Posts

Building on Our Legacy of Undergraduate Excellence

More than 4,700 Clemson graduates walked across the stage in December and May of this past academic year in a commencement tradition that never gets old. I love looking into the eyes of our new graduates wondering how they will use the amazing foundation their Clemson education has provided. With each hand that I shake on stage, I grow more assured of our graduates’ abilities to achieve their dreams and make a positive difference in the world.

Our students come to Clemson as undergraduates having already set themselves apart from many of their peers in the classroom. Indeed, the average SAT and ACT scores for our applicants last year place Clemson among the very best in public higher education for student quality.

Students are coming to Clemson with better academic credentials, and the pull of the Clemson name has never been stronger among potential applicants. This year we received more than 26,000 applications for 3,600 spots. That’s a 41 percent increase in applications from just five years ago.

Clemson’s popularity has been broad-based. Not only are we doing a better job of attracting elite students from outside South Carolina, Clemson today is educating 3,000 more high-quality in-state students than we did 10 years ago.

The continuously improving academic profile of our accepted students is a reflection of Clemson’s status as a top-tier public research institution as well as our much-deserved reputation for creating a living and learning environment that is second to none.

The students who are choosing to come here are doing so because of our reputation, academic programs, research, real-world learning opportunities and return on investment. They also are attending because of the family-first atmosphere and strong sense of community at Clemson — all of which are reflected in the wide spectrum of national recognition Clemson receives each year. This year, the University was ranked No. 23 among national public universities by U.S. News & World Report. And we just learned that we have been named the top university for career services and ranked in the top 10 in seven other categories in the Princeton Review’s annual national survey of more than 130,000 college students.

Our ClemsonForward strategic plan articulates our strong commitment to undergraduate teaching and individual student success. And once enrolled, our students continue their paths toward great achievements in an environment that is built to foster their growth and to surround them with family that applauds their successes.

This past academic year was a record-setting year for the number of students receiving nationally competitive scholarships or fellowships. In total, 28 students received national honors: four Fulbright Grant winners; two Goldwater Scholarship recipients; eight National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship recipients; 12 Gilman Scholarship winners; one Schwarzman Scholarship recipient; and one Truman Scholarship recipient.

Clemson has a long tradition of offering a world-class undergraduate education to the best and brightest students from South Carolina, across the country and throughout the world. We remain committed to providing the resources and strategic direction necessary to build on our legacy as a “high seminary of learning” so that future generations of students will walk across our commencement stage confident in the knowledge that their Clemson education has prepared them for a lifetime of success.

Q&A: Catherine Mobley

CW: What do you enjoy most about your job? Or what’s the most satisfying thing about your job?

Mobley: There’s so much that I enjoy about my career, but perhaps my favorite part is that I am constantly learning something new. No day is ever the same as I am continually challenged to apply sociology in new ways in a diversity of contexts – in the classroom, in my research, both within the field and across other fields in my interdisciplinary research. I especially enjoy engaging in interdisciplinary research and teaching. While I have engaged in independent research, I have had the opportunity to engage in empirical research with colleagues from other discipline across campuss. According to Ernest Boyer’s definition of the “scholarship of integration,” interdisciplinary research consists of making connections across disciplines in order to advance understanding of complex scientific questions and social issues. Indeed, the “lone ranger” concept is rarely effective for investigating the issues that are central to my research efforts. Funding agencies are increasingly recognizing the value of interdisciplinary research and teaching. These efforts also support the recent call on the part of my college and university to increase interdisciplinary research. These research collaborations are beneficial and interesting to me both personally and professionally. I enjoy working with my colleagues to develop and implement creative approaches to challenges that would not otherwise emerge if I was working in isolation. Indeed, I am finding that the most innovative research often emerges at the interface of disciplines. Across campus, I think I am known to be a reliable collaborator who makes substantial contributions to projects and adds value to research teams through my expertise in sociological theory and methods. Together, we have applied for multiple research grants and co-authored research presentations and manuscripts. I have truly enjoyed these experiences!

CW: How do you balance teaching and research?

Mobley: I view both as inevitably intertwined with one another. For example, as I work on my research I am always seeking opportunities to enrich my teaching. And, students often raise questions in the classroom that inspire my research.

