Makes top list for fifth year in a row see more
For the fifth consecutive year, Furman University is one of the “Most Innovative Schools” among national liberal arts colleges and universities, according to the U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” rankings released Sept. 13. Furman also was included in the top-50 among its peers for undergraduate teaching, first-year experience and undergraduate research.
Overall, Furman climbed six places to No. 46 among all “National Liberal Arts Colleges,” placing it again in the top quarter of all liberal arts and sciences universities. The top-ranked university in South Carolina, Furman ranks sixth in the Southeast in its category, behind the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland (6), Washington and Lee University in Virginia (11), Davidson College in North Carolina (13), the University of Richmond (22) and Berea College in Kentucky (30).
“Furman faculty and staff demonstrate every day their commitment to helping all of our students find their pathway through their four years at Furman by integrating curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular experiences,” said Elizabeth Davis, president of Furman University. “These rankings, and the recognition by university leaders across the country, reflect the value of a Furman education and our innovation in delivering it.”
Furman has been voted a “Most Innovative School” by its peers every year since launching The Furman Advantage in 2016, coming in at No. 32 this year. Furman was also recognized among its peer universities for “Best College for Veterans” (2) and “Undergraduate Teaching” (46), and among all universities for “Best First-Year Experience” (49) and “Undergraduate Research” (46). Furman also ranked No. 37 for faculty resources and No. 50 for financial resources for students.
The “most innovative,” “undergraduate teaching,” “first-year experience” and “undergraduate research” rankings are decided by university presidents, provosts and deans of admissions who are asked to rank the top schools that come to mind in the respective categories.
Also this year, Furman was included among “The Best 387 Colleges” in the country by The Princeton Review. The publication also ranked Furman No. 15 on its list of “schools for making an impact” in its “Best Value Colleges” guide.
In 2020, Furman was the top college or university in South Carolina in the Best Colleges 2021 rankings by The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education. Furman ranked No. 135 out of nearly 800 U.S. colleges or universities that made the list. The WSJ/THE College Ranking is designed to “put graduate success and student learning at its heart.”
For more information, contact the Furman News and Media Strategy office at 864-294-3107.
Innovation booming across Palmetto State see more
The InnoVision Awards Board of Directors is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2021 InnoVision Awards. This year’s finalists include both large and small organizations, representing an array of industries, from the upstate to the coast – a true reflection of South Carolina’s robust innovation economy.
InnoVision Awards honor South Carolina individuals and organizations for impactful innovations under development in South Carolina within the last 18 months. The annual awards are the mark of distinction for the many organizations, individuals, educators and leaders who have been honored over the 23-year history of the InnoVision Awards.
The 2021 finalists in the six award categories are:
ArchCath LLC (Awendaw)
Elastrin Therapeutics Inc. (Simpsonville)
FRD Accel, LLC (Charleston)
Camp Happy Days (Charleston)
United Way of the Piedmont (Spartanburg)
Aconabolics LLC (Greenville)
Mia Nipple System LLC (Travelers Rest)
Veterans ASCEND (Simpsonville)
Early College High School, Charleston County School District (Charleston)
SC Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities (Greenville)
Diversey Holdings Ltd. (Fort Mill)
PunchList USA (Charleston)
QuicksortRx Inc (Charleston)
Clemson Composites Center (Greenville)
Ingevity (North Charleston)
Geomat, LLC (Columbia)
All finalists will be recognized during the InnoVision Meet the Finalists (MTF) Series sponsored by the South Carolina Research Authority. The 2021 MTF Series will be held virtually at 4 PM on three consecutive Tuesdays: September 28, October 5 and October 12. Each MTF reception will feature finalists in two award categories. They are open to the public and are free to those who register in advance.
InnoVision’s annual awards program will culminate with the Annual Awards Celebration on November 9th. The Awards Celebration will showcase each finalist’s innovation with a video profile, announce the winner in each award category, and present two special awards: The Ibrahim Janajreh Young Innovator Award and the Dr. Charles Townes Individual Achievement Award.
In 2020, the virtual Awards Celebration attracted more than 500 viewers from across the country and several international locations. The Meet the Finalists Series and the Awards Celebration event are open to those who register in advance. You may sign up to receive an invitation and notification at www.innovisionawards.org.
