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Volume 2, Issue 1
Friday, January 12, 2007
Edited by
Jennifer Rogers

Mississippi's Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning

News from the System University News
yellowarrowCommissioner Meets with Education Secretary Spellings yellowarrowMineral Resources Institute Researching Biodiesel as Fuel for Vehicles
yellowarrowMississippi and the American Diploma Project yellowarrowNew Treatments, Drugs Target Age Related Vision Loss
yellowarrowSREB Releases "High School to Colleges and Careers" Report yellowarrowResearchers Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Staph Infections
yellowarrowSykes Appointed Legislative Liaison for 2007 Session yellowarrowAlcorn State Scientist Receives Homeland Security Award
yellowarrowHuman Resources Directors Discuss Best Practices yellowarrowDelta State Gallery to Present American South Photography Exhibition
yellowarrowJanuary Board Meeting Next Week yellowarrowJackson State Celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  yellowarrowNew MSU Leadership Program Already Expanding Scope, Programs
  yellowarrowMUW Receives $1 Million Grant to Provide Services for At-Risk Youth
  yellowarrowIncident Preparedness Coordinators Meet at Valley
For more IHL News, click here. To subscribe to this e-newsletter, click here.

Commissioner Meets with Education Secretary Spellings
On Wednesday, Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Thomas Meredith met with U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Margaret Spellings in her Washington, D.C., office. Secretary Spellings asked the Commissioner to discuss the Spellings Commission on the Future of Higher Education report, "A Test of Leadership:  Charting the Future of U.S. Higher Education." Read the report. The Commissioner described the status of higher education in Mississippi and how the state's public universities are progressing in terms of the recommendations made by the Spellings Commission. The Commissioner highlighted the state's efforts to improve teacher preparation through the Blue Ribbon Committee, to increase the number of university graduates, to improve access to the state's public universities, and to better align high school curriculum and standards with university expectations.  Secretary Spellings will address many of these issues at a summit of national higher education leaders in March, which the Commissioner will attend. As president of the National Association of System Heads (NASH), the Commissioner also described to Secretary Spellings a voluntary NASH initiative, which is being conducted in partnership with the Education Trust, to expand access and success in participating systems, especially for low-income students and students of color.  The initiative will be presented to the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning for consideration during its January Board meeting next week.

IHL Office of Academic and Student Affairs staff met with officials from the Mississippi Department of Education and leaders of Achieve, Inc.
Mississippi and the American Diploma Project
IHL Assistant Commissioner of Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Lynn House, her staff, and officials from the Mississippi Department of Education held an introductory meeting Tuesday with leaders of Achieve, Inc., a bipartisan, non-profit organization, founded by governors and business leaders to help states better prepare young people for postsecondary education, work, and citizenship.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss Mississippi's participation in the American Diploma Project, launched by Achieve and its partners to restore the value of the American high school diploma by establishing specific college and workplace readiness benchmarks.  Achieve leaders provided extensive information to help Mississippi education leaders align high school, college, and work expectations to ensure that high school graduates are prepared to enter into credit-bearing college courses without the need for remediation or have the skills needed to enter the workforce. For more information about the American Diploma Project, visit the Achieve website. To learn more about Mississippi's efforts to align high school, college, and work expectations, contact the IHL Office of Student and Academic Affairs at 601.432.6501. 
SREB Releases "High School to Colleges and Careers" Report
Much emphasis is being placed on the importance of college and workplace readiness.  On January 3, the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), to which Mississippi belongs, released a report entitled "High School to College and Careers: Aligning State Policies." The report summarizes current state policies, programs, and requirements for high school completion and readiness for college study. The report recommends better alignment of the many state policies that guide students from high school to college and careers, including the courses and tests required in high school, joint enrollment programs, college admission standards, etc. The report, which shows Mississippi's progress in these areas, is available online.

