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Meet New COE Faculty/Staff

René Davis

Frederica “René Davis earned her B.S. in Management Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Hometown: Fayetteville, North Carolina

Job title: Administrative Coordinator for the Department of Physical Education and Athletic Training (PEAT) since the beginning of May, 2012.

Job responsibilities: René Davis will assist the PEAT Chair Linda Nilges-Charles by ensuring smooth and efficient budgetary and administrative operations. Ms. Davis will coordinate grant and contract activity as well as assisting the chair with faculty meeting minutes, confidential investigations, database design and management, meeting planning, appointment scheduling, facility issues, and policy recommendations. Ms. Davis will work closely with all college administrators and as the department liaison and assist parents, students, and external parties regarding departmental operations and issues.

Experience: Prior to joining the College of Education, René Davis worked within USC’s School of Medicine for 17 years. There, she executed projects for USC Employee Health Relations, the Family Medicine Clinic, and the Thomson Student Health Center, Counseling and Human Development Center. Ms. Davis is a mother and a former athlete. As such, Davis was drawn to opportunities that PEAT offered – “I understand that Physical Education contributes to the overall development of a child” says Davis. “I see the positive effects of this in my own children as they cultivate their special interests. Accepting the position with PEAT will allow me the opportunity to broaden my organizational and personnel management expertise from clinical administration to academic administration.”

Personal insights:  “I have a personal interest in keeping the gift of sewing alive in the Carolina’s,” says Ms. Davis. In her free time, Davis refers to herself as a Sewist who teaches private lessons in the community, at USC Sumter, and at other SC educational venues. She also enjoys reading and teaching in the area of Theology and Hermeneutics.


Simone Gause

Simone A. F. Gause earned three degrees from the University of Florida -- a B.S. in Business Administration, a B.S. in Recreation, and an M.S. in Sport Management. Currently, Ms. Gause is enrolled in the Ph.D. Educational Administration program at University of South Carolina.

Hometown: Kingston, Jamaica by way of Miami, Florida.

Job title: Assistant Dean for Administration as of November, 2012.

Job responsibilities: In this capacity Ms. Gause will be responsible for project management, data management, ensuring operational effectiveness and dealing with many of the day-to-day administrative issues within the college.  She will report directly to Dr. Michael Seaman, Executive Associate Dean (EAD) and assist him and Dean Watson with administration and oversight in the COE. Ms. Gause says, “The Assistant Dean for Administration position offered the opportunity to readily amalgamate both my professional and educational pursuits.  I was excited about the prospect of collaborating on a progressive team and contributing to the future direction of the college.  I’m sure it will be a challenging, yet rewarding experience.”

Experience: Ms. Gause has been a higher education administrator with progressive experience in education administration, student services and academic affairs. Her expertise includes program administration and project management. She is a strategic and results-oriented leader with a capacity for and an interest in organizational effectiveness. She comes to the COE from USC Graduate School where she was the Director of Strategic Academic Initiatives and also served on the 2012-2013 Special Advisory Committee for the Columbia Commencement. Before she came to Carolina, Simone was the Associate Director of the Charlotte MBA Programs for Wake Forest University.

Personal insights: “I am a former athlete and dancer.  I still have a strong affinity for sports and the arts.  I’m also an avid consumer of tea – hot tea, not iced tea – which shows my non-Southern roots!”


Allison Jacques

Allison Batten Jacques, Ph.D. earned her four degrees from the University of South Carolina – a B.F.A. in Art Education, a M.Ed. in Educational Administration, an Education Specialist, and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration.

Hometown: Columbia, South Carolina.

Job title: Assistant Dean for Assessment as of September, 2012.

Job responsibilities: Dr. Jacques will assist and support the Professional Education Unit with data collection and reporting, including accreditation functions. She will be working collaboratively with administrators, faculty members, staff, students, and accrediting bodies in the planning, design, development, implementation, and evaluation of assessment and accreditation efforts across all academic and operational areas within the COE. By serving on the college’s administrative leadership team, Dr. Jacques will oversee, coordinate, and conduct assessment and evaluation projects for the college. She will also represent the college in university-wide initiatives related to assessment and accreditation. The University of South Carolina,” says Jacques “is the state’s flagship institution. There has never been a more exciting time to be involved in the important work of the College of Education as we go “Beyond Beyond.”
Experience: For the past ten years Dr. Jacques has taught the principalship practicum for the master’s program at the College of Education within Educational Leadership. Before accepting her position at the college, she worked for the S.C. Department of Education.  During her time there, Dr. Jacques was the director of two strategic offices: the Office of Educator Certification, Preparation, and Recruitment as well as the Office of Educator Preparation, Support, and Assessment. Prior to those positions, Dr. Jacques was the Department Chair and teacher at Pine Ridge Middle School; Assistant Principal for Curriculum and Instruction for Irmo and Crossroads Middle Schools; Assistant Principal for Instruction at Brookland-Cayce High School where she then ascended to Principal of Brookland-Cayce. In 2005, SCASA presented Dr. Jacques with the S.C. Secondary Principals of the Year award.

