Spartanburg, SC, United States
Spartanburg, SC, United States

Wofford College, established in 1854 and related to the United Methodist Church, is an independent, national liberal arts college of around 1,580 students located in downtown Spartanburg, South Carolina, United States. The historic 175-acre campus is recognized as a national arboretum and is one of the few four-year institutions in the southeastern United States founded before the American Civil War that still operates on its original campus. The College features “The Village,” which provides distinctive apartment-style housing for seniors, and is listed on the President’s Community Service Honor Roll and in the annual “Open Doors” report for providing studies abroad opportunities for its students.Wofford was founded with a bequest of $100,000 from the Rev. Benjamin Wofford , a Methodist minister and Spartanburg native who sought to create a college for "literary, classical, and scientific education in my native district of Spartanburg." The college's Main Building is the oldest structure on campus and was designed by the noted Charleston architect Edward C. Jones. In 1941, the college was awarded a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest academic honor society, and the Beta of South Carolina chapter was the first at a private college in South Carolina.The academic year consists of a four-month fall semester, a one month January term called the Interim, and a four-month spring semester.Wofford is ranked 77th in US News & World Report for best national liberal arts colleges. In 2010, Forbes ranked it 58th on Forbes List of America's 650 Best Colleges.Wofford's colors are old gold and black. The school mascot is the Terrier. Wikipedia.

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News Article | July 31, 2017

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Capitala Group, a leading provider of capital to lower and traditional middle-market companies, today announced its recent hiring and promotion of investment professionals in its Charlotte-based headquarters. Capitala Group has added two analysts, three associates, and one vice president to support their continued growth. Jack Vander Leeuw joins the Capitala investment team as Vice President. Previously, Mr. Vander Leeuw worked as a Principal on the corporate development team at Neustar, Inc. where he focused on executing mergers and acquisitions, debt financings, divestitures, equity investments, joint ventures and other partnership-related transactions, both domestically and globally, in the information technology industry. Prior to joining Neustar, Mr. Vander Leeuw was an Associate at Gladstone Investment Corporation. Mr. Vander Leeuw began his career as an investment banking analyst at BB&T Capital Markets. Mr. Vander Leeuw graduated from Georgetown University with a BS/BA in Business Management. Peter McArthur joins the Capitala investment team as an Associate. Previously, Mr. McArthur was an Analyst in the Technology & Defense group at Regions Securities where he was engaged in cash flow based lending to corporate and sponsor-backed clients. Mr. McArthur graduated with a B.S. degree in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Joe Gaskins joins the Capitala business development team as an Associate. Prior to joining Capitala, Mr. Gaskins worked at DHG Corporate Finance, 7 Mile Advisors, and Red Ventures. Mr. Gaskins graduated from the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce, where he received a B.S. degree in Commerce with concentrations in Finance and Information Technology. Kevin Roberts joins the Capitala investment team as an Associate. Previously, Mr. Roberts was an Assistant Vice President at WEDGE Capital Management, where he focused on equity trading and compliance. Prior to WEDGE, Mr. Roberts was an Audit Senior at Ernst & Young, primarily serving asset management clients. Mr. Roberts graduated magna cum laude from Boston College with a B.S. in Business Administration and concentrations in Finance and Accounting. Mr. Roberts is a Certified Public Accountant. Jack Linker joins the Capitala investment team as an Analyst. Prior to joining Capitala, Mr. Linker was an Analyst at Tobin & Company Investment Banking Group where he worked on executing lower middle market mergers and acquisitions, private capital raises and valuation assignments. Mr. Linker graduated with a B.S.B.A. in Business Administration from High Point University. Alex Pruitt joins the investment team as an Analyst. Mr. Pruitt graduated magna cum laude from Wofford College with a B.A. degree in both Accounting and Finance. Kevin Koonts has been promoted to Vice President. Mr. Koonts joined Capitala Group in 2013 as the controller for Capitala Finance Corp. His primary responsibilities include financial controls and reporting. Prior to joining Capitala Finance in 2013, Mr. Koonts was an audit manager at Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP, primarily serving southeastern Financial Institutions. Mr. Koonts graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Masters in Accounting. Mr. Koonts is a Certified Public Accountant. Capitala Group currently has invested $1.3 billion to date and has significant dry powder available. The firm is actively seeking new investment opportunities and the deal team can be reached at Capitala Group is a leading provider of capital to lower and traditional middle market companies, through its family of credit focused funds. Since 1998, Capitala Group's managed funds have participated in over 139 transactions, representing over $1.3 billion of investments in a variety of industries throughout North America. Capitala Group manages both public capital (Capitala Finance Corp.) (Nasdaq:CPTA) and private capital (Capitala Private Credit Fund V, L.P. and CapitalSouth SBIC Fund IV, L.P.) for institutional and individual investors, and seeks to partner with strong management teams to create value and serve as long term partners. For more information, please visit

