Jim Zook Named UM Associate Vice Chancellor

Communications leader will oversee continued development of key strategic priorities

Jim Zook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Political Science Professor Co-authors Prize-Winning Book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alice Clark Retiring as UM Vice Chancellor for University Relations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alice Clark

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bowlin Named Inaugural Ed Krei Chair of Accountancy

Distinction honors professor's excellence in teaching and research

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ed Krei

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Science Foundation Funds Further Lightning Research

UM professors studying the mysteries of how lightning starts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eight UM Professors Honored for Creative Research Projects

College of Liberal Arts faculty recognized during Commencement exercises

UM liberal arts Dean Lee Cohen (left) and Associate Dean Charles Hussey (right) congratulate 2018 Research, Scholarship and Creative Achievement Award for senior faculty recipients. The winners are (from left) John Green, Todd Smitherman, Rhona Justice-Malloy and Nathan Hammer. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Eight faculty members in the University of Mississippi’s College of Liberal Arts have been recognized for their creative research and scholarly activity during the 2017-18 academic year.

Four members received the Dr. Mike L. Edmonds New Scholar Award for junior faculty. Another four received the College of Liberal Arts Award for Research, Scholarship and Creative Achievement for senior faculty.

The awards, both of which are in their second year of existence, include medals and stipends of $1,000 and $2,000 respectively. They were presented May 12 during the college’s Commencement exercises.

The Edmonds Award is presented annually to untenured, tenure-track professorial rank faculty members who are within six years of their initial academic appointment and who have demonstrated exemplary performance in research, scholarship and/or creative achievement. Recipients of the Award for Research, Scholarship and Creative Achievement have achieved scholarly recognition and influence well beyond the university.

“The eight people who were selected for these awards come from a diversity of disciplines,” said Charles Hussey, associate dean for research and graduate education and professor of chemistry and biochemistry who served as chair of the selection committee.

“This fact alone is a testament to the quality and strength of the research, scholarship and creative activities that can be found among the entire faculty community. These award recipients are among the very best scholars at the University of Mississippi, and we celebrate their success.”

Edmonds New Scholar Award honorees are Davita L. Watkins, in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics category; Thomas Allan Peattie, Fine and Performing Arts; James M. Thomas, Social Sciences; and Darren E. Grem, Humanities.

Award for Research, Scholarship and Creative Achievement recipients are Nathan I. Hammer, Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Todd A. Smitherman and John J. Green, Social Sciences; and Rhona Justice-Malloy, Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts.

The first African-American female tenure track professor hired in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Watkins received a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award for $499,593 for work she has completed at the university, her creative ideas for future research activities and her strong teaching credentials. Her most recent research endeavors received $95,000 in joint support from the United Negro College Fund and Merck.

Watkins also helped cultivate several close collaborations with internal research groups at UM and with external groups at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Oak Ridge National Laboratories and the University of California at San Diego.

UM liberal arts Dean Lee Cohen (left) and Associate Dean Charles Hussey (right) congratulate recipients of the 2018 Mike L. Edmonds New Scholar Award for junior faculty. Winners are (from left) Darren Grem, Thomas Peattie, J.T. Thomas and Davita Watkins. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Peattie, an assistant professor of music, is an internationally recognized expert on the music of Austrian composer Gustav Mahler. His distinguished publication record includes a monograph, a book on Mahler, four peer-reviewed articles and a review in some of the most respected journals in the field of musicology.

He is completing a second book on Italian composer Luciano Berio and two book chapters on Mahler. Pettie is also a frequent speaker at peer-reviewed national and international music conferences.

Described by sociology colleagues as a “rock star,” Thomas has written three academic books and seven articles accepted or in print in peer reviewed journals. The assistant professor of sociology and anthropology has received funding from the prestigious Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline Program, College of Liberal Arts Summer Research Grants and an Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Investment Grant.

An invited panelist at national, regional and local conferences, Thomas also serves as an editorial board member for two important journals in the field: Contexts and Sociology of Race and Ethnicity.

An assistant professor of history and Southern studies, Grem is the author of a celebrated monograph, a co-edited volume and six peer-reviewed articles. A panel chair at the 2017 national Business History Conference, he oversaw two hires in the Department of History and is working on his second manuscript.

