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Katherine explains:

“Since studying abroad with Dr. Westerfelhaus in Austria, Germany, and Italy, he has been an amazing support system for me. Not only is he a phenomenal and knowledgeable professor, but a true role model and friend. He always knows how to help me draw from my strengths and learn from my weaknesses. He has truly helped me embrace who I am and the person I am becoming. I know that I will have a lifelong

Katherine receiving the Bishop Robert Smith Award

friendship with Dr. Westerfelhaus, and for that I am so grateful.

Additionally, I would not be half the person I am today without the love and support from my family. I have the most loving parents anyone could ever ask for. They have helped me grow into the person I am today, and will continue to support me no matter what. I have been so fortunate to attend the school I wanted to so far from home. I owe this award to my parents who allowed me to follow my dreams and move far from home to discover myself.

I could go on for days about how passionate I am about the College of Charleston, and how much it has done for me both personally and professionally. I can’t say thank you enough to all of the wonderful people I have encountered throughout my time here who have had an impact on me.”

Dr. Beth Goodier notes about Katherine:

Dr. Westerfelhas and Katherine at the award ceremony

“I have known ‘Kat’ for the past two years having worked with her as a student in my class and in several of her leadership roles across campus. As Chair of the Department of Communication, I am uniquely positioned to comment on both her academic excellence and demonstrations of leadership. I first met Kat as a student in my Organizational Communication course.  Though the course had close to 60 students enrolled, Kat stood out from the beginning.As a student, Kat is prepared, engaged, and intellectually curious.”

To learn more about the Bishop Robert Smith Award, click here.

Liza explains:

Liza receiving the Bishop Robert Smith Award

“I am honored to receive the Bishop Robert Smith Award. I’ve found an academic niche that I’m passionate about — food, ecology, development, and human rights — but this has really only been realized due to the support of and collaboration with a number of professors. Particularly, Dr. Helen Delfeld in the political science department was the first to introduce me to Southeast Asia and she has worked with me as a student research fellow in Thailand and also went with me to an anti-commodity conference in the Netherlands. Also in the political science department, Dr. Claire Curtis has served as an extremely supportive mentor, facilitating the development of my ideas in everything from dystopian literature to food politics. And Dr. Allison Welch in the biology department has worked with me on a long-term research project on tadpoles and environmental stressors that has added a unique biological lens to my understanding Liza Woodof politics and development that I feel is necessary for addressing the interdisciplinary issue of our current environment. Overall, I am so lucky to have had such great mentors throughout my undergraduate career at CofC, and I owe much of my academic successes to their guidance.”

Dr. Claire Curtis notes about Liza:

“Liza is a wonderful student to have in class: she is curious, engaged and thoughtful.  This award is an excellent recognition of her accomplishments as a scholar and citizen of the CofC campus”

To learn more about the Bishop Robert Smith Award, click here.

The Bishop Robert Smith Award

By Christine Ragusa
Posted on 23 April 2013 | 3:12 pm
Political science major Isabel Williams receiving the Bishop Robert Smith Award

Political science major Isabel Williams receiving the Bishop Robert Smith Award

The Bishop Robert Smith Award is the highest honor a student can receive during their academic career at the College of Charleston. Each year, faculty and staff nominate students who they feel have demonstrated a high level of leadership and academic excellence.

We are proud to announce that this year all three award winners are majors in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS)! The 2015 Bishop Robert Smith Award winners are: Andrew Spector (psychology major, religious studies minor), Isabel Williams (political science major), and Marino Mugayar-Baldocchi (psychology major, religious studies minor). Congratulations!

