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.

Red and Blue Celebration of Achievement Set for May 9

Inaugural event to recognize 32 UM staff for earning degrees while working

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi staff who earned degrees while working will be recognized for their accomplishments Wednesday (May 9) at the inaugural Red and Blue Celebration of Achievement.

Thirty-two employees who are receiving either a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree during doctoral hooding on Friday (May 11) and at Commencement on Saturday (May 12) will be honored. The celebration, which is free and open to the public, begins at noon in Auditorium A of the Jackson Avenue Center, 1111 West Jackson Ave.

Co-sponsors include the Office of the Provost, Division of Outreach and Continuing Education, Office of University and Public Events, and the UM Staff Council.

“This is an opportunity for the university community to come together and honor staff members who have successfully navigated the college experience while simultaneously working as an employee at the university,” said Anne Klingen, who co-organized the event. “During the ceremony, we will honor graduating seniors and graduate students with red-and-blue cords and a reception.”

The event was conceived after orientation for new Staff Council members in April 2017. Klingen and Kevin Cozart, operations coordinator in the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies, began discussing ideas about how to recognize staff member achievements.

“As someone who has earned more than one degree while working full time for the university, I understand the unique challenges that staff members face while on the path to a degree,” Cozart said. “I thought that it was time for graduating staff members to receive special recognition of their efforts.

“The Red and Blue Celebration and the red-and-navy honors cords are just a small way of achieving this goal.”

The cords will be presented by Donna West-Strum, chair and professor of pharmacy administration. Other program participants are Gazel Giles, immediate past president of the Staff Council; Je’Lisa McGee, Staff Council treasurer; Premalatha Balachandran, Staff Council scholarship coordinator; Deetra Wiley, Staff Council marketing coordinator; and Cozart, a Staff Council member.

Departments with graduating employees who have registered to participate are Applied Sciences/ Outreach, Athletics, Campus Recreation, Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience, Center for the Study of Southern Culture, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Ford Center, Health Professions Advising Office, Marketing and Fan Experience, Office of Admissions, Office of the Chancellor, Ole Miss Athletics Foundation, Office of Information Technology, Sports Production, Student Disability Services, Technology and Interactive Video, Graduate School, The Inn at Ole Miss, UMMC-Office of Academic Affairs, University Communications and University Police Department.

Several of the graduating employees shared their stories.

“It was very challenging trying to work, go to school and be a full-time single mom with two boys,” said Sirena Morgan, senior secretary for the chemistry department who will receive her Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resources with an emphasis in entrepreneurship. “You have to find a balance in it all.

“I was so determined to get my degree, so I made it work. I would work eight hours a day, and after work, I would take care of my other responsibilities. It took a lot of discipline, but I did it.”

Learning to balance work, school, family and outside activities also was a challenge for Rebecca Lauck Cleary, a senior staff assistant at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture who will be receiving a Master of Arts in Southern Studies.

“I tried to focus on projects one week at a time so I never felt overwhelmed with anything,” she said. “Luckily, everyone I work with has been extremely supportive, which is nice.”

Completing a terminal degree, career advancement opportunities and a desire to make their families proud were all motivations for Sovent Taylor and Peter Tulchinsky, who receive their Ed.D. in Higher Education.

“My job isn’t always just 8 to 5,” said Taylor, assistant director of the Health Professions Advising Office. “I have student organizations that meet at night and recruitment events on the weekend. My children are involved in travel sports, so my time after work was spoken for as well.”

To overcome his challenges, Taylor worked during lunch, often late at night and during holiday breaks writing his dissertation.

“I am blessed to have a wife that helped pick up the slack while I was writing,” Taylor said. “She also had to deal with an exhausted husband quite often.”

Tulchinsky, director of campus recreation, agrees.

“I wanted to set an example for my kids,” he said. “I encourage them to do their personal best academically, and I felt that I could role model that expectation by going back to school and acquiring my terminal degree.

“It means a lot that they can call me ‘Dr. Dad’ and that I’ve been able to show them that you can accomplish your goals through effort and commitment.”

