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McCall endows Clemson agriculture college scholarship

Peter LeRoy “Roy” McCall Jr. ’53Continuing in the footsteps of Clemson founder Thomas Green Clemson, who established the University with a legacy of land, Peter LeRoy “Roy” McCall Jr. ’53 has established a new scholarship endowment through a gift of land valued at more than $1 million. The Peter LeRoy “Roy” McCall Jr. ’53 Scholarship Endowment will fund scholarships for students in the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences like Carlos Morales Jr., a freshman agricultural mechanization and business major. “This gift will make a huge difference for students,” said Morales. “The scholarships I received have allowed me the opportunity to attend Clemson, and my decision to attend Clemson was supported by generous donors like Mr. McCall.” “I am proud to know that this gift is an asset to Clemson and to the fellow students who will take advantage of this scholarship program.

I wish the students well,” McCall said when the gift was announced at the South Carolina
Farm Bureau CAFLS Alumni Tailgate in November. “Mr. McCall’s gift will benefit Clemson’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences literally forever. It is a demonstration of faith in the future and of faith in Clemson,” said President James P. Clements. McCall earned his bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Clemson in 1953 and has been a long-time supporter of his alma mater. In 2009, he established an endowment to provide Universitywide scholarships that have helped more than 75 students attend Clemson.

He has also supported Clemson’s Scroll of Honor and Military Heritage Plaza, the WestZone project in Memorial Stadium and the Class of 1953 Golden Anniversary Scholarship Endowment. In addition, McCall supports the Clemson University President’s Fund. “Mr. McCall’s gift of a scholarship endowment to the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences will open doors for deserving students to attend CAFLS and will have a direct, positive impact on our ability to educate the next generation of agribusiness leaders,” said George Askew, dean of the college and vice president of Public Service and Agriculture.

Jason Puhlasky named honorary alumnus

Jason Puhlasky, an honorary Clemson alumnusHis diploma might read “University of South Carolina,” but his heart bleeds orange. And in February during “Clemson Day at the Statehouse,” the Alumni Association made it official, naming Jason Puhlasky an honorary Clemson alumnus. A lobbyist with Parker Poe Consulting in Columbia, Puhlasky went to USC because he could work and pay his way through college.

As a student, he interned in the S.C. House of Representatives, where he discovered his love of politics. He moved on to the State Republican Party Headquarters and eventually on to the staff of U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond.

He returned to South Carolina where he landed a position with the S.C. State Senate. Since leaving that position he has run numerous political campaigns and advocated for various clients. Puhlasky currently serves as a member of Clemson’s Board of Visitors, and in that role and as a private citizen, works “tirelessly and selflessly on behalf of Clemson,” according to one of the letters written in support of his nomination.

Alumni Authors

Clemson Tigers can be found in every profession, and many are published authors. Here is a short, but not exhaustive, list of alumni authors and some of their books that may pique your interest.

Border Child by Michel StoneMichel Smoak Stone ’91
Border Child: A Novel (Penguin Random House) tells the story of Héctor and Lilia and the brighter future they dreamed for their family in the United. States. Stone drops readers into the contemporary immigrant experience of a marriage at the breaking point, strained by the consequences of wanting more for the next generation. Stone’s first novel The Iguana Tree (Hub City Press), was the University’s Freshman Summer Reading Program selection in 2013. The novel examines the obstacles of pursuing a new life, set amid the perils of illegal border crossing. From publishing in her hometown of Spartanburg, Stone has gone on with her second novel to land a deal with Random House, working with the legendary Nan Talese. Read a Q&A with Stone about Border Child. 

 

Otha H. “Skeet” Vaughan Jr. ’51, M ’59
There is Something in the Air: Clemson University Aviation and Space Heritage (Vaughan Publishing) compiles the early history of the Clemson Aero Club and Clemson’s aviation and space heritage from 1927 thru 2006.

Claude Cooper ’67
Finding Strong (CreateSpace) details a powerful, inspirational true story of the life of a survivor, elite athlete, coach, teacher, mentor and victim’s advocate.