Hammer, an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has served as principal investigator on five grants from the National Science Foundation totaling more than $7 million. These include an NSF CAREER Award, a Research Experiences for Undergraduates Site and a major instrumentation award. He served the state’s National Science Foundation EPSCoR program as Track 1 senior personnel and program architect and Track 2 program director.

A UM research development fellow, Hammer developed and directs his department’s summer research program. He also co-organized the 50th annual Southeastern Undergraduate Research Conference in 2018 and has delivered three invited talks at national American Chemical Society meetings.

With collaborators at Wake Forest School of Medicine and Massachusetts General Hospital, Smitherman, an associate professor of psychology, has led the way in debunking myths about the factors that trigger headaches. His publication record includes more 65 peer-reviewed articles, a book, a lead-authored book and nine book chapters.

Smitherman is a fellow of the American Headache Society, associate editor of Headache and a consultant to the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of National Institutes of Health. The only psychologist on the Medical Advisory Board, he has been supported in his research by the Migraine Research Foundation, American Headache Society and Merck Pharmaceuticals.

Director of the university’s Center for Population Studies and a professor of sociology, Green has held many elected positions, including serving as the current president of the Southern Rural Sociological Association, and he is the former editor-in-chief of the Community Development Society’s official publication. Green has secured 11 grants and contracts, increased the center’s staff, added undergraduate and graduate research assistants and added 10 affiliated researchers from within and outside the university.

Last year, he became a team co-leader and steering committee member of the Community Wellbeing Flagship Constellation, one of four priority research areas selected by the university for investment and further development as part of Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter’s strategic vision.

A professor of theatre arts, Justice-Malloy is a member of the National Theater Conference, which has only 150 members selected through a strict nomination process. She served as president of the Mid-America Theater Conference and was recently inducted as a fellow.

Justice-Malloy’s record of research spans many years and includes articles in Continuum:  The Journal of African Diaspora Drama, Theatre and Performance, and in Theatre History Studies. She co-edited and contributed a chapter to the book “Enacting History.” Besides her strong publication record, Justice-Malloy also has s significant record of presentations both domestically and internationally.

This year’s honorees are exceptional, and their work reflects the goals for which the awards were created, said Lee M. Cohen, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and professor of psychology.

“As a Carnegie R1 university, it is important that we publicly recognize and reward our most productive faculty for their sustained efforts in research, scholarship and creative achievement,” Cohen said. “I hope the recent establishment of these awards will help us to elevate our productivity moving forward.”

Seven Receive UM Outstanding EEO Awards

Employees recognized for excellence in service categories

Kathy Tidwell (right), contractual services manager and director of university licensing, receives a standing ovation during annual Staff Appreciation Awards on Friday. Tidwell, who has worked at UM for 49 years, is recognized by Johnny Price (left) Staff Council president. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

A custodial worker in the Facilities Management Department is the University of Mississippi’s 2018 Overall Outstanding Staff Member.

Nettie Tyson of Oxford, who has been employed at the university since 2010, was recognized during the annual Staff Appreciation Awards program Friday (May 18) in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. She will receive a $1,000 stipend and two season tickets to Ole Miss football games.

“The people in this room know more than anyone else the depth and breadth of what we do here at the University of Mississippi,” said Noel Wilkin, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs who presented all the EEO Service Awards. “Each one of you plays an amazing role in making our university the wonderful place that it is.”

Six other employees were presented Service Awards, including a $500 stipend, in their respective EEO categories. Winners included Laura D. Brown, director of the Office of Financial Aid, for EEO1; Joseph Baumbaugh, systems analyst III in the Office of Alumni Affairs, for EEO 3; Kathy McCluskey, senior human resources assistant, for EEO 4; Lynn Reece, distance learning coordinator at the Desoto regional campus, for EEO 5; Hunter Snow, power line specialist III, for EEO 6; and Michael Lewis, trucking worker in the Facilities Management Department, for EEO 7.

The Office of Student Disability Services was honored with the Dan Jones Award for Team Service.

Long-standing employees were presented either a certificate, lapel pin, plaque or keepsake in recognition of each person’s 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 30-plus years of service to the institution.

