Local HR Professionals Excel in National Certification Exam

UM prep class aids north Mississippi companies and employees

Dylan Wilmoth, of Oxford, recently earned the Society of Human Resource Management Certified Professional certification after completing an SHRM certification prep course offered by the UM Division of Outreach and Continuing Education. UM photo by Pam Starling

OXFORD, Miss.­­­ – Human resource professionals in north Mississippi are increasing their knowledge and skills to help employers after participating in the Society of Human Resources Learning System professional development course offered at the University of Mississippi.

“Going through this course helped me to better understand my job and do it in the best way possible,” said Mallory House of Hernando.

House works with payroll, insurance, worker’s compensation and various other HR tasks for the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors’ office. She passed her SHRM Certified Professional Exam in June.

“I think the class not only prepared me to take the certification exam, but it also prepared me for the day-to-day issues and challenges that will come up in my work,” House said.

The SHRM exam prep course that House completed last spring is enrolling participants for the fall 2018 group that will be offered on Tuesday evenings, Sept. 11 through Dec. 11, on the Oxford campus.

Taught by local human resource manager Christopher Byrd, the course not only prepares human resource professionals to take the SHRM-Certified Professional or SHRM-Senior Certified Professional Exams, but it also helps participants strengthen their understanding of core behavior and competencies that will help increase productivity in the workplace.

“Pursuing a nationally recognized certification in HR is one of the best ways to show you care about your career, your employees and your organization,” Byrd said.

Dylan Wilmoth is an operations leader with Human Technologies Inc. in Oxford. He completed the course and passed his SHRM exam in the spring of 2017.

“Anyone who is managing people or working in the HR field needs this course,” Wilmoth said. “Participating in this program has given me the knowledge to bridge the gap between what employees want and what the employer needs.

“After earning this certification, I have the knowledge I need to be an advocate for employees while still helping my company meet its goals.”

The SHRM organization has been active in the human resources community for seven decades and has more than 285,000 members worldwide.

“There has been a great success rate for enrollees in the SHRM certification course offered at Ole Miss,” said Mary Leach, UM director of professional development and lifelong learning. “These short workshops and courses are ideal for those who want to gain current and relevant knowledge to impact their job immediately.”

The registration fee for the course is $1,099 for non-SHRM members and $999 for members. Special discounts are available for Ole Miss alumni. Many businesses and organizations are offering educational tuition benefits for employees interested in completing the prep course.

Admission to the university is not required for this noncredit course.

For more information and to register, visit http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/SHRM or contact Griffin Stroupe at 662-915-3121.

UM Dean Becomes National Pharmacy Association President

David D. Allen assumes leadership of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy

David D. Allen, dean of the UM School of Pharmacy, takes over this week as the new president of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. Photo by by James Patterson

OXFORD, Miss. – David D. Allen, dean of the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, will be inducted as the president of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy on Wednesday (July 25) at the organization’s annual meeting.

“From the moment I joined the organization, I had opportunities to learn, develop, grow and make contacts, and then later, opportunities to serve and give back,” said Allen, who has been involved with AACP for more than 20 years, serving as chair of the Council of Deans, Advocacy Committee, Costs of Experiential Education Task Force, Biological Sciences Section and Student Services Special Interest Group, as well as a member of several other committees.

“The opportunity to continue to give back with this role was really the driving force in wanting to be considered, and I was very humbled to be elected.”

AACP is the national organization representing pharmacy education and includes the country’s accredited pharmacy schools and colleges.

“The primary focus of my presidency is going to be on leadership,” Allen said. “I’d like to focus not only on enabling people in schools of pharmacy to become leaders with titles and administrative roles but also for faculty to lead from within their roles.”

Many faculty members don’t necessarily want an administrative title or role but want to have an impact. Allen said he likes to call such people “faculty champions.”

“They are key individuals who make meaningful contributions in very important processes but don’t necessarily have an administrative role or title,” he said. “Pharmacy is a rapidly changing field, and I am excited to continue to find ways for pharmacy educators to contribute to the progress of the profession.”

Allen’s election is well-deserved, said Lucinda L. Maine, executive vice president and CEO of AACP.

“David is passionate about quality pharmacy education at all levels, and his focus is on the leadership contributions across the academy,” she said. “He knows that moving forward in these important arenas requires advanced preparation.

“I’ve now worked with almost 20 incoming presidents (including former UM pharmacy Dean Barbara Wells). They have all been fantastic, but David’s preparation for the year has no rivals.”

As president, Allen said some of his most important responsibilities are advocating for pharmacy education and the pharmacy profession and continuing to strive to make sure the academy and individual schools and colleges are training people to have a strong impact on the health and well-being of people across the country. He also said he’ll promote his home university every chance he gets.