Personal insights: Dr. Jacques’ husband Shaun is a public school administrator. They have four wonderful children -- Jacqueline 5, Jordan 3, and Alexandria & Shaun, II who are 5 month-old twins.

Lisa Maseng

Lisa A. Maseng earned her B.A. in Journalism majoring in advertising and public relations with a concentration in marketing from the University of South Carolina.

Hometown: Columbia, South Carolina -- Although raised as a Carolinian, she was born in Lexington, KY and enjoyed five childhood years in Australia growing up in Melbourne, Victoria.

Job title: Public Information Coordinator as of September, 2012.

Job responsibilities: Her focus will be advancing the College of Education’s strategic promotional and informational efforts through print and web-based resources. Working closely with faculty and administrators, Ms. Maseng will help advance COE mission and goals by advocating its strengths and accomplishments. She will work directly with Bryan Burgin, Director of Conferences, Public Relations, and Marketing and Dean Watson. “I take my inspiration from the faculty and staff at the College of Education as they explore and launch innovative and diverse education programs to achieve their instructional objectives. I was drawn to the energy that the college exhibits under Dean Watson’s new leadership and relish the opportunity to be a part of his staff. It’s great to be member of a team where everyone’s input is really valued. ”

Experience: With more than 25 years of experience in creative & technical writing, media relations, strategic marketing, promotion, legislative strategy development & execution, layout & design, and web-based communication experience, Ms. Maseng’s work has been published in local, national, and international magazines. Her career includes working for the S.C. Department of Commerce, American Bankers Association, S.C. Association of Counties, SMI Steel, S.C. PRT, and SCANA as well as the S.C. Dept. of Labor, Licensing and Regulation and S.C. Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Personal insights: “I enjoy antiquing with my husband Richard while exploring new destinations with our two standard poodles.  My parents’ penchant for gardening infuses my daily observations —I’m always searching for unusual plant specimens to add to our flower beds. Having just renovated our house, my biggest challenges now are cultivating red clay and installing landscape lighting.”

Jason Shepard

Mr. Shepard earned his B.A. degree in English from the University of South Carolina.

Hometown: Columbia, S.C.

Job title: Information Resource Consultant as of April, 2012.

Job responsibilities: Mr. Shepard will provide on-site technology support to faculty, staff, and students within the College of Education. He will report to the IT Director David Michaels and assist Information Resource Consultant Al Davis in providing computer set-up, diagnosis, and repair in addition to addressing server maintenance requirements. Additionally, Mr. Shepard will be providing technical hardware and software support for Susan Quinn in college’s computer labs and enhanced classrooms. “This is my first job with U.S.C.” says Mr. Shepard. “I’ve always wanted to work in an academic environment. This position fits my skills and interests in technology and problem solving perfectly.” The college’s media team will also rely on Mr. Shepard’s expertise for web maintenance and implementation.

Experience: “I’ve worked in a broad range of technical positions supporting dial-up Internet, personal desktops, LAN/WAN platforms, mobile devices, and servers since the late 1990s” says Mr. Shepard.  During that time, he worked for NSC (National Support Center), Road Runner, NCR, and Verizon.
Personal insights:  Mr. Shepard has an interest in linguistics and has studied Japanese as well as German. “I am a self-proclaimed geek” Shepard smiles, “and in my free time, I enjoy playing my diverse collection of games across multiple platforms and formats (e.g. board, PC, console).”

Linda Zinna

Linda F. Zinna earned her A.A. in Accounting from Suffolk County Community College in Selden, New York. She also holds a B.S. in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York and an M.S. in Education from, Dowling College, Oakdale, New York.

Hometown:  West Columbia, South Carolina (originally from Port Jefferson, New York on the north shore of Long Island).

Job title: Business Manager for COE Grants and Contracts as of October, 2012.

Job responsibilities:  Ms. Zinna will manage all the grants and contracts within the college. She will work with all Principle Investigators, Research Administrators, and Business Managers in keeping the expenditures on their grants and contracts in accordance with USC Policies and Procedures, OMB Circulars, and grant guidelines. Ms. Zinna is thrilled about her career change to the COE and the opportunity to work directly for Rhonda Stephens, Director of Grant and Contracts. “I figured by working at the College of Education, I would use my previous teaching experience and my knowledge in contract and grant accounting.  My proudest accomplishment was raising my son into the wonderful young man he has become.  I have set many goals for myself during my lifetime and have met the majority of them.  I love working with people and feel pleased when I can assist someone either in learning to use a new computer application or figure out how to accomplish complicated requirements in their grant or contract.  It not only saves money for the department, but it helps USC meet shortfalls due to an ailing economy.” 

Experience: Prior to coming to the college, Ms. Zinna worked in the Contract and Grant Accounting Department here at Carolina as the Accounting Supervisor for 17 years.

Personal insights: “In my spare time I like to read, listen to audio books, swim, play computer games, watch movies, and gardening.  Love to decorate for the holidays.  I really enjoy traveling and scuba diving while in the Caribbean.”

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