Staff in the Office of Student Disability Services accept the third annual Daniel W. Jones, M.D. Outstanding Team Service Award during the UM Staff Appreciation Awards program. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

“The outstanding staff awards were created in 1990 as a way to honor staff members for their contributions to the university,” said Johnny Price, classroom technology specialist and outgoing president of the UM Staff Council. “The person with the most votes in their respective EEO category is recognized at our awards day ceremony.”

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter was unable to attend, but filmed a video, which played during the ceremony.

“It’s the people of Ole Miss – all of you at today’s ceremony – that make it great,” Vitter said. “You’re outstanding people with a rich diversity of talents and backgrounds. As my Chief of Staff Sue Keiser describes, ‘Staff keep this place running like a spinning top, for themselves and all others.'”

Congratulations to all this year’s winners!

Faculty and Students Honored at Annual Lavender Graduation

Vice chancellor and journalism lecturer receive Vicki Mahan Ally of the Year Awards

Brandi Hephner LaBanc, UM vice chancellor for student affairs, speaks to LGBTQ students at the Lavender Graduation earlier this month. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – For three years, the University of Mississippi has held a Lavender Graduation, an annual ceremony to acknowledge the achievements of LGBTQ and ally students. Thirty-one undergraduate and graduate students participated in this year’s ceremony, with each receiving lavender cords to wear at Commencement.

Besides the graduates, two members of the UM community were honored for their contributions and dedication to inclusiveness regarding the LGBTQ community.

Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs, and Robin Street, senior lecturer in journalism, were recipients of the Vicki Mahan Ally of the Year Award for their ongoing efforts to support inclusivity.

Hephner LaBanc was honored for her commitment to providing resources for LGBTQ students at Ole Miss. When she arrived at the university in 2012, Hephner LaBanc made sure inclusion was a priority, and other faculty took notice.

“Many folks at the university and in the community have worked to build a more supportive culture over the last five years, but none of that would have been possible with leadership in the Lyceum, leadership that began with her arrival,” said Jaime Harker, director of the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies.

“Dr. Hephner LaBanc has empowered, supported and embraced the LGBTQ community here like she is one of us. Because of her leadership and empathy, she has helped to improve the lives of LGBTQ students at the University of Mississippi.”

Brandi Hephner LaBanc, UM vice chancellor for student affairs, is the recipient of this year’s Vicki Mahan Award for her efforts to make Ole Miss more inclusive for LGBTQ students. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communication

In her leadership position, she created the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement, which works to create a supportive environment for all, including LGBTQ students. During Hephner LaBanc’s time at the university, she has supported events involving LGBTQ issues and rode in the Oxford Pride Parade last year.

Before the award presentation, Hephner LaBanc addressed the graduating students.

“This is an exciting time for each of you, and we’re here to celebrate how you’ve contributed to tremendous successes on campus, both personally and academically,” she said. “Please know that we stand with you now and as you transition to alums of the University of Mississippi.”

Street was honored for creating two student-led campaigns over the last seven years with the goal of changing perceptions and creating awareness of the importance of diversity.

“This award is deeply meaningful to me, because my work in diversity topics has come from my heart,” Street said. “It is my sincere hope that my work has helped spread the message to approach each person with understanding, dignity, respect and inclusion and to just pause before stereotyping another person based on only one factor.”

Her first campaign, “Diversity Rocks!” began with the aim of celebrating all types of diversity but was created as a result of struggles of the LGBTQ community.

Robin Street, senior lecturer in journalism, is presented with the Vicki Mahan Ally of the Year Award by Kevin Cozart, operations coordinator at the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies. Photo by Scott Fien

“In 2011, I learned that, nationally, several young men who were gay had killed themselves after being bullied,” Street said. “This upset me greatly and I asked myself how I could help prevent such a tragedy at the University of Mississippi? I remember thinking: What can I do here and now?”

Street turned to the one thing she knew best, her teaching specialty of public relations. The campaign included panel discussions featuring students, faculty, staff and alumni speaking about their own joys and struggles with their sexual orientation, race, mental health issues, religion or disability.

In 2017, she developed a new campaign “It Starts with (Me)ek” to emphasize there is both a responsibility as a journalism school and for each individual to create more awareness, listen to others and increase the scope of diversity. The weeklong campaign featured similar events to “Diversity Rocks,” allowing students to hear more firsthand experiences.

