SEC Announces 2014-15 Academic Leadership Development Program Fellows

BISEC_new_logo-copyRMINGHAM, Ala.  Forty-eight faculty members and administrators from Southeastern Conference universities have been selected as 2014-15 SEC Academic Leadership Development Program fellows.

The SEC Academic Leadership Development Program is a professional development program that seeks to identify, prepare and advance academic leaders for roles within SEC institutions and beyond. It has two components: a university-level development program designed by each institution for its own participants, and two three-day, SEC-wide workshops held on specified campuses for all program participants.

This year’s workshops will be Oct. 13-15 at the University of Missouri in Columbia, and Feb. 18-20, 2015, at Texas A&M University in College Station.

The SEC ALDP is managed locally by a liaison, who is designated by provosts to serve as the primary point of contact on each campus. Liaisons lead their fellows through the yearlong SEC ALDP and organize university development opportunities.

“The SEC ALDP, through formal workshops and on-campus activities, aims to provide future academic leaders the opportunity to learn and develop the skills needed to meet the challenges of academic leadership,” said Peter Ryan, the program liaison at Mississippi State University and chair of the SEC ALDP.

Since its inception in 2008, SEC ALDP has graduated more than 230 faculty and academic administrators, and program alumni have become deans and provosts at universities around the SEC and country, including Laurence Alexander from the University of Florida’s 2012-13 cohort who is chancellor at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

The SEC Academic Leadership Development Program is part of SECU, the conference’s academic initiative. SECU serves as the primary mechanism through which the collaborative academic endeavors and achievements of SEC universities are promoted and advanced.

The 2014-15 SEC Academic Leadership Development Program fellows are:

Lisa Lindquist Dorr, University of Alabama, associate dean of social sciences, College of Arts & Sciences

Diane Johnson, University of Alabama, senior associate dean, Culverhouse College of Commerce

Alice March, University of Alabama, associate dean for graduate programs, College of Nursing

Joseph Phelps, University of Alabama, department chair, Communication & Information Sciences

Micah Hale, University of Arkansas, associate department head, Civil Engineering

Bart Hammig, University of Arkansas, department chair, Health, Human Performance & Recreation

Cynthia Sagers, University of Arkansas, associate vice provost for research, Biological Sciences

Kathryn Sloan, University of Arkansas, department chair, History

DeWayne Searcy, Auburn University, director, School of Accountancy

Bret Smith, Auburn University, interim associate dean for academic affairs,

College of Architecture, Design & Construction

Ana Franco-Watkins, Auburn University, undergraduate program director, Department of Psychology

Mark Law, University of Florida, director, Honors Program

Robert Ries, University of Florida, director, M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Building Construction

Melissa Harshman, University of Georgia, director, First Year Odyssey Program

Stephen Miller, University of Georgia, director, Bioimaging Research Center

Judith Wasserman, University of Georgia, director, Advanced Visualization Initiative

Kimberly Ward Anderson, University of Kentucky, associate dean for administration & academic

affairs, College of Engineering

Karen Badger, University of Kentucky, associate dean of academic & student affairs, College of Social Work

Kathryn Cardarelli, University of Kentucky, associate dean for academic & student affairs, College of Public Health

Andrew Hippisley, University of Kentucky, director, Linguistics Program

Jacqueline Bach, LSU, Elena & Albert LeBlanc Professor, English Education & Curriculum Theory

Troy Blanchard, LSU, associate dean, College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Joan King, LSU, undergraduate curriculum coordinator, School of Nutrition & Food Sciences

Meghan Sanders, LSU, associate dean for sponsored research & programs, Manship School of Mass Communications

Virginia Rougon Chavis, University of Mississippi, department chair, Art

Amy Wells Dolan, University of Mississippi, associate dean, School of Education

Steven Skultety, University of Mississippi, department chair, Philosophy & Religion

Donna West-Strum, University of Mississippi, department chair, Pharmacy Administration

David Dampier, Mississippi State University, director, Distributed Analytics & Security Institute

Mark Lawrence, Mississippi State University, associate dean, College of Veterinary Medicine

