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Faculty Highlights

The College of Charleston boasts a diverse, accomplished faculty with over 500 full-time members, more than 85 percent of whom have obtained either a Ph.D. or the equivalent degree in their field. These professors aren't just distinguished by their credentials, but by their devotion to teaching. Independently and collectively, they challenge students to pursue original inquiry and utilize creative expression. Not only do faculty members challenge and motivate students in the classroom at the College of Charleston, but they also engage students as partners in research projects, providing opportunities for scholastic growth that are normally not available to undergraduates. Additionally, in many departments, students accompany faculty to conferences, where they are often given the opportunity to serve as presenters, panelists or speakers.

Members of the College of Charleston's faculty have been honored with numerous distinctions, including Fulbright Fellowships, Guggenheim Fellowships and a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation. Internationally recognized classical guitarist Marc Regnier (associate professor of music professor), for example, was nominated in late 2010 for a Grammy Award (Best Chamber Music Performance) for his album "Radames Gnattali: Solo & Chamber Works for Guitar." Anthony Varallo (assistant professor of English), received the Drue Heinz Literature Prize in January 2008 for his book of short stories. This is one of the nation's most prestigious awards in literature. Varallo's manuscript, Out Loud, was selected from a field of nearly 300 entries. And Pam Riggs-Gelasco, an associate professor in Chemistry and Biochemistry, received a Henry Dreyfus Teacher/Scholar Award that provides an unrestricted grant of $60,000 for research.

Phillip Dustan, Professor in the Department of Biology, received the prestigious Ralph Brown Expedition Award for his research on coral reefs off the coast of Bali, Indonesia. This award is bestowed by the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers. Dustan was honored along with Orla Dhoerty and Abigail Alling of the Biosphere Foundation (his co-researchers) for developing a new technique – digital rugosity – that is being used to measure the vitality and ecological integrity of the reefs. Dustan and the Biosphere Foundation (a nonprofit organization) were invited by local people to help serve as stewards for the reef. The Ralph Brown Expedition Award includes a grant of 12,500 British pounds. One aspect of the team’s field research in northwest Bali included surveying over 3,400 square meters of transects at 11 sites during the course of 49 SCUBA dives. According to Dustan, "The reefs we surveyed ranged from virtually dead -- having been totally destroyed by bomb fishing -- to the most beautiful I have ever seen. Our work will help generate a triage system for coral reef conservation in this time of rapidly dwindling resources.

Sorinel Oprisan, Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, received the Faculty Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation (March 2011). This award, which comes with a $500,000 research grant, is the NSF’s most prestigious honor in support of junior faculty.  The recipients are educators who exemplify the role of teacher-scholar by demonstrating the ability to integrate outstanding research into the context of their teaching. Professor Oprisan conducts broad research, ranging from the development of theoretical models of single cells based on electrophysiological data to large-scale neural networks that ultimately determine behavior. 

Current Fulbright Fellows

Cara Delay, Assistant Professor of History at the College, received a Fulbright Scholarship to spend the 2012-2013 academic year in Dublin, Ireland, where she will research and write “Desolate Journeys: Reproduction and Motherhood in Ireland 1950-2000.”

Recent Fulbright Fellows

Isaure de Buron, associate professor of biology. Received a Fulbright scholarship supporting her research in marine parasites. She traveled to the Czech Republic to study in the laboratory of Iva Dykova, a world-renowned expert on parasitology. Professor de Buron joined Dykova at the Academy of Sciences Institute of Parasitology located in Branisovská. The work she engaged in principally involved identifying new species of parasites.

Joyce Barrett, adjunct professor of communication. Barrett traveled to Burkina Faso where she worked with advanced students in the Department of Journalism at the University of Ouagadougou. Barrett also made presentations to several large audiences on government communication in crisis situations, in addition to collaborating with professors in the Department of Communications on the development of new course materials. Her Fulbright experience also included senior professional training seminars with the Directors of Communication within the Burkina Faso government.

Richard Bodek, associate professor of history. He received a Fulbright Fellowship to participate in the German Studies Seminar "Germany and Jewish Studies Today" (1996).

Giacomo DiTullio, associate professor of biology. He pursued research that pertains to the effects of global climate change at Zoological Station of Naples in Naples, Italy.

Mary Beth Heston, associate professor of art history, spent her fellowship at the University of Kerala in India, researching murals for her book entitled The Book of War: A Commentary on Kingship in the Ramayana Murals, Mattancheri Palace.

Brian K. Lanahan, assistant professor in the Department of Teacher Education, received a Fulbright scholarship to underwrite his trip to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he spent nearly a semester giving guest lectures on the foundations of American education, democracy education and social studies for preschool students. During his time in Sarajevo, he also researched democracy education for early childhood students and education regarding democracy in post-conflict and emerging democracies.

Steven Litvin, professor of hospitality and tourism management, spent a semester as the Guelph University Research Chair in Sustainable Commerce at Guelph's College of Management and Economics in Canada. Specifically, Dr. Litvin studied sustainable tourism development, focusing on the inevitable tension that exists between tourism growth and livability in communities whose economies are based on tourism.

Marianne Mazonne (Art History) Studied and taught at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Kyiv, Ukraine (2005)

Jack Parson (Political Science) A Senior Fulbright Scholar in Botswana (1984-'85) and a Summer Fulbright Fellow in 1990.

Scott Peeples, professor of English. Peeples received a Fulbright Specialist grant in recognition of his work regarding Edgar Allan Poe. During the spring semester of 2009, he traveled to numerous sites in the U.S. and abroad to lecture on the renowned author as part of a celebration of the 200th anniversary of Poe's birth.

Sponsored by the Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Science in Moscow, Professor Peeples was invited to give the plenary speech at the international conference entitled "The Adventures of Edgar Allan Poe Through Time and Culture." He was also slated to lead a seminar for faculty from major Moscow universities and colleges, including Fulbright grantees and research fellows from the Russian Academy of Science who supervise doctoral dissertations.

As part of his tour celebrating the birth of Edgar Allen Poe, Dr. Peeples also lectured at a conferences in Albacete, Spain; Boston College; the University of Virginia; Philadelphia; and at the Edgar Allen Poe Society of Baltimore.

Kay Smith, Associate Vice President for the Academic Experience at the College, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship at Hong Kong Polytechnic University for fall 2011 and spring 2012. Smith will be working with colleagues at that institution to establish a general education curriculum for Hong Kong universities. 

Robert Westerfelhaus, associate professor of communication. Received a Fulbright Lectureship for 2009-2010 at Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Poland. Westerfelhaus taught several courses there over nine months, beginning in September 2009. His courses emphasized film, media and American popular culture. He also worked with the university’s Instytut Anglistyki, or English Institute.

Former Guggenheim Fellows

Michael Phillips (Studio Art)

Former MacArthur Fellows

Ted Rosengarten, an author and historian, received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1989. Rosengarten is an adjunct at the College. He teaches history and religious studies.

Relevant Links

Focus on the Faculty is a sampling of faculty profiles that have been written by students from the College's Department of Communication.

Faculty Bookshelf, a list of works that faculty members have written and had published, offers an additional measure of the quality of the College's faculty. The works listed here are simply representative; they include books only, written or edited by College of Charleston professors in the past dozen years. This list does not include the many works published in magazines and scholarly journals, nor the many papers presented at symposiums or conferences.