Search Results for: graduate school

Five Oxford High School Graduates Receive UM’s Highest Academic Award

OXFORD, Miss. – Five Oxford residents are among 59 University of Mississippi students to receive a 2013 Taylor Medal, the university’s highest academic award. The outstanding students were recognized recently during the 70th annual Honors Convocation at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

They are seniors Jacqueline Grace Boyce, Samuel Liyang Di, Laura Jansen, Elyse Cosette Jensen and Alexandria Nicole Tidwell. Boyce, Jensen and Tidwell are slated for graduation May 11. Di and Jansen are scheduled to complete their degrees in May 2014.

Boyce is a senior international studies and German major in the College of Liberal Arts. She is a member of UM’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and Croft Institute for International Studies. Her other honors include membership in Phi Beta Kappa, UM’s highest academic honor in the liberal arts. She is a Croft Scholar and recipient of the Milden Language Award.

Di is a senior electrical engineering major in the School of Engineering. A member of the Honors College, he received the Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Junior Engineer Award.

Jansen received the Taylor Medal as a senior hospitality management major in the School of Applied Sciences. She is also majoring in art in the College of Liberal Arts. Her other honors include listing on the Chancellor’s Honor Roll and receiving the Student Art Association Award.

Jensen is a senior physics major in the pre-med curriculum. A member of the Honors College, she is listed on the Chancellor’s Honor Roll. Her other honors include membership in Phi Beta Kappa and in Phi Kappa Phi, UM’s highest academic honor across all disciplines. She is a certified veterinary assistant.

Tidwell is a senior English major in the College of Liberal Arts. Her other honors include the W. Alton Bryant Award and AAUW Sarah Robinson Scholarship.

Taylor Medals recognize no more than 0.45 percent of undergraduates for meritorious scholarship and deportment. Recipients of the award must have at least a 3.90 grade-point average. The award was established at Ole Miss in 1904 by Dr. William A. Taylor of Booneville in memory of his son, an honored 1871 alumnus of the university.

UM Education Graduate Student Helps Rebuild Smithville School Library One Book at a Time

Application completed for class project lands $15,000 grant

Kerry Baker, librarian at Smithville High School, and school principal Chad "Coach" O'Brian show off the oversize check from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. UM photo by Jerra Scott.

OXFORD, Miss. – After an EF-5 tornado demolished the town of Smithville in April 2011, many citizens did not know where to begin to rebuild what was left of the lives they once knew.

For Kerry Baker, librarian at Smithville High School and an online graduate student at the University of Mississippi, one step toward recovery was landing a Beyond Words: Dollar General School Library Relief Fund grant worth $15,000 for the school where she has taught for 24 years.

“I was able to pursue the grant as part of my literacy classes,” explained Baker, who is earning a master’s degree in literacy education from UM. “The tornado wiped out the school. Right now, we’re on a temporary campus until August of 2013.”

The relief fund was created by Dollar General to help libraries recovering from major disasters. This grant will help provide replacement items, including books, media and equipment, that were destroyed by the violent storm that left the school unusable. In the library, the tornado did significant damage, shifting the roof and destroying literacy materials, including more than 800 books.Read the story …

Business School Doctoral Candidate Honored as Top Graduate Instructor


Laura Williams

Miss. – The accolades for Laura Williams resemble that of a Hollywood
blockbuster. “Engaging.” “Inspirational.” “Brilliant.”

graduate instructor in the University of Mississippi School of Business
Administration, Williams reaps such acclaim from her students, and the
praises haven’t gone unnoticed. She was recently honored with the
university’s 2008-09 Graduate Instructor/Teaching Assistant Award.

Williams truly is a remarkable teacher worthy of this prestigious
honor,” said Joi Todd, a sophomore business major from Jackson. “I
nominated her for the award because of the kindness, patience and
excellence exhibited both in her teaching style and personal conduct.”

Williams exemplifies amazing qualities,” said Katherine Sneed, a junior
accounting major from Jackson. “Within the first class, she knew each
and every one of our names. I’ve never had a teacher so eager to know
all of their students.”

A doctoral degree candidate in
organizational behavior in the UM business school, Williams said she
was thankful to receive the honor, sometimes called the Apple Award,
from UM’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. The award
includes a $1,000 prize.

