May 18, 2021
The World Needs Visionaries
Claflin University to Play West Chester University in Atlantic Regional of NCAA Division II Softball Championship
For the second time in school history, the Claflin University softball team will make an appearance in the NCAA Division II Softball Championship when the sixth-seeded Lady Panthers play No. 3 West Chester University on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. (EST) in the opening round of the Atlantic Regional. The six-team, double-elimination tournament will be played May 19-22, at North Campus Field in Kutztown, Pa.
With an opening round win, Claflin will advance to play No. 2 Shepherd University, which received an opening-round bye, on Thursday, May 20 at 12:30 p.m. If the Lady Panthers lose to West Chester, they will face the loser of the No. 4 East Stroudsburg and No. 5 West Liberty contest at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. 

Claflin received the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) automatic bid into the tournament. The CIAA did not host a softball championship this season due to COVID-19. A special format was used to determine which team would receive the conference’s automatic bid.

The Lady Panthers will be the only team from a historically black college/university (HBCU) participating in this year’s NCAA Division II Softball Championship.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to play West Chester," head coach James “Marty” Kinard said. "When you think of the Atlantic region and its history, West Chester is one of the teams that come to mind. They have played well as of late, winning the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Tournament Championship and doing a lot of things on the offensive side of the ball that can create problems. But we will be prepared for them.” 
“This is truly an exciting time for Claflin University Athletics," said Tony O’Neal, director of athletics at Claflin. "I am pleased with the team's accomplishments and the commitment of the entire athletic department. We now have a chance to compete for a national championship.”
Claflin made its first appearance in the NCAA Division II Softball Championship in 2017, when it won the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Tournament. The Lady Panthers earned an automatic berth to the South Regional.
Claflin will enter the tournament after playing only nine games, the fewest number of games among the teams in the regional tournament. The Lady Panthers have an 8-1 record and West Chester is 30-14.  
“The number of games we played is not as much of a concern as the month-long layoff since playing our last game,” Kinard said. “But after that first pitch, we will be ready to go. This group has the experience and knows what it takes to win at the highest level.”
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Faculty News
Dr. Nick Panasik, associate professor in the biology and chemistry departments, was among the presenters at “Academic Integrity in the Online Space,” a virtual conference on April 16, sponsored by CourseHero. Panasik’s presentation focused on peer teaching and how it is used at Claflin to improve teaching, learning, and assessment. CourseHero is an online learning platform that offers over 40 million course-specific study resources created by and for students and educators, as well as 24/7 tutor help.
“Peer teaching at Claflin has become an effective way to increase student engagement while improving learning,” said Panasik who in 2012 won the prestigious Early CAREER Award presented by the National Science Foundation. The program funded early attempts at changing pedagogy using peer teaching.
“Over the course of the week, a professor will teach a topic and at the end of the week, students will record themselves teaching that topic in their own words," Panasik said. "The professor then records himself watching the video and responds in real time to the points the student makes, pausing to compliment them on what they did right and providing advice on points they didn’t understand. If the student did a great job, the video is posted to the rest of the class. The results have been amazing."
Panasik said the technique has resulted in his students improving their exam scores by 12 percent. He also said that 90 percent of his students believe peer teaching makes them feel they have as much or more one-on-one time with the professor compared to the normal on-ground class. 
“Every student gets face time with the teacher and a weekly one-on-one explanation of their understanding of their assignments,” Panasik said. "The technique was enhanced by utilizing the Flipgrid online platform that was developed as faculty at universities transitioned to online teaching during COVID-19.” Flipgrid is a free video discussion platform from Microsoft that helps educators see and hear from every student in class.
“Students now feel more comfortable explaining scientific concepts,” he said. “Teaching their peers appears to be a great motivation for students with many saying their understanding of the material really increases when they hear their peers explain it in addition to the teacher. Moreover, the connection with the teacher increases as well."
Alumni News
Congratulations to Ashley Anderson-Murray, ‘05, who is Forest Acres Elementary School's new principal. She is the first Black principal in the School District of Pickens County (South Carolina) since the district desegregated more than 50 years ago. Anderson-Murray, who was interim principal at Forest Acres since December, also served as its assistant principal since 2018. Prior to Forest Acres Elementary, she was an assistant professor of education and the University of South Carolina Upstate and an adjunct professor at Tri-County Technical College. While at Claflin, Anderson-Murray was a member Gamma Nu Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and is now a member of Pi Zeta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. in Greer, S.C. "I'm thankful that I'll be representation for children that are minority in the community," Anderson-Murray said in an interview with Greenville News
Demeka Kimpson, '03, band instructor for grades 7-12 at Sedgefield Middle School in Charlotte, N.C., has been named the Central 2 Learning Community Teacher of the Year. Kimpson earned a bachelor's degree in music education from Claflin and her master's degree in music from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C. Before joining Sedgefield Middle School, she taught in Cabarrus County and Rock Hill. Kimpson is a woodwind specialist and plays clarinet and flute, as well as saxophone, low-brass instruments, and cello.
James A. Stroman II, '13, completed his journey to becoming a Doctor of Medicine when he graduated on May 14, 2021, from the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Spartanburg, S.C. In a social media post with a picture of his late mother, Mrs. Mary Stroman, Dr. Storman stated “I can only describe this journey as UNWAVERING FAITH which reminds me of a sunflower. No matter how small or little light there is, sunflowers are believed to seek out the light and hold their heads high as if in worship and adoration of the sun. Mom, this one is for you.” While at Claflin, Dr. Stroman was a member of the Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College and the Delta Alpha Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He will begin residency this summer at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center specializing in Family Medicine.
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