Dr. Reginald Sykes
Sykes Appointed Legislative Liaison for 2007 Session

There will be a new face around the Capitol during the 2007 Legislative Session.  Dr. Reginald Sykes, Assistant Commissioner of Community and Junior College Relations, will be serving as IHL’s legislative liaison during the Session.  Dr. Sykes will be the primary contact for legislators who have questions or need information about higher education.  In his daily work as the Assistant Commissioner of Community and Junior College Relations, Dr. Sykes works with community and junior college leadership to assist individuals in continuing their postsecondary education after completing work at a two-year institution.  Dr. Sykes came to IHL from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Jefferson Davis Campus, where he was Vice President. A native of Meridian, he previously served as the dean of student services at Meridian Community College.  Dr. Sykes can be reached on his office telephone at (601)432-6458, on his cell phone at (601)968-7002, or by email.
Human Resources Directors Discuss Best Practices
A committee of human resources directors from several of Mississippi's public universities and the IHL Executive Office met on December 12, 2006, for a productive day-long work session to draft best practices related to various human resources topics. The topics addressed include hiring practices, interviewing techniques, new employee orientations, proper maintenance of personnel files, the Fair Labor Standards Act, separation of employment procedures, and the exit clearance process.  A report summarizing the committee's recommendations related to human resources best practices has been submitted to the Commissioner of Higher Education.  A report of best practices related to performance appraisals and grievances will be submitted at a later date. Committee members who participated in the work session are, from Mississippi State University, Ann Bell, director of human resource management, Sue Johnston, benefits and accounting manager, and Mary Sowers, data services manager; from Mississippi Valley State University, Monique Sneed, director of human resources; from the University of Mississippi, Clay Jones, director of human resources and contractual services, Regina Johnson, manager of human resources information systems, Rebecca Harvey, manager of employment, and Pamela Johnson, manager of benefits and compensation; from the University of Southern Mississippi, Russ Willis, director of human resources; and from the IHL Executive Office, Cheryl Mowdy, director of support operations. For more information, contact Cheryl Mowdy at (601)432-6112.
January Board Meeting Next Week
The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning will hold its regular January Board meeting on Wednesday, January 17, 2007, beginning at 8:30 a.m., in the IHL Board Room in the Universities Center, 3825 Ridgewood Road, Jackson, MS, 39211. The full Board will convene at 8:30 a.m., and will conduct business as a committee of the whole. An executive session may be held in accordance with the Open Meetings Act. The Board meeting will be available for viewing via live webcast beginning at 8:30 a.m. on the IHL website, www.mississippi.edu.

Items included in the “University News” section of the System Review are submitted each week by the universities. The news items are listed in rotating alphabetical order by university.

  Mississippi Mineral Resources Institute Researching Biodiesel as Fuel for UM Vehicle
When senior Brad Crafton takes a drive, he often gets a whiff of fried catfish, not from any roadside joint but rather from the exhaust of his Chevrolet 2500 diesel pickup.  Crafton, who was hired by the Mississippi Mineral Resources Institute in October to develop a viable means to recycle used vegetable oil into biodiesel, sometimes burns the fuel in his truck. “Whatever was cooked in the oil, that’s what it smells like,” he explains. Crafton produces about 250 gallons of biodiesel per month for MMRI’s test vehicle, using a homemade processor that includes a modified 40-gallon water heater, a 70-gallon cone-shaped settling tank, a 120-gallon washing tank, a filter, a couple of pumps and several hoses with quick release valves. “It’s a rudimentary operation that takes up to 14 days from start to finish,” said Bob Woolsey, MMRI director. “We’ve run successfully now for four weeks, producing biodiesel at 71 cents per gallon, so things looks promising.”  Woolsey hopes to produce enough fuel by next winter to supply half of MMRI’s needs. His goal is to establish a full-scale production facility that could one day fuel MMRI’s entire fleet of diesel engines and perhaps make economic sense for university-wide use. Learn more.

  School of Education Making Changes to Better Prepare Tomorrow's Teachers

  Wintersession Classes Become Popular Alternative for UM Students

  Business Professor Elected VP of Southern Finance Association

  Pharmacy Dean and Husband Establish New Endowed Professorship in Pharmacy Practice

 New Treatments, Drugs Target Age Related Vision Loss
The University of Mississippi Medical Center is leading the way in treatments for age
related macular degeneration (ARMD), the main cause of severe vision loss among adults over the age of 60.  Learn more.

