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Outstanding Erskine College faculty members take a virtual bow


Two young members of the Erskine College faculty—Assistant Professor of History Dr. John Harris and Assistant Professor of Mathematics Dr. Catherine White— were recently recognized for their teaching skill and dedication.

Dr. John Harris, left, winner of this year’s Younts Excellence in Teaching Award

Harris, who joined the Erskine College faculty in 2017, received the Younts Excellence in Teaching Award, an honor traditionally announced at the campus commencement ceremony.

A native of Northern Ireland, Harris completed his doctoral work at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of The Last Slave Ships: New York and the End of the Middle Passage, forthcoming this year from Yale University Press.

The winner of the Younts Excellence in Teaching Award is chosen by the faculty from among nominees selected by the students. In an email message to faculty members, Provost of the College Dr. Tom Hellams called Harris “an admired and respected colleague” and also congratulated the three finalists — Assistant Professor of History Dr. Alessandra Brivio, Professor of Biology Dr. Al Mina, and Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Briana Van Scoy.

Dr. Catherine White, right, a recipient of SCICU’s Excellence in Teaching Award

White, who has taught at Erskine College since 2012, was one of 20 professors in South Carolina to receive this year’s South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) Excellence in Teaching Award. The winners are customarily invited to a celebratory dinner, which was canceled this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A statement on the SCICU website concerning the 2020 award winners noted that “Superior collegiate teaching transcends the traditional boundaries of the classroom,” praising professors’ mid-semester transition to online instruction during the public health crisis this spring.

White teaches a variety of mathematics courses, including calculus, statistics, mathematical modeling, and linear and abstract algebra, and serves as coordinator for the Dual Degree Engineering and Actuarial Science Programs with Clemson University. She is active on a number of faculty committees.

“Her service, encouragement, and personal investment in educating students and working with colleagues marks her as an excellent role model for other faculty members,” Hellams said.

Both Harris and White will be honored when the campus commencement, postponed this spring, takes place later in the year.






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Erskine College admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

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