“I’m going to be traveling a lot as president of AACP, and each time I’m in front of another school, college or organization as president, the University of Mississippi and its School of Pharmacy will be named, which can provide positive and beneficial exposure,” Allen said. “It also gives me an opportunity, if prompted, to talk about what a great place the Ole Miss School of Pharmacy is and what extraordinary people we have here.”

Allen has served as dean of the UM pharmacy school since January 2012. He is also executive director and research professor of UM’s Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and a professor of pharmacology. He received his bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Kentucky.

Founded in 1900, AACP is the national organization representing the interests of pharmacy education. It comprises 139 accredited colleges and schools with pharmacy degree programs. For more information, visit https://www.aacp.org.

Artists with UM Connections Showcase Creative Works

Individuals from different disciplines came together in 'creative fellowship' taught by Constance Pierce

Kirstie Manning, UM human resources reconciliation assistant, chooses paintings for display at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center as part of the ‘Creative Fellowship’ exhibit. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi human resources assistant, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry and several Ole Miss alumni with backgrounds in medicine, business, education and humanities all have united through creativity.

The work produced by these individuals of diverse disciplines constitutes an exhibition of watercolors, acrylic paint, creative art journaling, pastel and mixed media, titled “Creative Fellowship,” which opened July 5 at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center. A reception for the artists is set for 6-8 p.m. July 24 in conjunction with the July Oxford Art Crawl.

Constance Pierce, previously a fine arts professor at St. Bonaventure University in New York, made Oxford her home upon retirement after learning about the town’s rich literary and artistic culture. After speaking with Wayne Andrews, executive director of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, Pierce began offering classes at the Powerhouse to share her expertise in painting and drawing.

“I began to gather a group who developed a great chemistry together, and it blossomed into a creative fellowship,” she said. “Those who visit the exhibition will see a wide array of artworks expressing the personal vision of the eight artists who are featured.

“The talents of the participants are quite diverse, but there is a communal depth of soulfulness in their expression and their imagery.”

Over the last few years, the fellowship has continued to grow and Pierce said she welcomes participants of all skill levels.

Kirstie Manning’s portrait of Lezley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown, is titled ‘Buried Her Son.’ This painting and several others by Manning is on display at the Powerhouse as part of the ‘Creative Fellowship’ exhibit. Submitted photo

The exhibit features works by Kirstie Manning, assistant in the UM Office of Human Resources; Susan Pedigo, professor of chemistry and biochemistry; and other exhibiting artists Ashley Brewer, Bobby Kennedy, Susan Phillips, Vicki Stevens, John Takerer and Lynn Wilkins, all of whom participated in a variety of classes and workshops taught by Pierce.

Each artist has a unique connection with Ole Miss, either as a faculty or staff member, a graduate of the university or as a guest speaker.

Pierce said Manning is one of the most artistically gifted art students she has worked with in decades.

“Ms. Manning’s art is special because it reveals the depth of the human spirit, especially in her portraits,” Pierce said.

Manning also offers reflections of her own life through her visual journal pages, some of which will be on display.

“She has a rare ability to authentically express the soul of the person she is painting,” Pierce said. “I respect her desire to bear witness to the faces of those in African-American culture and history who she experiences as ‘truth-tellers.’ She has an exciting future ahead as an artist.”

Manning has been interested in art for as long as she can remember, drawing and coloring with a crayon case and artist’s desk that her family gave her as a little girl.

“In first grade I would draw ‘portraits’ of my classmates, even though my portraits were insanely large circles for heads with small stick-like bodies,” Manning said. “I enjoyed drawing and always wanted to get better at the skill.”

She dramatically improved her skill level from those stick figures through drawing as a hobby and taking art classes throughout her time in school.

When she enrolled at UM in 2009, she began painting through courses offered at the university. Three years later was a pivotal year for her creations.

Susan Pedigo, UM professor of chemistry and biochemistry, shows off one of her paintings that is included in the ‘Creative Fellowship’ exhibit at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center. Submitted photo

“I was impacted by the victimization of people of color, and I would channel my emotions into my art,” she said. “While surprisingly acing projects in Advanced Painting and Advanced Drawing courses, I finally understood that art is my voice to be heard by the nation.”

Manning’s pieces on display are of people that inspire her directly, including American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and 13-year-old Zulaikha Patel, a South African activist.

“Through their voices in art or protest, these beings tell stories of our ancestors and our future,” Manning said. “In turn, I’m showing reverence for them through my art.”

Pedigo, who is a beginning artist, set aside her concerns about significant figures and standard deviations in her daily research to put a brush to paper.

“I have always been interested in art, but I have never made art until now,” she said. “I was a failure in high school art class and really never pursued it on my own.”

Her daughter has been an artist since she was a young girl, and Pedigo said she admired her devotion to the craft and her unique style.

“I had to learn to let go of the expectation that my art would have a specific form and to focus only on the simple act of putting ink or paint on paper,” she said. “I worked on several pieces at one time, and I worked on each piece many times.”

Pedigo’s pieces are created with watercolor paint, oil pastels and black ink on brown paper.