Read the story …

Spring Ole Miss Graduate Coaches Surprise Winner of State’s High School Latin Exam

The poverty-stricken Mississippi Delta community of Hollandale might seem like an unlikely place to find a rising Latin program, but it is home to this year’s winner of the Magnolia State’s high school Latin examination.

Led by Mississippi Teacher Corps participant Austin Walker, an English teacher who graduates Saturday with a master’s in curriculum and instruction from the University of Mississippi, students at Simmons High School studied Latin this academic year for the first time in school history. The work paid off as Alexis Hicks, a 15-year-old sophomore, outscored students from established programs to take first place on the statewide high school Latin exam.

School of Pharmacy Graduates Post 100 Percent Pass Rate on Licensure Exam

OXFORD, Miss. – This year’s Doctor of Pharmacy graduates at
the University of Mississippi have posted a 100 percent
pass rate on their first attempt at the North American
Pharmacist Licensure Examination.


Read the story …

New Book Celebrates First 100 Years of UM Business School

Launch party set for Nov. 10 at Off Square Books

A 200-page illustrated history of the school is being published and will be featured at a Nov. 10 event at Off Square Books.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Business Administration concludes its series of events celebrating the school’s centennial with a book launch Friday (Nov. 10) at Oxford’s Off Square Books.

The 5 p.m. event will feature signings and a video commemorating “100 Years of Ole Miss Business.” It is free and open to the public.

The book, “Ole Miss Business: The First 100 Years,” a 200-page illustrated history of the school, takes the reader on a journey from the inaugural 1917 semester as the School of Commerce, led by Dean James Warsaw Bell, through the spirited leadership of Ken Cyree, the school’s current, and 11th, dean.

The volume opens with the speech Cyree made in September at the kickoff event in the courtyard of Holman Hall, the school’s home, which was newly adorned with centennial banners along the front.

“Thousands of lives have been changed, thousands of opportunities created and thousands of people making a difference,” Cyree said. “I look forward to the next 100 years and know we are poised to do great things with the dedication and commitment of this group of people in the business school.”

Bell was not only instrumental in the school’s launch, but also in the university’s athletics programs. In the early 1900s, he personally financed the football squad. As a member of the athletics committee, Bell was also instrumental in hiring C.M. “Tad” Smith, the school’s longest-serving athletics director, who coincidently married the school’s first female graduate, Frances “Bunch” Clark Smith.

The book explores the move from the Lyceum to Conner Hall in 1961, when enrollment spiked from several hundred to 1,100. Many observers partially credit the explosion in enrollment to the fact that Conner Hall had air conditioning and the Lyceum did not.

It chronicles the extraordinary accomplishments of the school’s graduates in the 1950s, the enrollment of its first black students in 1965 and the peaceful separation of the schools of Business Administration and Accountancy in 1979.

The school has more than 3,800 students, 63 faculty members and 18 staff members, making it the largest business school in Mississippi. It offers 11 majors, a top 10 insurance program and a new Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

In honor of the centennial, the UM Foundation has created the 1917 Order, a fundraising effort to recruit faculty, provide scholarships and increase class offerings, among many other initiatives. Membership begins with a gift of $25,000 or greater, with pledges scheduled over five years.

“This effort will allow us to continue to grow in national rankings, recruit top students and faculty, and reach for new heights of excellence for the school,” said Tim Noss, the school’s development officer.

A number of alumni, featured in the book, will be on hand at Off Square Books to sign their individual pages of “Ole Miss Business: The First 100 Years.”

Alumni Association to Honor Outstanding Graduates at Homecoming

Recipients will be recognized on the field during Vanderbilt game

Don Frugé

OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss Alumni Association is awarding seven distinguished University of Mississippi alumni with its highest annual awards as part of Homecoming 2017.

Inductees into the Alumni Hall of Fame for 2017 are: Don Frugé (BBA 67, JD 70) of Oxford; Walton Gresham III (BBA 71) of Indianola; James E. Keeton (BA 61, MD 65) of Jackson; Tom Papa (BBA 57) of Jackson; and Mary Sharp Rayner (BAEd 64) of Oxford.

Former Gov. William Winter (BA 43, LLB 49) of Jackson will receive the Alumni Service Award for service to the university and the Alumni Association over an extended period. Candie L. Simmons (BBA 02, MBA 15) of Ridgeland will receive the Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

The Alumni Association will host a reception for the honorees at 6 p.m. Friday (Oct. 13) in the Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom at The Inn at Ole Miss. A dinner for the award recipients follows at 7 p.m.