Having a great support system at home and at work is what helped Shayla Love McGuire complete requirements for her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

“A big motivation for me to complete my degree was for my children to see me being successful,” the UPD patrol sergeant said. “This degree will help me achieve promotions at work, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to finally graduate.”

For Jennifer Phillips, who receives her Ph.D. degree in higher education, writing her dissertation was her biggest challenge.

“Much of the Ph.D. is on your own after written comps,” said Phillips, assistant director for retention in the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience. “It was incredibly difficult to find the personal motivation to continue, especially when I also had trouble nailing down a topic.”

Phillips said she went to her adviser, Amy Wells Dolan, to quit last year after almost nine years of work.

“She inspired me to keep going by simply telling me she would not let me quit,” Phillips said. “Two weeks later, I had 25 pages written.”

Wiley, an applications analyst and business communications specialist who will be hooded and receive her Ed.D. degree, said the opportunity to earn her terminal degree at no cost while working full time was worth the hard work, determination and commitment.

“This is probably the most rewarding policy/program that any institution or place of work can provide to its employees,” Wiley said. “To God, I give the glory and honor. I give great thanks to the University of Mississippi for its further education policy.”

UM’s 165th Commencement Set this Weekend

Acclaimed historian, biographer Walter Isaacson to speak Saturday morning

The University of Mississippi’s 165th Commencement will take place Saturday, May 12. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi will present degrees to some 5,000 students Saturday (May 12) at its 165th Commencement. The ceremony, set for 9 a.m. in the Grove, features renowned historian and biographer Walter Isaacson as speaker.

Isaacson, who also was head of both CNN and Time magazine, is a professor of history at Tulane University in New Orleans, where he grew up. He’s also a graduate of Harvard College and Pembroke College of Oxford University, in Oxford, England, where he was a Rhodes scholar. In 2003, Isaacson became president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute based in Washington, D.C. 

The morning convocation is expected to be attended by about 3,000 degree candidates in academic regalia. Seating for 15,000 will be set up in the Grove for visitors and families and is filled on a first-come basis.

Ceremonies for the individual schools will follow at various locations throughout the day.

In case of rain, the main ceremony will be moved to 9:30 a.m. at The Pavilion at Ole Miss.

If the weather is threatening, a decision on moving the ceremony indoors will be made by 8 a.m. Saturday and announced via a RebAlert text message, Twitter, a banner on the UM website and a blast email to students, faculty and staff. A recorded message also will be available at 662-915-1040 and signs will be posted on the Grove stage.

For complete details about Commencement, visit http://commencement.olemiss.edu/. The site features information about parking, transportation and dining options for graduates, visitors, faculty and staff.

Those not able to attend Commencement who would like to watch the ceremony can visit http://www.youtube.com/olemiss to view a live stream that will begin promptly at 9 a.m.

Here are more details about Commencement weekend.

Full Schedule of Commencement Events

Friday (May 11)

4 p.m. – Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College Ceremony, Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts (tickets required, contact the Dean’s Office)

5:30 p.m. – Celebration of Achievement, Manning Center

7:30 p.m. – Graduate School doctoral hooding ceremony, Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts

Saturday (May 12)

9 a.m. – Convocation, the Grove

Inclement Weather – 9:30 a.m., The Pavilion

11 a.m. – College of Liberal Arts master’s degree ceremony, Fulton Chapel

School of Law – the Grove
Inclement Weather – 6 p.m., Manning Center

School of Engineering – Lyceum Circle
Inclement Weather – 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Student Union Ballroom (Contact the Dean’s office for individual department ceremony times.)

School of Education – the Grove
Inclement Weather – 6 p.m., The Pavilion

School of Business Administration – C. M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum

Patterson School of Accountancy – Manning Center

School of Applied Sciences – The Pavilion

School of Pharmacy – Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts

3 p.m. – College of Liberal Arts – The Pavilion

Meek School of Journalism and New Media – C. M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum

General Studies – Manning Center

Parking and Transportation

It is recommended that guests park in the lots designated for the school or college ceremony they will be attending after convocation concludes. For more details and a full list of these designated parking areas can be found at http://commencement.olemiss.edu/parking-and-transportation/.

