Members of UM Community Invited to Participate in HIT Forum

Free events include pitch competition, presentations form researchers and networking reception

JACKSON, Miss. – The Health Innovation and Transformation Center at the University of Mississippi Medical Center invites the LOU community to participate in the inaugural HIT Forum, an interactive event where health innovators from across the state can share their ideas for improving the health of Mississippians, connect with potential collaborators and compete for financial and infrastructural support to help make their ideas a reality.

What counts as a health innovation? The HIT Center is looking for new tools, techniques and applications that could improve how:

  • Clinicians manage or treat their patients
  • Individuals and populations track and meet their health goals
  • Organizations deliver health care or operate wellness initiatives

The HIT Forum, held in cooperation with global innovation company Plug and Play, will be 10 a.m.-4 p.m. May 15 in the Norman C. Nelson Student Union on the UMMC campus. The schedule for the event is:

  • 10-11 a.m. – Introduction and keynote speaker
  • 11 a.m.-noon – Pitch competition
  • Noon-1 p.m. – Lunch and poster presentations
  • 1-2 p.m. – Fireside chat
  • 2-3 p.m. – Announcement of winners, awards, and closing remarks
  • 3-4 p.m. – Networking reception

Attendance is free, but you must register here.

The pitch competition is looking for innovative health care solutions from anywhere in the world. To apply for this competition, email a link to your business or innovation webpage to Terrence Hibbert, UMMC director of innovation, at

The winner will receive:

  • $25,000 investment from Plug and Play
  • An opportunity to pilot the solution at UMMC
  • Start-up coaching from the HIT Center
  • Intellectual property review from the UMMC Innovation, Development and Licensing Office
  • A space in the business incubator at the UMMC Translational Research Center

The HIT Forum also will feature a business plan competition open to students and faculty of any Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning member. Entry instructions are available here and must be submitted by April 27. The winner of the business plan competition will receive:

  • $5,000 prize from the HIT Center
  • Start-up coaching from the HIT Center
  • Intellectual property review from UMMC’s IDL office.

IHL members also are invited to submit posters for the poster session before May 4 using the link here.

The forum will also feature a fireside chat with clinicians and researchers who will discuss their innovation journeys.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center is working toward home-grown innovation and partnerships with leading innovators from around the globe to reach that goal. Please enter and/or attend if you are interested in learning how Mississippi is innovating in health care or if you are interested in working to move the needle toward a healthier Mississippi.

For more information about the HIT Forum or HIT Center, contact Hibbert at

University Offers Free NCFDD Membership to Faculty, Students and Staff

Professional development, training, mentoring community supports academics' careers

OXFORD, Miss. – The Office of the Provost and Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at the University of Mississippi have acquired an institutional membership with the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity.

All UM faculty, graduate students, post-doctoral students and staff can join NCFDD at no cost and access a wide variety of services and programs designed to help those in academia thrive by increasing their research and writing productivity, creating networks of support on campus and across institutions nationwide, and developing a stronger sense of work-life balance.

“Memberships in national organizations help connect our faculty, staff and students to a broader network and valuable resources,” Provost Noel Wilkin said. “These networks and the resources offered help our community stay in touch with the national landscape and current issues facing higher education.”

Ole Miss is the first higher-educational institution in Mississippi to join more than 100 other U.S. academic institutions, such as Johns Hopkins and Princeton universities, that have become institutional members of the NCFDD.

“Joining NCFDD is a huge win in our effort to support and retain diverse faculty, students and staff on our campus,” said Katrina Caldwell, vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement. “I know many individuals who insist that this valuable resource was a game changer in their success in the academy.

“I am glad that all members of our community will now have access to this benefit and I hope that many of them take full advantage of all that it has to offer.”

By becoming an institutional member, all faculty, postdocs, graduate students and staff at UM have access to the following member resources at no additional cost:

To take advantage of this opportunity, activate your confidential, personal membership by completing the following steps:

1) Go to

2) Choose “University of Mississippi” from the drop-down menu.

3) Select “Activate My Membership”

4) Complete the registration form using your institutional email address (i.e.

5) Go to your institution email to find a confirmation email. Click “Activate Account” in the confirmation email.