Created in 1974, the Hall of Fame honors select alumni who have made an outstanding contribution to their country, state or university through good deeds, services or contributions that have perpetuated the good name of Ole Miss.

The Outstanding Young Alumni Award recognizes alumni who have shown exemplary leadership throughout their first 15 years of alumni status in both their careers and dedication to Ole Miss.

Frugé is chairman and CEO of Fruge Capital Advisors LLC, an independently registered investment advisory firm. He is also of counsel at the Fruge Law Firm PLLC, of Oxford.

A 1963 graduate of Meridian High School, Frugé received his Bachelor of Business Administration and Juris Doctor degrees from UM followed by a Master of Law degree in taxation from New York University in 1971. He joined the law faculty in 1971 and has continued to teach courses in estate planning, taxation and nonprofit organizations.

Frugé has served the university in a number of capacities, including professor of law, executive director of development, vice chancellor for university affairs, vice chancellor for university advancement, head golf coach and as president and CEO of the University of Mississippi Foundation. He serves as chairman of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation (2005 to present), a board member of the UM Foundation, a member of the Joint Committee on University Investments (1984 to present) and professor emeritus of law.

Frugé and his wife, Mary Ann (BA 66, MA 70), are active members of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Oxford.

Walton Gresham III

Gresham serves as president of Gresham Petroleum Co., secretary of Double Quick, secretary of Delta Terminal and director and member of the executive committee of Planters Bank & Trust Co.

He is active in his community and profession and is a past president of Delta Council, the Indianola Rotary Club, the Indianola Educational Foundation and the Indianola Chamber of Commerce. He is chairman of the Community Foundation of Sunflower County. Gresham is past president of the Mississippi Propane Gas Association and Mississippi Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association. He also served as the Mississippi director to the National Propane Gas Association.

A longtime volunteer leader, Gresham’s passion is to promote economic development and a better infrastructure in the Mississippi Delta and the state of Mississippi.

Gresham is married to the former Laura Ethridge (BAEd 71) of Oxford, and they have two daughters and five grandchildren. He is a lifelong member of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, serving in all offices over the past 45 years in addition to being a licensed lay reader.

James E. Keeton

Keeton served as UMMC’s vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine from 2009 to 2015. He retired in January 2017 and holds emeritus status in these roles and as professor of surgery and pediatrics.

During his tenure, Keeton oversaw planning of and secured funding for a new, state-of-the-art School of Medicine building that is allowing UMMC to expand medical classes to train more doctors for Mississippi.

Keeton was instrumental in planning the construction of the $25 million University Heart Center, the $68 million Translational Research Center and a $23 million public-private project to create housing close to campus for students and faculty.

He shepherded the Medical Center through a $90 million, multiyear effort to implement an enterprise electronic health record that culminated in conversion from paper to computer records in a single day in June 2012.

Keeton was named the 2014 Distinguished Medical Alumnus by his peers. The award is given to an alumnus who made distinctive contributions to the field of medicine.

Keeton and his wife, Jona (MSN 90), live in Jackson and are parents of two children and grandparents to seven grandchildren.

Tom Papa

Papa was born and raised in Helena, Arkansas. He graduated high school from Subiaco Academy in May 1947 and joined the U.S. Navy. He went on to attend UM, where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration. While at Ole Miss, Papa was an active member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity.

After graduation, Papa returned to Jackson to work for the Internal Revenue Service. Shortly thereafter, he began his private practice accounting career at Touche Ross & Co. Upon his retirement, Papa helped form the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation, where he served as president for many years. In 1998, the Ford Foundation awarded the university $20 million to design and build the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

Through his work at the foundation, Papa has been instrumental in the foundation’s support of the university, including gifts to the planned new science building and the UMMC Mind Center.

Papa lives in Jackson with his wife, Gayle. He is the father of two children and grandfather of four.

Mary Sharp Rayner

A native of Grenada, Rayner graduated from Ole Miss with a Bachelor of Arts in Education. She taught history, speech and English for several years in the Jackson and Memphis public school systems. After she and her husband, Jim (MD 66), moved to Oxford, she worked in his ophthalmology practice as a front office manager.