“Constance has opened a world to me that I was never in – only on the outside looking in,” Pedigo said. “Now I dream about brown paper and black ink. I only pay attention to the feel of the brush as it runs across the paper.”

The exhibition can be viewed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays through July 28 at the Powerhouse Gallery.

Casey Lauer Named UM Facilities Management Director

Kansas native will oversee top-ranked campus, facilities

Casey Lauer

OXFORD, Miss. – Casey Lauer, an experienced engineer and facilities operations expert, has been named director of the Facilities Management Department at the University of Mississippi.

Following a national search, the Kansas native was selected for the position, which includes the responsibility of maintaining and managing one of the country’s most beautiful college campuses – a role Lauer said he’s excited to accept.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the facilities management organization and to join the Ole Miss family,” Lauer said. “I look forward to working with the leadership team, faculty and staff in support of the Flagship Forward strategic plan and feel strongly about the opportunities and positive impacts that can be made throughout the campus community.”

Lauer brings more than 11 years of leadership and experience in the fields of energy engineering, facilities operations, and property and project management.

In his new role, Lauer will lead the university’s Facilities Management Department, which comprises three divisions: facilities operations, facilities services and laboratory services. Lauer also will be responsible for assessing needs for growth, development and improvement on the UM campus.

“Facilities management plays such a key role in supporting the mission of the university in so many ways, so we’re fortunate to have Casey bringing such a wealth of experience and insight to our campus,” said Larry Sparks, vice chancellor for administration and finance. “His addition to our university’s leadership team speaks volumes to our continued efforts to nurture a sustainable, healthy and secure campus environment for our students, faculty and staff.”

Lauer comes to Ole Miss from Kansas State University, where he served most recently as assistant vice president of facilities operations and physical plant infrastructure. During his four years in that position, Lauer was successful in implementing more than $45 million in campus energy efficiency projects, supported the operational needs of campus during a $650 million capital construction plan and oversaw the planning and deliverance of a new $56 million water plant distribution and efficiency system.

Before serving in that role, Lauer served as KSU’s first director of energy and environment program. In that position, Lauer was tasked with developing a universitywide approach for energy conservation seeking to create long-lasting economic, ecological and environmental stewardship.

Before joining KSU, Lauer worked as a project development engineer with Johnson Controls Inc. in Topeka and as an energy engineer with the Kansas Corporation Commission.

A 2004 graduate of the University of Kansas, Lauer holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with a bio-mechanical emphasis. He is a member of Pi Tau Sigma engineering honors society and also was a Kansas Honors Scholar and received the KU academic merit award. Lauer is a licensed professional engineer, a certified energy manager, facility operating engineer and general building contractor.

Lauer and his wife, Hannah, are natives of Kansas. They have three children: Jack, 8; Zoe, 4; and Tait, 1.

“I was initially attracted to Ole Miss because of the unique and vibrant campus and its true sense of place, but felt a genuine connection upon meeting and interacting with staff and members of the search committee who care so deeply for the success of the university,” Lauer said. “We are excited about integrating into the tight-knit community of Oxford, building relationships and starting this new chapter, together.”

Lauer, who officially assumes his duties Sept. 10, will oversee the department’s budget of $31.6 million and nearly 275 employees. He replaces Ashton Pearson, who served the university for 11 years.

Professor Studies Public Education’s YouTube Portrayal

Study of video-sharing site finds negative depiction of public education

Burhanettin Keskin, UM associate professor of early childhood education, has published a paper examining how public education is portrayed on YouTube. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – YouTube is the second most popular website in the world, nestled right behind Google and ahead of sites such as Facebook, Baidu (a Chinese language internet search engine) and Wikipedia.

The video-sharing site states it has more than a billion users worldwide – almost one-third of all people on the internet – and every day those users watch a billion hours of video.

But what exactly is all that video watching telling viewers about the world, specifically when it comes to public education? That’s a topic recently explored by Burhanettin Keskin, a University of Mississippi associate professor of early childhood education. The result is his paper, “What Do YouTube Videos Say About Public Education?” which was published as an Editor’s Choice article in SAGE, a leading independent, academic and professional publisher of innovative, high-quality content.

Keskin’s study shows that the content of selected, English-language YouTube videos examined portray public education in a mostly negative light.

“As an educator, I’m worried about the future of public education and how it is portrayed in media,” he said. “Oftentimes I see blunt attacks on public education. I will be the first to say that public education is not perfect. I will say that, but I think it is something we need to protect.”

For his study, Keskin typed the term “public education” into the YouTube search bar and analyzed the top 60 search results provided by the site. (YouTube uses a non-disclosed algorithm to display its user-generated content.)

Keskin and a graduate student then independently coded the videos (59 were evaluated because one video repeated itself in the search results) as portraying public education as negative, neutral or positive. The videos were coded on the thumbnail cover image, title and content, which involved Keskin watching enough YouTube videos to give him “dreams at night of YouTube.”

