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Summer Series 2016 Speakers

For the three minute SNAPSHOT presenters, click here.

To watch video of of each individual presentation, click speaker photos.

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Karl Alexander, Ph.D.  (June 14)
John Dewey Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Academy Professor and Professor of Education, Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Karl Alexander, along with two fellow researchers, spent 25 years tracking the life progress of nearly 800 predominantly low-income Baltimore school children through the Beginning School Study Youth Panel. The study monitored the children’s transitions to young adulthood with special attention to how opportunities available to them as early as first grade shaped their socioeconomic status as adults. Based on this study, he co-authored The Long Shadow, which unravels the complex connections between socioeconomic origins and socioeconomic destinations to reveal a startling and much-needed examination of who succeeds and why.

Dr. Alexander received a B.A. from Temple University and a Ph.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill. He has been president of the Southern Sociological Society and editor of the journal Sociology of Education, and is a fellow of the American Education Research Association.

Susan Alford (June 7)
State Director, South Carolina Department of Social Services

Susan Alford, Director of the SC Department of Social Services, has worked for nearly 40 years as a child and victim advocate in South Carolina. She most recently acted as Director of the Girls Center and Associate Executive Director for Operations at Clemson University's Youth Learning Institute, and as both Interim Chief of Staff, Deputy Director for Treatment Services, and Associate Director for Policy and Planning at the SC Department of Juvenile Justice. The recipient of numerous state and national awards, Ms. Alford is a recognized speaker and consultant on topics such as trauma-informed interventions, gender-responsive programming, strategic planning, continuous quality improvement in the public sector, and the development and evaluation of programs for at-risk youth. Ms. Alford holds a Diploma degree in Criminology from the University of Cambridge, England, and a Bachelor’s of Science in Sociology from the University of South Carolina.

Elizabeth Davis
President, Furman University

Dr. Elizabeth Davis became Furman University’s 12th President on July 1, 2014. Before coming to Furman, she spent 22 years at Baylor University in Texas, where she most recently held the position of  executive vice president and provost. In addition to being a member of the accounting faculty at Baylor,  she also served as vice provost for Financial and Academic Administration, associate dean for Undergraduate Business Programs, and acting chair of the Department of Accounting and Business Law. Before beginning her higher education career, she spent three years at Arthur Andersen & Co. in New Orleans. Davis is a member of the Council of Presidents, an advisory group of college and university chief executives who provide guidance to the Association of Governing Boards of  Universities and Colleges on issues of governance in higher education. She serves on the board of directors of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, and is an honorary member of the board of governors of the Commerce Club. She is also a member of the board of directors of Comstock Resources, Inc., an energy company based in Texas. She was recently named to Greenville Business Magazine’s “50 Most Influential People.” Davis has addressed numerous organizations in the Upstate since arriving at Furman, and she has also spoken throughout the U.S. on issues involving higher education, university leadership and financial management. She has written op-eds for The Greenville News, and has done numerous radio and television interviews on the subject of higher education. Davis received her undergraduate degree in business administration from Baylor in 1984 and earned her Ph.D. from Duke University in 1992.

Scott Henderson, Ph. D., (Host, June 7, 14, 21)
William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Education, Director of Program Development and Evaluation, Director of National/International Scholarships, Furman University.

A recipient of numerous scholar and teaching awards, Scott Henderson has been a member of the Education Department since 1998. Scott teaches undergraduate and graduate education courses and also supervises student teachers.  He founded and directed the Teachers and Scholars program at Furman. Scott was an American and world history teacher in the Chesapeake City, Virginia schools and an instructor of English and Western culture at Yamagata Women's Junior College in Yamagata, Japan before coming to Furman first as an adjunct instructor in Furman's History Department. Dr. Henderson received a B.A. from Florida State University, an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Terry Peterson, Ph.D. (June 14)
Director, Afterschool and Community Learning Network; Board Chair, After School Alliance

Terry Peterson develops strategies and partnerships for education reforms and expanded learning opportunities and partnerships across America and in developing countries (e.g., Argentina, Brazil and Mongolia).While holding federal and state executive education positions, Terry helped develop numerous education policies. At the federal level: 21st Century Community Learning Centers, E-rate, GEAR-UP; and teacher and technology quality grants; at the state level: early childhood education; teacher recruitment; performance pay programs; innovation funds; accountability systems; and the arts in the basic curriculum. Terry serves on ten different national, state and local education committees and organizations including as chair of the National Afterschool Alliance Board.

Sara Ryder, M.D. (June 7)
Pediatrician and Clinical Assistant Professor, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Greenville

Dr. Ryder earned her medical degree from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in Hershey. She completed her residency training in pediatrics at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, where she served as chief resident in 2014-2015. She and other pediatricians partnered with Reach Out and Read to develop early reading skills in children through its evidence-based approach. Dr. Ryder came to Greenville to join the faculty of USC School of Medicine and where she works at the Center for Pediatric Medicine and the Center for Family Medicine.


Cathy Stevens (June 14)
Program Director for the White-Riley-Peterson Afterschool Policy Fellowship

Cathy Stevens is the Program Director for the White-Riley-Peterson Afterschool Policy Fellowship, focused on improving policy in support of afterschool and summer learning across the country. She is also working on the development of a new teacher certification in project-based learning for South Carolina's teachers. Cathy assists in developing the overall strategic direction for the Center for Education Policy and Leadership (CEPL). From 2005 to 2007, she helped direct the Riley Institute's Hewlett Foundation financed research project on public education, the most comprehensive systematic study of public education ever done in South Carolina. She has a B.A. from Furman and an M.Ed from Clemson University. 

Michael D. Usdan, Ph.D. (June 21)
Senior Fellow and President Emeritus, Institute for Educational Leadership

For two decades, Michael D. Usdan served as President of the Institute for Educational Leadership. Before that, he was Connecticut's Commissioner of Higher Education (1978-1981) and president of the Merrill-Palmer Institute in Detroit (1974-1978).
A graduate of Brown University with graduate degrees from Columbia University, Usdan worked on the staff of the late Dr. James B. Conant in the latter's famous studies of American education. He has taught at Columbia University, City University of New York, Northwestern and Fordham Universities, and in schools in New York City and White Plains.
A prolific writer on various aspects of education, Usdan has been a consultant to boards of education and educational organizations and has spoken around the country and in China, India Nepal, Hungary, Russia, and Japan. Among other affiliations, he is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Phi Delta Kappan magazine and a consultant to the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Hunt Institute, and the Council of Chief State School Officers.  He also serves as a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education and the George Washington University.

Dan Wuori, Ph.D. (June 7)
Deputy Director, SC First Steps to School Readiness

Dr. Dan Wuori is one of South Carolina’s leading voices in early childhood education. As a longtime kindergarten teacher and school district administrator, Dr. Wuori brings hands-on experience to his current role as Deputy Director of South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness – where he has overseen the state’s public-private prekindergarten expansion, the launch of Nurse Family Partnership and the reform of the state’s BabyNet early intervention system. He is a past president of the South Carolina Early Childhood Association and has served as an adjunct professor of education at the University of South Carolina and Columbia College.