UM Symposium Focuses on Semiotics of Race

Two-day event features lectures, panel discussions

Joe Feagin

Joe Feagin

OXFORD, Miss. – Multidisciplinary views of race and ethnicity in public arenas will be discussed Thursday and Friday (Oct. 23-24) at the University of Mississippi.

A symposium on “Symbols of Exclusion: The Semiotics of Race in Public Spaces” begins at 1 p.m. Thursday in the Overby Center auditorium. The public is invited to the event, co-organized by UM Critical Race Studies Group and the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Its co-sponsors are the university and the Association for Jewish Studies-Legacy Heritage Jewish Studies Project.

Joe Feagin, the Ella C. Mc Fadden Professor of Sociology at Texas A&M University, lectures Thursday on “White Racial Frame: Racializing Racism.” On Friday, James E. Young, distinguished university professor in English and university studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst will address “How Do Nations Remember Their National Shame?” Both keynote lectures begin at 1 p.m. in the Overby Center auditorium.

The symposium also features four panel discussions consisting of scholars, professors and graduate students from the region, across the U.S. and Canada delivering papers about the uses of public space during the Holocaust, in the Jim Crow South and during other historical epochs. The first panel discussion begins at 3 p.m. Thursday; subsequent discussions commence at 8:30 a.m. Friday. All panel discussions meet in the Overby Center conference room, on the second floor.

“This symposium is the result of a unique vision and a tremendous amount of hard work on the part of Willa Johnson, her collaborators, Robert M. Ehrenreich and Krista Hegburg of the USHMM’s Mandel Center and the UM Critical Race Studies Group,” said Kirsten Dellinger, UM associate professor and chair of sociology and anthropology. “It is exciting to have such distinguished keynote speakers and a wide variety of panelists on campus to address the role of symbols in the perpetuation and elimination of racial inequality.”

John Sonnett, UM associate professor of sociology and co-chair of the Critical Race Studies Group, explained the significance of the program.

“The idea of semiotics tells us that symbols don’t inherently communicate meaning, but instead take on meanings given to them by people,” Sonnett said. “Social inequalities and historical contexts shape the kinds of meanings people assign to symbols, however. So to better understand symbols, we need to understand their social and historical contexts, which is what the symposium is focused on.”

Ehrenreich, director of University Programs at the Mandel Center, is equally excited about the program.

“We at the USHMM are pleased to have found such wonderful partners for this interdisciplinary symposium that explores emerging research on the memorialization of histories of racialized atrocities and nurtures collaboration among scholars of the Holocaust and the many other friends that are making significant contributions to this field,” he said.

To register for the panel discussions, go to For a detailed program, visit

Josh Gladden Elected to Two National Leadership Roles

NCPA director brings leadership, experience and vision to professional societies

Josh Gladden

Josh Gladden

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi administrator and associate professor of physics and astronomy has been elected to two national societies’ leadership positions.

Joseph “Josh” Gladden, director of the university’s National Center for Physical Acoustics, is chair of the Acoustical Society of America’s Physical Acoustics Technical Committee. During his three-year term in the role, his primary duties are to represent the physical acoustics community to the larger ASA leadership, work to ensure a broad and robust representation of physical acoustics at the biannual ASA meetings, and to help implement tools and resources to advance and connect the international physical acoustics community.

Gladden is also a “member-at-large” for the topical Group on Instrumentation and Measurement Science, which is a unit of the American Physical Society. The focus of GIMS is to advance the development of new measurement tools and techniques by creating a forum for discussions, collaborations, awareness and recognition of significant achievements.

“I am honored to represent my colleagues in the national and international physical acoustics research community,” Gladden said. “My election to the GIMS came a bit of a surprise, but I am excited to get involved in this group.”

Gladden shared his vision for both groups.

“My primary goals as chair will be to increase and improve tools for physical acoustics researchers to connect and collaborate, as well is to maintain a wide range of topics being discussed at our biannual meetings,” he said. “The primary goal of the GIMS is to promote and provide a venue for dialogue on the development of new instrumentation and measurement techniques in the physics community.

“This is important because often, new breakthroughs in physics and science in general follow the development of a new tool which provides new insight.”

