McManus Named President of National Groundskeeping Group

Director of Landscape Services to serve one-year term as head of professional society

Peter W. Grandjean Named New Applied Sciences Dean

Former Baylor associate dean has more than 30 years of education experience

Peter Grandjean

OXFORD, Miss. – Peter W. Grandjean has been named the new dean of the School of Applied Sciences at the University of Mississippi.

Grandjean comes to UM from Baylor University, where he served as associate dean for research collaboration and graduate studies, director of the university’s Division of Health Professions, and as a professor in the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation in the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences.

A nationally recognized professor and researcher, Grandjean has more than 30 years of experience in education, beginning as a high school biology teacher in New Braunfels, Texas, in 1986.

Grandjean, who assumes his Ole Miss role Jan. 3, takes the spot of Teresa Carr Carithers, who has served as the school’s interim dean since July 2017.

“Dr. Carithers and her leadership team have done a remarkable job in establishing the school’s firm foundation, growth and trajectory,” Grandjean said. “I look forward to building on the great work already going on within the school by fostering an environment where interdisciplinary teams can serve and research together to address major challenges that exist in our world today.

“I look forward to supporting faculty and staff as they strengthen existing academic programs and grow new degree programs and certificates that highlight the need to serve others through interprofessional cooperation.”

Grandjean received his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Anderson University in Indiana in 1986, his master’s in exercise physiology from Texas Christian University in 1992 and his doctorate in exercise physiology from Texas A&M University in 1996.

“I am thrilled that Dr. Grandjean has accepted our offer to be the next dean of the School of Applied Sciences,” said Noel Wilkin, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. “He is an accomplished faculty member and leader who has the experiences to benefit the school.”

Established in 2001, the School of Applied Sciences includes the departments of Communication Sciences and Disorders; Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management; Legal Studies; Nutrition and Hospitality Management; and Social Work, along with an interprofessional degree program for applied gerontology, the Institute of Child Nutrition and the Jackson Heart Study Vanguard Center at Oxford.

As dean of applied sciences, Grandjean will oversee one of the fastest-growing schools on campus. The school, which seeks to improve the lives and conditions of people and communities across Mississippi and the region, also has a growing research imprint at UM, with more than $8.4 million in external funding received in fiscal year 2018.

“I was immediately captured by the University of Mississippi’s strong reputation as one of the nation’s top academic and research universities and by the interdisciplinary potential within the School of Applied Sciences,” Grandjean said. “The school includes an exciting group of academic departments, an institute and center that are known for developing leaders who advance and apply knowledge of health, well-being and human flourishing in an integrated, interprofessional manner.

“I was particularly drawn by the opportunity to build on the strong, vibrant programs that already exist within the school and to work alongside other academic units as we nurture team-based approaches to experiential learning, research and service among our students.”

Grandjean joined the Baylor faculty in 2010 as an associate professor. He previously was a faculty member at Auburn University, and before that served as a graduate assistant and post-doctoral research associate at Texas A&M and as a graduate assistant at Texas Christian University.

While at Baylor, he also served as director of the Baylor Laboratories for Exercise Science and Technology, and as director of The Center for Healthy Living.

Grandjean is a member of the American Physiological Society, the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Strength and Conditioning Association and several other professional affiliations.

Carithers will return to the School of Applied Sciences faculty as a professor of nutrition and hospitality management and program director of applied gerontology.

“We are grateful to Dr. Teresa Carithers for her exceptional leadership of the school during this transition,” Wilkin said. “She has brought stability to the school and continued its trajectory of success.”

UM Diversity, Community Engagement Division Welcomes New Leaders

Shawnboda Mead, Cade Smith join unit as assistant vice chancellors

Shawnboda Mead

OXFORD, Miss. – For Shawnboda Mead, her passion for working on diversity, inclusion and cross-cultural engagement efforts in higher education began during her undergraduate college experience and continued during her graduate school years.

In the case of Cade Smith, his dedication for driving social change and inspiring independent, self-sufficient and successful students is a product of time and place as a public school student in 1970s and 1980s Mississippi.

The two will further explore those passions and dedications as new hires in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at the University of Mississippi. Mead is the new assistant vice chancellor for diversity within the division, and Smith is the division’s new assistant vice chancellor for community engagement.

“The mission of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement is to lead UM’s efforts to create a diverse, equitable and inclusive educational environment for all members of the community and to advance community-engaged scholarship, learning and service across the institution,” said Katrina Caldwell, the university’s vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement.