No parking or drop-off will be available on University Avenue or the Circle. Note that once the morning convocation starts, vehicle access to the Grove is limited until convocation and school ceremonies in the Grove conclude.

For safety reasons, parking is not permitted along roadways, sidewalks or grassy areas.

Faculty and staff who are on campus Saturday are urged to park near their buildings and walk to the Grove. Additional faculty and staff parking will be available in the Women’s Terrace lot and the lot behind Crosby Hall.

NCAA Tennis Tournament

Those planning to attend Commencement are reminded that the Ole Miss women’s tennis team will host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament on Friday and Saturday at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center. The tennis center is located between Magnolia Drive and Fraternity Row, and tournament attendance is expected to affect parking in this area of campus.

Ole Miss faces Missouri State at 3 p.m. Friday, while Syracuse and Wichita State will kick off the weekend at noon Friday. The winners meet at 2 p.m. Saturday.

ADA Information

A shuttle service will be available primarily for those with special needs, not the general public. All guests who require assistance should park in the garage attached to The Pavilion on Hill Drive. Wheelchairs, if needed, must be provided by families.

The university has identified ADA/handicap parking areas for both the morning Grove convocation and each of the college/school ceremonies.

To request information prior to Saturday, call 662-915-7235.

Emergency Medical Services

EMS will be available at the UPD area of the Welcome Center on University Avenue for Commencement and the remainder of the day. All information booths and ceremony venues will have basic first-aid kits. For immediate assistance, dial 911.

Information Booths

Information booths staffed by UM employees will be located in key areas around campus on Saturday. At each location, volunteers may assist visitors with ADA shuttle inquiries, driving directions and any other questions they may have about Commencement.

Each booth will have campus maps, complimentary water and general first-aid supplies. Information booths will be at the following locations:

  1. Entrance to the parking garage on Hill Drive *Designated for ADA parking, all those requiring assistance should park here.7 a.m.-3 p.m.
  2. Welcome Center on University Avenue by the Grove (the official University Police Department EMS station) 7 a.m.-noon
  3. South side of Olivia and Archie Manning Athletics Performance Center 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
  4. Intersection of West Road and Fraternity Row 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
  5. Student Union Drive/Rebel Drive intersection 7 a.m.-noon
  6. University Avenue/University Place 7 a.m.-noon

Dining

Ole Miss Student Union

Chick-fil-A 7 a.m.-3 p.m.

Panda Express 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Which Wich 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Qdoba 7 a.m.-3 p.m.

McAlister’s 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Coulter Hall

Starbucks 7 a.m.-1 p.m.

The Pavilion

Steak ‘n Shake 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Raising Cane’s 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Closed on Saturday

Grill @ 1810

Rebel Market

Marketplace

Starbucks (J.D. Williams Library)

Einstein’s (All locations)

POD (All locations)

Study Abroad Leader Visiting South Korea in June

Blair McElroy bestowed a Fulbright award

Blair McElroy

OXFORD, Miss. – The head of the study abroad program at the University of Mississippi has received a Fulbright award to South Korea to create a stronger connection between the university and the country.

Blair McElroy, director of the university’s study abroad program and UM interim senior international officer, was awarded a grant to attend a two-week International Education Administrators seminar in June in South Korea. The grant is made possible through funds appropriated annually by Congress.

“I am delighted and proud to be selected as one of the eight grantees,” McElroy said. “I am excited to experience the Korean culture firsthand as part of a group of passionate individuals in the field of international education.”

The purpose of the seminar is “to create and deepen institutional connections to Korea through visits to universities and meetings with faculty, administrators and government officials,” McElroy said.

“These visits and meetings will enhance UM’s current program offerings in Korea by structuring strategic partnerships in academic areas. The seminar will also increase my knowledge of Korean culture, which will assist in advising students for study in Korea, enhance connections to our current Korean students on campus and, personally, increase my intercultural competence – one can never have enough.”

Typically, the seminar includes a week around Seoul, South Korea, visiting universities and institutions. The second week is generally spent outside Seoul. The seminar also includes tours of historical and cultural sites.

