Commissioner Speaks at Ed Writers Conference
Dr. Thomas C. Meredith
Mississippi Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Thomas C. Meredith participated in a three-person panel discussion on "College Readiness: What Is Higher Education's Role?" at the National Education Writers Association (EWA) 60th Annual Seminar in Los Angeles, California, on Saturday, May 5. Commissioner Meredith discussed his role in the national discussion of college access and readiness
, in particular his work with the National Association of System Heads (NASH) Initiative for Access and Success. He urged the higher education reporters attending the conference to help the universities change the culture surrounding university access and readiness. "Use your newspapers to help mothers and fathers; grandmothers and grandfathers; churches; and civic organizations understand that getting kids to stay in school, getting kids to work hard, and getting kids to go to college, is everyone's responsibility because it directly impacts everyone's future. Help the question become 'Where are you going to college?' and 'What are you doing to get there?', not 'Are you going to college?'" Joining him on the panel were California State University System Chancellor Charles B. Reed, who described his system's efforts to administer the university's entrance exam to all high school juniors to make them more aware of what they need to know when they enter as freshmen; and University of New Mexico psychology professor Gordon Hodge, who discussed his work with the National Center for Academic Transformation and the importance and success of course redesign. Learn more about the EWA conference, or contact Commissioner Meredith.
Tuition: How Does Mississippi Measure Up?
Mississippi is among the five most affordable educational jurisdictions in the United States, according to the Educational Policy Institute. In the ranking, Mississippi keeps company with New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Georgia. Last year, the Board approved in-state tuition increases ranging from 4.5 to 5.5 percent; however, last year's national average for public four-year institutions was a 7 percent increase. Taking it to the gridiron, all Conference USA institutions charge more in tuition than Southern Miss; and Louisiana State University, the University of Tennessee, and five other Southeastern Conference (SEC) institutions charge more in tuition than either Mississippi State or Ole Miss. Of the 10 institutions that make up the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), seven charge higher tuition than Mississippi Valley State University, and seven Gulf South Conference (GSC) institutions charge more in tuition than Delta State University. The state of Mississippi offers many comprehensive financial aid programs, like the Mississippi Resident Tuition Assistance Grant, the Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant, and the Higher Education Legislative Plan for needy students. Throughout the state in FY 2006, over 59,000 students received some form of state financial aid totaling approximately $32 million, in addition to $95 million in federally-funded financial aid for students affected by Hurricane Katrina. Learn more about Mississippi's universities, or contact Director of Student Financial Aid Mary Jane Covington for more information about financial assistance.
Hilpert, Mason Receive Contract Renewals
Dr. John Hilpert
Dr. Ronald Mason, Jr.
During last month's IHL Board Meeting on April 18, the Board unanimously approved four-year contract renewals for Delta State University President Dr. John Hilpert and Jackson State University President Dr. Ronald Mason, Jr. Dr. Hilpert came to Delta State in 2003 after serving as president of Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota, since 1997. Dr. Hilpert has tapped his thirty-plus years of educational experience and fundraising prowess to fulfill his vision of making Delta State "the best regional university in America." Dr. Mason assumed the presidency of Jackson State University early in 2000, bringing with him a wealth of experience in higher education, community development, and legal issues. At the time of his appointment he was serving as Executive Director of the Tulane-Xavier National Center for the Urban Community in New Orleans, Louisiana, but he had previously served Tulane University in various roles for 18 years. Learn more about Dr. Hilpert and Delta State University and Dr. Mason and Jackson State University.
Two-Day May Board Meeting Next Week
IHL Board of Trustees
The IHL Board of Trustees will hold its regular monthly meeting next Wednesday, May 16, and Thursday, May 17, in the IHL Board Room in the Universities Center, 3825 Ridgewood Road, Jackson, MS, 39211. The full Board will convene at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, and will then conduct business as a committee of the whole. The Board will then reconvene at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday and will again conduct business as a committee of the whole. An executive session may be held in accordance with the Open Meetings Act. As part of the meeting, the Board will hear presentations by each university regarding their specific facilities needs for the upcoming year. The Board will also discuss the allocation of FY 2008 state appropriations for education and general funding to the institutions, as well as the tuition rates for the upcoming Fall 2007 academic term. The Board meeting will be available for real-time viewing via live webcast on the IHL website.