Here is the list of HSS award recipients from years past:

1994: Mary A. Edwards (political science major)

1997: Jessica L. Clancy (English and political science major)

1998: Melody J. Edelman (communication and political science major), Melissa Pierce (English major)

1999: Matthew C. Czuchry (political science and history major)

2000: Billie J. Murray (political science and communication major)

2002: Lacey Elgie (communication major)

2003: John R. Bailey (political science major)

2005: Rebecca McCarson (communication major)

2006: Rebecca Wieters (history and political science major)

2007: Maria F. Caruso (English major)

2008: Kathryn L. Rogers (political science major), Matthew D. McClellan (communication major)

2009: Kristen Nicole Thompson (political science major)

2010: Joseph Saei (philosophy major)

2011: Sanaz Arjomand (political science major)

2012: Isaiah Nelson (political science major), Caroline Newman (psychology major)

2013Liza Wood (political science major) and Katherine Shidler (communication major)

2014: Elizabeth Burdette (sociology major, English minor)

It Pays When HSS Faculty Work Together

By Christine Ragusa
Posted on 3 April 2013 | 10:23 am

Exciting news! The Templeton Foundation awarded $240,000 for a project titled “Humility, Conviction, and Disagreement in Morality: An Interdisciplinary Investigation”. The co-principal investigators are Thomas Nadelhoffer (Department of Philosophy) and Jen Wright (Department of Psychology) with help from team members from the University of Winnipeg, Duke University School of Medicine, and Duke University. Trisha Folds-Bennet from CofC’s Honors College will also be contributing as a team member. Professors Nadelhoffer and Wright will begin working on the two-year-long study starting this summer . Here is a summary of the project:

Under most circumstances, intellectual humility is treated as a virtue. Yet, is moral humility a virtue? Here, the answer is less clear. The very conviction that motivates the other moral virtues seems at odds with humility. We often treat as moral heroes those people who stand on their principles in the face of strong opposition – people who hold to their vision of the world as being morally better than the one they are opposing, despite strong pressures to do otherwise. Is such conviction consistent with, or in tension with, humility? Answering this question will require a multi-pronged approach.

First, our goal is to get clearer on the nature of moral humility. This involves not only examining humility as a psychological construct (e.g., whether it is uni-dimensional or multi-dimensional) but also discovering to which other psychological constructs (e.g., conviction, arrogance, etc.), commitments/values (e.g., meta-ethical stance), and personality traits it is related and the situational and socio-cultural factors that influence its expression. We will achieve this by constructing a robust scale for moral humility (along with other facets of humility) that will allow us not only to empirically identify the conceptual structure of humility, but also examine its relationship to a variety of other characteristics of the person possessing it and its expression within a variety of contexts. In addition, we will closely examine the “folk understanding” of moral humility in adults, along with the development of this understanding in children, adolescents, and young adults.

Second, our goal is to examine the behaviors and judgments associated with moral humility. That is, we seek to better understand what morally humble people do, how they behave, how they make judgments, etc.  Do people who are high in humility display stronger or weaker conviction with respect to their moral beliefs? Are they more or less tolerant of divergent beliefs and practices? Are they more or less open-minded to alternative viewpoints? Are they more or less inclined to have objectivist meta-ethical commitments? Our goal is to use the aforementioned scale to explore these questions. In addition, we will examine people’s expectations of, and responses to, morally humble individuals. Do people expect morally humble people to behave differently than non-humble people – and, if so, in what ways? Do these expectations change over time – e.g., are children’s expectations different from those of adults? Finally, do people respond differently to the behaviors, opinions, requests of people they view to be morally humble? We will explore these questions in a variety of ways (the details of which are outlined in the objectives below).

Third, humility has been defined as “an inclination to keep one’s accomplishments, traits, and so on in unexaggerated perspective, even if stimulated to exaggerate” (Richards, 1992, pg. x). We would like to test this assumption by investigating whether people who score high in moral humility are indeed inclined to downplay (relative to others) their accomplishments and traits – in particular, those of moral relevance – and to avoid seeking public recognition and/or praise for their “good deeds.” In addition, we will examine people’s expectations in this regard – do people expect morally humble individuals to downplay their morally-relevant accomplishments and/or to shy away from receiving public recognition/praise for them? And, once again, does this expectation change over time? These are questions that will be explored, both with adults and from a developmental perspective, with children and adolescents.

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