Assessment of Public Confidence in Higher Education
Some have argued that public confidence in higher education is waning, but "Just the Facts," an article that appeared in the November 2006-January 2007 edition of Public Purpose, highlights survey results that suggest otherwise. A 2002 Harris Poll revealed that 33 percent of adults expressed "a great deal of confidence" (the highest possible rating) in the leaders of colleges and universities, which was less than the percentage who expressed confidence in the military, the Supreme Court, and the White House. The same poll in 2006 showed an increased in public confidence in college and university leaders to 38 percent, despite the fact that public confidence in the other institutions mentioned above decreased, some by as much as 25 percent. A similar 2004 poll conducted by the Chronicle of Higher Education revealed that 37 percent of respondents "strongly agreed" that colleges and universities are highly valuable resources and an additional 53 percent "agreed." In the Chronicle poll, public confidence in higher education was higher than public confidence in churches and religious organizations. Regarding the various roles that colleges and universities play in society, poll respondents indicated that career preparation was most important, followed by preparation for future leaders, values and ethics education, research, cultural events, and lastly, entertainment through athletics. Click here for a PDF version of the magazine.
IHL Directory Now Available Online
The IHL Directory, which is now available online, includes names, positions, and contact information for all senior-level administrators at each of the universities. It also contains names and contact information for all staff working in departments or agencies housed on the Education and Research Campus. These include the Assistant Attorney General's Office; America Reads-Mississippi; the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges; GEAR UP Mississippi; the IHL Office of Academic and Student Affairs; IHL Buildings and Grounds; the IHL Commissioner's Office; the IHL Office of Finance and Administration; the IHL Media Relations, Communications and Marketing Department; the IHL Office of Policy Research and Planning; the IHL Office of Real Estate and Facilities; the IHL Office of Student Financial Aid; the IHL Office of Technology; the JSU Department of Communicative Disorders; the JSU Library; the JSU College of Lifelong Learning; the JSU School of Social Work; the JSU Department of Urban and Regional Planning; the Mississippi Automated Resource Information System (MARIS); the Mississippi Commission on Volunteer Service (MCVS); the Mississippi Humanities Council (MHC); Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB); University Press of Mississippi (UP); and the USM Institute for Disability Studies. The directory will be updated periodically as information changes. For more information, contact Public Affairs Coordinator Clotee Lewis at (601) 432-6647.
April Edition of Mississippi’s Business Released
The Economics Department of the IHL Office of Policy Research and Planning has just released the April 2007 edition of Mississippi's Business, a newsletter providing analysis related to the state's economy. According to the Index of Coincident Indicators from September to February, Mississippi's economy grew 2.7 percent over the same period a year ago, which is the strongest growth the index has seen since the early 1990s and is due in large part to rebuilding efforts along the Coast. In fact, 45 percent of all jobs created in the state over the last year were in South Mississippi's Harrison County. In keeping with that finding, the state's fastest growing industries in terms of job growth are the hospitality and leisure services industry, which accounts for about a third of all jobs created, and the construction industry, which accounts for about 13 percent of all jobs created. Read Mississippi's Business online. For more information, contact senior economist Dr. Darrin Webb at (601) 432-6556.
2007 Legislative Action Affects PERS
During the 2007 Legislative Session, lawmakers passed House Bill 1016, which increases the number of years of membership service required to vest in the Public Employee's Retirement System (PERS). Previously, for employees to be eligible for the retirement service benefit through PERS, the employee must have either 25 years of service at any age or four years of service at 60 years of age. Now, an employee must have either 25 years of service at any age OR eight years of service at 60 years of age. The bill also eliminates the partial lump-sum distribution pay-out option to those who have 28 or more years of service at the time of retirement. Both changes take effect on July 1, 2007, and both changes apply only to employees hired into the System on or after July 1, 2007. Therefore, if you are a current employee at one of Mississippi's universities, these changes do not apply to you, but will apply to new hires made on or after July 1, 2007. Also effective July 1, 2007, the employer contribution rate for retirement will increase from 11.3 percent to 11.85 percent. The employee contribution rate will remain at the current 7.25 percent.
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 UNIVERSITY FOR WOMEN NEWS
MUW's Wenstrom Named Post Secondary Educator of the Year
Dr. Jane Hurley Wenstrom, professor of mathematics at Mississippi University for Women (MUW), was named the 2007 Post Secondary Educator of the Year at the Columbus-Lowndes Development Link’s 20th annual Education Excellence Banquet. Each year, the Link sponsors the banquet to honor outstanding seniors who attend city, county, and private schools and students who are home schooled. Elementary, middle school, high school, and post secondary educators are also recognized. The banquet was held Monday evening at East Mississippi Community College in the Lyceum. “I believe there is no greater call than that of a classroom teacher, said Paul Miller, vice president for EMCC’s Golden Triangle campus before making the presentations. “We appreciate all that you do.” Wenstrom was the 2006 recipient of the Faculty Member of the Year award. She has served MUW since 1995, teaching a variety of courses such as complex analysis, differential equations, college algebra, trigonometry, statistics, advanced calculus, calculus, and pre-calculus. She has authored or coauthored several papers and publications involving mathematics, as well as presented and worked on several research projects. Learn more.
MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY NEWS
Mississippi Valley State University Online
UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI NEWS
UM Botanicals Conference Gathers Researchers from Around the World
When scientists and regulatory officials from around the world gather in Oxford next week, their discussions promise to play a major role in ensuring that dietary supplements remain safe and effective for millions of consumers. The 6th Oxford International Conference on the Science of Botanicals, set for April 30-May 3, brings nearly 150 researchers and others together to discuss the safety and quality of botanical dietary supplements. The meeting is hosted by the National Center for Natural Products Research, a unit of the UM School of Pharmacy, in cooperation with the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Since beginning as a workshop for about 40 participants only a few years ago, the conference has drawn the attention of an entire industry, said Roy Upton, president of American Herbal Pharmacopoeia. "The Science of Botanicals conference provides one of the most valuable scientific forums in the country for bringing to the forefront the most seminal issues facing the herbal products industry," Upton said. "No other annual event addresses issues of botanical identity and analytical assessment as comprehensively as this, encompassing both domestic and international issues. It may be the most important symposium of its kind in the U.S." This year's conference is co-sponsored by China's Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica/CAS and India's Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. View a multimedia release that includes video and photos.
Law Professor Appointed to State Civil Rights Advisory Committee
Senior Banking Major Wins Statewide Swayze Award, Third in Row for UM
Paula Bohince is Inaugural Summer Poet in Residence
Social Work Student Honored as State's Outstanding Student in Her Field
UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI MEDICAL CENTER NEWS
Sialendoscopy Saves UMMC Salivary Gland Patients Time, Money
Surgeons at the University of Mississippi Medical Center are the first in the Southeast—and among the first in the nation—to treat salivary gland obstructions without removing the glands themselves. A groundbreaking new procedure called sialendoscopy involves using an endoscope with a tiny telescope less than two millimeters in diameter to remove salivary stones or other material from salivary gland ducts. According to Dr. James Randall Jordan, associate professor and vice chair of otolaryngology and communicative sciences, the new procedure has the potential to save patients some pain and more invasive surgery. “I think that sialendoscopy will eventually become the standard way to treat obstructive salivary gland disease,” Jordan said. Read more.
New Graduate Studies Dean Helps Reach Research, Education Goals
Evers Society Honors Teaching Excellence at Medical Center
Microsurgery, Reconstruction Center Salvages Nerve Injuries
Improving Multicultural Relationships Focus of Town Hall Meeting
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI NEWS
Southern Miss Unveils New Forensic Science Lab
The University of Southern Mississippi’s Department of Administration of Justice has unveiled its new forensic science laboratory that is funded by a $2 million grant from the Department of Justice. The lab, located in the newly renovated 9,000-square-foot Arthell Kelley Hall, is a facility designed to provide both a forensic science teaching laboratory and a forensic services laboratory. Southern Miss currently offers Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in forensic science with over 100 majors. The new lab will allow for the expansion of those programs. Renovations and the acquisition of critical forensic laboratory equipment will help administrators in their quest to establish a nationally recognized forensic science program with courses that provide students with practical, hands-on experience. “This facility will afford our students real-world experience, and as a result, make them highly competitive in the job market,” said President Shelby Thames. The lab will offer DNA testing for local agencies, as well as toxicology alcohol/drug testing for local coroners and crime scene investigation for regional areas, among other services. Administrators also hope to create a nationally recognized forensic training facility providing assistance in areas including footwear and tire impression, blood pattern interpretation, accident reconstruction, and mass disasters and human recovery. Learn more.
Kathleen Koch of CNN to Give Spring 2007 Commencement Address
French Consulate to Award Thank You Certificates to WWII Veterans
University Aims to Identify, Advance Student Inventions Through Annual Competition
Southern Miss Student Finds His Niche in Deaf Education
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI - GULF COAST NEWS
Southern Miss Gulf Coast College of Health Recognizes Outstanding Students
The University of Southern Mississippi on the Gulf Coast has recognized outstanding students in the College of Health with various awards and acknowledgment for 2006-2007. Lauren White has been recognized for her work as a senior ambassador for the College of Health during 2006-2007. The School of Social Work at Southern Miss Gulf Coast has recognized Helani Scurfield for the Master’s of Social Work Award for academic excellence. The School of Human Performance and Recreation at Southern Miss Gulf Coast has recognized Dean Lepoma with a distinguished undergraduate leadership award for sport coaching education. The following students are all recognized for their achievements in the Southern Miss Gulf Coast School of Nursing. Terry Vann and Donna Griggs received the Elizabeth C. Harkins Award. Terry Vann, Traci Craig, and Cynthia Pippin have been placed on The National Dean’s List for 2006-2007. Charlene Bloom, Candi Davis, Terry Vann, Stephanie McLeod, and Cynthia Pippin, have been recognized for receiving The National Collegiate Nursing Award. Michelle Freeman has been recognized for receiving the Jerri Laube Morgan award. Albert Sanders has been recognized with the Nursing Eagle Award. Sandy Murray and Katie Toche have been recognized for receiving The Art and Heart of Nursing Award. Pictures and award descriptions are available on the Southern Miss Marketing and PR website. Learn more.