About InnoVision Awards
InnoVision, founded in 1999, is a grass-roots, volunteer-led non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of innovation and technology in South Carolina. Through its Annual Awards Celebration, InnoVision recognizes and honors South Carolina businesses, individuals and organizations that have demonstrated outstanding advancements in these areas. InnoVision also highlights innovative achievements through daily posts on the InnoVision Awards Linkedin page and a weekly Spotlight on Innovation newsletter. InnoVision Forums held throughout the year provide opportunities for peers to learn about key advancements, innovation and leading edge technologies from other innovators.
USC earns award of excellence see more
In recognition of their dedication and innovations in overcoming the challenges of delivering the experiential curriculum during the past year, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Experiential Education Section has bestowed the Award for Excellence in Experiential Education upon the faculty and staff of experiential offices at the colleges and schools of pharmacy, including the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy.
The Experiential Education team of Jennifer Baker, director of experiential programs; Whitney Maxwell, associate director of experiential programs; Kathryn Kenard, student service program coordinator; and Nancy Blaisdell, administrative assistant, received certificates of recognition from the AACP during a presentation by Julie Sease, interim dean of the College of Pharmacy.
The AACP Experiential Education Section Award of Excellence in Experiential Education is normally presented each year to an individual, but this year, the organization chose to recognize programs across the country.
When the University closed in March 2020, the Office of Experiential Education for the College of Pharmacy mobilized to a virtual unit overnight as there could be no pause in operations to keep students progressing through the Pharm.D. curriculum. With the status of hundreds of rotations changing on what seemed like an hourly basis during the spring and summer of 2020, Baker and Maxwell navigated rotation rescheduling while Kenard and Blaisdell tirelessly worked through site onboarding requirements to efficiently move students on and off rotation without missing a beat.
“Through the hard work and commitment of our preceptors and practice sites, we were able to successfully graduate the Classes of 2020 and 2021 on time,” says Baker. “Our team was dedicated to our students even while serving on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19. While our experiences were not unique, as everyone’s worlds were turned upside down during the pandemic, I can confidently say that our students and College are blessed with the best preceptors and faculty.
“We are so grateful for the unwavering support from College administration and for this recognition by the AACP Experiential Education Section. It was incredible to see the collaboration that occurred within our profession at the local, state and national level to support all pharmacy students.”
Succeeds Dr. Stephen Cutler, who was named USC Interim Provost see more
Julie Sease has been selected as the interim dean of the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, effective July 1. She succeeds Stephen Cutler, who was announced as South Carolina’s interim provost.
In her new role, Sease hopes to provide support and stability to the college’s faculty, staff, students and alumni through authentic, selfless leadership. Her priorities include ensuring the faculty’s research and teaching excellence is recognized, continuing the college’s unmatched learning opportunities for students — like those that the Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center provides. She also plans to continue the college's commitment to service, like its robust saliva-based COVID-19 testing.
“We have great things happening in the College of Pharmacy, we have excitement for the future, and we have good people to grow with,” Sease says. “My job is to support the great work that’s already being done and to do what I can to provide support and to let our people do what they are here to do.”
Sease received her Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of South Carolina in 2003. After completing her residency, she returned to UofSC as a clinical assistant professor for five years. She then went to Presbyterian College, where she became the associate dean for academic affairs, before coming back to the university as a clinical professor and senior associate dean in 2019.
“We have awesome, and I cannot stress this enough, awesome people here at the college in terms of teaching, scholarship, research and service,” Sease says. “Our people care about our students, and they teach our students well. Our people care about their profession, and they serve their profession well. Our people care about one another and that makes for good collegial relationships and a good family feel that our students and faculty want to be involved in. And it’s my job to help make sure that our people continue to feel supported and have opportunities to continue doing great things.”
Cutler says he knows Sease will provide the college the stability it needs as he transitions to his new role.
“Dr. Sease has been an integral member of our college’s family for many years,” he says. “She has proven herself to be an impactful leader who truly cares about the well being of the college and everyone associated with it, including the students, staff, faculty and alumni. The College of Pharmacy is in great hands, and I know that the growth it has experienced in recent years will only continue with her at the helm.”