What's Done in the Dark by D. Charles WilliamsD. Charles Williams ’74
What’s Done in the Dark: Affair-Proofing and Recovery from Infidelity — A self-help guide for couples (BookLogix) details 28 reasons why infidelity occurs and provides a common-sense, four-stage path to helping couples establish healthy marital boundaries.

Jerry Whittle ’79
Clemson in the Sixties: Seeking Manhood in Troubled Times (Amazon Digital Services) chronicles the author’s experiences of growing up in a small college town.

Kelly Durham ’80
Berlin Calling (Lake Union Publishing) takes place in pre-war Germany in 1938. As an American abroad, Maggie O’Dea finds herself falling in love with a soldier and with a job in the propaganda ministry.

Succeeding in the Project Management Jungle, by Doug RussellDoug Russell ’80
Succeeding in the Project Management Jungle; How to Manage the People Side of Projects (AMACOM) shows how to invest in and manage your most important resource — your people.

J. Claude Huguley ’81
Transforming Fear with Love: Trusting the Gift of Grace (Amazon Digital Services) offers readers a path for spiritual recovery and authentic living.

Dana Crowe Bodney ’82
The Red Leaves of Autumn (CreateSpace) offers the changing season to bring promise of new beginnings for some and mystery and mayhem for others in this mystery set on the vibrant Southern coast.

Tomorrow is Never Promised: Aaron's story, by Dennis BrownDennis Brown ’83
Tomorrow is Never Promised: Aaron’s Story (Fulton Books) tells the story of the journey to hope and healing after losing a child in an automobile accident.

George Davis ’83, M ’86
Food and Nutrition Economics: Fundamentals for Health Sciences (Oxford University Press) is a resource for non-economists to understand basic economic principles that govern food and nutritional systems.

Michael L. Puldy ’84
The Millennial’s Guide to Business Travel: Lessons for the Next Generation of Road Warriors (CreateSpace) gives tips learned by experienced business travelers.

Sam Blackman ’85, M ’87, M ’06; Tim Bourret, assistant athletic director of football communications.
If These Walls Could Talk: Stories from the Clemson Tigers Sideline, Locker Room, and Press Box (Triumph Books) goes behind the scenes for die-hard fans and history buffs.

Hemingway's Brain by Andrew FarahB. Andrew Farah ’86
Hemingway’s Brain (University of South Carolina Press) is the first forensic psychiatric examination of the Nobel Prize-winning author with new conclusions about what led to his suicide. Rocke Crowe ’87 Grow Me, Guard Me, Guide Me (Warren Publishing) combines scripture and prose for a perfect first children’s book.

J. Drew Lanham ’88, M ’90, Ph.D. ’97
The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature (Milkweed Editions) is a rare and original story, one that speaks to the larger landscape of American identity. Watch a video from Lanham to learn more about his story.

Claretha Hughes ’91
Diversity Intelligence (Palgrave Macmillan) takes on the concept of valuing the differences in employees without attempting to make everyone alike.

Win by Not Losing by Dean HarmanDean Harman ’92
Win by Not Losing (Emerald Book Company) uncovers the fallacies and flaws in Wall Street-style investing.

Kimberly Anderson Massey ’98
A Girl’s Guide to Abstinence (CreateSpace) is the latest of five books by Massey. In this, she uses her biology teacher background to provide informed answers.

Ashes to Fire by Emily B. MartinEmily Benson Martin ’10, M ’12
Ashes to Fire (HarperVoyager Impulse) follows up Queen Mona’s journey from Martin’s first novel, Woodwalker. Queen Mona must struggle to reshape her view of the world and face truths for herself and her country.

David Hueber ’12
In the Rough: The Business Game of Golf (TCU Press) takes the reader through the author’s professional career on and off the golf course revealing the golf industry at its most awkward and best.

 

If you’re a published author, send us a high-resolution image of your book cover so we can include you in next spring’s “Alumni Authors.” Send to Julia Sellers at jdselle@clemson.edu or 114 Daniel Dr., Clemson, S.C. 29631.

