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 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.

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!”