When Keskin and the graduate student disagreed on nine videos, an opinion from a third coder – a professor from another university – was obtained.

The study showed that 67.8 percent of the selected videos’ content portrayed public education negatively, 22 percent of the cover images portrayed public education negatively (64.4 percent were found neutral) and 45.8 percent of the titles were negative (44.1 percent were neutral).

“I was troubled by the findings of Dr. Keskin’s research,” said Susan McClelland, UM chair of teacher education. “Public perception is important to any career as it often reflects the level of respect and value the public places on that career.

“Today, public education is under an increasing amount of public scrutiny, which places educational systems in a position to create effective school public relations campaigns. … I do believe positive perceptions begin at the local level, and teachers and administrators must learn to be action-oriented in sharing positive information about themselves, the successes of all children and the impact education is having on their communities – a role perhaps we have not been comfortable doing.”

Some of the titles from Keskin’s May 31, 2016, search (8.2 million videos were found) were bluntly, if not outrageously negative, of public education, with titles such as “Public ‘Education’ Has Become Indoctrination and Distraction” and “Common Core: UN Agenda 21, Communitarianism & The Public Education Plan to Destroy America.”

While some videos only had a few thousand views, others had been viewed more than a million times.

“Perception in recent years regarding public education is down,” said David Rock, dean of the School of Education. “Unfortunately, negative stories fuel strong sentiment, especially on social media and therefore seem to be heard like a roar. This fire can spread into an ugly fight at times on social media.

“Positive successes are shared but seem to be heard like a normal, friendly conversation. We seem to be more likely to share positive news in a friendly manner.”

With many educators using YouTube in their classrooms, Keskin points out that the danger is that both reputable and impartial sources, and untrustworthy and biased sources share the same platform with YouTube. Also, anyone can upload videos to YouTube, and some of the unreliable videos are professionally rendered, which is confusing to children and teens, who are a large YouTube audience.

A May survey from the Pew Research Center on teens, social media and technology reports that 85 percent of U.S. teens ages 13 to 17 say they use YouTube, more than Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

Since YouTube is a teaching tool in today’s classrooms, young children might think all YouTube videos are credible, especially subjective material placed at the top of search results.

“Pretty much anyone can post anything,” said Keskin, who joined the UM faculty in 2013. “Some academics, some doctors, some professionals can post it. So can someone who has some really bad intentions. They can just post it and bend truths.

“The danger is (YouTube) is a mixture of things. For a young mind, it might be really hard to distinguish if this is reputable, especially if you are not very good with media.”

Even after viewing the results of his research, though, Keskin, who has a personal YouTube cooking channel called KeskinCookin, said YouTube can be a valuable teaching tool. Others agree.

“I certainly believe YouTube videos are an effective tool for teaching,” said McClelland, who also serves as an associate professor of leadership and counselor education. “You can learn to do just about anything by watching a YouTube video – from tying a bow tie to changing a tire to improving your writing skills, YouTube has videos on how to be successful.

“YouTube is a powerful source of information – all the more reason we need images and videos reflecting the positive, innovative and successful work public school educators are doing.”

The study also reinforces the importance of teaching critical thinking, especially when it comes to social media, Keskin said.

“When you teach critical thinking to students – young students or college students or the general public – then you have a better chance of not falling into the hands of the people who are posting very negative, false information out there,” he said. “Informed citizens is what we want. Who can think for themselves. Who can look for things to find out if the information is true or not.”

Jim Zook Named UM Associate Vice Chancellor

Communications leader will oversee continued development of key strategic priorities

Jim Zook

OXFORD, Miss. – Jim Zook, a veteran communications and marketing leader, has been named associate vice chancellor for strategic communications and marketing at the University of Mississippi.

Zook brings more than 25 years of expertise to UM from a career spanning corporate communications, consulting and media. Following a national search, Zook was selected to serve as the university’s chief public relations officer and chief communications and marketing strategist, working to create and implement an overarching strategic communications plan addressing marketing and public affairs.

“The power of higher education to transform lives, expand our understanding of the world and improve our quality of life has always inspired me,” Zook said. “I am thrilled to take on this role and support the work of the University of Mississippi to create opportunity and expand horizons for people across the state, the region and beyond.”

In this new role, Zook will continue the ongoing mission put forth by Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter in 2016 with the reinstatement of the Office of University Relations to provide more comprehensive and strategic coordination across communications, marketing and other key areas of the university.

“Our communications, marketing and branding efforts are integral to successfully advancing our mission as a flagship university,” Vitter said. “The addition of Jim Zook provides the Ole Miss leadership team with exceptional experience at a national level across a broad range of areas including crisis communications, brand leveraging and content development.

“We are excited about the fresh perspective that Jim brings to the university in his new role and look forward to his arrival on campus.”

