UM Management Professor Selected as SIOP Fellow

Mark Bing is only such honoree in Mississippi

Dr. Mark Bing

Mark Bing

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi management professor is the latest addition to a distinguished academy of fellow scholars in the field of industrial and organizational psychology.

Mark Bing, associate professor of management, has been selected as a fellow of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, which is the 14th Division of the American Psychological Association. The prestigious honor recognizes outstanding accomplishments in the field and awarded to only a few select recipients. Bing is the only SIOP fellow in Mississippi, society officers confirm.

“I was both relieved and elated,” Bing said. “This was a long-standing career goal of mine, and associate professors rarely achieve fellow at SIOP. So I was unsure as to what the outcome of the nomination would be.”

Nominees for SIOP fellow must have a full decade of professional experience since the attainment of either a master’s or doctoral degree. Selection is based upon research, practitioner accomplishments and other criteria.

Receiving the notification was also a bittersweet moment for Bing.

“I also regretted the fact that my mentor, Dr. Lawrence R. James, the former Pilot Oil Chair of Excellence at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, was no longer with us to witness the event,” Bing said. “In one of our last conversations that we had before he passed from complications arising during heart surgery, Larry indicated that he wanted to see me make fellow at SIOP. After Larry died late summer of 2014, Dr. Phil Roth volunteered to lead the nomination, which was very generous on his part.”

Bing joined the UM faculty with summer funding for research in 2005 and began teaching that fall. Before UM, he was a faculty member at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Bing later became the SUBSCREEN principal investigator and director of psychological screening for the U.S. Navy’s Submarine Force at the Naval Submarine Base New London in Connecticut.

He earned his doctorate from the University of Tennessee, his master’s degree from Villanova University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado.

Colleagues said Bing is most deserving of the honor.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Bing has been chosen as a SIOP fellow,” said Ken Cyree, dean of the UM School of Business Administration. “With Dr. Bing being the only person in Mississippi in this prestigious group, it adds to the importance of the award and highlights the exclusivity of this select group. The School of Business congratulates him on this achievement.”

Bing’s research interests include human resource selection, personality measurement, personality test faking, test development and validation, counterproductive workplace behavior, research methods and statistics.

“There were probably two primary sets of achievements that contributed most to my induction as fellow at SIOP,” he said. “The first would in all likelihood be the advances in personality theory and measurement, along with detecting faking and correcting for it within the area of personality testing and personnel selection.

“The second set would likely be my development of a statistical regression equation in 2001, and implemented in 2002, that was used to predict success and failure in the U.S. Navy’s Submarine Force among Basic Enlisted Submarine School students.”

Bing’s equation was used for more than a decade to pick out those BESS students who were highly likely to fail in the submarine service for negative causes, such as suicidal ideation, suicidal gesture and attempt, substance abuse, performance problems and misconduct.

“For over 10 years, the equation was used to improve the accuracy of select-out separation decisions made on those submariners in training who were at-risk for failure within the force,” Bing said. “Moreover, this use of the prediction equation improved the base rate of submarine mission accomplishment along with submarine operations in general.”

For more information about the SIOP, visit For more about the School of Business Administration, visit


Jeremy Rice Enjoying Career of Dreams

Civil engineering alumnus credits UM professors with helping launch him toward success

Jeremy Rice and Family

Jeremy Rice and family

Jeremy Rice has lots to smile about these days.

Enjoying his 15th year in the U.S. Army, the University of Mississippi civil engineering alumnus leads the Mechanics Group within the Army Propulsion Lab, a branch of the Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center at the Redstone Arsenal. He also recently finished his doctorate in mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where he and his family reside.

“It was a good situation,” said the Paris, Tennessee, native. “I was able to perform my doctoral research at the Army Propulsion Laboratories as a part of my official work duties. I completed my dissertation and degree in the spring of 2014.”

Rice came to Ole Miss after his high school chamber singers’ director recommended that he consider enrolling here. During a visit to campus in the spring of his senior year, he was absolutely blown away.

“I attended Ole Miss on an academic scholarship for tuition and books, and performed in the university’s Concert Singers and the Opera Theatre in order to pay my out-of-state tuition,” Rice said. “I completed my B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1997 and my M.S. in Engineering Science in 1999.”

Before going to work for the military, Rice was a graduate assistant in the Department of Civil Engineering. While he has many great memories from his years in the School of Engineering, Rice said four professors had a huge impact upon him.

