Meek School Professor Wins Paragon Award

Honor recognized faculty members who use technology to create successful distance learning courses

Debora Wenger

Debora Wenger

OXFORD, Miss. – Debora Wenger, an associate professor in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi, is this year’s winner of the Paragon Award for Excellence in Distance Teaching.

The university’s Department of Online Design and eLearning gives the award annually. Wenger, who was honored for her Journalism 102 class, said she’s grateful for the help she’s received from the department to make the course successful. 

“I am honored and thrilled to receive this award,” Wenger said. “I have loved the challenge of figuring out how to make this writing-intensive course meaningful for the students who take the class online. Frankly, I think I get more excited when their stories get published in the Daily Mississippian or Hottytoddy.com than the students do.”

The Paragon Award recognizes UM faculty members who use technology to transcend traditional classroom instruction. The award recipient receives a $1,000 reward and a trophy. Their names are engraved on a plaque listing previous winners, which is on display in the J.D. Williams Library. Wenger was honored at the Online Design and eLearning Recognition Luncheon on April 15 at the UM Jackson Avenue Center.

The class is a key component of a journalism minor, which is a big help to students majoring in other fields, Wenger said. Several Meek School faculty members have developed online versions of their courses so anyone enrolled in the university can get a journalism minor without having to visit campus. Will Norton, dean of the Meek School, said distance learning courses are crucial for universities like UM. 

“I think distance learning courses are vital, particularly for universities that are not situated in metropolitan areas,” Norton said. “That professor Wenger is so facile at developing a required course that teaches basic skills is a reflection on her talent as a teacher and her understanding and ability to manipulate technology.”

Anne M. Klingen, director of online design and eLearning, said Wenger’s students in the online class receive lots of feedback and attention from her. 

“Deb’s commitment to students is evident; she has an extraordinarily high level of interaction with the students in her online courses,” Klingen said. “Her course is designed so each assignment builds on another, and she gives them guidance and feedback throughout the process. She also requires the students to produce stories that will be submitted for possible publication to media outlets, which motivates and challenges the students to constantly improve.”

Robin Street, a journalism lecturer, also received a Paragon Award honorable mention for her public relations distance learning class. Street’s Journalism 391 class introduces students to the public relations profession, which involves being a communicator for an organization. She said the recognition is greatly appreciated.

“This recognition is especially meaningful to me because when I first heard I was going to teach an online class, I was worried that I would not be able to learn how to build the course,” Street said. “Then I worked long and hard to learn the skills and techniques that go into creating a successful online class. To go from that initial worry to being honored for the class is very gratifying.”

Rich Gentry, assistant professor and director of the Center for Innovation and Entrpreneurship, also was recognized with an honorable mention. Gentry’s Professional Master of Business Administration 613 course is the capstone for the online MBA program at UM. The class helps them connect the information they’ve gathered over the previous two years and apply it to critical decision-making problems.

“For me, being recognized as a member of a cohort of strong online instructors is very meaningful,” Gentry said. “Laboring for hours constructing a blackboard site or meticulously going through each element of the course to ensure that it is intuitive and helpful can be a very unpleasant experience. It is nice that the award committee recognizes the people who put in that kind of effort and encourages them to keep improving.”

Jennifer Kirby-McLemore Named Inaugural Diversity Award Recipient

Honor is presented by UM Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement

Director of Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement Shawnboda Deanne Mead, Meek School of Journalism Dean Will Norton, Diversity Award Recipient Jennifer Kirby-McLemore and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Brandi Hephner LeBanc.

Shawnboda Mead (left), UM journalism Dean Will Norton and Brandi Hephner LaBanc (right) congratulate award recipient Jennifer Kirby-McLemore.

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi law student Jennifer Kirby-McLemore has been named the recipient of the inaugural Treadway P. and Mark D. Strickland Diversity Award for her efforts to promote diversity and inclusion on campus and throughout the community.

The award is presented by the university’s Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement.

Kirby-McLemore has devoted much of her time to diversity awareness. As a law student, she has interned with the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation; is president of OUTLaw, an organization on campus with the focus of promoting awareness of LGBT legal issues; and has worked as a student lawyer with the Mississippi Innocence Project.

Her community service work has included teaching biology and science at three underprivileged schools in north Mississippi, volunteering with the UM law school’s Pro Bono Initiative with the Family Law Clinic and LGBT Documents clinic, and, before law school, volunteering for the Coldwater Methodist Church Food Pantry.

“I never thought that all the various activities I am involved in would culminate into this,” Kirby-McLemore said. “I just felt compelled to help when and where I can – to give a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves or provide an echo for those already advocating for themselves.”

She has earned numerous recognitions for her academic achievements and work to promote diversity.

“It was certainly encouraging to read about the outstanding diversity-related activities that all of the applicants had experienced,” said Shawnboda Mead, director of the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement. “As the inaugural recipient of the scholarship award, Jennifer Kirby-McLemore stood out among others as she exemplified the characteristics that Mark and Tread Strickland were hoping for. I am beyond grateful to Mark and Tread for their generous gift and the impact they’ll have on students for years to come.

“My hope is that students will be inspired to take advantage of even more opportunities to increase their involvement in diversity and inclusion initiatives.”