Rebecca Long, Mississippi State University, interim associate dean, Graduate School, College of Business

David Morse, Mississippi State University, interim department head, Educational Psychology

Heidi Appel, University of Missouri, senior associate director, Honors College

Bryan Garton, University of Missouri, associate dean, College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources

Christopher Hardin, University of Missouri, department chair, Nutrition & Exercise Physiology

Matthew Martens, University of Missouri, interim division executive director, College of Education

Christy Friend, University of South Carolina, director, Center for Teaching Excellence

Augie Grant, University of South Carolina, J. Rion McKissick Professor of Journalism

Robert Ployhart, University of South Carolina, Bank of America Professor of Business Administration

Sara Wilcox, University of South Carolina, director, Prevention Research Center

William Dunne, University of Tennessee, associate dean for research, College of Engineering

Bruce MacLennan, University of Tennessee, Faculty Senate president

Brent Mallinckrodt, University of Tennessee, associate dean for graduate studies, College of Arts & Sciences

Lane Morris, University of Tennessee, associate dean for undergraduate programs & student affairs, College of Business Administration

Richard Kreider, Texas A&M University, department head, Health & Kinesiology

Kirsten Pullen, Texas A&M University, director of graduate studies, Performance Studies

David Threadgill, Texas A&M University, director, Whole Systems Genomics Initiative

Douglas Woods, Texas A&M University, department head, Department of Psychology

Homecoming Week 2014 Student Events

Monday, Oct. 13

10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Homecoming Photo Booth, Student Union Plaza

10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Free SnoBiz, Student Union Plaza

Tuesday, Oct. 14

12:15-1:15 p.m. Union Unplugged, Student Union Plaza

4 p.m. Walk with the Chancellor, Meet on the front steps of the Lyceum

7-11 p.m. Laser Tag in the Grove, Student Union Plaza

Wednesday, Oct. 15

7:30-9:30 a.m. Pancakes on the Plaza, Student Union Plaza

10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Mechanical Bull, Student Union Plaza

7 p.m. Rebels Got Talent Finals, Grove stage

Thursday, Oct. 16

10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Food Day Festival, Student Union Plaza

12:15-1 p.m. Union Unplugged, Student Union Plaza

7 p.m. Movie Series featuring “Remember the Titans,” Grove stage

Friday, Oct. 17

5:30 p.m. Homecoming Parade, Oxford Square

Following Homecoming Parade: Square Jam

7 p.m. Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony and Dinner, ticketed event

Saturday, Oct. 18

9-11 a.m. SEC Nation in the grove

1-5 p.m. Everybody’s Tent in the Grove

6 p.m. Homecoming Game

All events coordinated through the Ole Miss Student Union, the Student Activities Association and the Alumni Association of the University of Mississippi. Official Homecoming t-shirts are on sale in the Student Union Lobby during Homecoming week while supplies last.

Meek School Faculty Member, Graduates Earn Honors from PR Association

Robin Street lauded for lifetime achievement; UM Communications wins Best in Show for PR projects


Kristina Hendrix (right), president of the Southern Public Relations Federation, presents UM lecturer Robin Street with a framed certificate and medallion. Street received the group’s Professional Achievement Award, its highest honor for lifetime achievement. Photo by Leo Ridge, Big Top Photo Booth

OXFORD, Miss. – A faculty member from the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media has been presented the highest award for lifetime achievement given by the Southern Public Relations Federation.

Also, graduates of the Meek School working in the University Communications office won Best in Show, the top award in the competition for public relations projects, along with multiple other awards.

Robin Street, lecturer in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, was honored with the Professional Achievement Award. The recipient is chosen from among professionals representing SPRF-member states. Each nominee had previously received his or her state association’s Professional Award. Street represented the Public Relations Association of Mississippi.

In 2009, Street was named Educator of the Year by both PRAM and SPRF. Although it is rare for an educator to receive the professional award, the judges, who remain anonymous, commented, “Ms. Street’s achievements are stellar. She is innovative in her field. She is continually engaged in professional development. Her awards and accomplishments are well above what would be outstanding.”

