World Class Teaching Program Leads Nation in National Board Prep

North Mississippi teachers in UM program make up largest group seeking national board certification

Julie Gatlin, a Lafayette Lower Elementary School teacher and national board candidate, joined the World Class Teaching Program in August and hopes to pass her boards by the end of June.

Julie Gatlin, a Lafayette Lower Elementary School teacher and national board candidate, joined the World Class Teaching Program in August and hopes to pass her boards by the end of June.

OXFORD, Miss. – With a record group of 409 K-12 teachers from north Mississippi, the University of Mississippi chapter of the World Class Teaching Program has become the largest recruitment site for national board certification in the nation.

A continuing education program, the WCTP is designed for educators who seek to become National Board Certified Teachers, or NBCTs, by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, known as NBPTS, in Arlington, Va. The program is housed within the UM School of Education.

The program prepares teachers to pass a series of assessments and a portfolio review to earn the credential and a lucrative pay raise – the Mississippi Legislature funds an annual $6,000 salary raise for all K-12 teachers who earn and maintain the certification. UM’s chapter oversees sites operating in Batesville, Clarksdale, Fulton, Senatobia, Southaven, Indianola, Madison, Oxford and Tupelo.

“In the past year, we’ve concentrated on implementing our program within our partner school districts,” said WCTP coordinator Jackie Parker, who has run the program at UM since 2002 and was the 2001 Mississippi Teacher of the Year. “Our sites are being run in classrooms by mentors who already hold their NBCTs. We want the program to be imbedded in the culture of the schools.”

National board certification is a mark of distinction among teachers and research suggests that educators who complete the process produce better results. A Harvard University study found in 2012 that over the course of a school year, students of NBCTs gained the equivalent of two months more instruction in mathematics and one month more instruction in English than students of non-board certified teachers.

According to NBPTS data, the national first-time passage rate for teachers taking national boards is nearly 30 percent. Ole Miss WCTP candidates have a first-time passage rate of more than 50 percent, Parker said.

“The University of Mississippi has done a tremendous job with recruitment in becoming the largest site for teachers pursuing national board certification,” said Michelle Accardi, director of state policy for the NBPTS. “I wish every state would look at what Mississippi is doing with the World Class Teaching Program. If universities across the nation would support national board certification, it would be a better world for teachers and students.”

Throughout the year, Parker and mentors within the WCTP operate twice-monthly workshops or individual meetings for teachers to help prepare them to pass assessments in their subject area, pedagogy, classroom management and more. Within the assessments, teachers must create videos of themselves teaching in the classroom and prepare documents assessing their teaching abilities. Teachers must have at least three years of full-time experience to apply for the certification.

“I feel like this has made me such a better teacher,” said Brittany Furr, an NBCT candidate and sixth-grade language arts teacher at Madison Middle School. “The national boards have taught me how to teach using a variety of formats such as an article, story or video so I can use all these different tools to teach in a variety styles.”

The WCTP program at UM is one of five chapters of in the state. Other chapters are housed at Delta State University, Jackson State University, Mississippi State University and the University of Southern Mississippi.

Since August, all five chapters have worked together on a grant projected funded with $300,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and additional funding from the state Legislature to provide specialized training for both pre-service teachers and early-career teachers interested in national board certification. Mentor NBCTs are meeting with these educators twice a month at 10 sites across the state. The program is funded to continue through 2016.

NBPTS is redesigning the structure of the national board process to implement new research and make the process more accessible to working teachers, Accardi said . The redesign will be complete by 2017.

“I wanted to do this because I knew it would be challenging,” said Myra Cox, an information and communication technology teacher at Tupelo Middle School who has been working toward her NBCT certification since September. “The process forces you to really analyze yourself as a teacher and provides valuable information for me to bring back to the classroom and my students.”

UM Hosts Annual Green Week Celebration April 22-25

Author Rob Nixon to deliver Earth Day keynote lecture

UM Green Week

UM Green Week features an eco-fashion show and gala.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s sixth annual Green Week celebration kicks off on Earth Day (April 22) with the goal of opening a campuswide dialogue about sustainability.

Rob Nixon, author of “Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor” (Harvard University Press, 2011), will deliver the Earth Day keynote lecture at 7 p.m. that day at the Overby Center. His session focuses on complex global issues related to sustainability, including “slow violence,” the slowly unfolding environmental effects that are often underpublicized or unnoticed.

