‘Just Mercy’ Panel Sparks Restorative Justice Discussion at UM

Legal studies department and Common Reading Experience host 250 students for program

Roughly 250 students attended the ‘Just Mercy’ panel discussion hosted by the Department of Legal Studies and the UM Common Reading Experience. Photo by Marlee Crawford/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – “Is it the water that needs to be changed, or is it the fish? I think it is the water that needs to be changed,” said Joseph Holiday, an inmate at the Marshall County Correctional Center.

Holiday’s question regarding the high rate of recidivism in Mississippi’s prison system elicited applause from the 250 students attending the recent panel discussion hosted by the University of Mississippi Department of Legal Studies and the Common Reading Experience about social issues and problems in the criminal justice system. The issue is the focus of “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption,” this year’s universitywide common reading book.

Twelve inmates from the Marshall County Correctional Center joined the event via Skype to share their insights from the book, having completed a study of it through restorative justice classes with Linda Keena, event facilitator and interim legal studies department chair.

Panelists included Patrick Alexander, assistant professor of English and African American studies and co-founder of the UM Prison-to-College Pipeline program; Randall Rhodes, chief juvenile officer for the 32nd Judicial Circuit of Missouri and adjunct legal studies instructor; and Patricia Doty, deputy warden of security operations at the Marshall County Correctional Center.

The final panelist was Terun Moore. Originally sentenced as a juvenile to life without parole, Moore was paroled in October after serving 19 years. He was able to appeal for parole thanks to “Just Mercy” author Bryan Stevenson’s winning argument to the Supreme Court in Miller v. Alabama that life sentences without parole are unconstitutional for juveniles.

“This has been a great motivation to each and every one of us,” Moore said. “We have learned through our restorative justice class that the things we did to our victims took away from them the power that they once had and instilled fear instead.

“We’ve learned to how to take responsibility for that. We want to thank Dr. Keena and Warden Doty, who have been very supportive of us. This class has been wonderful.”

Restorative justice is a sentencing philosophy wherein the focus isn’t on the perpetrator and how to punish him or her. The focus is on the victims and what would make them feel whole, Keena said.

“We work with the institutions to teach the offenders to recognize their responsibility, to quit blaming other people for their wrongdoings and then provide them opportunities to make amends for their harm to society,” she said.

Alexander described the UM Prison-to-College Pipeline classes he teaches at Parchman. The program, a university-community engagement initiative, promotes higher education in prison in response to rising rates of incarceration, high-cost punishment and recidivism in the state.

Ole Miss joins Mississippi College, Millsaps University and Jackson State University in providing classes, supplies, books and professors to teach incarcerated people.

“This is an investment in our shared citizenship,” said Alexander, citing the high rate of illiteracy among incarcerated people. “It saves taxpayer dollars. Education, particularly higher education, reduces recidivism.

“There is a much greater chance these people who have taken these restorative justices classes will do well when they are back out in society.”

Twelve inmates from the Marshall County Correctional Facility joined the event via Skype with host Melissa Dennis, of the UM Common Reading Experience (left); facilitator Linda Keena, legal studies department chair (second from left); and panelists Patrick Alexander, assistant professor of English and African American studies and co-founder of the UM Prison-to-College Pipeline Program; Randall Rhodes, chief juvenile officer for the 32nd Judicial Circuit of Missouri and adjunct legal studies instructor; Patricia Doty, deputy warden of security operations at the Marshall County Correctional Center; and Terun Moore, a recent parolee. Photo by Marlee Crawford/Ole Miss Communications

Rhodes talked about the school-to-prison pipeline he combats through grant-funded detention alternative programming that diverts juveniles into community engagement before they end up in prison as adults. He discussed the growing number of children in foster care due to parents’ drug abuse and skyrocketing elementary school suspension rates affecting a disproportionate number of children of color.

“I want to warn you that this bubble of foster care youth and this bubble of elementary suspension kids is a problem,” Rhodes said. “It is really something we have to watch. Stevenson’s idea of a constantly moving target where racial biases come in – now it has moved to this elementary suspension zone.”

Improving the way courts and society consider mitigating factors, such as previous abuse and mental health issues, became an important talking point for the panelists.

In Doty’s years in the criminal justice system, inmates have shared a common thread of substance abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse or mental health problems, she said. Society would rather not address these problems because people don’t understand them and are afraid, she said.

“Substance abuse contributes to a significant amount of crimes in the U.S., and a significant number of those folks are people of color,” Doty said. “White people have a more significant substance abuse problem, yet people of color are more often incarcerated.”

Rhodes encouraged students to volunteer time with vulnerable children to help keep them out of prison.

“With all my years in grant programs, I’ve always told my officers (that) it really doesn’t matter what you spend time doing with these children, but that you’re right there beside them spending time with them, showing enthusiasm for whatever you’re doing together,” he said. “Whatever you have to offer is important.

“The kids are going to get something out of it – an attachment with an adult who cares about them. So go for it. Go out there and do it.”

The evening ended with the men from the Marshall County Correctional Center thanking Ole Miss students, faculty and staff for the opportunity to connect.

“Let everyone know, the people there in the audience, you all are the future and cornerstone of changing the mindset of how incarcerated people are viewed in the United States,” said Joseph Holiday of New Orleans.

“The worst prison is what a lot of people are dealing with right now – the prison inside the mind. Many people are held captive to their old prejudices, biases and other things that aren’t conducive to our human development. We want to ask you all to lay down your past biases about those incarcerated and look at the soul and mindset of the individual that can be cultivated.”

