Chris Garden

The Bank of America Excellence in Teaching & Advising Award

The Bank of America Excellence in Teaching & Advising Award at USC Upstate recognizes sustained excellence in undergraduate instruction and academic advisement. Consistency in the quality of performance in the classroom and academic advisement are emphasized.

The Excellence in Teaching & Advising Committee solicits nominations from undergraduate students and all full-time faculty for this award.


  • Full-time permanent tenure-track faculty who have taught at least six credit hours in the semester prior to selection;
  • Full-time instructors who have taught at the University for two consecutive years and received above satisfactory evaluations from their immediate supervisors for two consecutive years preceding their nomination;
  • University Librarians.

2013 Recipients

Click here to view past recipients.

Andrea DavisAndrea Davis, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Communication Studies
Department of Fine Arts & Communication Studies

I encourage students to examine their experiences through analyzing and applying materials -- including course texts, technology, and original research -- to the everyday world. I seek to provide students with opportunities to think critically about the ways in which their experiences influence their worldview, and how their differing worldviews help to create our classroom community. I prefer a class centered on discussion in lieu of traditional teaching and lecturing because I believe it encourages active participation, which promotes the sharing of cultural experiences necessary in the study of communication. A positive learning environment is essential for creating conditions where students will be willing to take risks in learning. Thus, I attempt to create a classroom environment that is both inclusive and relaxed, where students get to know one another. Additionally, I strive to create curriculum that promotes engagement with the outside world through technology in the classroom, application papers, group work and original writing.

Sarah BrananSarah Branan, MSN, RN
Instructor of Nursing
Mary Black School of Nursing

Nursing education must be a partnership between the student and the nurse educator. Each student must be actively involved in their education. In order for students to be successful they must be able to apply their theoretical knowledge in the clinical setting. My role is to facilitate this process whether it is in the classroom, lab or clinical setting. I strongly believe in investing in people and providing a learning atmosphere where students are challenged to think and solve problems. Successful nurses must think critically and analyze information quickly and with great accuracy in order to meet the individual needs of each patient they see. In order to be successful, student nurses must use their minds, their hearts and their hands. My classroom should be a place where ideas can be challenged, mistakes can result in positive learning experiences and students can mature and grow into critical thinkers.

Award Presentation

Two recipients receive the award annually. One recipient is from the College of Arts & Sciences and the other recipient is from one of the university’s professional schools: the George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics; the School of Education; or, the Mary Black School of Nursing.

University faculty are eligible to receive the award every five years.


For additional information, please contact:
Karen Thomas
Executive Assistant, Student Affairs
CLC 303
(864) 503-5107 

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