“As we educate and support the development of the next generation for responsible citizenship, we consider these global issues to be of critical importance to their preparation,” said Anne McCauley, assistant director of the UM Office of Sustainability. “Changing behaviors and habits are important, but equally important is understanding the larger context behind why we advocate for these changes. We hope Green Week brings to light both actions for individual responsibility as well as awareness of social, environmental and economic challenges that need to be addressed.

The week’s events include Business in the Green, during which representatives from International Paper, Project Green Fork and Toyota will share sustainable strategies and operational practices in the workplace. The event is set for 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Oxford Conference Center.

Other events include the annual eco-fashion show and gala, which features outfits made from uncommon materials, and the annual Green Week Sustainability Fair. The fair will feature plastic bag knitting, an on-campus farmers market and displays from several university groups.

An Arbor Day tree planting and celebration in the Grove conclude the week’s activities on Friday.

“It is a week where we, as a community, can build our environmental conscience and strengthen our commitment to lowering our global impact,” said Kendall McDonald, a junior public policy major from Bay St. Louis who serves as the Office of Sustainability’s Green Week intern. “Green Week also plays an invaluable educational role by engaging those who have not previously been exposed to environmental issues.”

All events are free and open to the public. Green Week events are sponsored by the UM Office of Sustainability, Environmental Studies Minor, Students for a Green Campus, Landscape Services, the Oxford-Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Foundation, Jim Keras Subaru, the College of Liberal ArtsSouthern Documentary ProjectCroft Institute for International StudiesSally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, the UM departments of English and history, and the city of Oxford.

2014 Green Week Schedule of Events

Tuesday, April 22

Business in the Green – 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Oxford Conference Center

Earth Day keynote address – 7 p.m., Overby Center, speaker, Rob Nixon, “Slow Violence, Environmental Activism and the Arts”

Wednesday, April 23

Green Week Sustainability Fair – 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Student Union Plaza

Udall Scholarship Workshop – 4 p.m., Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, Room 311

Eco Fashion Show and Gala – 7 p.m., Bryant Hall

Friday, April 23

Arbor Day Tree Planting and Celebration – 11:30 a.m., Grove

For more information, contact Ann McCauley at

Program Coordinator Works Year-Round on Annual Botanicals Conference

Event draws participants from around the globe

Jennifer Taylor

Jennifer Taylor

OXFORD, Miss. – If the 13th annual International Conference on the Science of Botanicals is as successfully staged as the previous 12, it will be due, in large measure, to the efforts of Jennifer S. Taylor, program coordinator in the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy.

Putting the ICSB together “is a huge undertaking,” said Ikhlas Khan, NCNPR’s assistant director and director of its FDA (Food and Drug Administration) Center for Excellence in Botanicals.

“It’s sort of like putting together a jigsaw puzzle with thousands of pieces,” he said. “Jennifer makes sure that, in the end, all those pieces fit together perfectly to ensure that everything comes off without a hitch.”

The conference has drawn as many as 250 participants from around the world to the Oxford Conference Center to discuss pressing topics affecting the botanical dietary supplement industry and the people who consume the supplements. Taylor’s job is to prepare year-round for each upcoming conference.

“I am the ‘event coordinator,’ ‘travel coordinator,’ ‘administrative coordinator’ and ‘speaker coordinator’ all rolled into one,” Taylor said. “My role is pretty intense.”

Taylor arranges venues and menus for the conference’s various activities and ensures that whoever needs to get paid for them receives payment. She manages hotel arrangements and shuttle services for conference participants and even helps some of them solve their flight issues. She also handles invitations and other correspondence with conference speakers and manages their itineraries and travel reimbursements.

During the actual event, she deals with the registration, check-in and other problems that invariably arise whenever and wherever large numbers of people gather for a series of carefully orchestrated events.

“Her job is like herding stray cats, but somehow she does it very well,” said Larry Walker, NCNPR director. “She manages to assist many of our NCNPR staff as well as many of our conference participants.”

This year, Taylor’s workload is even more intense because NCNPR also is hosting the American Society of Pharmacognosy’s annual meeting Aug. 2-4.