“The role of the assistant vice chancellors is to assist in developing the infrastructure, vision and strategic frameworks for the campuswide integration of diversity and community engagement initiatives.

Both Mead and Smith bring experience in creating building programs that positively affect the community, Caldwell said.

“They will help us expand our capacity to have a significant positive impact in the lives of our students, staff, faculty, alumni and community partners,” she said

Mead started her new job Sept. 10 but joined UM in July 2014 as inaugural director of the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement.

While there, she oversaw the rebranding of the Bias Incident Response Team and development of an online reporting mechanism; expanded the Mississippi Outreach to Scholastic Talent, or MOST, Conference, while developing the MOST Mentoring Program and Reunion; and created a variety of diversity and inclusion events, facilitated cultural competency workshops and presentations, and developed student leadership opportunities among other endeavors.

“It’s a little bittersweet that I leave that role, but I saw this as an opportunity to further expand the work that I am able to do,” Mead said. “I will still continue to support the student efforts and initiatives and continue to supervise the center in that work but also will be looking at (diversity and inclusion) from a broader perspective, including faculty and staff engagement.”

A native of Prentiss, Mead earned her bachelor’s degree in educational psychology from Mississippi State University and her master’s in student affairs in higher education from Western Kentucky University. She is working on a doctorate in higher education administration at UM.

Previously, Mead served as associate director of diversity and multicultural education at the University of Tennessee. She’s also worked as an assistant director in Residence Education and First-Year Experience at the University of Southern Mississippi and as a student development specialist at Texas A&M University.

Her line of work is not always easy and comes with challenges, Mead said, but “for me, it is those ‘aha’ moments for individuals who may not have previously found value in an aspect of identity, but eventually commit to simple acts that will create a more inclusive campus environment.”

“We don’t have to all agree, but there should be a level of respect and treating people with dignity,” she said. “Certainly there are still issues with diversity, equity and inclusion on our campus, so we have not arrived, but we are at a place where we have allocated additional resources, and the university has shown there’s a dedicated commitment to this work.”

Mead is married to Neal Mead, Ole Miss assistant athletics director for event management. The couple has two children.

Cade Smith

Smith is a Grenada native who joined the UM administration Sept. 4. He came to the university from MSU, where he was assistant dean of students and director of student leadership and community engagement.

He also served as chair of the MSU Community Engagement Committee, director of the Center for Community-Engaged Learning, director of leadership programs, director of Maroon Volunteer Center Programs and co-creator and director of the Mississippi Racial Equity Community of Practice.

“This (new) position is just really a natural, based on the things that I have done and also the things that I care about,” he said. “If you look at the role of higher education, it is not only in educating a citizenry and discovering new knowledge but, to me, one of the most important things is what are the graduates, the affiliates of this institution, capable of doing that advances the public good and also benefits humanity.”

Before joining the MSU Division of Student Affairs, Smith was a research associate in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. Before that, he was a research specialist in the Department of Agronomy at the University of Arkansas.

He received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Rhodes College, his master’s in agronomy from Arkansas and his doctorate in plant and soil sciences from MSU.

Smith said his agricultural background has been effective in his student affairs and community engagement work, as agriculture is an applied science with a systems approach, much like educational institutions and communities are systems.

“Taking a systems approach allows me to be a more effective educator and a more effective administrator,” he said. “The curiosity of asking why is a fundamental basis of being a scientist. What am I seeing, why is it happening and what can I do about it?

“Student access, student development and student success have always been central in my role as a scientist.”

Smith was attracted to the new position because of the emphasis that UM is “placing on advancing community-engaged research, learning and service, both from a scholarly perspective and also from a student-engagement perspective.”

“Broadening people’s perspectives is a huge goal of mine, and it is really fundamental in creating a culture that appropriately contextualizes community engagement and then begins to track and assess community engagement and the impact that this institution has on our state, our nation and the globe,” he said.

Smith is married to Becky Smith, director of the MSU Extension Center for Economic Education and Financial Literacy. The couple has five children.

Josh Gladden Appointed to Top Research Position at UM

Vice chancellor role oversees Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

Josh Gladden

OXFORD, Miss. – Josh Gladden has been named vice chancellor for the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at the University of Mississippi following a nationwide search. The vice chancellor serves as the university’s chief research officer.

Gladden, who joined the university in July 2005 as an assistant professor of physics and moved up through the ranks, had held the title of interim vice chancellor since 2016. The office serves and supports UM faculty, staff and students who are pursuing research or other sponsored projects funded by federal, state or private agencies and organizations.