News Article | July 8, 2017

— The Jeffcoat Firm, a leading criminal and professional license defense practice, congratulates Andrew Miller of Gaston, the winner of the firm's 2017 college scholarship. A recent high school graduate, eighteen-year-old Miller will attend Wofford College in Spartanburg starting in the fall. Once there, he plans to study Spanish and Biology while working through the college's Pre-Med program. Miller hopes upon graduating from Wofford to attend Duke University to obtain his Doctor of Medicine degree, after which he intends to pursue research before entering into clinical practice. From the many impressive applicants for The Jeffcoat Firm 2017 scholarship, Miller stood out clearly in terms of his academic and extracurricular achievements, character, and ambition. "We're proud to announce that Gaston resident Andrew Miller has won our scholarship for 2017," said Michael Jeffcoat, firm President and practicing personal injury and defense attorney. "Andrew is a truly ambitious, talented, and determined young man. We foresee many great things for him in the future and wish him all the best in his endeavors. It's an honor to be able to support such a fine young person as he sets off on the path to becoming a doctor. I hope Andrew's time at Wofford will be as rewarding for him as mine was for me." As a seven-year-old, Miller found out on April Fool's Day that he was a type-1 diabetic after his observant father recognized the symptoms and arranged for him to be tested. Despite the seriousness of that congenital condition, Miller rarely missed school since, thanks to his determination to achieve at the highest level and the support of his family and others. The care that Miller received from his endocrinologist has inspired him to study to become a doctor so that he can someday serve others in similarly important ways. Named a National Merit Commended Scholar, as well as an AP Scholar with Honor, Miller has been active in tutoring other students, focusing especially on Spanish. Outside of school, Miller enjoys volunteering at his church, whether for singing specials or teaching discipleship. As the winner of The Jeffcoat Firm's 2017 college scholarship, Miller embodies the full range of positive qualities the program was set up to support. The Jeffcoat Firm regularly gives back to communities throughout South Carolina through initiatives like its annual scholarship and others. Those interested can learn more at The Jeffcoat Firm website, where visitors can also request a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced professional license defense or criminal defense lawyer. About The Jeffcoat Firm: Providing the best in legal counsel and representation in personal injury, criminal defense, and professional license defense matters, the attorneys of The Jeffcoat Firm fight tirelessly for each and every client. For more information, please visit

