Staff Appreciation Week Offers a Variety of Fun Events

Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

The University of Mississippi Staff Council will celebrate Ole Miss staff members May 16-20 with Staff Appreciation Week.

The weeklong celebration will include learning opportunities, fun and active events and social gatherings. Staff members are also invited to access the Turner Center facilities free of charge during the entire week, just by showing a staff ID card.

Here is a full schedule of events:


“Plants that Work Well in Your Yard” – 10-11 a.m., Student Union, Room 404. Jeff McManus, director of Landscape Services, will present a fun and informative lecture on home landscaping, followed by a Q&A session.

Kick Off to a Healthy Staff Appreciation Week – 11 a.m.-noon, Manning Center. RebelWell will host light yoga in the Manning Center. Staff will exercise with some members of the Ole Miss athletics staff.

Maintenance Monday 4-5 p.m., Ole Miss Bike Shop. The UM bike mechanic will teach participants how to keep their bikes in working order to improve safety, comfort and speed. To register for the workshop, email

Aqua Aerobics 5:15-6:15 p.m., Turner Center pool. Staff members are invited to bring their swimsuits for this fun, high-resistance workout. This cardio workout, in deep or shallow water, will support the body to reduce the risk of muscle and joint injury.



Mississippi Blood Services Blood Drive 9 a.m.-4 p.m., the Circle. Mississippi Blood Services will have their coach bus in the Circle throughout the day for anyone that wants to give life and donate blood. All donors get a T-shirt and great prizes and giveaways will be available. To donate, bring a form of identification.

Learn First Aid and CPR 10-11 a.m., Yerby Center Conference Room. Learn the basics of first aid and CPR through a demonstration of safety procedures.

Zumba 4-5 p.m., Grove Stage (Rain location: Student Union, Room 405). Get in your exercise while dancing by participating in this group fitness event in the Grove. All you need is workout clothes and tennis shoes to join in on one of the most popular workout routines.

Aqua Aerobics 5:15-6:15 p.m., Turner Center pool. Come back to the Turner Center for round two of aqua aerobics to get some more cardio in before the end of the day.



Mississippi Blood Services Blood Drive 9 a.m.-4 p.m., the Circle. Mississippi Blood Services will be back for a second day, for anyone wanting to donate blood.

Music and Meditation – 10-11 a.m., Paris-Yates Chapel. Join the Staff Council for “The UM Family: A Celebration of Togetherness” that will include inspirational messages and music from talented staff members.

Belly Dancing 2-3 p.m., Student Union, Room 405. Learn a fun and quick choreographed belly dance with fellow staff members to stay active and increase confidence. Staff members will learn foundational moves of the Middle Eastern dance, including shimmies, hip drops, turns and traveling movements. You’ll laugh and sweat a lot!



Plant Swap 10-11:30 a.m., Student Union porch (Rain location: Union Lobby). Bring a plant (or three) and swap them with friends to add variety to homes with duplicate plants. To participate, make sure the plants you wish to swap are rooted and have a card with the common name and planting directions. This year, seeds can also be swapped by placing them in a labeled envelope or closed plastic bag for exchange.

Yoga and Yogurt 12:30-1:30 p.m., Student Union, Room 404. At this RebelWell event, a fitness instructor will teach participants “desk yoga,” which will help refresh you throughout the workday for those short on time. This 20-minute yoga instruction session will be followed by a complimentary yogurt retreat.

Aqua Aerobics 5:15-6:15 p.m., Turner Center pool. Join the Staff Council once again for core, arm and leg exercises at the Turner Center.



Staff Recognition Awards Ceremony 9 a.m., Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Chancellor Jeff Vitter, Director of Admissions Whitman Smith and the Staff Council honor employees who have served the university from five years to 47 years, as well as recognizing outstanding staff members. Door prizes will be awarded at the conclusion, but you must be present to win!

Staff Lunch 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Rebel Market. Join the Staff Council for lunch at the Rebel Market, inside Paul B. Johnson Commons.

Basketball Tournament 1-3:30 p.m., Turner Center. A three-on-three basketball tournament for staff members. To register, contact Sovent Taylor at by Wednesday (May 18).

Kickball 1-3:30 p.m., Intramural Fields. Throwback to your childhood with an exciting game of kickball. There will be two teams, with 10 members per team, but the winner will have all the bragging rights. Deadline to register is Tuesday (May 10). Email the registration form to

Karaoke 1-3:30 p.m., Student Union Lobby. Show off your talents and mingle with fellow staff members by belting out those tunes! A wide variety of musical selections is available, so don’t be shy. Prizes will also be awarded.