Toni Richardson, SPRF vice president for professional development, oversaw the competition.

“As I read through each of the nominee biographies, I was impressed with each of them,” Richardson said. “However, my thoughts kept coming back to Robin and what an incredible teacher, educator, mentor, friend and inspiration she is. Our judges scored Robin a perfect 100 percent.”

Street is a “charismatic and determined public relations practitioner who truly embodies the qualities for which this awards stands,” SPRF President Kristina Hendrix said.

Will Norton Jr., professor and dean of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, has watched Street’s career evolve.

“For decades, Robin Street has been demonstrating the best practices of public relations and teaching those practices in the classroom,” Norton said. “It is only appropriate that her uncommon excellence should be recognized in this way. Clearly, students in the Meek School have long recognized the quality of Ms. Street’s professionalism.”

Hendrix presented the award to Street Sept. 16 at the association’s annual conference in New Orleans. Also presented at the banquet were Lantern Awards for public relations projects in multiple categories. Awards are given at three levels. A Lantern is the highest award, followed by an Award of Excellence, then a Certificate of Merit.

The University Communications office, led by Meek School graduate Danny Blanton, director of public relations, won Best in Show chosen from all categories, and a Lantern in their category for a communications program on parking changes at Ole Miss. Graduates Lindsey Abernathy, former communications specialist; Ryan Whittington, assistant director of public relations for social media strategy; and William Hamilton, public relations assistant, were key in creating that program.

Abernathy also won a Certificate of Merit for the Inside Ole Miss newsletter. Communication specialists Edwin Smith and Michael Newsom won a Certificate of Merit and an Award of Excellence, respectively, for news releases.

Street won a Lantern in her category of communication programs, as well as an Award of Excellence for writing and a Certificate of Merit for PR tactics.

For more information on the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, visit or email

Wiginton Named MSTA College Teacher of Year

Assistant chemistry professor to receive plaque at annual convention

John Wiginton

John Wiginton

OXFORD, Miss. – John Wiginton, instructional assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Mississippi, is the Mississippi Science Teachers Association’s College Teacher of the Year.

Wiginton will receive a plaque Oct. 21 at MSTA’s annual convention awards banquet in Jackson. The organization uses its annual convention to allow teachers to present ideas to fellow teachers and to glean information and ideas from each other to better equip themselves for their classroom.

“I am excited and humbled to receive this award,” Wiginton said. “I used to think that the Teacher of the Year was the ‘best’ teacher of the year, but I’ve since come to understand that many of the best educators are far too humble to be recognized easily. There are many more individuals far more deserving than I am.

“It is a supreme honor to be included in the same group with such awe-inspiring and selfless individuals.”

The honoree began teaching nonmajors chemistry lecture courses as a UM instructor in 2003. After receiving his doctorate and being promoted to instructional assistant professor in 2008, Wiginton added General Chemistry, Chemistry for Teachers I and II, and Graduate Chemistry for High School Science Teachers I. He has been a laboratory manager since 2003 and director of undergraduate labs since 2010.

“As the director of our undergraduate laboratory program, Dr. Wiginton has responsibility for 56 sections of laboratory courses,” said Charles Hussey, chair and professor of chemistry and biochemistry. “He works hard to keep abreast of the latest developments in laboratory instruction and has worked with prominent publishing companies to write laboratory manuals for his courses. His hard work is very much appreciated, and we are glad to see him recognized with this award.”

Wiginton reflected upon his teaching career.

“I come to work every day excited about the possibilities and leave every day feeling like I have done good, meaningful work,” he said. “Receiving awards is motivating to be sure, but none of us do what we do for the recognition. We do it because we love and care about our rising generation.

“At the end of the day, my reward is seeing my students graduate and become successful individuals and colleagues.”

MSTA award recipients are nominated by peers, students and parents. At the close of the annual convention, MSTA recognizes seven teachers. The Distinguished Science Teacher is one who has previously won an award from MSTA and continued to be an exemplary teacher.