Zook, who is based in Atlanta, comes to Ole Miss from Deloitte, a global professional services firm where he served most recently as head of communications in the U.S. for the Big Four auditor Deloitte & Touche. Previously, Zook served in a variety of leadership roles during nine years with Deloitte, including U.S. crisis communications lead.

Before joining Deloitte, Zook worked for the global consulting firm Mercer, the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Education in Washington, D.C., and as a reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Houston Chronicle and The Dallas Morning News.

Zook’s wife, Frances Flautt Zook, is an architect licensed in Georgia and Mississippi and a native of Greenwood. The Zooks have two sons: Jack, a junior at Ole Miss, and Will, a high school senior. The Zooks are members of the Ole Miss Family Leadership Council.

A 1987 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Zook holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science. He received a master’s degree in American studies from the University of Sussex in England in 1989, as well as a Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin in 2001.

During his time in Atlanta, Zook was actively involved in a variety of community leadership roles. He’s served as president of the Pace Academy Booster Club, vice chair and director of the UNC-Chapel Hill General Alumni Association, assistant scoutmaster with a local Boy Scout troop, and junior warden and vestry member of All Saints’ Episcopal Church.

Zook will officially assume his duties Aug. 1. His office will be located in Sam-Gerard Hall, where he will oversee the staff of strategic communications, marketing and brand strategy, and printing and creative services.

Political Science Professor Co-authors Prize-Winning Book

Conor M. Dowling to receive Don K. Price Award for best book on science, technology and politics

Conor M. Dowling, associate professor of political science, is being awarded the Don K. Price Award from the American Political Science Association in August. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi professor is being nationally recognized for having co-authored the best book on science, technology and politics in 2017.

Conor M. Dowling, associate professor of political science, will receive the Don K. Price Award from the Science, Technology and Environmental Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. Dowling, co-author with Alan S. Gerber and Eric M. Patashnik of “Unhealthy Politics: The Battle over Evidence-Based Medicine” (Princeton University Press, 2017), will be presented the award Aug. 31 at the APSA annual convention in Boston.

“I was incredibly humbled and honored to receive the Don K. Price Award with my co-authors,” Dowling said. “It is always nice to have your work recognized by your peers.”

“Unhealthy Politics” draws on public opinion surveys, physician surveys, case studies and political science models to explain how political incentives, polarization and the misuse of professional authority have undermined efforts to tackle the medical evidence problem and curb wasteful spending in the United States. The book offers insights not only into health policy but also into the limits of science, expertise and professionalism as political foundations for pragmatic problem-solving in American democracy.

“The book’s intended audience is academics and policymakers, particularly those interested in health care, science and technology policymaking,” Dowling said. “Any individual who is interested in the current state and trajectory of the U.S. health care system might find the book interesting, though.”

Dowling is an outstanding scholar in American politics with a strong record of working with both undergraduate and graduate students, said John Bruce, UM chair and professor of political science.

“Professor Dowling has accumulated an extensive record of research across a range of areas and continues to be recognized for his contributions,” Bruce said. “He is a good teacher, outstanding scholar and an ideal colleague. His productivity has lifted the performance of those around him.”

An Ole Miss faculty member since 2012, the Massachusetts native earned his bachelor’s degree from James Madison University and both his master’s and doctoral degrees from Binghamton University.

He was also a postdoctoral associate at Yale University’s Institution for Social and Policy Studies and Center for the Study of American Politics.

Dowling’s research interests are political behavior, campaigns and elections, election law, public opinion and political psychology. Dowling is also the co-author (with Michael G. Miller) of “Super PAC! Money, Elections and Voters After Citizens United” (Routledge Press, 2014) and more than 30 articles published in peer-reviewed journals.

Another recent work of his (co-authored with David Doherty and Michael G. Miller), “The Effects of Candidate Race and Gender on Party Chairs’ Assessments of Electoral Viability,” received the 2017 Best Paper Award by the APSA’s Experimental Research Section.

For more information about the UM Department of Political Science, visit https://politicalscience.olemiss.edu/.

Alice Clark Retiring as UM Vice Chancellor for University Relations

Clark leaves nearly 40-year legacy of shaping the university as a researcher, mentor and leader

Alice Clark and late husband Charlie Hufford enjoy some downtime during a professional conference they attended as colleagues. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Alice Clark, a senior University of Mississippi administrator whose nearly four decades of visionary leadership have driven major advancements, is retiring at the end of June. Clark is an F.A.P. Barnard Distinguished Professor of Pharmacognosy and the university’s vice chancellor for university relations.

Clark earned both her master’s and doctoral degrees in pharmacognosy at UM and joined the university as a research associate and faculty member in 1979. She later served as the first director of the university’s National Center for Natural Products Research.