If you have questions or comments, contact Tanya Nichols, project manager for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, at, 662-915-2933. If you have any technical questions, email NCFDD at

MPB’s ‘Conversations’ Features Chancellor Robert Khayat

Program premieres Sunday evening

Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat is the next guest on MPB’s ‘Conversations’ series. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat reflects on his life’s work and achievements for the next installment of “Conversations,” premiering at 5:30 p.m. Sunday (April 8) on Mississippi Public Broadcasting Television.

Host Marshall Ramsey, who interviewed Khayat for the segment, said he’s wanted to have the former chancellor on the program “for a long time.”

“I wanted to have him on not just because of his incredible career and what he’s done at Ole Miss, but because of the difference he’s made for the entire state,” Ramsey said. “He made amazing contributions to making life better for people all across Mississippi.”

“Conversations,” a regular program on MPB dating back to the 1970s, features interviews with a variety of notables, including politicians, athletes, entertainers, inventors and business leaders. Khayat stands out among the people featured on the show because of his natural leadership style, said Ramsey, who took over as host three years ago.

“He definitely does leadership just by walking around,” he said. “Chancellor Khayat once told me that when he’s out for a walk, if he sees a piece of trash, he has to pick it up and throw it away because that’s the example he wants to give others. That’s real leadership.”

Encore presentations of the episode are set for 10 p.m. Thursday (April 12) and 11:30 p.m. April 15 on MPB stations. The show also can be streamed after the premiere at

Isom Center Hosts 18th Annual Gender Conference

Interdisciplinary sessions explore how gender, race and socioeconomic status intersect

OXFORD, Miss. – The Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies hosts the 18th annual Isom Student Gender Conference, with a theme of “Liberty and Justice for All,” this week at the University of Mississippi.

The interdisciplinary conference, which explores the way gender, race and socioeconomic status intersect, was the first on campus to feature undergraduate research.

“Each year it’s gotten bigger and better and that’s exciting to see,” said Theresa Starkey, the center’s associate director. “It a good chance for students to hear their peers and learn about their research and writing interests. It’s a vibrant place for interdisciplinary work.”

Here is a full schedule of events:

Wednesday (April 4)

Feminist and Queer Methods in the World – 2 p.m., The Inn at Ole Miss. Graduate students in English and Southern studies discuss their research in a panel discussion, moderated by Jaime Harker, Isom Center director.

East Asia Study Abroad: Case Studies of Conflicts with Cultural Identities and the American Dream – 3:15 p.m., The Inn at Ole Miss. Modern language graduate students discuss the topic on a panel, moderated by Minjoo Oh, associate professor of sociology.

Memory, History and Symbols – 4:30 p.m., The Inn at Ole Miss. Undergraduate and graduate students from Ole Miss and Millsaps College discuss their research on a panel moderated by Amy McDowell, assistant professor of sociology.

Intersectionality and Institutionalization – 6 p.m., The Inn at Ole Miss. The keynote address about gender, social race, socioeconomic status and experiences of health and disease in the Mississippi State Asylum in Jackson will be delivered by Molly Zuckerman, associate professor of anthropology and Middle Eastern culture at Mississippi State University.

Thursday (April 5)

Creative Writing Panel – 8 a.m., Oxford-University Depot. Undergraduate students will discuss their creative work, led by moderator Melissa Ginsburg, assistant professor of English and creative writing.

Feminism and Affect – 9:15 a.m., Oxford-University Depot. Undergraduate students in theater, English, gender studies and anthropology from UM, Millsaps and Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania will discuss their research, moderated by Jaime Hovey, adjunct instructor in gender studies.

Pop Culture Panel – 10:30 a.m., Oxford-University Depot. UM and Millsaps undergraduates will discuss gender in pop culture, moderated by Starkey.

Space, Objects and Surveillance: Mapping Queer Desire in Southern Gothic Fiction – 11:30 a.m., Oxford-University Depot. UM English graduate students will discuss queer representation in Southern literature, moderated by Harker.

Provocative Porter, Wild Welty: Dignity Visibility and Body Politics – 1 p.m., Oxford-University Depot. English graduate students will discuss the topic, moderated by Annette Trefzer, associate professor of English.

Creative Writing Panel, 2:15 p.m., Oxford-University Depot. English professor Beth Ann Fennelly will moderate a panel of undergraduate English students joined by LaToya Faulk, instructor in writing and rhetoric.

