Khayat Named UM Law Alumnus of the Year

Former chancellor started Law Alumni Chapter while a student

Photo by Robert Jordan

Photo by Robert Jordan

OXFORD, Miss. – At the annual Mississippi Bar Convention in Sandestin, Florida, Robert C. Khayat received the 2014 Law Alumnus of the Year Award from the University of Mississippi Law Alumni Chapter. Since 1974, the chapter has selected one person annually to receive this distinction. The recipient must have made positive contributions to the legal profession, the law school and the university.

“Former Chancellor Khayat is an outstanding law professor, a respected associate dean and is a dedicated alumnus of the law school,” said Richard Gershon, law school dean. “He is also a great Mississippian, who has done much to help the people of our state. I am honored to work in a building named for him.”

Khayat is one of the law school’s most illustrious graduates. This is noted visibly by the name of the law school building, the Robert C. Khayat Law Center, which was dedicated in April 2011.

Khayat joined the law faculty in 1969, after a successful venture as a lawyer in Pascagoula. He served as a professor and associate dean, teaching local government law, family law, agency and partnership, federal trial practice, torts, civil procedure, and wills and estates. He helped shape generations of legal minds, including noteworthy graduates such as John Grisham.

Gov. William Winter reflected on Khayat’s influence in his address at the law school’s building dedication ceremony.

“Robert Khayat, with a vision of a more open and less insular society, played a major role in the enlightenment of an entire generation of young law students,” Winter said. “He helped develop in them an enhanced appreciation for the majesty of the law and their duty as lawyers to defend our legal and political system against the mindless critics who would profane and diminish it.”

Khayat received a Sterling Fellowship and obtained a master of laws from Yale University and returned to Oxford in 1981.

“The law school experience pulled together everything I had learned prior to 1963, helped me become able to read more retentively, to read more and to understand some of the complex characteristics of individuals and groups of people,” Khayat said. “I learned even more as a member of the faculty; the law school helped me receive a Sterling Fellowship from Yale which culminated in a graduate degree from one of the most respected universities in the world. I doubt that I would have been offered the chancellorship without that degree.”

As an Ole Miss law student, Khayat was articles editor of the Mississippi Law Journal and finished third in his class in 1966.

“From my first class in June of 1963, I felt that the opening of ‘my brain’ happened – I was intrigued, challenged and quickly adjusted to the extensive reading requirements,” Khayat said. “I liked the format of the classes and the interaction between the faculty and among the students. I realized that I was learning that the world is not black and white – that there were usually at least two sides to any issue.”

Khayat also started the Law Alumni Chapter, a group that continues to contribute to the school and alumni base in numerous ways. Coincidentally, his receiving the award at the convention in Sandestin marked exactly 50 years from the formation of the Law Alumni Chapter.

“We typed them on 3×5 index cards,” Khayat said of his gathering information on law graduates for the chapter. “I still remember the first, middle and last names of just about everyone who graduated from the Ole Miss law school.”

Khayat’s leadership extended beyond the walls of the law school. He was an academic All-American football player and was chosen as an All-SEC catcher for the 1959 and 1960 SEC champion baseball teams. He has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the NFL and the Distinguished American Award from the National Football Foundation.

Serving as chancellor of the university from 1995 until 2009, Khayat improved the university in many tangible ways. He increased enrollment by 43 percent and brought in research and development grants of more than $100 million. He also brought the prestigious honor society Phi Beta Kappa chapter to Ole Miss, as well as the 2008 presidential debate.

Most recently, Khayat won a Silver IPPY for best memoir in the nation awarded for his 2013 book “The Education of a Lifetime.”

With this record, it’s easy to see why Khayat was selected, said Mike Randolph, presiding justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court.

“I can think of no alumnus more deserving of the award,” Randolph said at the ceremony in Destin. “For those of us who were privileged to study under his tutelage, it’s difficult to think of Ole Miss without reflecting on Dr. Khayat’s positive impact on the university, its law school and the alumni of both.”

