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University Updates on Coronavirus

Stephanie T. Dance-Barnes

Position: Interim Associate Provost and Dean / Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Department: University College and Lifelong Learning

Contact Info

Office: Phone: 336-750-3237


Dr. Stephanie Dance-Barnes is currently the Interim Associate Provost and Dean of the University College and Lifelong Learning at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU).  She is also an Associate Professor of Cellular and Molecular Biology in the Department of Biological Sciences, where she has served as Co-Chair.  Dr. Dance-Barnes received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology/Pre-Medicine at Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) in 1997. She then went on to complete her Masters in Biology at North Carolina Agricultural Technical State University in 2001.  Later in 2007, she became the first African American female to receive her PhD from Wake Forest University School of Medicine in the area of Cancer Biology and Toxicology. During her graduate studies, Dr. Dance-Barnes received numerous research, abstract, platform talk, travel, and scholar awards from organizations such as American Association of Cancer Research, Society of Toxicology, and Genetic Environmental Mutagenesis Society. She also received research funding and fellowships from the National Institute of Health, National Cancer Institute, and the American Foundation for Aging Research, for her work dealing with lung tumor initiation, promotion, and progression in mouse models. 

Dr. Dance-Barnes then went on to complete her Post-Doctoral work as a research associate in the prestigious laboratory of Dr. Charles Perou of the University North Carolina Chapel Hill Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center (LCCC). It has always been Dr. Dance-Barnes’ desire to return to a historically black college/university similar to her alma mater ECSU in order to pass own her knowledge and expertise in which she has accumulated over her years of study and work, just as it was afforded to her.  This led to her joining the faculty at WSSU. Since being at WSSU, she has been awarded numerous professional and teaching awards for her innovative strategies in the classroom.  This includes the prestigious Winston-Salem State University Wells Fargo Excellence in Teaching Award.  She was also named the recipient of the 2019 UNC System Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching It must also be noted that she received the Insight into Diversity Leaders in STEM award and being awarded American Association of Cancer Research Minority Serving Institution Faculty Award.  Most recently in collaboration with Wake Forest University and NC A&T University, Dr. Dance-Barnes help secure both Department of Defense and National Institute of Health funding that promotes undergraduate cancer research.    

Dr. Dance-Barnes’ efforts have been key in the recent overhaul of the Department of Biological Sciences (DBS) curriculum.  This includes the re-design of the general biology lab to reflect a less “cookbook” approach but a more authentic research experience for the students.  The re-designed course has proven to increase student engagement, learning, and scientific efficacy.  Additionally, as founder of the Women In Science Program (WISP), she has promoted a supportive learning environment where women can thrive in the sciences by introducing interventions, including mentoring, academic and professional resources, and promoting a community in the sciences through service.  This past academic year WISP was named an Inspiring Program in STEM by Insight into Diversity Magazine.  She strives to inspire WSSU undergraduate students to get involved in STEM education by facilitating volunteer opportunities in local schools. This has allowed students to see themselves possibly as STEM educators while also exposing school age students to STEM fields.  She has fostered partnerships with Atkins High School, WS Prep, Forest Park Elementary School, and North Hills Elementary School.  STEM majors from WSSU routinely visit schools to conduct hands on activities with the students and provide mentorship.  Because of her various efforts in teaching and learning and promoting STEM education, Dr. Dance-Barnes has most recently been ask to serve on two impactful advisory boards, the  Center for Design and Innovation Health + Arts (HeArts) Studio and the Committee for Biotechnology in the Piedmont Triad, as well as being asked to served on the Kaleidium Board of Directors.  Additionally, this past summer she was accepted into and attended the HERS Institute at Bryn Mawr College Summer Leadership Institute. 

Dr. Dance-Barnes and her research team worked collaboratively to be awarded a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).  This project will advance efforts of the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program to better understand and promote practices that increase students' motivations and capacities to pursue careers in fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) by engaging in hands-on field experience, laboratory/project-based entrepreneurship tasks and mentorship experiences.  The focus of the work is to expose underrepresented minority (URM) 3rd-5th grade students to a range of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers, and promote positive STEM identities by piloting a novel STEM Academy infused with technology and culturally relevant STEM career-based modules.

Educational Background

  • PhD, Cancer Biology/Toxicology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine
  • MS, Biology, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
  • BS, Biology/Pre-Medicine, Elizabeth City State University

Research and Project Interests

  • Research focus is the characterization of the biological diversity of tumors, specifically breast, using genomics, molecular genetics, and cell biology, in order to develop improved and more targeted therapies that are specific for each tumor subtype.
  • STEM Education and Culturally Responsive Teaching