“I am thrilled that Ms. McElroy has been given this opportunity to travel to South Korea and work to expand her expertise and our community’s connection to that country,” UM Provost Noel Wilkin said. “We have a goal to educate and engage global citizens, which entails increasing study abroad and expanding faculty engagement abroad.

“In addition to being an honor for Blair, this award will enable her to advance this goal and build connections to enable these activities.”

After returning, McElroy said she will pursue the goals outlined in her project statement, which includes workshops for faculty and staff on intercultural communication and partnerships in Korea, development of faculty-led programs to Korea and support of events where domestic and Korean students can connect.

“I hope that through these goals we will increase the number of students studying in Korea, especially students who are not currently studying Korean language at UM, and encourage cultural exchange through study, teaching and research,” McElroy said.

A native of Jackson, Tennessee, McElroy earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies, minoring in Chinese and French, from Ole Miss in 2002. She is a graduate of the Croft Institute for International Studies and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. She earned her Juris Doctor from the UM School of Law in 2006.

During her academic career, she studied overseas in Beijing for a semester, and at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. She joined the study abroad office in 2006.

According to Jeffrey L. Bleich, chair of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, the Fulbright program “aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries, (and) is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government.”

“As a Fulbright recipient and a representative of the United States, you will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with international partners in educational, political, cultural, economic and scientific fields,” Bleich said in a letter to McElroy announcing the award. “We hope that your Fulbright experience will be deeply rewarding professionally and personally, and that you will share the knowledge you gain with many others throughout your life.”

Professor Karen Raber Named Director of Shakespeare Organization

Headquarters of Shakespeare Association of America to be housed at university

UM English professor Karen Raber has been named as the new executive director of the Shakespeare Association of America. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi English professor has been named executive director of a national organization dedicated to the work of William Shakespeare.

Karen Raber, an English professor who specializes in Renaissance literature with an emphasis on ecostudies, animal studies and posthumanist theory, has been officially announced as executive director of the Shakespeare Association of America.

The nonprofit, professional organization advances the academic study of Shakespeare’s plays and poems along with his cultural and theatrical contexts and their roles in world culture. The association, founded in 1972, is housed at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

The headquarters of the organization will move to the Ole Miss campus, and the executive director is the main point of contact for all members.

“I was delighted and a tiny bit terrified,” said Raber of hearing the news. “This is a huge job, with a lot of moving parts, and so the challenge of taking it on is going to be enormous.

“Plus, the previous executive director, Lena Orlin, has been a brilliant administrator for the organization, so I have a high standard to live up to.”

Raber replaces Orlin, an English professor at Georgetown University, and assumes the new position June 1, though she will be involved in planning for next year’s conference and board meetings during this year’s meeting in March. The role is a part-time appointment, meaning Raber will continue to work and teach at Ole Miss.

Raber’s new role will require a commitment from the university, in both funding and space, but Raber said UM Department of English Chair Ivo Kamps and liberal arts Dean Lee Cohen worked to put the necessary resources into Raber’s position.

“I was elated when Karen got the news,” Kamps said. “This is an impressive achievement for her and for the English department. … Karen has been an incredibly productive and well-respected scholar over the last two decades, and she has reached that point in her career where she’s nationally and internationally recognized.

“After doing important work in the fields of gender studies and early modern British literature, Karen has in recent years expanded her scope to include, first, early modern environmental literature and culture and then the burgeoning field of animal studies, in which she is a true pioneer. Her work has always been historically informed, theoretically and sophisticated, and cutting edge, and her work in animal studies has created a new scholarly paradigm in which other scholars can work and flourish.”

Raber’s appointment as executive director of the Shakespeare Association of America is not only a clear recognition of her qualities but also of the rising esteem of UM, Kamps said. The position has typically been held by a professor from an elite Northeastern university, with Orlin holding the post since 1996.

“Karen’s appointment suggests the premier Shakespeare literary association in the world is pleased to be associated with the University of Mississippi,” Kamps said.

Orlin said the association has long been known for the uniquely democratic nature of its core activity: research seminars, in which scholars of different backgrounds, ranks and approaches come together to advance the state of knowledge about plays and poems that find new fans with every generation.