CW: Give me a brief description of your research. What piqued your interest in that area (s)?

Mobley: At the current time, my two main areas of research are in the area of environmental sustainability and engineering education. The two topics often overlap with one another, depending on the particular research effort. I have long been personally interested in environmental issues and feel lucky to be able to pursue my personal interests through the lens of the sociological perspective. I’ve been able to explore a vast variety of topics related to environmental sustainability, including human behavior as it pertains to water quality and water quantity, college student perceptions of environmental issues, the influence of formative experiences on the development of environmental concern, and public perception of a variety of sustainability related topics. For the past decade or so, I have been involved with an extensive research project related to engineering education, the MIDFIELD project. This project, headed up by Matt Ohland (formerly at Clemson University and now at Purdue University) involves a study of the academic experiences and pathways of engineering majors from 12 institutions. One part of the research team analyzes a longitudinal database of over a million student records from the 12 MIDFIELD institutions. I have been involved in the qualitative portion of the project, investigating a variety of research questions through focus groups and interviews with engineering transfer students. The most recent qualitative project focused on engineering transfer students and in Fall 2014, my colleagues and I received a NSF grant to investigate the experiences of student veterans at four institutions (University of San Diego, Clemson University, Purdue University, North Carolina State University). I also collaborate with colleagues from other disciplines, such as hydrogeology, to learn more about engineering education.

CW: What does this award mean to you…being chosen by your peers?

Mobley: I am so honored to be receiving this award, especially knowing it is coming from my peers. I’ve been walking by the Carillon Bell monument for nearly 20 years now, in awe of the people whose names are inscribed there. It means so much to me, especially knowing there were so many qualified candidates for the award. Recently, I was talking to a recipient of the Class of ’39 award and learned that one of the purposes of the award is to inspire faculty to do their bes,t and to go above and beyond expectations. This recognition has definitely inspired me! Little did I know when I was attending Clemson University in the early 1980’s that I’d be here 30 years later, pursuing the career of my dreams!

In These Hills

FIVE FACULTY AWARDED NSF EARLY CAREER GRANTS

Fadi Abu-Farha

Fadi Abu-Farha

It’s the most sought-after recognition an emerging science, engineering or mathematics faculty member can receive: a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grant. And this year, Clemson faculty claimed five.

A CAREER grant is the NSF’s most prestigious award in support of early career development activities, providing a financial stipend to support research activity for five years. The NSF, an independent federal agency, supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.

As any professor who has applied for a CAREER grant can attest, a submission for this award is much more than a research proposal: It’s a career development plan. The goal is to fund faculty members early in their careers to promote their development into teacher-scholars. The scientists and researchers who receive the awards are widely considered the most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century.

Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. Since 2005, Clemson has been home to more than 30 CAREER grant recipients.

The CAREER grants awarded at Clemson this spring represent a broad spectrum of interests and applications — from harnessing the power of giant computer systems to innovative medical advances to developing lighter-weight materials for modern
car construction.

Fadi Abu-Farha (pictured)
Associate Professor of Automotive Engineering
Amount: $400,000
Low-cost manufacturing of lightweight sheet components for the automotive sector

Jeffrey N. Anker
Assistant Professor of Analytical Chemistry
Amount: $526,000
High-resolution spectrochemical imaging through tissue
Delphine Dean
Associate Professor of Bioengineering
Amount: $400,000
Hierarchical mechanical models of cell constructs

Haiying (Helen) Shen
Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Amount: $400,000
Large-scale distributed data-sharing system

Melissa Smith
Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Amount: $450,000
Harnessing hybrid computing resources in PetaScale computing and beyond

LIBRARY DIGITIZES TAPS

TAPS yearbook cover 1943.

TAPS yearbook cover 1943.

Whether you’re digging for family history or just browsing for fun, thumbing through decades-old Clemson yearbooks is an intriguing experience. And now that experience is accessible to anyone with a computer and an Internet connection.

Clemson’s Special Collections Library has digitized the complete run, from the first volume (Clemson College Chronicle) in 1899 through 2012. The yearbook had several names before finally becoming Taps in 1908.