For more information about the UM criminal justice program, email legalstu@olemiss.edu or visit http://legalstudies.olemiss.edu/.

UM Social Work Students Discuss Justice with Lawmaker

Rep. Jay Hughes discusses policy affecting social work practice with students

State Rep. Jay Hughes urges undergraduate and graduate social work students to help the marginalized populations they represent by staying informed and engaged with local and state politics. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Dozens of social work undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Mississippi recently joined state Rep. Jay Hughes to discuss issues of social justice in social work in Mississippi and beyond.

“One vein of social work that does not get as much attention as direct social work practice with individuals, families and groups is macro social work practice,” said Daphne Cain, UM chair of social work.

“Macro practice includes social advocacy and policy development that advocates for individuals who find themselves among the most vulnerable in society. Social work advocacy engages not only in reflecting on the policies and decisions that are being made that impact the most vulnerable members of our communities, but also demands action when policies and decisions negatively impact marginalized groups disproportionately.”

The students were introduced to Hughes at Social Work Advocacy Day last semester, said Claire Griffin of Decatur, one of two students in the new doctoral program in social welfare.

“We were able to meet him and get a little insight into what is going on at the Capitol,” Griffin said. “He plays a big role in advocating for our social service agencies and their funding.

“When I’ve gone to the Capitol and listened to them discuss bills to be passed or not, he is an advocate for us, so to have him here is a blessing, really.”

Many people don’t understand social work’s commitment to advocacy for social justice, said Amy Fisher, assistant professor of social work and moderator for the event.

“You’ll find social workers proposing, lobbying and protesting all manner of policy and serving in all levels of government, employed at policy institutes and involved with legal advocacy, too,” Fisher said. “We’re really everywhere.”

Hughes emphasized to the students that state legislation and local ordinances, more often than federal legislation, affect the vulnerable populations social workers serve every day. Federal issues that politically divide the nation, such as immigration and abortion, distract voters from issues in their state and city that can be solved in a bi-partisan manner, he said.

“We tend to lose focus of civics and policy,” Hughes said. “Because of party identity, we fail to see that 99.9 percent of what affects us happens after Election Day, and it’s not in Washington by any stretch of the imagination.

“Policy is not at a federal level. It is what happens in Jackson, Mississippi, and Oxford, Mississippi.”

To illustrate, Hughes explained that 183 bills were signed into law last year in D.C., compared to 22,000 enacted on the state level and 500,000 signed into city ordinances.

The students discussed bills from the last legislative session that were defeated, in part, because of their professional organization’s vocal opposition, including House Bill 1425.

H.B. 1425 would have granted the governor power to make appointments to an Occupational Licensing Review Commission, affecting 26 state licensing boards, including the Mississippi Board of Examiners for Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists.

Hughes joined the National Association of Social Work-Mississippi Chapter in opposing the bill and met with Ole Miss student members during the annual Social Work Advocacy Day in February at the state Capitol to discuss the bill’s potential ramifications.

“What is going to work is dealing with the problem – putting educated, trained social workers in charge of educating and training social workers who understand the root of poverty and the consequences of poverty,” Hughes said.

The group also discussed bills, such as H.B. 1523, that passed despite the professional organization’s opposition.

“H.B. 1523 is of great concern to social workers because the profession is focused on creating and advocating for social justice for all, regardless of age, race, color, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability or national origin,” Fisher said.

Hughes encouraged students to not be discouraged when bills are passed that they disagree with, but to instead get more engaged in local politics by attending Board of Aldermen meetings and writing their representatives when issues arise that affect their profession and the people they serve.

“Be informed, be engaged and be registered to vote,” he said.

Hughes explained that to make a difference in policy and be agents of change, students should share real, genuine, direct and brief concerns with their lawmakers, using social media and personal emails.

“Make it personal,” he advised. “Let me assure you, you will get a blanket response, but after a few people keep sending those kinds of emails, the politicians start having an ‘a-ha moment.’

“It is very difficult for a policy maker to appreciate (your client’s experience) if they’ve never dealt with it, unless you share it with them, and share it with them in a civil way; that is critical. No matter which side of the political spectrum you fall, or if you fall in the middle, attacks result in closed ears, whether you are in your political, personal or religious life.”

Hughes warned students to pay close attention to local policy on the agenda ahead of city meetings to express concerns for their constituencies before it is too late.

He recounted a recent Board of Aldermen meeting where the lease for the only food pantry in Oxford was not renewed, resulting in The Pantry’s need to find a new home.

“The board had to vote because of growth issues, but that is affecting real life,” he said.

Hughes left the students with the charge to be a voice for the vulnerable populations they serve.

“No one will look out for the children you try to help unless they know the reality,” he said.

For more information about the UM Department of Social Work, visit http://sw.olemiss.edu/ or email socialwork@olemiss.edu.

Nutrition and Hospitality Management Lauded for Research Excellence

UM faculty-student collaborators produce record number of award-winning abstracts at conference

Students and faculty from the UM Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management celebrate winning the greatest number of Outstanding Abstract awards among universities participating in the 2017 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo in Chicago. Submitted photo

Students and faculty from the UM Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management celebrate winning the most Outstanding Abstract awards among universities participating in the 2017 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo in Chicago. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Students and faculty from the University of Mississippi’s Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management were recognized for more award-winning abstracts than any other university participating in the recent 2017 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo in Chicago.

