All-Southern Conference Faculty and Staff Team announced

As seen on

The Southern Conference named its All-Southern Conference Faculty and Staff Team on Thursday, with two representatives each from all 10 member schools being recognized by the league.

While the selections were left up to each institution’s discretion, the recipients all shared the common characteristics of demonstrated service to the institution and contributions to campus life and the local community. Faculty members selected have demonstrated strong contributions to teaching, research and/or service, while staff members are being recognized for bringing out the best in others and creating conditions for success.

The faculty and staff recipients include: The Citadel’s Dr. Alexandra Macdonald and Diana Herrmann; ETSU’s Dr. Russ Brown and Brandi Huskey; Furman’s Dr. Jeff Yankow and Nancy Cooper; Mercer’s Stephanie Morris and Delaney Ryan; UNC Greensboro’s Dr. Stuart Marcovitch and Trina Porcher; Samford’s Dr. Patrick Marsh and Leslie Armstrong; Chattanooga’s Dr. Liz Hathaway and Theresa Blackman; VMI’s Col. Jeff Kendrick and Michelle Murphy; Western Carolina’s Alesia Jennings and April Tallant; and Wofford’s Dr. John Lefebvre and Tammie Burgess.

“The Southern Conference is proud to publicly recognize the exceptional faculty and staff members at our institutions,” SoCon Commissioner Michael Cross said. “Each of the selected honorees are leaders and mentors at their respective institutions and we celebrate their service and commitment. We thank them for fostering the special and unique environments found across the ten SoCon campuses and serving as pillars in their communities.”

The recipients will be recognized at one of their institutions’ home men’s basketball games this year.

Dr. Alexandra Macdonald, The Citadel

Dr. Macdonald is an Associate Professor of Psychology. She joined the faculty at The Citadel in 2015. Prior to coming to The Citadel, Dr. Macdonald worked as a clinical research psychologist in the VA Boston Healthcare System and with the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. She earned her Ph.D. at Boston University and completed her internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the Medical University of South Carolina. Her research focuses on the intersection between individual psychopathology, with an emphasis on posttraumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders, and interpersonal functioning, including intimate relationship adjustments and intimate partner aggression. In particular, her work seeks to understand how intimate relationships are affected by individual mental health disorders, and to help develop measures and disseminate interventions that utilize the beneficial aspects of social support to improve therapeutic outcomes. Much of Dr. Macdonald’s work has been in support of military and veteran populations, addressing the unique needs of current and former service members.  Dr. Macdonald’s teaching interests include evidence-based assessment and clinical practices, couple and family therapy, and trauma-related topics. She also participates in resilience and wellness efforts across campus.
Diana Herrmann, The Citadel

Herrmann is the Assistant Director of Employer Recruitment and Center Operations. Herrmann communicates with employers and leads the Career Management system Handshake, while fostering employer relationships by implementing classroom presentations, and working with student clubs to have guest speakers. She also facilitates and plans all career fairs and smaller fairs for targeted majors. Herrmann created and implemented a career fair prep event, Ready, Set, Hire! by collaborating with other staff and faculty across campus. Herrmann manages undergrad and graduate staff in the office to ensure growth of the office and the students for their futures.

The Citadel’s recognition game date will be January 13.