“I am absolutely thrilled and honored to have been chosen for this role,” Gladden said. “My time as interim vice chancellor reinforced how interesting and fulfilling this job is.

“I have come to understand the incredible breadth and quality of research and creative activities happening at UM, and am most excited about partnering with deans, directors, chairs, faculty and research staff, along with our hardworking and knowledgeable team, to help them achieve their goals in this important component of our mission as a university.”

While serving as interim vice chancellor, Gladden developed or played a leadership role in various initiatives such as Flagship Constellations, which includes multidisciplinary research teams of UM faculty and staff addressing grand challenges in the areas of big data, brain wellness, community wellbeing and disaster resilience.

He also initiated or helped initiate programs at UM such as research development fellows and undergraduate research fellows, strengthened and expanded relationships in both the public and private sectors, and aided the university’s existing centers and institutes while fostering the creation of new ones, such as the Center for Graphene Research and Innovation.

“We are so pleased that Dr. Josh Gladden will serve as the chief research officer for the University of Mississippi,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “Dr. Gladden brings a wealth of experience and recognition as a national leader in his field.

“In addition, he has demonstrated tremendous dedication to elevating the impact of the university’s scholarly research and discovery. Through his collaborative and innovative approaches, Dr. Gladden embodies the exceptional standard we’ve come to expect of this position.”

Increasing the impact of the university’s research and scholarly activities will require efforts on many fronts, Gladden said.

Foremost among those endeavors are “firmly establishing the multidisciplinary Flagship Constellation teams, broadly telling the story of research at UM, growing undergraduate research opportunities, continuing to grow partnerships with both the public and private sectors, transitioning UM technologies into the marketplace and mentoring early career faculty in grantsmanship,” he said.

Gladden was among four candidates for the position invited to campus for interviews and public presentations.

“Dr. Gladden has a distinguished record as a researcher and university administrator who holds the respect of his colleagues,” said Donna Strum, the university’s associate provost, who chaired the search committee.

“Dr. Gladden’s vision will build upon our strengths and enable our research enterprise to grow and thrive. We welcome his expertise in building on our successes and guiding us to the next level of excellence.”

Before joining the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Gladden served as director of the UM National Center for Physical Acoustics from 2013 to 2016. During that time, external funding for the center increased from $2.8 million to $6.2 million.

Gladden was an assistant professor until 2011, when he was promoted to associate professor of physics. In July of this year, he was again promoted, this time to full professor of physics.

Josh Gladden is the new UM vice chancellor for the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs following a nationwide search. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

“I am elated that Josh Gladden has accepted our offer to be our next vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs,” Provost Noel Wilkin said. “He has a solid understanding of what it takes to facilitate growth in the research enterprise, appreciates the dynamics involved in faculty productivity and has a commitment to foster scholarship and creative achievement in all disciplines.

“I am confident in his ability to facilitate our institutional research and creative achievement goals, and I thank the committee and the Parker Executive Search firm for conducting a well-run search.”

Gladden earned his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University in 2003 and worked as a postdoctoral fellow in physics and mathematics at Penn State before joining UM.

Before receiving his doctorate, he worked three years as a physics instructor at the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West in Montezuma, New Mexico. The college is an international school for gifted students representing approximately 75 countries with a network of 16 sister campuses on five continents.

Gladden received his master’s degree in physics from the University of Montana in 1994 and his bachelor’s in physics from the University of the South in 1991.

His research interests are focused on energy-related materials and include developing novel methods of acoustics and vibration sensing in harsh environments and using these methods to study numerous energy-related materials. Recently, his research has started focusing on vibrational and acoustic energy harvesting methods, as well as structural health monitoring in harsh or complex environments such as in storage casks for spent nuclear fuel rods.

Gladden serves as president of the University of Mississippi Research Foundation and as chair of the Mississippi Research Consortium, which represents Mississippi’s four research universities – UM, Jackson State University, Mississippi State University and the University of Southern Mississippi – in developing and sustaining nationally competitive research programs.

Gladden is a fellow and member of the Acoustical Society of America and a member of the American Physical Society and The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society.

He has authored or co-authored 28 refereed publications and made 34 invited presentations. In 2007, Gladden co-authored a paper, “Motion of a Viscoelastic Micellar Fluid Around a Cylinder: Flow and Fracture,” which was listed in “Physics News of 2007” by the American Physical Society.