With more than 12,000 participants registered for the Oct. 21-24 event, FNCE featured more than 130 nutrition science research and educational presentations, lectures, panel discussions and culinary demonstrations. NHM faculty and students presented 15 abstracts, with five receiving outstanding abstract awards, on topics ranging from sustainability to food insecurity and nutrition perception.

“The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrated 100 years as a professional organization for registered dietitians at the FNCE conference,” said Mary Roseman, professor of nutrition and hospitality management.

“The high number of student-faculty collaborated research abstracts presented and record number of awards received this year are testament to the accelerated research efforts occurring in the department. NHM has young and growing master’s and doctoral programs where our students are already successfully competing on the national stage.”

Graduate students Kelsey Dismukes, Michelle Weber and Sydney Antolini, along with professor David H. Holben, were recognized for their abstract, “Food insecurity and physical and mental health of elementary school children in a rural, Appalachian Mississippi community.” Funding for the study came from the UM Foundation’s Nutrition Security Support Fund, made possible with donations from Monsanto.

“Attending FNCE as a poster presenter for the Farm-to-YOUth! project was so meaningful,” Dismukes said. “Presenting the research at FNCE allowed me to raise awareness of household food insecurity and its consequences with the goal of creating conversations around potential avenues to alleviate household food insecurity and its effects.”

Graduate student Katie Halfacre and faculty members Yunhee Chang, Roseman and Holben were recognized for their abstract, “Financial Strain and Food Preparation Ability May Be Important Factors for Food Insecurity and Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among University Students.”

The group’s abstract poster was among only three selected to be part of the conference poster tour, where Halfacre provided a 10-minute overview and brief question-and-answer session.

Graduate student Claire Adams and faculty collaborators Roseman and Cindy Choi were recognized for their abstract, “The Impact of Customers’ Perception of Nutrition-Related Components on McDonald’s Users’ Visit Frequency,” and graduate student Chelsea Bell was recognized for her abstract, “Statewide Recipe and Meal Planning Guide: A Child Nutrition Director’s Resource,” with faculty collaborators Laurel Lambert, Teresa Carithers and Chang.

Professors Jim Taylor and Holben also were recognized for their abstract, “Incorporating sustainability and continuous quality improvement principles into a university student-operated restaurant.”

“Their accomplishments show the national presence and diverse scope of our NHM teacher-scholars. They are truly preparing the future leaders in the field of nutrition and dietetics,” said Carithers, interim dean of the School of Applied Sciences.

For more information about the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management, visit http://nhm.olemiss.edu/.

Nutrition Professor Develops Food-based STEM Curriculum

UM researcher expands FoodMASTER program with Deep South Network

David H. Holben (left) and members of his project team prepare bags of food to be delivered to students at Bruce Elementary School through the 2016 Farm-to-YOUth! initiative. Helping are (from left) Sydney Antolini, Michelle Weber and Kelsey Reece, all nutrition graduate students at Ole Miss. Photo by Bill Dabney

OXFORD, Miss. – Kids are accustomed to hearing adults tell them, “Don’t play with your food,” but they won’t hear it from David H. Holben.

Holben is a University of Mississippi professor of nutrition and hospitality management who wants children to learn through an initiative aimed at using food as a tool to teach mathematics and science.

Holben is a part of the Deep South Network, a research collective that recently received a $1.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to support the science, technology, engineering and math learning pipeline for underserved minority youth through informal science learning environments with a curriculum built around food.

East Carolina University’s Melani Duffrin, a former doctoral student of Holben’s, leads the effort with researchers from UM, the universities of Alabama at Birmingham and South Carolina, Auburn University and Georgia State University who are working together to enhance access to learning opportunities and favorably affect science attitudes and career decisions in the health professions among this underrepresented population.

“Our partnership with Mississippi and other Deep South partners is to collect larger regional data to inform efficient, affordable and effective positive impact practices in creating a science culture for underserved youth,” Duffrin said. 

“Our goal of expanding the program has a broad application of building stronger partnerships between K-12 teachers and health professionals to achieve an increase in health science literacy for the general population and to better prepare underserved populations in pursuing science careers.”

Duffrin successfully developed and implemented food-based curricula designed for students in third grade through college.

The Food, Math and Science Teaching Enhancement Resource, or FoodMASTER, program uses hands-on, inquiry-based learning activities to help students learn science, math and nutrition concepts. Students who have participated in the curriculum became increasingly interested in the subject matter of food and were able to conduct scientific observations.

“David Holben is an experienced researcher with great attention to detail and a passion for working with underserved populations,” Duffrin said. “It was obvious that he was a great choice as a partner to begin building the initiative in Mississippi. Under his direction, this project will inform best practices and bring resources to the Mississippi region.”

This new grant will develop new FoodMASTER curricular materials, establish the Deep South Network to serve as a model to others, create and implement formats, assess impact on attitudes toward science and create field trip experiences for underserved minority youth.

“One of the reasons I’m excited about this project is it targets underserved minority youth, and my work has traditionally looked at food insecurity and health outcomes of underserved groups,” said Holben, who has studied food insecurity among these populations since 1997.

The first two years of the five-year project will allow the researchers to “build their team,” with opportunities for professional development, including conferences related to STEM education, Holben said.

“In years three and four, each of us will implement a FoodMASTER program,” he said. “The team at UM will develop a program for Mississippi youth, and then we’ll do it for one year to see what works to improve the second year.”