“We will be challenged this year because the ASP event is much larger than our ICSB,” she said. “It averages 500 attendees, but we have an amazing group of people at NCNPR, and everyone will pull together to really make this year a huge success.”

Topics for this year’s April 15-17 ICSB conference include various approaches for post-market surveillance, risk and safety assessment, and adverse event reporting for botanical dietary supplements and other natural products. To ensure that regulatory and manufacturing perspectives are shared, the program includes presentations from members of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, major trade associations and industry representatives, Taylor said.

The ASP meeting will explore natural products and their impact on human health, agriculture and the environment.

“Participants will review, discuss and explore the confluence of natural products research,” Taylor said. “Topics include past achievements, current status and future prospects in natural products discovery.”

While in the midst of finalizing agendas and plans for the ICSB event and beginning similar work on the ASP meeting, Taylor also is serving as Khan’s administrative assistant.

“He oversees approximately 30 people at any given time, so I assist them, as well as him, with any clerical needs they have, such as travel, purchasing, correspondence, payroll, reimbursements, etc.,” she said.

A Myrtle native, Taylor joined the NCNPR staff in fall 2006.

“I worked for Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly at the NIDA Marijuana Project,” she said. “At the NIDA project, I was a senior secretary working with project coordinator Linda Spears. She taught me a lot about the project and my job duties. A lot of my success should be credited to her.”

Taylor began working for Khan in summer 2010.

“That’s when I became a program coordinator,” she said. “I still do the clerical jobs of a senior secretary, but I help coordinate an international conference too. It takes a lot of us working together to be successful.”

Working with all those people, as well as being allowed to grow in work-related knowledge and responsibilities, are the aspects of the job that Taylor likes most.

“There are so many wonderful individuals that I get the pleasure of interacting with every day,” she said. “Even though our group tends to change frequently with visiting scholars and postdocs coming and going, we are like an enormous family. When someone leaves, we try to keep in touch with (him or her).

“I have been fortunate to work for two amazing bosses, Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly and Dr. Ikhlas Khan. They both have inspired me to be the best at what I do.”

The annual ICSB is supported by a cooperative agreement between the NCNPR and the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

National Teacher of the Year Jeff Charbonneau to Visit UM

Expert science teacher from Washington to discuss effective teaching


Jeffery Charbonneau

OXFORD, Miss. – Jeffrey Charbonneau, the 2013 National Teacher of the Year, will visit the University of Mississippi Wednesday (April 15) to address Ole Miss teacher candidates and faculty members on the importance of effective teaching.

A science teacher at Zilliah High School in Zilliah, Wash., Charbonneau was appointed to his position by President Barack Obama on April 23, 2013, after being named Washington Teacher of the Year. He has spent the past year touring the country, sharing his experiences and personal philosophies on teaching with educators and students from a variety of backgrounds.

Charbonneau will lead a forum with UM student teachers at 11 a.m. at the Jackson Avenue Center. Mississippi Teacher of the Year and UM alumnus Josh Lindsey, an English teacher from Hancock High School, will give opening remarks at the event. An open session for students, educators and UM faculty and staff will follow at 2 p.m.

On Wednesday (April 16), Charbonneau will visit students and faculty at the UM DeSoto Center.

The National Teacher of the Year visit to UM has been a tradition at the School of Education since 2011 to support a goal of exposing aspiring teachers to innovative and successful educators from different parts of the country. This year, freshmen fellows from both the UM and Mississippi State University chapters of the Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program will attend the event.

“Our student teachers will be leading their own classrooms in the near future, and this offers them the chance to meet and interact with one of the best teachers in the nation,” said David Rock, UM education school dean. “This is an incredible opportunity for our candidates and educators across the region.”

Charbonneau teaches high school-level science, including chemistry, engineering and physics. During his 12 years at Zilliah High School, he has increased participation in the sciences among students,  resulting in a 20 percent increase in available courses, including 24 courses offered with college credit. Since 2008, he has directed a free high school robotics challenge, which has exposed more than 1,000 Washington state children to a variety of STEM-based skills and principles.