“Dr. M.S. Abdulrahman had a particular way of making subjects like structural analysis and steel design interesting and entertaining,” Rice said. “When I think of my undergraduate years, he really stands out in my memory.”

Rice worked with Waheed Uddin as a teaching assistant for computer-aided design, and as a side project performed his very first material constitutive modeling work on an early pavement model of Uddin’s.

“I was slacking a little bit, and Dr. Uddin called me into his office after class and really called me out on my level of effort,” he said. “Looking back, he did that exactly at the right time, and it had a big effect on me and my future academic career.”

An “a-ha moment” came for Rice during an afternoon laboratory session with a new professor.

“Dr. Chris Mullen came in and demonstrated to us how you could predict stress fields using a technique called finite elements,” he said. “I had never heard of finite elements before that time, but left class that afternoon with a certainty that I wanted to learn that technique.”

Rice worked with Mullen as a research assistant throughout his tenure as a graduate student. Mullen had a large FEMA grant to evaluate the effects of a large earthquake upon campus buildings. Rice was one of several graduate students who worked with him on the project.

“I was able to develop valuable modeling and simulation skills, and got to see a lot more of the buildings on campus than most students,” Rice said. “I think I took every class that Dr. Mullen offered in those days, and still use that material every day in my professional career.”

The faculty member whom Rice credits with having the most lasting impact was Robert Hackett.

“Dr. Hackett helped me get my foot in the door in Huntsville by helping me to secure my first interview,” he said. “Several years later, we crossed paths again and had the opportunity to collaborate on some material modeling efforts of composite materials. This work led to my Ph.D. research, during which Dr. Hackett was a most valuable resource. I can definitely say that my collaborations with Dr. Hackett have been some of the most important throughout my professional career.”

The most fulfilling aspect of Rice’s work is seeing a project, to which he has made some contribution, transition into active service and help protect the young men and women serving in the Army.

“The greatest professional honors for me all seem to deal with some sort of writings,” he said. “I was awfully excited to get my first professional journal publication in the Journal of Applied Physics. Several years later, I was very excited to get my first publication outside of my primary field of expertise in the Journal of Combustion and Flame.”

Rice was asked to author several NATO mechanical property test standards, which are used in laboratories around the world. Recently, he was recruited to contribute a book chapter into an AIAA textbook on rocket motor mechanical design.

“A couple of times I have been asked to serve as the chairman for the Joint Army, Navy, NASA, Air Force Joint Propulsion Meeting, most recently in Washington D.C.,” Rice said. “This is a big annual technical meeting of rocket propulsion experts from the joint services, NASA, industry and academia, and is a big honor in our field.”

Rice married his college sweetheart, Jennifer, who also graduated from Ole Miss in 1997 with a degree in English. The couple has three sons: Elijah, 14, William, 12, and Joshua, 9; and a daughter, Ansley, 7. All four children are big Rebels and plan to attend Ole Miss.

A self-proclaimed outdoorsman, Rice and all of his children are very much into Scouting programs.

“We do a lot of camping, hiking, canoeing/kayaking and fishing as a family,” he said. “It also seems like I spend a lot of time on bleachers lately watching youth sports.”

Rice’s former professors said they are proud of his achievements and look forward to his returning to campus to share his experiences with their students.

“Most people here (other than Dr. Uddin) don’t know Jeremy was in the first class I taught for CE511 Structural Dynamics and was his M.S. adviser on earthquake response modeling of the Twin Towers,” said Mullen, professor of civil engineering. “The simulation of the towers shaking during an M8 event is probably the most-viewed animation of any model created here.”

Tejas Pandya Joins Mechanical Engineering

Assistant professor fitting in with faculty, students

Tejas Pandya

Tejas Pandya

A year ago, Tejas Pandya was in search of a great opportunity to pursue research and teaching. He stumbled upon a notice about a faculty position in the University of Mississippi School of Engineering and applied. The rest, as they say, is history.

“I was expecting a dynamic environment for conducting research with good labs and collaborating with accomplished senior faculty,” said the new assistant professor of mechanical engineering. “My experience has been very good. I find the faculty and administration is very supportive.”

Pandya teaches Introduction to Mechanical Design, Computer Aided Design and Structures and Dynamics Lab. He plans to offer a course on renewable energy systems.

“The Blast and Impact Dynamics lab is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment,” he said. “My research interests are in area of mechanical design, sustainable technologies with low carbon footprint and renewable energy systems.”