Gladden’s predecessor, Albert Migliori of Los Alamos National Lab, said he is confident the UM professor will make do a great job as chair.

“Josh eats, sleeps, breathes physical acoustics and is in both an intellectual and leadership position to advance the field better than anyone in the U.S.,” Migliori said. “Josh builds high-performance ultrasound measurements systems based on an advanced technology called Resonant Ultrasound Spectroscopy and uses them for cutting edge research.

“Because he builds, not buys, the measurement systems, he has unique research capabilities as well as providing real educational opportunities for budding scientists as students.”

Gladden joined the UM faculty as an assistant professor in 2005 after earning his Ph.D. and working as a postdoctoral fellow at Pennsylvania State University. Before that, he worked three years as a physics instructor at the United World College in Montezuma, New Mexico. The United World College is an international school for gifted students representing approximately 70 countries with a network of 10 sister campuses around the globe.

Gladden holds master’s and doctoral degrees in physics from the University of Montana and Penn State, respectively. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of the South and was a postdoctoral fellow at Penn State in 2003-2005.

Gladden co-authored a paper, “Motion of a Viscoelastic Micellar Fluid Around a Cylinder: Flow and Fracture,” which was listed in “Physics News of 2007″ by the American Physical Society. His other honors and awards include membership on the Emerging Leaders Conference steering committee of promising recent alumni of the University of the South, both the Duncan and Bradock Fellowships for doctoral students at Penn State, the Tandy Technology Scholars Award for Education in Science and the William T. Allen Award in Physics.

Gladden has co-authored 21 juried articles, been an invited speaker at 18 conferences and secured research grants totaling $621,005 over a seven-year period. Gladden’s research areas are resonant ultrasound spectroscopy, wormlike micellar materials, continuum and granular dynamics.

He and his wife, Nicole, have three children: Chase, Camille and Josephine.

Established in 1989, the NCPA has unique facilities and infrastructure, including an anechoic chamber, a Mach 5 wind tunnel, a jet test facility, a resonant ultraspectroscopy lab, Faraday labs and a multimillion dollar machine shop for in-house design. NCPA employs 30 permanent, full-time individuals, as well as 16 graduate students, five research fellows and eight undergraduates. Its research scientists are recognized experts in their fields, bringing experience from government, academia and industry.

To view Gladden’s website, go to

For more information about the UM National Center for Physical Acoustics, call 662-915-5889 or go to

Galapagos Tortoises Topic for Science Cafe

UM biology professor will discuss preservation efforts in Oct. 21 presentation

³Photo courtesy of Yale University²

Photo courtesy of Yale

OXFORD, Miss. – Methods for conserving threatened and endangered species of tortoises is the topic for the next installment a monthly public science forum organized by the University of Mississippi Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The fall semester’s third meeting of the Oxford Science Cafe is set for 6 p.m. Oct. 21 at Lusa Pastry Cafe, 2305 West Jackson Ave. Ryan Garrick, UM assistant professor of biology, will discuss “Applications of genetics to Galapagos tortoise conservation.” Admission is free.

“Molecular genetics offers conservation biologists critical information upon which to design efficient, effective management strategies,” Garrick said. “Galapagos tortoises are flagships in this respect because captive breeding programs have been largely facilitated by genetic tools.”

Garrick’s 30-minute presentation will review recent work on this group.

“Occasionally, past hybridization can actually generate positive outcomes for conservation,” he said. “This is the case for Chelonoidis elephantopus, a species that was thought to have been extinct over 150 years ago. However, for another pair of evolutionarily distinct lineages of Galapagos tortoises, ongoing hybridization is likely to lead to a net loss of biodiversity via lineage collapse and replacement with a hybrid swarm.”

Garrick earned his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from La Trobe University in Australia. He was a postdoctoral researcher at Virginia Commonwealth University and at Yale University.

Garrick’s research interests are insect evolution, molecular ecology, biogeography, population genetics and conservation biology.

For more information about Oxford Science Cafe programs, go to For more information about the Department of Physics and Astronomy, visit or call 662-915-5311.

Alumni Association to Honor Seven at Homecoming

Honorees include former chancellor, Rebel football and basketball stars

From left: Michael L. Ducker, Jennifer Gillom-Granderson, Robert Khayat, James W. Davis and Deuce McCallister.