Q&A: Michel Stone

Border Child by Michel Stone Border Child: A Novel tells the story of Hector and Lilia and the brighter future they dreamed for their family in the United. States. Author Michel Stone drops readers into the contemporary immigrant experience of a marriage at the breaking point, strained by the consequences of wanting more for the next generation. Stone’s first novel The Iguana Tree (Hub City Press), was the University’s Freshman Summer Reading Program selection in 2013. The novel examines the obstacles of pursuing a new life, set amid the perils of illegal border crossing. From publishing in her hometown of Spartanburg, Stone has gone on with her second novel to land a deal with Random House, working with the legendary Nan Talese. Below is a Q&A with Stone from April 19. Clemson World met with Stone at the bookstore in the front of Hub City to discuss Border Child, immigration, writing, research and Stone’s next read.

Clemson alumna Michel Stone

 Q: Tell me about what are you reading right now.

A: Well I read 85 percent fiction, 15 percent nonfiction. I’m reading the book by Sam Quinones called Dreamland. I met Sam through the publication of The Iguana Tree. He was an L.A. Times reporter at the time and he used to keep a blog called “Tell your true tale.” So he had me write a little story — a true story — about my process of researching for The Iguana Tree. He wrote this book called Dreamland about the current heroin and opioid addiction problem in the United States, which is nothing I’d thought much about, but I kept hearing these horrible stories about this rampant epidemic. He’s traveled around the country and heard these heart-wrenching stories about seemingly well-adjusted young college students who just fell off the rails and started doing drugs with devastating consequences. It’s a really sad story, but it’s interesting and a hot topic in our country right now. He’s such a great writer.

Q: What else is on your bedside table?

A: Fallen Land by Taylor Brown. He’s a Southern writer. I read his first book – loved it – so I just bought it this week.

Q: Did you intend Border Child as a “Part 2” to The Iguana Tree?

A: No, the opposite of that. I didn’t want to alienate any readers who may come across Border Child and if they had not heard of The Iguana Tree, pass by the book and not read it. So, I worked very hard with my editor, Nan Talese. She’s fabulous. I worked really hard with Nan to make sure this is a stand-alone novel. And I think it is.  The back story is woven in. If you didn’t read The Iguana Tree, you’ll get Border Child. If you did read The Iguana Tree, you’ll recognize characters and settings, since it involves the same family four years later with a continuation of their story.

Q: I noticed the chapters were broken up in a way that introduced more characters than The Iguana Tree, where it was mostly from Lilia and Hector’s perspective exclusively. What made you decide to broaden the perspective?

A: When I wrote the first draft of The Iguana Tree, it was from four perspectives, alternating characters, Hector, Lilia and the American farmers they worked for, Lucas and Elizabeth. My editor for that said, “You know, the American characters are vital to the plot, but the chapters written from their perspectives are sort of,” (he didn’t use the word boring; I’m using the word boring) “but vanilla.” He said he wanted to race through those chapters to get on to the chapters from the Mexicans’ perspectives. That was kind of a tough day for me. I thought the book was finished. The information was relevant and important, but I had to rewrite them from the Mexicans’ point of view. And he was right, it was even more interesting for me as a writer to write from the Mexicans’ point of view because it forces me to see things from a fresh perspective. So, in Border Child I knew it would give the book more texture and round out the main characters if we could see the action and those characters from other Mexican characters’ points of view.

 

Q: Tell me a little bit about your experience there and how that informed your writing.

A: Before I wrote The Iguana Tree, I knew the story in my head that I wanted to write, but I had not been to Mexico. So, during the course of writing that book I went to Mexico. I went to a little village called Puerto Angel, on the Pacific Coast deep down in the state of Oaxaca. I chose that place, after doing research, because I wanted the village my characters were leaving in Mexico to be similar to the place where they landed in the United States; and I knew I wanted them to land on Edisto Island in Charleston County, South Carolina. I know that area well. It’s rural, it’s agricultural and it’s on the coast. So, I said, “Where in Mexico is rural, agricultural and on the coast?” This village of Puerto Angel was described as a “Sleepy, bucolic little fishing village.” I thought, “This is perfect!”

