Psychology Professor Selected for Kinard Teaching Award

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

Winthrop University will honor Psychology Professor Cheryl Fortner-Wood with its top teaching award at the Dec. 16 Commencement ceremony in recognition of her dedication and many outstanding contributions to the institution.

President Dan Mahony will present Fortner-Wood with the 2017 James Pinckney Kinard and Lee Wicker Kinard Award for Excellence in Teaching during the 11 a.m. ceremony at the Winthrop Coliseum.

The Kinard Award is given annually to a faculty member who has demonstrated a dedication to teaching and is highly regarded on campus by faculty and students. Established by the Kinard family, it honors former Winthrop President James P. Kinard and his wife, Lee Wicker Kinard.

Debra Boyd, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said Fortner-Wood is a valuable member of the Winthrop community. “Dr. Fortner-Wood works diligently to help students achieve their highest potential,” Boyd said. “She serves as a role model for our students and for all of us who work to support student intellectual development.”

Fortner-Wood joined the Winthrop faculty in 1998 after earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of Charleston, a master’s degree in psychology from Western Carolina University and a Ph.D. in child development and family studies from Purdue University. She was promoted to associate professor in 2004 and then professor in 2016.

Fortner-Wood’s students say she is rigorous in her expectations but also is very supportive in enhancing and aiding student intellectual and personal development. In addition to teaching graduate and undergraduate courses, Fortner-Wood has directed the university’s McNair Scholars Program since 2009. The job has earned her the nickname “Mama McNair” due to the level of dedication and care she has extended to participants, who are first-generation college students or are low-income and/or come from underrepresented backgrounds. The program has been very successful in promoting outstanding undergraduate research and in preparing the McNair Scholars for graduate school. Winthrop learned this fall that the program’s federal grant has been renewed for the third time for the next five years.

Fortner-Wood has fulfilled many roles as a committee member in her department, in the College of Arts and Sciences and on the university level. She represented the faculty on the Board of Trustees from 2007-09 in her role as chair of the Faculty Conference. She also won the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Advisor Award in 2005.

Fortner-Wood's specialty areas include infant-parent attachment, attachment in adoption and childcare quality. She has served as an expert witness on attachment in adoption cases and is a partner with the S.C. Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Impact Project.