Since moving to Oxford in 1971, Rayner has served on the founding boards of Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and the first Oxford Little Theatre. She also served on the boards of numerous other local organizations. She has remained active in her collegiate sorority, Delta Delta Delta, serving in many advisory capacities locally and as a national officer. She served as president of the Ole Miss Alumni Association from 2002 to ’03 and was chair of the Ole Miss Women’s Council in 2007-09.

Rayner volunteers her time with several local organizations, her church, the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation board of governors and the Ole Miss Women’s Council. She remains active in the Ole Miss Alumni Association as a member of the board of directors.

Rayner and her husband have three children and four grandchildren.

William Winter

Alumni Service Award recipient Winter served as governor of Mississippi from 1980 to 1984. Before that, he was elected to the offices of state representative, state tax collector, state treasurer and lieutenant governor. He served as chairman of the Southern Regional Education Board, the Commission on the Future of the South, the National Civic League, the Kettering Foundation, the Foundation for the Mid-South, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the Ole Miss Alumni Association.

Winter was a member of President Clinton’s National Advisory Board on Race and was instrumental in the founding of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at UM. He was awarded the Profile in Courage Award by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.

In 1998, Winter was the recipient of the Mississippi Bar’s Lifetime Achievement Award. His credentials within the academic community are longstanding: Jamie Whitten Professor of Law and Government at the UM School of Law (1989); Eudora Welty Professor of Southern Studies at Millsaps College (1989); fellow of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University (1985); and president of the Ole Miss Alumni Association (1978).

Born in Grenada, Winter served overseas as an infantry officer in the Pacific in World War II. An attorney in the Jones Walker law firm in Jackson, he is married to the former Elise Varner (BA 48). They have three daughters, five grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Candie L. Simmons

The Outstand Young Alumni Award recipient, Simmons is a senior vice president and regional marketing director for Regions Financial Corp. in Jackson.

A native of Ocean Springs, she is the youngest African-American on the bank’s Mississippi Executive Leadership Team and youngest senior vice president in Mississippi. In 2017, she was selected for Regions Financial Corp.’s prestigious Leaders at All Levels III Class.

Simmons was selected by the Mississippi Business Journal as a 2009 “Top 40 Under 40” and 2013 “Top 50 Leading Business Woman,” where she placed in the top 10. She is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., recently completing her second term as treasurer for her local chapter and was voted 2013 Soror of the Year.

Simmons was selected for the 2018 American Heart Association Executive Leadership Team and selected as a 2017 Champion of Change and a Woman Making a Difference in Madison County for the Madison County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.

Legal Studies Offers 3+3 Option with School of Law

Paralegal studies enhances program, adds new fast-track to Juris Doctorate

Susan Duncan, UM law dean (center) and Macey Edmondson, interim assistant dean for admissions and scholarships (left) join Linda Keena, interim chair of legal studies, to announce the launch of the Bachelor of Paralegal Studies 3+3 emphasis. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi is offering a new fast-track to the School of Law through a Bachelor of Paralegal Studies 3+3 emphasis in the Department of Legal Studies, reducing the time and tuition dollars needed to complete a bachelor’s and law degree.

Under this new pre-law emphasis for paralegal studies majors, a student’s fourth-year requirements for the B.P.S. are satisfied by completing first-year law school classes. The student must meet the law school’s admissions requirements, which are established each year based on the previous year’s data on grade-point averages and Law School Admission Test scores for students admitted to the school.

While there is no guaranteed entry to law school, students who designate this new emphasis of study are signaling their passion for the field.

“The fact that they picked an undergraduate degree that closely aligns with the legal profession shows us they have a strong interest in law,” said Susan Duncan, UM law dean.

In their first three years of study, students take courses in legal research and writing, civil litigation, and criminal law and procedure, providing them with a critical understanding of the total system of justice and the society in which it functions. An extensive internship program enables students to link classroom learning with practical experience.

In their fourth year, students will begin taking classes offered to first-year law students, including contracts, torts, civil procedure, property and constitutional law.

“We have students tell us, ‘I’m interested in law school. What should I major in?'” said Linda Keena, interim chair of legal studies. “Paralegal studies, if you look at the curriculum, is a perfect entree to law school. If you look at how the curriculum is set up, the focus is on critical thinking in every course, which is so beneficial in law school.”

Recruiting the best and brightest students to law school is a priority for Duncan and Macey Edmondson, the school’s interim admissions director.