The purpose of the award is to assist a deserving undergraduate or graduate student committed to promoting diversity awareness and acceptance in continuing their education at the university.

“The vision of the Strickland Diversity Award is to assist a student who exemplifies a commitment to diversity awareness, inclusiveness and respect and to bettering our university community,” said Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs. “I am very grateful for Tread and Mark, as they have created a support unit for students on our campus. Their generous scholarship will allow many future students to commit themselves to pursuing a campus atmosphere that encourages dignity and respect.”

Interactive Campus Map Packed with Information, Cool Features

There are many unique features within the new campus interactive map.

There are many unique features within the new interactive campus map.

When you’re trying to locate a building or find information about a campus location, there are several ways to go about it. You could try awkward folding printed maps or ask nice Southern gentlemen and ladies walking to class for help. But the most efficient and easiest method to finding your way around campus is in your hand (or on your laptop).

The Ole Miss interactive map features customized 3-D models of campus buildings, including high-resolution imagery, 360-degree panoramic exterior views and a narrated virtual campus tour that assist in telling our unique story. The map allows you to search for college buildings and facilities by name and through the use of categorized map markers. And the custom image map created from actual renderings makes individual buildings easy to identify.

The white-paneled navigation tool allows users to select categories for an “at-a-glance” view of venues in relation to landmarks, such as the Grove or the Lyceum, along with detailed information about each location. New freshman can identify academic buildings, residence halls and offices around campus, while upperclassmen and staff can view information about campus events, parking, safety and accessibility. Also, visitors can view the virtual campus tour from anywhere and get a sense and feel of Ole Miss. The map is accessible on mobile devices and easy to use, so giving directions to family or guests should be easy.

Here are five features/layers on the map that you should check out:

Ole Miss Video Tour – You can take a virtual tour of the “Most Beautiful Campus” and not only view important locations, but hear from students about the history that makes Ole Miss unique.

Construction Areas – Having trouble getting through campus because you aren’t sure if you will get hung up by construction? Click on the bottom layer for the most up-to-date information about road closures and building construction to map out your drive.

360-Degree Panoramas – Have you ever stood on the field turf at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium? If you’d like to see what that looks like, you can, along with 25 other locations that give you a really cool 360-degree view.

Services – Having trouble finding an ATM, a quiet place to study or a bus stop? Click this link to find useful information along with important accessibility information. “Heart defibribulator? Check Hume Hall.” “Lactation room? There’s one in Peabody.” See? Easy.

Commencement – Need a one-stop location to find student lineup info, parking instructions or shuttle stops? Check your phone. Hungry waiting for your school’s ceremony? Go to http://map.olemiss.edu and click the “Commencement” link and check it out.

Meet Jean Munson, April’s Staff Member of the Month

Jean Munson

Jean Munson

Jean Munson, administrative coordinator I in the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management, has been selected as Staff Council’s Staff Member of the Month for April. To help us get to know her better, Munson answered a few questions for Inside Ole Miss.

IOM: How long have you worked at Ole Miss? 

Munson: 5 years

IOM: What is your hometown? 

Munson: North Tonawanda, New York. 

IOM: What is your favorite Ole Miss memory?

Munson: I think my favorite Ole Miss memory is graduation day.  I truly look forward to that day each year.  It is such an honor to be part of and share in that awesome milestone with our students.  

IOM: What do you enjoy most about your position or the department in which you work? 

Munson: I really enjoy being around the students, working with them, and watching them grow – they also keep me young!

IOM: What do you like to do when you are not at work? 

Munson: I love spending lots of time with my daughter and watching her cheer for her high school teams, playing with my dogs and being outside in my garden.

IOM: What is one thing on your bucket list? 

Munson: To return to Europe and enjoy a fabulous vacation.

IOM: What is your favorite movie?

Munson: The Sound of Music

IOM: What is a fun fact about you?

Munson: I love flamingos.  If I thought for one moment that my Homeowners Association would allow it, I would have a bunch of them in my yard, fake of course.  What would be more fun than that?

To nominate a colleague for the Staff Member of the Month, email staffcouncil@olemiss.edu with the name of the individual you’d like to nominate as well as why you feel he or she should be recognized.

Parking Changes Ahead for Fall Semester (Student Info First)

The new parking garage will open soon offering 350 spots.

The new parking garage will open soon offering 350 spots.

The University of Mississippi is growing, and parking areas are changing to accommodate that growth. As a result, the number of parking permits available will increase slightly this year.

“The increase will help us continue our parking lot maintenance and new lot construction,” said Mike Harris, director of parking and transportation. “It will also help with the garage, along with increase costs associated with transportation.”

Here are the changes ahead for the 2015 fall semester:

Students

This year, all students will be able to purchase their parking permit by date, based on their classification, on a first-come, first-served basis. The cost of the permits varies. Here are the release dates:

– Commuters

Cost: Main campus, $150; Park-and-Ride, $75

July 10 – Seniors and graduate students (90 or more credit hours completed)

July 13 – Juniors (60-89 hours completed)

July 14 – Sophomores (30-59 hours completed)

July 15 – Freshmen (0-29 hours completed)

Commuter permits are limited and once all main campus permits are sold, students will have the option to purchase a park-and-ride permit.