News Article | June 12, 2017

Leading Charleston real estate firm, The Cassina Group, is proud to announce that seasoned Charleston REALTORS® Phil Sykes and Jay Unger have joined the company. Both will be based in the company’s downtown office at 132 East Bay Street. Phil Sykes has been selling real estate in Charleston for close to twenty years. He was born and raised in Charleston and graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in Business Administration. He also graduated with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from one of our other prestigious colleges in the area, The Citadel. He consistently ranks among the top 5% of all REALTORS® in all of Charleston. Jay Unger, a native of the Charleston area, has worked in real estate for over twenty years. He has been a recipient of the REALTOR® of Distinction award at both the Executive and President Circle levels for several consecutive years. He is a graduate of Episcopal High School and earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Wofford College. “We are honored to have Phil Sykes and Jay Unger at The Cassina Group,” said Owen Tyler, Managing Broker and Broker-in-Charge. “Their numerous years of experience, reputation in the community and dedication to their clients makes them a huge asset to our company.” “We are excited to join The Cassina Group, a unique real estate company in our special Lowcountry. We share the same passion for listing and selling homes and look forward to the many ways we will complement each other in this industry,” said Sykes and Unger when asked about their move to The Cassina Group. The Cassina Group is known as Charleston’s innovation-driven real estate firm, with a proven reputation for delivering stronger results though leading-edge technology and building lasting relationships. For more information on Phil Sykes, Jay Unger or The Cassina Group, please visit About The Cassina Group The Cassina Group is a boutique real estate brokerage with offices in Mount Pleasant, SC and Charleston, SC. Recent awards include top honors from Charleston Magazine, Inc. 5000 and SC Biz News. For more information, visit or call 843.628.0008.

News Article | June 28, 2017

"When Tom learned that Tron's surgery would keep him from experiencing camp this year he immediately came up with the idea of holding a special camp just for Tron and his sister. That's the kind of person Tom is - he just loves the children we serve," said Laura Allen, CSB Executive Director. Wofford College recently awarded Russell the Algernon Sydney Sullivan award, recognizing excellence of character and humanitarian service. "Camp Victory is CSB's way to help ensure that the precious children we serve, like Tron, have the chance to just enjoy a fun summer camp experience and leave behind medical treatments, needle sticks and hospital visits for a time," explained Allen. "We have had the privilege of serving Tron and his family since 2009, providing connections to resources, assisting with travel and lodging expenses related to cancer treatments and providing support and encouragement during very difficult times. Tron is an incredible young man with a big heart who has shared with us that he plans to give back by organizing a fishing tournament to benefit CSB." Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, CSB's Camp Victory has provided children who really need a dose of joy the chance to participate in activities such as fishing, riding horses, nature study and enjoying hands-on crafts and games. Camp Victory offers CSB families the opportunity to make memories while uniting with others who share their challenges. Beginning as a project of the Optimist Club in 1999, and becoming a nonprofit in 2006, The Children's Security Blanket has served hundreds of families across SC and NC affected by childhood cancer. The organization provides support for struggling families including making travel arrangements to healthcare facilities and funds for transportation, lodging, and meals while the children receive critical medical treatments. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:

News Article | September 27, 2017

Williams' career is well balanced with an emphasis on business strategy combined with strong execution developing into consistent positive results. Prior to joining Aflac, he was senior vice president and general manager, Stop Loss, at Unum, U.S., and senior vice president, Growth Markets at Colonial Life and Accident Insurance Company. He also held various positions of increasing responsibility with Strategic Resource Company (an Aetna Company) and began his career as an actuary with William M. Mercer Inc. In previous positions throughout his career, Williams was responsible for strategically delivering double-digit sales growth in key sectors of the business, while teams under his leadership produced consistent sales gains in both the traditional agency and brokerage distribution markets. He has also successfully led a number of strategic distribution partnerships as well as enrollment technology and product development initiatives. Williams earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Wofford College and a Master of Arts degree from Wake Forest University. He also earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of South Carolina. He is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and member of the American Academy of Actuaries. "All of us at Aflac are delighted to have Rich onboard in this key, strategic role. The development of this new position is part of the planned natural evolution of Aflac U.S. strategy. This will enable Aflac U.S. to continue to focus on the alignment and growth of its current distribution model as well as developing further distribution as part of its strategic plan and as markets naturally evolve. Rich's expertise will be critical as we continue to develop and implement our sales strategy. He brings a wealth of experience to the position that will serve all of our stakeholders well," said Teresa White, president of Aflac U.S. "I look forward to working with our distribution teams to help propel growth in Aflac's U.S. sales," Williams said. "Relying on our strength as the market leader, we will harness the power of the Aflac sales organization and tremendous brand to expand delivery of our much-needed products to more consumers." About Aflac When a policyholder gets sick or hurt, Aflac pays cash benefits fast. For six decades, Aflac insurance policies have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress. In the United States, Aflac is the leader in voluntary insurance sales at the worksite. Through its trailblazing One Day PaySM initiative, Aflac U.S. can receive, process, approve and disburse payment for eligible claims in one business day. In Japan, Aflac is the leading provider of medical and cancer insurance and insures 1 in 4 households. Aflac insurance products help provide protection to more than 50 million people worldwide. For 11 consecutive years, Aflac has been recognized by Ethisphere as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies. In 2017, Fortune magazine recognized Aflac as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work for in America for the 19th consecutive year and in 2017 included Aflac on its list of Most Admired Companies for the 16th time. Aflac Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AFL. To find out more about Aflac and One Day PaySM, visit or Forward-looking Information The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides a "safe harbor" to encourage companies to provide prospective information, so long as those informational statements are identified as forward-looking and are accompanied by meaningful cautionary statements identifying important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those included in the forward-looking statements. We desire to take advantage of these provisions. This report contains cautionary statements identifying important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected herein, and in any other statements made by Company officials in communications with the financial community and contained in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Forward-looking statements are not based on historical information and relate to future operations, strategies, financial results or other developments. Furthermore, forward-looking information is subject to numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties. In particular, statements containing words such as "expect," "anticipate," "believe," "goal," "objective," "may," "should," "estimate," "intends," "projects," "will," "assumes," "potential," "target", "outlook" or similar words as well as specific projections of future results, generally qualify as forward-looking. Aflac undertakes no obligation to update such forward-looking statements. We caution readers that the following factors, in addition to other factors mentioned from time to time, could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements: difficult conditions in global capital markets and the economy; exposure to significant interest rate risk; concentration of business in Japan;  foreign currency fluctuations in the yen/dollar exchange rate; failure to execute or implement the conversion of the Japan branch conversion to a legal subsidiary ; limited availability of acceptable yen-denominated investments; deviations in actual experience from pricing and reserving assumptions; ability to continue to develop and implement improvements in information technology systems; governmental actions for the purpose of stabilizing the financial markets; interruption in telecommunication, information technology and other operational systems, or a failure to maintain the security, confidentiality or privacy of sensitive data residing on such systems; ongoing changes in our industry; failure to comply with restrictions on patient privacy and information security; extensive regulation and changes in law or regulation by governmental authorities; defaults and credit downgrades of our investments; ability to attract and retain qualified sales associates and employees; decline in creditworthiness of other financial institutions; subsidiaries' ability to pay dividends to Aflac Incorporated; decreases in our financial strength or debt ratings;  inherent limitations to risk management policies and procedures; concentration of our investments in any particular single-issuer or sector;  differing judgments applied to investment valuations; ability to effectively manage key executive succession; significant valuation judgments in determination of amount of impairments taken on our investments; catastrophic events including, but not necessarily limited to, epidemics, pandemics, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, acts of terrorism and damage incidental to such events; changes in U.S. and/or Japanese accounting standards; loss of consumer trust resulting from events external to our operations; increased expenses and reduced profitability resulting from changes in assumptions for pension and other postretirement benefit plans; level and outcome of litigation; failure of internal controls or corporate governance policies and procedures; and other risks and uncertainties described from time to time in Aflac Incorporated's filings with the SEC. Analyst and investor contact – David A. Young, 706.596.3264 or 800.235.2667, FAX 706.324.6330, or