“This program allows us to get strong students from our own institution,” Edmondson said. “We can work with them earlier and help them map out their law school path.

“I think students who engage in the 3+3 program are a little ahead of the curve because they will have had some experience with law firms and different legal backgrounds, so we can meet them where they are and guide them on their path.”

A student who chooses this emphasis but does not meet law school admissions requirements or elects not to attend law school can switch to legal studies’ paralegal emphasis and complete a fourth year of undergraduate study to earn their B.P.S.

“If a student decides not to go to law school, they will still have the expertise to do most of the legal research and work done in a law office under the supervision of a licensed attorney,” said Whitman Smith, UM admissions director. “This will be a major attraction to students interested in the legal profession.”

Campus leaders concerned about overall affordability point out the program’s cost savings for students.

“I think we have an obligation to try and hold down student debt,” Duncan said. “This is really attractive, because the students can take a whole year off the process and get into the workforce faster.

“These people know what they want to do, so let’s help them get there quicker and eliminate part of the tuition burden.”

The new emphasis is the brainchild of now-retired legal studies professor, Robert Mongue, who recently returned to Ole Miss as an adjunct faculty in legal studies.

“Once I began discussing this type of program with faculty from other institutions, it became clear that we owed it to our students, the university and the state of Mississippi to implement a 3+3 option for qualified students,” he said.

Several similar programs exist across the nation and seem to being doing well, Mongue said. In fact, the 3+3 concept appears to be a trend in legal education.

“My alma mater, the University of Maine, has one initiated by the law school,” Mongue said. “It has agreements with three undergraduate educational institutions, so some of my initial investigation was based there.

“However, since our model is a UM undergraduate-to-UM School of Law only, it is closer in operation to those at Fordham University, University of Central Florida, Florida State University and the University of Iowa, a top-50 law school that started its program in 2013.”

Before his retirement, Mongue created a supervisory board, soliciting help from legal professionals, educators and alumni to modify the paralegal studies curriculum, get valuable input about trends in the field and promote the program. He worked to enrich the curriculum with more critical thinking by adding courses such as logic and LA 440: Access to Justice.

Heather Joyner, paralegal studies coordinator and instructor. Submitted photo

Students who take Access to Justice can work for legal organizations, such as North Mississippi Rural Legal Services, that help populations without appropriate access to legal representation or services, said Heather Joyner, paralegal studies coordinator and instructor. Students get hands-on experience doing intakes and writing legal document, such as wills, for people with financial need.

Program internships also are available, ranging anywhere from the U.S. Attorney’s Office to private law firms, during students’ junior or senior year of undergraduate study.

“If a student wants to have part-time employment while they’re in law school, these internships and classes that give them real-world experience open doors for jobs in the legal profession,” Joyner said.

Previously an adjunct professor at UM and Northwest Mississippi Community College, Joyner served as assistant district attorney for the 1st Judicial District from 2002 to 2011 and public defender for Lee County Youth Court in 2000-02. She earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Alabama and her master’s degree in political science from Mississippi State University.

“The students entering higher level courses have shown marked improvement in being able to apply foundational knowledge in the upper-level courses since Heather started teaching,” Keena said. “Her contacts in law offices, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, state prosecutors’ offices and the like strengthen her credentials. We are very excited to have her join our faculty on a full-time basis.”

Stakeholders are optimistic that compressing the amount of time and money involved will provide opportunities for students to earn law degrees and apply that knowledge in a variety of fields outside of the courtroom.

“There is so much more you can do with a law degree other than being a litigator,” Keena said. “Many of our students are interested in homeland security, and there are things they can do with a law degree in that capacity.

“Entrepreneurially thinking, it is so helpful to have that law degree, so if at this stage, as freshmen and sophomores, they can start to see that there are options for them beyond being a litigator, I think we’ll see this 3+3 program blossom.”

For more information about the Bachelor of Paralegal Studies 3+3 emphasis, email

UM Graduates Land Rewarding Careers with U.S. Probation Office

Three criminal justice alumni improve lives for offenders and community

Three graduates of the UM criminal justice master’s program, including Emma Burleson (left) and William Fennell, serve as officers in the U.S. Probation Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Emma Burleson, a 2017 graduate of the master’s program in criminal justice at the University of Mississippi, spends her days protecting the community by supervising people charged with federal crimes while they await trial and after they have been convicted.