Holben could utilize his existing partnerships in Calhoun County formed through his work with Farm-to-YOUth!, an initiative supported by the UM Foundation’s Food and Nutrition Security Support Fund that increased almost 1,200 children’s exposure to nutritious food in public schools and sent nutritious produce home to area households.

“They don’t have a summer feeding program in Calhoun County, so implementing a FoodMASTER program there would allow us to meet a need over the summer for food for the children, while incorporating STEM education,” Holben said. “Regardless of where the program is implemented, we are going to teach math and science skills using food.”

Food insecurity means not having access to nutritionally adequate food for an active, healthy life, and Mississippi ranks last in the nation, with food insecurity in 18.7 percent of Mississippi households.

“The 2016 estimates just came out on Sept. 6,” Holben said. “We are getting better, but we are still well above the national average (12.3 percent) in the U.S.

“We do have high need here. If we’re providing food while we’re providing STEM education, perhaps we can change the food insecurity in the home.”

Funding for this research is provided through the Science Education Partnership Award Number R25OD023721 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences within the National Institutes of Health.

For more information about academic programs in nutrition and dietetics at UM, email nhm@olemiss.edu.

Alumnus Credits UM Experiences for Role in James Beard Nomination

Hospitality management graduate Carlyle Watt lauded for artisan breads, local sourcing

Carlyle Watt cuts into a focaccia at the Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop. Photo by Brian Adams

OXFORD, Miss. – Carlyle Watt, a 2005 graduate of the University of Mississippi’s hospitality management program and a 2017 James Beard Award nominee in the Outstanding Baker category, returned to campus recently to participate in the 20th Southern Foodways Symposium.

In his first experience with the symposium, Watt attended lectures and tastings designed to reframe ideas about ethnicity and identity in the Latin American culture, the theme for this year’s event, held Oct. 5-7. He networked with hundreds of chefs and mentors involved with the Southern Foodways Alliance, a member-supported organization based at the university’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture.

“We’re so proud of Carlyle for his Beard Award nomination,” said Dru Jones, chef and food specialist for Lenoir Dining, the campus restaurant run by students in the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management. “It is a huge honor to be nominated, since these awards are often referred to as the ‘Oscars of food’ in the culinary world.”

Established in 1990, the James Beard Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields. Only 20 semifinalists were named in this year’s national competition.

Watt has been head baker at Fire Island Rustic Bake Shop in Anchorage, Alaska, for five years, creating a selection of 15 or more artisan breads daily. Watt works closely with the area’s farmers and designs his menus accordingly, sourcing as much local, organic and sustainable product as possible.

A native of South Carolina’s Lowcountry, Watt learned to cook the traditional cuisines of the Carolinas from his parents and grandmothers. While attending Ole Miss, he cooked at Proud Larry’s, Oxford Steak Company and Bouré.

With his first James Beard Award nomination for Outstanding Baker in tow, Carlyle Watt visits Lenoir Hall while in Oxford for the 20th Southern Foodways Symposium. Submitted photo

The hospitality management program curriculum at UM offers a foundation in liberal arts, business and operations management. The program’s curriculum is designed to enhance and strengthen students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills, so that they can address, meet and adapt to the various needs of the hospitality industry in managerial positions.

Since the hospitality management degree program at Ole Miss exposes students to all facets of the industry, the chef himself mentors and advises students who find a passion for cooking while they consider which culinary school to attend after graduation.

After graduation and several cooking gigs across the Southeast, Watt attended the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Saint Helena, California.

“It was awesome, because I got to go to the accelerated program because of my degree,” Watt said. “If you have a bachelor’s degree in hospitality, dietetics or nutrition, you skip all the classroom stuff and go straight to eight months of intense kitchen training, and I was done.”

After culinary school, Watt moved to Alaska to pursue a career as a personal chef, but after a few years on the job decided to return to what he loved the most from culinary school: baking.

“I got a job as a night baker in culinary school for the school’s restaurant,” he said. “I would go to school until like 9 p.m. and go straight over to the bakery. Everyone, students and instructors, were gone, and I’d have the place to myself. I’d bake bread all night.”

As founding members of the Super Saturated Sugar Strings, Watt and his wife, Theresa, appreciate that Watt’s early baking hours afford them time to spend practicing and playing the alt-folk music they love, with Watt on vocals, guitar and percussion and Theresa on cello. Their six-member band can be seen at venues and festivals across Alaska, Colorado and Oregon.

Watt is one of three brothers who attended Ole Miss. Kenton Watt, a journalism graduate, is a development officer for Texas Christian University, and Bill Watt runs Carolina Lumber Sourcing in Charleston, South Carolina.

For more information about the UM Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management, visit http://nhm.olemiss.edu/.

UM Researchers Link Cognitive, Mobility Limitations and Mortality

School of Applied Sciences ramps up research in preparation for new Applied Gerontology degree

Emily Frith (left), a doctoral student in exercise science, and Paul Loprinzi, associate professor of health, exercise science and recreation management, recently published ‘Individual and Combined Associations of Cognitive and Mobility Limitations on Mortality Risk in Older Adults’ in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – With its first interprofessional degree program in applied gerontology rolling out in fall 2018, the University of Mississippi’s School of Applied Sciences is ramping up its exploration of areas that directly affect the elderly population, like decline in cognitive function and mobility.

