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Volume 2, Issue 33
Friday, August 24, 2007
Edited by
Jennifer Rogers

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

News from the System University News
yellowarrowBiloxi Forum Encourages Research Collaboration for Econ. Dev. yellowarrowDelta State Sets Provost Search Timeline, Appoints Search Committee
yellowarrowNewman to Consult on Ayers, Enrollment Issues yellowarrowJSU Biology Grad Student Studies Prostate Cancer in China
yellowarrowAccess and Success Series - Part One: America's Educational Crisis yellowarrowMSU-guided International Security Competition Reaches Next Stage
yellowarrowBaby Boomers Focus of Mississippi's Business Article yellowarrowMUW Ranked a Top Southern Public Master's University
  yellowarrowValley Hosts High School Day on Oct. 13
  yellowarrowGrisham, Turow to Headline Law School's Innocence Project Dinner
  yellowarrowUMC Performs State's First Laparoscopic Living Donor Nephrectomy
  yellowarrowUSM External Research Funding Reaches $100 Million
  yellowarrowSouthern Miss Gulf Coast Provost Among 50 Leading Business Women
  yellowarrowAlcornite Graduate of Harvard University Principals’ Center
For more IHL News, click here. To subscribe to this e-newsletter, click here.

Biloxi Forum Encourages Research Collaboration for Economic Development
More than 200 researchers, higher education leaders, and industry representatives from across the Gulf South as well as representatives from federal funding agencies, such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, convened at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi, August 19-21, for the 2007 Gulf Coast Post-Katrina/Rita Forum. The forum, entitled "Network Science and Recovery," was sponsored by the NSF EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) Programs in Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. The purpose of the forum was to highlight the role of university research in building and sustaining economic vitality for the Gulf Coast region and to build a collaborative scientific research agenda for the Gulf Coast higher education community capable of moving the region toward global competitiveness. State Economist and IHL Assistant Commissioner for Research and Planning Dr. Phil Pepper kicked off the conference, along with Dr. Gregory Fitch, Executive Director of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, and Dr. Joseph Savoie, Louisiana Commissioner of Higher Education. Dr. Pepper provided an overview of the university research environment in Mississippi and discussed the need for more collaboration.
Newman to Consult on Ayers, Enrollment Issues
During its August meeting, held last Wednesday, the IHL Board approved a consulting services contract with Dr. Lester C. Newman, who resigned the presidency of Mississippi Valley State University on July 15. Board President Dr. L. Stacy Davidson, Jr., issued the following statement regarding the Board's decision: "Dr. Newman had three years left on his employment contract when he decided he had accomplished what he could for Mississippi Valley State University. The Board wanted to take advantage of his higher education expertise by offering him the opportunity to consult with the Board in relation to planning issues, Ayers implementation, and academic affairs. Specifically, the Board has asked Dr. Newman to examine and make recommendations for increasing African American male enrollment in Mississippi's public universities. There is an obvious national concern-and one we share in the state-that African American males are not reaching the level of educational attainment necessary for our state to be successful." During his nine-year tenure at Valley, Dr. Newman successfully increased the enrollment of African American males at the university by 15 percent. President Davidson added, "Dr. Newman is working on a contractual basis with no fringe benefits. The amount he is being paid is a negotiated price in lieu of him completing the remaining three years on his four-year contract. He will have periodic discussions with the Commissioner of Higher Education regarding progress on his various projects, and a report will be expected by the end of the contract."
Access and Success Series - Part One: America's Educational Crisis
This is the first in a System Review  series on access and success in higher education. We begin by outlining what we consider to be an educational crisis in our state and in our nation. Thirty years ago, 34 percent of students participating in higher education worldwide were enrolled in U.S. institutions. Today, the U.S. has only 14 percent of the world's higher education enrollment, and the percentage is falling. Higher education is becoming increasingly more important in other parts of the world, but the urgency to increase the education level of Americans is not keeping pace. Only one-third of all ninth graders in the United States graduate from high school. Only 57 percent of first-time full-time freshmen graduate in six years from four-year institutions. Less than one-third of community college students graduate after three years. And in Mississippi, only about 22 percent of community college freshmen ever transfer to a four-year institution. The result is that only about 28 percent of the adult population in this nation (21 percent in Mississippi) has a college degree. Nevertheless, our state and nation need more university graduates to compete. The U.S. population is aging, and demographics are driving a labor shortage. Despite the surplus of jobs, our working age population is not educationally prepared to meet the demands of the market. For example, by 2014 (in just seven years) there will be six million more jobs requiring a bachelor's degree or higher than people qualified to fill them. And in the next decade, 70 percent of the nation's 30 fastest-growing jobs will require some kind of postsecondary education. Increasingly, U.S. employers are turning to foreign nationals for skilled workers to close the gap. Watch the System Review for the next article in our series on access and success, which will focus on access to higher education.
Baby Boomers Focus of Mississippi's Business Article
In the August 2007 issue of Mississippi's Business, Dr. Barbara J. Logue, senior demographer in the IHL Office of Policy Research and Planning, looks at the challenges and opportunities the state faces as baby boomers move into the older ages. Nationwide, baby boomers make up 42 percent of all households and account for half of all consumer spending. As this powerful generation grows older, society will face such challenges as maintaining a manageable demand for health care; filling the labor shortage created by large numbers of retirees; and implementing viable assistance programs capable of combating financial exploitation and health care discrimination and of promoting independent living and improved mobility, among other things. These challenges present opportunities as well. Baby boomers may choose to lead longer, more productive work lives; negative stereotypes of the aging population may subside; and new “silver” markets will emerge to cater to the needs and wants of the aging population. For more information about the baby-boom generation or Mississippi’s demographic makeup, contact Dr. Barbara Logue at (601) 432-6576. The current edition of Mississippi's Business also includes a glance at the state’s economy and an assessment of consumer and executive confidence levels. Read Mississippi's Business online.