Bingo 1-3:30 p.m., Student Union Food Court. Everyone will receive one card for each unwrapped white elephant gift you bring, which is something you have at home that’s usable, but that you no longer need or want. Additional bingo cards can be purchased for $1, which proceeds benefitting the Children of Staff Scholarship Fund. For a bonus, bring your extra dollars for the Jar of Dollars, where each dollar you put in buys a chance to win all the money in the jar! This is optional, but someone has to win and it might be you!

Field Day 1-3:30 p.m., Intramural Fields and the Circle. Remember how great field day was in grade school? Relive those days with this event, hosted by RebelWell. Teams of five will compete in classic games such as the three-legged race, tug of war and a trike race. Register to compete by Wednesday (May 18).

UM Museum to Host Educational Summer Camps for Children

Sessions available for variety of interests and ages

The UM Museum will host summer camps for all ages during June and July.

The UM Museum will host summer camps for all ages during June and July.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Museum will host educational summer day camps for children of all ages throughout June and July.

The weeklong camps, broken down into age groups, allow children to learn the ins and outs of the museum and create their own masterpieces inspired by current exhibits.

“Museum camps are a fun and educational way for kids to experience the museum and experiment with a wide range of artistic mediums,” said Emily McCauley, the museum’s curator of education. “Each week, we will explore a new theme, and children can register for one or more weeks of camp. Summers at the museum are a busy, fun time, and we can’t wait to make new discoveries through art this summer.”

Here is the full schedule of camps:

For Children Entering Preschool or Kindergarten

Meet Me at the Museum! Mini Master Summer Camp, 9-11 a.m. July 25-29 – This camp is for children ages 3 to 5. These mini masters will be ready to head back to preschool or kindergarten after making their own artworks inspired by toddler stories and art from the museum’s collections. An adult must accompany all participants, but one guardian can supervise multiple children. Coffee and snacks will be provided for parents or guardians.

For Children Entering Grades 1-5

Coast to Coast: American Art, 9 a.m.-noon June 13-17 – Children will learn about artists across America, including the West Coast art of Morris Graves, Southern folk art and art haven of New York City. Young artists will get to create their own masterpieces inspired by the work of great American artists.

Science and Art, 9 a.m.-noon June 20-24 – Young artists will explore art inspired by science and science that becomes art. Participants can explore nature and create their own art inspired by basic biology, physics and chemistry.

Tribal Art, 9 a.m.-noon June 27-July 1 – Children will view rare artifacts in the museum collection and learn about indigenous cultures from the United States, Panama, Australia and Ghana to inspire their own masterpieces.

Museum Mania, 9 a.m.-noon July 18-22 – During this camp, children will learn about the different jobs in a museum, as well as the ins and outs of the exhibits. Young artists will get to view the collection in the vault and then build and publicize their own miniature museum.

For Children Entering Grades 6-8

All About Art: Middle School Edition, 1-4 p.m. July 25-29 – Middle-schoolers will experiment with different types of art, including drawing, illustrating, painting and sculpture after drawing inspiration from UM Museum collections and exhibits.

Each weeklong camp costs $60 for museum members at the Family level and above and $80 for nonmembers. All supplies and snacks are included.

A limited number of need-based scholarships are available. Families can request a scholarship application by contacting McCauley at 662-915-7205 or

Space is limited and registration is online only. Click here to register your child for a camp. A computer for registration is available at the museum front desk, if needed.

UM LIGO Among Recipients of $3 Million Award

Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics backed by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs

Members of the UM LIGO Team include (from left) Mohammad Afrough, graduate student; Camillo Cocchieri, visiting scholar; Marco Cavaglia associate professor of of physics and astronomy; Katherine Dooley, assistant professor of physics and astronomy; and Jared Wofford and Hunter Gabbard, both undergraduate research assistants. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Members of the UM LIGO Team include (from left) Mohammad Afrough, graduate student; Camillo Cocchieri, visiting scholar; Marco Cavaglia associate professor of physics and astronomy; Katherine Dooley, assistant professor of physics and astronomy; and Jared Wofford and Hunter Gabbard, both undergraduate research assistants. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Physicists at the University of Mississippi will share in a $3 million prize being awarded to more than 1,000 scientists for their historic discovery of gravitational waves.

The Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics will be shared among Kip Thorne, Rainer Weiss and Ronald Drever, founders of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory Scientific Collaboration, and scores of physicists and engineers on the team.

The three founders will divide $1 million among them, with the remaining $2 million shared equally by the 1,012 other researchers and engineers on the LIGO team. Each receives about $2,000. The prizes will be awarded at a formal ceremony later this year.

“I was happy to know that the work of all my LIGO and Virgo colleagues and I were recognized in such a way,” said Marco Cavaglia, UM associate professor of physics and astronomy and assistant spokesperson for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. “The prize itself is not important, but the recognition for being part of a scientific breakthrough, that’s really exciting!”

Katherine Dooley, UM assistant professor of physics and astronomy and senior member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, expressed a similar response.

“The award is certainly a very welcome surprise and honor,” she said. “I appreciate the decision by the selection committee to share the award amongst everyone who worked towards making this discovery possible. I hope the press coverage will result in a continued engagement of the public’s fascination with the discovery and encourage a new generation of curious scientists.”

Thorne, professor of theoretical physics at California Institute of Technology, said it was a “great pleasure” to share the prize with the LIGO team, and spoke of his profound gratitude to the team “for pulling off this discovery so successfully.”

“Gravitational waves are a whole new way to explore the universe,” he said. “They are the ideal tool for probing phenomena in which gravity is ultra-strong, and space and time are strongly warped, such as colliding black holes and the universe’s big bang birth.”

It is likely, for example, that a great richness of weird phenomena occurred in the first fraction of a second after the universe was born, Thorne said. Gravitational waves are likely to reveal the details.

“For centuries into the future, gravitational waves will be used, hand-in-hand with electromagnetic waves, to explore the universe,” he said.

The LIGO team’s observation of gravitational waves brought a 50-year search to a spectacular conclusion. Using twin instruments sensitive enough to detect distortions in space-time as small as one-thousandth the diameter of an atomic nucleus, they recorded the gravitational shudders released when two black holes spiraled ever closer together and ultimately collided in a violent merger.

“Things that seemed like science fiction when I was a graduate student are now real as a result of the LIGO observation of gravitational waves,” said Ed Witten, chair of the prize selection committee. “Now that we are able to observe gravitational waves, there is no telling what we will find. It may be that the skies are full of ‘cosmic strings’ that we can only observe because of their gravitational signal.”

The cash is the latest to be handed out by the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, an organization backed by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, including the Russian internet billionaire, Yuri Milner, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Anne Wojcicki, the co-founder of 23andme. The foundation has handed out more than $160 million to scientists since the prizes were established in 2012.

The intention, Milner has said, is to raise the public profile of scientists and turn them into the nerdy equivalent of rock stars.

“I am extremely pleased that the organizers of the Breakthrough prize have decided to honor the entire team of people that made the discovery,” said Weiss, professor of mathematical physics at MIT. He feels the prizes could help convey complex science to the public.

“If they are associated with a proper and easy-to-understand explanation of the science, they serve a wonderful purpose to bring everyone into the action,” he said.

That should not be understated, Thorne said.

“Their greatest value, I think, is to raise public awareness of science and its remarkable achievements,” he said. “And that is very important. Science is a crucial tool for the future of humanity and for solving today’s societal problems; but science cannot achieve its potential unless the public understands and appreciates it. Prizes like this are an important part of that.”

The Gruber Foundation also recently presented the 2016 Cosmology Prize to Weiss, Thorne, Drever and the entire LIGO team for pursuing a vision to observe the universe in gravitational waves, leading to a first detection that emanated from the collision of two black holes.

This remarkable event provided the first glimpse into the strong‐gravity regime of Einstein’s theory of general relativity that governs the dynamics of black holes, giving direct evidence for their existence, and demonstrating that their nature is consistent with the predictions of general relativity.”

Last month, Milner and Stephen Hawking launched the Breakthrough Starshot, an ambitious space project that aims to solve the technological problems that stand in the way of hurling a tiny, lightweight probe to our nearest star, Alpha Centauri, 25 trillion miles away.

“I really hope that the Breakthrough Starshot idea will prove to be practical,” Witten said. “There are a lot of technical obstacles to overcome. It probably sounds as far away as gravitational wave detection sounded when LIGO got started around 1970 or so.