As a result of her strategic efforts, the center grew from a small unit to one of the world’s preeminent research centers for natural products drug discovery. The success of NCNPR has led to longstanding collaborative partnerships with industry and federal agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“It was my privilege to work for 35 years with Alice in various capacities – as a collaborator when she was professor in pharmacognosy, as associate director during her time as director of the NCNPR and as a researcher under her leadership in the administration,” said Larry Walker, who became the center’s director following Clark’s tenure. “She has been a great pillar in this university, with vision, boundless energy and drive to excel. But on top of all that, she’s a mentor to me and to so many, and a cherished friend.” 

In 2001, Clark became the university’s first vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs. In this role, she championed the university’s research enterprise while overseeing its growth with strategic vision.

The results of these efforts helped the university attain “R1: Highest Research Activity” designation by the Carnegie Classification of Institutes of Higher Education, the definitive honor for doctoral research universities in the United States, representing only 2.5 percent of universities nationwide.

“The first time I met Alice Clark, she was a young faculty member in the School of Pharmacy,” Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat said. “The gleam in her eyes told me that she was very bright. As I followed her career, I learned about her acclaimed reputation as a scientist.

“It was an easy decision to invite her to join our dynamic team as vice chancellor for research. Our research programs prospered during her leadership years. The designation as a Carnegie R1 research institute is a tribute to her life’s work.”

As vice chancellor, Clark sought and secured support for several new research centers and institutes on campus. She was instrumental in securing more than $23 million in funding for the establishment of the university’s research park, Insight Park, and the Innovation Hub at Insight Park.

She built a Division of Technology Management (now Office of Technology Commercialization) to assist university researchers in bringing their discoveries to the marketplace.

In 2016, at the request of Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter, Clark assumed the role of vice chancellor for university relations, where she continued to oversee the university’s economic development and federal relations efforts. She also became the chief administrator for development, public events and communications, and served as a key figure in implementing recent universitywide strategic initiatives.

“Alice is well-known for her steadfast commitment, visionary leadership and immense institutional knowledge,” Vitter said. “She has had a tremendous role shaping so many of the university’s successes during her decades at Ole Miss.

“As the longest-serving member of the university’s leadership team, the impact of her retirement will most certainly be felt at the leadership level and across so many different facets of our university.”

Alice Clark

A renowned pharmaceutical scientist, Clark has published extensively on the discovery of novel biologically active natural products and pharmaceuticals, authoring and co-authoring more than 100 original research articles, reviews and book chapters. As a principal investigator, she received continuous peer-reviewed NIH funding from 1984 to 2014 to conduct research related to the discovery and development of new drugs for opportunistic infections. The grant, one of the longest continually funded antifungal research programs in NIH history, led to the identification of many new natural products.

Her late husband, Charles D. Hufford, associate dean emeritus for research and graduate programs and professor emeritus of pharmacognosy, was a longtime collaborator. In total, Clark secured more than $20 million in research support.

Clark’s scientific expertise has informed public policy at the federal and state levels. She has testified to Congress on issues related to antimicrobial resistance and the safety and quality of dietary supplements.

She served on the charter advisory council for the NIH Center for Scientific Review and is a member of the National Advisory Council for Complementary and Integrative Health for NIH. She has also served on many expert review panels for NIH, chairing panels on AIDS and related research and drug discovery and antimicrobial resistance.

In 2010, she received the Marcy Speer Outstanding Reviewer Award, the highest honor for commitment to peer review given by the National Institutes of Health’s Center for Scientific Review. She was the 1996 Rho Chi National Lecturer and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.

Clark has also served in several leadership positions in national and international professional associations, including chair of the Pharmaceutical Sciences Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and president of the American Society of Pharmacognosy.

In 2017, Clark was named recipient of the UM Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award. This annual award, which was instituted during Clark’s time as vice chancellor for research, recognizes an Ole Miss faculty member who has shown outstanding accomplishment in research, scholarship and creative activity. 

Clark’s impact extends beyond research and leadership roles to service and mentorship. She was a founding member of the Ole Miss Women’s Council, a group of philanthropic women committed to developing UM students through leadership, scholarship and mentorship.

She has served on the board of the CREATE Foundation and also served as a mentor to dozens of undergraduate and graduate students.

“Alice Clark is the reason I went into science,” said Melissa Flagg, U.S. Army Research Laboratory Northeast lead and former deputy assistant secretary of defense for research. “She ensured I was never apologetic for having questions, encouraged me to think beyond the traditional career pathways and reminded me that we can be both excellent and kind as leaders. 

“She set me on a career with a foundation of personal responsibility – that I’m responsible for my impacts on those around me, but also responsible for setting my own bar and being true to myself, cultivating excellence in myself and others.”

After 38-plus years of service, multitudes of new programs and initiatives, millions of research and philanthropy dollars raised, and hundreds of educational and career paths shaped in her role as a mentor, Clark is looking forward to a slower pace and spending lots of time on her new back porch that is under construction. She also expects to burn up the roads to Huntsville, Jackson and Nashville to spend time with her beloved family.