“‘Shakespeare’ is a language that crosses all borders,” she said. “I know that Karen Raber shares the values that have always guided the officers of the SAA, and I am glad that the organization will be in her good hands going forward.”

Raber joined the UM faculty in 1995, after earning her bachelor’s degree from Yale University and her master’s and doctoratal degrees from the University of California at San Diego. She is the author of three monographs, including “Shakespeare and Posthumanist Theory,” which is being released April 5 by The Arden Shakespeare.

Raber also is the author of 2013’s “Animal Bodies, Renaissance Culture,” a finalist for the 2015 Association for the Study of Literature and Environment Book Award, and “Dramatic Difference: Gender, Class and Genre in the Early Modern Closet Drama,” published in 2001.

She is the co-editor of several other works, including “Early Modern Ecostudies: From the Florentine Codex to Shakespeare” with Kamps and Tom Hallock, associate publisher of Beacon Press in Boston.

In 2014, Raber was honored with the UM Faculty Achievement Award.

The Shakespeare Association of America holds an annual conference each spring for association members to exchange ideas and strategies on Shakespeare, including a program of working research seminars. The association’s 46th annual meeting is March 28-31 in Los Angeles. The association also sponsors a number of seminars and workshops each year.

More than 400 years after his death, the study of Shakespeare is as relevant as ever, said Raber, who started working on Shakespeare with Louis Montrose, a well-known Shakespeare and Renaissance literature scholar, when she worked on her Ph.D. at the University of California at San Diego.

“As my work progressed and changed, shifting toward early modern ecostudies, animal studies and posthumanist theory, Shakespeare’s plays and poems became an even more important touchstone for these developing and important approaches,” she said. “Plus, my teaching has always included a healthy dose of Shakespeare here, where the Shakespeare lecture and other courses on his plays are very popular, and once were required for all majors.”

Flagship Constellations Mini-Conference Set for Jan. 19

Registration is open for event focused on disaster resilience

OXFORD, Miss. – A mini-conference on the Disaster Resilience Flagship Constellation at the University of Mississippi is set for Jan. 19.

Information related to disaster resilience will be shared at the event through a general-information session led by the interim constellation leadership team, a series of five-minute presentations from individual faculty and researchers, and breakout discussions focusing on constellation sub-themes.

The event is set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 19 with in-person and online participation options. A location is to be announced. Lunch will be provided.

The mini-conference is open to all faculty and staff, but pre-registration is requested by 5 p.m. Jan. 17.

There are two ways to register. Oxford campus attendees who have not decided to present a five-minute talk can register at http://www.research.olemiss.edu/upcoming-presentations. Be sure to click on the appropriate registration option: in person or remote. Registrants will be contacted later to see if they want to present.

Everyone else – including all University of Mississippi Medical Center personnel and anyone who already knows they want to present – should email Ahmed Al-Ostaz, Brevard Family Chair in Civil Engineering and professor of civil engineering, at alostaz@olemiss.edu. Once again, registrants should specify whether they will attend in person or remotely.

Attendees interested in giving a five-minute talk should specify a title, and provide a 150-word (max) abstract – or an abstract can be offered later.

Questions about this mini-conference should be directed to Al-Ostaz.

The Flagships Constellations are a new UM initiative involving multidisciplinary teams of faculty, staff and students searching for meaningful solutions to complicated issues through collaborative thinking in four areas: big data, brain wellness, community wellbeing and disaster resilience.

UM Black Faculty and Staff Organization Plays Santa’s Helpers

20th annual Books and Bears program provides toys for physical plant workers' children

As usual, bicycles were the most in-demand items at the annual UM Books and Bears distribution. Photo by Marlee Crawford/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Nostalgia and excitement filled the air at The Inn at Ole Miss as Facilities Management Department employees gathered for the University of Mississippi’s 20th annual Books and Bears program Friday (Dec. 15).

Sponsored by the campus Black Faculty and Staff Organization, the charitable event distributed hundreds of new teddy bears, children’s books and toys given by UM faculty, staff, students and alumni over the past three weeks. The number of presents donated for the children and grandchildren of facilities management employees reached a new record.