“LIGO only became real because people were excited and worked hard and the U.S. National Science Foundation was willing to make a huge and risky investment.”

Here’s a Quick Guide to Commencement

Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

The University of Mississippi will present degrees to more than 4,000 students Saturday (May 14) at its 163rd Commencement. The ceremony, set for 9 a.m. in the Grove, features renowned broadcast news anchor Tom Brokaw as speaker.

The College of Liberal Arts and individual school ceremonies will follow at various locations throughout the day.

In case of rain, the main ceremony will be moved to 9:30 a.m. at The Pavilion at Ole Miss. If the weather is threatening, a decision on moving the ceremony indoors will be made by 8 a.m. and announced through media outlets, text messaging and the Ole Miss website.

You can access our online campus map and select commencement for up-to-date Commencement venues, information booths, shuttle stops, parking areas, and restaurant and restroom locations.

If you are not able to attend Commencement but would like to watch the ceremony, we will be live streaming morning Convocation from the Grove. Please visit The stream will begin promptly at 9 a.m.

To help make your visit to campus more enjoyable, here are a few important pieces of information.

Full Schedule of Commencement Events

Friday, May 13

4 p.m. – Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College Ceremony, Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts (tickets required, contact the Dean’s Office)

7:30 p.m. – Graduate School doctoral hooding ceremony, Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts

Saturday, May 14

9 a.m. – Convocation, the Grove

Inclement Weather – 9:30 a.m., The Pavilion

11 a.m. – College of Liberal Arts master’s degree ceremony, Fulton Chapel

Inclement Weather – 11 a.m., Jackson Avenue Center

School of Law – the Grove
Inclement Weather – 5 p.m., Manning Center

School of Engineering – Lyceum Circle
Inclement Weather – 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m., Fulton Chapel (Contact the Dean’s office for individual department ceremony times.)

School of Education – the Grove
Inclement Weather – 2:30 p.m., C. M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum

School of Business Administration – C. M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum

Patterson School of Accountancy – Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts (Tickets required; contact the Dean’s Office.)

School of Applied Sciences – The Pavilion

General StudiesManning Center

2:30 p.m. College of Liberal Arts – The Pavilion

School of Pharmacy – Manning Center

Meek School of Journalism and New Media – Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts (Tickets required; contact the Dean’s Office.)

*Overflow for Ford Center will be in the center’s Studio Theater.

Parking and Transportation

It is recommended that you park in the lots designated for the school or college ceremony you will be attending after convocation concludes. A full list of these designated parking areas can be found here.

A printable guide to parking and other information can be found here.

No parking or drop-off will be available on University Avenue or the Circle. Note that once Convocation starts, vehicle access to the Grove is limited until Convocation and school ceremonies in the Grove conclude.

For safety reasons, parking is not permitted along roadways, sidewalks or grassy areas.

ADA Information

A shuttle service will be available for handicapped and elderly visitors. All guests who require assistance should park in the garage attached to The Pavilion on Hill Drive. Wheelchairs, if needed, must be provided by families. To request assistance, call 662-915-7235.

Emergency Medical Services

EMS will be available at the UPD area of the Welcome Center on University Avenue for Commencement and the remainder of the day. All information booths and ceremony venues will have basic first-aid kits. For immediate assistance, dial 911.

Information Booths

Should you need additional assistance, information booths will be located around campus to provide assistance with shuttle inquiries, maps, driving directions, UPD communication, general first aid supplies and lost-and-found. Complimentary water will also be available.

  • Entrance to the parking garage at The Pavilion on Hill Drive
  • Welcome Center on University Avenue by the Grove (official UPD EMS station)
  • Entrance to Tad Smith Coliseum
  • South side of Manning Center
  • Ford Center
  • Intersection of West Road and Fraternity Row
  • Rebel Drive-Fraternity Row intersection
  • Student Union Drive-Rebel Drive intersection
  • University Avenue-University Place

Construction Begins on NPHC Greek Garden

Space for African-American organizations to be complete by fall

Student representatives from each NPHC organization on the Ole Miss campus participated in the groundbreaking ceremony Saturday, April 23. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Student representatives from each NPHC organization on the Ole Miss campus participated in the groundbreaking ceremony Saturday, April 23. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi officially began construction on a garden space honoring several historically African-American fraternities and sororities with a groundbreaking ceremony April 23.