“If love is the appropriate word for an institution, I love the law school and its people,” Khayat said.

Other notable alumni who have received this recognition previously include Winter, Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Lenore Prather, Professor Bill Champion and Justice Reuben Anderson.

UM Admits 17 into Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program

Second cohort of elite education scholarship shows marked growth

The second cohort of UM's Mississippi Excellence in Teaching program hails from eight states and possesses an average ACT score of 29.1.

The second cohort of UM’s Mississippi Excellence in Teaching program hails from eight states and possesses an average ACT score of 29.1.

OXFORD, Miss. – Seventeen college freshmen gathered at the University of Mississippi’s Lyceum building recently to begin a life-changing college experience as new fellows in the Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program.

The METP offers an elite scholarship for top-performing students who seek to become secondary English or mathematics teachers in Mississippi. This group marks the program’s second cohort, hails from eight states and boasts an average ACT score of 29.1.

The program’s inaugural cohort was admitted in August 2013 and included 15 students from three states, with an average ACT of 28.5. The Ole Miss METP chapter has a 100 percent retention rate.

“I’d like to thank each of you for choosing to be part of this program and our university,” Chancellor Dan Jones told the group during the Aug. 22 event. “As teachers, you’re not only going to make a positive difference in the lives of the students you will teach but also in the future of our state as a whole.”

The most valuable education scholarship ever offered in Mississippi, METP was established in January 2012 as a joint venture with Mississippi State University after the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation awarded the two institutions a $12.95 million grant to build the program. METP offers four years of full tuition, room and board, a technology stipend, professional development, study abroad and more. All fellows make a five-year commitment to teach in Mississippi public schools after graduation.

“This is probably the most signature, high-quality undergraduate teacher preparation program in the nation right now,” said David Rock, dean of the UM School of Education. “METP fellows are not just here for a full scholarship; they’re here for much more. Most education majors don’t start training until their junior year of college, but our fellows start right away.”

The select group includes Mary Kathryn Barry of Charlotte, North Carolina; Ryley Blomberg of Belleville, Illinois; Meaghan Combs of Englewood, Ohio; Marjorie Cox of Tallulah, Louisiana; Rachel Ford of Siloam Springs, Arkansas; Drew Hall of Pearland, Texas; Taylor Huey of Long Beach; Shelby Joyner of Horn Lake; Charlie Kemp of Sarah; Paula Mettler of Hernando; Dillon Moore of Gautier; Elijah Peters of Hernando; Lindsay Raybourn of Long Beach; Laurel Reeves of Birmingham, Alabama; Abygail Thorpe of Gulfport; Anna Traylor of Brandon; and Gabrielle Vogt of Metairie, Louisiana.

Nine of the fellows will study English education and eight will study mathematics education. The program’s initial focus on English and mathematics was designed to meet the demands of the Common Core State Standards. The program also hopes to help change the perception of teaching as a career choice for the best and brightest incoming freshmen with the valuable scholarship.

“Our second cohort is an exceptional bunch and we’re excited to have them join our program,” said Ryan Niemeyer, the university’s METP director. “Our goal is to make METP a nationally competitive scholarship that brings the very best students to our university and to public education in Mississippi.”

Up to 20 fellows can be selected annually, but only the best incoming students are chosen at UM. Competition to gain admission into the program is expected to become increasingly fierce in coming years, Niemeyer said.

“The thing that attracted me to METP was the fact that this scholarship was specifically designed for future teachers,” Reeves said. “There aren’t many programs that give full scholarships to aspiring teachers. Becoming a fellow means that I have to set high standards for myself and be willing to achieve those standards when I become a teacher in Mississippi.”

While most education students begin teacher education coursework and field experiences after sophomore year, METP fellows are immersed in educational issues and theories from their first semester with specialized seminars. Also, METP students from both Ole Miss and MSU come together each semester for cross-campus learning activities at both campuses, allowing them to learn from faculty at both institutions. This spring, UM’s first cohort will take a special trip to Washington, D.C., to tour the White House, U.S. Department of Education and meet members of Congress.

