New faces bring new variety to Newberry faculty

Kelly Duncan Staff Writer

October 9, 2013

NEWBERRY — As the new school year begins, new faculty members bring fresh perspectives to Newberry College students.

One new faculty member is Assistant Professor of Accounting, Susan Shurden. A Louisiana native, Shurden has lived in South Carolina for 25 years. A graduate of Louisiana Tech, Shurden is working on a doctorate from Clemson.

Shurden said she likes Newberry College.

“I love the environment, and it’s a smaller faith-based school,” she said.

When she’s not in class, Shurden enjoys reading biographies, and is also an avid doll collector.

The Humanities department is now under the leadership of Dr. David Rachels. Originally from Alabama, Rachels earned his graduate degrees at the University of Illinois and once taught at a military school. He says Newberry feels like a big family.

“It’s very homey, and it’s a place where I can fit in,” Rachels said. In his spare time, Rachels enjoys playing basketball.

Another new faculty member came to teaching after many years as a professional meteorologist.

Stephen Burrus, now part of the Mathematics faculty, worked for the National Weather Service for 16 years, and was one of the first general forecasters at the weather station at the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport.

After his weather service days, Burrus took up mathematics, earning a Master of Arts in Teaching from Clemson. He now teaches at Newberry, as well as Piedmont Technical College. Although he loves a wide variety of math, his favorite is statistics.

Burrus says a teacher is like a performer.

“To be effective, not only does the message have to be delivered, but good teachers find a way to keep the student’s attention and also know when we need a moment to alleviate tension in the classroom, through a joke or a laugh,” Burrus said. “Although, teaching at Newberry College, I find that my offbeat sense of humor doesn’t quite strike the chord I hope it will. But I’m going to keep trying.”

Whenever he’s not teaching, Burrus loves reading, spending time with his dog, watching TV and playing online games. Burrus is also an avid bowler, currently in his 35th season.