 Jackson Free Clinic Public Health Resource, Invaluable Tool for Medical Students

 Dental Profession Proves Strong Bond for Grubbs Family

 Woodworkers’ “Angel Cradles” Offer Comfort During Time of Loss

 State-of-the-Art CRTs Track UMC Cardiology Patients’ Progress from Home

  Researchers Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Staph Infections
In findings that may signal a new approach to fighting bacterial infections, a University of Southern Mississippi research team has identified a potentially new way of combating the spread of antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or “staph” infection. “In order to fight something effectively, you have to understand how it works first,” says Dr. Mohamed Elasri, assistant professor of biological sciences. Elasri’s lab in the Biological Sciences Department at Southern Miss has identified a previously unknown gene that can be manipulated in such a way that staph cells are effectively “tricked” into thinking that the time is not right to release their toxins.  Although it is normally found in the nasal tissue of a significant proportion of healthy individuals, staph is also capable of causing a variety of infections, some of them serious and even life-threatening. “The gene we’ve identified works like a master switch that possibly can be used to inactivate the staph so that it doesn’t cause disease anymore,” said Elasri.  Dr. Elasri and his team want to solve the problem with an antibiotic “smart bomb” developed specifically for staph, and rather than killing it off, keep it from reproducing at all so that eventually the immune system kills it off. Learn more.

  War Trauma Expert Pens Book of Parallels between Iraq, Vietnam

  Southern Miss on the Gulf Coast to Host Night Classes on Long Beach Campus

  Outreach Activities at Southern Miss Spark Interest in Math and Science

  Katrina Research Center Documents South Mississippi Story

  Alcorn State Scientist Receives Homeland Security Award
Alcorn State University (ASU) recently received a contract award from the Department of Homeland Security South Eastern Regional Research Initiative. The project, “Development of an Integrated Sensor System for Real-time Monitoring of Metabolits of Organophosporus Chemical Warfare Agents, Pesticides, and E. coli in Food and Water” is an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional effort. Strategic partners for the ASU-led project include Jackson State University, the University of Washington, Compliant Embedded Systems, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The goal of the project is to develop a compact, portable, and inexpensive sensor capable of detecting accidental or intentional contamination of wood and water by toxic agents. Dr. Yolanda K. Jones, an assistant professor of physical chemistry at ASU, will direct the project as the principal investigator. A native of Walnut Grove, MS, Dr. Jones earned her Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI, in 2005.  She has received a number of awards, including a Wal-Mart foundation competitive edge scholarship, a GAAN (Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need) Fellowship at Marquette University, Marquette’s Richard W. Jobling Fellowship, and a presenter award in the 2001 American Chemical Society’s division of surfaces and colloids poster presentation.  Dr. Jones is an active member of the American Chemical Society.  Learn more.

  Delta State's Wright Art Center Gallery to Present American South Photography Exhibition
Delta State University’s Wright Art Center Gallery will present a show entitled “Tell Me a Story: Photographing the American South,” about the American South pictured through the eyes of numerous photographers. The show opens Sunday, January 14, with a public reception from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Wright Art Center Gallery on the campus. The body of work is on loan to the gallery from the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson and includes photographs by William Christenberry, William Eggleston, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Milly Moorhead, Tom Rankin, Maggie Lee Sayre, Jack Spencer, Lea Barton, Kendall Messick, William Greiner, Sandra Russell Clark, John T. Edge, Birney Imes, Carl Mydans, Robert Hubbard, Eudora Welty, and Bern and Franke Keating. Like stories, photographs invite us to observe life around us and within us. They tell us a story of an instant - when William Faulkner and his dog stood just so or when Eudora Welty looked straight into our eyes. They tell a history and allow us to ask questions. There is no single shared story in this exhibition. Rather, images of the land, the people, and the everyday details of the South will mean different things to each viewer and will resonate depending on individual experiences and perspectives. The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, can be viewed through February 24. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Friday 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information, please contact the DSU art department at (662) 846-4720.

  Jackson State Celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
The Jackson State University (JSU) community is celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which will be observed, Monday, January 15. JSU and the Margaret Walker Alexander National Research Center are celebrating the life of the slain civil rights leader with a convocation, luncheon, and symposium today. Following the theme “‘A Day On, Not a Day Off,’ Where Do We Go from Here? Chaos or Community?,” U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) is slated to be the keynote speaker for the 10 a.m. convocation in the Rose Embly McCoy Auditorium.  Now serving his seventh term, Thompson is the ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee.  Learn more. JSU’s Delta Phi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity will hold a candlelight vigil at 9 p.m. on Monday, January 15, on the main campus.  To honor King, a silent march will begin at the entrance of the Gibbs-Green Plaza and culminate at the Alpha Phi Alpha pylon with a prayer, wreath laying, and words of encouragement and inspiration.  For more information about the scheduled events, contact the Office of Public Relations at (601) 979-2272. 

 JSU’S Beloved Mascot Laid to Rest  See pictures.

 JSU Choral Ensembles Invited to Compete in Italy
See picture: Jackson State University's Concert Chorale will perform in Italy in April.