“I’ve always wanted to give back to my community and to change people’s lives for the better,” Moore said. “I have had some amazing teachers, teachers who have shown me that being a good teacher can change the lives of hundreds for the better. A lot of people say ‘It only takes one person who cares.’ It’s my aspiration to be that one person who makes others better by caring and teaching them.”

Hastings’ Donations Support Summer Geology Camps

Gifts were given to support benevolent faculty in creating student programs

The Hastings Family Fund is comprised of John, his wife Sarah, and sons Harrison, and  Andrew '16.

The Hastings Family Fund  was created by John Hastings (left), son Harrison, wife Sarah and son Andrew, a senior at UM.

When it comes to generosity toward the University of Mississippi School of Engineering, the Hastings family of Houston, Texas, is a shining example.

The Hastings (John, his wife, Sarah, and sons Harrison and Andrew) made an initial unrestricted gift of $15,000 for the greatest need within the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering. Recently, the couple donated an additional $5,000. Both gifts were made through their Hastings Family Fund.

With these two gifts, geology department administration and UM Foundation staff collaborated to create the Department of Geology Faculty Support Fund specifically to address anticipated teaching needs and opportunities. The financial support has already enhanced tailor-made classes and programming for the department and the engineering school.

“For more than two decades, we have relied on a consortium of universities organized by the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology to conduct the traditional field camp experience for our students,” said Gregg Davidson, chair and professor of geology and geological engineering. “A year ago, the faculty decided that in order to meet the particular needs of our students, we needed to start our own field camp.”

This decision required two GE faculty members, Terry Panhorst and Robert Holt, to invest several weeks of their own time in Oklahoma and New Mexico to develop field exercises.

“The timing of the Hastings gift was perfect, as it allowed us to offset the cost of their travel and to compensate the instructors for their time.” Davidson said. “They gave $15,000 that has gone toward the development of our own summer field camp program.”

Two camps were held: an introductory one and a more advanced camp.

“The introductory camp (GE 301) required two sessions because of the large number of students needing to take it,” said Panhorst, an assistant professor. “The first session ran the second half of May, and the second session was the first half of June. Both sessions were held in the Arbuckle Mountains of south central Oklahoma, which is about midway between Oklahoma City and Dallas.”

Thirty-eight students attended the first session, and 21 students were in the second session.

The advanced camp (GE 401) will be operated by Holt, an associate professor. Based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the camp runs during the first half of August. About 35 students attended the inaugural session.

“The camps are designed to give the students experience in the field with basic geologic procedures, such as measuring and describing rock units, creation of geologic maps based on field observations and application of engineering fundamentals to evaluating sites for development,” Panhorst said.

Giving to Ole Miss engineering comes naturally for the Hastings. John is a lifelong geologist and has immensely enjoyed his profession. Both sons are pursuing careers in geology and geological engineering. Andrew is a senior geology and geological engineering major at UM.

“We as a family want to help support Ole Miss and specifically the geology and geological engineering department within the university,” John Hastings said. “We are pleased to be able to help the department in their efforts to produce engineers who will go out into the world and make positive impacts through their professional passion and excellence.”

Hastings worked for Shell Oil Co. from 1984 to 1994 and for Edge Petroleum from 1994 to 2005. He is owner and executive vice president of exploration for Paloma Resources LLC. He graduated from Dartmouth College with a bachelor’s degree in earth sciences and from Texas A&M University with a master’s degree in geology.

The Hastings’ donation has already proven very beneficial to the program, said Panhorst, who spent the week of spring break in Oklahoma attempting to find suitable places for meaningful projects where he and about 40 students could gain access.

“Altogether, I spent about 16 days in the Oklahoma field area, spread between January, March and April, attempting to generate a coherent set of projects,” he said.

Charitable gifts are the foundation for many School of Engineering activities.