Dr. Russ Brown, ETSU
Dr. Brown, who serves as a professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences in the Quillen College of Medicine and the Department of Psychology, has been a faculty member at ETSU for 23 years. He has served as the director of the master’s degree in Experimental Psychology and then as the director of the neuroscience concentration of the Ph.D. program in Biomedical Sciences in the Quillen College of Medicine. Dr. Brown has also mentored Ph.D. students across both Psychology and the Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. programs, master’s degree students, and undergraduates, all of whom have current positions in the field of neuroscience or other health-related careers. He has served on multiple university committees, including the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee. In addition to his service to ETSU, he serves on the editorial board for several research journals, has been the principal investigator on an array of research grants, and has published a long list of journal articles.
Brandi Huskey, ETSU
Huskey, a 2006 graduate of ETSU and current doctoral student in Educational Leadership, has served the ETSU at Sevierville campus since 2013 and was recently made the Interim Director of Off-Campus programs.  In her role, Huskey is the connection to ETSU for off-campus students. Her nominator noted that she is a listening ear to students, staff, and faculty, that she goes out of her way to find solutions and support for students and is a tireless advocate for non-traditional college students. She is truly “all things ETSU” to the Sevierville and now Kingsport campuses. In addition to her role at ETSU, she is active in the community and in professional organizations, serving on the boards of Leadership Sevier and Sevier County Promise, and on the Resolution Team, My People Fund of the Dollywood Foundation. She is the President of the East Tennessee College Alliance and has served multiple roles in the Association of Continued Higher Education.
Dr. Jeff Yankow, Furman
Dr. Jeff Yankow joined the Furman faculty in 1999 and has held the David C. Garrett, Jr. Chair in Economics since 2008.  He regularly teaches courses in labor economics, the history of economic thought, microeconomics, and a freshman seminar on Adam Smith and the Wealth of Nations.  His extensive research agenda has focused on the wage dynamics of job mobility in the early career, the effect of neighborhoods on work behavior, the patterns of job search among young workers, and why workers living in cities earn higher real wages.  His research has been published in leading peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Regional Science, and Journal of Urban Economics.  A former collegiate athlete, he also played minor league baseball in the Kansas City Royals’ farm system.
Nancy Cooper, Furman
Nancy M. Cooper is the Coordinator for Furman’s Heller Service Corps, which provides volunteer opportunities for students in the Greenville community.  Nancy came to work at Furman in 1988 after her husband became sick and could not work.  Over the last 35 years, she has helped grow the Heller organization from 6 students to 1200.  She has been the recipient of the Chiles-Harrill Award (2002) that recognizes a member of the faculty or staff who has made substantial contributions to the lives of students and the Honorary Alumni Award (2022) that recognizes “individuals who are not Furman graduates but who have made significant contributions to its welfare, reputation, prestige and pursuit of excellence.”  She enjoys “working with some of the most amazing students who have made a huge difference in the lives of people in the Greenville community and being able to get to know Furman’s student athletes and help them find different areas where they can volunteer and make a difference in the lives of the people of Greenville.”  She has two children and four grandchildren.