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter spoke at the event and highlighted how this ceremony brings the UM Creed and the university’s core values to life by respecting the dignity of each person.

“Inclusion is a value that requires a certain degree of vigilance,” Vitter said. “It’s a commitment we must honor time and again. Occasions such as this event provide an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment. We must stay strong in supporting our LGBTQ+ community.

“I truly believe diversity makes our campus a more enlightened, more energizing and more valuable place. With your openness, and by being here today, you’re sharing a part of yourself with the greater community. I applaud you.”

The event was sponsored by the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement, Ole Miss Student Housing, the Isom Center, Office of Leadership and Advocacy, UM Pride Network, Queer People of Color, OUTGrad, OUTLaw and Ole Miss LGBTQ Alumni and Friends.

Marc Slattery Receives Top UM Research Award

Researcher known for work with marine ecosystems, from coral reefs to Antarctica

Josh Gladden (left), UM interim vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs, presents the2018 Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award to Marc Slattery during the university’s Commencement ceremony Saturday morning in the Grove. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Marc Slattery was a little conflicted about being honored for his research achievement at the University of Mississippi.

Slattery, a professor of biomolecular sciences in the School of Pharmacy and research professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, was named the 2018 recipient of the Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award during the university’s 165th Commencement ceremonies Saturday (May 12) in the Grove.

“It came as a shock, a very pleasant surprise,” Slattery said. “I’m incredibly honored to be amongst the group of past honorees – there are tremendous scientists there.

“When I think about my colleagues here who have never won this award, I have to wonder, ‘What brings me above them?’ There are so many solid scientists here, so it was a very pleasant surprise.”

Created in 2008, the annual honor recognizes a faculty member who has shown outstanding accomplishment in research, scholarship and creative activity. Applicants are nominated by peers and reviewed by a committee of past recipients.

Winning the award is not a solo endeavor, however, Slattery said. Science is interdisciplinary and collaborative, and he has “tremendous collaborators and colleagues (at UM), within the School of Pharmacy and across campus.”

“I also work with several (people) off-campus at different universities who collaborate with me on grants and papers,” he said. “In many ways, I hope that people recognize that this honor is really for a team. I’m lucky enough to stand up for that.

“Everybody has really contributed to my being able to successfully do the work that I’ve done.”

Slattery said that in the broadest sense, he’s a marine biologist, but further efforts to pigeonhole him would be difficult as he has many interests, including a focus on coral reef ecology. His research interests also include pursuing drug discovery efforts in marine invertebrates, algae and microbes.

Slattery’s research has included work in extreme environments, from deep-sea reefs and marine caves to polar ecosystems in Antarctica and kelp forests off the coast of California.

He also said he’s interested in ecosystems and their processes, along with how resources in these ecosystems might ultimately become the next drug and with the conservation of these ecosystems.

Marc Slattery

“Dr. Slattery is an international leader in the fields of environmental ecology and marine biotechnology,” said Josh Gladden, UM interim vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs, when presenting the award. “While artfully balancing his teaching, research and service responsibilities, he’s contributed to many discoveries in his field, brought recognition to the university and created fantastic opportunities for our students.”

Slattery earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Loyola Marymount University in 1981, a master’s degree in marine biology from San Jose State University in 1987 and his doctorate in biological sciences from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1994. He joined the Ole Miss faculty in 1995.

While at UM, Slattery has served as executive director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology and as research coordinator for the university’s Environmental Toxicology Research Program. He has authored or co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, and has two patent applications and a book chapter in review.

He also has given close to 200 invited presentations, including presentations before the United Nations and U.S. Senate. He was among 10 faculty members selected to participate in the university’s first TEDx conference.

“Marc is a dynamic scientist, not only because of the groundbreaking research he contributes to, but because he truly embodies the ‘creative’ element of this award,” said David D. Allen, UM pharmacy dean. “Many of his students go on to conduct their own influential research, attesting to the enthusiasm and dedication he brings to his work.

“The School of Pharmacy is home to some incredible scientists and faculty, many of whom are preeminent in their fields. We are fortunate to be home to five winners of this award, and are thrilled that this honor recognizes the breadth, caliber and originality of the some of the research coming out of our school.”