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.

Delta State Sets Provost Search Timeline, Appoints Search Committee
The timeline is admittedly “aggressive,” Delta State University President, Dr. John M. Hilpert acknowledges, as the University officially announced this morning both its search timeline and committee to find the next Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “Our intended schedule calls for the appointment of a new Provost by Thanksgiving,” he continued. “The timing could change, of course, as the realities of the search unfold, but the determination to find the right person will not change. Our search will be broad-based and thorough,” Hilpert promised. “The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs is a key position for the future of Delta State University. We exist, after all, as an academic enterprise, and we must have a leader in this area who can balance effectively issues of quality, development, responsiveness to external realities, and advocacy for faculty concerns.” The Provost position was originally left vacant in March 2007 with the resignation of Dr. John Thornell. After 30-plus years of service to Delta State, Thornell accepted a similar position in North Carolina. Delta State’s Presidential Cabinet opted to postpone a search for Thornell’s replacement until the fall semester, reasoning, “If we were to begin the search process in March, our best case scenario would have been to have final candidates on campus in May or June. That timing would have made it difficult for many of the faculty and others in our organization to participate.” Learn more.

Delta State Profs Form New Chapter of American Association of University Professors

Delta State Announces New Yearly Theme, 'Year of Delta Heritage'

Statesmen Make Strides in Saturday Scrimmage

Delta State Athletics to Sponsor Fan Bus to Jackson State Sept.1

JSU Biology Grad Student Studies Prostate Cancer in China
Melvanique S. Thomas, a graduate student in biology at Jackson State University, recently spent part of the summer in China conducting research on prostate cancer. The Byhalia, Miss., native spent June 29-July 23 working with Professor Hangshan Wang in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Guangxi Normal University in Guilin, China. Jackson State biology professor Dr. Stephen I. N. Ekunwe accompanied her on the trip. While in China, Thomas learned techniques for isolating bioactive compounds in an edible Nigerian herb. “The research allowed me to gain the necessary skills to isolate compounds from the plant of interest, which will aid in the completion of my thesis and master of science program,” said Thomas, a 2002 graduate of Byhalia High School. “The intense work ethics of the Chinese confirmed the statements made by my parents that it really is hard out in the ‘real’ world and only the strong survive. Experiencing that first-hand will definitely be advantageous to my future.” Thomas’ trip was supported by the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement, or RISE, program in Jackson State’s College of Science, Engineering, and Technology. The program focuses on minorities who want to pursue careers in biomedical sciences. Thomas is the daughter of JoAnn (Polk) Owens and Robert Owens of Byhalia and Melvin Thomas of Coldwater, Miss. She is the granddaughter of the late Mattie B. Polk. Learn more.

Three Promoted in JSU’s College of Science, Engineering, and Technology

JSU’s AFROTC Program to Host Open House

JSU School of Social Work Hosting First Doctoral Research Conference

MSU-guided International Security Competition Reaches Next Stage
Five high-technology companies specializing in functions from eye scanning to data encryptions are semi-finalists for the North American leg of the Global Security Challenge (GSC), organized, in part, by Mississippi State University (MSU). The semifinals will take place Sept. 5 in Washington, D.C.  MSU and GSC joined earlier this year to serve as host for the U.S. competition, where the top North American selections present business plans to a panel of judges. Entrants submitted executive summaries of their business. Organizers of the international competition seek the world's most promising security technologies. As semi-finals are also conducted in Singapore and Germany, companies in North America, Europe, and the Far East are seeking to earn a spot to present their business plans on Nov. 8 at the overall finals event, sponsored by the London Business School. The overall winner will receive a $500,000 prize and mentorship from Paladin Group Capital, a top worldwide venture capitalist company. "This year, the number of submissions to the challenge has increased by leaps and bounds, which seems to indicate a global understanding of the need for innovation in these areas," said Simon Schneider, co-director of the GSC and a former homeland security consultant with the IBM Corp. Free tickets may be reserved at www.globalsecuritychallenge.com/conference/usa.html .  Learn more.

