SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Jenny Bem Johnson, assistant professor of accounting at Wofford College, is among 20 college professors from across the state recognized earlier this week by the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) consortium. The 2014 Excellence in Teaching awards are presented annually to one nominee from each of the state’s private colleges.

Honorees received a $3,000 professional development stipend during an awards dinner held Tuesday, April 8, in Columbia.

Johnson joined Wofford in 2008 as an assistant professor of accounting. She earned BS, BA and MS degrees from Appalachian State University and was awarded tenure by the Wofford Board of Trustees in 2013. Prior to joining Wofford, Johnson served with Arthur Andersen LLP, the Goodrich Corp. and the Anne L. Bradley Accounting firm, and was a part-time faculty member at Queens University.

Lillian Gonzalez, chair of the Department of Accounting and Finance, says Johnson is known among her colleagues as one who challenges students while treating them with respect, warmth and generosity. Students consistently convey that they appreciate her enthusiasm for everything she does. Among her many duties beyond the classroom, Johnson serves the United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program as site coordinator at Wofford. Last year the program served 278 low income families using 12 Wofford students contributing an estimated $55,000 in free tax-filing services. “Jenny Johnson is a wonderful teacher, campus citizen, and colleague,” says Gonzalez. “She is extraordinarily dedicated and engaged with her students. Jenny’s good work is instrumental in connecting accounting and finance to the liberal learning experience.”

Wofford College President Dr. Nayef H. Samhat says, “Jenny Johnson personifies the ideals of excellence in teaching at a liberal arts college. Not only is she extraordinarily engaging and competent in the classroom, she inspires her students to work outside the classroom and to connect with the larger campus and Spartanburg communities.”

While the group of teacher-scholars who were honored represents many different academic disciplines and brings a rich diversity of education, experience and interests to campuses, SCICU notes the common threads are woven throughout the group. “They first and foremost are teachers who come to our liberal arts institutions to work one-on-one with students whom they also serve as advisors, mentors and friends. They are dedicated and committed professionals who have worked long and hard to be the best in their particular academic discipline in order to instruct and guide future generations as their life’s work. They are value-centered, passionate, creative and caring,” says SCICU of the honorees.

Chartered by the state of South Carolina as a nonprofit corporation in 1953, SCICU supports and promotes the values of independent higher education in South Carolina. SCICU seeks to advance higher education through fundraising, scholarships, and research, as well as by facilitating collaborative activities among the member institutions. SCICU also enhances a positive public image and encourages government policies that support independent higher education.