Charbonneau is a graduate of Central Washington University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology with honors and a master’s degree in teaching. He also holds a national board certificate in Adolescence and Young Adult Sciences from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

The National Teacher of the Year Program started in 1952 and is a national honors program focusing public attention on teaching excellence. Each year, the national teacher is chosen from among state teachers of the year by a selection committee representing the major national education organizations, and is introduced by the president, according to the Council of Chief State School Officers.

For more information about the National Teacher of the Year program, visit

University Honors Burns Family with Building Dedication

State-of-the-art residence hall, team meeting room named in honor of accountancy alumnus

Roland Burns with wife, Sheryl, son Derek, Ole Miss Accountancy Professor Jimmy Davis and son Tyler stand in front of the newly dedicated Burns Hall. Roland and Derek shared Davis as a professor while at Ole Miss, and youngest son, Tyler will be taking a class Davis is teaching this fall.

Roland Burns with wife, Sheryl, son Derek, Ole Miss Accountancy Professor Jimmy Davis and son Tyler stand in front of the newly dedicated Burns Hall. Roland and Derek shared Davis as a professor while at Ole Miss, and youngest son, Tyler will be taking a class Davis is teaching this fall.

OXFORD, Miss. – A crowd of nearly 100 students, faculty and staff participated in a ceremony hosted Friday (April 4) by the University of Mississippi to honor Sheryl and Roland Burns of Frisco, Texas, for their legacy of support with the naming of a premier campus residence hall and the new football team meeting room in the Manning Performance Center.

The Burnses have given generously to support both academic and athletics programs, with their recent $2 million gift elevating their lifetime giving to more than $5 million. Roland Burns, a 1982 graduate who earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in accountancy, says it is humbling to see his family’s name on the building.

“It is not anything I ever thought I would see,” Burns said. “It is a really attractive building and there is a lot of history here (on this campus). We are so proud to be associated with Ole Miss and the School of Accountancy; it has been such an outstanding program.”

The Public Accounting Report, the independent newsletter of the accounting profession, recently rated UM’s undergraduate accountancy program as No. 4 in the country (behind Texas, Illinois and Brigham Young) and the master’s and doctoral programs at Nos. 5 and 8, respectively. The accountancy programs are No. 1 in the Southeastern Conference.

Burns Hall, which has been temporarily known as Ridge South, stands on the site of the former Miller Hall. Burns Hall opened in August 2012 and is one of three new residence halls on that site. The four-story structure houses 272 students and provides a shared courtyard and many of the amenities requested by students, including private bathrooms, microwaves, refrigerators in each room, study rooms, community kitchens, laundry facilities and lounges with TVs on each floor.

“Today, the residence halls are an extension of the learning experience, and when we talk about the Ole Miss family, it’s important that we know our family comes home here every night,” said Brandi Hephner Labanc, UM vice chancellor of student affairs. “We see this as a wonderful extension of our academic environment, and we are grateful to the Burnses for being involved in the living learning experience here.”

With a growth in enrollment on the Oxford campus from 9,412 in the fall of 1982 to 18,423 in fall 2013, much has changed since Burns graduated. The former Kincannon Hall resident noted that the housing looks quite different than when he was a student here.

It was a visit from UM Provost Morris Stocks, who at the time was the new dean of the School of Accountancy, and Debbie Vaughn, senior executive director of development, that reinvigorated Burns’ connection to the university. They visited Burns in Texas, where he is president and chief financial officer of Comstock Resources Inc. Stocks asked Burns to create an intern program in his company’s financial reporting department that would provide opportunity for Ole Miss undergraduate students.

“Morris got us interested by showing us the success the (accountancy) program is having on the national level, and that gave us a deep sense of pride,” said Burns, who transferred from Mississippi State after his freshman year to join the then-new accountancy school in its first year of programs set apart from the School of Business Administration.

“Being a part of something new made all of us know we were part of something special. Giving back through the internship program and in other ways is really rewarding to us, and we are grateful to be included as part of the Ole Miss family.”

This was the second time in a year that a campus building has been named for a Patterson School alumnus. Another of the Ridge residence halls was named last spring for alumnus Lucian Minor.

“There is much to celebrate today, as we are so grateful to Roland and Sheryl for their continued dedication to the university,” said Chancellor Dan Jones. “They support us financially and today, they are lending us their name, and what a great thing for the university to be associated with their name.”

Stocks praised the Burnses for their holistic approach to support for the university.