I just changed the name to Puerto Isador from Puerto Angel. Changing the name gives me some creative freedom. No one can say, “No, the village isn’t like you described it”

I’m now working on a third book that’s set in Honduras. I’ve just fallen in love with Latin America. So, in the past seven years, I’ve been to Mexico three times, Nicaragua once, Costa Rica three times, Honduras once.

I don’t want to go to the touristy places…. but I like to go like an investigative reporter where I’m among the people and eating what they eat, going to their churches and sitting around their tables.

But I feel that if I’m going to write a book about these places, I can’t sit back in my air-conditioned office in Spartanburg and write these stories. As cliché as it sounds,  if my five senses haven’t experienced a place, then I don’t feel qualified to set a story there.

Q: How does someone in Spartanburg become interested in immigration and these family issues in Mexico when it’s so different from your daily life?

A: I could back up to my childhood growing up on Johns Island, a rural farming community. Every spring, summer and fall I would see the migrant workers in the tomato fields and the soybean fields. I was curious about them.

I lived at the end of a half mile long dirt road that split pine woods and tomato fields. Every day going to school I would ride down that dusty dirt road and see the migrant workers working near my house. They were so mysterious to me because I knew at the end of the farming season they would be gone. As a child I wanted to know, “Where did they come from? Where do they go? And do the children like this lifestyle and do they go to school?” I had so many questions about them.

But what triggered these books was an encounter about a dozen years ago when I met a young family on Edisto Island who confided that they were here without the proper paperwork and had crossed with their infant son. Immigration was a hot topic  so it wasn’t a surprise. But what surprised and haunted me, finally becoming the catalyst for The Iguana Tree was that they crossed with their infant. I was curious how someone does that. I wrote about them in my journal and that writing eventually became a short story and eventually became The Iguana Tree.

 Q: What made you say, “I need to write a stand-alone book and revisit these characters.” 

A: The first year after The Iguana Tree came out I said I was not writing another book about these characters. I’d started another book. Then a year after The Iguana Tree was published I was in Hermiston, Oregon because that town had chosen my book for its community read. They had a town hall meeting that resulted in standing room only. The community college had read my book, the high school had read my book, the library had done an event – the whole town rallied around this novel, and they flew me out to Oregon for these events. They treated me so wonderfully. They told me they chose my book because their town was about 35 percent Latino, which surprised me. It’s a big agricultural community with apples, watermelon, asparagus;  hence the significant Latino community there. They thought the novel would be something the whole community could enjoy. When it came time for the Q&A someone raised her hand and asked if I would write a sequel.  I was so moved by the fact that there were so many Latino people in that room that I said, “Yes, yes I will write a sequel.” The whole room erupted in applause. It was all I could do not to cry. I had always feared the Latino community would say, “Who is she to tell this story?” And sometimes I wonder that, too. When they cheered I knew that writing the next book was the right thing to do. I probably knew, at some level, that it was the right thing to do all along because I wasn’t done with these characters yet.

The next morning I was in the airport in Pasco, Washington about to fly back to South Carolina. The local had a headline that said, “Author says it here first, sequel to The Iguana Tree coming.” I started taking notes for Border Child on the flight home that day. I wrote the entire way across the country. I knew it was meant to be because it was so easy to write. It was fun to write. It got me excited to be back writing a novel that would require more research. I love to write fiction that requires me to learn something along the way.

Q: What do you think you learned while writing Border Child?

A: I learned about the plight of families …I began to consider the human condition more deeply. If a novel doesn’t speak to the human condition it’s lacking. We just think about immigration from a 30,000-foot view. But for me as a novelist to dial down to one family in one place and figure out their motivations and their struggles with the backdrop being the border and immigration — that was something I wanted to illuminate. A family, a person. Even though they were fictional, they were derived from real people, real stories. That’s the most fun for me in writing, to illuminate the people in the shadows. And in doing so, to show how people regardless of background or socioeconomic situation or skin color, really have many of the same motivations. We all share the same emotions. There are certain experiences in life that tie us all together.

Q: You talked about looking at 30,000-foot perspective of immigration. How do you approach discussions that come up that are a little more political than focused on your book?