Clemson's Special Collections Library has digitized TAPS.

Clemson’s Special Collections Library has digitized TAPS.

Through a partnership with the Internet Archive, the yearbooks were scanned cover-to-cover in full color. Online visitors can page through a volume, download a PDF, view it on a Kindle or search the full text.

This project was made possible through the LYRASIS Digitization Collaborative — a Sloan Foundation grant-subsidized program that has made digitization easy and affordable for libraries and cultural institutions across the country.

Also available digitally are the Clemson Catalog (undergraduate announcements) and the Clemson Chronicle (the student literary/arts/photography journal). In the coming months additional publications will be made available: Clemson College Newsletter (faculty/staff), The Agrarian (School of Agriculture student publication), and Bobbin & Beaker (official journal of the Textile School).

When all these publications have been digitized, more than 100,000 pages of full-color, text-searchable Clemson-related materials will be available for researchers worldwide.

To view the yearbooks, visit http://library.clemson.edu/depts/specialcollections/clemson-yearbooks/.

RICHARDSON NAMED TO CLEMSON BOARD

Mark Richardson

Mark Richardson

Charlotte business leader Mark Richardson ’83 is the newest member of the University’s board of trustees. Manager and owner of MAR Real Estate LLC, a commercial real estate company, Richardson is co-owner of the Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon and more than 50 Bojangles’ restaurants in North Carolina and Virginia. He played on Clemson’s 1981 national championship football team.

“Mark brings to the board keen business and marketing insights, a commitment to excellence and a passion for Clemson University,” said Board Chair David Wilkins.

Richardson succeeds the late Bill L. Amick of Batesburg, who retired after serving for 30 years. Amick, a 1966 Clemson graduate, was chief executive officer of the Amick Company and a real estate developer. He served as chair of Clemson’s board from 1991 to 1995 and was awarded Clemson’s Distinguished Service Award.

EXPLORING THE BIODIVERSITY OF THE ROAN HIGHLANDS

Big Yellow Mountain in the Roan Highlands.

Big Yellow Mountain in the Roan Highlands.

Students from Patrick McMillan’s plant taxonomy class explored some of the most ecologically diverse areas in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, thanks to alumnus Witt Langstaff. Langstaff has property on Big Yellow Mountain, located in the Roan Highlands along the North Carolina/Tennessee state line, and hosts McMillan’s class each fall. One of the highest elevation areas in the Eastern U.S., the Roan Highlands has plant communities and climate typical of New England and Canada and is the location of one of the most picturesque and unique natural communities, the grassy bald.

CLEMSON OPENS DOORS IN VILLAGE OF WEST GREENVILLE

Clemson's Center for Visual Arts opens at West Greenville

Clemson’s Center for Visual Arts opens at West Greenville

Clemson’s Center for Visual Arts opens at West Greenville [/caption]Once the heart of the local textile industry, West Greenville has reinvented itself as an art destination. The Village of West Greenville is home to more than 30 artisans — including potters, sculptors, photographers and painters — as well as local businesses and restaurants. And now Clemson’s Center for Visual Arts has opened its doors there as well.

The Center for Visual Arts serves as the umbrella for all visual art activities at the University. The location on Pendleton Street will allow for undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and alumni to have hands-on experiences in developing, curating, installing and exhibiting art. The center will engage local, regional, national and international artists and will give Upstate residents an opportunity to both see and “do” art.

Greg Shelnutt, chair of the art department, sees the center as a mutually beneficial partnership for Clemson and Greenville. “This is a chance to become a part of the fabric of the community. Artists want to give back; we want to share what we do. Artists want to expand upon the cultural heritage of a community, using art to tell the stories of life in that community,” he says. “We get so much out of our interaction with the public, and this will give our students a chance to jumpstart their art careers.”

STUDENTS UNVEIL COMPLETED DEEP ORANGE 3 VEHICLE

Deep Orange 3 Vehicle

Deep Orange 3 Vehicle

Students in Clemson’s graduate automotive engineering program displayed a new concept vehicle at the 2013 L.A. Auto Show in November. Deep Orange 3 features a unique hybrid powertrain that automatically chooses front-, rear- or all-wheel drive; a load-bearing structure based on innovative sheet-folding technology patented by Industrial Origami; and groundbreaking 3+3 seating configuration in sports-car architecture.