“The Burnses have continued to support our school and our university in many ways, including the Burns Chair in Accountancy,” Stocks said. “Outside of the major public accounting firms, (Roland) has also recruited more accountancy students to our program and formed an internship program at his company that is critical to our program. The Burnses’ lend constant moral support to our efforts to transform lives. We are a better place because Roland chose to attend Ole Miss.”

During a ceremony held earlier in the day, Ole Miss Athletics honored the Burnses with the naming of the team meeting room. That naming took place in conjunction with the ribbon-cutting for the newly- renovated Indoor Practice Facility, now called the Olivia and Archie Manning Athletics Performance Center.

“Sheryl and Roland support excellence in academics and support academics in athletics equally, making sure that we move forward together,” Jones added. “They are making a big difference in the lives of students in their local community and here. We are so grateful to them.”

Along with family friends, the Burnses were joined by their sons Derek, an Ole Miss graduate student in accountancy who earned a bachelor’s degree here in 2013, and Tyler, an Ole Miss freshman majoring in biology with a minor in accountancy. Their daughter, Stephanie, is a graduate of Southern Methodist University.

Natural Products Center Hosts Annual Botanicals Conference April 15-17

Sessions to focus on regulatory issues in dietary supplements

OXFORD, Miss. – The Oxford International Conference on the Science of Botanicals, the premier annual event for discussing medicinal plants and dietary supplements, is taking a new twist this year to mark the 20th anniversary of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, or DSHEA, of 1994.

Rather than the latest science on botanical ingredients, the 13th annual ICSB will focus on “how companies can take the lead on raising the bar for quality and safety in the dietary supplement industry,” said Larry Walker, director of the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s National Center for Natural Products Research, the conference’s host since 2001.

“For the botanical supplement world, there has never been a meeting quite like this,” Walker said. “Regulatory agencies, trade associations, quality assurance, and analytical and safety people, as well as physicians, toxicologists and media representatives will be offering their perspectives on botanicals 20 years after DSHEA.”

That theme is the topic of the April 15-17 conference’s opening session and keynote address to be delivered by Daniel Fabricant, director the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Division of Dietary Supplement Programs. As director, Fabricant advises the FDA on policy issues involving dietary supplements, including the safety of new dietary ingredients, good manufacturing practices, or GMPs, and problems reported by consumers. He also is responsible for ensuring that supplements are safe, meet quality standards and are accurately labeled.

Before joining the FDA in February 2011, Fabricant was active in the dietary supplement industry. While vice president of the Natural Products Association – this country’s largest nonprofit dedicated to the makers and distributors of natural products – he was instrumental in winning a National Institutes of Health contract for the NPA’s work on a nationwide label database for dietary supplements.

The opening session of the conference, which takes place at Oxford’s Hampton Inn Conference Center, also features Loren D. Israelsen, president of the United Natural Products Alliance, an international trade association of select companies committed to providing consumers with natural products of superior quality and safety, and Mark Blumenthal, executive director of the American Botanical Council, a nonprofit research and education organization.

Since 1992, Israelson has been executive director of the Utah Natural Products Alliance, which was instrumental in development and passage of DSHEA in 1994. He also is president of LDI Group Inc., a consulting firm specializing in dietary supplements, functional foods and the emerging issues facing both industries.

Blumenthal helped found several companies that manufacture herbal products, some of the organizations that represent them (the Herb Trade Association, Herbal Products Association and Herb Research Foundation) and the organizations’ publications (Herb News and HerbalGram). A popular guest on radio and television talk shows and source for journalists, editors and writers, Blumenthal is frequently quoted in trade and popular presses.

The conference’s second session focuses on the FDA’s perspectives on GMP regulations, adverse event reporting systems, labeling and development of new botanical drugs. Angela F. Pope, a consumer safety officer on the FDA’s GMP Team; Cara Welch, a regulatory assistant in the FDA’s Division of Dietary Supplement Programs; and Charles Wu, a pharmacologist in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, will provide those perspectives.

