Carnegie Foundation chooses instructor out of 300 candidates
USC dance program director Susan Anderson was named the 2011 South Carolina Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement of Support of Education.
After being selected out of 300 professors, Anderson said she was shocked when she learned that she was the top choice.
“Receiving this award validates my years of hard work,” Anderson said. “The art of dance is a very important academic point of a university community.”
Anderson added that the Carnegie Foundation normally focuses on academic research, so she was glad that dance “can also have academic rigor.”
Anderson has been dancing since she was 2 years old, and when she was 12, she knew that dancing would be her career. But dancing wasn’t a big hit at USC when she came to the school at age 23, so she was determined to put more dance courses in the curriculum.
“I had to do significant contributions to the field of dance to earn this award,” Anderson said.
Since she has been at USC, Anderson says she created around 90 dance courses as well as a dance major and minor. She is also the founding director of the USC Dance Company, the USC Dance Conservatory and the South Carolina Summer Dance Conservatory. Outside of school, Anderson also trained with the San Francisco Ballet and danced professionally with the Los Angeles Dance Theatre and Ballet Celeste of San Francisco. She has taught master classes and workshops globally.
Senior Associate Dean of Liberal Arts Anne Bezuidenhout said the College of Arts and Sciences — which houses the Department of Theatre and Dance — said she is “delighted” that Anderson received this honor.
“For the past 33 years, Professor Anderson has been building the dance program at the University of South Carolina,” Bezuidenhout said.
Anderson won the South Carolina Governor’s Professor of the Year Award in 2009, as well as USC’s Michael J. Mungo Distinguished Professor of the Year Award, Bezuidenhout added.
“It is gratifying that she has now been acknowledged at the national level,” Bezuidenhout said.
Anderson said she only “created” the program but her faculty “delivered” it.
“I didn’t just get this award by being mediocre or by having a mediocre faculty,” she said.
Now Anderson wants to establish a dancing graduate program at USC, which she says no school in South Carolina has. Anderson admitted that it may be difficult in the economy, but she’s not worried.
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” she said.