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Karen E. Edwards, J.D.

Senior Instructor
Department of Retailing
College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management

Education
J.D., University of South Carolina School of Law, Columbia, SC
B.A., Coker College, Hartsville, SC
C.H.E. American Hotel and Lodging Association, Orlando, FL

Research Interests
Counterfeit fashion products
Legal issues in retailing
Employment law
Celebrities in advertising

Awards and Honors

  • Harry E. Varney Distinguished Teacher of the Year, 2010–11
  • Provost’s Advisory Committee on Women’s Issues, USC, 2011– present
  • Faculty Senate Intellectual Property Committee, USC, 2008–11 (Chair, 2010–11)
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Columbia Board of Directors, 2008 – present
  • First Past Chair, Coker College Board of Trustees, Hartsville, South Carolina, 2010 – present (member since 2002)
  • Certified Hospitality Instructor (CHE), American Hotel & Lodging Association, Orlando, FL, 2008
  • Coker College Alumni Association, Hartsville, South Carolina, 2002–07 (Chair, 2005– 07)
  • Pro Bono Service Award, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, 2000
  • Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, Hartsville, South Carolina, 1998

Biography
Ms. Edwards is a senior instructor in the Department of Retailing at the University of South Carolina. Recipient of the 2010-11 Harry E. Varney Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award, she teaches in the areas of business law and law-related issues affecting retailers. Ms Edwards developed the graduate-level courses “Law for Retailers” and “Fashion and the Law,” which provide students with an understanding of industry-specific legal issues and federal/state laws which relate to retailers and fashion-industry professionals. Ms. Edwards assists in developing and executing annual student study abroad tours for retailing students, and has received from the University two “Study Abroad Planning Grant” awards. Through USC’s Center for Teaching Excellence, she develops and facilitates workshops on teaching techniques and legal issues affecting higher education.

Professor Edward’s research focuses on legal issues affecting retailers, including counterfeit fashion products. Her research has been published in Journal of Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management, Sport Marketing Quarterly, and the International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management. She has presented papers for various conferences, including the Association of Marketing Theory and Practice, the International Conference on Sport and Entertainment Business, and the International Conference on Cybernetics and Information Technologies, Systems and Applications. She is a reviewer for the annual Conference of the Association of Marketing Theory and Practice, Management Research Review (formerly Management Research News), and European Sport Management Quarterly. She is a member of the South Carolina Bar Association’s Law-Related Education Committee, and writes and speaks on issues relating to public education.

Prior to arriving at USC, Ms. Edwards practiced law with Duff, White and Turner, L.L.C., a firm that serves public school districts and colleges across South Carolina. Her practice, which focused on employment law and education law, included significant amounts of workforce training on legal matters for her clients. Before attending law school, Professor Edwards worked for a number of years in retail management, including roles as a merchandise coordinator, human resources manager, and corporate trainer. She earned her Juris Doctor Degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law and her Bachelor’s degree from Coker College in Hartsville, South Carolina. Ms. Edwards is first past chair of Coker College’s Board of Trustees, and a member of the Board of Directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Columbia, the South Carolina Bar Association, Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity, and American MENSA.

Publications:
Edwards, K., & Carpenter, J. M. (2013) U.S. Consumer Attitudes toward Counterfeit Fashion Products, Journal of Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management. 8(1). Available at http://ojs.cnr.ncsu.edu/index.php/JTATM/article/view/2761/2096

Edwards, K., (2012). Dellinger v. Science Applications Int'l Corp.: Job applicant lacks standing to sue prospective employer for retaliation under FLSA. South Carolina Employment & Labor Law Newsletter, S.C. Bar Association, Winter 2012.

Carpenter, J. M., & Lear, K. (2011). Consumer attitudes toward counterfeit fashion products: Does gender matter? Journal of Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management. 7(1). To read article, click here.

Edwards, K., (2011).  A review of Staub v. Proctor HospitalSouth Carolina Employment & Labor Law Newsletter, S.C. Bar Association, Summer 2011.

Ruihley, B., Runyan, R., Lear, K., 2009. The use of sports celebrities in advertising: A replication and extension. Sport Marketing Quarterly, 19(3), 132-142.

Lear, K. E., Runyan, R. C., & Whitaker, W. H. (2009). Sports celebrity endorsements and retailing: A content analysis. International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, Vol. 37, 308-21.

Presentations:
“Counterfeit Products Research Update,” presented in June 2011 in New York, NY to the American Apparel & Footwear Association’s Brand Protection Council.

"Copyright: Faculty Rights and Responsibilities," presented regularly since 2010 at the University of South Carolina's Center for Teaching Excellence. View online at http://www.sc.edu/cte/copyright/

“ENGAGING STUDENTS: Fun & Games in the Classroom,” presented October 2010 at the University of South Carolina's Center for Teaching Excellence.  

“Purchasing Fakes Online: Legal Analysis, Public Policy Issues, and Industry Response” presented in March 2008 at the Association of Marketing Theory and Practice 2008 Conference, Savannah, Georgia. Refereed.

“Sports Celebrity Endorsements in Retail Products Advertising,” presented in November 2007 at the International Conference on Sport and Entertainment Business, Columbia, South Carolina. Refereed.

“To Seek or Not to Seek: Should Employers Use Information from the Internet when Making Employment Decisions?” presented in July 2007 at the 4th International Conference on Cybernetics and Information Technologies, Systems and Applications, Orlando, Florida. Refereed.

“Copyright Law,” presented regularly since 2007 at the South Carolina Bar’s Law for South Carolina Teachers seminar, Columbia, S.C.

“Title IX,” presented regularly since 2007 at the South Carolina Bar’s Law for South Carolina Teachers seminar, Columbia, S.C.

Grants:
Edwards, K. E. (2011). Grant award from USC College of HRSM. “Study Abroad Planning Grant” for student trip to Italy in 2012

Lear, K .E. (2009). Grant award from USC College of HRSM. “Study Abroad Planning Grant” for student trip to London, UK in 2010.

Professional Affiliations

  • International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition - Member
  • International Textile and Apparel Association - Member
  • American MENSA - Member
  • South Carolina Bar Association - Member
  • Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity - Member

Consulting

  • Reviewer, European Sport Management Quarterly
  • Reviewer, Conference Proceedings of the Association of Marketing Theory and Practice
  • Reviewer, Management Research Review (Formerly Management Research News)
  • Instructor, LSAT Test Prep Course offered through USC’s office of Extended Studies
  • Instructor, Professional Image seminars presented to private employers
  • Interviewee, WLTX-TV (Columbia), Trends Show More Shoppers Heading To Low Cost Grocery Stores, www.wltx.com/news/story.aspx?storyid=119486
  • Interviewee, WISTV10 (Columbia), Forget Black Friday, find big savings at thrift stores, www.wistv.com/Global/story.asp?S=13566707
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Picture of Karen Lear
E-mail: kedwards@mailbox.sc.edu
Office: 1018-A Carolina Coliseum
Phone: 803-777-5216
Fax: (803 777-4357

Courses Taught:

  • ITEC 240 – Business Law
  • RETL 268 – Principles of Fashion Merchandising
  • RETL 344 – Personnel Organization and Supervision
  • RETL 363 – Textiles for Retailers
  • RETL 368 – Fashion Product Analysis
  • RETL 525 – Law for Retailers
  • RETL 530-- Fashion and the Law
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