Clemson’s graduate automotive engineering students are required to create and manufacture a new vehicle prototype. The vehicle’s concept and design are developed in partnership with students from the transportation design department at the Arts Center College of Design (Calif.) focusing holistically on the vehicle and the end-user. Each year, a prototype vehicle is developed with a new market focus and technical objectives, providing students an opportunity to work directly with automotive industry partners to innovate and develop ideas.

STUDENT RESEARCH TAKES AIM AT CONCUSSIONS

Assistant professor of bioengineering David Kwartowitz works with a student Creative Inquiry team conducting research to prevent sports concussions.

Assistant professor of bioengineering David Kwartowitz works with a student Creative Inquiry team conducting research to prevent sports concussions.

Hardly a week goes by without a news story about the effects of concussions on athletes from pee-wee to professional. And Clemson researchers and students are tackling the issue.

An undergraduate Creative Inquiry student research team, working with bioengineering professors David Kwartowitz, John DesJardins and Delphine Dean, has designed a dummy equipped with brain sensors that provide concussion data. The students built a track system to strike the head of the dummy with numerous objects, including weights, footballs, baseballs and helmets. Using this system, the researchers can manipulate the impact of these objects and the sensors provide instant concussion results.

“We control impact and collect concussion data while the dummy is donning an NCAA-approved football or baseball helmet,” says Kwartowitz.

And in that process, students are trying to find solutions. “We’ve begun a competition for the students to design their own padding inside the shell of a football helmet to avoid probable concussions at high impact,” Kwartowitz says. “Ultimately, the data collected will offer insight as how to better protect an athlete from concussion.”

While the project is educational for the Creative Inquiry student team, it’s designed to be educational for elementary, middle and high school students as well on the severity of concussions and the benefits of wearing protective equipment. The dummy simulator eventually will be displayed in Greenville at the Roper Mountain Science Center’s newly renovated health research facility, where 120,000 students visit annually.

SELF FAMILY FOUNDATION CREATES ENDOWED CHAIR IN GENETICS

One of South Carolina’s longest established private foundations has underscored its commitment to medical science by funding an endowed chair in genetics research at the Clemson University Center for Human Genetics. The Self Family Endowed Chair in Human Genetics will advance the development of novel therapeutics treating genetic disorders at the cell level. The $4 million chair is jointly funded by the Self Family Foundation and the state of South Carolina.

The researcher, to be selected, will be a leading geneticist who will work toward treatment, and preventive, diagnostic and curative tools with life-changing and economic potential.

The endowed chair will allow Clemson to build on the Greenwood Genetic Center’s potential for seamless technology transfer through opportunities for industry partners to locate in the adjoining Greenwood Research Park to support local business and economies.

According to Frank Wideman, president of the Self Family Foundation, the foundation made this commitment to honor the late Jim Self who understood early on the enormous potential of research to treat and cure genetic disorders. It was his vision to transform Greenwood from a traditional textile town to a modern center for the life sciences. Self was a longtime chair of the Self Family Foundation, a life trustee of the University and a founding investor in the Greenwood Genetic Center.

Clemson wildlife biology students made a strong showing at the 2013 Wildlife Society Annual Conference in Milwaukee, including first place in the student research in progress poster category and second place for the best doctoral research poster presentation. Senior wildlife and fisheries biology major Jenna Kohles won first prize in flora photography for this photograph of a sourwood leaf floating on a pond in her hometown of Cary, N.C.

Clemson wildlife biology students made a strong showing at the 2013 Wildlife Society Annual Conference in Milwaukee, including first place in the student research in progress poster category and second place for the best doctoral research poster presentation. Senior wildlife and fisheries biology major Jenna Kohles won first prize in flora photography for this photograph of a sourwood leaf floating on a pond in her hometown of Cary, N.C.

SERIES BRINGS SCHOLARS TO CAMPUS ON FOOTBALL WEEKENDS

Georgia Tech professor Nihad Farooq (left) and Clemson professor Kimberly Manganelli confer before the final Road Scholar Series lecture.