Her ultimate responsibility as a U.S. probation officer for the eastern district of Arkansas is to connect offenders to the resources they need to thrive on the outside – an opportunity to improve lives and the reason Burleson pursued her line of work.

“I was interested in pursuing a job within the field of criminal justice that was as much about healing and bettering individuals as it was about enforcing the law,” Burleson said. “I believe that the role of a probation officer is just that. We seek to not only protect and improve the community, but also to genuinely help the clients that we supervise make positive changes in their lives.

“I definitely find it rewarding to be working for a department that is so focused on improving individual lives and protecting and healing the community. I do not believe I could have found a better place for me.”

She is among three recent UM graduates who work in the office, along with William Fennell and Ashley Pratt. All three credit their time at Ole Miss with guiding their career paths.

As U.S. probation officers, these alumni are responsible for gathering and verifying information about people who come before the courts, preparing reports that judges rely on to make release and sentencing decisions and supervising those released to the community by the courts and paroling authorities.

For Burleson, the most rewarding aspect of her job is directing offenders to services that help them stay on the right side of the law, including substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, medical care, training and employment assistance.

Burleson credits her Ole Miss experience for her smooth transition to the workforce.

“I was granted invaluable experiences as a graduate assistant and through my participation in academic conferences, where I presented my thesis research,” she said. “My time at Ole Miss helped give me the skills and knowledge I needed to successfully get through the hiring process and succeed at my job.”

Fellow probation officer Fennell found his passion for restorative justice through his faith-based volunteer work with the Mississippi State Penitentiary and work with Linda Keena, UM interim chair of legal studies.

“Dr. Keena’s passion for community corrections was a major influence in my decision to pursue a career in probation,” Fennell said. “She also helped me develop the writing skills that I rely on in my current position.”

Fennell investigates the histories of defendants who are awaiting sentencing in federal criminal court and prepares reports to offer judges as much relevant information as possible before imposing a sentence. He previously spent two-and-a-half years supervising federal defendants who were awaiting trial on bond and federal offenders who had been released from prison or were sentenced to probation in northeastern Arkansas.

Ashley Pratt

“That supervision included helping clients use community resources and counseling services to help them readjust to society, helping them improve their decision-making process to avoid future issues and ensuring their compliance with all court-ordered conditions of release,” he said. “In essence, my job was to help protect the community by providing clients with a meaningful opportunity to change.”

Pratt graduated with her Master of Criminal Justice from Ole Miss with a job offer on the table from the Transportation Security Administration. Shortly after working part time with TSA, she began working for the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

In March, she joined Fennell as a U.S. probation officer, followed by Burleson in August.

“The driving force behind my career path was my child,” Pratt said.

Pratt said she is grateful to Keena and Danny Hall, senior lecturer in legal studies, for guidance during her time at Ole Miss as she pursued her graduate degree as a single mother.

“Both of these professors not only understood it, they embraced my child with open arms,” Pratt said.

“It is important to me that my child understands that everyone deserves a second chance, and that given the right help, people who were once labeled as ‘bad’ people could change their way of thinking and abide by the law.”

Eddie Towe, chief U.S. probation and pretrial services officer for the district, relies on universities with quality programming, such as the Ole Miss criminal justice program, to continually provide great officer candidates.

While Burleson, Fennell and Pratt lacked extensive probation experience, their aptitude, motivation, passion and personality traits matched those of highly functioning officers. Their submission packets, education, references, backgrounds and interviews also indicated they were the best candidates.

“In combination with working in an outcome-based learning organization that provides intensive initial training programs along with ongoing education and research opportunities, Ashley, William and Emma will make great officers,” Towe said.

Undergraduate degrees in criminal justice at UM offer three distinct emphases in correctionshomeland security and law enforcement. The Master of Criminal Justice program requires 36 hours of coursework and is based on the principle that students need skills and experiences in the areas of critical thinking, scholarly research, analysis, communication and ethical thinking. 

Both undergraduate and graduate-level programs are offered through the Department of Legal Studies in the School of Applied Sciences.

The UM School of Applied Sciences offers professional preparation programs that integrate academic study, clinical training, creative research, service-learning and community outreach, leading to the development of leaders whose professional endeavors will improve health and well-being. For more information, go to

School of Pharmacy Expands Residency Programs

Residencies offer recent graduates experience in practice settings

Austin Crocker, a Post-Graduate Year 1 Community Pharmacy Resident at UM, administers a blood pressure screening at Tyson Drugs in Holly Springs. UM photo by Lauren Bloodworth

JACKSON, Miss. – For recent pharmacy graduates looking to continue their education, the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy has expanded its residency program to five positions, with three focused in community pharmacy and two in ambulatory, or outpatient, care.