Toni Morrison’s “Sula” and “The Bluest Eye”: Fresh Readings from Generation Z – 3:30 p.m., Oxford-University Depot. Millsaps undergraduate students will discuss Toni Morrison’s work, moderated by Millsaps English professor Anne MacMaster.

Cross-Talk between the Sciences and Humanities: The Case of Human Emotions – 6 p.m., Farley Hall, Room 202. The keynote address will be delivered by Laura Otis, professor of English at Emory University.

Friday (April 6)

Literary Panel – 8 a.m. Oxford-University Depot. Millsaps professors will be joined by a UM English graduate student to discuss gender in literature.

Fear and Phobias: The Intersection of Evolutionary Adaptation and Socially Constructed Fear – 9:15 a.m., Oxford-University Depot. Undergraduate students from Champlain College in Vermont will discuss their research in a panel discussion, moderated by Leslie Delassus, UM adjunct instructor of gender studies.

Sexual Assault: A Discussion – 10:30 a.m., Oxford-University Depot. UM undergraduate psychology students will be joined by a criminal justice graduate student and UM alumna to discuss the topic, moderated by Carrie Smith, instructional associate professor of psychology.

Creative Writing Panel – 11:45 a.m., Oxford-University Depot. Millsaps and UM professors will discuss gender in literature.

Cultural Narratives and Gendered and Raced Methodologies – 1 p.m., Oxford-University Depot. UM graduate students will discuss their research related to the topic, moderated by instructional assistant professor of gender studies Elizabeth Venell.

Re-presenting Slavery: Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Black Cinema – 2:15 p.m., Oxford-University Depot. UM undergraduate students will discuss the topic, moderated by Delassus.

Queering and Feministing the Archive – 3:30 p.m., Oxford-University Depot. UM English graduate students will discuss their research, moderated by Jessie Wilkerson, assistant professor of history and Southern studies.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Communication Sciences and Disorders to Raise Awareness for Autism

Department teams with student-athletes for Light It Up Blue event

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is teaming up with the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders to raise awareness for a condition that affects one in 68 children.

“With the number of children diagnosed with autism increasing at dramatic rates, we as a community must recognize that this is everyone’s concern,” said Gina Keene, speech-language pathologist in the university’s Hearing Impaired Language and Literacy, or HILL, program.

“We all will have a chance to interact with, be involved with or love an individual with autism. The more that we know and work together, the better we can make our community for all people.”

Kicking off Autism Awareness Month, the Light It Up Blue event on April 3 begins with Rebel student-athletes joining children at Willie Price Lab School to read “My Brother Charlie,” a children’s book by Holly Robinson Peete that explores autism from a child’s perspective. The books are donated by Square Books Junior.

“University and community members are encouraged to wear blue and meet in front of Kinard Hall at 9:45 a.m. to walk together to the University Circle,” said Amy Livingston, speech-language pathologist and HILL program instructor.

Students will then host an autism awareness table on the Gaultney-Lott Plaza from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to distribute information about the disorder to students, presell T-shirts and pass out snacks.

All proceeds from the T-shirts help support HILL and HILL Transition classes on campus.

The HILL Preschool and HILL Transition Classes serve children with moderate to severe receptive and expressive language disorders.

“Teaching our graduate students and undergraduate students how to advocate on behalf of clients is critical to our scope of practice as speech-language pathologists,” Livingston said. “We don’t just help our clients become better communicators, but we help the community better understand communication disorders.”

Alexandria Russell, a first-year graduate student in communication sciences and disorders, says educating the public about autism is important to her as a future speech-language pathologist.

“I am so thankful for the opportunity to help our community become more aware of what autism is and how it affects families and children with the diagnosis,” Russell said. “We’re so grateful to the local businesses who are donating items to make the event possible, including JCG Apparel, Square Books, R&R Bakery, Sugaree’s Bakery and The Cakery, and the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association.”

To order a T-shirt, complete the order form and email to For more information about the event, contact

Overby Center to Host ‘A Conversation About Race’

Free event set for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday

OXFORD, Miss. – As the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jr. approaches, the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi is hosting a discussion of race in America, featuring two authorities on the subject.

Gene Dattel, author of “Reckoning with Race: America’s Failure,” and Otis Sanford, who wrote “From Boss Crump to King Willie: How Race Changed Memphis Politics,” will conduct “A Conversation About Race” at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday (March 28) in the Overby Center Auditorium.