“With the impending growth that has steadily become the norm at the School of Engineering, donations of any type are very well-received, especially ones for faculty support such as the gift from John and Sarah Hastings,” said Kevin Gardner, development officer for the School of Engineering. “The Hastings’ timely generosity is helping to accomplish the provision of unique prototype programs for the School of Engineering.”

Matthew Morrison Joins Electrical Engineering

Newest faculty member heading computer engineering emphasis

Matthew Morrison

Matthew Morrison

Matthew Morrison has proven his leadership abilities both in the U.S. Navy and at the University of South Florida. As a new assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of Mississippi, the award-winning teacher and researcher is overseeing the department’s new emphasis in computer engineering science.

A three-time alumnus of USF, Morrison will be teaching Advanced Digital Design this fall and CMOS/VLSI next spring. His other courses scheduled later include Low-Power Digital Design, Digital Circuit Synthesis, VLSI Algorithms and Design, Testing and Fault Tolerance, Embedded System Design, Foundations of Hardware Security and Foundations of Engineering.

“The University of Mississippi provided me with a unique opportunity to apply my teaching and research skills toward updating the computer engineering program within the electrical engineering department, and building the graduate program for both master’s and doctoral students,” he said. “I am committed to excellence in both research and teaching, and believe that improving education at all levels will lead toward enhancing the future of Mississippi and its young women and men.”

As a graduate assistant at USF, Morrison taught seven classes totaling 391 students. Awarded the Provost’s Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Graduate Teaching Assistant, he implemented many of the teaching methods developed at Naval Nuclear Power School, which he found engendered greater creativity in students.

“My teaching vision is to develop one of the best computer engineering programs in the world at Ole Miss by imbuing students with world-class study habits by combining Navy teaching methods with modern engineering teaching tools,” Morrison said. “This will allow us to develop students academically, creatively and morally, and to engender ideals of integrity, professionalism and lifelong learning and teaching in order to graduate engineers who are dedicated to a career of utilizing the principles of science for humanity’s benefit.”

Morrison’s research is in the areas of CMOS/VLSI, embedded systems, low-power hardware design and hardware security.

“My vision is to help improve the security, safety, reliability and efficiency of computer architectures, embedded systems and application-specific designs for the benefit of humankind,” he added. “Additionally, I will get to work with outstanding faculty who are cordial and genuinely work well together in a positive environment.”

Ramanarayanan Viswanathan, chair and professor of electrical engineering, said he is pleased that Morrison accepted the position here after completing his doctorate in May.

“Dr. Morrison will take a lead role in revising the BSEE computer engineering emphasis curriculum and in putting together a new computer engineering emphasis within the M.S. engineering science program,” he said. “Matt is very passionate about teaching and research in the broad area of computer engineering. He has a keen interest in K-12 education and its role in preparing students to pursue an engineering major at colleges.”

Morrison won the Navy Club of the United States Military Excellence Award in U.S. Navy Recruit Training. The award is presented to the graduating recruit who best exemplifies the qualities of enthusiasm, devotion to duty, military appearance and behavior, self-discipline and teamwork.

“I am proud of this award because I realized during boot camp that I have the potential to lead, give to my community and achieve excellence through hard work and dedication,” Morrison said. “Receiving this award marked a significant milestone in my life, and every achievement since has been the result of the same enthusiasm and discipline that I developed in boot camp.”

While a USF student, Morrison was involved with the Student Bulls Club, which is the student athletics fan group. He attended many home games for football, soccer, baseball, basketball, softball and tennis. He enjoys watching late-night comedy shows and “Doctor Who,” attending blues concerts, running and biking.

His parents, Alfred and Kathleen Morrison, live in North Venice, Florida, and are the chief scientist and chief financial officer, respectively, of Missile Systems Engineering. Morrison’s brother, James, is a project manager for Walsh Group and is working on the new U.S. Embassy in Oslo, Norway.