From left: Michael L. Ducker, Peggie Gillom-Granderson, Robert Khayat, James W. Davis and Deuce McAllister.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Alumni Association is recognizing seven distinguished alumni, including a former chancellor and two record-setting student-athletes, with its highest honors this month as part of the university’s annual Homecoming activities.

Inductees into the Alumni Hall of Fame for 2014 are: James W. Davis (BBA 62, MS 63, PhD 72) of Oxford; Michael L. Ducker (72) of Collierville, Tennessee; Peggie Gillom-Granderson (BSW 80) of Abbeville; Robert Khayat (BAEd 61, JD 66) of Oxford; and Deuce McAllister (00) of Kenner, Louisiana.

Created in 1974, the Hall of Fame honors select alumni who have made an outstanding contribution to their country or state or to UM through good deeds, services or contributions that have perpetuated the good name of Ole Miss.

Lanny Griffith (BBA 73, JD 76) of Alexandria, Virginia, will receive the Alumni Service Award for service to the university and the Alumni Association over an extended period. Kelly English (BSFCS 02) of Memphis will receive the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, which recognizes alumni who have shown exemplary leadership throughout their first 15 years of alumni status in both their careers and dedication to Ole Miss.

The Alumni Association will host a reception for the honorees at 6 p.m. Oct. 17 in the Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom at The Inn at Ole Miss. A dinner for the award recipients follows at 7 p.m.

Davis received a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1962 and a master’s degree in accountancy in 1963, both from UM. Upon graduation, he joined the Houston, Texas, office of Arthur Andersen & Co. After two years there, he returned to Ole Miss as an assistant professor of accountancy, teaching accounting and pursuing a doctoral degree, which he earned in 1971.

In 1985, he received the university’s Outstanding Teacher Award, now the Elsie M. Hood Award. He won the Patterson School of Accountancy’s Outstanding Teacher Award five times and was named the Peery Professor of Accountancy in 1995. Davis served as the school’s dean grom 1993 to 2002. During that time, Conner Hall was renovated along with the construction of Holman Hall, a project that received the largest amount of donor funding in the university’s history to that time. Davis officially retired in 2009 but has continued teaching part-time and retains the title of Peery Professor of Accountancy Emeritus.

Ducker is chief operating officer and president, international, for FedEx Express. He leads all customer-facing aspects of the company’s U.S. operations and its international business, spanning more than 220 countries and territories across the globe. He also oversees FedEx Trade Networks and FedEx SupplyChain. Ducker directs the company’s efforts to open markets, improve customs procedures and support international economic policy reforms.

He serves on the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations for the Obama administration. In addition, he serves as chairman of the International Policy Committee and as an executive board member and vice chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, he received his MBA from a joint program of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Gillom-Granderson led the basketball Lady Rebels to the AIAW State Tournament Championships in 1978 and 1979 and a berth in the AIAW National Tournament in 1978. A four-year starter, she is Ole Miss’ all-time leading scorer with 2,486 points and rebounder with 1,271 rebounds. She is one of two players in Ole Miss’ history to score more than 2,000 points and grab more than 1,000 rebounds.

In 16 seasons as an assistant coach to Van Chancellor, she helped lead Ole Miss to 14 NCAA tournament appearances, including five Sweet Sixteen and four Elite Eight appearances. In 1991-1992, she helped lead Ole Miss to its first-ever regular season SEC title. As an assistant coach for USA Basketball, she helped guide the 1999 U.S. Pan American Games team to a bronze medal and the 2000 U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal. Gillom-Granderson was inducted into the Ole Miss Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996, Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.



A 1956 graduate of Moss Point High School, Khayat has lived most of his life at Ole Miss and in Oxford. He was an Academic All-American football player and was chosen as an All-SEC catcher for the 1959 and 1960 SEC Champion baseball teams. With undergraduate and law degrees from Ole Miss, he joined the law faculty in 1969. A Sterling Fellowship enabled him to pursue a degree from the Yale Law School in 1980.

