Six College Faculty Honored with Distinguished Awards

Six College Faculty Honored with Distinguished Awards

Six faculty members from the College of Charleston recently received distinguished awards while another 100 professors were recognized for their achievements and contributions to the College.

During the College’s Celebration of Faculty on April 22, 2016, Provost Brian McGee acknowledged the many contributions made by College faculty.

“It is a great honor and pleasure to serve this distinguished institution as chief academic officer and to work with such an amazing collection of faculty,” said McGee.

The six faculty who received distinguished awards are:


Merissa Ferrara

Merissa Ferrara, associate professor in the Department of Communication, received the Distinguished Teaching Award for her innovative course design and focus on service and experiential learning. She was one of the first faculty members to develop a distance education summer course and continues to develop student-centered, engaging courses in interpersonal and health communication. In her nine years at the College, Ferrara’s students have designed and tested health campaigns, analyzed the Flint, Michigan, water crisis and raised money for community service projects.


Lauren Michelle Humphreys

The third annual Distinguished Adjunct Faculty Teaching Award went to Lauren Michelle Humphreys of the Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences. Humphreys makes geology accessible through her teaching and community work, including outreach projects through the Mace Brown Museum of Natural History. Students not majoring in the sciences have come to understand how it can apply to their everyday lives through Humphreys’ rigorous, innovative coursework. This year her Honors geology students applied ideas from class to create the evolutionary history of an alien planet for a hypothetical science-fiction film.


Kelly Shaver

Kelly Shaver, entrepreneurial studies professor in the Department of Management and Marketing, received the Distinguished Research Award for his many research publications and his mentorship to junior faculty. He is a Fellow of both the American Psychological Society and the United States Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Shaver has published 12 books, 24 chapters and 55 articles.


Bernard Powers

The Distinguished Service Award for work on behalf of the Charleston community went to Bernard Powers, a professor in the Department of History for over two decades. Powers has been a leader and champion for the Avery Research Center, the Graduate Council and the African American Studies program. He has served as an integral member of national, state and local historical and cultural societies, moderated panels on race relations and convened leaders for educational outreach projects.

“Bernie’s service has had both a degree of creativity and a quality of risk that in my opinion elevates it to the level of the outstanding,” Simon Lewis, director of African Studies and associate dean of the School of Languages, Cultures and World Affairs, said of Powers’ legacy.


Susan Balinsky

Susan Balinsky, associate professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance, earned the Distinguished Advising Award for her sustained dedication to students. As the director of the new Bachelor’s of Science in Public Health, Balinsky has advised hundreds of students on their class selection as well as their personal challenges, life goals and aspirations. She also serves as a resource for her fellow public health faculty as they guide their advisees.


Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly, professor in the Department of English and director of the Irish Studies minor, received the William V. Moore Distinguished Teacher-Scholar Award. Kelly has enriched the intellectual lives of students through interdisciplinary programs, bachelor’s essays, master’s theses, independent studies and the REACH Program. He regularly leads study abroad courses in Ireland, making use of his expertise in Irish literature.

Kelly has personified the teacher-scholar model as a College of Charleston faculty member for 24 years. “We are humbled and inspired by his example,” McGee said during the ceremony.


A complete list of all the award recipients is available on the Academic Affairs website.


This article was written by Laura Cergol, a senior from Frederick, Md. studying communication and linguistics in the Honors College at the College of Charleston. She is also a William Aiken Fellow and a member of the Global Scholars program.