Slattery has received more than $30 million in funding from a range of federal agencies as either a principal investigator or co-principal investigator, and has been recognized with several honors, including serving as president of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences, earning the Cumberland Pharmaceuticals Inc. Faculty Research Award at UM in 2010 and serving as chief scientist on four NOAA research cruises.

He has advised or served on thesis or dissertation committees for 27 Ph.D. students, 25 master’s students and eight Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College students.

“At the University of Mississippi, we greatly value and emphasize excellence in scientific discoveries and scholarly research,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “This award recognizes those who curate bold ideas and foster collaborative and innovative approaches. As this year’s recipient, Marc Slattery lives up to the exceptional standard we’ve come to expect of honorees.”

Born in California, Slattery moved to Jamaica at age 5 and lived there for about a decade. Fascinated with the outdoors from an early age, Slattery remembers going to the beach in Jamaica, throwing on his diving mask and exploring the vibrant turquoise waters until being hauled out of the water by his parents, who instilled in him a passion for learning and exploring his interests.

In turn, Slattery has spent his career inspiring his students to investigate their interests to the fullest.

“You have to do what you’re passionate about,” said Slattery, who is married to Deborah Gochfeld, a principal scientist in the university’s National Center for Natural Products Research and a research professor of environmental toxicology.

“A career is a long time. You have to work hard and when you are in school, you have to study hard. There are a lot of people competing for the same jobs, but if you are doing what you love, it makes it so much easier.”

This year’s Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award was sponsored by GlobalStar, a Covington, Louisiana-based company that is a leading provider of mobile satellite voice and data services. The sponsorship is just one example of several collaborations between UM and GlobalStar, including an agreement to establish a second-generation ground station on campus, which will give Ole Miss students and faculty unique learning and research experiences.

Previous winners of the award are Sam Wang, Larry Walker, Charles Reagan Wilson, Dale Flesher, Atef Elsherbeni, Mahmoud ElSohly, Robert Van Ness, Charles Hussey, Ikhlas Khan and Alice Clark.

University Creates Distinguished Professor Honor

Three faculty named inaugural honorees based on research, teaching excellence and reputation

Ikhlas A. Khan, director of the National Center for Natural Products Research and professor of pharmacognosy, has been appointed as a Distinguished Professor at UM. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Three University of Mississippi faculty members were appointed as Distinguished Professors during the spring faculty meeting Friday (May 11) in Fulton Chapel.

The honorees are John Daigle, director of the Center for Wireless Communications and professor of electrical engineering; Donald Dyer, associate dean for faculty and academic affairs in the College of Liberal Arts and professor of Russian and linguistics; and Ikhlas A. Khan, director of the National Center for Natural Products Research and professor of pharmacognosy.

The Distinguished Professor is a new designation that recognizes the best faculty with sustained excellence at UM. The award was created in response to the university’s strategic initiative to develop a post-professorial recognition.

“I am thrilled that we now have a way to further recognize our most outstanding faculty members,” Provost Noel Wilkin said. “The accomplishments of the university are really the accomplishments of its people.

“This is an outstanding way for us to properly acknowledge the value of excellence and the contributions made by these faculty members to their disciplines and our community of scholars.”

Daigle joined the faculty in 1994 after earning his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Louisiana Tech University in 1968, his master’s in electrical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1969 and his doctorate of engineering science in operations research from Columbia University in 1977.

He was named as an Erskine fellow by the University of Canterbury in New Zealand in 2009, was the 2004 recipient of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Communications Society Technical Committee on Computer Communications Outstanding Service Award and was named an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers fellow in 1993.

Daigle also is a member of Eta Kappa Nu, the honor society of the IEEE; Omega Rho, the international honor society for operations research and management science; and Sigma Xi, an international honor society of science and engineering.

Donald Dyer, associate dean for faculty and academic affairs in the College of Liberal Arts and professor of Russian and linguistics, has been named a Distinguished Professor. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

A professor who has recently taught undergraduate and graduate classes such as local area networks and applied probability modeling, Daigle conducts research into the analysis and design of communication networks and systems.