Morrison has authored several refereed journal articles and holds memberships in the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers and the Association of Computing Machinery.

Incoming Pharmacy Students Honored at White Coat Ceremony

Students recite Pledge of Professionalism at event

Dean David D. Allen congratulates Suman Ali on receiving her white coat at the Aug. 15 ceremony.

Dean David D. Allen congratulates Suman Ali on receiving her white coat at the Aug. 15 ceremony.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s Class of 2018 participated in the school’s White Coat Ceremony Aug. 15 at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

The annual ceremony marks the students’ completion of their pre-pharmacy curriculum and entry into the professional program. The school has 120 first-professional-year students enrolled this fall.

“It is an honor to participate in our White Coat Ceremony,” said David D. Allen, the school’s dean. “The event allows us to recognize our students’ commitment to professionalism and, in turn, recognize the commitment that the School of Pharmacy has to provide an innovative and quality education.”

Provost Morris Stocks delivered the ceremony’s keynote address.

“The White Coat Ceremony symbolizes the transition from pre-clinical to clinical education, but it also symbolizes much more,” Stocks told the students. “The bestowing of the white coat will serve as a reminder to you of the expectations that society has placed upon you. More specifically, it will serve as a reminder that you are embarking on a journey, and you are becoming a member of a profession that society holds to a high standard of trust and responsibility.”

Laurie Warrington Fleming, immediate past-president of the Mississippi Society of Health-System Pharmacists and clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice, led the students in taking the Pledge of Professionalism. Leigh Ann Ross, the school’s associate dean for clinical affairs, presented each student with a copy of the pledge, which they each signed during the ceremony.

Allen and pharmacy student body president-elect Stephanie Sollis presented the coats. She urged her new classmates to be dedicated in all aspects of their education.

“You have all been dedicated in your studies by making it this far,” said Sollis, a native of Corning, Arkansas. “May the white coat remind you to continue that diligence in your studies to become the best pharmacists in the world. May the white coat also remind you to remain dedicated to the field of pharmacy. Strive to promote pharmacy, remain open to change and be willing to work to improve the profession.”

Stocks concluded by asking students to wear their white coats with “honor and humility,” while ensuring that the profession remains highly trusted by society.

For a list of the students (and their hometowns) who received their white coats, visit http://www.pharmacy.olemiss.edu/studentaffairs/whitecoat.html.

Engineering Students Shadow at UMMC

Gordji and Vaughnn participated in Honors College summer program

UMMC

Roya Gordji and Joella Vaughnn

Two students in the School of Engineering took full advantage this summer of an opportunity to closely shadow physicians at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, thanks to the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College’s Physicians Shadowing program.

Juniors Roya Gordji, of Oxford, and Joella Vaughnn, of Rockville, Maryland, spent a month shadowing and observing physicians working in a variety of areas. The program is meant to give prospective medical students, regardless of major, a chance to personally experience the fast-paced environment of a hospital. The Honors College provides stipends to assist students with living expenses in Jackson during their rotations.

“The clinical shadowing program allows potential medical students the opportunity to experience the daily life and rhythms of one or two medical fields,” said John Samonds, associate dean of the Honors College. “It also exposes students to the health issues so prevalent in Mississippi.”

A general engineering major, Gordji became aware of the program through the Honors College’s weekly newsletter when she was a freshman.

“Engineering has a unique curriculum because of the real-world applications that exist in all areas of engineering,” she said. “I think this foundation will be helpful for me because in medicine, every problem is a real-world problem. It is immediate and right in front of you, so learning how to apply the things I’ve learned in the classroom to actual situations will be beneficial.”

Gordji and Vaughnn shadowed in the emergency and anesthesia departments in separate two-week rotations. Both observed a variety of real-life situations and interacted directly with physicians.

“The ER was fast-paced and the cases that came in were really interesting,” Gordji said. “I saw cases that varied in severity from a black eye to a crushed foot. The doctors were also very happy to teach.