News Article | November 29, 2016

HARTSVILLE, S.C., Nov. 29, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sonoco (NYSE:SON), one of the largest global diversified packaging companies, today announced several new senior leadership changes which will become effective January 3, 2017, according to M. Jack Sanders, President and Chief Executive Officer. Robert C. Tiede, 58, has been appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and will have global leadership, sales and operating responsibility for all of the Company’s diversified consumer, industrial and protective packaging businesses, reporting to Sanders. Since joining Sonoco in 2004, Tiede has led all of Sonoco’s global consumer-related businesses, including Rigid Paper Containers, Flexible Packaging, Plastics and Display and Packaging. During his tenure, Sonoco’s consumer-related businesses have increased sales by approximately 90 percent and operating profits by 120 percent, as the Company’s consumer growth strategy developed broader global packaging and services capabilities. “Rob has been a key leader of our efforts to Re-Envision Sonoco to become a more innovative, consumer solutions-focused business,” said Sanders. “His ability to turn around underperforming businesses, drive innovation to spur organic growth and help build our capabilities through targeted acquisitions has been an important element in executing our Grow and Optimize strategy.” Tiede joined Sonoco as president of Sonoco CorrFlex following the 2004 acquisition of CorrFlex Graphics’ point of purchase merchandising display and packaging business. In 2007, he became division vice president and general manager of the Company’s Flexible Packaging division and later added responsibility for all of the Company’s Consumer Packaging businesses. He became Senior Vice President in 2013 and in 2015 added responsibility for the Company’s Protective Solutions and Reels businesses. Prior to joining Sonoco, Tiede worked in private equity as president of Bostic Packaging/CorrFlex from 2000 to 2004 and president of Sterling International from 1998 to 2000.  He also served as executive vice president of operations for Graphic Packaging International, Inc., heading its flexible packaging division from 1994 to 1998. A Chartered Accountant through the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, Tiede began his professional career with KPMG. Tiede is active in industry and community organizations and is the chairman of the Flexible Packaging Association and Hartsville United Way. A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Tiede became a U.S. citizen in 2013 and he and his wife, Val, maintain a home in Hartsville and have three grown children. Sanders also announced the promotions of Vicki B. Arthur to Senior Vice President, Plastic Packaging and Protective Solutions; R. Howard Coker to Senior Vice President, Rigid Paper Containers and Paper/Engineered Carriers International; and Rodger D. Fuller to Senior Vice President, Paper/Engineered Carriers U.S./Canada and Display and Packaging.  Each will report to Tiede. In this new position, Arthur, 58, will have responsibility for Sonoco’s plastics businesses, including flexible packaging and thermoformed, injection molded and extruded plastics, and Protective Solutions, which includes the Company’s consumer durable paper-based packaging, molded foam components and temperature-assured packaging operations. Combined, these businesses have 52 operating facilities in North America, Europe and Asia with combined sales of approximately $1.5 billion and more than 4,000 associates. Arthur joined Sonoco in 1984 and has held senior leadership positions in finance, including Corporate Treasurer, sales and operations. Prior to this promotion, she was Vice President, Protective Solutions.  Arthur graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in accounting and worked in public accounting, becoming a Certified Public Accountant. In 2000, she received an MBA from Duke University. She is member of the AICPA and South Carolina Association of CPAs and is a member of the South Carolina Automotive Association. She remains active in community activities, including previously serving on the boards of Coker College, the Byerly Foundation and the Hartsville YMCA. Arthur and her husband, Stephen, have two grown children and have a home in Hartsville. Coker, 54, has responsibility for the Company’s global composite can operations in North America, South America, Europe and Asia, as well as paper, tube and core operations in Europe, Latin America and Australasia. Combined, these businesses have annual sales of $1.8 billion, through 110 operations and 8,000 associates. Prior to this promotion, Coker was Group Vice President, and during his 31-year career he has held several leadership positions running global consumer-related and industrial businesses. Coker holds a B.A. in business administration from Wofford College and an MBA from Wake Forest University.  He is active in community and wildlife organizations, having served as past chairman of the Board of Trustees of Coker College and on the board of the Byerly Foundation and has been an active member of Ducks Unlimited. A native resident of Hartsville, he and his wife, Rhonda, have three grown children. In this new position, Fuller, 55, has responsibility for the Company’s Paper and Engineered Carriers businesses, including 12 uncoated recycled paper mills, 24 recovered paper recycling facilities, 40 tube and core converting facilities and 16 wire and cable reels centers serving customers throughout the U.S. and Canada. In addition, he assumes responsibility for the Company’s Display and Packaging business, which operates 25 manufacturing and packaging facilities in the United States, Mexico, Poland and Brazil. Combined, these businesses have annual sales of $1.6 billion and 8,000 associates.  Prior to this appointment, Fuller was Group Vice President and has held leadership positions in both Consumer and Industrial businesses during his 31-year career with Sonoco. Fuller graduated from Berry College in Rome, Georgia, with a B.S. in business administration and received an MBA from Emory University.  He is active in industry and community service organizations, including serving on the board of the Paper and Packaging Board, the American Forest and Paper Association and the Hartsville United Way. He and his wife, Helen, have two grown children and reside in Hartsville. Photos accompanying this announcement are available at About Sonoco Founded in 1899, Sonoco is a global provider of a variety of consumer packaging, industrial products, protective packaging, and displays and packaging supply chain services. With annualized net sales of approximately $5 billion, the Company has 20,000 employees working in more than 300 operations in 35 countries, serving some of the world’s best known brands in some 85 nations. For more information on the Company, visit our website at