More mentoring, better healthcare access for students on teh way see more
In collaboration with the South Carolina Technical College System, Spartanburg Community College (SCC), and Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College (OCTech), Lauren Gellar, Ph.D., division director for Health Care studies at the MUSC College of Health Professions, developed new pre-health professions transfer tracks, specialized academic advising and a mentorship program to support students applying for the online BS in Healthcare Studies program. The institutions are working together to strengthen local communities in South Carolina by providing opportunities for students to live and work within their community while earning a bachelor’s degree. This is the first year that students have been able to register for one of these tracks and between SCC and OCtech, and there are nearly 60 students enrolled.
“I think the keywords are accessibility, opportunity, and affordability,” explains Jenny Williams, dean of Arts and Sciences at SCC. “Our Applied Associates of Science pre-health professions tracks are going to help them be better students while getting them where they need to be much sooner.”
The bachelor’s in science in Healthcare Studies program was created to increase access to the health professions higher education for rural, first-generation and underrepresented minority students across South Carolina. The program allows students to continue working and supporting their families while advancing their education at the only comprehensive academic health sciences center in the state. Many students that apply to the Healthcare Studies program have already earned an associate degree or completed the prerequisite courses at one of 16 two-year colleges within the South Carolina Technical College System.
The new pre-health professions tracks at SCC and OCtech enable students to complete the prerequisite coursework for health professions graduate programs while completing their associate degree. When they’re ready to transfer, they can complete their BS in Healthcare Studies degree at MUSC online and apply to the graduate program of their choice without completing additional coursework. Transfer partnerships like this reduce credit loss and save students money and time. The tracks also help increase awareness of the many career options in the health professions while providing structured support and academic advising. The first tracks developed are Pre-Medicine, Pre-Dental, Pre-Physical Therapy, Pre-Physician Assistant Studies, Pre-Occupational Therapy and Pre-Healthcare Administration.
OCtech’s, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Donna Elmore is thrilled about the collaborative effort. “The opportunity to open so many more doors for our students is very meaningful and exciting,” said Elmore. “The way these tracks and the Healthcare Studies program embrace and value the 2-year professional degree students already have is such an added value for the state of South Carolina.”
Stefanie Gadson Brown, dean of Pre-Health Professions and Workforce Development, believes the way they’ve designed their advising models at OCtech will be a game changer for students. “We want students to make sound decisions on what they want to do and explore that, so when they leave us, they’re not going into a program they don’t really know anything about,” Brown said. “Students gain exposure to what they might be interested in, both clinical and real-world job experience that allows them to earn an income and build a resume while they go to school.”
Many students enroll with a general idea of what they want to do – for example, working with children – but they don’t know what avenues are available. The advising models help students explore their options and find their dream job. Students who are considering more than one pathway can work with their advisor to select the courses that will provide them with insight and experience in each profession so they can make an informed decision on their future.
“Our AAS program gives students the empowerment and connections they need to move along efficiently, achieve their dreams and get to work in a much quicker fashion,” explained Williams. “The paths don’t guarantee admission, but if students do well, they’re going to solidify their own path.”
Gellar has always viewed mentorship as an integral part of the academic experience; she also enjoys it. In addition to the transfer tracks and specialized academic advising, she initiated an MUSC faculty mentorship program for SCTC students and alumni.
This past year Gellar received 15 applicants for the program and is now working directly with five students. They meet monthly to check in on their progress and she guides each student through the college application process. They work on topics including goal setting, academic advisement, career advisement, and soft skills training.
“To me, the mentorship program really speaks volumes to how far MUSC is willing to go to help our students and our community,” says Brown. “MUSC has really simplified the process, and Dr. Gellar goes above and beyond. Sometimes I forget that we don’t work at the same college. Any time I ask, Dr. Gellar is there. That’s how easy and consistent the working relationship is. I can’t say enough good things about the faculty, student services, and admission staff at MUSC.”
Brown has already noticed the impact that partnering with MUSC has had on OCtech and their students. “We always tried to have pathways set up for students, but I think what was really missing was MUSC,” she said.
Minority med students get a boost see more
Minority medical students will have a chance to take advantage of a $45,000 annual scholarship at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville for the next 10 years thanks to a recent grant from The BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation and the Levi S. Kirkland Sr., M.D. Society.