A. When The Iguana Tree came out I was scared people would want to talk politics with me despite this being a work of fiction. It isn’t non-fiction. And I never proclaimed I’m an expert on this issue – and I still say I’m not an expert on this issue. There are people who are far more knowledgeable about that (immigration) than I am. But I do think often Americans, on both sides of the political spectrum, talk out of both sides of our mouths. Those immigrants are putting down our flooring and doing our landscaping and they are working in our meat packing plants and they are cleaning our houses and they’re doing a lot of things that we’re really grateful for. And while many folks say we need to solve this issue, but if we really, really were to “solve the issue” so-to-speak, where will we be? I don’t know. I have people who come up to me all the time to talk about, “Oh, I love so-and-so- this Latino person who I know through my business. But we’ve got to figure (immigration) out.” On a personal basis, people value individual immigrants whom they know. So, it would be interesting to see if we resolve this issue in some way. It will be a lifestyle change for many Americans if we somehow no longer had undocumented immigrants in this country. As a writer, I write because I have questions, not because I have answers.

Q: It was interesting that you had Lilia and Hector separated for so much of the novel. What was the intention of having them go through their own separate journey in Border Child?

A: I love to write where I bounce back and forth from perspectives. You saw it in the first book (The Iguana Tree). And I’ve learned that each perspective has to have its own weighty issue. They needed to both have struggles that pulled the reader back and forth. When you get to a chapter from Hector’s perspective I want you to want to come back to him, but at the same time when you finish a chapter for Lilia’s perspective, I want you to want to come back to Lilia. I want both stories to be pulling the reader along.

Q: For Hector’s journey, he definitely gets into some seedy trouble. Hector is this very noble man. How did you say, I’m going to take this character through this journey that makes his character questionable?

A: I had a friend of mine who read both books said, “I think Hector became a man in Border Child because he is putting others before self. The sacrifices and risks he would take were not for himself, but for his child, his wife, his family. For the reader to appreciate what Hector is willing to do is to see what a father would do for the love of family. For that to be appreciated I think there has to be some trial, some risk, some struggle, some questionable scenarios there, with a character willing to run the gauntlet, to take those risks.

Q: How was working with Nan Talese on editing Border Child versus working locally with Hub City Press on edits?

A: Well, on a basic level, I live two miles away, so the first publisher was much closer. I have walked to this bookstore before, so in terms of that, my publisher here was extremely accessible — I could walk right in the door and plop right down or shoot an email and they’d get back to me within half an hour. People warned me working with a big publisher in New York — and Random House is huge with all its many, many imprints, that I can’t even keep straight — that it wouldn’t be the same.

And no, it’s certainly not the same, but working with Nan Talese is incredible. Her emails are written as letters. They always start off “Dear Michel” and she always signs them, “Love, Nan” And she is so lovely, personable, and professional and still immersed in her workat 80-something years old. To be one of the first women hired at Random House and still working as hard as she is and to not be burned out, but to be as kind and thoughtful and good at what she does is incredible. She’s the one who told me I needed to have the word “border” in the title of my book. My original title was based on a line in an Emily Dickinson poem, “Hope is the thing with feathers” And I thought it was so poetic because the novel has to do with hope and feathers and birds, but Nan said, “Nah, that title’s got to go, and I suggest you have the word ‘border’ in it.” That bothered me for about a day and then I realized she’s right. One thinks of New England and Emily Dickinson with my original title and that’s not what this books about. If nothing else, people will give it a glance because of the new and much improved title!

Q: What do you want your take away to be for readers of Border Child?

A: I hope Border Child’s readers are entertained and engrossed and that they see something of themselves in my characters. I hope they will continue to think about the story long after they read the last sentence. If I can achieve that, I’ll feel like this novel was a success.

Q: Are we ever going to see these characters again?

A: Had you asked me that two weeks ago it would have been “Oh, no no no no no.” And truly, the book I’m writing right now that’s set in Honduras, I’m enjoying the process of writing it. I will definitely see that book through fruition because I’m excited about this story. I will not say no, but I realize there is potential for that. It might be fun to revisit the Santos family in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years.

 

 

 

Read more about Clemson alumni authors who have recently published.