A member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Pandya enjoys reading, hiking, outdoors and photography, watching college football and tailgating. He and his wife, Monika, have a daughter, Vijaya, 2.

The Pandyas find Oxford is a vibrant town and an ideal place to work and live.

“My wife is an experienced fashion merchandiser and a field hockey player,” Pandya said. “We would love to see Vijaya play for the Ole Miss soccer team. She has already started kicking the soccer ball.”

Arunachalam Rajendran, chair and professor of mechanical engineering, said Pandya is a welcome addition to the department.

“Dr. Pandya brings exceptional multi-national industrial experience that would be an asset for the Mechanical Engineering department,” Rajendran said. “Our students will greatly benefit through his teaching, which incorporates design methodology and tools that would bridge the gap between the classroom and industry.”

Four Find Freshmen Ventures Fantastic

Team of first-year engineering majors interviewed NASA officials in nation's capital

NASA Associate Administrator Bill Gerstenmaier (center) spent time with Ole Miss freshmen engineering students (from left) Reid Barber, Seth Gray, Dillon Hall and Ray Brown. (Submitted photo)

NASA Associate Administrator Bill Gerstenmaier (center) spent time with Ole Miss freshmen engineering students (from left) Reid Barber, Seth Gray, Dillon Hall and Ray Brown. (Submitted photo)

Like modern-day explorers out to discover the New World, four engineering students recently traveled to Washington, D.C., in search of the next big thing. For these freshmen in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, the answer is the resurgence of NASA’s aerospace program.

Through the Honors College’s annual Freshman Ventures program, the students were among several teams. Each team tackled the question by setting up interviews with a variety of individuals and groups that could help them find deeper answers. The students organized everything from travel and lodging to contacting individuals with whom they interviewed.

After seeing a presentation of previous Ventures trips, Dillon Hall of Saltillo became interested in using this opportunity to explore his interests in pursuing a career in the aerospace industry. The mechanical engineering major formed a group with Reid Barber of Tupelo, Raymond Brown of Houston, Texas, and Seth Gray of Jonesboro, Arkansas.

The foursome met with both NASA representatives and individuals that held opposing views in an effort to have a more well-rounded research project.

“We had the opportunity to interview Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Directorate at NASA Headquarters, and Phil McAlister, director of commercial spaceflight development,” Hall said. “We realize that the opportunity to interact with people like this as first-year students is almost unheard of at other universities.”

Each Ventures group is also required to prepare a visual presentation of their interviews and findings to show during a retreat later in the spring where all groups discuss their travel experiences. Each team’s presentation will be judged by Honors faculty and staff. The group with the best overall presentation is awarded a trip to New York City.

Before they were allowed to travel, the students were required to develop a plan for their time in Washington and what they hoped to achieve through their experience with the NASA representatives.
“The goal of our Ventures project was to learn about what NASA has planned for the immediate and long-term future in regards to technological development and space exploration,” said Barber, a computer science major. “We also wanted to learn more about NASA’s funding and special procedures, being part of the federal administration.”

Barber also expressed the group’s interest in learning about NASA’s relationship with other private companies, such as SpaceX, and how or if they collaborate. The experience allowed the students to gain skills that they believe will benefit them beyond graduation whether or not they choose a career in the aerospace field.

“I learned that the future of space exploration strongly depends on future engineers,” said Gray, a chemical engineering major. “Even though NASA has a stronghold on the space industry, it will be necessary for more companies to develop new ideas.”

Gray, who served as the group’s financial planner, said the opportunity to visit NASA allowed him to get a sense of potential career opportunities for engineers with the organization.

Brown, who was responsible for documenting the group’s activities in the nation’s capital, said the experience helped him better identify his future goals in the business world.

“While I am not planning to pursue a job in the space industry, I feel like the Ventures trip opened my eyes to the diversity of jobs in our economy,” the mechanical engineering major said. “My horizons are broadened about what entrepreneurs can do if they work hard enough. All in all, I was able to get a better sense of where private industry is headed in the next few decades.”

The Honors College strives to develop citizen scholars who are fired by the life of the mind. Giving students new to a university campus the chance to embark on a nontraditional learning experience allows them to do just that.

UM Ranks Among Nation’s Best Online MBA Programs

U.S. News & World Report lists university in Top 25

Graduates from the online MBA program share their exhilaration at 2014 commencement ceremonies.