“I am deeply grateful for the wonderful opportunities given to me to serve the University of Mississippi in many ways over 38-plus years and for the rich and fulfilling life I’ve enjoyed as a result of being part of this extraordinary community,” Clark said. “Coming to Ole Miss as a graduate student changed the course of my life.

“It has been a privilege and honor to work with some of the finest, most dedicated people anywhere who are committed to providing such opportunities to others. I want to especially thank the countless friends and colleagues who have been so helpful to me throughout my professional life – you all have made the years fly by!”

Bowlin Named Inaugural Ed Krei Chair of Accountancy

Distinction honors professor's excellence in teaching and research

Kendall Bowlin (at podium) teaches a class in the UM Patterson School of Accountancy. Photo by Bill Dabney

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Patterson School of Accountancy has named Kendall Bowlin as the inaugural holder of its Ed Krei Chair of Accountancy.

An associate professor and UM alumnus, Bowlin joined the faculty of the accountancy school in 2008 after earning a doctoral degree at the University of Texas. His primary teaching and research interests are in the field of auditing.

Before his doctoral studies, he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the UM School of Business Administration and a master’s degree in accountancy from the Patterson School in 1998 and 1999, respectively. He worked four years as an auditor with Ernst & Young in Memphis, Tennessee.

“Being named the first Ed Krei Chair of Accountancy is a tremendous honor, and I am grateful for Mr. Krei’s generous support of our school, faculty and students,” Bowlin said. “The success that our students and faculty have had, and continue to have, is a result of the wonderful financial support and friendship provided by Ed Krei and other alumni.”

Barbara and Ed Krei, of Edmond, Oklahoma, established the Edward Krei Lectureship in Accountancy in 2009. In 2015, they generously elevated their endowment to the chair level, with more than $1.5 million committed to sustaining and strengthening the school’s faculty.

The endowment provides salary supplements, research and creative activity support, and other funding deemed appropriate by the dean.

“We are deeply grateful to Barbara and Ed Krei for establishing the Krei Chair of Accountancy at Ole Miss,” Dean Mark Wilder said. “Ed has enjoyed an exceptional career, and we are proud to have him as an alumnus and also as a member of the Patterson School Hall of Fame.

“We are humbled by the Kreis’ generosity. Their vision to support our faculty will enable the Patterson School to continue building on its strong teaching and mentoring tradition, a trademark of our program and a key reason for the successes that we enjoy.”

All three degree programs at the Patterson School are among the top 10 in the 2017 annual national rankings of accounting programs published by the Public Accounting Report. The undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs are all ranked No. 8 nationally.

The master’s program leads the Southeastern Conference in the rankings and the undergraduate program is second in the conference. One or more Ole Miss accountancy programs have led the SEC in the rankings in each of the past seven years.

Bowlin’s appointment to the chair is well-deserved, Wilder said.

“Dr. Bowlin is enjoying an outstanding career at Ole Miss,” he continued. “He is one of the bright young minds in our profession and is a national leader in auditing research. His presence on our faculty has enabled us to attract other top faculty and doctoral students to the Patterson School.”

Bowlin’s research focuses on the strategic aspects of interactions between auditors and client managers. He is particularly interested in the ways in which institutional features of the audit environment affect the auditor’s ability to anticipate and respond to the manager’s possible tendencies toward financial misreporting.

Ed Krei

“I very much appreciate Mr. Krei’s and Dean Wilder’s confidence in appointing me to hold the Krei Chair, and I hope to justify their confidence through a devotion to our students, our alumni and my colleagues in the Patterson School,” Bowlin said.

“The establishment of the chair represents continued and growing faculty support from our alumni. This support allows the Patterson School to recruit and retain high-quality faculty, who will, in turn, commit to the development of our students and accounting leaders of the future.”

Krei enjoyed an outstanding career as managing director and board member for the Baker Group in Oklahoma City. The Baker Group is an institutional fixed-income firm that serves community banks throughout the nation. For 21 years, he has represented the Baker Group, helping client organizations develop strategies and plan for the future.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in accountancy from Ole Miss in 1973. He said the endowment is meant to provide an “eternal flame,” commemorating the education he received.

“I think the Patterson School is an excellent investment because of its faculty members,” Krei said. “Their passion is so evident, and they really excite students about their field. And now, with the speaking engagements I have, I find myself emulating what I learned from them.”

The Kreis met at UM as freshman members of the Pride of the South Marching Band. Barbara Krei graduated from what is now the School of Applied Sciences and has enjoyed a career as a speech pathologist in the Putnam City Schools in Oklahoma City.

“The Kreis’ investment in our faculty will provide benefits for many generations of future Ole Miss accountancy students,” Wilder said.

The Ed Krei Lectureship in Accountancy Endowment is open to gifts from individuals and organizations. To contribute, send checks with the endowment name noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., University, MS 38655; or visit http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift.

For more information on ways to support the Patterson School of Accountancy, contact Denson Hollis, executive development director, at 662-915-5092 or dhollis@olemiss.edu.

