Clemson, South Carolina — A Clemson University horticulture professor was recognized with the Teaching Award of Excellence from the Clemson University College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences. Ellen Vincent has worked tirelessly to prepare her students for their future careers in horticulture and other agricultural pursuits.

“My teaching style is experiential and kinesthetic. I see the classroom as a scene of co-creation,” said Vincent. “A place where everyone gets to learn, myself included.”

Ellen Vincent

Ellen Vincent, Clemson horticulture professor

Vincent implements interdisciplinary blending to allow her students to have a breadth of knowledge, furthering their education far beyond the textual information. She encourages her students to engage in problem solving and be open to new ideas. She centers her courses around the cycle of design, delivery, and evaluation to identify the needs of the industry and students, and tries to deliver the subject matter in an engaging manner using experiential methods. At the conclusion of her classes, she encourages student evaluation so she can improve course content and delivery.

“Ellen is passionate about student success. She is sought after as an advisor because she makes herself available to students to assist with navigating their degree programs,” said Patricia Zungoli, Interim Chair of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “Her advocacy for their education exceeds expectations of excellence in fulfilling her position.”

Through courses like the Sustainable Landscape Demonstration, students are able to learn in a hands-on environment, practice their skills, and physically interact with the subject matter.  The McGinty Mall demonstration garden is a cross-discipline collaborative effort to model an urban adaptation of a traditional landscape. Researchers study the effects of native plants on human psychological and environmental health.

“Every student has an impact that can be for good,” said Vincent. “That’s what I like best about teaching. I’m reaching people who can change the world in a better way on an everyday basis.”

Vincent was also recognized by the South Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association (SCNLA) with the Louis P. Parsons Outstanding Contribution to the Nursery Industry Award.

According to a magazine published by the South Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association, an organization that promotes the S.C. Nursery industry, “Her enthusiasm for her students is unmatched. She encourages them not only in their studies but also to prepare for their careers. She puts forth a great effort to have them speak at events and encourages her students to apply for internships.”

Vincent teaches a capstone class to seniors, bringing in industry professionals to detail their careers and provide advice to the soon to be graduates. In addition to preparing her students for their careers, she also contributes articles to the SCNLA magazine and provides Member Profiles on professionals important to the horticulture industry.

“I am honored by both of the awards. To get the Louis P. Parsons Award and Excellence in Teaching is truly gratifying.,” Vincent said.