He is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the NFL, the Distinguished American Award from the National Football Foundation and the Silver Medallion Award for best memoir in the nation for “The Education of a Lifetime.” Khayat is a member of the Ole Miss Football Team of the Century, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the UM Student Hall of Fame, holds an honorary membership from Phi Beta Kappa and was selected as Law Alumnus of the Year in 2014. He served as chancellor from 1995 until his retirement in 2009, a transformative time in the university’s history.

McAllister is the only player in Ole Miss football history to record three seasons with at least 1,000 all-purpose yards. In 1999, he won the Conerly Trophy, which goes to the state’s top collegiate football player. He finished his college career at Ole Miss with records for carries, yards, rushing touchdowns, total touchdowns, points and 100-yard games.

In 2001, McAllister was selected by the New Orleans Saints and went on to rush for more than 1,000 yards in three straight seasons, a first in Saints history. He was the first Saints running back with 22 100-yard games. In his first year as a starter in 2002 he led the conference with 1,388 rushing yards, scored 16 TDs and was voted to the Pro Bowl in both 2002 and 2003. He set the all-time rushing touchdown record for the Saints in 2008 and holds Saints records for most career rushing yards and touchdowns. He retired from the NFL in 2010. McAllister received the Army Community Award for his dedication to the states of Mississippi and Louisiana in 2010 and was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2012 and Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.

Griffith serves as chief executive officer of BGR Group. He joined the Washington, D.C.-based government affairs and communications firm in 1993 after serving in several roles in President George H.W. Bush’s administration.



Griffith’s political career began in the early 1980s when he worked for the Republican National Committee, managed Haley Barbour’s U.S. Senate race in 1982 and served as the executive director of the Mississippi Republican Party for three years. In 1988, he served as Southern political director for Bush’s presidential campaign. In 1989, Griffith was sworn in as special assistant to the president, serving as Bush’s liaison to governors and other statewide elected officials.

In 1991, Bush nominated Griffith to be assistant secretary of education. Griffith’s work for the Bush family continued with his role as national chairman of the Bush-Cheney 2000 Entertainment Task Force and entertainment coordinator for the 2001 Bush Inaugural. He later served as a ranger and as a member of the Bush 2004 National Finance Committee.

English is executive chef-owner of Restaurant Iris and The Second Line in Memphis and executive chef of Magnolia House in Biloxi.

After graduating from Ole Miss and the Culinary Institute of America, he returned to New Orleans in 2004 to cook under the auspices of Chef John Besh in some of the city’s most celebrated restaurants before moving to Memphis and opening Restaurant Iris in 2008. Two years later, he was named a James Beard Award Semifinalist for Best Chef: Southeast, appeared on the Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” and earned Memphis Restaurant Association’s “Restaurateur of the Year” award.

English has been featured in Food & Wine magazine, Everyday with Rachel Ray, Bon Appétit, Garden & Gun and the cookbook “Wild Abundance.” He was recognized in 2013 with the Thomas A. Crowe Outstanding Alumnus Award by the UM School of Applied Sciences.

Indiana Professor to Discuss Growing Influence of African Languages

Linguist Antonia Schleicher to present 54th Christopher Longest Lecture

Anotonia Schleciher

Antonia Schleicher

OXFORD, Miss. – Indiana University Professor Antonia Schleicher will discuss “The Growing Impact of African Languages in the United States” Oct. 27 at the University of Mississippi for the Department of Modern Languages‘ 54th annual Christopher Longest Lecture.

The lecture is slated for 5:30 p.m. in Bondurant Hall Auditorium, preceded by a 4:30 reception at Paris-Yates Chapel. Admission to both events is free to the public. Donald Dyer, UM chair of modern languages, said the department is looking forward to yet another great Longest Lecture.

“This year’s speaker will deliver the first talk on African languages in the 54-year history of the endowed series, a talk which will be particularly relevant for our community given the university’s initiation this year of basic language instruction in Swahili,” Dyer said. “Dr. Schleicher is a nationally and internationally recognized scholar and pedagogue who works tirelessly to advance the field of African-language study in the United States. We will be extremely proud to welcome her to Oxford.”

Schleicher, professor of African Studies at Indiana University, is also the founding executive director of IU’s Center for Language Excellence and the director of the U.S. National African Language Resource Center. Before assuming her new position at IU in 2012, she was a professor of African linguistics for 23 years at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. In 2012, she was inducted into the Nigerian Academy of Letter. In 2010, she received the UW-Madison Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award and the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages Walton Award for a Lifetime Distinguished Career in support of less commonly taught languages.

