Faculty Spotlight

The Excellence in Teaching and Advising Award at USC Upstate recognizes excellence in undergraduate instruction and academic advisement. The overriding criterion for selection is sustained excellence in undergraduate teaching and academic advisement. That is, consistency in quality of performance in the classroom and academic advisement are emphasized. 

Excellence in Teaching and Advising Award information

  • Excellence In Teaching And Advising Award

    2018 award recipients were:

    Stephen Bismarck

    Dr. Stephen Bismarck

    Assistant Professor, Middle/Secondary Math
    School of Education
    (Professional School Award Winner)

    Matthew Donaldson

    Matthew Donaldson, M.F.A.

    Assistant Professor of Graphic Design
    Co-director of The Studio
    Fine Arts and Communication Studies
    (College of Arts and Sciences Award Winner)


    Teaching Philosophy
    Teaching isn’t about simply showing up to work every day and sharing
    knowledge with students. It’s about sharing that knowledge in such a way that students are willing to take the initiative to continue to research and explore beyond the confines of the classroom. It’s about engaging each, and every, student on a one-to-one level and establishing student-teacher relationships that encourage dialogue and promote effective communication. Teaching is leading by example and demonstrating the qualities and skills that are expected in order to find success within the professional industry.





    • Lynn McMillian
    • Dawn Henderson


    • Andrew Beer
    • Gary Bradley


    • Lisa Johnson
    • Jeff Smith


    • Celena Kusch
    • Julie Moss


    • Andrea Davis
    • Sarah Branan


    • Shannon Polchow
    • Angie Davis


    • Sebastian  van Delden
    • Judy  Beck


    • Douglas Jackson
    • Greta Freeman


    • Paul Grady
    • Tom Reed


    • Kim Purdy
    • Greta Freeman


    • George Labanick
    • Laura Hooks


    • Chioma Ugochukwu
    • Steve Caldwell


    • Lisa Anderson
    • Frank Rudisill


    • Robert McCormick
    • Judy Beck


    • Rachelle Prioleau
    • Cindy Jennings


    • Chris Bender
    • Sonja Wilson


    • June Carter


    • Vince Connors
    • Susan Washburn


    • Jane Nodine
    • Tom Reed


    • Richard Combes
    • Diana Clary


    • Jimm Cox
    • Angie Davis


    • Diane Daane
    • Mark Mitchell


    • Liza Kuecker


    • Gillian Newberry


    • Juanita Thaxton


    • Rachelle Prioleau


    • Brenda Davenport


    • Warren Carson


    • Karen Roberson


    • Lyle Campbell


    • Dwight Lambert


    • Jan Griffin


    • Cecilia Cogdell

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Faculty Form is your voice in featuring new faculty on our website


Faculty Spotlight 2018

photo-Dr. Deshia Leonhirth-Informatics

Dr. Deshia Leonhirth
Assistant Professor
Informatics & Engineering Systems

What makes a good teacher? A good teacher is someone who brings their passion for what they do to the classroom and makes it evident to students that they are there to help them. As a teacher, I strive for this by reminding my students in the classroom, in the hall, and in emails that I am always there to help and guide them with their needs. Providing students with a level of security that you have their best interest at heart is the foundation of a good relationship with a student, which I believe fosters student learning.

How do you engage students in learning your subject matter?  I have minimal lecture in my courses. In a typical class, I review course material one meeting per week or provide a short introduction at the beginning of the class. Students are expected to review the material outside of the classroom. We work through their questions with guided group discussions, role play, and case studies for the majority of our class meetings. I feel the students are more engaged when they are active in the classroom. Observing their interactions and learning more about who they are as a person makes my time in the classroom more gratifying.

What are your teaching goals?  One of my teaching goals is to maintain a commitment to being a lifelong learner in order to be the most effective teacher I can be. Staying ahead of the quickly evolving field of healthcare and technology can be a challenge. I strive to prepare students who are aware of these changes and equip them with the skills to adapt to these changes as they enter the workforce.

photo of Tamara Cook- Nursing instructor

Tamara Cook
Mary Black School of Nursing

What makes a good teacher?: Someone who can engage the student in learning, passionately and competently share knowledge, be current and knowledgeable about the subject being taught, and demonstrate a genuine care and concern for student learning.

How do you engage students in learning your subject matter? Lecture, demonstration, interactive learning (role play, case studies, games), off campus community facilities.

What are your teaching goals? To engage students and enhance knowledge to develop critical thinking skills and professionalism.

Stephanie Barnhill - Instructor Mary Black School of Nursing Stephanie Barnhill
Mary Black School of Nursing

What makes a good teacher? Love for nursing and sharing that with others.

How do you engage students in learning your subject matter? Bring a passion for the subject and an energy to engage with the class.

What are your teaching goals? Make sure the students excel in the area in which I am teaching.