Professor giving a lecture to students in old main

Wofford to induct 29 into Phi Beta Kappa on April 26

April 23, 2007

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford College alumnus Dr. Douglas E. Wood, executive director of the National Academy for Excellent Teaching at the Teachers College at Columbia University, will be inducted into Phi Beta Kappa on Thursday, April 26, along with 28 student inductees.

Wood will be the featured speaker at the Phi Beta Kappa convocation to be held at 11 a.m. in Leonard Auditorium in Main Building.  The program is free and open to the public.

The initiation of new Phi Beta Kappa members-in-course will be held at 4 p.m. in the Papadopoulos Building.

Wood will speak on "Closing the Achievement Gap: A Civic and Moral Imperative," a discussion the history, data and recommendations regarding the educational achievement gap among minority youth.

The National Academy for Excellent Teaching is an organization developing a new model of professional development that will produce strong academic outcomes for underserved and underperforming high school youth in New York City.

Wood, a native of South Carolina, received his B.A. degree in history from Wofford in 1990.  He holds a master’s degree in English from Middlebury College and master’s and doctoral degrees in administration, planning and social policy from Harvard University.

Wood began his career as a social studies and history teacher in South Carolina’s public schools; he also holds administrative credentials.  In 1993, former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley appointed Wood to write the guidelines and to serve as chief reviewer for the department’s new Technology Innovation Challenge Grants program.  The following year, he was honored as the 1994 South Carolina Technology Educator of the Year and helped craft the state’s $21 million Integrated State Technology Plan.

While at Harvard, Wood served as a consultant with the Urban Superintendent’s Program, the World Bank, and taught at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.  His dissertation, focusing on teacher knowledge acquisition, won Harvard’s prestigious Thayer Prize, an honor that is reserved for “the most meritorious scholar in each of Harvard’s graduate and professional schools.”  Wood recently was named as a fellow at the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs.

Wood was appointed executive director of the Tennessee State Board of Education in 2000, and focused on reading and technology quality.  The board has since adopted new content and performance standards across all subject areas, changed teacher licensure standards to focus on reading, adopted new standards for reading specialists, changed the basic education program to address the needs of English language learners, adopted a new professional development policy for administrators, and is working closely with the Tennessee Board of Regents on developing one of the nation’s first online programs for alternative licensure, mentoring, and additional endorsements for teachers.  He also championed English as a Second Language (ESL) programs in the schools.

In April 2002, Tennessee Education Association President Velma Lois Jones presented Wood with the Presidential Merit Award – the highest award bestowed by the association in leadership skills, and generous outreach to education practitioners that he has brought to Tennessee as executive director of the State Board of Education.

In his current position, Wood works with teachers and administrators across the country to establish a new national model for high school teachers.  The position also carries a faculty appointment.  Wood has been featured in the New York Times and on the CBS “Early Show” for his innovative ideas concerning education.

Wofford has one of the nation’s 270 Phi Beta Kappa chapters.  The prestigious liberal arts honor society is devoted to the principles of “friendship, morality, and literature (or learning).”  Founded at the College of William and Mary in December 1776, it was the first of the Greek letter fraternities.  John Quincy Adams, Edward Everette and Joseph Story, members of the Harvard chapter, are credited with making the fraternity a public literary and honor society for undergraduate men and women in the 1830s.  With almost 400,000 members across the country, Phi Beta Kappa today sponsors numerous programs to encourage scholarship and learning, including the Phi Beta Kappa Book Awards, visiting scholars, academic fellowships, and leadership programs.

Twenty-eight Wofford students or recent graduates, in addition to Wood, will be initiated.  They are:

Class of 2006:
Lauren Elizabeth Stephenson, Cape Coral, Fla.

Class of 2007:
Iroko Komi Elom Abalo, Due West, S.C.
Janet Lynn Adams, Sumter, S.C.
Jennifer Brooke Almond, Gaffney, S.C.
Anna Kayla Cobb, Ninety Six, S.C.
Jessica Scheel Connett, Greenville, S.C.
Michael Lee Crocker, Spartanburg, S.C.
Lauren Elizabeth Gasque, Latta, S.C.
Matthew David Giles, Inman, S.C.
Christopher John Gillam, Orangeburg, S.C.
William Timothy Halligan, Spartanburg, S.C.
Loren Ashley Hyatt, Greenville, S.C.
Eric Joel Lance, Charlotte, N.C.
Hannah Rebecca Levister, Gaffney, S.C.
Scott Marion Smith, Columbia, S.C.
Lianne Marie Elizabeth Moore, Irmo, S.C.
Wilson Earle Peden, Greenville, S.C.
Andrew Augustyn Powell, Charleston, S.C.
Neill Russell Sandifer, Columbia, S.C.
Samuel Owens Schumann III, Moncks Corner, S.C.
Kathryn Thama Stroud, Chapin, S.C.
Marc Alexander Sutton, Matthews, N.C.
Bethany Autumn Taylor, Woodruff, S.C.
Joshua Tate Thompson, Union, S.C.

Class of 2008:
Vanessa Juliet Lauber, Greer, S.C.
Traci Alison Lynch, Cincinnati, Ohio
Mark Lawson Reynolds, Marietta, Ga.
Claudia Mary Ann Winkler, North Augusta, S.C.