In other sessions:

- Procter & Gamble, ChromaDex Inc. and Medicus Research executives will discuss what is being done to incorporate a culture of regulatory compliance within their companies

- Harvard Medical School, Einstein Medical Center and University of Minnesota clinicians will discuss problems associated with detecting, investigating and reporting dangerous supplements

- Herbalife and American Botanical Council executives and a medicinal chemist will discuss problems associated with communicating safety risks to supplement consumers

- Waters Corp., Agilent Technologies and CAMAG Scientific managers will discuss the latest in analytical techniques

- A New York Daily News reporter and editors from the Nutrition Business Journal and The Tan Sheet will discuss the media’s role in educating the industry and the public

In the conference’s closing session, representatives from the American Herbal Products Association, Council for Responsible Nutrition and Natural Products Association will provide industry reaction to information and opinions shared during previous sessions.

The conference is supported by a cooperative agreement between the NCNPR and the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

“Our mission is to put science behind dietary supplements, natural products and traditional forms of medicine,” said Ikhlas Khan, assistant director of NCNPR, director of NCNPR’s FDA Center for Excellence in Botanicals and the conference’s coordinator. “This year, we’re fulfilling that mission by enabling government, industry, trade, clinical and media representatives to share their perspectives, experiences and concerns about pressing issues affecting botanical dietary supplements with each other, as well as the conference’s more than 150 attendees.”

Israelson told a NutraIngredients-USA reporter last week that the annual ICSB has become “the most important regulatory gathering for the supplement industry.”

During the gathering, the “FDA leadership, academic leadership and industry executives meet for three days to consider the state of dietary supplement regulation, policy and areas of concern or opportunity,” he said. “Nowhere else does this happen in this way. It is vital that such a forum exist, and the National Center for Natural Products Research at Ole Miss (provides) that forum.”

The Waters Corp., United Natural Products Alliance and Agilent Technologies are the event’s major sponsors.

For a complete 2014 conference schedule, visit

UM Professor Wins Poetry Award

Derrick Harriell wins the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters 2014 Poetry Award

Derrick Harriell, assistant professor of English and African American Studies, speaks at the Oxford Conference for the Book.

Derrick Harriell, assistant professor of English and African American Studies, speaks at the Oxford Conference for the Book.

OXFORD, Miss. – Derrick Harriell, a University of Mississippi assistant professor of English and African-American studies, has the won the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters 2014 Poetry Award for his new collection of poems, “Ropes.”

Founded in 1978, MIAL aims to recognize the elite in fiction, nonfiction, visual art, musical composition, photography and poetry. The award is coveted and highly competitive.

“Receiving the news that my collection of poems ‘Ropes’ won the MIAL Award was gratifying in so many ways,” Harriell said. “I’m happy contributing to the high standard set by our English department and MFA program. Having only been in Oxford for a year-and-a-half, I’m pleased to be embraced both personally and professionally.”

In 2010, Harriell composed his first collection of poems, “Cotton.” For the follow-up, “Ropes,” he focused on the lives of black boxers in America.

Harriell was born and raised in Milwaukee. He has a Ph.D. in English from University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and a M.F.A in Creative Writing from Chicago State University. He has worked as an assistant poetry editor for Third World Press and The Cream City Review and has taught countless writing workshops for students of all ages. He is a two-time Pushcart Nominee and his work has appeared in various literary journals and anthologies.

The award reflects well on the university, said Ivo Kamps, professor and chair of the UM Department of English.

“This is quite an honor for Derrick, for the department and the university,” Kamps said. “(Harriell) is relatively new to the university and the state of Mississippi, but he is already making a significant impact on our literary culture and our students. We are pleased and fortunate to have him on our faculty.”

MBA Students Sharpen Business Skills for Case Competition

Rivalry among Southeastern Conference teams extends beyond athletics with second annual MBA event

From left, William Dunphey, Anastasia Verenita, Steven Murphy, Julian Sanchez,  and Dr. Samantha Fairclough, Faculty Advisor.

From left, William Dunphey, Anastasia Verenita, Steven Murphy, Julian Sanchez, and Dr. Samantha Fairclough, Faculty Advisor.

OXFORD, Miss. – A team of four University of Mississippi MBA students faced off with teams from other Southeastern Conference schools during the second annual SEC MBA Case Competition.

Steven Murphy, of Charleston, S.C.; Anastasia Varenita, originally from Chishinau, Moldova, but who grew up in Jackson; Julian Sanchez, from the New York borough of Queens; and Will Dunphey, of Picayune, represented Ole Miss. The competition took place April 3-5 at the University of Alabama, with all 14 SEC universities taking part. Though the University of Florida walked away with the top prize, each student who participated learned something to help them succeed in the future.