News Article | February 24, 2017

In celebration of Black History Month and Women’s History Month, Wofford College presents a solo exhibition from nationally acclaimed, Atlanta-based artist Shanequa Gay, titled “Fair Is Foul and Foul Ain’t Fair.” The exhibition speaks to the contemporary social and racial climate. It was inspired by a novel by Bill Harris as well as Greek and African mythologies. “I wanted to dig deep into the feelings of despair and despondency that some within the black community have concerning their plight of poverty and ethnicity,” Gay says. Her works bring forth commentary regarding police brutality, gang and prison culture, lack of educational opportunity, and feelings of self-hatred that have arisen in the black community. Shanequa Gay’s exhibit will be on display through April 7, 2017 in the Martha Cloud Chapman Gallery in the Campus Life Building on Wofford College’s campus. Viewing is free and open to the public. An artist talk and reception will be held Tuesday, February 28, 2017, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Martha Cloud Chapman Gallery. An artist lecture will be held Wednesday, March 1, 2017, from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Olin Teaching Theater in the Franklin W. Olin Building. This event is also free and open to the public. Gay's work was featured in the 2014 Lions Gate film Addicted, the television series Being Mary Jane, and OWN series Greenleaf. She was chosen by The Congressional Club to be the illustrator for the 2013 First Lady's Luncheon hostess gift. Her work is included in both public and private collections including, actor Samuel Jackson. Gay has exhibited her work at prestigious venues and events, such as the Chattanooga African American Museum, Hammonds House Museum, Hunter Museum of American Art, Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, and many more. Shanequa Gay is a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design and the Art Institute of Atlanta. Currently, she is an Artist-in-Residence at The Goat Farm through The Creatives Project Artist-in-Studio Program (2015-2017). To learn more about the exhibit, visit To learn more about Shanequa Gay, visit

Steinmetz K.R.M.,Wofford College | Kensinger E.A.,Chestnut Hill College
Memory and Cognition | Year: 2013

Although it has been suggested that many effects of emotion on memory are attributable to attention, in the present study we addressed the hypothesis that such effects may relate to a number of different factors during encoding or postencoding. One way to look at the effects of emotion on memory is by examining the emotion-induced memory trade-off, whereby enhanced memory for emotional items often comes at the cost of memory for surrounding background information. We present evidence that this trade-off cannot be explained solely by overt attention (measured via eyetracking) directed to the emotional items during encoding. Participants did not devote more overt attention to emotional than to neutral items when those items were selectively remembered (at the expense of their backgrounds). Only when participants were asked to answer true/false questions about the items and the backgrounds-a manipulation designed to affect both overt attention and poststimulus elaboration-was there a reduction in selective emotional item memory due to an increase in background memory. These results indicate that the allocation of overt visual attention during encoding is not sufficient to predict the occurrence of selective item memory for emotional items. © 2012 Psychonomic Society, Inc.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Research Coordination Networks | Award Amount: 164.70K | Year: 2014