Pharmacy School Remembers Anne Marie Liles as ‘Shining Star’ Teacher

School's director of experiential affairs passed away late last week

Anne Marie Liles (third from left) attends a musical performance with colleagues from the School of Pharmacy. Photo courtesy of Scott Malinowski

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy family is mourning the loss of Anne Marie Liles, director of experiential affairs and clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice, who died Thursday (Aug. 23).

Liles was beloved by students and colleagues. Student pharmacists, faculty and staff have expressed how much Liles meant to them as a mentor, friend and pharmacist, many of them noting her constant practice of going above and beyond in every aspect of her work.

“I could never have imagined the impact that Dr. Liles would have on my life,” said Dominique Dairion, a second-year student pharmacist. “Dr. Liles became my role model and one of my greatest supporters. She truly encouraged me to be my best and to get out of my comfort zone.”

Liles was a friend and supporter to all she met, never hesitating to reach out to students to make sure they were doing well, said Mikhayla Harris, a third-year student pharmacist.

“If she hadn’t heard from me in a little bit, she would check on me and see how I was doing,” Harris said. “She always made me feel like the school believed in me and wanted me to succeed.”

In July, Liles accepted the position of director of experiential affairs, a position for which Seena Haines, chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice, said she was “very well-qualified.”

“Anne Marie shared an intention to advance experiential programs that would maximize our strengths and harness the possibilities of practice experiences, preceptor development and interprofessional education,” Haines said. “Her long history as an academician and her involvement with curriculum assessment aligned very well with the experiential director role.”

Since transitioning into the position, Liles was working to improve program advancement and quality assurance.

“She had a great vision for academia in general, but especially experiential education,” said David D. Allen, UM pharmacy dean. “She did a great job of bringing together the academic and experiential aspects of the curriculum, and that was an important part of the goals she was hoping to achieve in the experiential education program.

“Anne Marie was a delightful person whom I’m going to miss a great deal.”

Anne Marie Liles

Liles was recognized by peers as a national leader in pharmacy practice and had recently been selected to chair the Pharmacy Practice Section of American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. The American College of Clinical Pharmacy announced earlier this month that Liles would be named a fellow of the organization at its October meeting, recognizing the excellence she demonstrated in clinical pharmacy practice.

She was also nationally known for her medication expertise in renal disease and had worked with the Indian government to advance its pharmacy practice in that area.

“She was passionate about everything pharmacy-related and extremely dedicated to her work,” said Kris Harrell, associate dean for academic affairs. “She was always willing to mentor some of the other more junior faculty members.”

After earning her Doctor of Pharmacy from Auburn University’s Harrison School of Pharmacy, Liles completed her residency training at the UM Medical Center in Jackson, working with clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice Lauren Bloodworth, as well as then-faculty members Harrell and Leigh Ann Ross, associate dean for clinical affairs.

“As a resident, Anne Marie was one of the very best,” Bloodworth said. “I was thrilled to have the opportunity several years later to serve with her as a faculty member at Ole Miss. Throughout her career, she excelled in all things, and I am grateful to have worked with her so closely.”

Liles had a heart for community service and was the adviser for the student group Prescription for Service, helping student pharmacists serve patients in the community and ensure they received quality medical care. A Type 1 diabetic herself, Liles had a special interest in helping diabetes patients manage their condition.

In her role as clinical director of pharmacy health services, she counseled patients with diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases at the Ole Miss Student Health Center. She was instrumental in adding clinical pharmacy services to the health center, including working with a Cough and Cold Clinic that counseled and provided prescriptions to students with minor health concerns, leading wellness efforts and working with the annual immunizations.

“I learned a great deal from Anne Marie as a fellow pharmacy educator, but also from a personal perspective,” said Ross, who oversaw the health center’s clinical pharmacy services when Liles worked there. “She always thought of others, cared for others and supported others – whether it was a student, a patient, a friend or her family.

“How fortunate for our students to have such an outstanding role model.”

Victoria Miller, third-year student pharmacist, credits Liles with inspiring a research project that Miller presented at the American Pharmacists Association meeting earlier this year on evaluating college students’ knowledge of medication.

“I was immediately interested in this topic for my research because of the passion that Dr. Liles showed for helping students in Student and Employee Pharmacy Health Services,” Miller said. “She wanted to do anything she could to make students comfortable and knowledgeable about managing their health.”

Above all, Liles was dedicated to teaching the next generation of pharmacists and advancing pharmacy clinical services.

“She was an advocate for learning and she always encouraged students to understand why and how we treat patients with the pharmacotherapy that is available today,” fourth-year student pharmacist Dylan Ware said. “I will never forget the impact Dr. Liles made on me as student and future pharmacist by asking the questions of why and how.”