Commuter park-and-ride permit holders will be able to park at the Jackson Avenue Center or the South Lot at the corner of Highway 6 and Old Taylor Road to get to campus.

– Residents

Cost: $200

July 16 – Residential West (Kincannon, Pittman, Burns and Minor halls)

July 17 – Residential Central (Brown, Crosby, Deaton, Hefley, Stewart, Martin and Stockard halls, and Alpha Omicron Pi, Chi Omega, Kappa Alpha Theta, Pi Beta Phi and Alpha Delta Pi)

July 20 – Residential East (Residential College South, Residential College North, Residential Hall No. 1, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, Kappa Delta, Kappa Kappa Gamma and Phi Mu)

July 21 – Residential South (formerly Fraternity Parking and Village) and Campus Walk (Alpha Tau Omega, Beta Theta Pi, Delta Psi, Kappa Alpha, Kappa Sigma, Phi Delta Theta, Phi Kappa Psi, Phi Kappa Tau, Pi Kappa Alpha, Pi Kappa Phi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Chi, Sigma Nu, Sigma Pi, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Village, Campus Walk)

– Overflow (Residential park-and-ride)

Cost: $100

All residential overflow will be located at the Whirlpool parking lot. The new bus system at Whirlpool (Silver Route) will run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday with on-call service from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Sunday through Thursday.

This is the same service offered at the Jackson Avenue Center lot, but residential overflow will move to Whirlpool to accommodate more vehicles. Additional lighting, cameras and on-site security will be added to the lot.

About 65 percent of students living on campus brought a vehicle this school year, Harris said. Due to limited parking, this displaced 310 residents to the park-and-ride lot at the JAC. As new residence halls open next year, an estimated 525 to 550 vehicles will be displaced. If student residents do not absolutely need a vehicle on campus, Harris recommends they utilize other transportation options on campus. These include Zipcar, Zimride, bicycles and various transit routes.

– Additions

The Kennon Observatory bus stop will be under construction this summer to transform it into a transit hub, providing a central campus drop-off spot for students and making the bus a better option. A new commuter parking lot will also be added near the track facility on Hill Drive that will open this fall.

 

Faculty and Staff

– Parking Permits

Faculty-staff parking permits will be available for purchase July 22 and will cost $160 for the year. Reserved spaces for faculty-staff will cost $750.

– Pavilion Garage

The Pavilion parking garage will open soon with 350 spaces reserved for faculty and staff. A garage permit will cost $550 and guarantees the holder a space. Faculty and staff can experience a free trial period this summer at the garage by contacting parking@olemiss.edu. The garage will have additional parking spaces for visitors, who will pay upon exit. The cost for visitor parking in the garage will be $2 for the first hour and $1 for each additional hour, not exceeding $10 in a 24-hour period.

– Rebel Drive

As Rebel Drive is extended to Fraternity Drive, the Data Center faculty-staff lot will gain about 80 parking spaces. The parallel parking spaces along Rebel Drive will be eliminated to improve bus routes and allow for a pull-over area for buses, with the possibility of sidewalks and bike lanes to be added later. Even with the elimination of those spaces, faculty-staff spaces will still have a net gain as the Data Center lot is expanded.

– Tad Smith Coliseum Lot

The Tad Smith Coliseum lot will remain a faculty-staff parking area until the Pavilion is completed. Upon completion of the arena, the spaces near the Turner Center will become faculty-staff parking once again, which will, in turn, allow the Tad Smith lot to return to a commuter lot.

 

Other Permit Costs

Daily Visitor – $3

Monthly Visitor – $45

Annual Visitor – $200

Satellite Residential – $100

Staff Low Option – $80

Vendor/Contractor – $135

Retiree – $60

Annie Davis Weber Named SCUP Fellow

UM honoree plans to study what faculty and others value in institutional strategic planning

Annie Davis Weber

Annie Davis Weber

OXFORD, Miss. – Annie Davis Weber has been named one of two members of The Society for College and University Planning‘s 2015 fellowship class in recognition of her work at the University of Mississippi.

Weber, manager of strategic planning in the Office of Institutional Research, Effectiveness and Planning, begins her one-year term as fellow in July. She said she’s honored by the recognition and also excited about getting started on her plans for the fellowship.

“My project will focus on creating case studies of our peer institutions that address the question of how institutions organize themselves for effective strategic planning in a shared governance environment,” Weber said. “I’m very interested in learning what people, particularly faculty members, think are the most important factors for successful strategic planning at a university.”

The fellows receive a one-year membership in the society, registrations to two annual conferences a year apart, two $500 travel stipends and a registration to SCUP Planning Institute 1.

 Weber will conduct an analysis of best practices that universities use, within the context of shared governance, to create, implement and assess strategic plans. She will create case studies that focus on what key participants, particularly faculty members, perceive to be important for strategic planning.

Maurice Eftink, UM associate provost, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and interim director of institutional research, works closely with Weber. He said she is an incredibly important part of the university staff.

“Annie challenges me to think more deeply about institutional planning and evaluation issues,” Eftink said. “At the same time, when I challenge her to produce tables or reports, she comes up with something better and more thorough than I had imagined. This is the mark of a valuable co-worker.”