The National Pan-Hellenic Council Greek Garden is expected to be complete by early fall. The garden, next to the new residence hall between Crosby Hall and the Northgate housing complex, will serve as a symbolic space for the nine African-American Greek organizations, as none of those organizations have properties on campus.

“This was a venture that started a long time ago,” said Donald Cole, UM assistant provost and assistant to the chancellor for multicultural affairs, speaking to both alumni and undergraduate members of NPHC organizations at the morning ceremony.

“Through understanding, misunderstanding and a lot of education, this has finally come to fruition. It says in a very small way that we love this institution and this institution loves us. We want you to promote this garden, we want you to promote the University of Mississippi and we want this to be an experience we will never forget all the days of our lives.”

About 125 people attended the ceremony under sunny skies. Among them was Takiiah Parker, a junior from Oxford and president of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority.

When Sigma Gamma Rho was founded in 1922 at Butler University in Indianapolis, it created memories and left historical marks forever on the campus, Parker said.

“With this NPHC garden at this predominately white institution, I am hoping it does the same for my chapter here at this university,” she said. “This garden will help my chapter make its physical mark for legacies on down the road. It means a lot to me to finally have a place we can call ours.”

Eight of the university’s NPHC organizations have active chapters on campus, with the ninth expected to be active this fall.

“This garden is important on so many levels,” said Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs. “This space will serve as a gathering place for current members, but will also be a tribute to alumni and a point of pride for incoming students.”

Construction of the garden is made possible by Division of Administration and Finance, the Division of Student Affairs and the Department of Student Housing.

UM Professor Hopes To Revolutionize Alloy Development

Amrita Mishra explores using technology to find 'the right recipe'

Amrita Mishra

Amrita Mishra

OXFORD, Miss. – Discovering, developing and commercializing alloys and other advanced materials can take up to 20 years, but a University of Mississippi mechanical engineering professor hopes to speed up the process by applying computational methods to the periodic table.

A paper detailing that work co-authored by Amrita Mishra, a UM assistant professor, and seven other professors from other universities was published recently in Scientific Reports, a publication of Nature.

Alloys are materials made up of a blend of elements, Mishra said. Finding the right mixture of elements from the periodic table, which often happens in the lab by accident, is almost like cooking a new recipe in some ways, she said.

“The best way I describe this to my students is that if I asked them to make hot chocolate, everyone’s hot chocolate would taste different because of the amount and type of sugar, cocoa powder and milk they might add, just like similar elements in the periodic table,” Mishra said. “What we are trying to do is give engineers and scientists a recipe for which elements we would add for materials to function properly for a particular application.”

Her research is in alignment with the Materials Genome Initiative launched by the White House in 2011.

The idea behind Mishra’s work is that discovery of new materials can be accelerated by establishing design rules based on thermodynamics and electronic structure calculations.

Her hypothesis is that combining and utilizing computational methods with more traditional experiments will provide a methodology for creating composition-structure and structure-property correlations, thereby accelerating the pace of discovery of new materials and alloys. 

The research is mostly done through theoretical and computational methods.

“We spend so much time on experimentation and trial-and-error methods, but we want to move away from that,” Mishra said. “We can do this by developing and using methods, which involve studying the thermodynamics and atomic arrangement of materials. Atomic interactions can predict how a material is going to perform for various applications.”

One of her research areas is focused on finding new alloy materials for turbine blades used in jet engines in hopes of finding a replacement for nickel-based super alloys, which have been around for more than 60 years. There has been some recent interest in cobalt super alloys as a potential replacement.

Mishra is trying to secure federal funding for her research.

“Advanced materials are the key for the next generation of research in clean energy, human welfare and national security,” she said. “Accelerating the pace of discovery and the deployment of modern materials is crucial in achieving global competitiveness in this day and age.”

The potential for Mishra’s research is exciting, given the difficulties materials science and engineers face when determining the proper mixture to obtain the correct property, said Josh Gladden, UM interim vice chancellor of research and sponsored programs. The number of possible combinations is so large, it’s not realistic to investigate all of them, he said.

“Prediction tools and methodologies such as the one Dr. Mishra is developing will help overcome a significant barrier in designing better materials, which will lead to wide-ranging benefits to society,” Gladden said. “The University of Mississippi is proud and excited to have her on our faculty and looks forward to many more exciting developments from her group.”

UM Social Work Department Makes Huge Strides

Transformation includes tenure-track faculty hirings, rising national rankings for master's program

Jandel Crutchfield presents her social work research.