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.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI NEWS
UM Pilot Spanish Teaching Program Garners Success in Kindergarten Classes
Kindergarteners at Bramlett Elementary School in Oxford are learning shapes, colors, and numbers, like most 5-year-olds, except these kids are being taught in Spanish. A new Spanish teaching pilot program is funded by a federal Foreign Language Assistance Program grant. John Gutierrez, Croft professor of modern languages and foreign language education at the University of Mississippi (UM), helped secure the state grant. Last fall, the $445,000 grant introduced Spanish into kindergarten classes in four Mississippi school districts: Oxford, Moss Point, Western Line (near Avon) and Poplarville, as well as in two Gulfport middle schools. The grant provides seed money to establish the Spanish pilot programs, with hope that districts can be self-funding after three years. "The United States is home to a large number of speakers of languages other than English, with Spanish being the most widely spoken second language," Gutierrez said. "By recruiting and training native Spanish speakers to teach in our classrooms as paraprofessionals, we are able to deliver language instruction to a large number of students in a relatively cost-effective way." Loidha Castillo, a 2003 UM business graduate and native of the Dominican Republic, teaches 275 kindergarteners at Bramlett. "Now that the students have an ear for Spanish and they understand it, it's a great joy for them," Castillo said. "It's such a great feeling for them to know that they are speaking another language." Learn more.
Toyota Consultant Says Plans Taking Shape for Automotive Center
Honors College Student Named NSF Graduate Research Fellow
Never Say Never: 60-Year-Old Grandmother Among Spring Graduates
Honors College Students Get Support for Out-of-the-Ordinary Experiences
UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI MEDICAL CENTER NEWS
UMMC Discovery Gives New Hope for Anthrax Treatment
Researchers at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) have found a mechanism that anthrax bacteria use to elude the body’s defenses, which could lead to a drug or therapy to lessen the effect of anthrax bacterial species Bacillus anthracis if used in a bioterrorism attack. For the last four years, Dr. Rowe Byers, professor of microbiology, and Dr. Jean Arceneaux, associate professor of microbiology, have worked on the project that led to this discovery with scientists from the University of California, Berkeley, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Assisting Byers and Arceneaux at UMMC were Dr. Bianca Garner, currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Medicine, and Melissa Wilson, a graduate student in the Department of Microbiology. A study of how bacteria steal iron from the body uncovered the mechanism that makes an end run around the body’s defense system. Byers said almost everything requires iron, even the anthrax organism. Learn more.
Odom Brings Wealth of Knowledge to UMMC's Transplant Program
Batson CARE Clinic Receives $150,000 Grant for Satellite Clinics
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI NEWS
Groundbreaking Set for National Science Formulation Lab
Sen. Thad Cochran along with The University of Southern Mississippi, Area Development Partnership and local dignitaries will hold official groundbreaking ceremonies for the National Formulation Science Laboratory (NFSL), the first building in the university’s Innovation and Commercialization Park. The ceremony is set for Monday, May 14, at 10:30 a.m. at the Lake Sehoy pavilion, located on Classic Drive about 1 mile from Hwy. 49. Once completed, the NFSL will provide space for high-tech companies relocating to south Mississippi, particularly those seeking access to university projects involving polymers and high-performance materials. The NFSL will also make space available for the Mississippi Polymer Institute, a state-funded manufacturing extension program for the polymer industry. Using local, state and federal funds, Southern Miss is developing the park to house laboratories, offices, and open space for joint university and industry projects that turn research into marketable products. Learn more.
