Inside NOW: Robotics research; Lischwe named director of sponsored programs; staff development program application period open through April 16

March 26, 2013

Scroll down to read the following articles:

  1. Clemson professor’s research can result in more fluid motion for robots
  2. Lischwe named director of sponsored programs in the Division of Research
  3. Staff Development Program application period open through April 16
  4. Creative Inquiry offers invaluable opportunities for faculty and students
  5. Clemson golf course named to “Best You Can Play” list
  6. Join Clemson Home April 8-11 for free food, prizes and giveaways
  7. SRASC hosts estate-planning seminar/lunch April 17; registration required
  8. Summer Camps and Programs abound at Clemson for “Tomorrow’s Tigers”
  9. PARKING/TRAFFIC: New WeCar added at CU-ICAR

1. Clemson professor’s research can result in more fluid motion for robots

Ian Walker, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Clemson University, has always had a strong interest in biology. Specifically, he has always wondered what it would take to make a robot that could emulate invertebrate “trunks and tentacles.” After 20+ years of research, they are still only scratching the surface of what could be created.

The focus of Walker’s research is looking into developing robots that, instead of having rigid “links and joints” as in our own arms and legs, have smooth profiles like elephant trunks and octopus arms. These “continuum robots” can bend anywhere, as well as maybe extend and contract in length. For the space-related NASA work, he is looking for ways to make very long and thin continuum robots, like robot ropes. These robots could enter and navigate hard-to-reach places like crevasses in rocks and underground cavities.

“Continuum robots are beginning to be used in minimally invasive medical procedures as active endoscopes and in keyhole surgeries. They are also applicable to various manufacturing and military situations, and for search and rescue in disaster relief,” said Walker.

In order to conduct this research, they use a mix of novel design methods and math to model and control the robots. The tentative findings are that it will be possible, though hard, to make these new kinds of robots work. Ahead in this research are more versatile, thinner and more powerful “trunk and tentacle” robots.

Walker received the B.S. in mathematics from the University of Hull, England, in 1983 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1985 and 1989, respectively. He then joined the faculty in electrical and computer engineering at Rice University, where he served until 1997. In the fall of 1997, he joined the department of electrical and computer engineering at Clemson University, where he became a full Professor in 2001.

2. Lischwe named director of sponsored programs in the Division of Research

Clemson University has named Sheila T. Lischwe director of sponsored programs in the Division of Research. Lischwe joins Clemson from Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Mo., where she was director of the Office of Research Development and Services.

“Dr. Lischwe brings experience with implementing operational efficiencies that respect compliance requirements but also ensures that investigator time is focused on pursuit of their scientific and scholarly goals,” said Larry Dooley, Clemson’s interim vice president for research. “She also brings fresh ideas for ways that researchers from different disciplines can link together for unique solutions to address the problems of the day, and has explored ways to expand our pool of sponsors beyond the traditional.”

The Office of Sponsored Programs supports faculty, staff and students in their pursuit of funding for research and scholarly activity, creative activity, instruction and public service while ensuring compliance with federal, university and private-sponsor regulations, terms and conditions. The office’s staff facilitates the administrative review and approval process of proposals, contracts and other agreements.

Lischwe’s arrival strategically positions Clemson for success in a funding environment that demands the ability to anticipate opportunities well in advance of other institutions and respond rapidly and expertly when those opportunities materialize.

Lischwe earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure University, an MBA from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and a master’s degree in Urban Affairs and Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Saint Louis University. She also held positions in institutional advancement and research administration at Webster University and Southern Illinois University.

3. Staff Development Program application period open through April 16

Clemson’s Staff Development Program (SDP) began accepting applications March 15. The qualifications for the program have been modified to allow more staff to apply – staff members with at least five years of university service can now apply for the program.

The SDP allows for up to 25 staff members to complete 150 hours of professional development, personal development and university involvement/service activities; upon successful completion, participants will receive a permanent base salary increase. The program is one way the university works towards the 2020 Roadmap objective of attracting, retaining and rewarding top people.

Participants work with their supervisors and a mentoring committee to develop a concrete list of goals and a plan on how they will achieve those goals that benefit both themselves and the university. Participants will have approximately 10 months to complete their 150 hours of documented activities. Salary increases for successfully completing the program will take effect in July 2014.

Applications must be turned in by 4:30 p.m. April 16. Participants will be selected by June 3.

For those individuals seeking assistance in the SDP application process, a general help workshops has been scheduled during the application period:

• Tuesday, April 2, noon, Student Senate Chambers.

As space will be limited, admission to these workshops will be on a first-come, first-served basis. As electronic completion of the application form is preferred, workshop leaders will not be able to assist with completion of individual applications. Instead, the sessions will focus on elements that make a strong application to the SDP.