“In anesthesia, I spent most of my time in the operating room. I was also able to do a few hands-on things there, like manually ventilating a patient. Although I didn’t know what to expect coming into the program, the entire experience was great.”

A chemical engineering major, Vaughnn learned about the program after seeing it on the Honors College’s website.

“I am going to need the engineering analysis tools to solve problems in medicine because medicine is not about having the perfect answer; medicine is about recognizing similarities between cases in order to help the patient as much as you can,” she said.

“A student can read about pulmonary embolisms as long as they want, but they have to be trained to recognize them in patients, even if they do not present 100 percent of the symptom list.”

Her experience gave her a better sense of the hospital environment and of areas that fit her interests.

“During the first two weeks in Jackson, I spent time shadowing an anesthesiologist in the operating room,” Vaughnn said. “There were several different ORs that I got to visit, including the main OR, day surgery center, maternity OR and the pediatric OR.”

Initially, Vaughnn planned on becoming a neurosurgeon, but after watching three different neurosurgery cases, she quickly changed her mind. Her favorite types of surgery to watch were knee, hip and shoulder replacements.

Before participating in the physician’s shadowing program, Gordji spent last summer doing computational research that involved designing tumor-targeting nanoparticles. She was able to present her research at the 2013 Mid-South Annual Engineering and Sciences Conference.

This fall, she begins research for her honors thesis. She also completed UMMC’s Community Health Advocacy Program and volunteered at Northeast Mississippi Baptist Hospital ER as an ambassador for the School of Engineering.

Vaughnn participated in a medical mission trip to Bolivia, where she organized a handout of reading glasses to a local tribe. She is also actively involved with the American Medical Students Association and her social sorority. Research for her honors thesis combines her interests in engineering, medicine and art.

Both students plan to apply for medical school during the upcoming academic year.

New Fund Created for UM Speech Therapy Program

Oxford mother focuses on building support to help others

Speech

Rheagan and Naden Vaughn with their son, Swayze

OXFORD, Miss. – Communication therapy has been an important focus for Rheagan Vaughn ever since her son Swayze was diagnosed with autism. For many children with the disorder, communication impairments can be an obstacle.

“We’ve been blessed that Swayze is on the high-functioning end of the spectrum,” said Vaughn, of Oxford. “But there are parents in this community who have children on the other side of the spectrum, and they need help too.”

After being involved in a number of national fundraisers for autism, Vaughn wanted to do something different. “I decided to find something local to support,” she said.

Early this year, the University of Mississippi’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders established the Hearing-Impaired Literacy and Language Laboratory. The program focuses on pre-school-level students with problems in speech, hearing and literacy. In its first year, the program achieved a number of positive results, such as children speaking for the first time. This success can be attributed to sessions between students and a staff of language-speech pathologists.

The program captured the attention of Vaughn after she learned it could help autistic children in areas of communication and literacy.

“What I specifically like about this program is that parents can sit and watch their children during lessons,” she said.

With an initial gift of $600, Rheagan Vaughn created the Swayze Vaughn Fund in dedication to her 7-year-old son. Vaughn hopes the Oxford community will contribute to the public fund and help the cause.

The Swayze Vaughn Fund will have a direct impact on the program, said Lennette Ivy, chair of the communication sciences and disorders department.

“(The fund) will help by providing whatever is needed,” Ivy said. “If we need any educational materials, we can utilize these resources.”

Ivy also suggested that the fund could help Oxford-area residents affected by autism.

“We could create support groups for parents of children with autism,” she said. “We could also bring in professional speakers and trainers. There are a number of things we can do with this fund.”

In the spring of 2015, Rheagan Vaughn hopes to organize an autism awareness walk in Oxford with the proceeds going directly to the Swayze Vaughn Fund.

“Every fundraiser I work from now on will benefit the Swayze Vaughn Fund,” she said.

Individuals and organizations interested in contributing to the Swayze Vaughn Fund can send checks with the fund noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, P.O. Box 249, University, MS 38677. For more information, contact Michael Upton, development director, at 662-915-3027 or mupton@olemiss.edu.