Southern Miss and Forrest General Hospital Team Up to Battle Diabetes
Southern Miss Campus Link to Celebrate First National AmeriCorps Week
Dr. Margaret Hall Selected as Grand Marshal for Hattiesburg Commencement Ceremonies
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI - GULF COAST NEWS
Southern Miss Creates Project WetKids to Promote Science Careers
The University of Southern Mississippi, partnering with ChevronTexaco, Audubon Mississippi, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Mississippi Naturalists, and Stennis Space Center, has created a program for the students and teachers of the Pascagoula School District with an $800,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Academies for Young Scientists. Dr. Julie Cwikla, an associate professor of mathematics education at the university’s Gulf Coast campus, is leading this partnership. The after-school program, Project WetKids, will provide middle school students in the Pascagoula School District opportunities to explore the diverse ecosystems that surround their schools and the Gulf Coast. They will also learn about scientific careers and fields of research with the aim of encouraging more participation and the pursuit of science and mathematics career fields. Southern Miss faculty members and employees from local industries will be mentoring teachers and students who will be leading the program. “Project WetKids is an exciting opportunity for students along the Mississippi Gulf Coast to have hands-on research experience,” said Mississippi Senate Republican Whip Trent Lott. “Mississippi’s wetlands are among our most precious natural resources. They serve as an incubator for the Mississippi Sound, which provides so many jobs for our state. This partnership will be a valuable asset for our children as they prepare for their future.” Learn more.
Dr. Louise Perkins to Serve as Grand Marshal for Southern Miss Gulf Coast Commencement
The Dramatic Disparities between the Tragic Casualties of Virginia Tech and War
Southern Miss Wins Seven Awards at Statewide Public Relations Conference
ALCORN STATE UNIVERSITY NEWS
Alcorn State University Ag Extension To Host Ag Academy Program
Alcorn State University will be hosting the annual Ag Academy program as a part of on-going "Communiversity" project. Ag Academy is a program designed to introduce students in the age range of 6-9 to agricultural science. This year’s program will last 2 weeks, and is scheduled for June 4 - 15. The program will be Monday through Friday, starting at 8:00 am and lasting until 5:00 pm. Students in the program will receive hands-on experiences. Each student will learn the importance of agriculture in their everyday life. Students will be exposed to vegetable growth and harvest. Each student will have the opportunity to participate in farming practices. Furthermore, students will travel to various agricultural science locations in the surrounding areas such as the Agriculture and Forestry Museum in Jackson and the Petrified Forest in Flora. Learn more.
DELTA STATE UNIVERSITY NEWS
Delta State Preps for Saturday's Commencement Exercise
Delta State University is preparing to graduate one of its largest classes in the history of the University this Saturday, May 12, as over 540 students will collect degrees as part of the 80th Spring Commencement service. Scheduled for 10 a.m. inside Walter Sillers Coliseum on campus, the University will also be awarding honorary degrees to two leaders in the field of higher education, Dr. James (Jim) T. Rogers and Dr. Patricia (Patsy) A. Thrash. Dr. Belle Wheelan, current President of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, will deliver the keynote address. Every graduate will be issued six tickets for family and friends, and tickets are required for entry. Any audience overflow will be accommodated in the Jacobs Conference Center in Ewing Hall on campus, where family and friends will be able to view the ceremony on a projection screen. Learn more.
Alums Rogers, Thrash to Be Awarded Honorary Degrees at University's May Commencement
Delta State Commencement Exercise Set, Regional Accrediting Body President to Keynote
Delta Music Institute to Offer Summer Camp for Aspiring Musicians, Application Deadline June 1
Lady Statesmen Ink Mississippi’s “Miss Basketball” Sarita Cooper to National Letter of Intent
JACKSON STATE UNIVERSITY NEWS
JSU Chemistry Students, Professor Recognized for Achievements
Jackson State University’s Department of Chemistry honored four students and a professor from the metro area during the 2007 Annual Chemistry Day on April 30 at the Mississippi e-Center @ JSU. Chianti Woodfork of Jackson, a freshman with a 4.0 grade-point average, and Joshua Smith of Pearl, a junior with a 3.6 GPA, won Best Undergraduate Student awards based on academic performance and research. Tomekia Simeon of Jackson, a doctoral student with a 3.8 GPA, won a Best Graduate Student award based on academic performance, research, publications, and presentations. Teresa Demeritte, a senior from Jackson, won Best Poster Presentation. Each student received a certificate and a $50 check. Dr. Ashton T. Hamme, II, an associate professor of chemistry, won Teacher of the Year for his “timeless effort, dedication, and enthusiasm to students.” JSU’s Department of Chemistry is among the top five graduation programs with minority students, said Dr. Hongtao Yu, department chair. In terms of publications/presentations, the department is among the top five in the southeastern United States, the best in Mississippi, and the best among 117 historically black colleges and universities, Yu said. Among its goals is to be a major producer of African Americans with doctorates in chemistry. The department operates with this motto: “Jackson State University Chemistry Department: Creating Solutions for the Challenges of Tomorrow.” Learn more.