The student teams were given a current, real-world problem facing the banking industry. Each team analyzed the information, developed a strategy for addressing the problem and made oral presentations to a panel of judges.

“This competition provides two of the most important ingredients that help our students to learn and to be successful,” said Ken Cyree, dean of the UM School of Business Administration. “The two things are the ability to get into a case and analyze it, and then the competition itself.

“The competition requires a broad-based analysis, so you are applying many business skills to solve problems, and you are doing it quickly. So, it’s not just a finance or a marketing niche; it’s more of an overall view. The competition allows students to compare themselves to others, which helps raise their game and sharpen their skills.”

UM students prepared by working closely with the team’s faculty adviser, Samantha Fairclough, UM professor of management in business administration. The students also participated in the 2014 Speaker’s Edge event, a transformative public speaking competition for Ole Miss MBA students, who spend a week-and-a-half working with world-class communication coaches to learn the skills of high-impact public speaking. The program culminated in a two-day competition, where students give three different presentations in front of a panel of judges, composed of industry business leaders.

The 14 teams were divided into four divisions Friday (April 4) before the Saturday competition. The Saturday morning sessions included divisional rounds that were judged by a three-member panel consisting of leaders and experts from Regions, the sponsoring company.

The four divisional winners advanced to a final round Saturday afternoon.

“This is a live, strategic competition where the students have less than 24 hours to solve a business problem and develop a plan,” said Brian Gray, associate dean of Alabama’s Manderson Graduate School of Business. “We want to keep it as real as possible for the students and in line with what they will actually experience in their careers.”

The winning team received $10,000, second place took $6,000, third place got $3,000 and fourth place received $1,000. Additional awards were presented to individuals in each division for categories such as best Q&A and best presentation.

Regions, the SEC’s banking partner, was the competition sponsor. Regions also presented the case for analysis and provided company leaders and experts to serve as competition judges.

The first competition was held at the University of Missouri in 2013, and the University of South Carolina is scheduled to host the 2015 event.

Former Teacher, Education Student Lauded at Annual T.P. Vinson Banquet

Lindy Hopkins, Samantha Carothers honored for dedication to service

T.P. Vinson scholarship recipient Samantha Carothers (left) and educator award winner Lidy Hopkins (right) met Jacquline Vinson (center) during the eighth annual T.P. Vinson Memorial Scholarship Banquet on March 29.

T.P. Vinson scholarship recipient Samantha Carothers (left) and educator award winner Lindy Hopkins (right) met Jacquline Vinson (center) during the eighth annual T.P. Vinson Memorial Scholarship Banquet on March 29.

OXFORD, Miss. – A retired Saltillo teacher and a University of Mississippi education student were honored for their dedication to teaching during the ninth annual T.P. Vinson Memorial Scholarship Banquet on March 29.

UM alumna Lindy Hopkins, a 30-year teaching veteran of the Lee County School District and the 2005 Mississippi Teacher of the Year, received the 2014 T.P. Vinson Educator Award. Samantha Carothers, a senior elementary education major from Taylor, received the annual $1,000 scholarship, also given in Vinson’s name.

“Lindy and Samantha both represent the qualities Thea stood for as an educator and leader,” said Jacquline Vinson, widow of Theopolis Pride Vinson, former assistant dean of the UM School of Education for whom the scholarship and award are named. “I’m proud that we can honor both career and beginning teachers who share Thea’s humility and dedication to impacting students.”

Since 2003, the scholarship – the first to be endowed after an African-American professor at UM – has been awarded to a junior or senior African-American education student. The educator award, which was established in 2011, is given each year to a Mississippi educator who displays excellence in education and leadership within his or her community.

Hopkins, who holds a master’s degree in elementary education from UM, was selected by the school’s faculty for her accomplishments both before and after retirement in 2008, when she then founded the Teacher Resource Center, a tutoring service and preschool in Saltillo. Housed in a former frame shop, the center offers tutoring and educational programs for more than 100 children each week, as well as professional development and resources for working teachers.

