SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Southern Conference named its All-Southern Conference Faculty and Staff Team on Friday, with two representatives each from all 10 member schools being recognized by the league.
While the selections were left up to each institution's discretion, the recipients all shared the common characteristics of demonstrated service to the institution and contributions to campus life and the local community. Faculty members selected have demonstrated strong contributions to teaching, research and/or service, while staff members are being recognized for bringing out the best in others and creating conditions for success.
The faculty and staff recipients include: The Citadel's Dr. Robert J. “Bob” Riggle and Kate Brown; ETSU's Dr. Allen Forsman and Libby Tipton; Furman's Dr. Danielle Vinson and Mickey McCauley; Mercer's Dr. Geoffrey M. “Jeff” Ngene and Allie Ware; UNCG's Dr. Jaqueline DeBrew and Dr. Cherry Callahan; Samford's Dr. Jonathan Davis and Glenda Martin; Chattanooga's Dr. Valerie Rutledge and Emily Quinn; VMI's Lt. Col. Wakeel Idewu and Evan Simmons; Western Carolina's Dr. Winford “Windy” Gordon and Beth Moore; and Wofford's Dr. Jim Neighbors and Brian Lemere.
Each member of the All-SoCon Faculty and Staff Team will be presented a plaque and honored at a home basketball game at his or her institution.
Dr. Robert J. “Bob” Riggle, The Citadel
Dr. Robert J. “Bob” Riggle is the champion for the Professional Selling Pathway in the Baker School of Business and an associate professor of marketing. Each semester, he engages cadets to compete in intercollegiate sales competitions at the national level, many earning internships and job placements as a result. His academic credentials are heightened by his sales experience with Coca-Cola Enterprises and Naylor Publications. Riggle is a firm believer in the old adage that “students don't care how much you know until they first know how much you care.” In recognition of his love of teaching and his dedication to the Corps of Cadets, The Class of 2017 chose Riggle as the recipient of the James A. Grimsley Award for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence.
Kate Brown, The Citadel
Kate Brown is the assistant director of The Citadel's award-winning Academic Support Center, which served 2,481 individual appointments, 4,910 study hall contacts and 1,111 tutoring contacts in the 2016-17 school year alone. Additionally, last year Brown served more than 180 cadet-athletes, with 97 percent meeting NCAA's eligibility criteria and 174 earning SoCon Academic Honor Roll achievement. The Commandant of Cadets and the athletic director highly praise Brown for her tireless efforts to help students succeed academically and personally.
Dr. Allan Forsman, ETSU
Dr. Allan Forsman joined the faculty at ETSU in 1998 and is currently a professor in the Department of Health Sciences within the College of Public Health. His main duties include teaching upper-division human anatomy courses and lower-division anatomy & physiology courses. He is also the honors in discipline coordinator for the department. He has served on many committees during his tenure at ETSU, including the faculty senate. Forsman has been serving as the College of Public Health e-learning liaison and assists faculty in developing and teaching online courses. Forsman is known not only for his work at ETSU, but also for the anatomy and physiology podcasts he created for iTunesU that students from all over the world have downloaded. In one week, his podcasts were downloaded 65,000 times.
Libby Tipton, ETSU
Libby Tipton, a professional sign language interpreter, is the interpreter coordinator at ETSU, where she works with students who are deaf and hard of hearing. She also conducts seminars, interpreter training and teaching institutes on deaf culture and sign language interpreting. Her work extends into the community, where she is the president of the Jonesborough Storytellers Guild, a member of the Volunteer State Tellers, and serves on the Executive Board of the Healing Story Alliance. She is the district representative for the Northeast region of Tennessee Interpreters for the Deaf and is currently serving on a statewide committee that is working on licensure legislation for sign language interpreters in Tennessee.
Dr. Danielle Vinson, Furman
Danielle Vinson, a professor of politics and international affairs, is frequently called upon by local, national and even international press to comment on South Carolina politics. After completing her doctorate in political science at Duke University, she joined the faculty at Furman in 1995 and served as the chair of the department from 2009-15. Her teaching and research interests focus on institutions in American government with a particular emphasis on Congress and the media. She teaches courses on Congress, the Presidency, media and politics, and American government. She regularly directs the department's Washington internship program. She is the author of the book, Local Media Coverage of Congress and Its Members. She won the university's Meritorious Advising Award in 2001. She recently moderated a Riley Institute program with Chuck Todd and served on a panel at the American History Club's program with Maureen Dowd, New York Times columnist. Vinson is a member of the Faculty Athletics Committee and the faculty observer on the Trustees Athletics Committee.