For more information on eligibility requirements and to download an application, go to or email

4. Creative Inquiry offers invaluable opportunities for faculty and students

by Molly Collins
Media Relations, Class of 2013

The saying goes that “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and Clemson’s Creative Inquiry program is paving the way for unique opportunities for engaged learning and research by challenging the creative minds of faculty and students.

Consider Sean Williams, professor and chair of the English department, who sought to empower college students to change the world through entrepreneurship. Through the Creative Inquiry program, what started as a group assignment in a business writing class became $60 Scholarships, a social enterprise that works to award scholarships to children in impoverished areas of foreign countries and raise awareness about the need for increased educational opportunity. The group has raised enough money to send more than 30 children in Belize to school this year, and they traveled to Belize over spring break to make a formal presentation of the scholarship funds. They also gathered footage and interviews for a documentary pinpointing the educational needs of the children living in the Burial Grounds area.

And $60 Scholarships is just one of more than 300 active Creative Inquiry projects. A small-group learning opportunity, Creative Inquiry pairs teams of students with faculty mentors to address problems that stem from their own curiosity, a professor’s challenge or the world around them. Students spend several semesters developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills while focusing on working in a team and preparing themselves for postgraduate endeavors.

“We want all of our graduates to be thinkers, leaders and entrepreneurs,” said Provost Dori Helms. “We want them to be able to approach a task or problem and figure out how to solve it.”

There is no one way to solve these problems. Creative Inquiries are housed in multiple disciplines, from English and Marketing to Biochemistry and Industrial Engineering, and each project varies in structure.

“There is no formula,” said Barbara Speziale, professor of biological sciences, associate dean of undergraduate studies and director of Creative Inquiry. “Projects come in a lot of different ways. Sometimes a faculty member will think it up, and sometimes students come to us or approach faculty directly.”

It all begins with an idea. In spring 2011, Williams challenged his business writing students to create a scalable business model, pledging support to ideas that proved to be promising.  A group of three students met the challenge with the idea for a social enterprise that would begin by awarding scholarships to children at Unity Primary School in Belize and eventually expand to other countries. It was then that Williams decided to take the Creative Inquiry route, knowing that the funding would help broaden the scope of the project.

“Creative Inquiry was the way to go because of the many resources available,” said Williams. “The funding and other opportunities for exposure and support would allow for a greater expansion of the project.”

When getting started with a project, professors must create a course encompassing their ideas and directions. And when Williams set out to create the course for $60 Scholarships, he not only wanted to focus on starting a business, but he also wanted to use the opportunity to combine the realms of business and liberal arts, a rare move in the college environment.

“You take your business or other courses, but those in no way interact with your liberal arts courses,” said Williams. “In most work environments, however, the two interact almost daily and so the separation is completely false.”

Williams incorporated these principles into a senior seminar that included English and business majors with course work that focused on entrepreneurial narratives, a concept involving the study of narrative techniques and evaluating how entrepreneurs tell the stories of themselves and their businesses.

“I structured the class specifically to force the two to interact: professional questions mixed with liberal arts thinking,” said Williams.

It is this mixture of passion and purpose that Speziale encourages when working with faculty to set up Creative Inquiry projects.

“I tell faculty to seek Creative Inquiry projects that integrate what they are doing in their career,” said Speziale. “It helps them advance their careers, helps students, and engages them all in problem-solving. If the faculty member enjoys and benefits from CI, then students do as well and they will stick with it.”

And it’s sticking with the students. Like $60 Scholarships, Creative Inquiry teams are generating “Aha!” moments through invaluable experiences. Through commitment and curiosity, these students along with their faculty mentors are enhancing the University, the community and the world one idea at a time.

5. Clemson golf course named to “Best You Can Play” list

The Walker Course has again been named to the state’s “30 Best Courses You Can Play” list by the South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel for 2013. This is the third time that the course has been included on the bienniel list and for the third consecutive time the course has received the top number of votes for all public access courses in the Upstate region. The Walker Course has been voted Best Public Course in the Upstate for 2009, 2011 and now in 2013.

Named in memory of Clemson alum John E. Walker, Sr., the 18-hole championship golf course is designed to accommodate golfers of all skill levels. Read more about the course here.

The “Best You Can Play” list rates the best golf courses available for public play across the state of South Carolina. The ratings panel is comprised of 125 golf enthusiasts representing a diverse range of occupations, handicaps and backgrounds. The panel’s objective is to promote excellence in the state’s golf course design and operations through competitive ranking, education and public advocacy. The “50 Best” courses (public or private) are selected in even-number years and the “Best Courses You Can Play” are announced in odd-numbered years. Criteria used in the judging include routing, variety, strategy, equity, memorability, aesthetics and experience.

