USCA Teaching Center Named for Longtime Educator

The University of South Carolina Aiken has named its Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning in honor of longtime faculty member and department chair Dr. Edward Callen, who will retire from the university as distinguished professor emeritus in June after nearly 40 years of service. 

Callen, who joined USCA in 1986 after receiving his doctoral degree in experimental psychology from Northern Illinois University, served as chair of USCA’s Department of Psychology for 32 of his 38-year tenure. For 16 of those years, he held the endowed Thurmond Chair in Behavioral Sciences as well as the Bridgestone/Firestone Chair. Additionally, he was recognized as a Carolina Distinguished Undergraduate Mentor in 2011 and is a two-time recipient of the South Carolina Governor’s Distinguished Professor award. He is also a five-time recipient of the University Service Award, recognizing individuals whose contributions foster a supportive and robust academic community. 

“Ed is an exemplary teacher, mentor, and colleague who has set an example that we must continuously strive to emulate,” said USCA Chancellor Dr. Daniel Heimmermann. “His commitment to student success is evidenced in his remarkable tenure with our university, and his impact is felt and witnessed by students and colleagues alike. We’re fortunate to have someone of Ed’s character and talent serve as the inspiration and model for new and continuing faculty.” 

The center—which provides continuing teaching and advising support for faculty while serving as a catalyst for educational transformation—has been a vital campus resource for more than 20 years and was rehomed in the university’s renovated Business & Educating Building gymnasium in March. 

During an April university celebration recognizing excellence in faculty teaching and mentoring, colleagues remarked on Callen’s impressive and well-deserved accomplishments but said they only paint a partial picture of his impact on USCA. “He is a tireless advocate for student success. He is never afraid to challenge convention, even if it means upsetting the proverbial apple cart a bit,” said a colleague.

“Thank you for all that you’ve done—for these past 38 years—for our students. The impact you have made not only in the Psychology Department but also in the university will be felt and appreciated for many more years to come,” the colleague continued.   

Callen taught undergraduate courses at USCA in learning, motivation, and introductory psychology, as well as graduate courses in learning, cognition, and behavior. His research focused on learning and motivation, with an emphasis on conditioning and extinction of human and animal fears and the development of animal models of various clinical disorders. He was an active mentor of student research with 82 of his students serving as co-authors of his 67 professional conference papers. 

“Excellent teaching is at the heart of what we do at USCA, and over the years, I have been privileged and fortunate to have been surrounded by and work with outstanding, dedicated teachers who are committed to engaged teaching and learning,” Callen said. “As a lifelong Pacer, to have my name associated with this center is a truly humbling honor of which I am thankful and appreciative.”

“This honor is reserved for a rarefied few, or in this case, one faculty member who has, in many ways, selflessly served students,” said Dr. Timothy Lintner, professor of education and center director. 

A plaque will soon be installed to commemorate the Callen Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning at USCA.

For more information, contact Christen Engel,