Weber joined the Office of Strategic Planning in 2011 and has supported the efforts of the Strategic Planning Council to create and implement the university’s UM 2020 Strategic Plan and has facilitated the unit-level planning process across campus. She also serves on the Strategic Planning Council, the Chancellor’s Standing Committee on Accessibility, the University Assessment Committee and the Scholarship Proposal Review Committee.

The SCUP Fellows Program focuses on the use of best planning practices to improve outcomes at college and universities. The society launched the fellowship program in July 2014 with support from private donations. This year, 36 applications were received for the fellowship positions. Janni Aragon, director of the Technology Integrated Learning unit at the University of Victoria, was selected with Davis for 2015 fellowships.

SCUP provides resources on best planning practices for senior higher education administrators and other professionals who support higher education. SCUP fellows are expected to complete a planning-related project during their fellowship year with the results shared with society members.

“Planning well is important to a successful outcome,” said Michael D. Moss, SCUP president. “The SCUP Fellowship Program is an opportunity for emerging leaders in higher education to explore best planning practices and to contribute to the research and knowledge in this area.”

UM Museum 75 for 75: Andy Warhol’s ‘Oyster Stew’

Andy Warhol's screen print "Oyster Stew"

Andy Warhol’s screen print ‘Oyster Stew’

In honor of the University of Mississippi Museum‘s 75th anniversary, the Ole Miss News Blog is featuring 75 different items from the museum’s archives of more than 20,000 objects.

Today’s featured item is the Andy Warhol screen print “Oyster Stew,” which Warhol did on paper as part of his series of Campbell’s soup can paintings in the late 1960s. Warhol is one of the most famous “pop” artists. His paintings of soup can labels, Brillo pad boxes, Coca Cola bottles and other products are regarded as iconic works of American art.

“Oyster Stew” is part of the museum’s Forrest and Joan Stevens Collection.

As part of the museum’s anniversary celebration, admission is free through Aug. 8. There will be a lot to see as the museum introduces several new exhibits and unveils a new major gift, as well as the reinstallation of the David M. Robinson Collection of Greek and Roman antiquities.

For a complete list of upcoming events and information on the new exhibitions, click here.

The University Museum is open to the public 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. The museum is closed Mondays and regular university holidays. Its facilities are handicapped-accessible. For assistance related to a disability, call 662-915-7084.

Parking Changes Ahead for Fall Semester

The Pavilion Parking Garage will be available this summer as a free trial for UM faculty and staff. Photo by Innovative Construction Management.

The Pavilion Parking Garage will be available this summer as a free trial for UM faculty and staff. Photo by Innovative Construction Management.

The University of Mississippi is growing, and parking areas are changing to accommodate that growth. As a result, the number of parking permits available will increase slightly this year.

“The increase will help us continue our parking lot maintenance and new lot construction,” said Mike Harris, director of parking and transportation. “It will also help with the garage, along with increase costs associated with transportation.”

Here are the changes ahead for the 2015 fall semester:

Faculty and Staff

– Parking Permits

Faculty-staff parking permits will be available for purchase July 22 and will cost $160 for the year. Reserved spaces for faculty-staff will cost $750.

– Pavilion Garage

The Pavilion parking garage will open soon with 350 spaces reserved for faculty and staff. A garage permit will cost $550 and guarantees the holder a space. Faculty and staff can experience a free trial period this summer at the garage by contacting parking@olemiss.edu. The garage will have additional parking spaces for visitors, who will pay upon exit. The cost for visitor parking in the garage will be $2 for the first hour and $1 for each additional hour, not exceeding $10 in a 24-hour period.

– Rebel Drive

As Rebel Drive is extended to Fraternity Drive, the Data Center faculty-staff lot will gain about 80 parking spaces. The parallel parking spaces along Rebel Drive will be eliminated to improve bus routes and allow for a pull-over area for buses, with the possibility of sidewalks and bike lanes to be added later. Even with the elimination of those spaces, faculty-staff spaces will still have a net gain as the Data Center lot is expanded.

– Tad Smith Coliseum Lot

The Tad Smith Coliseum lot will remain a faculty-staff parking area until the Pavilion is completed. Upon completion of the arena, the spaces near the Turner Center will become faculty-staff parking once again, which will, in turn, allow the Tad Smith lot to return to a commuter lot.

 

Students

This year, all students will be able to purchase their parking permit by date, based on their classification, on a first-come, first-served basis. The cost of the permits varies. Here are the release dates:

– Commuters

Cost: Main campus, $150; Park-and-Ride, $75

July 10 – Seniors and graduate students (90 or more credit hours completed)

July 13 – Juniors (60-89 hours completed)

July 14 – Sophomores (30-59 hours completed)

July 15 – Freshmen (0-29 hours completed)

Commuter permits are limited and once all main campus permits are sold, students will have the option to purchase a park-and-ride permit.

Commuter park-and-ride permit holders will be able to park at the Jackson Avenue Center or the South Lot at the corner of Highway 6 and Old Taylor Road to get to campus.