Georgia Tech professor Nihad Farooq (left) and Clemson professor Kimberly Manganelli confer before the final Road Scholar Series lecture.

Georgia Tech professor Nihad Farooq (left) and Clemson professor Kimberly Manganelli confer before the final Road Scholar Series lecture.[/caption]The fifth and final Clemson Humanities Road Scholar Series lecture, “Slavery and Social Networks in the New World,” took place Friday, November 15, in connection with the Georgia Tech vs. Clemson football game the night before. The series paired the Tigers’ associate professor of English Kimberly Manganelli (above, right) with Yellow Jackets’ assistant professor of American studies Nihad M. Farooq in a lively discussion of slavery and race.

Jonathan Beecher Field, associate professor of English at Clemson, organized the series which brought humanities professors from visiting football opponents to Clemson throughout the fall to present their current research, each followed by a response from a Clemson professor. Faculty from the University of Georgia, Wake Forest University, Boston College, Florida State University and Georgia Tech accepted Clemson’s invitation to visit and engage with Clemson faculty and students.

“We want to find a way to engage with our athletic rivals academically,” said Field, “and we want to show people what’s important to us at Clemson. This series offers us a way to bring some of the energy surrounding athletics to the academic side of campus and raise the profile of the humanities at Clemson.”

The series received support from across campus, including the Humanities Advancement Board, the Pearce Center for Professional Communication, the Department of Athletics, the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities, the Class of ’56 Academic Success Center, the Office of the President and the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

In her lecture, Farooq explored how contemporary communication networks might provide ways to re-think the diffuse global networks of slaves in the New World archipelago. She compared slave networks of earlier periods to virtual networks of today, calling them “traceable only through the flow of information.”

In her response, Manganelli explored the networks of slavery, both global and local, and together the scholars engaged their audience in a brief Q&A period.

CLEMSON OPENS ENERGY SYSTEMS TESTING AND RESEARCH CENTER

SCE&G Energy Innovation Center at CURI.

SCE&G Energy Innovation Center at CURI.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman spoke at the November dedication of the world’s most advanced energy systems testing and research center, located at the old Charleston Naval Base. “Developing America’s vast renewable energy resources is an important part of the Energy Department’s ‘all-of-the-above’ strategy to pave the way to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future,” he said.

“The Clemson testing facility represents a critical investment to ensure America leads in this fast-growing global industry — helping to make sure the best, most efficient wind energy technologies are developed and manufactured in the United States.”

The SCE&G Energy Innovation Center, which is part of Clemson’s Restoration Institute, houses a four-story, 400-ton unit capable of testing drivetrains for wind turbines that can produce up to 15 megawatts, which is enough energy to power 6,000 homes. There are only two other such facilities in the world, but neither has this large of a capability.

In addition to drivetrain testing, the facility also includes the Duke Energy eGRID, which can simulate the electrical grid of any country in the world, allowing companies to see how solar, wind and storage devices might interact with the grid.

STUDENT-RUN LITERARY FESTIVAL TO FEATURE U.S. POET LAUREATE

U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey.

U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey.

Pulitzer Prize-winner and U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, along with a dozen other authors from around the country, will be on campus this spring for the seventh annual Literary Festival.

The festival, one of the few in the country planned and run by students, will include a Young Writer’s Workshop on Friday and Family Day on Saturday. The Young Writers Workshop is a half-day event for area high school creative writers. Upstate teachers bring selected students to campus for a day of readings and workshops with authors including Kelly Link (Pretty Monsters), Benjamin Percy (Red Moon) and poet Mathias Svalina. The Humanities Advancement Board is funding an expansion of the workshop this year, and the organizers are expecting approximately 70 students to attend.

At the heart of this event is a Creative Inquiry class, taught this year by professor Keith Morris. His class of 11 undergraduates and one graduate student are divided into four groups that handle communications, design, planning and organization. Each student serves as a liaison for one of the authors, handling correspondence, introducing the author at the festival and then writing a critical essay on the author’s work.

Many of the students, according to Morris, have used their experience on the festival as a way to secure jobs and internships. For a schedule and more information about this year’s festival, go to clemson.edu/litfest.