Three UM Professors Launch Racial Climate Study

Professors to examine students' experiences with racial and ethnic issues

A monument to James Meredith, the first black student at the University of Mississippi, stands on campus. Photo by UM Brand Photography.

A monument honoring James Meredith, the first black student at the University of Mississippi, stands on campus. Photo by UM Brand Photography.

OXFORD, Miss. – Three University of Mississippi sociology professors are launching a comprehensive study to understand racial and ethnic issues on campus and are seeking student participants to chronicle their experiences in online diaries.

Professors Kirk A. Johnson, Willa M. Johnson and James Thomas are seeking volunteers to confidentially journal their experiences with race issues at UM. The identities of the students will be known only to the investigators. For now, the study is expected to last at least until the end of the school year, but the hope is to continue it through coming academic years.

“We’re casting a broad net, so all students are eligible to participate,” Kirk Johnson said. “We want to hear from undergraduate or graduate students, those taking classes on the main campus or satellite campuses and those from all races and ethnic groups as long as they have some sort of racial and ethnic experience to share.”

The professors will collect diary entries and then analyze them to see what sort of factors lead to everyday incidents of racial and ethnic tensions or conversely, racial and ethnic cooperation. The professors are still making arrangements for other universities to join the project, so for the time being, UM is the only school being studied.

Students who wish to enroll in the study can click this link on or after Aug. 24. The link takes students to an online consent form, after which they’ll be directed to the diary website. There’s also a brief tutorial that explains how to write a diary entry.

Deadly riots ensued when James Meredith became the first black person to enroll at the university in 1962. Over the years, other racial incidents have been reported at the university. In response to those incidents, Chancellor Dan Jones recently issued a comprehensive report with recommendations for making the university a more welcoming environment for all. Part of that recommendation is that the university deal head-on with issues of race.

Willa M. Johnson said the university is in a unique position to study the issue.

“We think that the University of Mississippi is well situated to discuss these things,” she said. “We think our history gives us an opportunity. Rather than just look at this as the grave problem that it truly is, we look at it from the perspective of the opportunity that it affords the University of Mississippi to both understand race and also to put scholarship out that explains prejudice, both where it comes from, how it’s expressed in all its iterations.”

Since the nation elected its first black president in 2008, many wonder if the country is “post-racial,” Willa Johnson said. She doesn’t believe that’s the case, but thinks the study can be a valuable look into how racial and ethnic dynamics work.

“We’re not post-racial, but where are we?” she added. “That’s what we’re trying to figure out.”

Professors who would like their students to participate in the diary project for extra credit should contact Kirk Johnson at kjohnson@olemiss.edu.

Three Incoming UM Freshmen Receive Carrier and Hill Scholarships

Scholars attracted to university's literary history, Honors College

Maggie Smith

Maggie Smith

OXFORD, Miss. – Three freshmen entering the University of Mississippi this fall have received two of the university’s most prestigious scholarships in recognition of their exceptional academic and leadership records.

William Pate of Mooreville and Margaret “Maggie” Smith of Madison were selected for the Robert M. Carrier Scholarship, and Alison Turbeville of Jackson was selected for the Sally Vick Hill Scholarship. Both scholarship awards are valued at $10,000 per year for up to four years, for a total of $40,000.

Among the Mid-South’s oldest endowed scholarships, the Carrier was established in 1955 to “bring the state’s future leaders” to UM for “maximum scholastic and personal development.” Nominations for the award are made by UM admissions counselors, and trustees of the Robert M. and Lenore Carrier Foundation choose the recipients.

At Mooreville High School, Pate was named valedictorian and a National Merit Finalist. A four-year member of the Mississippi Lions All-State Band and an Eagle Scout, he was also named a Mississippi Economic Council All-Star Scholastic Scholar. Pate, who is the son of Mike and Nita Pate, plans to major in music education. He also plans to pursue performance opportunities playing the trumpet while teaching choir and band and hopes to go on to graduate school.