ALCORN STATE UNIVERSITY NEWS
Alcorn State University Set to Confer Degrees upon Graduating Class 2007
An anticipated graduating class of 625 students across approximately four dozen academic disciplines at the undergraduate and graduate levels will listen as United States Representative Bennie G. Thompson, who represents Mississippi’s Second Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives, delivers this year’s Commencement address on the institution’s main campus in Lorman, Mississippi, on Saturday, May 12, beginning at 8:30 a.m. This year’s class continues to make Alcorn history in that the institution has consistently graduated larger and larger classes over the years - a direct reflection of one of the institution’s core principles of not only recruiting top students from around the nation and world, but ensuring that they ultimately graduate as well. Congressman Thompson is no stranger to Alcorn. He has visited the campus on numerous occasions and in the past has served as Grand Marshal of Alcorn’s Homecoming parade. Throughout, he has remained a very vocal advocate across Mississippi and on Capitol Hill promoting the interests and continued growth of historically black colleges and universities, including Alcorn. In 1975, he filed a lawsuit to increase funding at Mississippi’s historically black universities. With Congressman Thompson as lead plaintiff, the case was settled in 2004 for an unprecedented $503 million. Learn more.
Four JROTC Students Awarded Army Scholarships to Alcorn State University (scroll down)
DELTA STATE UNIVERSITY NEWS
Delta State Closes Mid-Week in Response to Bomb Threats
Delta State University reopened its campus Thursday at 8 a.m. Following a complete sweep of the campus overnight by law enforcement officers with trained dogs, the Delta State Police Department announced they found no suspicious devices anywhere on campus. The DSU Police were aided in their search by external law enforcement agencies trained in bomb detection. Delta State initially shut down its campus Tuesday afternoon following a series of bomb threats in several buildings – Kent Wyatt Hall, Roberts-LaForge Library, and Cleveland Hall. “Because of heightened national awareness, caution is absolutely necessary at this time,” Delta State’s President, Dr. John M. Hilpert offered at the time. “The safety of our students, faculty, and staff remains our first and foremost priority. We appreciate the cooperative spirit the Delta State community and Cleveland community have shown in this difficult time.” The Delta State University Foundation is offering a $5,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible. Anyone with information can call the Delta State Police Department at (662) 846-4155 or the Cleveland Crimestoppers number at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). The Delta State University Police Department, in conjunction and cooperation with local law enforcement, are currently pursuing numerous leads. No arrests have been made at this time. Learn more.
Nine Set to Retire on July 1 at Delta State University
Delta State Honors Long-Time Employees
Delta State Remembers Victims of Virginia Tech Tragedy with Memorial Observance
Statesmen Skipper Earns 500th Win on Baseball Diamond (scroll down)
JACKSON STATE UNIVERSITY NEWS
Jackson State Supporters to Celebrate Campaign Kick Off
Jackson State University has something to cheer about! On Friday, April 27, at 6 p.m., Jackson State will celebrate the beginning of its public phase for a historic $50-million campaign with a big community bash on campus. Join us when hundreds of Jackson State University students, faculty, staff, and supporters will gather along the Gibbs-Green plaza on campus for an evening of food, fun, and entertainment. The Campaign for Jackson State is a historic, empowering campaign dedicated to continuing Jackson State's passion and commitment to academic excellence by securing support for student financial assistance, recruiting, and retaining quality faculty and program enhancement. The event, that is free and open to the public, will include musical performances by The Russell Thomas Quartet, the JSU Concert Choral “Gospel Choir”, Opera South, and the JSU Sonic Boom of the South. Other performers include JSU’s MADDrama and the new JSU Idol. Co-emcees for the event will include Bill Evans, senior Meteorologist, WABC-TV Channel 7 Eyewitness News in New York City and Stephanie Doss, anchor, WAPT-TV, Jackson. For more information on the kick-off, call Pamela Berry-Palmer at (601) 979-1458. To learn more about the Campaign for Jackson State, visit www.campaignforjsu.com. Learn more.