The total $3.7 million Levi S. Kirkland Sr., M.D. grant will ultimately support 21 students during four years of study at the school with the intention of boosting numbers of underrepresented populations in the field. Patients are 19 to 26 times more likely to seek care from a physician who looks like them and has similar life experiences, according to the news release.
“The Levi S. Kirkland Sr., M.D. Society is a business resource that focuses on mentorship, sponsorship and engaging the community,” Dr. Frank Clark, president of the Levi S. Kirkland Sr., M.D. Society, said in the news release. Clark is clinical assistant professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville and medical director and division chief for adult inpatient and consultation-liaison services at Prisma Health−Upstate. “It’s vitally important, as we serve our communities, that we have a diverse physician workforce.”
The 10-year grant, named after the first Black physician to work in the Greenville Health System, now known as Prisma Health, is the longest-running grant in the foundation’s history and was gifted after the University of South Carolina School of Medicine accepted its most diverse student population yet with a 24% minority cohort, the release said.
The school projects that number to rise to 26% for the 2021 class, according to the release.
“We are thrilled at the opportunities that this grant will provide for our students,” Dr. Marjorie Jenkins, school dean and chief academic officer at Prisma Health−Upstate, said in the release. “This generous grant from the foundation is an important investment in our students and a testament to the excellent medical education we provide to future physicians for the Upstate and across South Carolina.”
Students who receive the scholarship must agree to practice medicine in the Palmetto State for four years.
“One of the biggest worries of medical school is finances, tuition and living expenses,” Dillon Isaac, a medical student at the school and past scholarship recipient, said in the release. “Because of this scholarship, all of my efforts can go into studying medicine, addressing health care disparities, and looking into social determinants of health. Altogether, this will help me give my overall best toward patient care and give back to the community that raised me. With that, I’m extremely excited to share I’ll be continuing my medical training as an internal medicine-pediatrics resident in the Upstate. I’m so excited to follow in the footsteps of the physicians that continuously support and inspire me.”
AI efforts to fall under Artificial Intelligence Research Institute for Science and Engineering see more
Clemson University is consolidating its ongoing and future artificial intelligence research and education initiatives under one umbrella: the Clemson Artificial Intelligence Research Institute for Science and Engineering.
Eighty faculty members, including some researchers who have used and researched AI for years, will work under the umbrella organization, which also will spearhead STEM workforce development projects at the school to strengthen skills in science, technology, engineering and math, according to a news release. The move follows a presidential executive order last year that called for intensified AI training across the country, which led Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon to establish AI labs.
“AI is pervasive now, and we have to prepare our students for a different world,” professor Mitch Shue, executive director of AIRISE, said in the news release. “Combining all of Clemson’s resources in one institute will help us recruit top students and faculty and better compete for federal grants that fund cutting-edge research.”
Feng Luo, AIRISE’s director and founder, hopes the institute will help open new opportunities for Clemson students to meet mounting demand in the field.
“The requirement for AI from industry has dramatically increased. When a company has data, it wants to make sense of the data, and AI is one of the ways to help them,” Luo said in the release. He is also a computer science professor.
One of Luo’s earlier AI projects included an initiative to help quell citrus-greening disease with a $4.3 million federal grant, according to the release. Other studies undertaken by Clemson researchers include deploying a cyber attack defense system for autonomous vehicles, inspecting vehicles on an assembly line for defects and earlier diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.
“With AIRISE, Clemson will be well-positioned to play a key role in conducting cutting-edge research and creating the STEM workforce of the future,” Amy Apon, director of Clemson’s School of Computing, said in the release. “We have a real opportunity to help enhance economic development and U.S. competitiveness.”
Lindsay Cobbs named to head KPIC at USC see more
The Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center (KPIC) announced that James Lindsay Cobbs has been named chair for the center.
In his role, Cobbs will focus on creating a regulatory affairs program for students in the College of Pharmacy, including classroom, cocurricular, experiential, and post-graduate opportunities, as well as supporting Nephron Pharmaceuticals in regulatory affairs.