“Professor John Daigle has an illustrious career that spans more than 46 years, primarily in academia, but also some years in military and high-tech companies,” wrote Ramanarayanan “Vish” Viswanathan, chair and professor of electrical engineering, in his letter of support to Daigle’s appointment. “Professor Daigle has an exemplary research record and has contributed strongly in teaching, student mentorship and service to (his) profession and the university.

“John holds (a) cherished conviction that a student should graduate from the school with sound fundamentals. He also believes that a strong learning ability need not necessarily be gifted at birth or developed in early childhood, but can be acquired through hard work and perseverance. Hence, he advocates greater access to college education and at the same time upholding rigorous requirements for graduation.”

Dyer earned his undergraduate degree in Russian from the University of North Carolina in 1980, and his master’s and doctorate in Slavic linguistics from the University of Chicago, in 1982 and 1990, respectively. He joined the Ole Miss faculty in 1988.

He served as chair of the Department of Modern Languages from 2005 to 2017 and was awarded the 2017 Thomas F. Frist Sr. Student Service Award, which recognizes a faculty member for going the extra mile in unwavering dedication and service to students. He is the editor of Balkanistica, a peer-reviewed journal of Balkan studies.

He has served as co-director of the Chinese Language Flagship Program since 2005 and has taught classes such as Freshman Honors II in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and topics in linguistics. His teaching and research interests include Slavic and Balkan linguistics and language in contact.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Dr. Dyer embodies what we in the College of Liberal Arts have determined (via our guidelines) to merit this award,” wrote Lee M. Cohen, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, in his recommendation letter.

“Dr. Dyer has made a significant positive impact at the University of Mississippi over the past three decades, all the while making a name for himself as one of the most distinguished scholars in his field. His work is creative, impactful and has a wide range of influence.”

John Daigle, director of the Center for Wireless Communications and professor of electrical engineering, is one of three UM faculty members appointed as a Distinguished Professor. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

“Effusive praise of his work comes from the Department of Modern Languages and across the nation, and it rings loudly throughout the international scholarly community,” wrote Daniel O’Sullivan, UM chair and professor of modern languages, in his letter of support.

Khan earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Aligarh Muslim University in India in 1980, a master’s in organic chemistry from Aligarh Muslim University in India in 1982 and his doctorate in pharmacy from the Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology in Germany in 1987.

He has been at Ole Miss since 1992, but worked as a postdoctoral research associate at the university in 1988 and 1989. From 1989 to 1992, Khan worked as a postdoctoral research associate at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

He also serves as coordinator for Natural Products Research in the Center for Water and Wetland Resources, among other academic and research appointments.

In 2016 Khan received the UM Distinguished Research and Creative Achievement Award, and in 2002 he was awarded the UM School of Pharmacy Faculty Research Award. He is a fellow in the American Institute of Chemists and the Royal Society of Chemistry, and is a member of the American Chemical Society.

Earlier this year he received the AOAC International’s 2018 Harvey W. Wiley Award, which recognizes lifetime scientific achievement.

His research interests include efforts related to medicinal plants, drug discovery and applications of analytical tools in evaluation of quality and safety of dietary supplements.

“Dr. Khan’s career at UM is consistent with the expectations of a Distinguished Professor appointment,” wrote Kristie Willett, chair of the Department of BioMolecular Sciences and professor of pharmacology and environmental toxicology. “He in fact has ‘exemplary accomplishments in research’ and potentially unprecedented amongst UM faculty ‘international recognition in his field.’

“His research productivity and service to the field of pharmacognosy as measured by publications, invited presentations, editorial and advisory boards and international awards are outstanding. Furthermore, he has provided mentorship to nearly 40 graduate students in our department over his career.”

The three professors were officially recognized during the spring faculty meeting.

No more than 5 percent of eligible faculty can be appointed as a Distinguished Professor. Each school and college has their own guidelines for nominating their faculty, but the university requires that nominated faculty have at least six years of service at the highest rank of professor, along with exemplary accomplishments in research and creative achievement, teaching and service.

Also, it is expected that awardees will have achieved a significant degree of national or international recognition.

The recommended appointments are made by a committee of faculty chosen by the Faculty Senate and the provost, and the committee has representatives from across campus.