 

Extension agent Katie Shaw honored for public service

Clemson alumna Kathryn “Katie” Berry ShawAlumna Kathryn “Katie” Berry Shaw received the Alumni Award for Cooperative Extension Distinguished Public Service at the December general faculty meeting. An Extension 4-H agent in Laurens County since 2006, Shaw received the honor in recognition of creating innovative, hands-on educational programs that empower youth to become active members of their communities. In addition to her role as a 4-H youth development agent, Shaw currently serves as assistant of the S.C. 4-H horse program, which has led 4-H students to national equestrian awards the past two years. She is president-elect of the South Carolina Association of 4-H Extension Agents, an organization in which she has held numerous leadership positions, as well as president of the 4-H Agent Association.

An Orangeburg native, Shaw participated in 4-H and was S.C. 4-H Presidential Tray Winner, S.C. Future Farmers of America Equine Proficiency Award Winner and two-time Paso Fino Horse Association National Youth Champion in Equitation and Fino. She received her bachelor’s degree (2009) and master’s degree (2011) in agriculture education. “After growing up in 4-H and it playing a major part in my success, I decided to become a 4-H agent. I wanted to make an impact in the lives of young people just like the 4-H agents I had growing up did in my life,” Shaw said. “Being a 4-H agent means that I am constantly learning from co-workers, volunteers and the 4-H members. It is exciting be a part of something that is always changing and growing.”

Shaw and her husband, Jimmie Lee Shaw ’07, received the S.C. Farm Bureau Achievement Award this year. They also won the S.C. Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet contest in 2015 and were awarded the South Carolina Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Excellence in Agriculture Award in 2009. They live in Newberry with their two daughters.

Global wellness: Lauren Whitt, Ph.D. ’06

Lauren Whitt had been awake since 3 a.m. PST taking Google Hangout video calls with her global colleagues in London and Sydney. Wearing jeans, a T-shirt and sporting hair still wet from her morning routine, the easy-going Google wellness manager settled in at the California-based headquarters, ready to chat. This unconventional and interactive environment is nothing out of the ordinary for Whitt.

In fact, she prefers it.

“At Google we have a fun culture, so our campuses feel a lot like college campuses. We encourage people to do their work in comfortable and collaborative spaces,” Whitt said.

Whitt’s position at Google is vital — it’s her responsibility to ensure a happy and healthy work environment for every employee. As the wellness manager, her global team promotes and supports the wellbeing of Googlers worldwide. They even set a Guinness World Record for most money raised in 24 hours with their “Get One, Give One” flu vaccination campaign where every flu shot given on campus was matched with a charitable donation to vaccinate people in developing countries.

“Employees spend so much time in the workplace, so if we can create a culture promoting healthy decisions, then we’re ahead of the game,” she said.

One way they achieve this environment is by using behavioral science principles to prompt Googlers to make healthy snack choices.  Google provides free meals and snacks on campus, supporting the principle that collaboration and creativity often occur around food. It’s rare for a Googler to be more than 150 feet from a micro-kitchen or cafe. Sugary drinks are hidden behind frosted glass or on the lowest shelf, while the water bottles are displayed at eye level; healthy snacks are presented in clear bins while unhealthy snacks are hidden behind opaque bins. “Small daily changes promote a healthy office culture and employee base,” Whitt said.

Whitt’s education, including her Ph.D. in parks, recreation and tourism management from Clemson, led her to ask the question, “How do we help people be their best selves in their daily environments?” Though her research initially focused on academic advising and resiliency skill development for college athletes, she found her experience could be applied to inspiring personal action in the workplace.

Whitt’s holistic wellness approach encourages employees to be continually present to achieve their peak performance. “We encourage Googlers to be in the moment,” said Whitt. “If you’re at work, then be present and focused at work; if it’s at home, then invest yourself in your family and friends.”

— Courtney Meola ’17

Women, diversity in STEM focus of $3.4 million grant

Like many universities, Clemson struggles with attracting and retaining women and underrepresented minorities as faculty. That problem is magnified in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. Across the campus, 35 percent of full-time faculty are women. In STEM departments, the percentage drops to 19. When racial diversity is factored in, the statistics are even grimmer. Only one of the 509 STEM faculty members is an African-American woman; two are Hispanic women.