Cage, Wise Headlines JSU’s Church Music Workshop
MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY NEWS
MSU Graduations to Feature Husband-Wife Speakers, Major Donors
Two well-known married couples, all Mississippi State graduates, will be featured speakers May 4 and 5 for the university's spring commencement. In addition, the 129-year-old land-grant university will award honorary degrees to two equally well-known state residents who have made significant contributions in their fields. Some 2,000 students are candidates for degrees. To accommodate large numbers of graduates during the spring and fall semesters--and announce names of all on hand to accept their diplomas--the university holds two ceremonies at Humphrey Coliseum. The speakers include Gray and Mary Swoope of Madison for the 7 p.m. program on the 4th, and Mark and Rhonda Keenum of Alexandria, Va., for the 10 a.m. program on the 5th. Myrna Colley-Lee of Charleston and Dr. William G. Riley of Meridian will receive honorary doctorates in creative arts and science, respectively. Students in the Bagley College of Engineering and the colleges of Veterinary Medicine; Agriculture and Life Sciences, including the School of Human Sciences; Forest Resources; and Education will receive diplomas Friday night. Degrees from the colleges of Arts and Sciences; Architecture, Art and Design; and Business and Industry, including the School of Accountancy, will be awarded Saturday morning. Learn more.
Preferred Candidate Rush to Become MSU Development VP
Schulz Named MSU Research and Economic Development VP
MSU Team Explores Railroad Recovery
MSU Music Prof Awarded 2007-08 Fulbright to Honduras
Apr. 27 - A close-up look at the moon, Venus, Saturn and beyond is available to amateur stargazers and other members of the general public during an open house at the University of Mississippi's Kennon Observatory. The event is free, and families with children are welcome. Learn more.
Apr. 27 - Country singer Kathy Mattea kicks off Oxford's Double Decker Festival with an 8 p.m. concert at the University of Mississippi's Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets at $23, $21, and $20 are available by calling the UM Box Office at (662) 915-7411. Learn more.
Apr. 27 and 29 - The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Civic Chorale will be performing at 7 p.m. on April 27 at the First United Methodist Church of Gulfport and at 2 p.m. on April 29 in the Fine Arts Auditorium of the Jefferson Davis Campus of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Both performances are free. Learn more.
Apr. 28 - The Southern Miss College of Business will be recognizing outstanding students from the Gulf Coast campus at an awards banquet at a luncheon at Mary Mahoney's in Biloxi.
Apr. 29 - Delta State's spring choir concert featuring the Chamber Singers, Chorale, and Delta Singers will be held at 3 p.m. in the Delta and Pine Land Theatre of the Bologna Performing Arts Center. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call the music department at (662) 846-4615.
Apr. 29 - Mississippi State University’s School of Architecture presents its annual recognition ceremony honoring the 30th graduating class, featuring a talk by Leland Speed, chairman of the board of EastGroup Properties. The 1 p.m. program will be at the Giles Architecture Building’s Bettersworth Auditorium. Learn more.
Apr. 30 - Jon Meacham, editor of Newsweek, delivers the lecture, "Religion in American Public Life," at 7 p.m. in the University of Mississippi's Yerby Conference Center. The event is free and open to the public. During his visit, Meacham also plans to meet with students and participate in a journalism class. Learn more.
May 4 - Mississippi State University’s Starkville-MSU Symphony Chorus presents “Thou Who Wast God,” a free concert held at 7:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church. For more information, contact Ted Beverly at (662) 323-5722. Learn more.
May 5 - Mississippi State University’s chapter of the American Veterinary Medicine Association Auxiliary presents Mud Dawgs, a free dog wash open to the public from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Oktibbeha County Co-Op parking lot. Donations will be accepted and shared with the Oktibbeha County Humane Society. Learn more.
May 5 - The Southern Miss Symphony and guests Patti LaBelle, Dionne Warwick, and others will present United in Song, a Tribute to Tena Clark and her music. Limited general admission tickets are available at 1-800-844-TICK, (601) 266-5418, or www.southernmisstickets.com. Learn more.
May 12 - Alcorn State University's 2007 Commencement will take place on the institution’s main campus in Lorman, Mississippi, on Saturday beginning at 8:30 a.m. Learn more.
May 17 - Southern Miss Gulf Coast will be hosting a lecture at 7 p.m. on May 17 in the Memorial Hospital at Gulfport Auditorium. The lecture by Dr. Thomas Knutson is titled Climate Changes and their Effects on Hurricanes. This lecture is free and open to the public. Call (228) 865-4573 for more information. Learn more.
June 15 - Program coordinators of Delta State University's third annual Reaching Out to Mississippi: Education in Action (ROMEA) conference, to be held September 25-26, are soliciting submissions of abstracts for papers, workshops, and posters for possible inclusion in the program. All submissions received by June 15 will be considered, and presenters will be notified by July 15 as to whether their presentations have been accepted. For more information, contact the program committee.