About Contact Careers News Financial Aid UM Chancellor Search
um Search
Chancellor Search
Listening Sessions

June 19, 2019 - University of Mississippi Medical Center
Click to Expand
Listening Sessions
June 19, 2019
University of Mississippi Medical Center
Jackson, Mississippi
Time Event Location
2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Student Listening Session Room R153
2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Break  
3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. Faculty & Staff Listening Session Room R153
3:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Break  
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Alumni Listening Session Room R153


Student Listening Session

Dr. Ford Dye started by introducing the IHL board members in attendance and stating that they are here looking for advice regarding the chancellor search. He notes two online options for following and submitting feedback for the search: at the website and the Twitter handle @UM_Search. Dye said that UMMC is a key part of UM and the board wants to involve the campus in the decision-making process.

Dr. Edgar Meyer, past UMMC Student Body president, notes that he appreciates Interim Chancellor Larry Sparks' efforts to bring in information about UMMC during his briefs to the IHL board and wants the next chancellor to be someone who takes a vested interest in UMMC and what is going on with its employees, patients and students.

Dye welcomes comments from non-students. He notes the importance of UMMC as a safety net hospital, its role in training health professionals and its economic impact on Mississippi.

Keri Henley, a UMMC employee and UM alumna, says that many students are off-campus for summer and those on-campus are likely in class during the listening session. She asks how students can communication with search committee in the future.

Dye restates importance of student input and says will share the website and Twitter account information with Meyer to pass along to the new ASB president.

Dye gives and approximate timeline for the chancellor search:
  • August 20: Application deadline for candidates
  • September: candidate visits and listening sessions
  • October 24-25: Preferred candidate listening sessions at UM and UMMC

Dye says the board and committee have been working since January to come up with list of qualifications for the next chancellor. The ideal candidate will have 10 characteristics:

  • Leadership and team-building skills
  • Understanding of Mississippi culture and connectivity
  • Socially dynamics – good at public speaking and working a room
  • Experience in higher education leadership
  • Fundraising abilities
  • Appreciation for the importance of SEC Athletics
  • Ability to run a large, complex organization
  • Government relations with at state and federal level
  • Understands the importance of UMMC to the UM mission
  • Unifies the University of Mississippi system

A UM alumnus says that UMMC provides first class care for the patients and echoes the importance of a new chancellor who recognizes the Medical Center's value

Dr. Charles O'Mara of UMMC thanks the IHL for their interest in student opinions.

A community member with several UM alumnus relatives says she has had conversations with other UM donors who have stopped contributing because of decisions made regarding a tenure decision. Community members says the new chancellor should be someone who will grow the leaders of tomorrow and bring unity to campus.

Dr. Patrick Smith of UMMC thanks the IHL board for its service, reiterates the importance of this critical process, the importance of finding someone to lead an SEC school.

Dye says the ideal candidate will recognize the value of academic medical centers and the history of Ole Miss.

A community member with ties to the UM School of Business is excited about recent enrollment at the School of Business.

A recent alumnus of the university and the Law School, also on the search committee, says he loves UM and wants the next chancellor to have some tie to Mississippi and be invested in the state's future and relationships with students and alumni. He notes the leaders at Mississippi State University and the University of Southern Mississippi as examples of this kind of leadership. He wants a chancellor who can recruit in-state students.

Dye says his eleventh characteristic for an ideal chancellor is someone with ties to the Mississippi business community and can help bring and keep employees and employers to the state.

The same alumnus above says that students at the law school are probably looking for the same characteristics in a chancellor as UMMC: someone who will come to important events at the school and can be a champion for their field, even if not a member of that field.

The same alumnus who spoke about first-class care at UMMC says that diversity is important, and that if the search committee can make as good a choice for chancellor as they did in the new law school dean, UM will do well.

Dye adjourns the listening session at 2:48 p.m.

Faculty & Staff Listening Session

Dr. Rob Rockhold, deputy chief academic officer: "Two things come to mind when thinking of the qualifications of a chancellor for the University of Mississippi. We need someone who can bring stability to our campuses, and secondly, someone who will enlarge what we do in collaboration between our campuses."

When asked by Dr. Ford Dye whether he thought collaboration had been lacking, Rockhold said no. Rockhold noted that the two campuses have different aspects of the same mission, with UMMC being focused in biomedical research, but said there is the potential for communication and collaboration that would benefit both campuses.

Dye: Dye listed 11 traits the state College Board would like to see in the next chancellor of the University of Mississippi. They are:

  1. A great leader who can make courageous decisions and build a dynamic team.
  2. Someone who understands the culture of Mississippi and appreciates the University of Mississippi for what it is.
  3. A dynamic public speaker who can get the community fired up.
  4. A higher education expert who understands the unique entity that is the University of Mississippi.
  5. A leader in fundraising.
  6. Someone who understands the importance of athletics.
  7. Someone who can run a large and complex organization.
  8. Someone who can work with governmental and education leaders in Jackson and Washington, D.C.
  9. Someone who understands the importance of the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
  10. Someone who can unify the different constituencies of the University of Mississippi.
  11. Someone who can work with business leaders to provide jobs for University of Mississippi graduates.

Chair of the search advisory committee Dr. Charles Hussey: Collaboration is slowed or halted by finances, Hussey said. An example is that, often, a joint hire cannot be made. Instead, one campus or the other has to add the employee.

Dr. Keith Mansell, professor of palliative care medicine: Mansell is concerned that the job of chancellor is too complex. "I don't think someone can work 18 hours a day, return phone calls and emails, go to meetings and events and make social media posts. There has to be time for reflection and time away from the job in order to have focus and resiliency."

Dye responded that the complexity and demands on the chancellor are why team-building is so important.

Rockhold: Rockhold said the next chancellor should also be a bridge-builder not only between UMMC and Oxford but also to other state universities.

Dye responded that this will be among discussion topics during the interview process.

Dr. Jessica Bailey, dean of the School of Health Related Professions: "The list of qualifications is very comprehensive, but the elephant in the room is our recent past history when we saw the opposite of what is listed. Collaboration was tried, but it was not very successful because of a lack of listening and a deep lack of understanding."

Alumni Listening Session

Those who spoke said they want a chancellor who:

  • Desires interaction with students, every day.
  • Is a personable person.
  • Has a vision for the university.
  • Is a special person.
  • Wants to work with students.
  • Is committed to recruiting students who are residents of Mississippi.
  • Wants to serve the students of Mississippi.
  • Is dynamic and can work a room. "That's a real thing, and it shows if you can't," an alum said.
  • Will be allowed to do their job by the College Board.
  • Will keep traditions. "Seems like we're just trying to get rid of a lot of our traditions, and probably for the wrong reasons," an alum said. He didn't specify what traditions he was talking about.
  • Will fight for state funding for UM.
  • Will reach out to more Mississippi students, including visiting high schools to recruit.

Not just one person, but several of those who spoke said they want more emphasis on recruitment of in-state students.

The Board shall appoint the Commissioner and the Institutional Executive Officers (IEOs). The Board shall make interim appointments to executive officer and/or commissioner positions as necessary and with such consultation as the Board considers appropriate.