The event is free and open to the public. Parking will be available in the lot outside the auditorium, and a reception follows the program.

“These two native Mississippians know about race naturally,” said Curtis Wilkie, Cook Chair and associate professor of journalism. “We look forward to having both of them back at the Overby Center.”

A native of Ruleville who lives in New York, Dattel appeared previously at the Overby Center in connection with his 2009 book, “Cotton and Race in the Making of America.” Mississippian Morgan Freeman said, “Gene Dattel’s book masterfully captures America’s history and its painful legacy.”

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University and a law degree from Vanderbilt University, he went to work in international finance. Dattel soon developed a reputation for his energetic exploration of racial problems in this country.

Sanford grew up near Como and graduated from UM in 1975. A frequent guest at the Overby Center, he had a distinguished career in journalism before joining the faculty at the University of Memphis, where he holds the Hardin Chair of Excellence in Economic and Managerial Journalism.

A former managing editor of the Commercial Appeal, Sanford still writes a Sunday column for the newspaper. His extensive coverage of race in Memphis led to the publication of his book in 2017.

In its review, the Memphis Flyer praised Sanford for his “accuracy and grace” and called his work “a textbook case of how to handle the black and white realities of Memphis’s political evolution with appropriate shadings of gray.”

For more information, contact Curtis Wilkie at 662-915-1787.

Free MCAT Exam Prep Offered Saturday at UM

Practice run of medical school admissions test begins at 8 a.m. in Holman Hall

OXFORD, Miss. – A full practice MCAT examination is being offered for free Saturday (March 24) at the University of Mississippi.

The event, which begins at 8 a.m. in Holman Hall, Room 30, is being sponsored by Altius Testing Prep through the university’s Health Professions Advising Office.

“The MCAT is the entry test into medical school and can cost up to $315,” said Sovent Taylor, assistant director of the office. “This is a huge opportunity for our students. Altius will provide the proctors.”

All students taking the exam should meet in Holman for a group briefing before being split up and sent to computer labs in Weir and Connor Halls. There, they will check in.

“The check-in process will include fingerprinting and registration of login information, just like the actual test,” Taylor said. “The test will last a duration of up to 7-1/2 hours. Students will get the full experience of how the MCAT is done.”

UM is the first university in the state with a full-service Health Professions Advising Office. Ole Miss is also the first in Mississippi to offer the free MCAT exam preparation for students.

Students can register to participate in this event at

For more information, contact Sovent Taylor at

McLean Institute, MDA Entrepreneur Center Set Spring Webinar Series

Sessions designed to boost small businesses run through May 22

OXFORD, Miss. – The McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement at the University of Mississippi, in partnership with the Entrepreneurship Center at the Mississippi Development Authority, announces the 2018 Spring Webinar Series.

The series kicks off at noon Tuesday (March 13) with a presentation on MDA’s Minority Certification program. Derek Finley of MDA is the featured presenter.

“The webinar series is designed to help both aspiring and existing entrepreneurs boost their business profile in communities around the state of Mississippi,” said Nash Nunnery, Entrepreneurship Center director.

“We are excited to work with MDA and the Entrepreneur Center through the webinar series,” said J.R. Love, project manager for the McLean Institute’s Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development initiative. “The webinars provide our CEED students and community partners throughout Mississippi relevant information as they seek to start and strengthen their own business.”

To register for Week 1, go to

Other webinar dates, topics and presenters include:

March 27 – “Mississippi’s Planning and Development Districts,” presented by Dewayne Perkins of Central Mississippi Planning and Development District

April 10 – “Financing Your Small Business,” presented by Eleni Sanford of Trustmark Bank

April 24 – “Selling is Everything,” presented by Michael Harris of the Entrepreneur Center

May 8 – “Social Media Success,” presented by James Barnes of Mississippi State University

May 22 – “An Entrepreneur’s Story,” presented by Ray Horne of Mississippi Cold Drip

For more information, contact Nash Nunnery at

University Schedules Summit to Examine Benefits of Diversity

March 8 session is inaugural event of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s new Division of Diversity and Community Engagement invites the university community to its first public discussion March 8.

