Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Columbia, SC -- May 9, 2012 -- Dr. Samuel A. Darko, Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering at Benedict College, was one of the faculty from 20 private colleges and universities who were recognized for their dedication to teaching and learning by the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU).  The 2012 honorees were announced in a ceremony at the 7th Annual Excellence in Teaching Awards Dinner on April 10, 2012, as part of the South Carolina Independent College and University Week.  “This year’s award recipients demonstrated a remarkable blend of scholarship, passion, commitment, and the ability to motivate students to new heights,” said Henri Baskins, chair of the SCICU Board of Trustees.

Dr. Darko has been an environmental health science faculty member at Benedict College since 2004, where one of his research interests is in the fabrication and application of novel nanomaterials for environmental protection. He is the recipient of a Department of Energy grant which he used to develop an Environmental Engineering degree program. He and his students founded Science Magic, a free program that enables them to perform a series of science tricks and illusions at local elementary schools.

As an active contributor to several school and college activities, Dr. Darko has served as chair of the School of STEM Xtreme Technology Committee, which has sponsored a two-day competition/recruitment activity for high school students for the past six years. In addition, he serves as co-founder and coordinator of the Benedict College Summer Undergraduate Research Institute (SURI). Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Janeen P. Witty, cited Dr. Darko as a faculty member who has “unparalleled passion for teaching and learning.”

Each of the 20 member institutions of the SCICU consortium selects one faculty member to receive the award, which includes a professional development stipend of $3,000 for the professor. Each recipient is chosen by his or her institution according to rigorous criteria. The most important characteristic of the nominees is their demonstration of the highest standards in teaching methods that encourage students to strive for excellence in their studies and pursuits. Dr. Darko is no stranger to this kind of critical acclaim. Benedict College recently recognized him as the Distinguished Faculty Member of the academic year 2011-2012. 

SCICU was established in 1953 with the primary mission of promoting independent higher education in South Carolina. It seeks to advance independent higher education through fundraising, scholarships, research, and by facilitating collaborative activities among the member institutions, which educate nearly 34,000 students each year.

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Kymm Hunter, Assistant Vice President for Communications and Marketing; 803.705.4519
Carolyn Wigfall, Communications and Marketing Manager; 803.705.4366

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