Graduates from the online MBA program share their exhilaration at 2014 commencement ceremonies.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s online MBA program is ranked in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 list of 25 Best Online MBA Programs.

UM tied Ball State University for No. 16. Other SEC schools on the list include Florida at No. 4, Auburn (No. 10) and Mississippi State (tied with the University of Tennessee at Martin for No. 18). Indiana University, Temple University and the University of North Carolina all tied for No. 1.

“We are very proud of the success of the online MBA program and the recognition of the incredible value this program provides to our students,” said Ken Cyree, dean of the UM School of Business Administration. “The fact that they can continue working and provide for their families while furthering their education is a wonderful opportunity. It is especially satisfying to be able to help our men and women in uniform to further their education.”

Besides this overall ranking, U.S. News & World Report ranks UM as a top university in the areas of:

  • Faculty credentials and training rank: 49
  • Student services and technology rank: 53
  • Student engagement rank: 35
  • Admissions selectivity rank: 20
  • Peer assessment score (out of 5): 3.1

MBA logo

UM’s online MBA program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The program may be completed in two years by taking two courses in fall, spring and summer. There is no residency requirement and students are not charged nonresident fees. More than 70 percent of the online students complete the MBA program in two years.

“We strive to be accessible to students through both predetermined interactions such as weekly discussion board meetings, in addition to the ability to ask questions to the class or professor,” Cyree said. “We also have several opportunities for students to meet face-to-face to develop connections with their classmates. The courses are rigorous and demanding and are a companion to our on-campus program, and in many cases the same professor teaches online and on-campus.”

The online program’s student population is a combination of young professionals and experienced, successful professionals.

“They are located from coast to coast and abroad,” said Ashley Jones, director of MBA/MHA Administration. “We have bankers, engineers and entrepreneurs. Along with those in the fields of business and accounting, we have students in the field of medicine that include a surgeon, anesthesiologist and a pharmacist. All have different career goals, and they each bring learning opportunities to the class.”

For more information about U.S. News & World Report rankings, visit For more information about UM’s online MBA program, go to


David Calder Named Leader in Law

Mississippi Business Journal honors UM clinical professor's stellar career

David Calder

David Calder

OXFORD, Miss. – For 20 years, Oxford attorney David Calder has made major contributions to various clinics in the University of Mississippi School of Law. Fittingly, the clinical professor recently received a 2014 Mississippi Business Journal Leaders in Law award and was chosen among the top 10 leaders from among the 40 honorees.

The fifth annual program recognized members of the state’s legal community for being astute, wise, knowledgeable and successful. Honorees also exemplify the noble tradition of the legal profession, win cases and solve problems with the utmost integrity, inspire and lead others with their skills and character, are role models and mentors, and are passionate and aggressive on behalf of clients and the community.

“I was quite surprised and grateful to be included,” said Calder, who directed the Fair Housing Clinic from 1994 to 1996 and returned to clinical teaching in 2000 as staff counsel. He recently became a clinical associate professor. Calder was also named as one of the top ten finalists for the Journal’s Lawyer of the Year Award.

“I enjoy working closely with our law students as they develop a practical understanding about practicing law, improve their professional skills and experience making a difference in the lives of the children we represent.”

Calder has also directed the Consumer Clinic, Domestic Violence Clinic and, for the last 10 years, the Child Advocacy Clinic.

“Our Child Advocacy Clinic is my favorite because we provide a much-needed service to our courts and local communities, and because I enjoy teaching my students to act as advocates for the children we are appointed to represent,” he said. “Our cases provide students with their first opportunity to act as lawyers in real cases, and the decisions reached in our cases have a permanent impact on the lives of the children we represent.”

Besides training students for the practice of law, Calder conducts pro bono activities, which are part of his professional obligations.

“I also work on post-conviction appeals in death penalty cases,” he said. “I was proud to be part of the team that recently won a new trial for Michelle Byrom, who had been on death row for 14 years.”

His colleagues, current and former students say Calder is most deserving of his honors.

“David is our most experienced litigator and is a great resource to all of us,” said Deborah Bell, professor of law. “He’s traveled a long road from part time to full time to a professor title.”

Laci Moore credits Calder with strengthening her research skills and making her aware there is more than one side to every story.

“I have learned that it is very important to take on each case and listen to each party involved with an open mind and hear from each party before coming to any conclusion in the case,” said the second-year law student from Pisgah, Alabama. “This lesson and experience has taught me to be diligent in searching for the truth because determining a child’s best interest is not something that should ever be taken lightly.”