In an effort to improve those numbers, Clemson has launched an initiative funded by a $3.4 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to create an inclusive academic culture so women and underrepresented minorities are encouraged to enter and remain in academia. While the national initiative is called ADVANCE: Increasing Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers, Clemson’s program is nicknamed Tigers ADVANCE, and it has a greater goal: to build a culture that encourages diversity, inclusiveness and acceptance.

“The impact these STEM fields have on our society is immeasurable,” said Robert Jones, Clemson’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and co-principal investigator of the grant. “We need diverse ideas and perspectives in the academy and in our workforce to tackle the greatest challenges we, and future generations, will face.”

The grant application process, spearheaded by civil engineering professor Sez Atamturktur, took more than two years and countless hours from more than 40 faculty, staff and students. The group identified five major challenges to women in STEM faculty positions at Clemson and established these corresponding goals:
• Transform the culture and improve the campus climate to reduce bias and implicit bias against women and minority faculty.
• Increase the representation of women in STEM fields.
• Ensure equitable workload distributions so appointments to committees, special projects and other non-academic activities are assigned equally across the faculty.
• Enhance faculty mentoring and leadership development to support all faculty and increase retention.
• Implement family-friendly policies to help improve recruitment and retention of world-class faculty.

With Tigers ADVANCE, Clemson will increase the number of women being considered for faculty positions and put measures in place to retain female members. “We will strive to match the representation of women in faculty positions to the number of candidates available for those positions in the national pool,” Atamturktur said.

Of the 14,499 faculty applicants to Clemson between 2010 and 2014, 23 percent were women, 10.7 percent were minority women and 0.7 percent were African-American women. Of all eligible doctoral degree graduates in the country, 53 percent were women, 15 percent were minority women and 7 percent were African-American women.

“Our search committees absolutely are doing a good job of identifying talented women and bringing them to campus,” Atamturktur said. “The problem is the number of women in our applicant pools is very, very low. We’re starting with fewer options.”

Likewise, although women receive tenure and promotions at rates equal to men, women leave Clemson at rates higher than men. Between 2011 and 2014, 56 percent of assistant professors (pre-tenure faculty) who left were women. Among STEM faculty, 28 percent of tenured or tenure-track faculty members who left were women, although women made up only 19 percent of the faculty.

While the NSF grant specifically supports women in STEM fields, Clemson will make its own investment to extend Tigers ADVANCE to non-STEM departments. “We believe this is the only way to achieve institution-wide impact and sustainable transformation,” Atamturktur said. “Five years from now our campus should be a lot more diverse with a more inclusive culture and more openness to new ideas.”

Planar, Dell team up with Watt Center as Sustaining Partners

Clemson University professor Saadiqa Kumanyika

Clemson University professor Saadiqa Kumanyika, a lecturer teaching Women in Global Perspective, works with one of the classroom touch screens in the Watt Family Innovation Center that were provided by Planar. (Photo by Ken Scar)

Planar and Dell have become the first two Sustaining Innovation Partners for the Watt Family Innovation Center. Sustaining Innovation Partners provide $1 million or more in support for the Watt Center. Planar, a Leyard company and global leader in display and digital signage technology, supplied the Watt Center with 191 large-format, high-resolution interactive LCD displays and 12 LCD video walls, including the video wall in the auditorium. It is one of the largest interactive LCD video walls the company has implemented.

Planar displays are front and center in the building’s ultra-modern main lobby. Each classroom, hallway and study space throughout the building features Planar LCD displays that can be used by students and teachers for formal or spontaneous collaboration.

Dell, a global computing company, is supporting the Watt Center through a five-year technology grant that will help students, faculty and staff use cutting-edge technology to create and collaborate in the center. Dell will provide deeply discounted equipment software and services to empower innovation and collaboration by students, faculty and staff.

The Watt Center was designed to be an innovative hub where students, faculty and industry partners will collaborate, create, innovate and communicate using state-of-the-art technology and interactive learning systems. Both gifts were part of the Will to Lead for Clemson campaign, launched in 2006 in support of students, faculty, facilities and engaged learning. The campaign surpassed the goal of $1 billion in July.