Stephanie Morris, Mercer
Professor Stephanie Morris is a Senior Lecturer of Accounting in the Stetson Hatcher School of Business at Mercer University. She earned a Master of Accountancy with a specialization in taxation summa cum laude from the University of Georgia and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant.  Mrs. Morris is responsible for bringing Beta Alpha Psi, an active accounting honor organization, to Mercer’s campus and serves as the faculty advisor. She developed a service-learning course enabling students to serve as certified tax preparers in the local community through the Internal Revenue Service’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Students have served the middle Georgia area through this service-learning course each Spring for the past ten years. Mrs. Morris enjoys mentoring students and feels that the most rewarding aspect of her role at Mercer is watching students build successful and fulfilling lives after graduation. Mrs. Morris is looking forward to co-leading a Mercer on Mission trip to Cape Town, South Africa in Summer 2024. In the community, she serves on the advisory board of the Georgia Industrial Children’s Home Foundation and is a member of North Macon Presbyterian Church. Stephanie and her husband Tate have three sons- Miles, Charlie, and Tate. In her spare time, she enjoys cheering for her sons’ football and baseball teams, going for walks, and planning family adventures.
Delaney Ryan, Mercer
Delaney Ryan came to Mercer from her hometown of St Petersburg, FL in the fall of 2016 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education. Growing up the daughter of a Coach and Athletic Director, Ryan has always had a passion for collegiate athletics, and quickly became involved at Mercer as a Student Administrative Assistant. Upon graduating in 2020, Ryan transitioned into a new role within the department as a graduate assistant for Student-Athlete Support Services. In the spring of 2022, she completed her master’s degree in Higher Education Leadership, before being promoted full time to Director of Student-Athlete Support Services. Ryan’s experience as an undergraduate and graduate student at Mercer has proved to provide immeasurable first-hand knowledge when helping our student-athletes navigate the rigors of a full course load. In addition to providing academic guidance, Ryan is responsible for coordinating all areas of academic support, which includes monitoring, evaluating, and determining student-athlete’s academic performance for eligibility purposes. Holding two degrees from the university goes to show the affection she has for Mercer, something that carries over into seeing her student-athletes succeed in the classroom and on the field. If there is a home game on campus, you can guarantee she will be in attendance to watch her athletes compete. Mercer has won the Barrett-Bonner Award for eight consecutive years since joining the Southern Conference, due in large part to Ryan and her team’s impact over the last four years.
Dr. Stuart Marcovitch, UNCG
Dr. Marcovitch joined UNCG in 2004 as an Assistant Professor, was promoted to an Associate Professor with tenure in 2010, and to the rank of Professor in 2016. Marcovitch is an expert in the topic of cognitive development, interested in how the emergence of cognitive skills affect everyday behavior. He has amassed over 3 million dollars in federal grant funding for his research and has over 65 peer reviewed publications. His expertise landed him the position of Editor-in-Chief for one of the discipline’s leading journals, Cognitive Development. In addition, he is currently serving as the President of the Jean Piaget Society. He has mentored over 120 undergraduate students, many of whom are in professional and academic positions today and has proudly presided over four successful dissertation committees. Marcovitch is currently in his ninth year as the Department Head for Psychology. As in his previous roles as faculty senator and graduate program director, he is intimately involved in working directly with university administration to ensure the best learning environments for students and faculty alike. Along with his research partner and wife, Dr. Janet Bosevoski, Dr. Marcovitch is involved in a number of community outreach projects, most notably every other Saturday in LeBauer park providing free crafts for children and child development information for their parents. Most importantly, Dr. Marcovitch has been a proud season ticket holder for Spartans basketball since 2012.
Trina Porcher, UNCG
Trina Porcher Trina Porcher came to UNC Greensboro as a United States Air Force veteran in 2007 to pursue a degree in Biology. While in the USAF, she served as Operations Resource Manager at McGuire, AFB, 305 Operations Group with the 6th Airlift Squadron and earned achievement medals and an accommodation medal during her enlistment. She worked at UNC Greensboro for 16 years and is currently a Business Officer in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department. Ms. Porcher has made a lasting impact across the University through her extensive service at all levels. She is a regular supporter of the Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creativity Office, assisting with the annual Thomas Undergraduate Expo. She was involved for many years with the Research Administrators’ Network (RAN), an inter-university network to promote best practices to support the academic community at research universities. She took part in the Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity Fundamentals (EEODF) training in 2019 and adult Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training in 2021. Finally, she has been active at the University level in the Staff Senate, serving as a senator at least four times. During this time, she participated in Greensboro Children’s Museum – garden clean up, coat, food and teaching supply drives, Angel Tree and numerous Habitat for Humanity builds where she learned roofing, hardwood floor installation and painting. Ms. Porcher is also a devoted alumna of UNCG, where she earned a BS degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. She regularly organizes group attendance at home UNCG basketball games by purchasing tickets for the Department, including reserving the “Spartan Spot” for Department outings. The games are a popular social activity attended by students, faculty, staff, and their families. When Ms. Porcher is not busy at work she enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time with family and friends.
Dr. Patrick Marsh, Samford
Dr. Patrick Marsh is an assistant professor of Sport Administration in the Department of Kinesiology at Samford University. Marsh joined the Samford faculty in 2019 and is passionate about teaching and mentoring students, as well as, researching sport facilities and issues concerning collegiate student-athletes. He enjoys engaging students outside of the classroom with conferences, site visits, community service, and study abroad programs. Marsh is a member of the inaugural Leadership Samford cohort and serves on the board of the Applied Sport Management Association. He is currently serving as the chair of the Samford faculty athletics committee and is focused on developing new pathways for connecting student-athletes and faculty members. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Jill, and children, John and Sarah, traveling, and attending Samford sporting events.
Leslie Armstrong, Samford
Leslie Armstrong has been working with college students for over fifteen years, having discovered her passion while a student at Mississippi State University. During her junior year of college, she began volunteering in the disability support services office. It was there she realized that working with students on a college campus was something she wanted to do as a career. She completed a graduate program in Student Development in Higher Education and has been working with college students ever since, except for a 15-year break to stay home with her four children. Leslie serves as academic advisor for students in the social sciences majors as well as students who have yet to declare a major. In her role, she strives to help students become engaged in the classroom, with peers and in Birmingham. She is committed to the success of her students as well as the departments she represents. Leslie is thankful for her students, their families who help provide them with great opportunity, and the Samford community who support their academic, spiritual, and social aspirations.

