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Two Wofford professors receive prestigious teaching awards

Monday, May 21, 2007

Dr. Angela ShifletSPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford College presented its Roger Milliken Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Science and Philip Covington Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Humanities and Social Sciences during Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 20.

The recipient of the Milliken Award was Dr. Angela Shiflet, chair and Dr. and Mrs. Larry Hearn McCalla Professor of computer science and chair of the department.  Dr. Deno Trakas, professor of English and coordinator of the Creative Writing Program, received the Philip Covington Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Last fall, Shiflet was selected by the Krell Institute as a winner of its Undergraduate Computational Engineering and Sciences award for the publication of “Introduction to Computational Science: Modeling and Simulation for the Sciences,” co-authored by her husband and colleague, Dr. George Shiflet, chair and Dr. and Mrs. Larry Hearn McCalla professor of biology at Wofford.  Angela Shiflet is a graduate of Furman University and received master’s degrees from Clemson University and the University of South Carolina, and her Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University.

Trakas, a graduate of Eckerd College, received his master’s degree from the University of Tulsa and Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina.  He is director of the Wofford Writing Center.  He has published fiction and poetry in magazines such as The Denver Quarterly and The Oxford American and two chapbooks, “The Shuffle of Wings” and “Human & Puny.”

The Roger Milliken Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Science, funded by a $1 million endowment, provides a $50,000 prize – an annual award of $5,000 for up to 10 years – for use in pursuing professional development. The recipient must remain on the Wofford faculty to continue receiving the annual disbursement.

The award recognizes outstanding performance in the teaching of science. Full-time faculty in all science disciplines – biology, chemistry, computer science, geology, mathematics, physics and psychology – are eligible. The recipient is selected by a three-person, off-campus committee composed of business and professional leaders in science from a list of nominees developed and approved by the dean of the college.

Milliken, chairman and CEO of Milliken & Company, based in Spartanburg, S.C., is on the board of trustees of Wofford and has been involved in numerous planning and building projects on campus through his long relationship with the college.

Science is a part of every student’s program at Wofford, and about 30 percent of the degrees awarded are to students majoring in one of the sciences. Wofford’s science programs and professors have been recognized nationally and internationally for innovation and excellence. The college has a well-respected pre-medical program, and many of Wofford’s graduates enter the healthcare fields. More than 1,200 of the college’s more than 12,000 living alumni are involved in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine and other healthcare fields. Professors and students are involved in research both at Wofford and other institutions, and have made national and international presentations.

Dr. Deno TrakasThe Philip Covington Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Humanities and Social Sciences is named in honor of Philip Stanhope Sheffield Covington, a beloved academic dean of Wofford College who served from 1953 to 1969.  A graduate of Emory University, he joined the Wofford faculty in 1947 after earning a master’s degree at Duke University and teaching in public schools in Charleston, S.C.  He was dean of students from 1950 to 1953 and served as acting president in 1957-58.  In 1970, ill health forced him to give up his administrative duties, but he remained active as a professor of English until his retirement from the college in 1976.  Wofford honored him with a doctor of literature degree in 1959, and with the title of dean emeritus.  “Philip Covington was widely recognized in academic circles as a creative and brilliant teacher as well as a speaker of unusual ability,” said his long-time friend and colleague, dean of students emeritus the late S. Frank Logan (Wofford Class of 1941).  Covington was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Blue Key National Honor Society, Sigma Chi and Sigma Delta Psi.

The Covington Award winner, selected by the president and academic dean of the college, receives $5,000 per year for three years; one recipient will be named each year.  The money may be used at the recipient’s discretion for travel, study or other professional development.