The Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs hosted the annual Celebration of Faculty on Wednesday, April 24, 2019, honoring all College of Charleston faculty and announcing the 2018–19 academic year’s six faculty receiving distinguished awards and recognizing faculty granted emeriti titles, shared governance leadership, tenure and promotion awards, superior post-tenure reviews, positive third-year reviews and sabbaticals awarded for the upcoming 2019–20 academic year.
“The College of Charleston prides itself on the high caliber faculty employed, and we surely owe much of our strength and vibrancy as an academic institution to our faculty,” said Provost Brian McGee.
“It can’t be stressed enough how much the faculty’s devotion to this institution and its students distinguishes and elevates our College of Charleston from other institutions in South Carolina and around the country,” agreed Interim President Stephen C. Osborne ’73. “The College wouldn’t exist without the students and without the faculty who instruct them.”
The six faculty recipients of distinguished awards for the 2018–19 academic year are:
Deborah A. Bidwell, senior instructor in the Department of Biology, received the Distinguished Teaching Award, which honors roster faculty members who have been designated by their colleagues as typifying high standards and commitment to teaching excellence throughout their careers. Always aiming to facilitate a reconnection to nature, emphasize core concepts and explore interdisciplinary connections, Bidwell embraces a wide range of instructional formats, has modified several of her courses to improve sustainability literacy across campus and has developed the First-Year Experience seminar course, Biomimicry: Nature as a Mentor. Bidwell uses a variety of strategies to convey knowledge, from the “think, pair, share” technique in face-to-face classes to VoiceThread, an interactive teaching and learning technique that allows students in online classes to collaborate asynchronously. Bidwell’s students describe her as enthusiastic, dynamic, approachable and knowledgeable, claiming that she has instilled in them a “love of biology.”
Honoring adjunct faculty members who have been designated by faculty colleagues as typifying high standards and commitment to teaching excellence throughout their careers, the Distinguished Adjunct Faculty Teaching Award went to Lauren N. Hetrovicz, adjunct lecturer in the Department of Hispanic Studies. Hetrovicz is an innovative instructor who created and implemented a five-unit culture series for an introductory Spanish course using authentic materials such as commercials, news segments and infographics from different Spanish-speaking countries to guide students through the analysis of cultural values. She has also incorporated technology into her classes through language-learning videos and has taken the initiative to help students develop skills outside the classroom and beyond the traditional face-to-face approach. In this spirit, she became certified for Distance Education in Fall 2017 and has since taught online courses and served as a member of the Hispanic Studies Distance Education Committee.
The Distinguished Research Award, which honors roster faculty colleagues who have distinguished themselves by a career of significant research, was awarded to Cara M. Delay, associate professor in the Department of History. Since joining the College in 2006, Delay has recorded an impressive and award-winning body of scholarship that includes numerous single-authored, double-blind, peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles, book chapters and a monograph, a Fulbright Scholar award, a Carol Gold Best Article Award (Council for Women in History) and a Donnelly Foundation Award. Delay has mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students, many of whom appear as co-authors in her work, and holds a prominent role in the Women’s Health Research Team.
Devon W. Hanahan ’87, senior instructor in the Department of Hispanic Studies, was awarded the Distinguished Service Award, recognizing the outstanding contributions of a colleague who, beyond his or her required duties, has a sustained career of serving the College community in an outstanding and distinguished manner. Hanahan believes that service to her community is an inextricable element of a productive career and happy life. She truly enjoys helping others and interacting with as many groups on and off campus as possible, with her service record showing consistent and outstanding contributions. Her desire to make the College welcoming to all is especially noted. She has taught First-Year Experience courses and FYE Abroad courses for seven years, spent two years as a member of the President’s Campus Diversity Review Board and supported the SPECTRA program by having a mentee for the past four years. Hanahan has opened her home by inviting students to experience Spanish cuisine while building cultural bridges in our community by working with District Instructional Specialist for World Languages for Charleston County Schools to create an exchange program.
The Distinguished Advising Award honors roster faculty members who have demonstrated a sustained dedication to students in the area of academic advising and was this year awarded to Robert G. Westerfelhaus, professor in the College’s Department of Communication. There is no “one-size-fits-all” advising for Westerfelhaus, but there is a common core to his approach: He takes whatever time is required to know his advisees and he devotes considerable effort to care about each of them. Whoever the student is, whatever abilities, goals or predispositions they possess, he will be there to support them. This is also what makes Westerfelhaus such an effective advocate for his students; he helps them earn the recognition they deserve and attain the intellectual heights they can reach. To his colleagues and peers, it is what makes him one of the most thoughtful and thorough advisers in the Department of Communication.
Michael L. Larsen, associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, received the William V. Moore Distinguished Teacher-Scholar Award, which honors roster faculty members who exemplify the teacher-scholar model and have enriched the intellectual lives of students throughout their careers. Larsen’s area of expertise in atmospheric microphysics has led to research-driven studies in the microphysical properties and processes of atmospheric particulates, such as cloud and rain droplets, which has led to cutting-edge discoveries. Larsen’s research has been featured by a number of media outlets, including Science Magazine and Science News for Students, thus disseminating his work to an adult public audience and to a young audience of budding future scientists alike. Through his research program, Larsen has consistently involved students at every level, always emphasizing empathy – the need to not only relate to his students as human beings with lives outside his classroom, but to adapt, adjust and accommodate his instructional style and content as needed to insure a depth of understanding and engagement.
“The Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs is proud to honor these faculty members,” said McGee. “Each holds an impressive list of achievements and is a beacon of inspiration to all of us faculty colleagues. Congratulations also to the 42 additional faculty members nominated for an Award of Distinction this year.”
To view the full event program, please visit the Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs’ webpage for Faculty Awards and Recognition.