Awards are presented for an outstanding new science teacher at any educational level, and for an outstanding elementary teacher, middle school teacher, high school teacher and college teacher. An Informal Science Teacher award is presented to a person who is not employed as a science teacher, but who has contributed to science education in some manner.

Submit Your Green Ideas by Oct. 17

Sydney Crimmins sells a water bottle to Forrest Gamble during Green Week.  Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Sydney Crimmins sells a water bottle to Forrest Gamble during Green Week. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

The University of Mississippi Green Fund is accepting project proposals from faculty, staff and students through Oct. 17. Created in 2012 to fund sustainability projects on campus, the Green Fund is supported by the university as well as donations from faculty, staff and students.

Previous projects range in scale from the installation of hydration stations in multiple UM buildings to the launch of a student-run composting program that converts pre-consumer food waste into nutrient-dense soil.

“The Green Fund allows students, faculty and staff to pursue their own vision of an environmental project that could improve our campus,” said senior public policy major Will Bedwell, a member of the Green Fund Committee. “The idea is to provide the campus community with a way to reduce our environmental impact.”

Faculty and staff are encouraged to submit proposals individually, as a department or as a group.

Last spring, faculty and staff at the J.D. Williams Library submitted a proposal to install low-emissivity film on south-facing windows, including a portion of the windows in the Faulkner Room where many of the library’s rare documents are housed. The film reflects 57 percent of total solar energy, lowering the temperature in the rooms and making them more comfortable.

“We had already installed some window film on that great big window that looks out on the Lyceum over the door,” said Buffy Choinski, head of the science library and library Green Team Chair. “We had installed it because of ultraviolet ray protection originally, but we realized it cut down on a lot of heat. We decided to put together a proposal for the south-facing windows, and they funded it.”

The library is working to collect data to determine how much the project affects energy and cost savings.

The first-ever Green Fund project was proposed by writing instructor Milly West’s LIBA 102 class. The class wrote a proposal to sell reusable water bottles during Green Week 2013. The project raised $2,000, which was put back into the Green Fund.

Besides proposals, faculty and staff can involve their classes in the Green Fund in other ways, such as gaining hands-on experience while helping evaluate projects. During spring 2014, Cristiane Surbeck’s civil engineering class performed an environmental impact analysis on the composting program, finding that the net total of greenhouse gas emissions reduced by the project was more than 8 tons. Classes can also help collect data and create marketing plans.

To get involved in the UM Green Fund or make a donation, visit or email

School of Applied Sciences Welcomes New Faculty to HESRM

New HERSM faculty members from left to right: Kofan Lee, Paul Loprinzi, Yang-Chieh Fu and Jeremy Loenneke.

New HERSM faculty members from left to right: Kofan Lee, Paul Loprinzi, Yang-Chieh Fu and Jeremy Loenneke.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreational Management has welcomed four new faculty members for the 2014-2015 academic year. The new professors, many of whom arrived on campus this fall, are considered among the best young scholars in their respective fields.

The new faculty members are Yang-Chieh Fu, KoFan Lee, Jeremy Loenneke and Paul Loprinzi.

The new professors will help improve the department’s national rankings, said Jay Garner, associate professor of exercise science and interim chair of HESRM.

“We are tremendously excited about our recent hires,” Garner said. “This puts us on track to continue our rise in becoming one of the top programs in our field.”

With nearly 800 students, the department equips students to help improve the health and fitness of individuals and communities. From exercise science to recreational administration, the department offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs.

Velmer Burton, dean the School of Applied Sciences, said he is proud of HESRM’s recent recruitments in faculty.

“These new tenure-track scholars are important to the department’s future and add to the existing talent and strengths of our HESRM faculty,” Burton said.

Loenneke, a recent Ph.D. graduate of the University of Oklahoma, has conducted and published extensive research in skeletal muscle physiology.

“Dr. Loenneke arrived on campus with a strong record of productivity and excellence,” Garner said. “We have seen nothing but excellence as a scholar with unlimited potential at Ole Miss and in our department.”