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate the rate of people dying from Alzheimer’s disease in the United States rose by 55 percent over a 15-year period. Even mild cognitive impairment has been shown to substantially raise the risk of death.

Research has shown that some types of physical exercise, however, may reduce the decline in cognitive performance and protect against dementia, in addition to improving physical wellness and prolonging optimal health.

Researchers in the Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management and the University of Mississippi Medical Center confirmed in their latest study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings that older adults who demonstrate cognitive or mobility limitations have increased all-cause mortality risk. The highest mortality risk, however, occurred in those with both limitations.

“Our findings highlight the importance for clinicians to assess mobility and cognitive function among their older adult patients, whenever feasible,” said Paul Loprinzi, associate professor of health, exercise science and recreation management, indicating that early detection is key to prolonging life and improving overall quality of life.

Walking and other exercise behaviors have been suggested to correlate specifically with executive function, the set of mental skills that help you get things done, such as managing time, paying attention, planning and organizing, remembering details and multitasking.

Individuals who are able to engage in regular physical movement have shown marked improvements in executive functioning parameters.

Since limitations in cognitive and physical capacity complicate efforts to maintain physical fitness, the Ole Miss researchers wanted to explore if the combination of cognitive and physical mobility limitations, in concert, would result in an increase in all-cause mortality.

“In alignment with other work, we hypothesized that both cognitive and mobility limitations would increase the risk of mortality, but few studies have examined whether older adults with both of these limitations have the highest mortality risk, which was the motivation for this study,” Loprinzi said.

This study looked at the combined effects of mobility limitations and cognitive functioning among a large sample of adults accessed from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, using data from 1,852 participants ages 60-85 years old from NHANES cycles 1999-2002. Participants were followed until 2011.

Specifically, researchers assessed mobility limitations via self-report, asking participants if they were able to walk a quarter-mile without assistance; if they were able to walk without assistive equipment; if they were able to rise from a chair or seated position without using any type of external support such as the arms of chair; if they were able to walk from room to room on the same level without any assistance; or if they had to stop, squat or kneel at any point.

They assessed cognitive mobility using the Digit Symbol Substitution Test, a visuospatial and motor speed of processing test known to be an objective measure of central executive functioning.

“We separated the groups into four segments: individuals with no evidence of cognitive dysfunction and no mobility limitations, individuals with evidence of either cognitive dysfunction or mobility limitations, and individuals with evidence of both cognitive dysfunction and mobility limitations,” said Emily Frith, lead author and a UM doctoral student.

Notably, the team found that individuals with evidence of both cognitive and mobility limitations had the lowest rate of survival and the highest point estimate of increased risk of all-cause mortality.

“Our results have important clinical implications, showing that adults with both mobility and cognitive impairment may have an abbreviated lifespan,” Frith said.

“They may also be at risk for lower functional independence across the lifespan, as well as reduced ability to engage safely and comfortably in activities of daily living. Mobility and cognitive limitations, in isolation, may also contribute to detrimental health outcomes in late life.”

This multiple-authored paper demonstrates interdisciplinary collaborations across UM departments and centers and brings new perspectives on cognition, physical activity and health, said Minsoo Kang, UM chair and professor of health, exercise science and recreation management.

“I am grateful for the excellent work by our HESRM grad students and faculty in support of our mission,” Kang said. “Emily Frith, Ovuokerie Addoh and their adviser, Dr. Paul Loprinzi, published an excellent article in this prestigious journal.”

The doctoral program in health and kinesiology has two emphasis areas: one in health behavior and promotion, and the other in exercise science. Admission is competitive, limited in number and dependent upon availability of faculty mentors.

The emphasis in health behavior and promotion prepares students for university teaching and research, and positions in public, private and international health.

The emphasis in exercise science prepares students for university teaching and research positions. Also, the degree prepares students for research careers in industry and medicine that include the study of exercise.

For more information about the Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management, email HESRM@olemiss.edu.

Social Work Presentation Kicks Off LGBTQ History Month

LSU expert presents history and culturally competent professional practice guidelines

Elaine Maccio, associate professor of social work at Louisiana State University, presents ‘Culturally Competent Social Work Practice with LGBTQ Persons’ to faculty and students in the UM Department of Social Work. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Social workers have a duty to help clients from diverse backgrounds, and the best practitioners understand their clients’ cultural histories and social context, a scholar on the issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people told students and faculty this week at the University of Mississippi.

Elaine Maccio, associate professor of social work at Louisiana State University, visited UM for a couple of presentations as a kickoff to the university’s LGBTQ History Month programming. Her visit was co-sponsored by the Department of Social Work and the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies.

“When you understand their history, it helps really personalize an entire group of people,” Maccio said. “If you don’t talk about history or things that make the culture unique, it is easy to just dismiss them and trivialize them. The more you personalize it and humanize it, the harder it is to just dismiss LGBTQ people.

“As social workers, in particular, that can’t happen, especially steeped in social justice the way (the practice) is, helping those who are traditionally underserved. This is just part of the normal curriculum that would be associated with any of the populations that we work with, and history is a part of that.”

Social workers must educate themselves on any population with which they’re working, Maccio explained. For many clinicians, it helps to immerse themselves in unfamiliar cultures.

“Attending presentations like this is certainly a part of that,” she said. “Getting to know LGBTQ people, frequenting places the LGBTQ people might be, attending events – anything that sensitizes them to what life and reality is like for LGBTQ people – helps develop their sensitivities and their competence around this population.”