– Residents

Cost: $200

July 16 – Residential West (Kincannon, Pittman, Burns and Minor halls)

July 17 – Residential Central (Brown, Crosby, Deaton, Hefley, Stewart, Martin and Stockard halls, and Alpha Omicron Pi, Chi Omega, Kappa Alpha Theta, Pi Beta Phi and Alpha Delta Pi)

July 20 – Residential East (Residential College South, Residential College North, Residential Hall No. 1, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, Kappa Delta, Kappa Kappa Gamma and Phi Mu)

July 21 – Residential South (formerly Fraternity Parking and Village) and Campus Walk (Alpha Tau Omega, Beta Theta Pi, Delta Psi, Kappa Alpha, Kappa Sigma, Phi Delta Theta, Phi Kappa Psi, Phi Kappa Tau, Pi Kappa Alpha, Pi Kappa Phi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Chi, Sigma Nu, Sigma Pi, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Village, Campus Walk)

– Overflow (Residential park-and-ride)

Cost: $100

All residential overflow will be located at the Whirlpool parking lot. The new bus system at Whirlpool (Silver Route) will run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday with on-call service from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Sunday through Thursday.

This is the same service offered at the Jackson Avenue Center lot, but residential overflow will move to Whirlpool to accommodate more vehicles. Additional lighting, cameras and on-site security will be added to the lot.

About 65 percent of students living on campus brought a vehicle this school year, Harris said. Due to limited parking, this displaced 310 residents to the park-and-ride lot at the JAC. As new residence halls open next year, an estimated 525 to 550 vehicles will be displaced. If student residents do not absolutely need a vehicle on campus, Harris recommends they utilize other transportation options on campus. These include Zipcar, Zimride, bicycles and various transit routes.

– Additions

The Kennon Observatory bus stop will be under construction this summer to transform it into a transit hub, providing a central campus drop-off spot for students and making the bus a better option. A new commuter parking lot will also be added near the track facility on Hill Drive that will open this fall.

 

Other Permit Costs

Daily Visitor – $3

Monthly Visitor – $45

Annual Visitor – $200

Satellite Residential – $100

Staff Low Option – $80

Vendor/Contractor – $135

Retiree – $60

UM Expands Physical Therapy Services

Two therapists available to help faculty, staff and students

Physical Therapists Michael Brown, left, and Michael Meurrier, right, are available to treat employees and students at the Starnes Athletic Training Center.

Physical therapists Michael Brown, left, and Michael Meurrier are available to treat employees and students at the Starnes Athletic Training Center.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi now has two physical therapists at the Starnes Athletic Training Center to treat faculty, staff and students. The expansion of service means patients get appointments faster and experience improved overall rehabilitation services.

A partnership between the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and University Health Services provides the services of Michael Meurrier, who has been at UM for nine years, and new physical therapist Michael Brown, who joined the staff in January. Doubling the therapy staff allows patients to get appointments in a timelier manner, plus those services are conveniently located on campus.

“Since I’ve gotten here, I can see how much of a need for PT there is on campus and how much we can offer,” Brown said. “With two therapists here, there’s a good chance you’ll get in quickly and you’ll get the one-on-one care we can offer, plus the education about your injury.”

Adding Brown to help with the backlog has greatly improved services to patients, said Travis Yates, director of University Health Services.

“He is doing an excellent job, and I am receiving very favorable feedback from his patients,” Yates said. “We’re very pleased to have him on board.”

With a doctor’s referral – either from the Student Health Center, Employee Health Center or from an off-campus physician – faculty, staff and students can have access to a range of physical therapy services. The treatment fees for employees are filed on their insurance, and any cost not covered can be handled through payroll deductions or paid out of pocket. 

The office treats lots of orthopedic injuries, primarily fractures, sprains, tendonitis, muscle injuries and problems caused by poor posture. Posture issues of lower back and cervical pain are often caused by employees sitting all day without getting up or changing positions, the therapists said.

Meurrier said he often sees staff members who have been in pain for months and have been taking pain medicine to decrease symptoms, but they haven’t dealt with the actual injury through therapy, so it doesn’t improve. He urges getting help for an injury as soon as possible. 

“Both therapists encourage those with injuries to seek help as soon as possible,” Meurrier said. “Medicine, ice and heat can and do help with pain, but those things do not correct the root issue that has led to the painful symptoms. Our job is to try to figure out why the patient is experiencing their symptoms versus just treating the symptoms themselves.”

The office is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and appointments can be scheduled by calling 915-2027.

Q&A: UPD Chief to Retire May 31

Calvin Sellers discusses his career and brushes with the Allman Brothers, B.B. King, Lenny Kravitz and others

University Police Chief Calvin Sellers

University Police Chief Calvin Sellers

OXFORD, Miss. – University Police Chief Calvin Sellers will retire May 31, closing the books on a more-than-30-year career in law enforcement that included leading efforts here to become the safest school in the Southeastern Conference and one of the safest in the country.

Sellers, 62, of Oxford, plans to spend more time reading, golfing and skeet shooting. He wants to ride his Harley Davidson up the Pacific Coast. He’s also engaged to be married to Mary Watts, a local nurse. Though he has many plans for retirement, leaving UM won’t be easy, he said.

“You know, it’s not a place you can just walk away from,” Sellers said. “That’s going to be the hardest part, I think. Coming to work every day is not hard. Not coming to work every day is not going to be the problem, but not being involved in something that you care so much about – the department and the university. That’s going to be difficult.”