The expansion is partly due to an increased demand for residency opportunities. In 2017, 69 percent of the 6,027 pharmacy graduates nationwide who applied were accepted to a residency program, according to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

Several professional organizations advocate for all pharmacists in direct patient care settings to receive residency training as a prerequisite for entering the pharmacy workforce by 2020, said Seena Haines, chair of the UM Department of Pharmacy Practice who oversees the school’s residency programs..

“Our residency programs develop highly qualified and independent practitioners who are able to provide patient-centered care in a variety of health care settings with a high level of maturity and leadership to conduct practice-related projects,” Haines said.

The school offered its first residency program in 2009, a Post-Graduate Year 1 Community Pharmacy Residency Program on the pharmacy school’s Jackson campus under the direction of Leigh Ann Ross, associate dean for clinical affairs. Over the next eight years, the pharmacy school expanded the programs and graduated 15 residents with the help of local pharmacies and outpatient clinics.

The most recent addition is a Post-Graduate Year 1 Community Pharmacy Residency Program at Tyson Drugs in Holly Springs. Tyson Drugs’ owner, Bob Lomenick, pioneered a medication synchronization program that the school wanted pharmacy graduates to experience.

This year’s resident at Tyson Drugs is Austin Crocker, a 2017 Pharm.D. graduate of Samford University’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy and a native of Madison. Crocker and Lomenick recently began providing community organizations with information about the opioid abuse crisis and overdose reversal agent training.

“Community pharmacy continues to expand beyond the traditional dispensing role,” Crocker said. “As the resident, my goal is to help develop and implement new services offered at the pharmacy and in prescriber offices. 

“There are countless opportunities for pharmacy to expand in Mississippi, and that was a major draw to this residency program.”

Lomenick has been energized by the collaboration and the impact it’s having in his practice.

“I didn’t know what a residency program was, and it was out of my comfort zone, but I was willing to try,” Lomenick said. “Now that I’m a part of it, I realize that training residents aligns with the direction where community pharmacy practice is headed.

“I can honestly say it has carried my practice to a new level, and I see it continuing to grow.”

Stephanie Ostling

Stephanie Ostling, a Pharm.D. graduate from the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy, practices in several different half-day clinics as one of two PGY-2 Ambulatory Care Pharmacy residents in the Ole Miss program. Ostling also teaches and precepts at the school as part of the residency, along with other PGY-1 and PGY-2 residents.

“I wasn’t sure that I wanted to pursue a PGY-2, but when I learned about the opportunities this residency offered, I reconsidered,” Ostling said. “My goals for this year are to develop my role as an educator and preceptor, while also strengthening my clinical practice.

“In addition, serving in clinics aligns with my long-standing interest in population health.”

The school continues to seek new ways to train well-qualified residents, bringing together Mississippi-based programs to discuss ways of advancing clinical practice. As a result of these discussions, the school developed a formal program for training preceptors – the pharmacists who train residents – as well as a Teaching and Learning Certificate Program for its residents.

The program is rigorous, with each resident designing, developing and implementing instructional activities throughout the curriculum, said Stuart Haines, professor of pharmacy practice and the certificate program’s coordinator. He hopes to expand the program.

“Many residents want to learn more about being an effective educator, which is why we introduced the Teaching and Learning Certificate,” Haines said. “We couldn’t be more pleased with how engaged the residents and faculty mentors have been this year.”

To support the goal of expanding residents’ academic training, some of the school’s faculty serve as program directors, site coordinators and preceptors for the residency programs, which include programs at UMMC, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, St. Dominic’s Health System and Baptist Memorial Hospital.

The benefits of residency training are numerous, said Joshua Fleming, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice and director of the school’s ambulatory care residency program.

“With the pharmacy profession’s increased focus on patient care, the training the School of Pharmacy offers will help pharmacists enhance those skills and put them into practice,” Fleming said. “Whether a resident is preparing for a career in community pharmacy, academia or any other pharmacy setting, a residency offers invaluable, hands-on experience that will give them a deeper understanding of their practice.”