6. Join Clemson Home April 8-11 for free food, prizes and giveaways

University Housing and Dining joined forces during the 2012 spring semester. We are announcing our partnership with our collective brand, Clemson Home, a Division of Student Affairs. This union includes all residential facilities, residential life, housing and dining operations.

As Clemson Home, we believe students are the innovators, leaders and community builders of the future who deserve a supportive and challenging environment in which to thrive.

Throughout this past year we have been working together to develop a future-oriented approach to student learning and development. We will strive to facilitate an innovative and respectful community through purposeful and dynamic staff recruitment, training and evaluative processes.  We will also work to strengthen and develop intentional collaborative partnerships that serve to provide a community of quality and excellence for our students, as we seek to engage and listen to student voices.

When you live, work and dine on campus, you’re always home. From the president, to the librarians, to your resident assistant and graduate community director, to the dining hall chefs, to your professors, to the custodian in your residential area, as well as all faculty and staff, they’re all part of the community that is now Clemson Home.

To celebrate our partnership with the campus, we are hosting a series of events April 8 – 11. We invite all faculty, staff and students to join us to celebrate our one-year anniversary.

  • Monday, April 8 – Sustainability and Environmental Day: Sustaining Clemson Home – Check out what Clemson Home is doing to go green by stopping by Lever Beach from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for prizes, food, activities and more.
  • Tuesday, April 9– Appreciation Day. Clemson Home appreciates YOU! Drop by at Cox Plaza from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for giveaways, games, and a chance to win free housing and dining for students, or a two-night stay in the Clemson House penthouse for faculty and staff.
  • Wednesday, April 10 – Working for Clemson Home. Students: Clemson Home wants to put money in your pocket! Stop by the library bridge from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. to see what student employment opportunities are available for the 2013 – 2014 academic year.
  • Thursday, April 11 – Campus-wide luncheon! We’re inviting all faculty, staff and students to help us celebrate Clemson Home’s one year anniversary! Join us at the amphitheater from 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. for free food, giveaways, music and more to mix and mingle with everyone from our community.

For questions, contact Ashley Young at

7. SRASC hosts estate-planning seminar/lunch April 17; registration required

State retiree? TERI participant? Within five years of qualifying for state retirement?

The State Retirees Association of South Carolina (SRASC) invites you to a free presentation on estate planning 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 17 at the Madren Conference Center. Topics will include wills, trusts, medical powers of attorney, and DNRs – what they are and how they are best used.

Recommended by the Public Employee Benefits Authority (PEBA), speaker Charles Verdin, a Greenville attorney, will share his knowledge with no sales pitch for his professional services. SRASC President Wayne Bell also will give an update on legislative issues and latest developments on the State Retirement Investment Commission.

A BBQ plate lunch will be provided at noon at no cost to participants, but seating is limited to registered participants.

Register online at by Thursday, April 11.

8. Summer Camps and Programs abound at Clemson for “Tomorrow’s Tigers”

Clemson’s legacy of service to pre-collegiate youth audiences spans beyond a century, when the first 4-H club programs were organized. It’s a legacy that has evolved with the times, and with consistent emphasis on providing the most physically and emotionally safe environments possible for program participants and facilitators.

Abundant opportunities are available this summer at Clemson for “Tomorrow’s Tigers” — pre-college age youth ranging from kindergarteners to high school seniors. An extensive program line up matches just about every interest imaginable, from daylong and residential athletic camps and rigorous academic programs on campus to an array of recreational summer camps at sites around the state.

For a list of programs and registration information, visit Or, contact Jacob Repokis, assistant director, Pre-Collegiate Programs Office at or 864-656-5535.

9. PARKING/TRAFFIC: New WeCar added at CU-ICAR

In conjunction with Clemson Parking and Transportation Services, WeCar has added another WeCar car-sharing vehicle (Chevy Volt) at a new location – at the Clemson University ICAR campus. Clemson members still have access to the vehicles already on campus, but this additional location allows another convenient location for WeCar members, providing you with even more flexibility to go where you want, when you want.

  • Log in at using your current member ID and password.
  • After logging in, you’ll see the vehicle options for your current program
  • To look for vehicles in another program, click the “Change” link under “Check Availability”
  • Select the market where you’d like to reserve the vehicle (the new ICAR location is under City of Greenville)
  • Continue on with your reservation as normal; rates may vary by program

Each vehicle will still need to be returned to the dedicated parking spot where you picked it up.

For more information about the WeCar program at Clemson visit For WeCar questions, call WeCar at 887-599-3227.

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