An award has been made to Wofford College to coordinate and evaluate the first Southeast Regional PULSE (SERP) Institute, which will be held on the campus of the University of Richmond from June 18-22, 2014. The Institute promotes the mission of the Partnership for Undergraduate Life Science Education (PULSE) to stimulate whole departments to undertake the type of transformative changes recommended in the report Vision and Change in Undergraduate Education: A Call to Action (AAAS, 2011), so as to promote student learning of core concepts and competencies, improve student retention in the sciences, and produce more curious and scientifically literate citizens. In September 2012, the PULSE founders from HHMI, NIGMS, and NSF appointed 40 Vision and Change Leadership Fellows to pursue this mission, and the SERP Institute will be coordinated by the 14 PULSE Fellows located in the Southeast.

The current award funds the first Southeast PULSE Regional (SERP) Institute, which will host teams from up to 20 colleges and universities, with at least 30% from minority-serving institutions. The SERP Institute will begin with institutional teams conducting a departmental self-assessment using the STEM Department Evaluation Rubric developed by the Leadership Fellows, and participants will plan their attendance at subsequent workshops based on the areas they identify as unfamiliar and/or high priority for improvement. Each teams administrator will be encouraged to attend sessions led by administrators who have supported reform, and these leaders will share advice, successful strategies, and ways to overcome common obstacles. Prior to departure from the Institute, each team will develop an action plan to target improvements in their program for the next academic year and beyond. The projects assessment plan, developed in partnership with the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), will include feedback on the structure and function of the Institute as well as evaluation of each teams progress based on data collected before, during and after the SERP Institute. Teams will also be encouraged to use particular assessment tools to evaluate student learning outcomes and dispositions as well as changes in faculty teaching practices and attitudes. Each team will provide an update on their progress during a poster discussion session at the annual meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists (which occurs ten months after the Institute), and the southeast PULSE Fellows will present the results of this project at the annual Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC) Conference, the AAC&U STEM Conference, disciplinary conferences, a publication in CBE-Life Sciences Education, and via the website.

This project is funded jointly by the Directorate for Biological Sciences and the Directorate of Education and Human Resources, Division of Undergraduate Education support of efforts to address the challenges posed in Vision and Change in Undergraduate Education: A Call to Action

The significance and importance of this project resides in the diversification and broadening of the STEM talent pipeline in cybersecurity in predominantly undergraduate and liberal arts schools (small institutions). This is achieved by the creation of a curriculum that accommodates students of different levels of computer literacy, that focuses on experiential learning, and that utilizes institutional collaboration via cloud computing. This project will mitigate the challenges small institutions currently face in the cybersecurity area, for example, a tight computer science curriculum and the inability to support the expensive infrastructure required for cybersecurity education. Integrated into this project is research as to whether using this new curriculum and the related online projects, students will attain the same, or an increase, level of cybersecurity learning.

This project will address the above challenges by creating a range of cybersecurity learning opportunities that emphasize hands-on and realistic experimentation for students in small institutions. First, this project will attract a diverse population of students by introducing cybersecurity topics through multiple paths of study and engagement. Students will be introduced to cybersecurity concepts through manageable, stand alone course modules and laboratory exercises. Interested students can study further by taking two cybersecurity focused courses and cybersecurity capstone projects created by this project. Using all these materials students can create a cybersecurity concentration. Second, the project will use the Global Environment for Network Innovation (GENI) infrastructure in the development of empirical labs and the capstone project assignments. GENI offers an affordable cloud solution to small institutions that lack the infrastructure to support sophisticated computer labs. The learning impact of the new curriculum will be evaluated by quantitative competency assessments that are administered yearly. Student cybersecurity persistence will be assessed by a longitudinal study of the number of cybersecurity courses taken during a students course of study. Qualitative assessment of the curriculum will take the form of student interviews and focus groups to gauge attitude towards course modules, perception of learning gains and comfort level with the pedagogies employed. In addition to the collaboration of three college level institutions, this project will leverage relationships with local community colleges to further develop a cybersecurity workforce. This partnership provides a diverse set of students that will support the evidence-based evaluation of student cybersecurity learning via this approach.

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