He prides himself on building a diverse department of officers, who play a large role in crime prevention through educating students about safety. He also leads efforts to keep campus safe during many high-profile events such as the 2008 presidential debate, concerts and many big-time sporting events. Being at those events also allowed him to meet many famous musicians, writers and athletes during his 25 years as an Ole Miss officer.

Sellers answered some questions for Inside Ole Miss about his time here. Here’s a portion of that interview:

IOM: How did you get your start in law enforcement?

Sellers: I started in Water Valley, Mississippi. I knew some of the people there. I knew some of the firemen there, knew a good many of the policemen. They had a job opening, and back in those days – that would have been 1984 – it wasn’t that hard if you knew the chief or you knew the mayor. Now, you just – you almost have to have some sort of experience to ever get in a field of work. Then, I started to work for Water Valley. They sent me to the police academy, and I had some friends who worked here. I hadn’t finished college and I wanted to. And it was just one of those things I didn’t think I could do. I probably couldn’t have done it financially. It was difficult.

So I came here a couple years after, in 1986. I wanted to come here and I wanted to finish school. So it’s 1986, and in 1998, I got that degree. It was very difficult working. I worked nights and we’d work from 11 p.m. until 7 in the morning. Sometimes you just didn’t feel like staying and going to a class. It got to a point that I just (thought), “I can’t do this anymore.” You didn’t get but one class or two classes a semester, so it took a long time. I quit there for a while. I got moved off of nights onto the afternoon shift and it made it a lot easier to go to class, so I got back into it. Mike Stewart was a chief here at that time, and Chief Stewart would push you to get that degree. He pushed me and I kept going. I finally got it and I’m proud of it. If you have to take that many steps to get it, it’s a little more special, right?

IOM: Was there a moment in time when you decided that working in public safety on college campus was the job for you? Talk about that.

Sellers: I really can’t say that when I started here, that was a goal. I started here with the ambition to get my degree. But, then after I got here and started working on a college campus, and worked with the students, I realized this was my place. This is where I needed to be. I enjoyed – I still enjoy – interacting with the students. They keep you young. I mean, I don’t look young, but they make your ideas younger. The ideas on a campus are different, you know. I worked at Ole Miss from 1986 till I got my degree in 1998. Then, a couple years after that, I went to Mississippi University for Women. I had worked my way up to captain here and MUW had an opening for a chief. I applied and was fortunate enough to get hired and I went to “the W.” I stayed at “the W” for eight years. Ole Miss had an opening for a chief and I applied and was fortunate to get to come home. I’ve been here since 2008. So altogether, from Water Valley, then Ole Miss, to “the W” and back to Ole Miss, I’ve got 30 years, you know, doing this job, and 28 of those have been on a college campus. 

IOM: We’ve had some pretty high-profile incidents on campus while you were here. Would you care to mention some of those and talk about your approach as chief during those times when we’ve come into a national media spotlight?

Sellers: The (2008 presidential debate) was big, but racial incidents, the one with the Meredith statue, probably got me interviewed by more people and more different agencies. It’s just something about Ole Miss and a racial issue that makes CNN. You know. It’s just automatic. I was interviewed by folks from The New York Times and the LA Times and I even got a call from someone in London, you know? My approach is I don’t try to hide anything. I try to be, as the word nowadays is, “transparent.” But my word for it is “honest.” I try to be as honest as I can. Now, there may be things that I’m told or things that I know that I can’t tell you. You know, I can’t tell you we’re looking at Joe Blow. We think he did it. You know, I can’t say that, but I can tell you we’ve got somebody we think did it. I just try to be honest. I’ve always been that way about dealing with the media. Whether it’s the school newspaper or The New York Times, I just try to be honest. I hope I have been. I feel like I always have.

When we’ve had these incidents, being a police chief is kind of like being a member of the media. You try to stay separate from that and not let your feelings about it get caught up in the situation when something terrible has happened here.

IOM: What do you feel might be some of your greatest professional accomplishments as UPD chief – the things you’ll look back on and take great pride in?

Sellers: I take pride in Ole Miss hosting the 2008 presidential debate and that going off (without incident). There was so much planning that went into that and us working with all the different agencies. It was a successful event and I think that our department had a lot to do with that being a success.

We’ve also become an accredited police department, and that’s not easy to get. It’s not something where you fill out an application and they do it, you know? Your department is audited by independent people who come from all over the country. They see you’re filing standard practices and protocols in law enforcement. We’re one of the small percent. I think Mississippi State’s also accredited and since that time, maybe Southern Miss. I’m proud of that. That that was an accomplishment, for not me particularly, but for the department, because everybody here worked on that. You just had to have somebody that just kept pushing. That’s where you get to be the leader of the department. … You have to push folks to their potential, you know, and I think we’ve done that.

I think we’re very diverse. That’s a point of emphasis. I think that’s important. I think that our department probably has more African-Americans in leadership positions than any department around. We have more females in leadership positions on this floor. There’s a chief and assistant chief. The captain in charge of our investigations, and then there’s two more captains. Out of all those folks – we’ve got three captains – two of them are females. And one of those is an African-American female. My other captain is a black male. That’s important to us. We have more women working on patrol out on the street than any other department in our area. It’s so easy to let that just float away, and the next thing you know, you look around and all your African-Americans are gone or you don’t have any females working anymore. We try to keep that balance, you know, but it’s difficult. I’m proud of the fact that we are a diverse department and we are represented by males and females, black, white and Latino.