Statistically, social workers will be presented with issues that affect their LGBTQ clients more frequently than their heterosexual peers. Though individuals identifying as LGBTQ account for only 3.8 percent of the U.S. population, they are the victims in 21 percent of reported hate crimes.

A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 46.4 percent of lesbian women, 74.9 percent of bisexual women, 40.2 percent of gay men and 47.4 percent of bisexual men report being victims of sexual violence.

Some 2 million children in the United States are being raised by lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender parents who have limited access to a range of health services, insurance and tax breaks available to heterosexual couples. Social workers are responsible for helping many of those families traverse these added stressors through counseling and outreach, she said.

Daphne Cain (left), chair of the UM social work department, and social work faculty members Amy Fisher (second from left), Drew Leffman (second from right) and Na Youn Lee (right) welcome LGBTQ studies expert Elaine Maccio, (third from right) and her wife, Sherry Desselle. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Maccio provided appropriate terminology and best practices for managing the care of LGBTQ clients and their families, explaining how to build rapport, exercise empowerment practice and self-assess to identify personal feelings and biases about sexuality. She also discussed resources such as PFLAG and other support groups and how to incorporate them into treatment plans.

“It is critical that we as social workers make every effort to learn as much as we can about the people we serve, especially underrepresented and vulnerable populations,” said Daphne Cain, social work department chair. “We are so lucky to have had Dr. Maccio on campus to help us develop deeper cultural competence for our practice.”

In another presentation, Maccio detailed the development of LGBTQ culture from ancient to modern times, highlighting critical moments in history, such as the emergence of the first gay rights organization, the Mattachine Society, and the 1960s Stonewall riots, which was the first time the gay community of Greenwich Village fought back against police harassment. She also discussed the evolution of laws that affect sexual freedom, marriage equality and children of LGBTQ families.

“I came away from the talk with an extremely informative timeline of key moments in the formation of queer identity, beginning as far back as 800 BCE,” said Laura Wilson, a third-year doctoral student in English. “What seemed most interesting in the presentation was the ‘two steps forward, one step back’ sense of progress that Dr. Maccio discussed as she elaborated on legal motions that enabled more equality for the LGBTQ community, followed almost immediately by bills that seek to remove these human rights.”

A native of the U.K., Wilson said she was fascinated by the discussion of how American perspectives are grounded in legal changes at the state and federal levels.

“That a history of queer identity would be so punctuated by juridical changes like this, clearly demonstrates to me that LGBTQ equality is a vitally important issue of social justice,” she said.

For more information about the Department of Social Work, email socialwork@olemiss.edu. For information about the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies and a schedule of LGBTQ History Month events, visit https://sarahisomcenter.org/.

UM Students Help Special Olympics Athletes

Program offers service-learning opportunities in community

UM students Devante Yates (left),of West Point; Lauren Nichols, of Roswell, Georgia; and Ali Siddiqui, of Ocean Springs, helped more than 300 Special Olympics athletes check in at the organization’s fall bowling event. UM photo by Sarah Sapp

OXFORD, Miss. – Students from the University of Mississippi Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management helped 310 athletes from area schools, North Mississippi Regional Center and the Scott Child Development Center compete in Special Olympics bowling at Premier Lanes for the organization’s regional fall event.

“If I didn’t have them, I couldn’t do the Special Olympics,” said Felisa Bonner, Area 4 Director for Special Olympics Mississippi. “They helped with check-in, running the lanes, putting the names in the system and helping the athletes bowl. They do a great deal of work.”

Bonner credits Michael Dupper, assistant professor of HESRM, for helping coordinate this event, along with graduate student Brittany Trahan and undergraduate Devante Yates.

“Working with the folks from NMRC, the local school district and the Scott Center helps our students learn how to work with differently-abled populations and people with developmental disabilities,” Dupper said. “It prepares them for the real world, because that is who they’re going to meet: people with varying conditions, not just intellectual disabilities, but people who have mobility impairments and the elderly.”

More than half the recreation therapy staff at NMRC graduated from the Ole Miss department, Dupper said.

“A lot of our students want to get into physical therapy and occupational therapy, so obviously it’s directly related to working with people who are going through rehabilitation.” he said.

Evi Addoh (second from right), a graduate student in health promotion from Delta State, Nigeria, and Dylan Delancey (right), an exercise science major from Ocean Springs, assist Special Olympics athletes and their coaches in the fall bowling competition at Premier Lanes. UM photo by Sarah Sapp

Yates, an exercise science and nursing major from West Point, was involved in planning and executing the Special Olympics event through his undergraduate independent study with Dupper. He regularly works with participants from NMRC to get contact hours in recreation management, helping patients with mobility function through activities like aquatics and horseback riding.

“This is my first time being over the Special Olympics, and I just feel a lot of love from the participants,” Yates said. “The clients that come here – I can see how much fun they’re having, and it just brings a lot of joy and cheer to my heart.”

Planning the Special Olympics is an opportunity for students in the department to recruit helpers from all over campus, said Trahan, a doctoral student in exercise science from Rayne, Louisiana.

“I’ve learned how Ole Miss helps in the community, and participating helps me better get acquainted with the community of Oxford,” she said.

Ole Miss students help with a variety of Special Olympic events throughout the year, including bowling, skating, basketball, and track and field.