Dr. Liz Hathaway, Chattanooga
Dr. Liz Hathaway is a UC Foundation Associate Professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance where she teaches upperclassmen Exercise and Health Sciences students. She is currently serving as Faculty in Residence at West Campus Housing, a residence hall with 600 first-year students. Passionate about providing mentorship opportunities, Dr. Hathaway invites the students to connect with her weekly through a morning walk, dinner at the campus dining hall, and open “pop by” office hours. She also serves the CHEPS Residential College as the Healthy Eating and Active Living Through HHP (HEALTH) Residential Learning Community (RLC) coordinator. In this role, Dr. Hathaway has formed strong mentoring relationships with students that far extend their first year at UTC. Through the guidance of Dr. Hathaway, these students have formed a support network to help promote academic success, overall well-being, and positive engagement at UTC. In her relationships with students, Dr. Hathaway emphasizes the need to positively model to students. One area of this modeling is in her own journey of lifelong learning and academic contributions. Dr. Hathaway has over 30 published articles and 40 presentations and includes current and former students in her research. She serves as an Associate Editor for the American College of Sport’s Medicine’s Health & Fitness journal. Dr. Hathaway is an avid mentor and supporter of female student-athletes, meeting with athletes regularly to provide an additional level of support. You can typically find Dr. Hathaway frequenting a women’s athletics event, doing something physically active, or having a life chat with a student.
Theresa Blackman, Chattanooga
As a part of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), Theresa has forged impactful collaborations. She has successfully established articulation agreements and partnerships with esteemed institutions such as UTHSC and Erlanger, fostering a conducive environment for academic and professional growth. Theresa’s innovative spirit is evident in the initiatives she has spearheaded within CAS. Notable among them is the creation of the MEDIC residential learning community in collaboration with the Department of Chemistry. Additionally, she has collaborated on the creation of a multidisciplinary MCAT prep course with the support of several faculty across multiple disciplines in CAS that is slated to debut in Spring 2024, showcasing her commitment to enhancing educational opportunities for students. Her efforts extend beyond the classroom, with Theresa actively organizing robust recruiting events for prospective UTC students. This commitment to student success and engagement reflects her passion for fostering a supportive and enriching academic environment. Theresa brings a wealth of academic credentials to her role, holding a Bachelor of Arts degree in European History with a minor in Latin American studies and a Master of Science degree in college student development from Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn. Outside of her professional pursuits, Theresa is an avid runner who, alongside her husband Richard, is gearing up for their 10th half marathon. The duo is joined by their two canine companions, Tonks and Teddy, in their active and adventurous pursuits. In her leisure time, Theresa enjoys delving into literature, pursuing creative crafts, and indulging her love for all things Disney.
Col. Jeff Kendrick, VMI
Col. Jeff Kendrick (Ph.D., University of Kansas, 2012) is a Professor of French at Virginia Military Institute where he enjoys teaching French language and culture classes. Since his arrival at VMI, Col. Kendrick has co-developed an entirely new French curriculum that emphasizes written, oral, and cross-cultural communication across a French major’s cadetship. In addition to investing in the classroom, Col. Kendrick devotes significant time and energy developing cadets outside those four walls. He co-directs the VMI in Paris summer study abroad program in addition to serving as Project GO’s Mandarin Chinese program (2022) and resident (2023) director in Taiwan and has worked with cadets on Summer Undergraduate Research Institute projects.
Col. Kendrick’s primary research interests include polemic and violence in the French Wars of Religion, gender in sixteenth-century French devotional poetry, and the integration of classroom technology with language learning. He has published and presented on Marguerite de Navarre, Joachim DuBellay, polemic and politics in the French Wars of Religion, using sitcoms in the French classroom, student-centered learning and flipping the language classroom. Col. Kendrick’s articles have appeared in Esprit Créateur (2018), Lingua Romana (2016), the Australian Journal of French Studies (2015), and Renaissance and Reformation (2013). Col. Kendrick is co-editor (with Professor Katherine Maynard, University of Richmond) of Polemic and Literature surrounding the French Wars of Religion (2019). He is currently working on a critical English translation of Marguerite de Navarre’s Chansons spirituelles.
Michelle Murphy, VMI
Michelle Murphy was named the VMI Executive Assistant for Intercollegiate Athletics in November 2021. In addition to providing front-line administrative support for Athletics executive level staff and coaches, Michelle serves as a departmental coordinator for meetings, travel authorizations, reimbursements, and procurement. Mrs. Murphy is the payroll supervisor for Athletics hourly employees and provides additional human resources support to the Associate Athletic Director for Internal Operations. She is the departmental athletics awards administrator and serves as a Notary Public. Prior to joining Athletics, Michelle was a member of the VMI Registrar’s Office as the Office Manager and Scheduling Coordinator for 15 years. She received the VMI Distinguished Service Award in May 2014, the Marshall New Market Battalion Appreciation Award in May 2012, and has achieved a Recognition of Service from VMI on three separate occasions. Mrs. Murphy supports the VMI mission through her professionalism and is often noted for her always positive approach. She takes pride in watching all cadets grow and succeed at VMI and can always be found cheering loudly in the stands for the Keydets.