Schleicher has authored eight textbooks and four multimedia CD-ROMs for the learning of Yoruba and has co-authored numerous textbooks for other African languages such as Swahili, Shona and Pulaar. She co-authored “African Language Pedagogy: An Emerging Field.” She has edited more than 20 other books and six journals and has authored nearly two dozen articles in peer-reviewed journals.

She has degrees from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria and the University of Kansas, both in general linguistics, and much of her work deals with pedagogical issues in foreign and second language acquisition. She is president of the National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Association, which publishes the Modern Language Journal. She also serves as executive director of NCOLCTL and the African Language Teachers Association.

Schleicher was awarded the U.S. President’s Gold Level Volunteer Service Award for more than 500 hours a year of devoted and unpaid service to the cause of promoting less-commonly taught languages and cultures in the United States. She served a three-year term on the board of directors of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

“After reading about the amazing career of Christopher Longest and the caliber of outstanding speakers that have been selected to speak each year, I felt truly humbled and at the same time greatly honored to be a part of this series,” Schleicher said. “More so that I will be the first to present on African languages. I am really looking forward to being a part of the celebration of the life of this great scholar and administrator.”

The Christopher Longest Series was created by Ann Waller Reins Longest to honor her husband and also enrich the university. The series, which began in 1961, is named for the former UM chair and professor of modern languages.

Christopher Longest, a native of Pontotoc County, graduated from UM in 1900. He first taught English at Johns Hopkins University, where he completed his graduate degree in 1908. He earned a doctorate from the University of Chicago in 1915 and a doctor of law degree from Mississippi College in 1950.

Longest held several Spanish and Latin teaching positions from 1908 until he became the chairman of the Department of Modern Languages in 1947, serving until 1951. He also served as acting chancellor in 1930, registrar in 1929 and 1930 and also director of the university’s summer session from 1920 to 1934. He managed the alumni fund from 1912 to 1951. After retiring from teaching, Longest became president of First National Bank of Oxford.

Activist Deepa Iyer to Visit UM Oct. 14-16

Winter Institute, Department of Public Policy Leadership co-sponsoring scholar's public appearances

Deepa Iyer

Deepa Iyer

OXFORD, Miss. – The founder and executive director of South Asian Americans Leading Together is making a series of appearances Oct. 14-16 at the University of Mississippi.

Scholar-activist-lawyer Deepa Iyer lectures Wednesday (Oct. 15) at the Overby Center Auditorium and Thursday (Oct. 16) at the Robert C. Khayat Law Center, Room 1090. Both events start at 5 p.m. and are free to the public. Iyers is also the noon brown bag luncheon speaker Tuesday-Thursday at the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, on the third floor of Lamar Hall.

Iyer’s appearances are co-sponsored by the Winter Institute and UM’s Department of Public Policy Leadership. Topics she plans to address include “America’s New Racial Landscape,” “The Politics of Being Brown: Legal and Policy Frontiers,” “Asian Americans and Radical Identities in the South,” “Racial Anxiety and Solidarity in a Majority-Minority Nation” and “Community-Building in South Asian Communities.”

“Deepa Iyer’s presence on campus is extremely important,” said Jennifer Stollman, events coordinator for the Winter Institute. “In addition to complicating the nation’s black-white racial paradigm, her work as an activist and scholar highlights the experiences, challenges and strengths of South Asian communities.”

Iyer is a prominent spokesperson and adviser regarding policy and issues related to South Asian communities. She has written widely on post-9/11 backlash, immigration reform, racism and law enforcement, and access to political, social and economic benefits.

“Her experience founding, developing and directing SAALT demonstrates to the University of Mississippi the ability to identify a void in the American racial landscape, illuminate issues of inequity, and develop awareness, policies and solutions impacting South Asians,” Stollman said.

“By complicating America’s racial landscape, Ms. Iyer allows for a more reflective and nuanced approach to infrastructural, systemic and interpersonal racism. Such an approach encourages the faculty, staff and students to be more aware of the complexity of racism, how it impacts our structures and relationships and illuminates solutions that can sustain change and the push for equality.”