Lee recently completed his doctorate in leisure behavior at Indiana University at Bloomington. He is an accomplished scholar with research exploring social-psychological perspectives in leisure studies.

“His experience and work in the field make him a great asset for our burgeoning recreation administration program,” Garner said. “He will be a wonderful success in our program.”

Loprinzi received his Ph.D. in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University. With numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals, Loprinzi focuses his research on physical activity promotion.

“He will bring a fresh perspective to the department by combining his training at a top research institution,” Garner said. “We expect him to continue his growth as a scholar here at Ole Miss.”

Fu earned his doctorate in kinesiology from the University of Georgia. His ongoing research and publications focuses on the functional and biomechanical performance of patients who have undergone a modern unicompartmental knee construction by camera-based motion analysis and videofluoroscopy techniques. He joined the department in 2013.

“Dr. Fu’s experience and training make him a wonderful hire for the department and school,” Garner said.

Library Gains Access to New Historical Databases

Students and faculty now have access to new historical databases in the J.D. Williams library.

Students and faculty have access to new historical databases in the J.D. Williams Library.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s John D. Williams Library has acquired new databases on the history of slavery and the Civil War, available online through

The new databases are part of the American Antiquarian Society’s collection and are accessible to all UM students and faculty.

The databases became available for purchase in March. With help from the Department of History, College of Liberal Arts and the library, commitments for most of the funding were in place by July. The library was able to purchase access in August.

“In acquiring access to these important archives, the university underscores its commitment to research,” said John Neff, associate professor of history and director of the UM Center for Civil War Research. “The American Antiquarian Society’s collections are renowned, and access to their important Civil War and slavery collections will be a great advantage to our undergraduate and graduate students alike.”

Access can be gained by going to the J.D. William’s Library’s website, and searching for “Readex: The American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922,” or “Readex: The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922″ in the database search bar.

For more information on the database, contact Neff at

Meet Mary Lou Brassell, September’s Staff Member of the Month

Mary Lou Brassell

Mary Lou Brassell

Mary Lou Brassell, a member of the university’s custodial department, has been selected as Staff Council’s Staff Member of the Month for September. To help us get to know her better, Brassell answered a few questions for Inside Ole Miss.

IOM: How long have you worked at Ole Miss?

Brassell: A year and two months.

IOM: Where is your hometown?

Brassell: Oxford.

IOM: What is your favorite Ole Miss memory?

Brassell: The first year (I saw) the Ole Miss Rebels football team playing in the Egg Bowl. I was very excited for my home team. I watched it on TV and screamed “Hotty Toddy” every time the Rebels scored.

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

Brassell: My position is an independent one. I know my job and I enjoy doing it. I enjoy working under my present supervisor and also with the faculty and staff who work in my building.

IOM: What is one thing on your bucket list?

Brassell: I look forward to owning a Lexus vehicle one day.

IOM: What is your favorite movie?

Brassell: Tyler Perry’s “Madea” movies

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

Brassell: My father, who is deceased. I miss those memories of him giving me all the great advice that he always told me.

IOM: What are three words you would use to describe yourself?

Brassell: Honest, smart and willing.

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.

Professor, Student Land National Leadership Roles

Positions are in 'highest levels' of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacy

Joshua Fleming and Emily Carrell

Joshua Fleming and Emily Carrell

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy professor and student assumed leadership roles with the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists this summer.

Joshua Fleming, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice, was installed as vice chair of the executive committee of ASHP’s New Practitioners Forum at the society’s summer meeting in June. At the same meeting, Emily Carrell, a fourth-year professional pharmacy student from West Salem, Wisconsin, was installed as chair of the executive committee of ASHP’s Pharmacy Student Forum.

“We are extremely proud of Josh and Emily,” said David D. Allen, the school’s dean. “Thanks to their outstanding leadership, our School of Pharmacy is well-represented at the highest levels of ASHP.”

The New Practitioners Forum is “the organizational home for any new pharmacy graduate,” Fleming said. “It consists of pharmacists who received their terminal degrees in the past five years. There are approximately 5,000 members representing all types of pharmacy practice, including staff pharmacists, residents, clinical pharmacists, pharmacy faculty and others.”