Alesia Jennings, Western Carolina
An Associate Instructor of Chemistry, Dr. Aleisa Jennings is best described as an enthusiastic and passionate educator that makes the WCU community a better place. Inside and outside the classroom, she is recognized by both students and colleagues as a stellar teacher who holds fast to high standards while providing nurturing support for holistic student success.  When not found petting cats at CatMan 2 cat shelter with her students, you can often find Dr. Jennings on the sidelines of WCU sporting events, cheering on her student athletes, calling them by name. She lifts them up, on and off the field.
April Tallant, Western Carolina
A Senior Educational Developer with WCU’s Coulter Faculty Common and an Associate Professor in the School of Health Sciences, April Tallant has almost 20 years of higher education experience at WCU.  An award-winning teacher and scholar, she blends the two as an advocate for her professional peers and the region at large.  In addition to her service as an Institutional Representative for the North Carolina American Council on Education Women’s Network, she works in the classroom and with local non-profits to promote food and nutrition literacy skills while also helping to provide nutritious meals and a welcoming environment to those in need.

Dr. John Lefebvre, Wofford
Dr. John Lefebvre is a professor of psychology at Wofford College. Trained as a clinical psychologist, his teaching and research focus on topics related to physical and mental health. In 2010, he was awarded Wofford’s Roger Milliken Award for Excellence in Teaching Science. His research has concentrated on the experience of pain, especially the influence of personality, worry, and memory. Recently, his research has focused on improving student well-being through a variety of approaches including the Resilience Project. In 2022, his collaborative work on student well-being was highlighted by the NPR Podcast “Academic Minute”.  Dr. Lefebvre also has served as a leader on campus, directing the college’s implementation of its strategic plan and he co-chaired the college’s development of Experience Wofford.  Dr. Lefebvre, along with his wife Lisa, are avid supporters of Wofford Athletics.

Tammie Burgess, Wofford
Tammie Burgess serves as Wofford College’s Assistant Registrar.  Mrs. Burgess started as the Secretary to the Registrar in 1988 and has worked in the Registrar’s Office for her entire career at Wofford.  Promoted to her current position as Assistant Registrar in 2009, she finds satisfaction in helping students and alumni, and serving as an Academic Advisor to transfer students, many of whom are student-athletes.  Tammie has a fantastic memory and can recall details about a student’s time at Wofford years after they graduated.  She is extremely patient and kind and has a steady stream of people who come by the office just to say ‘hi.’  Tammie also enjoys working with the faculty and staff and has built many lasting friendships over the past 35 years.  She regularly expresses gratitude for those she works with and the special friends she has made. 

When she is not taking care of Wofford, she enjoys quilting, gardening, participating in her church, and spending as much time with her granddaughters as possible.  And occasionally tooling around the family’s farm in her Kubota.