Caitlyn Lindsey-Hood said she became a part of the positive change Calder effects daily among the families of northeast Mississippi.

“During my experience in working with Professor Calder, I learned the importance of keeping a strong focus on the purpose of your advocacy,” said the third-year law student from southwest Georgia. “When dealing with sensitive family matters, it is sometimes easy to be distracted or motivated by your own emotions, impressions or even concerns of practicality. But when your purpose is to represent a child, often a child who can barely speak for herself, you will not effect positive change without wholly and completely devoting your efforts to pursuing the very best outcome for that child, no matter what it means for anyone else involved.”

Cara Hall spent her third year of law school with Calder and three other students representing the poor in chancery courts throughout rural northeast Mississippi. During the experience, she found him to be intelligent, resourceful, articulate and, most of all, kind.

“I was so impressed by David’s empathy and ability to connect to people others had virtually given up on, such as single mothers, prisoners at Parchman and abused children,” said Hall, an attorney at Christovich & Kearney in New Orleans. “Although we were only student attorneys, David let us play important, pivotal even, roles in the cases. He trusted us. He gave us credit. But he also knew where to draw the line.”

Calder received a bachelor’s degree in religion from Mississippi College and a J.D. from UM, where he was a member of the Mississippi Law Journal and received the Mississippi Law Institute Scholarship. After law school, he served as law clerk for U.S. Magistrate Judge Jerry A. Davis for two years before entering private practice.

Calder’s family includes his wife, Claire, and daughter, Laurie, 12.

Distinguished Researcher Nominations Due

Prestigious award recognizes UM faculty for achievement, creativity

NOMINATENo doubt University of Mississippi faculty members find outstanding scholarship, distinguished research and creative service are rewarding in their own right. That said, being selected for campuswide recognition – not to mention the monetary prize – must certainly add something to their gratification.

Nominations for the 2015 Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award are being accepted in the chancellor’s office through March 1. The recipient will be announced May 9 during the university’s main Commencement ceremony.

As the name implies, the DR&CA Award differs slightly from other honors presented at the university. Originating in 2008, it is younger than the departmental recognitions, the campuswide Outstanding Teacher of the Year and Elsie M. Hood Awards presented annually during Commencement in recognition of teaching and service.

The DR&CA honor recognizes a faculty member who has shown outstanding accomplishment in research, scholarship and/or creative activity. Much like Hall of Fame inductions, recipients can receive the honor only once. Nominees must be an associate or full professor (including research associate professors or research professors who are not tenure-track faculty) and must have been continuously employed full-time by the university for a minimum of five years.

Past DR&CA Award honorees include Sam Shu-Yi Wang, F.A.P. Barnard Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering Emeritus; Larry Walker, director of the National Center for National Products Research; Charles Reagan Wilson, the Kelly Gene Cook Chair Emeritus of History and professor emeritus of Southern studies, Dale Flesher, Arthur Anderson Lecturer in the Patterson School of Accountancy; Atef Elsherbeni, professor of electrical engineering and associate dean of research and graduate programs in the School of Engineering; and Robert Van Ness, Bruce Moore Scholar of Finance and director of the Doctor of Finance program.

Time is running out to submit nominations. For more information, visit

The UM-Andrae Crouch Connection

Late gospel singer's association with Ole Miss spans nearly four decades

CROUCHAs it has probably become known to the world by the time you read this, gospel music legend Andrae Crouch passed Thursday (Jan. 8). While people die every day, the multi-Grammy Award winner’s death is particularly poignant for me and hopefully, once you’ve read this blog, of interest to the University of Mississippi community as well.

For me, Ole Miss and Andrae Crouch have been intertwined for almost 40 years. It began shortly before Crouch and his group, the Disciples, came here to appear in a 1978 Dixie Week concert at Fulton Chapel. (Shout out to Sparky Reardon for making that one happen!) I was a junior print journalism major writing for The Daily Mississippian at the time and, like many others, a huge Crouch fan. It just so happened that my uncle, the late Bishop Samuel L. Smith, was a longtime friend of the Crouch family and that Andrae and his group were performing at the University of Memphis (back when it was Memphis State University) a few weeks before their appearance here.

