Winthrop University: Three Faculty Members Honored for Exceptional Work
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Three Faculty Members Honored for Exceptional Work

April 20, 2022

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Interim President George Hynd will recognize Political Science Professor Adolphus Belk Jr.on May 7 as the recipient of the Distinguished Professor Award and Assistant Professor of Fine Arts Claudia O’Steen as the recipient of the Outstanding Junior Professor Award.
  • Hynd will present the Jane LaRoche Graduate Faculty Award to Associate Professor of English Dustin Hoffman during the May 5 Graduate Commencement ceremony.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Winthrop University will honor three faculty members at its May Commencement ceremonies for their exceptional teaching, outstanding research or creative work and dedication to student success.

At the May 7 Undergraduate Commencement ceremonies, Interim President George Hynd will recognize Political Science Professor Adolphus Belk Jr. as the recipient of the Distinguished Professor Award, the highest recognition for faculty members, and Assistant Professor of Fine Arts Claudia O’Steen as the recipient of the Outstanding Junior Professor Award.

Hynd will present the Jane LaRoche Graduate Faculty Award to Associate Professor of English Dustin Hoffman during the May 5 Graduate Commencement ceremony.

Read more about the honorees:

Distinguished Professor

Adolphus Belk Jr. joined the Winthrop faculty in 2003 as an assistant professor. Promoted to associate professor in 2009, he became a full professor in 2014.

Known around the campus as an outstanding teacher and student mentor, Belk has taught courses on American government, Black politics, public policy, and race and ethnic politics in the United States. His career at Winthrop, from his teaching, to his research and stewardship, center around the study of the important intersectional issues of race, class, gender, ethnicity, diversity, equity and the African-American experience.

Earlier this year, Belk was named the Thompson Scholar so he can develop a course on hip-hop and politics that stems from a book he and Winthrop alumna Lakeyta Bonnette-Bailey ’04 recently authored. “For the Culture: Hip-Hop and the Fight for Social Justice” analyzes the ways in which hip-hop music, artists and scholars have supported social justice challenges worldwide.

His expertise is sought after by national media and others. Belk was asked to give 23 lectures in the past year to regional and national groups, one of which led to a request that he develop a Scotiabank Black Indigenous People of Color American History Education Series. His department chair noted that he completed what is his most productive scholarly year, even while working during a global pandemic and serving as the chair of faculty conference and faculty liaison to the Board of Trustees in 2019-21. Belk now is the university’s faculty diversity and inclusion liaison.

Belk has won two other Winthrop faculty awards: the 2009 Outstanding Junior Professor Award and the 2015 Kinard Award for Excellence in teaching.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Belk completed his graduate studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, earning a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in government and politics. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in African American Studies and Political Science from Syracuse University.

Outstanding Junior Professor

Claudia O’Steen joined Winthrop in 2018 after teaching in the Department of Art at the University of West Florida. Her efforts have been impressive to date, including her dedication to new course and program development, refinement of existing curriculum, the creation of course content, undergraduate research activities, the creation of an equitable learning environment and dedication to extracurricular activities.

As a digital media specialist and interdisciplinary artist, O’Steen has spent considerable time developing courses that emphasize both. She has worked with a colleague to create a new concentration in expanded media that will meet market and student demands. She also has worked extensively across departments, particularly with dance and music, on projects that blend the strengths of different artistic expressions.

All of her initiatives have led to the contemporizing of the Department of Fine Arts and made pathways for students and faculty to collaborate across the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ disciplines.

A practicing artist whose work examines navigation, exploration and perception, O’Steen has been awarded residencies at Rural Projects, The Wassaic Project, Montalvo Arts Center, The Arctic Circle and The National Centre for Contemporary Art St. Petersburg, Russia. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally at venues such as The Russian State Arctic and Antarctic Museum, apexart, Flux Factory, University of New Hampshire and Ohio State University.

Originally from Alabama, O’Steen received her B.F.A. from Belmont University’s Watkins College of Art, Design, & Film, and her M.F.A. in digital+media at Rhode Island School of Design.

Jane LaRoche Graduate Faculty Award

Dustin Hoffman has built an impressive list of accomplishments during his tenure at Winthrop, and his influence in the academic and professional life of graduate education has been positive and significant. Hoffman has helped develop the Department of English’s program to meet the needs of 21st century graduate students.

He joined the Winthrop faculty in 2014 as an assistant professor and was promoted in 2018 to an associate professor. He has also taught at Albion College, Antioch University Midwest, Western Michigan University and Bowling Green State University.

At Winthrop, Hoffman teaches creative writing and literature, and he brings a contagious level of enthusiasm to his classes. In addition, he has worked with colleagues to help design an accelerated bachelor to master’s degree in the English program, helped make the master’s degree program accessible to more students and successfully drafted and lobbied for two graduate certificates in professional and creative writing.

Hoffman chose the field of English after spending 10 years in construction and has built an award-winning career writing stories about working people. His story collection “One Hundred-Knuckled Fist: Stories” won the 2015 Prairie Schooner Book Prize and was named a Michigan Notable Book. More than 60 of his stories have appeared in magazines, including Black Warrior Review, Saturday Evening Post, The Adroit Journal, Witness and TheThreepenny Review.

He holds an M.F.A. in fiction from Bowling Green State University and a Ph.D. in creative writing from Western Michigan University. He also earned an English degree from Western Michigan University.

For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at 803/323-2404 or at longshawj@winthrop.edu

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Last Updated: 5/5/22