“I’m honored to be recognized for my love of teaching and children,” she said. “Whenever I see a need in our community, I try to fill it with the very best teachers around. I’m touched that someone has reached out to honor me for my work with students. I don’t think I will ever be done with teaching.”

Carothers is student teaching this semester at Davidson Elementary School in Water Valley and will graduate cum laude in May. She was selected for her academic record and her performance during field experiences and service with the UM chapter of Teachers of Tomorrow and summer camps offered for children through the UM Center for Mathematics and Science Education.

“This scholarship has helped me this year because money can be tight as a student,” she explained. “I enjoyed learning about Dr. Vinson and what a kind person he was; how he was someone who could always help friends work through problems. I’m very grateful for what this scholarship has given me.”

Besides serving as assistant dean of education, Vinson was a pastor at Philadelphia M.B. Church. The T.P. Vinson Scholarship Fund was established by his wife and three children and accepts ongoing donations through the UM Foundation to support and recognize students of education and Mississippi teachers.

Student-Created Policy Addresses Emerging Field of Pharmacogenomics

Proposal for APhA-ASP House of Delegates one of top five in the nation

Cody Clifton

Cody Clifton

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy student has created an innovative policy proposal for a national organization that addresses the emerging field of pharmacogenomics.

Cody Clifton, a second-year professional student, created the proposal for the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists. He serves as policy vice president for the organization’s local chapter.

“Pharmacogenomics testing is the use of genetic information to predict an individual’s response to a drug,” said Clifton, a Walnut native. “All drugs are not created equal, and patients who take these drugs aren’t either. Through effective application of pharmacogenomic data, we can specifically tailor drug therapy for patients.”

This is the first time in recent years that the university’s chapter of APhA-ASP has submitted a policy. As policy vice president, one of Clifton’s duties is to gather members’ interests and develop a proposal.

“It is important that our students are aware of (pharmacogenomics) in its infancy, recognizing that many medications have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to their use, and many patients with a variety of disease states would benefit from individualized medicines for treatment,” said pharmacy administration doctoral student Joseph A. Dikun, the APhA-ASP chapter’s co-adviser. “Based on the development of this policy, our students clearly are beginning to see their role as the medication expert in a variety of clinical and research settings.”

The proposed policy states: “APhA-ASP supports pharmacogenomics testing as a clinical service provided by pharmacists and the interpretation of the results to the providers and the patients by pharmacists, in order to provide individualized treatment plans to patients.”

Clifton said he used the book of APhA-ASP adopted resolutions to determine what topic the policy should cover.

“Pharmacogenomics and pharmacy was the subject that was missing from the handbook, so I took it as a great opportunity to pursue,” he said. “Also, having a medicinal chemistry class in pharmacogenomics opened my eyes to how important it is for medications to be individualized for certain patients.”

After working with Dikun and pharmacy administration graduate student Ashley Crumby to tweak the language, Clifton presented the policy at the APhA Midyear Regional Meeting, also known as MRM. He served as chapter delegate at this meeting.

“The process is very similar to bills going through the different motions to get passed at a state/national level,” Clifton said. “On the last day of MRM, at the closing business meeting, chapter delegates in region three voted to pass the resolution, along with many other resolutions. This was very exciting for us.”

After the policy passed at MRM, it went to the Resolutions Policy Committee and was voted on by eight regional delegates from across the U.S. It was passed, thus making the proposal one of the top five in the nation.

Clifton is thrilled that this proposal gives student pharmacists the “potential to become integral players in personalized health care.”

“The overall purpose of this policy is to promote the use of our clinical expertise within the field of pharmacy,” he said. “We can do this by encouraging and directing the development of technology solutions that support pharmacists’ role in pharmacogenomics.”

The policy will be voted on at APhA’s March 28-31 Annual Meeting and Exposition, during the APhA-ASP House of Delegates. If passed, the policy will be added to the organization’s adopted resolutions. Additionally, the APhA-ASP Policy Standing Committee will meet to determine the most appropriate actions to be taken on the adopted resolution, such as developing a plan to contact regulatory agencies and other national organizations.

“As pharmacists, we are the medication experts, and we do what is best for our patients,” Clifton said. “Therefore, we need to encourage and embrace this inevitable change. This topic may seem futuristic, but we need to stay ahead of the game by approaching the issue now.”