“Even when things felt overwhelming, she always reminded me that the patients were the reason for the hard work,” Harris said. “She always had an encouraging word to say to make you feel better. She made it her mission to do whatever she could to help you succeed.”

Outside of work, Liles enjoyed musicals and theater, often organizing groups of faculty and staff to see shows at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts and when traveling to national pharmacy meetings.

“She and I bonded instantly because of her warm and welcoming nature,” said Dawn Bradley, the school’s operations coordinator who became close with Liles when they shared an office suite. “She was always positive in every aspect. I could talk for days about Anne Marie.”

Services for Liles were held Monday (Aug. 27) in Birmingham, Alabama. The School of Pharmacy is planning memorial services for later in the fall semester on both the school’s Oxford and Jackson campuses to celebrate Liles’ life and impact on the school.

“Anne Marie was dedicated, passionate, creative, balanced and selfless,” Haines said. “The loss of her presence on both campuses will be missed immensely.

“She is a true shining star and I will be forever grateful to have known and worked with her.”

Professor Working to Make Solar Cells More Efficient

Jared Delcamp awarded $750,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy to continue work

Jared Delcamp

OXFORD, Miss. – A highly selective $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science will continue funding a University of Mississippi professor’s research into improving solar energy technologies.

Jared Delcamp, an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has been awarded the grant funding through the department’s prestigious Early Career Research Program.

The award will support Delcamp, along with a post-doctoral student and a graduate student, in their research to better understand how to use high-energy visible light efficiently in relation to solar energy.

Delcamp was among 84 scientists this year from across the nation – including 54 university researchers – to receive a research grant through the program, which is in its ninth year.

“It is very exciting to me to get an Early Career Research award,” said Delcamp, who joined the UM faculty in 2013. “The division it is coming from is full of the best solar energy researchers in the U.S.

“It is a fierce competition to become part of the group, and I’m honored to be a part of it. I’m excited to start contributing research progress to the division.”

The Early Career Research Program is designed to develop the individual research programs of outstanding scientists at universities and Department of Energy national laboratories early in their careers and stimulate research careers in the disciplines supported by the department’s Office of Science.

No more than 10 years can have passed between the year the principal investigator’s Ph.D. was awarded and the year of the deadline for the proposal. A native of Monticello, Kentucky, Delcamp graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with his doctorate in chemistry in 2010.

Delcamp is the first UM faculty member to receive the award.

“We are so proud of Dr. Delcamp’s accomplishments at Ole Miss,” said Josh Gladden, UM interim vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs. “Early Career Research awards are extremely competitive and a true mark of a faculty member who has established themselves quickly on the national stage. Dr. Delcamp’s research has enormous potential, and we can’t wait to see what he will do next.”

Delcamp runs the Delcamp Group, a renewable energy research lab at the university. The lab focuses on using sunlight to separate charges across two materials, Delcamp said.

With sunlight energy being wasted in the visible region just after the ultraviolet region in a lot of solar technologies, Delcamp’s research is studying ways to stop this loss. New discoveries in this field potentially could improve dramatically technologies used in the fields of solar cells, direct solar-to-fuel devices and solar-powered batteries.

Since joining the Ole Miss faculty, Delcamp has won several awards and grants, including a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2015, several NSF awards and a NASA Research Infrastructure Development award.

“Dr. Delcamp’s research is addressing a major unmet need for improved efficiency in capturing and converting solar energy,” said Allyson Best, director of the university’s Office of Technology Commercialization. “The university has filed patent applications covering novel chemistry discovered in his laboratory and has received very promising feedback from potential commercial partners.”

In 2017, Delcamp received a Michael L. Edmonds New Scholar Award, presented annually to junior faculty at UM demonstrating exemplary performance in research, scholarship and/or creative achievement.

The funding allows Delcamp to focus on training the best scientists possible while making important discoveries that are being recognized internationally, he said.

“We have been atypically successful in terms of funding,” Delcamp said. “We use our funding very carefully to ensure important experiments are being done and science is being progressed responsibly.

“This level of funding being used responsibly has allowed us to focus on how to best solve a science problem rather than a funding problem. This is incredibly freeing in terms of mentoring students and getting research done.”

Delcamp’s project, titled “Controlling Interfacial Charge Separation Energetics and Kinetics,” is funded through DOE grant No. DE-SC0019131, which runs through Aug. 31, 2023.

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 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

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.

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.”