The university’s exercise science program prepares students for a broad range of health- and fitness-related professions through a curriculum that focuses on the applied sciences of exercise physiology, biomechanics, motor control and the psychology of exercise behavior. Students are presented with the most contemporary issues and trends in the application of exercise for weight management, cardiopulmonary health, maintenance of functional movement throughout the lifespan and the application of exercise science to athletic performance.

Students who graduate with a degree in exercise science often continue to study in areas such as medicine, physical therapy, occupational therapy, nursing, psychology, athletic training, nutrition and education. Students also can find employment as group exercise instructors, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation specialists, employee fitness coordinators, personal trainers and strength and conditioning coaches.

Graduate study in exercise science provides a focused scientific examination into a specific topic in exercise science. The mentor-driven approach provides students with opportunities for in-depth study of an application of exercise to an area of health and human performance.

For more information about volunteering with the Special Olympics, contact Trahan at batrahan@go.olemiss.edu. For more information about the UM exercise science program, email dbramlet@olemiss.edu.

Legal Studies Offers 3+3 Option with School of Law

Paralegal studies enhances program, adds new fast-track to Juris Doctorate

Susan Duncan, UM law dean (center) and Macey Edmondson, interim assistant dean for admissions and scholarships (left) join Linda Keena, interim chair of legal studies, to announce the launch of the Bachelor of Paralegal Studies 3+3 emphasis. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi is offering a new fast-track to the School of Law through a Bachelor of Paralegal Studies 3+3 emphasis in the Department of Legal Studies, reducing the time and tuition dollars needed to complete a bachelor’s and law degree.

Under this new pre-law emphasis for paralegal studies majors, a student’s fourth-year requirements for the B.P.S. are satisfied by completing first-year law school classes. The student must meet the law school’s admissions requirements, which are established each year based on the previous year’s data on grade-point averages and Law School Admission Test scores for students admitted to the school.

While there is no guaranteed entry to law school, students who designate this new emphasis of study are signaling their passion for the field.

“The fact that they picked an undergraduate degree that closely aligns with the legal profession shows us they have a strong interest in law,” said Susan Duncan, UM law dean.

In their first three years of study, students take courses in legal research and writing, civil litigation, and criminal law and procedure, providing them with a critical understanding of the total system of justice and the society in which it functions. An extensive internship program enables students to link classroom learning with practical experience.

In their fourth year, students will begin taking classes offered to first-year law students, including contracts, torts, civil procedure, property and constitutional law.

“We have students tell us, ‘I’m interested in law school. What should I major in?'” said Linda Keena, interim chair of legal studies. “Paralegal studies, if you look at the curriculum, is a perfect entree to law school. If you look at how the curriculum is set up, the focus is on critical thinking in every course, which is so beneficial in law school.”

Recruiting the best and brightest students to law school is a priority for Duncan and Macey Edmondson, the school’s interim admissions director.

“This program allows us to get strong students from our own institution,” Edmondson said. “We can work with them earlier and help them map out their law school path.

“I think students who engage in the 3+3 program are a little ahead of the curve because they will have had some experience with law firms and different legal backgrounds, so we can meet them where they are and guide them on their path.”

A student who chooses this emphasis but does not meet law school admissions requirements or elects not to attend law school can switch to legal studies’ paralegal emphasis and complete a fourth year of undergraduate study to earn their B.P.S.

“If a student decides not to go to law school, they will still have the expertise to do most of the legal research and work done in a law office under the supervision of a licensed attorney,” said Whitman Smith, UM admissions director. “This will be a major attraction to students interested in the legal profession.”

Campus leaders concerned about overall affordability point out the program’s cost savings for students.

“I think we have an obligation to try and hold down student debt,” Duncan said. “This is really attractive, because the students can take a whole year off the process and get into the workforce faster.

“These people know what they want to do, so let’s help them get there quicker and eliminate part of the tuition burden.”

The new emphasis is the brainchild of now-retired legal studies professor, Robert Mongue, who recently returned to Ole Miss as an adjunct faculty in legal studies.

“Once I began discussing this type of program with faculty from other institutions, it became clear that we owed it to our students, the university and the state of Mississippi to implement a 3+3 option for qualified students,” he said.

Several similar programs exist across the nation and seem to being doing well, Mongue said. In fact, the 3+3 concept appears to be a trend in legal education.

“My alma mater, the University of Maine, has one initiated by the law school,” Mongue said. “It has agreements with three undergraduate educational institutions, so some of my initial investigation was based there.

“However, since our model is a UM undergraduate-to-UM School of Law only, it is closer in operation to those at Fordham University, University of Central Florida, Florida State University and the University of Iowa, a top-50 law school that started its program in 2013.”

Before his retirement, Mongue created a supervisory board, soliciting help from legal professionals, educators and alumni to modify the paralegal studies curriculum, get valuable input about trends in the field and promote the program. He worked to enrich the curriculum with more critical thinking by adding courses such as logic and LA 440: Access to Justice.

Heather Joyner, paralegal studies coordinator and instructor. Submitted photo

Students who take Access to Justice can work for legal organizations, such as North Mississippi Rural Legal Services, that help populations without appropriate access to legal representation or services, said Heather Joyner, paralegal studies coordinator and instructor. Students get hands-on experience doing intakes and writing legal document, such as wills, for people with financial need.

Program internships also are available, ranging anywhere from the U.S. Attorney’s Office to private law firms, during students’ junior or senior year of undergraduate study.

“If a student wants to have part-time employment while they’re in law school, these internships and classes that give them real-world experience open doors for jobs in the legal profession,” Joyner said.