 JSU Students Win Cash to Start Business

  New MSU Leadership Program Already Expanding Scope, Programs 
Mississippi State University’s Sonny Montgomery Chapter of the Appalachian Leadership Honors Program, launched by university President Robert H. "Doc" Foglesong, is expanding its scope and programs to provide what Dr. Foglesong terms as a "leadership continuum." The program is currently open to second- and third-year university students through a highly competitive process. In keeping with Dr. Foglesong’s belief that leadership must extend from the cradle to the chief executive officer's suite, the program is adding components to emphasize leadership from high school forward. A series of "Young Guns" summer leadership camps are being rolled out for 200 rising high school seniors, including participants from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.  Cade Smith, who directs the leadership honors program, described the camps. "We'll have a week of structured activities that include team-building exercises, a real-life project relevant to a Mississippi community and individual skills assessments," Smith said. Each group will produce a master plan to address a specific community issue. "We will give these 'young guns' an opportunity to explore who they are, as well as to define and test the concept of leadership in situations relevant to their lives," he explained. Read more.

  Energy Conservation Yields Savings at Mississippi State

  Associate MSU Provost Being Honored for Career Achievements

  Buffum Begins Work as MSU Procurements/Contracts Leader

  Former U.S. Rep, Ag Secretary to Lead Local MLK Observance at MSU

  $1 Million Grant to Provide Services for At-Risk Youth

A $1 million grant from the Mississippi Department of Education Office of Innovation and School Improvement will help at-risk youth in Columbus and Lowndes County. Mississippi University for Women will serve as the lead institution for the "Crossroads: A 21st Century Community Learning Center Proposal," which will be funded over five years, according to Dr. Suzanne Bean, project director. Ivey Ivy will serve as the on-site project manager.  MUW President Claudia A. Limbert said, “We are thrilled about this proposal. The grant will enhance the many services already being provided by these organizations.”  The Roger F. Wicker Center for Creative Learning at MUW will join the resources and expertise of six community partners to provide comprehensive out-of-school services for academically at-risk middle school students in the Columbus Municipal School District. Learn more.

  Incident Preparedness Coordinators Meet at Valley
More than a dozen incident preparedness coordinators from the state’s eight public universities met at Mississippi Valley State University on December 12, 2006, to better prepare themselves in the event a disaster occurs.  Andrew Taylor, director of safety and loss control, and Bob Neal, emergency and fire safety coordinator, both of Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, attended the group’s quarterly meeting. “We’re trying to do diligence in being prepared and make sure we’re able to pool together our resources,” said Taylor. “By pooling resources we can better respond to emergency situations.”  Tom Ball, governmental training officer for the Mississippi State Extension Service’s Center of Governmental Training and Technology, was the guest speaker. Ball emphasized the importance of training and practicing for disastrous events and having a trained staff on hand, but noted that no amount of classroom lessons can replace actual experience.  Ball said it is important for incident management officials to maintain a close relationship with their local county emergency management. Buster Clark, director of telecommunications and incident preparedness coordinator for the University of Mississippi said incident preparedness training is an ongoing process and “we’re going to train and do more training, not just to remain compliant, but to better prepare ourselves.”

See picture: Pam Hemphill, (left) incident preparedness coordinator for University Medical Center, and Buster Clark, director of telecommunications and incident preparedness coordinator for the University of Mississippi, meet with other incident preparedness coordinators.

See picture: Tom Ball, governmental training officer for the Mississippi State Extension Service’s Center of Governmental Training and Technology, discusses training exercises.

Jan. 15 - Alcorn State University will hold the Southwest Mississippi Meat Goat Sale at the Port Gibson Fairgrounds, from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. All goats will be sold “on the hoof.” Interested persons wishing to buy or sell should contact Dr. Gregory Reed at 601.877.3933. Persons wishing to receive periodic updates should join the Alcorn Goat Group online.

Jan. 15 - Mississippi State University is hosting the Martin Luther King Unity Breakfast in Bost Auditorium at 7:30 a.m. The Keynote speaker will be former congressman Mike Espy, who also served as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  Jan. 15 - The University of Mississippi William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation invites the public to the dedication ceremony of the Medgar Evers Historical Marker at the Newton County courthouse in Decatur, at 11 a.m. on the front lawn of the building. There is no admission charge.  For more information, contact the Winter Institute at (662)915-6727. Read more .

