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WSSU biology professor wins UNC System teaching excellence award

Stephanie T. Dance-Barnes, associate professor of cell and molecular biology at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU), is a recipient of the 2019 Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Dance-Barnes, who also serves as co-chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, will receive a commemorative bronze medallion and a $12,500 cash prize. The award will be presented by a Board of Governors member during WSSU’s 2019 Commencement on May 10.

“I am beyond honored and humbled to have been recognized as the recipient of this prestigious award,” Dance-Barnes said. “I feel so truly blessed to be able to work with so many diverse students and have the opportunity to pass along knowledge and skills that will translate into their success in and out of the classroom. As educators we have a tremendous responsibility to promote lifelong learning, and to be impactful we have to strive to be transformative. Our students deserve nothing short of excellence.” 

Since joining WSSU in 2010, Dance-Barnes has been recognized for her impact in the classroom and for using innovative strategies to promote learning.

Soon after arriving, she developed Scientific Investigation of Diseases, a general education course fashioned after the TV series “House, M.D.”

Stephanie Dance-Barnes

In 2011, she developed the Women in Science Program (WISP) to provide tools and resources for women in STEM. Since its founding, about 200 WSSU undergraduate students have participated in the program across various STEM majors.

In addition, Dance-Barnes has mentored numerous students in her cancer research lab. Her students have been accepted into a number of prestigious fellowship research programs including, the John Hopkins University Summer Internship Fellowship, the Wake Forest University Excellence in Cardiovascular Science Program and the University of Miami Summer Research Alliance Early Identification Program.

She also has forged a partnership with Wake Forest University’s Department of Cancer Biology that has created a summer prostate cancer research program for undergraduate students at WSSU and North Carolina A&T State University. The program recently received additional funding to expand this summer to include students from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

In 2017, she was recognized by Insight Into Diversity magazine for her work redesigning the general biology lab, transforming the course from a cookbook style to a more inquiry and experiential-based learning experience.

In 2018, she stepped into the role of interim associate provost and dean of University College and Lifelong Learning. In this role, she spearheaded the 2018 Ramdition, WSSU’s weeklong orientation for first-time college students. Highlights of the week included the Ramdition Academic Fair and a revamped curriculum that included sessions to promote a successful transition and student success.

Dance-Barnes earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Elizabeth City State University, a master’s degree in biology from N.C. A&T and a doctorate in cancer biology/toxicology from Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

More information about all 17 award recipients, including biographies and photos, is available on the UNC System website.

About Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem State University fosters the creative thinking, analytical problem-solving, and depth of character needed to transform the world. Rooted in liberal education, WSSU’s curriculum prepares students to be thought leaders who have the skills and knowledge needed to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Founded in 1892, WSSU is a historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a rich tradition of contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual, and economic growth of North Carolina, the region and beyond. Guided by the motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve,” WSSU develops leaders who advance social justice by serving the world with compassion and commitment.  

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