The executive committee, the forum’s governing body, meets to ensure that all these new practitioners’ educational and organizational needs are being met.

“My overall goals as vice chair are to provide thoughts and guidance towards the forum’s future directions, while maintaining some of the excellent resources it already offers,” Fleming said.

Fleming also will serve as liaison to the executive committee’s practice and residency advancement advisory groups, in addition to working with ASHP’s Pharmacy Practice Model Initiative.

The executive committee of the Pharmacy Student Forum serves as the voice for ASHP’s student members, Carrell said.

“We work closely with the ASHP board of directors and staff to ensure our goals align with the organization’s overall goals,” she said. “As a committee, our goals are to ensure that our student members are informed about topics relevant to them, such as the advancement of pharmacy practice and the residency application process.”

Carrell, who served as vice chair of the committee last year, was selected as chair by ASHP’s president and board of directors.

“A few of my goals are to work closely with my team to increase communication between ASHP and its student societies, keep our members informed about the exciting political changes that are occurring, and encourage our student members to utilize all the benefits that ASHP offers them, all while having fun and enjoying every minute of it,” Carrell said.

“Any time you have the opportunity to be an organization’s leader, its members depend on you to work hard and be an advocate for them. This just happens to be on a national level.” 

Professor Receives DOD Grant for Cancer Research

Pharmacologist Tracy Brooks dedicates life's work to combatting the disease

Tracy Brooks (pink shirt) and students in her lab wear T-shirts in support of cancer awareness.

Tracy Brooks (pink shirt) and students from her lab wear T-shirts in support of cancer awareness.

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy professor has been awarded a $333,878 grant from the Department of Defense to study a cancer gene called kRAS.

“This gene is important in the progression of pancreatic, lung, colorectal and other cancers,” said Tracy Brooks, assistant professor of pharmacology and the grant’s primary investigator. “We are focusing on the region of DNA that controls how much kRAS gets produced, with the ultimate goal of using the knowledge gained in a targeted drug-discovery program to develop new agents with better safety and efficacy against many cancers.”

The grant was awarded through the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program, DOD’s highly competitive new funding mechanism. Only about 16 percent of applications submitted to PRCRP were selected for funding this year, and only three grant applications focusing on pancreatic cancer were funded.

Brooks’ study focuses on alternative DNA structures, particularly one called the G-quadruplex, or G4, which is formed in guanine-rich DNA.

“When formed in regions of DNA that control proteins, called promoters, they tend to turn off protein production,” she said. “In the case of kRAS, turning the gene off can kill the pancreatic cancer cells. Our work is aimed at figuring out the major ‘shape’ of the G4 that forms within the kRAS promoter region and how it is controlled by other proteins in the cell.”

With that information, Brooks hopes to work with molecular modelists to determine the structure’s 3-D shape, so she and others can predict potential chemicals to strengthen the structure.

Brooks can then work with pharmacognosists and medicinal chemists to identify and create new chemicals and drugs that will stabilize the G4 structure, turn off the kRAS gene and selectively kill pancreatic, lung and colorectal cancers in combination with traditional chemotherapeutic agents.

“Dr. Brooks’ research on the gene kRAS has the potential to unlock a novel mechanism in the control of many types of cancers,” said Stephen Cutler, chair of the Department of BioMolecular Sciences, of which Brooks is a part. “The potential impact of her studies on managing neoplastic disorders is extremely high. We are fortunate to have her as one of our School of Pharmacy faculty members.”

For Brooks, the study is highly personal.

“When I was a freshman in college, after only about a one-week battle, my grandmother died from pancreatic cancer,” she said. “It is one of the deadliest cancer diagnoses and one in dire need of new therapy options.

“Since her passing, I’ve lost cousins, friends, my mother and my husband’s grandfather to cancer, and I was a caretaker for my husband during his battle with cancer when he was only 36. Thankfully, he is a three-year cancer survivor, but it was an arduous battle. I’ve dedicated my career, and my life, to researching and combating this disease.”