Iyer said she is honored and privileged to be spending a week with UM students and faculty.

“During my week at the University of Mississippi, I hope that we can collectively generate ideas and conversations about issues at the heart of our country’s changing racial landscape: race relations, immigration, post-9/11 America and solidarity among communities of color,” Iyer said. “The University of Mississippi, grounded in a history of civil rights resistance, is an ideal place to wrestle with these issues and move toward solutions that will bring about greater racial equity.”

For more about the Winter Institute, visit For more about Deepa Iyer, visit For more information about SAALT, go to

Living Blues’ October Edition Highlights Blues Tourism

Double issue provides a guide for adventurers traveling the Mississippi Blues Trail


Living Blues started as the first blues publication in Chicago in 1970 and is the nation’s longest running blues magazine. The Center for the Study of Southern Culture publishes it bimonthly.

OXFORD, Miss. – Blues tourism in Mississippi is highlighted in the special October double issue of Living Blues magazine. Focusing on more than 180 Mississippi Blues Trail markers, the issue spotlights the people, places and themes of the blues in Mississippi with hundreds of destinations including clubs, museums, festivals and restaurants.

The issue is underwritten with a grant from Visit Mississippi.

“We have decided to revisit the blues in Mississippi and provide readers with a travel guide to the markers and some of the many exciting experiences visitors can have while driving the back roads of Mississippi,” said Brett Bonner, editor.

This is the second-largest issue of Living Blues ever, and the second time Visit Mississippi has collaborated with the magazine to produce a Mississippi-themed issue. Founded in Chicago in 1970, Living Blues was acquired by the university’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture in 1983.

“Ten years ago, we partnered with Living Blues, but that was before the state embarked on the Mississippi Blues Trail marker program, before the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center opened its doors and before festivals like Juke Joint and Mighty Mississippi were making waves internationally,” said Malcolm White, director of Visit Mississippi. “We here at Visit Mississippi felt like it was high time to revisit the partnership with Living Blues, the nation’s quintessential blues publication, during our 2014 Year of the Creative Economy campaign.”

The magazine’ writers, researchers and photographers have worked with Visit Mississippi on the Mississippi Blues Trail since its inception, so it was only natural to help share the story of one of the state’s greatest tourism assets, White said.

Living Blues received a Mississippi Blues Trail marker from the state in 2009, which is located outside Barnard Observatory on the UM campus. The magazine was also honored as a past recipient of the Blues Foundation’s prestigious “Keeping the Blues Alive” award.

“With the generous support of Malcolm White and Visit Mississippi, I once again tapped my dynamic blues duo of writer Scott Barretta and photographer Bill Steber to tackle the project,” Bonner said.

The effort of several months of hard work, 5,000 miles, 40,000 words and thousands of photos, the issue is a user-friendly guide for adventurers traveling the Mississippi Blues Trail. Using the Mississippi Blues Trail Markers as anchors, the guide identifies hundreds of destinations throughout the state, including museums, juke joints, festivals, famous gravesites and more than 100 places to eat great Southern food.

This issue of Living Blues is also available as a digital edition, with songs available to correspond with each region. Downloads are available on the Living Blues Facebook page. For more information, visit

Symposium Explores Transition to College Writing

Department of Writing and Rhetoric hosts annual event this weekend at UM

OXFORD, Miss. – High school and college teachers from Mississippi and the Memphis area will gather to explore new ideas about writing instruction and share strategies to help prepare students for their transition to college writing this weekend at the University of Mississippi.

The Transitioning to College Writing Symposium, an annual event hosted by the Department of Writing and Rhetoric, is set for Friday and Saturday (Oct. 10-11). Registration, at $30 for one day or $50 for both, remains open for the program.

“The fourth annual symposium brings together keynote speakers from varied locations, including the Mississippi Department of Education, Jackson State University, Itawamba Community College and the University of Sydney, Australia,” said Joanne Mitchell, communications specialist in the Department of Writing and Rhetoric. “Digital composition, academic writing, student engagement and developing secondary and post-secondary writing centers are some of the topics that attendees will learn more about as they discuss strategies to enhance writing instruction in their schools.”

