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.
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 Pirates of New York: The United States in the Final Era of the Illegal Slave Trade, 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.
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.