Will Pate

Will Pate

“I’m eager to dive into the honors program along with others who share my love for scholarship,” said Pate, who was attracted to the rigorous program offered by the university’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

Smith, a graduate of St. Joseph High School and the daughter of Sam and Kate Smith, was drawn to Ole Miss for its rich literary history. An aspiring writer and English major, Smith was a recipient of the Scholastic Art & Writers Awards’ Gold Key and ab American Voice Nominee, a member of the National Honor Society and mathematics honor society Mu Alpha Theta, as well as chapter president of the National English Honor Society. She was also a member of the high school swim team, theater and chorus group, and a lifeguard.

Like the Carrier Scholarships, the Sally Vick Hill Scholarship is designed to bring some of the state’s most accomplished students to the university.

Alison Tuberbville

Alison Turbeville

Turbeville is a graduate of Jackson Academy and the daughter of Karlen and Ben Turbeville of Jackson. A member of the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta and Chi Alpha Mu mathematics honor societies, she received the President’s Award for Educational Excellence and the Scott Branning Scholarship for personal integrity, respect for and sensitivity to others, and tenacity in dealing with circumstances in life.

Besides her sister and other family members attending the university, Turbeville cited the Honors College as a major reason for attending Ole Miss.

“I love Oxford and its people,” she said. “Ole Miss is a great school and environment, and I look forward to being independent and meeting new people in the fall.”

For more information about the Robert M. Carrier and the Sally Vick Hill scholarships at UM, visit http://finaid.olemiss.edu/scholarships.

Robinson Receives Inaugural Provost Fellowship at UM Center

Education professor using video to make new interdisciplinary teaching resource

UM teacher education professor Nichelle Robinson will serve at the first provost fellow in the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

UM teacher education professor Nichelle Robinson will serve at the first provost fellow in the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

OXFORD, Miss. – Nichelle Robinson, an associate professor of teacher education at the University of Mississippi, will serve as the university’s first provost fellow in the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, or CETL.

During the one-year fellowship, Robinson will begin building a video database focusing on interdisciplinary inquiry and discussion. The videos will tap into UM’s expert faculty resources on a variety of issues.

“I’m envisioning a TED Talks format where two to three instructors discuss a topic within 15 to 30 minutes, with one instructor serving as a moderator,” she said. “Think about Brown v. Board of Education. I know what I think about it from an education perspective, but what would someone in the political science department have to say about it? What about a faculty member in history?”

Starting in August, Robinson will begin creating such videos within the School of Education as part of an elementary education social studies course in the fall and a special education law course in the spring. The videos will provide an interdisciplinary view of different issues related to these courses by incorporating other UM faculty into classes.

The video database will be hosted on the CETL website and be organized by topic so users can find them online. After the first year, she hopes to expand the project by collaborating with other UM academic units in 2015.

“For example, a huge interest of mine is the civil rights movement and its impact on the state of Mississippi and our university,” Robinson explained. “A conversation I would love to participate in and share with my students would involve me, someone from the William Winter Institute and a third participant from African-American studies, history or political science.”

CETL was established in 2007 to enhance student learning by improving teaching at university. The center provides all UM faculty, including adjuncts, teaching assistants and graduate instructors, with resources and assistance in teaching.

“We are pleased that Dr. Robinson is our inaugural Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning provost fellow,” said Noel Wilkin, UM associate provost. “She is a dynamic educator who is enthusiastic about using technology to improve collaborative teaching and enhancing the content of the topics offered in the classroom. Her project has the potential to advance collaboration among faculty and between departments for the purpose of enhancing instruction.”

Robinson holds three degrees from UM, including a bachelor’s degree in business administration, a master’s degree in special education and a doctorate in elementary education. She worked as a special education teacher in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee for more than eight years before returning to UM as a doctoral student in 1999, and previously held faculty positions at the University of Memphis.