Mickey McCauley, Furman
Mickey McCauley, an exercise specialist in the Furman Fitness Center and a volunteer assistant track coach, is a longtime supporter of Furman athletics. He is the director of the Furman Cross Country Camp and the Red, White, and Blue Shoes 5K race. McCauley was an outstanding half-miler on the Furman track team in the 1970s. He has served as president of the Greenville Track Club and has been a devoted volunteer in the Greenville running community. He is certified as a personal trainer by ACE and ACSM and is a USA Track and Field certified level II coach.
Dr. Geoffrey M. “Jeff” Ngene, Mercer
Dr. Geoffrey M. “Jeff” Ngene is an associate professor of finance at the Stetson School of Business and Economics. He received his Bachelor of Commerce and MBA, both in finance, from the University of Nairobi, Kenya, and his master's and doctorate in financial economics from the University of New Orleans. Ngene is a financial economist with consulting, research and teaching experiences in finance and data mining. He has consulted for the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) as well as numerous private organizations outside of the USA. Ngene won the Distinguished Faculty Award during the 2013-14 academic year and Teacher of the Year Award during the 2015-16 academic year for excellence in teaching. He has also been a finalist for two university-wide teaching and advising excellence awards. Ngene is the faculty advisor of the FMA Chapter-Mercer University, which won the Superior Chapter Award in 2014-2015 academic year. He has been the faculty mentor for the CFA Research Challenge every year since 2013.
Allie Ware, Mercer
Allie Ware earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from the University of Richmond (2014) and a master's degree in higher education leadership from Mercer University (2016). At Richmond, Ware was a four-year member of the Spiders' women's lacrosse team and a team captain and helped the team to three Atlantic-10 Conference tournament semifinal appearances. As a graduate assistant, Ware helped in all aspects of the Mercer Athletic Foundation while also serving as director of operations for Mercer's women's lacrosse program. Having demonstrated her abilities, she was named as the assistant director of the Mercer Athletic Foundation in January 2017. An ardent supporter of Mercer's student-athletes, Ware was selected by the school's Student Athlete Advisory Committee as Mercer's staff representative on the All-SoCon Faculty and Staff Team.
Dr. Jacqueline DeBrew, UNCG
Dr. Jacqueline DeBrew has a Bachelor's of Science in nursing, a Master's of Science in nursing and a doctorate in curriculum & instruction in higher education from UNCG. She has served on the faculty of the School of Nursing at UNCG since 1997. She is currently the director of the RN-BSN program. As the RN-BSN director, DeBrew oversees partnerships with six community colleges in North Carolina to provide a seamless transition for students who are already registered nurses to receive their Bachelor's Degree in nursing. She serves the university through membership on the Faculty Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics, the University Honorary Degrees Committee and the Spartan Club Executive Board. Additionally, DeBrew serves as the contact person in the School of Nursing to meet with athletic recruits and their families who are interesting in majoring in nursing.
Dr. Cherry Callahan, UNCG
Dr. Cherry Callahan has been involved in higher education for 40 years with a focus on student affairs administration. She earned her doctorate in 1987 in child development and family relations from UNCG and her Master of Arts degree in counseling from North Carolina in 1972. She is also an undergraduate alumna from UNCG in sociology with honors. She has taught numerous courses with a particular emphasis on the freshman experience and leadership at Delaware State, Wilmington College and UNCG. Callahan has also served on numerous nonprofit boards and volunteered in a variety of roles across the Greensboro community, working with the American Red Cross, the Junior League of Greensboro, the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Greensboro, the Triad Alzheimer's Association, the United Way of Greater Greensboro, and the Family Life Council. She has received recognition and awards both in her professional work and in her community while also presenting dozens of workshops and professional sessions across the country on a variety of topics related to student affairs, leadership development, crisis management, fundraising, alcohol education and volunteerism.
