Faculty News

Faculty News, Awards, and Honors from the Summer 2019 Commentary

Dr. Cathleen Cuppett, director of digital learning and information technology and the director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, blogs about Coker faculty accomplishments in regards to teaching and technology at www.centeretltuesdaytips.blogspot.com. This year, Dr. Cuppett started Digital Learning Day, a day of informational sessions on how to make better use of the technology available on and off campus, and an IT intern program that has allowed the department to offer evening helpdesk hours. The Coker IT department awarded its 2019-2020 IT Technology Fellowships to professors teaching either online courses or courses that integrate iPads: Dr. Andrea Coldwell for her ENG 230 course ‘Engaging the Senses,’ Dr. Margaret Godbey for her CAP 300 course ‘It’s Your Story,’ Casey Monette for her EDU 200/201 course ‘Human Development,’ and Dr. Rachel Manspeaker for her MAT 100/101 course.

Dr. Julia Fisher
, professor of psychology, became the vice-chair of the PsySiP board of directors after previously serving as secretary/treasurer for the Washington, D.C.,-based non-profit. The PsySiP Project (www.psysip.org) is dedicated to promoting the application of the psychology of science to the formation of policies at the national and international levels.

Dr. Joseph Flaherty, professor of biology and director of undergraduate research, and Jin-Rong Xu (Purdue University) received a $500,000 research grant from the National Science Foundation to support a 3-year project that began in December 2018. Results from the study will help understand the functions and mechanisms of RNA editing in Fusarium graminearum and possibly other plant pathogenic fungi. This grant will support graduate students at Purdue University and undergraduate students at Coker in addition to the development of an annual, weeklong summer workshop for local area high school teachers in South Carolina.

Angela M. Gallo, professor of dance and chair of the department of dance, music and theatre, was recently an artist in residency at Lake Studios in Berlin, Germany, where she premiered an excerpt of her new work Strength in Scars. She will perform her solo work Contradictions of Women at the Sans Limites Dance Festival in New York City in May, and will be a guest instructor for the Joffrey Ballet at their Miami summer intensive in July.

Jean Grosser, professor of art and the James Wayne Lemke Endowed Chair in College Service & Leadership, won first place in the Pee Dee Regional Art Competition at the Florence Museum’s Waters Gallery in Florence, S.C., with her piece titled Fragments of Hate: Creative Credo No. 55. Grosser also exhibited her work at the SC State Museum in Columbia S.C., Riverworks Gallery in Greenville, S.C., Lipscomb Gallery at the S.C. Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities in Greenville, S.C., and the Hyman Fine Arts Center at Francis Marion University in Florence, S.C.

Dr. Ryan Higgins, associate professor of education is the President-elect for the South Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics (SCCTM) and her journal article, Redesigning Hopscotch, was published in the Teaching Children Mathematics journal (March 2019), which is published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 

Mal Hyman, associate professor of sociology, recently published a new book, Burying the Lead: The Media and the Assassination of JFK (March 2019, TrineDay Books).

In April, Dr. Jerron Jorgensen, assistant professor of music, and the Coker Singers presented Seven Last Words of the Unarmed. Written in 2015 by living composer Joel Thompson, Seven Last Words of the Unarmed is a multi-movement choral work memorializing seven unarmed black men killed by police or other authority figures. The text of each movement highlights the last words spoken by Kenneth Chamberlain, Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo, Michael Brown, Oscar Grant, John Crawford, and Eric Garner. The Coker Singers were then joined by the newly-formed Coker Civic Chorale to present Gabriel Fauré's Requiem, featuring soloists Dr. Christi McLain, assistant lecturer of voice, and Justin Staebell. Seven Last Words of the Unarmed and Fauré's Requiem were performed with a chamber orchestra, directed by Jorgensen. The concert concluded with "Words Like Freedom" from Evan Mack's Langston Hughes' Dream of Freedom. New York-based composer Evan Mack serves on the faculty of Skidmore College and visited Coker College in November 2018 for a four-day artist residency, working with the Coker Singers and Coker's Opera Workshop students. In lieu of ticket sales, donations were accepted to support The Boys & Girls Club of Hartsville. Afterward, a post-concert talk was given regarding gun violence, trauma, and arts role in social justice.

Dr. Rachel Manspeaker presented in November 2018 at the AAC&U Transforming STEM Higher Education Conference. Her talk was titled “Quantitative Literacy as a Quality Enhancement Project.” 

Dr. Jennifer Borgo Raia, biology professor and honors program director, won the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) Excellence in Teaching Award for Coker College. Since coming to Coker in 2008, Dr. Raia has worked to "foster serious inquiry, critical thinking, and a broader understanding of the world in which we live" through her teaching, her research, and her interactions with students and colleagues. "Dr. Raia was instrumental in creating the Honors Program at Coker in 2012 and has served as its director since its creation....An outstanding professor, Dr. Raia is one who is truly dedicated to reflective and exceptional teaching, interactive and engaged learning, and ongoing scholarship and service in her field."

In November 2018, assistant professor of theatre Andrew Schwartz and associate professor of theatre Josh Webb attended the SCTA Conference at Anderson University along with several Coker theatre students. Webb is the Chair of the College/University Division for the conference. Schwartz presented his workshop titled Playing Positive Action to college and high school students and teachers at the conference, and was also a respondent for the college screening auditions, which allows students who are passed on to be seen by professional companies at the national SETC conference this spring. Coker theatre student, Isaiah Washington, earned one of the top five scores for men (out of over 200 applicants) in the state for these highly competitive SETC screening auditions, and he was able to audition for professional theatre companies in the spring.

Winter 2018 Commentary Corrections: 
John Hauptfleisch was promoted to associate professor of chemistry.
Ryan Higgins
 was promoted to associate professor of education. 
John Jewell was promoted to professor of physical education and sport studies.
Suzanne Parker was promoted to professor of physical education and sport studies. 

Are you a Coker alum?