Outstanding USC Aiken Faculty Recognized by Peers, Students

Aiken, SC (05/08/2018) — Several members of the University of South Carolina Aiken faculty earned awards, which were presented May 2.

Dr. Katie Smith earned the Scholarly Activity Award.

In the past five years, she has published two peer-reviewed book chapters, two articles in scholarly journals, six reviews of scholarly editions in her field, reviewed the manuscripts of three books for academic presses, given three presentations at academic conferences, and served as research mentor for two students' Magellan projects. Additionally Smith recently published her monograph Gender, Speech, and Audience Reception in Early Modern England with Routledge, one of the most prestigious and respected publishers in the field of medieval and Renaissance literary studies.

"The breadth and impact of Dr. Smith's work marks her as a standard-bearer for scholarly efforts within our university," said Dr. Philip Mason who leads the faculty awards program.

Rebecca Barnwell, an advisor for the School of Business Administration, won the Excellence in Advisement Award.

Not only does she advise 75 students in the business program but she also advises many other students, including freshman, transfer, and international students.

Colleagues credit her with her skill and insight.

"She has a unique ability for finding solutions to some of the most difficult dilemmas students face in making the right decisions for course schedules and maintaining progress toward graduation," said one.

The Part-time Faculty Teaching Excellence Award went to Professor William E. Kiesling.

Student evaluations consistently and thematically highlight his passion for the subject and his ability to ignite a "fervent desire" in all of his students.

"Professor Kiesling is not only leaving a historical impression upon his students but also is leaving an unforgettable impression filled with determination, hope, and the personal ownership for one's pursuit of limitless knowledge," said Mason.

The University Service Award was given to Dr. Bridget Coleman.

She led the faculty assembly for the last five years and has been instrumental to initiatives on campus, in her discipline, and throughout the community. Dr. Coleman is a full-time teacher and academic advisor in the School of Education. She has held elected positions, first as vice chair of faculty assembly and now as chair of the assembly. For the last 10 years, she has been the program coordinator for the university's Secondary Mathematics Education program and the Middle Level Education program.

She is presently training to become a national reviewer of educational programs to ensure the continued success of educational programs at USC Aiken and other universities across the nation. She has established partnerships with local school systems to ensure engaging experiences that enhance her student's learning and enriches the local schools.

She is the student advisor for the international honor society for education. She supports university initiatives such as recruitment and retention and participates in student orientation events on Saturdays and during the summer months. For her professional community, she serves on multiple state professional organizations' executive boards in order to give back to her profession and as a role model for her students.

"She has proven to be a dedicated and concerned servant of the students, faculty, and administration," said one colleague.

Dr. Paul Newsom earned the Community Service Award.

The associate professor of finance at USC Aiken participates in many business-related organizations in the Aiken community and the State of South Carolina, partners when possible with the Aiken business community, and has the ability to attract external funding. During the last five years, he has provided pro-bono service to at least nine business-related organizations such as the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, The Mill on Park, and Aiken Innovative Entrepreneurs.

Newsom acts as instructor, mentor, advisor and guest speaker and serves on many organizational boards such as the Aiken Senior Life Services and SCORE. In 2015, Newsom was awarded a grant from the Office of Innovation for $80,000 which will assist the entrepreneurial ecosystem among multiple public and private partners in the Aiken region by building a network of support for entrepreneurs through programming and recruitment, as well as the development of an angel investor network.

CSR Angels, the for-profit angel investor group Newsom created in 2015, just realized its first successful exit. It sold FarmShots to Syngenta for $5.5 million.

"Dr. Newsom's many volunteer activities and responsibilities are recognized and respected by many people," said one community member.

The Excellence in Teaching Award was given to Dr. Laura Swain.

Colleagues attribute this assistant professor of psychology's teaching success to being flexible, adaptive, and caring for every student. She presents materials that has real-world applications in a thought provoking, fun and interactive way. By doing so, Swain is able to bolster student engagement through active learning.

"Her dedication to students' success and growth is inspiring and encourages others to strive for excellence," said one student.

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Laura swain

The Excellence in Teaching Award was given to Dr. Laura Swain