The symposium opens at 8 a.m. Friday in the university’s Center for Manufacturing Excellence. It moves to Lamar Hall for the afternoon sessions, which run through 7:30 p.m. Saturday’s sessions run from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Lamar Hall.

The program includes a keynote address by Frances DiLauro, of the Writing Hub at the University of Sydney. Other featured speakers include Amber Jensen, of Edison High School in Fairfax, Virginia; Lawrence Potter, of Jackson State University; and Vinnie Segalini, of the Mississippi Department of Education. Other activities include workshops and roundtable discussions between attendees.

For more information on the Transitioning to College Writing Symposium, visit To register for the program, call 662-915-2121 or email

Building Bridges Lecture to Examine Slavery and the Holocaust

Beverly Mitchell to discuss finding a common theme

OXFORD, Miss. – Focusing on slavery and the Holocaust, the University of Mississippi’s Critical Race Studies Group welcomes historical theologian Beverly Mitchell, of Wesley Theological Seminary, to speak Thursday (Oct. 2) evening on campus.

Mitchell, who specializes in systematic theology and church history with an emphasis on issues of human rights, has authored two books, including “Plantations and Death Camps: Religion, Ideology, and Human Dignity.” Her lecture will inquire about opportunities for human dignity and honor in view of grave historical and societal inhumanity, such as that exhibited during U.S. slavery and the Holocaust.

The lecture is slated for 5:30 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 2) at Overby Auditorium, followed by a reception. Both events are free and open to the public.

This program is made possible by the Legacy Heritage Jewish Studies Project, directed by the Association for Jewish Studies. Support for the LHJSP is provided by the Legacy Heritage Fund Ltd.

“This is the second year that the AJS-LHJSP has funded public programming at the University of Mississippi,” said Willa Johnson, co-chair of the Critical Race Studies Group. “The Critical Race Studies Group is pleased for their support, and we anticipate that Dr. Mitchell will further the conversation about race on our campus and in our communities.”

Co-sponsors for the lecture series are the UM Lecture Series, College of Liberal Arts, the African-American Studies Program, William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

UM Student Wins First-Ever Study Abroad Film Festival

Senior Alexa Penton spent five months studying and working in Beijing

Alexa Penton

Alexa Penton

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi student has won top honors at the first-ever study abroad film festival. Alexa Penton, of Orlando, Florida, will be honored in October at the Institute for the International Education of Students Abroad Annual Conference in Chicago.

Penton, who also lived in Poplarville for several years, attended Timber Creek High School in Orlando, where she studied Chinese for four years. A senior enrolled in the UM Chinese Language Flagship Program, she is pursuing a double major in Chinese language and culture and art history. From early January to May, she studied in China at the Beijing Foreign Studies University with IES Abroad.

Her film was selected from 54 submissions to win the IES Abroad film contest. The award includes a $1,000 cash prize.

“Studying abroad enables you not only to learn about the culture of another country, but perhaps more importantly, to learn about yourself,” Penton said.

The IES Abroad film contest was open to all IES Abroad students and alumni. The films were to be under 25 minutes in length and were asked to “represent the spirit of study abroad.”

IES Abroad selected a group of semifinalists from the initial 54, then an international jury selected three finalists. Facebook users were invited to view and vote for their favorite film from Sept. 1 to 15. Penton’s film won with 56 percent of the votes.

Penton also interned at the Today Art Museum and worked for The Princeton Review, teaching reading and SSAT prep classes to elementary and middle school students in Beijing. She visited Bali, Indonesia, and backpacked through Thailand and Cambodia for two weeks after her Study Abroad program ended.

Penton urges Ole Miss students to consult with an adviser at the Office of Study Abroad about the possibilities of international study. Students should consider their major course of study, language skills and finances when deciding on a program, she said.

“Studying abroad is much more feasible than many students realize,” Penton said. “Living in another country enables you to test your own limits, develop your independence, reexamine your customs and beliefs against the backdrop of a foreign culture, deepen your global understanding, cultivate empathy and perhaps even improve your foreign language skills.

“More pragmatically, studying abroad can set you apart from other applicants for future career positions or higher education programs. It can also be a great way to network. I made several great connections while abroad that I still keep in touch with.”