“The thoughtfulness and outpouring of support from the UM family has been nothing short of amazing this year,” said Donald Cole, associate provost and associate professor of mathematics. “By helping others, we have truly captured the spirit of the holidays.”

Cole, along with Janice Murray, associate dean of liberal arts and professor of art, organized the first Books and Bears in 1997 in response to what they saw as a need to help custodial staff provide Christmas gifts to their children. Spread by word of mouth only, the initial response to the call for donations was overwhelming.

“We wanted the staff’s children to have the books for literary development and the bears for nurturing purposes,” Murray said. “People have been responding generously ever since. Somehow, there’s always been enough so no one left empty-handed. It’s truly amazing.”

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter thanked the employees for their hard work and dedication.

“We truly appreciate all that you do to make the university such a special place that people love to visit,” Vitter said. “We hope that this wonderful program expresses some of our gratitude. Merry Christmas and have a great new year.”

Reception at the event was both reflective and enthusiastic.

UM general maintenance employees select reading material for their children during the 20th annual Books and Bears program at The Inn at Ole Miss. Photo by Marlee Crawford/Ole Miss Communications

“I was there for the very first Books and Bears and always felt it would grow,” said Jerry “Duke” Hardin of Abbeville, who has been a general maintenance employee for 33 years. “It’s always a blessing to see how happy people are when they come here. That’s what makes this so special to me.”

Hardin recalled that the most significant present he took home was from the 2011 program.

“It was a great big ole white bear,” he said. “He was 1-1/2 when I gave it to him and he loved that bear; slept with it every night.”

James “Poncho” Wilson of Oxford, who has attended every Books and Bears distribution since the program began, had a similar experience last year.

“I finally won that bike,” said Wilson, who works in the trucking department. “I gave it to my 6-year-old granddaughter. She was ecstatic.”

General maintenance worker Brad Skeeks of Oxford won the first bicycle of the morning. He had his photograph taken with Vitter.

“This is a great way to get a few extra gifts for my daughter and granddaughter,” he said. “It also gives me a chance to see people I don’t get to see much through the year.”

Specificity is not a requirement for Stanley Reynolds of Oxford.

“It doesn’t have to be any particular thing for my children,” said the seven-year employee at The Inn at Ole Miss. “Just seeing the excitement on their faces over whatever they receive is a blessing.”

Black Faculty and Staff Organization members expressed pleasure over the assistance in obtaining toys and books for the children.

“Over the years, Books and Bears just keeps growing and growing,” said Jackie Certion, senior academic adviser in the College of Liberal Arts. “We truly appreciate the leadership of Dr. Cole, who always manages to bring out the best in everyone who works with this program.”

Murray summed up the program succinctly.

“Thanks to Books and Bears, many of the children of these employees have graduated from high school and attended college either at Ole Miss or elsewhere,” she said. “Our original dream has been fulfilled and more.”

UM Researchers Working on Acoustic Detection for Undersea Oil Leaks

Team gets $591,000 grant for work to make crude production safer for the environment

Zhiqu Lu, senior research scientist at the UM National Center for Physical Acoustics, is leading a team working to develop technology to detect leaks in offshore deep-water oil and gas lines and production equipment. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Snaking beneath the waters of the Gulf of Mexico are thousands of miles of pipelines carrying oil and natural gas from offshore wells. They carry the fuel that keeps the American economy rolling, with Gulf production accounting for 17 percent of total U.S. crude oil production and 5 percent of total U.S. dry natural gas production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Even with safety protocols in place, though, a grave threat to offshore oil and gas operations is the leakage of hydrocarbons – a chief component of oil and natural gas – and the resulting damage to human health and safety, the environment and infrastructure.

Most recently, in October, an oil pipe fractured in the Gulf about 40 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana, releasing between 7,950 and 9,350 barrels of oil before being halted. And, in 2010, the Deepwater Horizon spill leaked more than 3 million barrels into the Gulf.

“Oil exploration in the Gulf brings new economic development opportunities but also brings risks,” said Josh Gladden, University of Mississippi interim vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs. “The University of Mississippi has developed expertise in a number of areas, from engineering and sensing technologies to Biosystems, that can be brought to bear to minimize these risks and mitigate the impact.”