I called Uncle Sammy, told him I was coming to the show and asked if he could make arrangements for me to interview Crouch in person before or after his performance. By divine favor, my request was granted! So after his exhilarating and inspiring two-hour plus concert, I was ushered backstage to meet and interview Mr. Crouch. He was humble, funny and candid, all of which made for a great story published in the DM the week before the UM concert. Of course, I attended that event (my third time seeing him live) and (as always) was blown away by his musicianship, charisma and spiritual messages in song.

Several years later, I was working as managing editor for REJOICE!, a long-defunct gospel music magazine published by UM’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture. (Shout out to Bill Ferris and Ann Abadie for giving me the opportunity!) Searching for another story, I was inspired to contact Andrae Crouch again for a phone interview. His twin sister, Sandra, hooked me up and after several missed messages, he and I finally reached each another. To my pleasant surprise, Andrae remembered me and our previous face-to-face interview. Our connection made for a most memorable and lengthy conversation from which I was able to write a meaningful feature.

My third and final interview with Crouch was made possible indirectly because I had worked at the university. It was 11 years ago when I was director of public relations at Rust College (Shout out to President David L. Beckley and Ishmell H. Edwards, vice president for college relations, for the opportunity!). As part of my duties, I hosted a weekly hourlong talk show on WURC-FM (Rust’s public radio station). Ever on the alert for celebrity interviews, I reached out to Crouch (who had just released a new CD). Once more, his sister assisted me in coordinating the interview.

The day of my on-air interview with Crouch, I wondered if he would still remember all the previous times we had spoken. Wonder of wonders, he did indeed! Again, we both reminisced and discussed his plans for ministry, music and marriage (he never did marry though).

Thankfully, I still have my copies of the DM and REJOICE! articles and the WURC “Straight Talk Live!” interview on CD. Better still, I have fond memories associated with my personal encounters with the singer. His songs, both old and new, have proven timeless. One of my first solos in church was Crouch’s “My Tribute (To God be the Glory).” I recently sang lead on “Let the Church Say Amen” at Asbury United Methodist Church in Holly Springs for their annual Christmas concert. Publicly and privately, Crouch’s music continues to be a soundtrack for my life.

In conclusion, it’s right and good that Crouch should pass in the same month that my father, the Honorable Eddie L. Smith Jr.-first African-American mayor of Holly Springs, passed 14 years ago. Dad bought and gave me my first Andrae Crouch and the Disciples album (on vinyl and, yes, I still have it). Later, as I got to know Crouch myself, I would continue buying his music and attending his concerts. The impact of these men, and so many others, helped make me who and what I am today.

Rest in peace, Andrae. Soon and very soon …

UM Staff, Students Join MLK Day of Service

Volunteers gathering to improve area schools, assisted living facilities

Dr. Marvin King will deliver the keynote address at the MLK Day of Service on Jan. 19.

Marvin King will deliver the keynote address Jan. 19 at the MLK Day of Service .

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi students and staff are leading efforts to improve living conditions in Lafayette County and Oxford during 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Day observances.

The Lafayette-Oxford-University MLK Day of Service opening ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 19 at the Oxford Activity Center. Program participants include UM Dean of Students Melinda Sutton, Oxford Mayor George “Pat” Patterson and Lafayette County Board of Supervisors President Jeff Busby. Marvin P. King Jr., UM associate professor of political science and African-American studies, will deliver the keynote address.

The senior fellow at UM’s Residential College South, King received his doctorate in political science from the University of North Texas after earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He has co-authored or authored publications on racial polarization in the electorate, representation of the black electorate and the effect of race in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. King teaches undergraduate courses in Introduction to American Politics and African American Politics, and an undergraduate and graduate course in Politics of the American South.

Following King’s speech, three awards will be presented to outstanding LOU volunteers in student and community categories. Honorees include Victoria Burgos of Oxford, a UM student who implemented a pilot composting program on campus; Barbara Wortham of Oxford, GED program instructor at the Oxford School District Learning Center; and Matt Gaw and Mari Susan Massey of Oxford, United Way volunteers.

Other activities scheduled during the day include a service fair featuring representatives from local nonprofits and organizations, a book drive for local correctional facilities, a letter-of-appreciation writing campaign for three area civil rights leaders and activities at five local assisted living facilities.

“It is exciting that University of Mississippi students and staff are choosing to make a difference in the lives of others,” sad Coulter Ward, assistant dean of students for leadership and involvement. “Volunteering builds communities and strengthens relationships. To have our students take opportunities to participate in endeavors like these is awesome.”