Jandel Crutchfield presents her social work research.

OXFORD, Miss. – With a significant climb in national rankings and the hiring of tenure-track faculty, the Department of Social Work at the University of Mississippi is experiencing unprecedented growth.

U.S. News and World Report ranked the department’s master’s program No. 103 out of 200 nationally, which is a 45-spot climb since 2013. In addition, seven new professors have joined the department, each bringing years of expertise in the field.

“Basically, we wanted to make the University of Mississippi Department of Social Work nationally visible and continue providing flagship-quality education and mentorship to students,” said Daphne Cain, chair and associate professor of social work. “We’re doing that.”

Formerly interim director of social work at Louisiana State University, Cain accepted the position here in 2014. A graduate of the University of Tennessee, her research interests include disaster mental health and parenting interventions with high-risk and vulnerable families.

“After arriving here, many of my goals were to hire new tenure-track faculty from premier social work programs, grow the graduate program and improving licensure exam passing rates,” she said. “These professors, whose research interests range from addictive behaviors to economic insecurity and poverty, are experts in the discipline.”

The latest rankings demonstrate the department’s effort to become one of the best places to earn an MSW, said Velmer Burton, dean of UM’s School of Applied Sciences and professor of social work.

“We are all pleased with the progress the department’s faculty and staff have made over the past three years,” Burton said. “The continued success of our MSW program is a testament to the value of investing in our people and programs in the School of Applied Sciences.”

Viktor Burlaka shares a moment with his social work students.

Viktor Burlaka shares a moment with his social work students.

Other new social work faculty are Javier Boyas, Viktor Burlaka, Jandel Crutchfield, Yi-Jin Kim, Tess Lefmann and Younghee Lim. Institutions they earned doctorates from include Boston College, the University of Michigan, LSU, the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Tennessee. Each has had peer-reviewed articles published in various professional journals.

“The department has been able to recruit some of the brightest scholars in social work over the past three years,” said Mark Loftin, associate dean of the applied sciences school. “This upward trend in the social work department is very exciting.”

The academic mission of the Department of Social Work is one that aligns with the UM Creed, Provost Morris Stocks said.

“In and out of the classroom, the social work department pursues the ideals of respect, civility and freedom for all people,” Stocks said. “The University of Mississippi is proud of the department’s growth and academic success.”

Established in 1974, the Department of Social Work’s mission is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic needs of all people – with particular attention to the needs of those who are vulnerable, oppressed and living in poverty.

For more information, visit

Online MBA Earns First-Place Ranking from College Choice

UM program scores high in qualities important for students choosing a graduate program

1page_collegechoice-1OXFORD, Miss. – Consistently ranked among the nation’s top programs for some time, the University of Mississippi’s online Master of Business Administration degree program has been ranked No. 1 based on what students feel are the most important factors when choosing a college for post-graduate studies.

Working with data from the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA that explains the most important factors for students, the College Choice ranking system determined that the Ole Miss online MBA program had the highest values in areas students are looking for as they make decisions on where to pursue a degree.

The survey system gives weight equally to four parts of evaluation done by graduates and students in the program. These parts include a school’s academic reputation, value, career success for graduates and overall cost.

“Because location is by definition less of a factor in online learning, our online MBA rankings are based primarily on reputation and affordability,” said Robert Hand of College Choice. “And as you move your way up the list, you will find a unique balance between these two important considerations when evaluating what fits best for a student, their present opportunities and their aspirations.”

The university’s online MBA program is also ranked among the country’s top 25 online MBA programs by U.S. News and World Report.

“We are especially pleased to hear that this latest high ranking is based around the factors that actual students feel they need to be successful,” said Ashley Jones, the university’s director of MBA administration. “We collaborate with faculty and alumni to make sure the online MBA program is as highly-engaging and inspiring as the in-person program.”

For more information about the online MBA program at UM, visit

Law School Student Publishing Sets New Record

Twenty-eight UM students accept publication offers

A record 28 Mississippi Law Journal student members published this spring.

A record 28 Mississippi Law Journal student members published this spring.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Law has enjoyed another banner year for student publishing.

Twenty-eight student members of the Mississippi Law Journal accepted publication offers this spring, with a record 16 of those offers coming from outside journals such as the Gonzaga Law Review, the South Dakota Law Review, the Southern Methodist University Journal of Air Law and Commerce, and the Wake Forest Journal of Law and Policy.