With that in mind, a team of UM researchers is working on technology that could quickly detect, locate and characterize these undersea hydrocarbon leakages in offshore deep-water oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico.

Last week, the trio of scientists received a $591,000 grant from the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to assist in their research.

The research is focused on utilizing acoustic technologies to develop a functional real-time monitoring system that can find leaks in deep-water oil and gas production in the Gulf over a large area while still being cost-effective. Early detection and location of leaks could minimize their impact. Current monitoring techniques are limited, including being unable to monitor in real time.

The Ole Miss team consists of three active researchers in acoustics, physics and electrical engineering. Zhiqu Lu, a senior research scientist at the National Center for Physical Acoustics, is responsible for the experimentation and overview of the project. Likun Zhang, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy, is responsible for the implementation and development of acoustic bubble modeling. Lei Cao, professor of electrical engineering, is responsible for the development of localization algorithms.

The researchers also are recruiting three graduate students to assist in experiments, programming and investigation in signal processing and acoustic signal modeling.

“When we heard the grant approval news, we were very excited and a little bit surprise, since among 66 submitted proposals only six projects were approved,” Lu said.

“This grant will provide a great opportunity to expand our research area that exploits the advantages of both underwater acoustic sensing techniques and oil spill-induced underwater sound mechanisms, along with an advanced localization technique.”

This project’s results could have tremendous applications in petroleum industries, environmental monitoring and other fields, he said.

“Further testing in the ocean, along with prototyping and commercializing efforts, will be immediately pursued upon the success of the current project,” Lu said. “That will be the next project.”

An “early warning system … is essential for preventing the next oil spill as well as for seafloor hydrocarbon seepage detection,” he said.

The researchers plan to build a network-based, real-time passive monitoring system of hydrophones, or underwater microphones, for detecting, locating and characterizing hydrocarbon leakages.

During an oil spill, the leaked hydrocarbon is injected into seawater at high speeds, creating an underwater sound through gas bubbles. The sounds of the bubbles can be recorded via the hydrophones over long distances that would indicate an oil spill.

“Using a hydrophone network, a triangulation localization method, similar to GPS-based navigation, can be developed to determine the leak location,” Lu said. “The oil-bubble sounds can be further analyzed to estimate the sizes and intensities of the oil leakages.

“Before the technology is full-developed and employed in ocean environments, we are going to first develop and test our detection and localization techniques/algorithm in a small-scale water tank under controlled oil spill conditions. This functional system will help us to acquire the acoustic signatures of bubble sound, improve detection and location techniques, and gain better understanding of bubble sound.”

The grant was one of six announced Dec. 7. The grants, involving research into new technologies that could improve the understanding and management of risks in offshore oil and gas operations, totaled $10.8 million.

Zhiqu Lu demonstrates his team’s approach for developing acoustic technology to detect gas bubbles from deep-water oil and gas leaks. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

“These projects address several facets of risk in offshore operations,” said Kelly Oskvig, program officer for the Gulf Research Program’s Safer Offshore Energy Systems initiative. “This includes research on the problem of gas unloading within deep-water drilling risers, development of remote detection capabilities of hydrocarbon releases, design of improved cementing mixtures and better techniques for sealing wells, and development of tools to assist team decision-making in the offshore environment.”

The six projects were selected after an external peer-review process.

The UM researchers are closely collaborating with GOWell International, an international oil and energy company, to ensure the relevance of the experiment to real scenarios and to aid in early prototyping of potential technologies, Lu said.

“The NCPA at the University of Mississippi has a long history of developing acoustics-based solutions for a wide variety of problems,” said Gladden, who is former director of the center. “Dr. Lu has many years of experience in linear and nonlinear acoustics in sediments and soils, and will provide excellent leadership on this project.”

In 2016, U.S. crude oil production in the Gulf of Mexico set an annual high of 1.6 million barrels per day, surpassing the previous high set in 2009, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The administration estimates that annual crude oil production in the Gulf could increase to an average of 1.7 million barrels per day in 2017 and 1.9 million barrels per day in 2018.