National Science Foundation Funds Further Lightning Research

UM professors studying the mysteries of how lightning starts

Thomas Marshall (pictured) and Maribeth Stolzenburg, a pair of University of Mississippi professors of physics and astronomy, have been granted two National Science Foundation awards to study lightning initiation.Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Science has revealed several fascinating things about lightning. For instance, a lightning flash can heat the surrounding air to temperatures around 50,000 degrees – five times hotter than the sun’s surface.

Lightning bolts roar toward the ground at speeds of 200,000 mph. And an American has about a one-in-14,600 chance of being struck by lightning during an 80-year lifetime.

Questions remain about lightning, though, including how lightning starts, and that’s a secret two University of Mississippi professors are working on unraveling.

Two recent National Science Foundation awards will assist the scientists – Thomas Marshall, professor of physics and astronomy, and Maribeth Stolzenburg, research professor of physics and astronomy – as they pursue the mysteries of lightning initiation.

Knowing how lightning begins could lead to a better understanding of where it might strike and being able to better warn people of approaching weather conditions conducive to lightning strikes. Marshall and Stolzenburg are not working on predicting lightning strikes, as the first question to answer is: How does lightning initiate?

“We’re going to try to get a better understanding about how lightning starts, and then how it moves through the cloud,” Marshall said. “But the starting part is especially interesting because air is not a conductor and when you see the big, bright … return stroke of a lightning flash, that’s a big current and it needs a good conductor.

“How a lightning flash can change a thin path of air from a non-conductor to a conductor has eluded explanation for a long time.”

Stolzenburg said scientists have to have puzzles, and “one of those puzzles is that we’ve known that lightning has existed forever, but all the detailed physics of what has to happen to get that started … is really poorly understood.”

“In terms of why should society care about this research, the answer is: Better understanding of lightning processes may allow us to better predict when lightning will happen or at least understand where it’s going to happen,” she said. “Being able to do that means we may eventually be able to give better warnings about when to get off the golf course or the soccer field.”

Marshall is principal investigator of an award that is for $154,222 for its first year and titled “Lightning Initiation and In-Cloud Electromagnetic Activity in Mississippi Thunderstorms.” Stolzenburg is the co-principal investigator for the award, No. 1742930. Expected future NSF support for the award is $95,419 each year in 2019 and 2020.

The second award is titled “Collaborative Research: High-Speed Slitless Spectroscopy Studies of Natural Lightning Flashes” and is for $154,476 for its first year. Stolzenburg is principal investigator for the award, No. 1745931, and Marshall is co-principal investigator. The award is a continuing grant with an estimated total award amount of $440,314. 

The second project is a collaboration between Ole Miss and Texas A&M University professor Richard Orville and will collect new lightning data, including high-speed video data and lightning spectra.

Thomas Marshall, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Mississippi, captured this lightning strike in New Mexico. Two new National Science Foundation awards are allowing Marshall and Maribeth Stolzenburg, research professor of physics and astronomy at UM, to further study lightning initiation. Photo courtesy Tom Marshall

“Lightning is one of the most dramatic natural events, observed through countless generations, but it’s still not fully understood,” said Josh Gladden, UM interim vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs. “Drs. Marshall and Stolzenburg have deep expertise in lightning initiation, and this NSF grant will help them take our knowledge to the next level.”

The first award allows the duo to analyze data collected in the spring and summer of 2016 in north Mississippi, also funded by the NSF. That award was granted after Marshall and Stolzenburg conducted lightning studies at Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2010 and 2011.

In the summer of 2016, lightning data was collected at seven sites in north Mississippi. One of the sites was at the UM Field Station, and another was on the Ole Miss campus.

The data collected is some 20 terabytes of computer memory, enough to max out the storage capacity on about 312 iPhone Xs with 64-gigabyte storage capacities.

The lightning data is on a time scale of less than one-millionth of a second.

The second award will collect new data on lightning initiation using three high-speed video cameras and the seven sensors. The data collection will focus on the initial sparks (with durations of only 5- to 60-millionths of a second) that occur during the time needed to form the lightning channel, roughly the first 3- to 10-thousandths of a second of a lightning flash.

The video cameras will record the initial pulses as they develop.

“Essentially, we are trying to understand all this fine detail in the lightning data to see if it fits with the theories of how lightning starts,” Stolzenburg said. “Or, if it doesn’t fit, then there is something wrong with the theory, so we need to modify the theory.

“Eventually, we need to understand how a flash is able to go from initiation to a conducting channel that travels to ground. Fortunately, we have a lot of lightning data collected in 2016, including data from traditional lightning sensors and from new lightning sensors, to help us investigate how lightning initiation works.”

According to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, from 2006 through 2017, 376 people were struck and killed by lightning in the U.S., with almost two-thirds of the deaths involving outdoor leisure activities such as fishing, being on the beach, camping, boating, or playing soccer or golf.