“My priorities will hone in on developing experiential training opportunities that will enable our students to build skills for both traditional and nontraditional pharmacy roles, developing key partnerships that can support training for our students and to identify ways that will make the College of Pharmacy stand light years apart from other colleges across the country,” says Cobbs.
Cobbs brings a wide array of career experiences to KPIC, ranging from clinical pharmacy to global policy development in the pharmaceutical industry. After graduating from the UofSC College of Pharmacy in 1992, he launched his career as a staff pharmacist at Johns Hopkins Medical Center. After four years, he entered public service as a regulatory affairs professional at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) where he served as regulatory project manager, special assistant and lead project manager in the Office of Compliance and later as associate director for regulatory affairs (ADRA) in the Office of Translational Sciences.
Cobbs then transitioned to the corporate sector at Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson as a policy lead in the Americas, Global Regulatory and Policy Intelligence Department. Cobbs later became the head of US Policy, Global Regulatory Policy and Intelligence for UCB (Union Chimique Belge translated as Union Chemical of Belgium), a multinational biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.
Cobbs says his various roles have led him to this next challenge. “My experience as a pharmacist at a major teaching institution, working as a public health servant, co-leading drug review teams for novel drug products, and regulatory policy and intelligence in the pharmaceutical industry have prepared me for this unique role,” he says.
Patti Fabel, Pharm.D. and executive director of KPIC is looking forward to joining efforts with Cobbs. “Our faculty, staff, and students can learn a great deal from him due to his background, experience and skill set,” Fabel says. “He will broaden the scope of what KPIC can offer our students and alumni by developing a regulatory affairs program. I’m excited to see the impact he has on the center and college.”
Dean Stephen J. Cutler says Cobbs is an exceedingly accomplished expert in pharmaceutical regulatory affairs. “His addition to our faculty will bring added depth and breadth to our educational program as we launch our college’s latest initiative, the Regulatory Affairs Academic Program,” Cutler adds. “This academic program will offer regulatory education to our pharmacy students, provide postgraduate education for residents and fellows, and give another educational track to our graduate program. Our partnership with Nephron Pharmaceuticals will afford us a working laboratory for the development of future pharmacists and scientists serving in regulatory affairs. We are thrilled that Lindsay Cobbs will shepherd this initiative for the College of Pharmacy.”
Cobbs will begin his role on July 1, 2020.
Nephron Pharmaceuticals supports S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities with funding for scholarshipsNephron Pharmaceuticals continued support of educational opportunities by announcing scholarships see more
The South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities received a $13,800 gift from Nephron Pharmaceuticals to support meal plan scholarships for Midlands students attending the school’s residential high school program.
“Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation is so proud to support arts education in our state. I have seen first-hand the impact of an arts education on the mind of a scientist, and it’s a beautiful thing. Look at a trained violinist and a pharmaceutical product developer. Both pursuits require repetition, dedication, critical thinking and the ability to solve a problem from a variety of angles,” said Lou Kennedy, CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals. “At Nephron, we’re always looking for critical thinkers and problem solvers, and that is why we are so passionate about supporting the arts as well as the sciences. We are proud to be a sponsor the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, and I encourage my fellow CEOs to support arts education across our state. We’re playing the long game here, and we aim to win.”
“While the Governor’s School for the Arts is a state-funded and tuition-free public high school, there are still meal plan fees that would present a financial barrier for many families if it weren’t for the support of our generous individual and corporate donors,” said Dr. Cedric Adderley, S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities president. “Thanks to Nephron Pharmaceuticals, our emerging artists can pursue their dreams without worrying about costs.”
While tuition is free for all students attending for the full school year, about 30 percent of Governor’s School for the Arts students receive financial assistance from the Governor’s School for the Arts Foundation to pay for the $3,500 meal plan each year. This plan includes three meals per day for seven days per week during the nine-month school year. Nephron’s gift will provide meal plan scholarships to four Midlands students during the 2018-2019 school year.
Currently, 52 of the Governor’s School for the Arts’ 236 high school students are from the Midlands region, including Calhoun, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland, Saluda, and Sumter counties. These students were selected based on their talents exhibited through a comprehensive application and audition process.
To learn more about the S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts & Humanities, follow @SCGSAH on social media and visit http://www.scgsah.org.