UM staff involved in planning of MLK Day of Service events expressed enthusiasm about participating in such a worthy cause.

“Learning the larger history surrounding civil rights and MLK is important, but we see a need to educate our students about living leaders who made great movements right here in Mississippi,” said Haley Kesterson, coordinator of the letter writing campaign. “We hope to give proper gratitude to local leaders. We hope to educate students on the civil rights movement here in Mississippi and give them a local, current perspective about the continuous issue.”

Campus participation is crucial to the success of the observance, said Sarah Ball, director of Volunteer Oxford.

“This national day of service honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and commitment to transforming our nation through service to others,” Ball said. “The LOU MLK Day of Service offers community members a chance to engage in a variety of volunteer opportunities that are designed to give back to the community.”

A recreation administration major, Burgos was awarded a $3,000 grant from the UM Green Fund for the pilot composting project, followed by an additional $5,234 grant to continue and expand it. She has also volunteered at Habitat for Humanity and Camp Lake Stephens, a United Methodist Church facility.

A two-time recipient of the Learning Center Teacher of the Year award, Wortham is the Lafayette County Adult Basic Literacy Education program coordinator. Through her work with the GED Prep course at Burns United Methodist Church, she has helped an estimated 100 people obtain their GEDs.

Working together, Gaw and Massey were the first to assist local non-profits with fundraising, donating equipment and countless hours of volunteer time. Their work has been essential in the building of Lafayette County’s first Born Learning Trail in Avent Park.

For more information about LOU MLK Day of Service, contact Coulter Ward at or Sarah Ball at

Medical Center Launches Accelerated Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

Project addresses state's shortage of advanced nursing leaders, chronic health problems

The University of Mississippi Medical Center's School of Nursing MAD PIPE program is scheduled to begin in fall 2015.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center’s School of Nursing MAD PIPE program is scheduled to begin in fall 2015.

OXFORD, Miss. – Boldly responding to the severe shortage of advanced practice nurse leaders and the prevalence of multiple chronic conditions statewide, the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s School of Nursing has developed an innovative new pathway to the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

Robin Wilkerson, director of the nursing school’s program on the university’s Oxford campus, has been awarded a $1.125 million Health Resources and Services Administration grant to develop the Mississippi Accelerated DNP Pathways Integrating Interprofessional Education, or MAD PIPE, program.

The three-year grant, from the primary federal agency for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable, runs from 2014 to 2017. Eva Tatum, assistant professor of nursing, is the project manager.

“The purpose of this project is to increase the nursing leadership capacity in Mississippi for addressing the health care needs of persons with multiple chronic conditions by providing expanded interprofessional educational opportunities in an accelerated Doctor of Nursing Practice curriculum,” Wilkerson said. “The proposed project will expand the current UMMC SON DNP program. The program will officially begin in fall 2015.”

Students who already have a bachelor’s degree in any field and have the prerequisites for the accelerated BSN portion of the program are eligible to apply. This also includes students who will complete a bachelor’s degree before fall 2015.

“For the accelerated BSN program, applicants must complete 62 hours of prerequisite coursework,” Tatum said. “However, many of these prerequisites are classes that were more than likely completed in the previous bachelor’s program.”

In order to progress through to the DNP portion of the program, students must pass the NCLEX-RN to be licensed as a registered nurse upon completion of the BSN, Wilkerson said. The student will also need to take the GRE before beginning the DNP portion of the program.

Once admitted into the accelerated BSN program, students must complete 48 credit hours, 765 clinical hours and a full-time plan of study for three semesters (one year). Requirements for the DNP portion are 68 to 84 credit hours, a full-time plan of study for nine semesters (three years) and 1,050 to 1,245 hours of clinical residency and capstone hours, depending on the track chosen.

UM administrators linked to the MAD PIPE program expressed their support of the effort.

“Several of us are passionate about the benefit of interprofessional education,” said Teresa Carithers, associate dean of the School of Applied Sciences. “We hope this is just the beginning of educating our entire campus on the value of interdisciplinary interprofessional collaboration within academic, research and clinical applications.”

Interprofessional education programs have proven to produce better health care providers once students enter public or private practice.

“The School of Pharmacy and School of Nursing have worked together for many years creating inter-professional educational opportunities for our students,” said Kim Adcock, director of faculty and academic affairs and associate professor of pharmacy practice. “Teaching and learning from each other, the students become part of a health care team working together to the benefit of patients.”