For more information about the National Center for Physical Acoustics, visit https://ncpa.olemiss.edu/.

The National Academies’ Gulf Research Program is an independent, science-based program founded in 2013 as part of legal settlements with the companies involved in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. The program seeks to enhance offshore energy system safety and protect human health and the environment.

The program has $500 million for use over 30 years to fund grants, fellowships and other activities in the areas of research and development, education and training, and monitoring and synthesis.

Visit http://www.national-academies.org/gulf/index.html to learn more.

UM Town Hall Features Strategic Plan Unveiling

Chancellor, provost share vision for university's future, invite ideas for achieving goals

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter delivers the ‘State of the University’ address during the university’s second Town Hall event Wednesday (Oct. 11) at The Inn at Ole Miss. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Responding to ideas and hopes expressed more than a year ago at the University of Mississippi’s first-ever universitywide Town Hall, UM officials unveiled a new strategic plan for the institution’s future success Wednesday (Oct. 11) at the second Town Hall.

Similar to the inaugural event, hundreds of students, faculty, staff and alumni attended the two-hour gathering in the Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom of The Inn at Ole Miss. Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter opened with a “State of the University” address.

“We can see higher peaks, but to reach those peaks, we must continue having the important conversations about, ‘How do we go from great to greater?’ and ‘How will we get there?'” Vitter said. “The four pillars that emerged from the Flagship Forum last year are academic excellence; healthy and vibrant communities; people, places and resources; and athletics excellence.

“Our road map to the future focuses upon these four pillars.”

Audience members posed questions to Ole Miss administrators during a question-and-answer session following Vitter’s address.

Members of the UM community share ideas for the university’s future at the second Town Hall event Wednesday (Oct. 11) at The Inn at Ole Miss. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Also during the assembly, Provost Noel Wilkin unveiled the “Flagship Forward” strategic plan, born from the 550 ideas shared at the first Town Hall in August 2016. Wilkin outlined details about the transformative initiatives and goals around the four pillars.

Attendees were among the first in the university community to receive a copy of the new strategic plan.

“Each pillar has its own transformative initiative and specific goals,” Wilkin said. “For example, the academic excellence initiative is to accelerate and inspire solutions to society’s grand challenges. Our goals are to enhance the quality of academic programs, support faculty excellence, enhance student success and increase research and creative achievement.”

UM faculty and staff members discuss ideas and share feedback for the university’s future at the second Town Hall event Wednesday (Oct. 11) at The Inn at Ole Miss. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

During the interactive segment of the Town Hall, participants were asked to brainstorm future “headlines” they hope will be achieved within the next five years and beyond. By the end of the event, more than 150 “headlines” focused around the pillars and goals were shared.

Anne Klinger, a staff member in the Division of Outreach and Continuing Education who attended last year’s Town Hall, said she felt the new strategic plan definitely reflected ideas expressed last year.

“I think that the committee looked at all the great ideas submitted and narrowed them down to these achievable ideals,” she said. “I am inspired by many of them and I can’t wait to see where we are at by the next Town Hall.”

Students in attendance expressed similar hopefulness.

“The thing I most look forward to is achieving a goal within the people, places and resources pillar,” said Abigail Percy, a junior journalism major from Carthage. “I’d most definitely like to see more appreciation for theater and film.”

Logan Williamson, another junior journalism student from Byrum, said the academic excellence pillar is important to him.

“My hope is that as Ole Miss continues to grow, the campus culture will continue to evolve in order for everyone to rise,” he said.

The session was moderated by David Magee, longtime Oxford resident, Ole Miss alumnus and publisher of The Oxford Eagle.

“This is a moment when we all get to actively participate in the future of this great university,” Magee said. “We all love Ole Miss and everything that it has accomplished, but were poised to achieve more than we’ve ever dared to imagine.”

Vitter urged participants to recognize their responsibilities as Ole Miss Rebels and members of the state’s flagship university as they face the world’s many challenges.

“Being an Ole Miss Rebel means we stand up for one another, it means we do not shy away from difficult discussions, it means every voice matters and it means we move forward together in a shared vision for our future,” Vitter said.