists senior CTE staff with basic clerical and administrative
tasks including purchasing and procurement paperwork. She also handles registration,
technology, catering arrangements and assists with maintaining the CTE space. Laurie
joined the CTE in the summer of 2017.