Dr. Jonathan Davis, Samford
Dr. Jonathan Davis is a professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Life Education at Samford University. After two and a half years working as a missionary in Russia, he earned a doctorate in marriage and family therapy and later received specialized training in medical family therapy. He has published articles in the Journal of Systemic Therapies, Journal of Applied Gerontology, Family Relations, and the Journal of Psychology and Christianity. From 2012-16, he directed a Department of Justice consortium grant for five institutions in the Birmingham, Alabama, area aimed at addressing the problem of campus violence. Davis is a founding member of the Southeastern Council on Family Relations Board, where he served as website chairperson, president-elect, conference chair, president and past-president. He is the current president of the Alabama Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. Davis supervises the department's undergraduate student research projects, five of which received the National Council on Family Relations Affiliate Council's Outstanding Undergraduate Student Research Paper Award. In 2012, he received the national Meritorious Service Award from the Affiliate Councils Board of NCFR for his service to the organization and support of student research. His areas of specific training and experience include: stepfamily adjustment, divorce, religion and families, families and health, grief, exceptional children, and trauma in families.
Glenda Martin, Samford
Glenda Martin began her tenure at Samford in 1981 as an assistant in multiple administrative-level campus offices. After moving away from Birmingham in 1985, she returned to Samford in 1988 and has worked in the office of the dean of Howard College of Arts and Sciences ever since. She is currently serving with her fourth dean. She was recently promoted to Howard College of Arts and Sciences operations manager from her former role as administrative assistant to the dean of the college. In 2015, Martin received the Bill Nunnelley Award in recognition of outstanding job performance by a staff member. She was cited for her invaluable service in all phases of administration, including budgeting and planning, student registration, facilities planning and maintenance, supervision of support staff, alumni relations and more. She enjoys spending time with her friends and family and has volunteered with the youth in her church for over 20 years.
Dr. Valerie Rutledge, Chattanooga
As a cheerleader for The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Mocs in her undergraduate days, Dr. Valerie Copeland Rutledge had only begun to sing the praises for the institution where she has taught and served for over 20 years. Rutledge earned bachelor's and master's degrees from UTC and her doctoral degree from The University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Over a career spanning four decades, Rutledge was recognized as Hamilton County Teacher of the Year, Southeast Tennessee, and Tennessee High School Teacher of the year in 1986. She joined the UTC faculty in 1995, later becoming director of the School of Education and currently serving as the dean of the College of Health, Education and Professional Studies. She also holds the Mildred Routt Distinguished Teaching Professorship. A member of Alpha Delta Kappa International Teachers Sorority for 35-plus years, Rutledge has held a number of offices for the organization, including president. Her work with Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge has helped raise funds to send area high school students to the historical site in Pennsylvania. In 1999, Rutledge was appointed by Governor Don Sundquist to a nine-year term on the Tennessee State Board of Education. Rutledge serves on the board of the Principals Leadership Academy, a unique collaboration between the Chamber of Commerce, Public Education Foundation, Hamilton County Department of Education and UTC, and is a member of the boards of Siskin Children's Institute and Siskin Rehabilitation Hospital.
Emily Quinn, Chattanooga
Emily Quinn is the assistant director for the Disability Resource Center at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She also serves as the instructor for USTU 1999 - Mosaic Year One, a course designed for first-year college students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and is a member of several regional and national organizations related to disability access and higher education. Quinn holds a master's degree in special education and bachelor's degree in history and women's studies from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She co-authored a published textbook series, the BASICS College Curriculum, with colleagues Michelle Rigler and Amy Rutherford and also co-authored a book about safety and independence for young adults with ASD.
Lt. Col. Wakeel Idewu, VMI
An associate professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at VMI, Lieutenant Colonel Wakeel Idewu is a registered engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He received a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a Master of Science in engineering science and doctorate in civil engineering from Louisiana State University. Idewu has eight years of experience postgraduate teaching and transportation engineering and is an expert in simulation modeling using the Vissim platform. He instructs courses and laboratories in Materials for Construction and Civil Engineers; Traffic and Highway Engineering; and Transportation Planning and Evaluation. His most recent work was in the area of human factors and departure choice, vehicle emissions, and work zone traffic control. Recently, one of his work zone traffic control design inventions was successfully implemented in a Canadian work zone under live field conditions. Idewu has instituted at VMI a chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, which has developed a growing presence in the community through services to the YMCA, local schools and Habitat for Humanity. He has served on the Institute Equity Committee, the Transportation Research Board and as vice president for the Rockbridge Area Housing Authority. Idewu has also submitted a study abroad proposal working with the University of Nebraska and Morgan State University to look at transportation engineering and construction in African countries.
