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USC honors trio of associate professors as latest McCausland Fellows

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Staff Report
Published Nov. 29, 2015

The University of South Carolina’s College of Arts and Sciences has honored a trio of associate professors as the latest McCausland Fellows, awarded in recognition of research and imaginative teaching.

The fellowships were created as part of a $10 million gift from alumnus Peter McCausland and his wife Bonnie in 2013 as a way of retaining and cultivating scholars who lead in their academic field and are committed and creative teachers. Recipients must be within 10 years of earning their doctoral degrees.

Associate professors Shauna Cooper (psychology), Gretchen Woertendyke (English) and Michael Hill (Chinese) were named the latest fellows.

Cooper’s research focuses on African American adolescents and families. She is conducting a longitudinal study of African American fathers’ parenting practices and the impact they have on adolescent adjustment. Her goal is to understand the circumstances in which children and teenagers develop and thrive, USC said.

“As a professor, I am committed to providing a learning context where students gain mastery of psychological processes as well as the ability to translate that knowledge into their everyday lives,” she said. “I want to train the next generation of leaders – leaders who think critically about social issues and develop action-oriented solutions.”

Woertendyke’s first book, “Hemispheric Regionalism: Romance and the Geography of Genre,” will soon be published by Oxford University Press. It looks at the U.S. literacy landscape, bringing together an archive of popular culture, fugitive slave narratives and political treatises, among others, to construct a new literacy history through the geographic lend of the world’s hemispheres.

“It means quite a lot. Much of the work we do is unrecognized so this honor is especially sweet,” Woertendyke said. “And it illustrates the university’s commitment to the humanities, which is incredibly important to me as a teacher, scholar and parent.”

Hill, who is also the director of the Center for Asian Studies in the Walker Institute for International and Area Studies, is writing a book and several journal articles on Chinese literature and culture. He also translates books for Harvard University Press and is currently working on learning to read Arabic.

“I want to contribute to how we understand China and its relations with the rest of the world. Now that China plays such a prominent role in the world, I think it’s important to move beyond the China-and-the-West model to understand different sets of relationships,” he said. “With that in mind, over the past few years I have begun to focus on the history of the cultural and political connections between China and the Middle East.”

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