The division’s inaugural event, the “Diversity Summit: Making the Case for Diversity” begins at 8 a.m. at The Inn at Ole Miss. To register for the event, visit

“This summit is an open discussion with guest speakers addressing the benefits of diversity and inclusion for organizations,” said Katrina Caldwell, vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement. “We will also address contemporary issues in higher education and have a facilitated community conversation about campus climate.”

Scott E. Page, the Leonid Hurwicz Collegiate Professor of Complex Systems, Political Science and Economics at the University of Michigan, will deliver the keynote address. His topic will cover the importance of diversity and inclusion for organizations.

Kevin McDonald, vice chancellor for inclusion, diversity and equity at the University of Missouri, will talk about contemporary issues in higher education. Specifically, he will discuss how his university has addressed issues related to diversity, inclusion and campus climate, and share lessons learned and future directions for higher education.

McDonald and Page will participate in a panel discussion, moderated by Caldwell. Shawnboda Mead, director of the UM Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement, will facilitate a closing dialogue about the campus climate.

Page also has been director of the Center for the Study of Complex Systems at the University of Michigan and an external faculty member at the Santa Fe Institute.

He is the author of three books, including “The Diversity Bonus: How Great Teams Pay Off in the Knowledge Economy” (Princeton University Press, 2017) and “The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools and Societies” (Princeton University Press, 2008). He also has written several journal articles and filmed a video course on “Understanding Complexity.”

McDonald is also the Missouri System’s first-ever chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer. He previously held similar positions at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Virginia Tech, John Hopkins University and the University of Maryland in College Park.

Hired as UM’s inaugural vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement in 2017, Caldwell’s responsibilities include leading the university’s efforts to create and maintain a diverse, inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of the community. She is working to create a structure that encourages community engagement, develops partnerships to assist transformation, and identifies and supports target areas to maximize the university’s influence.

For more information, contact Tanya Nichols, project manager for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, at

University to Unveil History and Context Plaques March 2

Six markers offer history and insight into campus sites

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi will hold a ceremony Friday (March 2) to unveil six history and context plaques, which contain wording recommended by the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on History and Context following months of study and feedback from hundreds of stakeholders.

The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Plaques will be unveiled for Barnard Observatory, Lamar Hall, Longstreet Hall and George Hall; another recognizing the university’s enslaved laborers in the construction of Barnard Observatory, the Old Chapel (now Croft), the Lyceum and the Hilgard Cut; and a plaque for the stained-glass Tiffany windows in Ventress Hall recognizing the University Greys, a company of primarily UM students during the Civil War that suffered 100 percent casualties – killed, wounded or captured.

The ceremony will include:

  • Welcome remarks by Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter
  • Keynote address by John R. Neff, associate professor of history and director, Center for Civil War Research
  • Introduction of plaque readings by Katrina Caldwell, vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement
  • Reading of the plaques by student ambassadors
  • Closing remarks by Alice M. Clark, interim vice chancellor for university relations
  • A reception will be held in the lobby following the ceremony. Shuttles from the Ford Center to the plaque sites will be available after the ceremony. Student docents and a member of the CACHC will be located at each plaque.

Shuttles from the Ford Center to the plaque sites will be available after the ceremony.

Logistics and planning for the March 2 event are being led by a committee of members of the Oxford campus community:

  • Katrina Caldwell, co-chair, vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement
  • Alice Clark, co-chair, interim vice chancellor for university relations
  • Don Cole, assistant provost and associate professor of mathematics
  • Jennifer Ford, head of archives and special collections and professor, J.D. Williams Library
  • Jeff Jackson, associate professor of sociology
  • Dion Kevin III, Associated Student Body president
  • Amy Lewis, external affairs director, University Relations
  • John Neff, associate professor of history
  • Ethel Young Scurlock, associate professor of English and African American studies and senior fellow of Luckyday Residential College
  • Deetra Wiley, applications analyst and business communications specialist, Office of Information Technology, and marketing coordinator for UM Staff Council

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter established the CACHC in the summer of 2016 to address Recommendation 5 of the university’s 2014 Action Plan, which urged the university to “offer more history, putting the past into context” and to do so “without attempts to erase history, even some difficult history.” The university’s contextualization efforts were an academically- and fact-focused process.

The CACHC’s full recommendations, its final report, and renderings and map locations of the plaques can be found here.