Evan Simmons, VMI
Evan Simmons has made a tremendous impact in his brief amount of time at the Institute as the supervisor for the facilities and maintenance team that oversees all of athletic facilities on post, as well as a few other buildings including barracks. He demonstrates an infectious attitude to “get things done” and consistently does so in an efficient and timely manner. Simmons shows great initiative in finding ways to improve efficiency around post. He led the way for an online work order system in the barracks that has resulted in increased reporting and decreased turnaround time in work order completion. Simmons has also strengthened the Institute's relationship with certain vendors, which has allowed for shorter down times for equipment. He demonstrates humility as he regularly passes credit to those on his team.
Dr. Winford “Windy” Gordon, Western Carolina
Dr. Winford “Windy” Gordon teaches and serves as the director of undergraduate studies in psychology at Western Carolina. He graduated summa cum laude from Wofford College (1977) and completed his doctorate in experimental psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1982). After graduate school, Gordon taught at UNC, North Carolina Wesleyan, Warren Wilson and Brevard and came to Western Carolina in 2004. Gordon also worked in administration as vice president for advancement at Warren Wilson, Brevard, Bethune-Cookman and Tennessee Wesleyan. An accomplished whitewater canoe racer, Gordon earned a spot on the U.S. National Team three times, each with a different partner, and won numerous medals in national championships across almost two decades of competition. In 1996, Gordon competed in the Olympic trials for the Atlanta Olympic Games.
Beth Moore, Western Carolina
Beth Moore is the administrative support associate for the Western Carolina University School of Art and Design, where she has worked for almost a year. Prior to that, she held administrative positions in Campus Recreation and Wellness and the College of Fine and Performing Arts Dean's Office. Her past 14 years at WCU have also included positions with the Center for Math and Science Pre-College Program, Upward Bound Math and Science, and Educational Talent Search. Moore graduated from WCU with a parks and recreation management degree.
Dr. Jim Neighbors, Wofford
Dr. Jim Neighbors, associate professor of English and co-coordinator of the African / African American Studies Program, has been teaching at Wofford since 2003. He received his bachelor's degree in English at the University of Washington and both a master's and doctorate in English literature from University of Wisconsin-Madison. During the regular semester, he teaches courses on African American literature and culture, including the Black Arts Movement, Ethnic American literature and Postmodern American literature. When Neighbors is on campus during Wofford's January interim term, he offers courses in Aikido – the Japanese art of self-defense – hip-hop and screenwriting. He led a course to Japan several years ago, and more recently, he teamed up with Wofford baseball coach Todd Interdonato to take the entire baseball team and a few others to Italy, which they plan to do again in 2020, although this time to Spain, with the next generation of players. Neighbors' interests in African American culture and history has led him to participate in a number of diversity-related initiatives at Wofford, including serving on the President's Diversity and Inclusion Committee and co-organizing a new Search Advocate program, which works to ensure the validity, fairness and equitability of Wofford's faculty and staff candidate searches. One of his current projects is a collaborative partnership between his students and members of Spartanburg's black community to tell the story of the African American neighborhood that used to exist behind Wofford and to enhance efforts to preserve the last remaining original school building in Spartanburg that served as one of the city's two black high schools during segregation. Neighbors has participated in numerous organizations in Spartanburg and Greenville, including the Human Relations Commission, the NAACP, and most recently, the Spartanburg Preservation Fund.
Brian Lemere, Wofford
Brian Lemere, associate director of student affairs and director of residence life, has spent 12 years at Wofford, where he manages residence life housing and programming. He also teaches in the First Year Interface orientation program for new students. He received both his bachelor's degree in financial management and master's degree in human resources from Clemson University. He has served as a senior administrator with 20 years of experience in higher education and business administration, including budgeting, operations, planning, facilities and contract management.