Previously an adjunct professor at UM and Northwest Mississippi Community College, Joyner served as assistant district attorney for the 1st Judicial District from 2002 to 2011 and public defender for Lee County Youth Court in 2000-02. She earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Alabama and her master’s degree in political science from Mississippi State University.

“The students entering higher level courses have shown marked improvement in being able to apply foundational knowledge in the upper-level courses since Heather started teaching,” Keena said. “Her contacts in law offices, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, state prosecutors’ offices and the like strengthen her credentials. We are very excited to have her join our faculty on a full-time basis.”

Stakeholders are optimistic that compressing the amount of time and money involved will provide opportunities for students to earn law degrees and apply that knowledge in a variety of fields outside of the courtroom.

“There is so much more you can do with a law degree other than being a litigator,” Keena said. “Many of our students are interested in homeland security, and there are things they can do with a law degree in that capacity.

“Entrepreneurially thinking, it is so helpful to have that law degree, so if at this stage, as freshmen and sophomores, they can start to see that there are options for them beyond being a litigator, I think we’ll see this 3+3 program blossom.”

For more information about the Bachelor of Paralegal Studies 3+3 emphasis, email legalstu@olemiss.edu.

School of Applied Sciences Welcomes New Faculty

New faces bring wealth of analytic expertise and diverse cultural backgrounds

Teresa Carithers (center), interim dean of the School of Applied Sciences, welcomes new faculty members (from left) Saijun Zhang, Francis Boateng, Davis Henderson and Minsoo Kang. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Over the past six years, the University of Mississippi School of Applied Science has experienced unprecedented growth. A six-year assessment revealed enrollment is up 17 percent, and the number of degrees awarded has increased 82 percent. The number of peer-reviewed manuscripts is up an incredible 326 percent.

These upward trends attract accomplished teacher-scholars from diverse academic and cultural backgrounds, such as the four new faculty members who recently joined the school.

Faculty and students in the Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management have a new chair and professor in Minsoo Kang. From 2004 to earlier this year, he served on the faculty at Middle Tennessee State University, where he received the Distinguished Research Award in 2013.

MTSU and University of Illinois have the only nation’s only programs in kinesmetrics, the application of measurement theory, statistics and mathematical analysis to the field of kinesiology. Kang brings with him to Ole Miss his experience as director for the Measurement and Statistical Consulting Service for the MTSU Kinesmetrics Laboratory. He plans to provide the same type of research-based consulting on health and human performance research projects to UM researchers and students.

“Dr. Kang brings the vision and knowledge to help us expand our tremendous research potential in health, sports and recreation through his data science and analytic expertise,” said Teresa Carithers, the school’s interim dean.

Kang earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Seoul National University and his doctorate from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders welcomed Davis Henderson as a new assistant professor. Henderson received his doctorate in speech and hearing science from Arizona State University.

A certified speech-language pathologist and native Navajo Indian, Henderson specializes in language development and impairment, language assessments among culturally and linguistically diverse populations, psychometrics and Navajo linguistics. Through his dissertation research, Henderson developed a dynamic assessment to identify Navajo children who need speech-language pathology services from those with normal, cultural speech differences.

He plans to continue pursuing his research into creating speech and language assessments for Navajo children that accurately reflect their abilities.

“Dr. Henderson’s research has already revealed how culture can and should influence our teaching, research and clinical practice,” Carithers said. “We anticipate that his findings could positively impact practice beyond the Navajo populations as well.”

Saijun Zhang joins the Department of Social Work as an assistant professor.

“The Department of Social Work is delighted to welcome Dr. Saijun Zhang to the social work team,” said Daphne Cain, the department’s chair. “Dr. Zhang earned his Ph.D. and Master of Social Work from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and served as a postdoctoral research associate and research assistant professor and research specialist with the Children and Family Research Center there.”

Zhang specializes in child welfare and youth behavioral health with rich experience in program evaluation and policy analysis. His other research endeavors include youth substance abuse and mental health and social contexts on the wellbeing of children and families.

Last year, Zhang presented his research at the 20th Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research on the prevalence of human trafficking of children in Illinois and the characteristics of those children who come to the attention of child protective services. Zhang completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at East China Normal University in Shanghai.

Francis D. Boateng joined the Department of Legal Studies in October of last year from University of Minnesota at Crookston, where he served as an assistant professor of criminal justice in the Department of Liberal Arts and Education.

He received his doctorate in criminal justice and criminology from Washington State University and is working on series of projects testing organizational justice and support theories in a comparative context. Boateng is also developing a book manuscript that provides both historical and contemporary accounts of policing in Ghana.

His main research interests include comparative criminal justice, comparative policing, police legitimacy, international security, victimology, quantitative research, crime, law and justice. Besides presenting papers at professional conferences, such as the American Society of Criminology, Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and Western Association of Criminal Justice, Boateng gas published papers recently in a number of well-respected journals.

“He did not begin his services at Ole Miss until October last year, and since then, he’s aggressively attacked the incredibly time-consuming labor of planning and teaching new courses, writing proposals and churning out a large number of refereed manuscripts,” said Linda Keena, interim chair of the Department of Legal Studies.

“He has been highly effective in managing all those conflicting demands on his time and energy. Our department is very pleased with his productivity.”

“We have had a wonderful start to our academic year and welcome these new teacher-scholars, as is my custom, with great expectations,” Carithers said.