Last year, 10 students published externally, with another 19 publishing with the Mississippi Law Journal.

“I think this success speaks to our students’ abilities,” said Ben Cooper, associate dean for academic affairs. “It is quite an achievement for our students to get their articles published in outside law journals where they are competing with law professors, practicing lawyers and judges for publication slots.”

This publishing success is direct result of the Mississippi Law Journal’s rigorous comment development program, a writing program for the journal’s second-year members, who must author articles for potential publication as part of their membership on the journal.

The comment program is run by third-year journal members C.J. Robison and Merry Johnson, who serve as executive notes and comments editors. The comment program provides students with structure and guidance from faculty, third-year-law mentors and their second-year peers.

The writing process starts at the beginning of the fall semester and ends in February. Students attend MLJ seminars, discuss paper topics, create outlines, write drafts and finally submit their finished work to various journals. Most students also write in conjunction with writing courses taught by faculty.

The journal’s success in publishing is a testament to the school’s commitment to both teaching and research, Robinson said. Publishing can be a challenge, especially externally.

“A lot of outside journals will not publish student-written pieces” Robinson said. “They want a practitioner or professor.”

“I think our success in publishing is primarily attributable to two factors,” Cooper said. “First, the hard work and dedication of our students. Completing a comment worthy of publication requires a lot of hard work.

“Second, Professor Jack Nowlin’s outstanding and innovative Academic Legal Writing class. Professor Nowlin has put tremendous effort into developing that class and untold hours helping students improve their comments.”

Nowlin, the school’s associate dean and MLJ faculty adviser, heads Academic Legal Writinga special writing seminar for second-year journal students. Each year, the seminar coordinates with the journal’s comment program, instructs half the journal’s econd-year-law members and helps train students for later third-year editorial work.

Nowlin is a strong supporter of student publishing.

“Student scholarship is very important,” Nowlin said. “It’s a chance as a student to really enter the world of the legal profession and influence law and public policy. And the skills the students learn – research, writing and argument – serve them well for the rest of their careers. The publication credential is also a big help with employment.”

Besides the Academic Legal Writing class, the school offers writing seminars on a variety of other topics such as criminal law, constitutional law, intellectual property, civil rights, international trade and aviation law.

“Our faculty’s dedication to student scholarship has been a major foundation of our success,” Nowlin said.

Cate Rodgers, a second-year law student and new editor-in-chief of the Mississippi Law Journal, is publishing her article with University of Denver’s Transportation Law Journal.

“A publication credential has many benefits,” Rodgers said. “On a personal level, a publication enhances your resume and sets you apart in the job market. There is also a level of prestige attached to an external publication specifically because the student competes on a level playing field with practitioners and professors.”

A list of students who published, with their paper titles and a link to their articles on SSRN, can be found on the Intellectual Life section of the law school website.

To learn more about student scholarship, please visit the Student Scholarship page on the Intellectual Life section of the website.

Meet Mary Ann Crocker, April’s Staff Member of the Month

Mary Ann Crocker

Mary Ann Crocker

Mary Ann Crocker, senior administrative secretary at the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience, has been selected as Staff Council’s Staff Member of the Month for April. To help us get to know her better, Crocker answered a few questions for Inside Ole Miss.

IOM: How long have you worked at Ole Miss?

Crocker: Sixteen years and 3 months. I started work at Ole Miss on Jan. 11, 1999.

IOM: What is your hometown?

Crocker: Coffeeville, Mississippi

IOM: What is your favorite Ole Miss memory?

Crocker: There are so many good memories here at the university (that) it would be difficult to choose just one!

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

Crocker: Working at the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience is very rewarding. We see students from all over campus, but mainly freshmen. Watching them mature from nervous freshmen to confidant graduates is most satisfying. The faculty and staff here are dedicated to the success of all students and it is a joy to work with these people.

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

Crocker: I enjoy reading books of all kinds.

IOM: What is one thing on your bucket list?

Crocker: I would like to take a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railroad. That would be the thrill of a lifetime!

IOM: What is your favorite Ole Miss tradition?

Crocker: The football team walking through the Grove on game day is exciting and something each student, staff member and faculty member should enjoy at least once.

IOM: If you could have lunch with anyone alive or dead/fictional or real, who would it be and why?

Crocker: I would like to talk with Dr. Charles R. Gates, the first director of the Academic Support Center, and tell him how his dream (of a freshman center) has grown into reality as the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience.

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