IOM: What about something that still haunts you. Were there situations you were involved in here, things you responded to, that stick with you?

Sellers: Early in my career, I may have been the patrol officer on midnight shift. I got called out by the city. They asked me to come help because a student had committed suicide, shot himself in the head. His dad was a federal judge, or a judge of some type. I won’t ever forget that one.

IOM: Was that on campus?

Sellers: No. It happened in apartment complex, but off of campus.

I went to one (crime scene) one time of a girl who had gotten raped and beat up so bad you couldn’t recognize her face as a face. I never have forgot that one because I arrested that guy. I was on foot patrol at that time. I was probably just an officer, not a supervisor. There was a kid that I had stopped here. He was riding around on a dirt bike out there in the middle of the night, a loud, little motorcycle. I went up and stopped him. The back tire was flat and he had run it completely off the rim. He was all dressed up, or had on a white shirt, but it had blood on it. I said, “Have you been in a fight?” He said, “I don’t know what happened.” I said, “You need to go up to your room. You need to go park that motorcycle and go to your room.” And I said, “What room do you live in? I’m going to come by and check on you.” I wasn’t, but you know. I said, “What’s your name?” And he told me his name and he went on up to his room.

Then I got a call to go to the hospital, because that girl was down there that’d been raped and she was all beat up. Man I’m telling you. Really, you could not look at her and say that was a face of a human. And she couldn’t talk, but she could just whisper a little bit. And I talked to her, and talked to her and talked to her. And I finally asked her, did she know who did this to her and she told me. It was the name I had written down just a few minutes ago. The boy was out riding a motorcycle after he had beat the hell out of this girl. I just never forgot that.

IOM: When was that?

Sellers: Oh that would have been ’87 or ’88. Not long after I started here.

IOM: Other memories?

Sellers: There’s been a lot of stuff over the years though. We make contact with a lot of famous, very important people. I guess one of the biggest memories for me is B.B. King. He did a concert. They put a fence around a parking lot and they also had Bobby Blue Bland and all these others. Good concert. A lot of people came. At the end of the night, B.B. King sat in a folding chair at the door of his bus and he signed autographs until there was nobody left who wanted an autograph. I stood there just to make sure that nobody acted stupid. He got through and he looked at me and said, “Is there anybody else, officer?” And I said, “No sir, I think you’ve satisfied everybody.” He said, “Well I’m going to get on the bus, won’t you come in?” I said, “Yes sir.” So I went in B.B. King’s bus and sat there and talked to him for probably 30 to 45 minutes. I’m a blues fan. And B.B. King was playing some music in his bus and he could tell I was listening to it and he said, “That’s just an old blues man right there.” I said, “Yes sir, I know who that is. That’s Lightnin’ Hopkins.” He said, “How did you know that?” I mean I got to sit and have a conversation with B.B. King. You know you can’t replace that. That’s definitely one of those perks that you don’t realize that you’re going to have sometimes.

Charlie Daniels came. He was playing out in the Grove, and his manager came and said, “Charlie Daniels won’t admit it, but he can’t see very good. Would some of y’all come over here and have a flashlight and make sure he gets on the stage without falling?” So I did. And he got off his bus and it wasn’t like B.B. King where I went in and sat down. We had a 30-minute conversation. I just told him that when I was a younger man, the Charlie Daniels Band played a concert with the Rolling Stones in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, and I went to it. And I told him, I said, “Do you remember that?” He said, “I sure do.” He said, “We didn’t play with the Rolling Stones much, so I do remember the day.” I said, “It was a July 4th.” He said, “Yep, they played that afternoon. Got on a plane and flew – and played Willie Nelson’s 4th of July show.”

As far as famous musicians, we’ve had a lot of them here, and athletes. I remember when Shaquille O’Neil came to our gym as a freshman. I thought that was the biggest man I’d ever seen in my life. And then he went on from there to gain about 50 pounds.

We saw a bunch of them. A bunch of famous musicians. We don’t get the big name musicians anymore.

We had the Allman brothers. These are people from my generation. Dickey Betts (the Allman Brothers’ guitarist) and I stood at the side of the stage and watched a crowd before they went on. I got to talk to him. We tried to swap hats, but his cowboy hat was too little for my head.

The one thing I wished I’d have done is taken more pictures with some of these folks. Back in those days you had to have a camera. Now, everybody’s got a cell phone, you know, and, you’ve got a camera with you at all times.

We’ve also had dignitaries here. We’ve had kings and princesses, princes and, of course, governors from all the states. We’ve had the Texas governor here in the last two (football seasons). We get the Louisiana governor.

We have famous writers. John Grisham. Stephen King was here for a writer’s symposium one time. I knew Barry Hannah very well. Barry was a night person, you know, he slept all day, I guess, and was out all night.

There were presidential candidates. I met President Barack Obama (when he was a candidate in 2008). I didn’t meet (2008 presidential candidate) John McCain. I had met Obama when I was at MUW, actually.

As far as big name bands, we used to have – we used to get these bands right on the edge when they were just about to get big.