Jan. 18 - Mississippi State University’s Lyceum Series presents jazz vocalist Sophie Milman and guitarist Jesse Cook in concert at 7:30 p.m. in the newly renovated Lee Hall. General admission tickets for the performance will be available at the door. For more information on this Lyceum Series program, call (662)325-4201 or visit the Lyceum Series website. Read more.

 Jan. 18 - The University of Mississippi hosts “Space Law in the Era of Globalization,” a meeting of 21 experts from ten nations to discuss the latest developments in the laws that govern activities in outer space.  The meeting is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Moot Court Room 1 of the Lamar Law Center.  For more information, please contact Dr. Joanne Gabrynowicz at (662)915-6857. Read more.

  Jan. 20 - The University of Mississippi Ford Center opens the new year with the five-time Tony Award-winning musical “Man of La Mancha.” Tickets are available through the UM Box Office and Ford Center Box Office. Call (662)915-7411 for assistance related to a disability or for tickets. Read More.

Jan. 24 - The University of Southern Mississippi Trent Lott Center Entrepreneurs in Polymer Science Lecture Series will host Dr. Joseph DiSimone, principal researcher and founder of Liquidia Technologies, in the auditorium of the Shelby F. Thames Polymer Science Research Center. The lecture, “The Blending of Research and Teaching with Entrepreneurship: The Launching of Liquidia Technologies,” will begin at 3:00 p.m., and is to be followed by a reception at 4:00 p.m. and Perspectives on Entrepreneurship at 4:30 p.m. Learn more.

 Jan. 25-26 - Jackson State University Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education is hosting a literacy Conference, “Reading Together:  Promoting Family Literacy.”  For more information, contact Dr. Rodney Washington at (601)979-3414. Read more.

 Jan. 25-26 - The University of Southern Mississippi will host the 11th annual DuBard Symposium on Dyslexia and Related Disorders at the Hattiesburg Lake Terrace Convention Center. For more information, contact Michelle Coleman at (601)266-4709, or visit the DuBard School online. Read More.
 Feb. 1-2
- Jackson State University College of Public Service in the School of Social Work is sponsoring the fifth annual Mississippi Child Welfare Institute Conference at the Jackson Marriott.  For more information, call (601)979-1123.  Read more.

 Feb. 2-3 - The University of Southern Mississippi will host the 22nd annual Coca-Cola Classic Rodeo at the James Lynn Cartlidge Forrest County Multi-Purpose Center on U.S.  Highway 49 South in Hattiesburg. The world famous Budweiser Clydesdales and Lecile Harris, four-time ProRodeo Clown of the Year, will be featured performers. Tickets are available at T.J.’s Western Ware on U.S. Highway 49 in Hattiesburg. Read More.

Feb. 21 - The University of Southern Mississippi will host Nobel Laureate Richard J. Roberts at 6 p.m. in Bennett Auditorium, where he will speak on "Friends and Foes: The Unseen Bugs who Share our Planet.” Roberts is chief scientific officer of New England Biolabs. For more information call (601)266-4497.

Feb. 22 - Mississippi University for Women's Honors Forum presents Arun Gandhi, grandson of the legendary peace fighter and spiritual leader, Mohandas K. Gandhi, also known as Mahatma Gandhi, at 6:30 p.m. in Nissan Auditorium, Parkinson Hall. For more information, contact the Honors College at (662)241-6850.

  Feb. 25 - Mississippi State University hosts a performance of the internationally popular Australian band, the Wiggles, who specialize in children’s entertainment.  The performance, which is the band’s first in Mississippi, will take place at 2 p.m. in Humphrey Coliseum. Tickets for the 2007 Racing to the Rainbow Live! Tour are available at all Ticket King outlets, as well as the MSU Athletic Ticket Office and online at http://www.ticketweb.com. For more information, contact Todd Hunt at (662)325-4201. Read more.

  Mar. 22-23 - The University of Southern Mississippi will host the Second Annual Eagle Institute for School Leaders in the Thad Cochran Center.  The conference, "All Means All:  Ensuring the Success of Students with Unique Learning Needs," will be convened by State Superintendent Hank Bounds and Dean W. Lee Pierce of the USM College of Education and Psychology. The conference promises to be a powerful session on leadership strategies for helping disadvantaged/displaced students, English language learners, gifted students, and students with special needs to achieve academic success in an era of high stakes accountability. Complete information can be found online.
Look for the next issue January 19.
Mississippi's Institutions of Higher Learning
Attention: Public Affairs
Jackson, Mississippi 39211-6453
Fax: (601) 432-6891

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