JSU and MCID Launch School Supplies Drive For African Country
JSU's Walter Payton Recreation and Wellness Center is Now Offering Citywide Community Memberships
Center of Excellence in Minority Health to Host ‘Data Management’
JSU Announces Commencement Speaker, Honorary Degree Recipients
MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY NEWS
Property Donated by Sharkey County Native, Wife Supporting MSU
The gift of agricultural property in a neighboring state by former Greenville residents Allan and Barbara Tucker is supporting two major units at Mississippi State University. Proceeds from sale of the couple's property in Northeast Arkansas will be split between the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Bulldog Club athletic donors program. The college's portion will be used to establish a major scholarship endowment in the agricultural economics department. Gifts to the Bulldog Club are used to support student athletic scholarships and athletic facilities. Allan Tucker became involved in Delta agriculture at a young age, growing up on a Sharkey County row-crop farm. He went on to develop his passion by earning a bachelor's degree in agriculture from the university in 1959. The couple retired to Starkville in 2005 to be closer to his alma mater. "The 'ag school,' as it was called when I was attending Mississippi State, provided me with a great education," Tucker said. "The university also provided an equally great education for two of our four children." Following three years with the MSU Extension Service, Tucker embarked on a business career with the Prudential Insurance Co. of America and its subsidiaries. For the next 30 years, he specialized with Prudential's farm mortgage and farm acquisition offices. For an additional 12 years, he worked in farm management and real estate sales with Prudential's Capital Agricultural Property Services. Learn more.
MSU historian Delves into Impact of Federal Policy on Technology
Institute to Teach High School Students about Transportation
New Reality Program Helps Educate Teachers
Mississippi State Education Honor Society Taps Local Students
MISSISSIPPI UNIVERSITY FOR WOMEN NEWS
Rices Establish Scholarship to Benefit Music Majors
David and Martha Bailey Rice's hope to keep classical music alive has been put into motion by establishing the Martha Margaret Bailey Rice Music Scholarship Fund at Mississippi University for Women to be awarded in the fall 2007. The scholarship will benefit a junior or senior music major, according to the Rices, who "hope more students will graduate in classical music. It's fading away." In 1997, the Rices established a charitable remainder trust, a plan that would provide income for life. In 2006, David Rice made the decision to give up the income and terminate the trust early. "I wanted Martha to see students benefit from the gift during our lifetime." "I knew what I wanted to do," he said. "I didn't tell Martha." Immediately after, David Rice terminated their charitable remainder trust and the proceeds from the trust were used to establish the Martha Margaret Bailey Rice Music Scholarship Fund to honor his wife, a retired music educator. The Rices are excited about being able to assist students financially. "This is something that you can do that keeps on lasting," he said. Martha Rice, class of 1948, had a double major in music. She said, "It (the university) taught me everything I knew." Her mother, Keety Herring, also attended MUW.
MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY NEWS
Sen. Cochran Will Deliver MVSU Commencement Address on Saturday, May 12
When Mississippi Valley State University seniors receive their diplomas on Saturday, May 12, they will hear from one of the nation's leading congressmen, Senator Thad Cochran. Cochran will deliver the commencement address to an estimated 495 graduates during the 10 a.m. ceremony in R.W. Harrison Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Complex. In addition, President Lester C. Newman will confer honorary degrees to Sen. Cochran and Charles Steele, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, as well as salute the golden anniversary of the Class of 1957. A native of Pontotoc, Sen. Cochran earned a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in political science from the University of Mississippi. After graduating from law school, he joined the firm of Watkins & Eager in Jackson, one of the state's most respected law firms. In 1978, Thad Cochran was elected to the United States Senate becoming the first Republican in more than 100 years to win a statewide election in Mississippi. He currently serves as ranking member of the full Appropriations Committee and the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. He also serves as a member of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee and the Rules Committee. Learn more.