We had the Smashing Pumpkins. I never heard of those folks, you know. I remember them. We had R.E.M. here and I’d certainly never heard of them. They went on to do wonderful things in music. Widespread Panic, we had them once, and Better than Ezra. If I start naming them all, I’ll miss some.

We also had country acts like Hank Williams Jr. and Randy Travis and Alan Jackson.

We had Lenny Kravitz. That was a good show. If you enjoy music like I do, and I enjoy a lot of different types of music and I enjoyed getting to work that concert and be backstage with some of these folks. Lenny Kravitz had a female drummer. I got to talk to her.

You work with these musicians’ crews that come out, you know, they have somebody in charge of their security. And one of the things you realize real quick is you can’t judge anybody by what they look like. You know, they may have hair down to their waist and got tattoos on every part of the body you could see, but when you sit down with him and start talking about the job, he’s a professional. He knows what he’s doing.

IOM: What would you like to say about the staff that you have here?

Sellers: I’ve got some of the best people. If I have had any success at all here, it’s due to them. We’ve had success in the last few years. We were ranked the safest university in Southeastern Conference. We were ranked the safest university in the state of Mississippi. We were ranked two years in the top 10 safest universities in the country. That’s not a personal accomplishment. That’s the department’s accomplishment and that’s because I have a group so dedicated to our purpose, which is to have a safe campus.

We write goals every year. My number one goal every year, which we don’t need to write anymore, is we will be the safest campus we can be. I don’t need another goal. And that doesn’t need to change. If I accomplish that this year, than I need to accomplish it next year. You don’t reach a pinnacle and say, “You know, we’re a safe campus. We can quit.”

We interviewed two job candidates this morning. It’s not a requirement to be an officer here that you have a college degree, but we have more officers here with college degrees than any department we know of. I think that speaks a lot about our folks. A lot of them get that degree while they’re working here, just like I did. And that speaks a lot to a person that they’re just willing to keep going. You know, it’s easy to quit. It’s easy to quit. When you’ve got a job and a family and full-time responsibilities, going to school can get to be something that you just think you’re going to let go. But we have people that keep at it, while they’re working, getting that one class a semester or two classes a semester, until they get that degree. And that just speaks volumes for me about their dedication. I mean I’m not taking anything away from somebody who gets to come to school and has scholarships and financing. They can go to school for four straight years and get their degree. But that guy, or that lady, that had to work all night and then go to class that morning, that’s kind of a special person. I’ve got a lot of those working here.

IOM: This may be hard to narrow down, but I want to know your favorite experience at Ole Miss. Is there something that stands out to you?

Sellers: As far as accomplishments, I was proud that we got the presidential debate, but I don’t think I can narrow it down to one. I mean I’ve been so proud of the accomplishments of the university. I am proud of that (debate), but I don’t think that stands out as much to me as some of the accomplishments of the university that maybe the public doesn’t pay much attention to. You know, our university does some great things. From the medical down to we put such an emphasis here on acceptance, and I think we’re all learning. That never stops. You know, we continue to learn how to get along with people who are not like you, and we have to make an effort. Our university makes an effort. … And this is my opinion, and I could be wrong, but I think we do more for race relations at Ole Miss than any other university in the United States. We don’t get credit for it, but we do.

IOM: Moving on from the professional side of your time here, what does Calvin Sellers do when he’s not working? What are your hobbies, your interests?

Sellers: I shoot shotguns. I shoot trap and skeet. I ride a Harley Davidson motorcycle. I play a little golf, not a lot. I’m not very good, but I play. This job consumes so much of my time. From the time we start in the fall, when we start in August, I don’t get a weekend until Christmas. Every weekend we have something going on with football and when football’s not here, there’s always something else going on. I used to deer hunt, but you don’t have time.

IOM: What’s your timeline for stepping down?

Sellers: May 31.

IOM: Do you know anything about who will be your replacement? Has that been determined yet?

Sellers: No. I’m not sure they’ve even posted that job yet.

IOM: Do you have any parting words or parting wisdom – anything else you’d like to say about your time here at Ole Miss?

Sellers: I loved it. It’s kind of crazy, I guess. I think I’ve got the best job in the state of Mississippi in my field. I do. There’s not another chief of police job anywhere in the state that I’d want, but I’m going to walk away from it.

IOM: It’s probably not easy to leave, right?

Sellers: No it’s not. I think it’s time. I’ve got 32 years in, and I’m 62 years old. And I’m still basically healthy. I don’t look like it, but I want to have a few years where I can, you know, enjoy doing some things while I’ve still got the health to do it. I want to ride my motorcycle to California. I want to ride up that Pacific Coast Highway. You know, those are things that are going to take three or four weeks to do. And I want to do that while I’ve still got the health to do it. There’s also a few places I want to go.

I like to read and I like to listen to music. I’ve got a lot of books that I bought over the years that I never have read. So I could spend a long time just reading books that I bought. I’m the world’s worst. Don’t take me to a book store. I buy them and I never read them.

… There’s been a lot of changes over the years. The people you come in contact with come and go – the different chancellors and vice chancellors and university attorneys that have come through. You build these working relationships with these folks. You don’t ever forget them. And it’s been good. I hope the next guy that comes has as much fun and has as much success as I’ve had. If I’ve had success though, it’s not a credit to me, it’s to the people who work here. They’re good people.