Apr. 10 - June 18 - The "History of the Delta State Nursing Program" exhibit is open. This exhibit explores the establishment of the program, how it has succeeded, and what its future looks like. Former nurse's uniforms, caps, capes, text books, and other memorabilia are on display. Learn more.
May 12 - 26 - Alcorn State University Extension Program will be holding the following special events: May 12, Art in the Park; May 19 and 26, Blueberry Season Blueberry Sale; May 26, Fresh Produce. The events will take place at the Natchez Farmers Market at 613 Main Street from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Learn more.
May 11 - Mississippi State University begins Maymester, which allows students to receive full academic credit on courses taken throughout the month. Maymester ends with final exams on May 31. Learn more.
May 11 - 12 - The No. 7 nationally ranked University of Mississippi men’s tennis team welcomes Jacksonville State, Minnesota, and South Alabama to the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center for the NCAA Championships first and second rounds. Tickets can be purchased for $7 and $10 by calling (662) 915-7167 or toll-free (888) 732-8587. Learn more.
May 11 - 12 - Graduation ceremonies at the University of Southern Mississippi are set for 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 11, at Reed Green Coliseum in Hattiesburg. Southern Miss Gulf Coast’s graduation ceremony is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, May 12, at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi. Learn more.
May 12 - Alcorn State University Commencement Ceremony will take place on the institution’s main campus in Lorman, Mississippi, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Learn more.
May 12 - U.S. Senator Thad Cochran will deliver the commencement address to Mississippi Valley State University seniors. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. in the R.W. Harrison Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Complex. President Lester C. Newman will confer degrees. Learn more.
May 12 - The founder, president, and CEO of FedEx Corp., Frederick W. Smith, will deliver the University of Mississippi's commencement address during ceremonies at 9 a.m. in the Grove. There are 2,076 candidates for undergraduate and graduate degrees. Learn more.
May 15 - Mississippi State University's Mitchell Memorial Library presents a workshop covering basics on finding books and journals in the library. The free workshop in the Giles Room begins at 3 p.m. and lasts one hour. For more information, call Brad Brazzeal at (662) 325-3834. Learn more.
May 17 - The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast College of Science and Technology will be hosting a lecture by Dr. Thomas Knutson titled 'Climate Changes and Their Effects on Hurricanes' at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Hospital at Gulfport Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public. Learn more.
May 17 - 18 - Mississippi State University presents an economic development forum at the Wise Center, showcasing many areas where the university can assist communities and others with economic development opportunities. For more info, contact the university's Industrial Outreach Service at (662) 325-0513. Learn more.
May 17 - 18 - Scientists, engineers, and other professionals from several states gather in Oxford for the ninth annual Mid-South Area Engineering and Sciences Conference, hosted by the University of Mississippi School of Engineering. This is the first time the event has been hosted at a Mississippi university. Learn more.
May 18 - Mississippi State University's Professional and Support Staff Advisory Council presents Staff Appreciation Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Junction. The Zacharias Distinguished Staff Awards will be presented at noon. For more information, call (662) 325-1827. Learn more.
May 19 - University of Mississippi Medical Center Sports Medicine will offer free athletic physicals for students in grades 8-12 from 8:30 a.m. until noon at the UMC Pavilion. Parent/guardian authorization is required. For more information, call (601) 984-6519. Learn more.
May 21 - The Cellular South Ferriss Trophy presentation will be held inside the Bologna Performing Arts Center (BPAC) on the campus of Delta State University at 7:30 p.m. Presented annually the top collegiate baseball player in Mississippi, the Cellular South Ferriss Trophy event will be televised lived. Learn more.
May 24 - Jackson State University's Office of Alumni and Constituency Relations will host the 2007 JSU Retiree Spring Fling at 11 a.m. The luncheon and fashion show will be held at the Jacob Reddix Campus Union. For more information, call (601) 979-1634, or email Lashonda Levy.
June 11 - 14 - The Annual Church Music Workshop of America is celebrating its 31st year with nationally acclaimed musical artists and consultants Byron Cage and the Rev. Dr. Raymond Wise. The workshop will take place at Jackson State University’s F.D. Hall Music Center on the main campus. 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.