Kevin Knudson Named Associate Director of MSU Honors College

MSU Prof Offers 'Good' Writing Tips for Education Community

MSU Encourages Early Application for 2007 High School Band Day

MUW Ranked a Top Southern Public Master's University

Mississippi University for Women has been ranked a top Southern public master’s university by U.S. News & World Report for the fourth year in a row. Faculty, staff, and students recently celebrated being ranked 10th among Southern public master’s universities in the 2008 edition of “America’s Best Colleges." MUW also appeared in the best value category as the No. 2 Southern public master’s university and No. 30 in the Best Universities Master’s by region. “We are pleased to learn of the continuation of this honor since it stresses the quality education we are providing for our students,” said MUW President Claudia A. Limbert. “We strive to care as much about our students’ education as they do.” Rankings are based on several key measures of quality including peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving, and graduation rate performance. The formula used to determine which colleges and universities offer the best value relates a school’s academic quality, as indicated by its U.S. News ranking, to the net cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of need-based financial aid. According to U.S. News , the higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal. Learn more.

Valley Hosts High School Day On October 13
Mississippi Valley State University will host its annual Fall High School Day on Saturday, Oct. 13, beginning at 9 a.m. in the R.W. Harrison Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Complex. Doors will open at 7 a.m. for early bird registration. “We want our area high school students to make Valley their first choice for continuing their education,” said Nora B. Taylor, executive director of the Office of Admissions and Recruitment. “High School Day gives prospective students an up close and personal look into what they can expect from the Valley of Scholars.” This event affords high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to learn more about MVSU, its academic programs, and scholarship opportunities. While visiting the Itta Bena campus, each student will be provided an opportunity to visit informational booths sponsored by the Office of Admissions and Recruitment, the Office of Financial Aid, University College, the Department of Athletics, and numerous financial institutions. These offices will provide details about their programs and services. This year’s scheduled activities include a departmental fair featuring academic units, campus tours, rides, and fun activities before the Delta Devils football game against North Dakota State University. Students who participate in High School Day activities receive free admission to the football game, Taylor said. Contact Taylor at (662) 254-3347 for more information. Learn more.

John Grisham, Scott Turow to Headline Law School's Innocence Project Dinner
Authors John Grisham and Scott Turow will headline a fundraising dinner Oct. 22 in Jackson to support the newly formed Mississippi Innocence Project at the University of Mississippi School of Law. Grisham, who graduated from the law school in 1981, is the author of numerous novels and other books, including his most recent, The Innocent Man, which profiles a man wrongfully convicted and freed years later with the help of several attorneys. Turow, a 1978 graduate of Harvard Law School, also has authored numerous books, including Presumed Innocent and Ultimate Punishment.  Both authors have supported similar projects in law schools across the country. However, the upcoming dinner marks the first time the two have jointly raised money for such a cause. Announced this past spring, the Mississippi Innocence Project was established with initial funding by Grisham and Columbus attorney Wilbur Colom, a graduate of Antioch Law School. Tucker Carrington, a former visiting professor at Georgetown Law School, has been hired as the project's full-time director. Carrington said that the program is "committed to providing the highest quality legal representation to its clients: state prisoners serving significant periods of incarceration who have cognizable claims of wrongful conviction." Tickets to the Oct. 22 dinner with Grisham and Turow at the Hilton in Jackson are $125 per person and available by contacting Renee Van Slyke at (662) 915-6822 or reneevan@olemiss.edu . Learn more.

Freshmen Complete First Phase of Alcohol Abuse Prevention Program

Summer Orientation Groups Donate to Local Charities

Memphis Couple Pledges $500,000 to Seed Classics Endowment

Ole Miss Fans Encouraged to Wear Red and Blue for Annual College Colors Day

UMC Performs State's First Laparoscopic Living Donor Nephrectomy
A Jackson man found it in his heart to give up one of his kidneys. Jeffrey Purvis, 35, gave the ultimate gift to his half-brother James Carr July 18 when he donated one of his kidneys to save Carr’s life. It was the first laparoscopic living donor kidney donation (nephrectomy) done in Mississippi. When asked what motivated him to render such an act of kindness, Purvis simply said, “Because he’s my brother.” And although he felt some discomfort after the procedure, he said he would do it again if it were possible. Dr. Alan Hawxby, UMC assistant professor of surgery, was lead surgeon for the procedure; Dr. Henry Barber, UMC professor of surgery, transplanted the kidney into Carr. “Laparoscopic donor nephrectomy for transplantation was first introduced at John Hopkins Hospital in 1995,” Hawxby said. “Since its introduction, laparoscopic nephrectomies have spread to nearly every transplant center in the U.S.” Learn more.

IHL Commissioner Urges New Medical Students to Merge Care, Compassion

External Research Funding Reaches Two-Year Average of $100 Million at Southern Miss
Faculty and staff at The University of Southern Mississippi begin this academic year with a two-year average of $100 million in external research funding for projects that have widespread applications from homeland security to math and science education. “This is a vastly different university than it was 25 years ago,” said Dr. Cecil Burge, vice president for Research and Economic Development. “The quality of the work we do now is much more advanced and exciting, and much of it has commercialization potential. This university has really established itself as a major player in the research area." In the face of reduced Congressional earmarks and a change in university leadership, Southern Miss faculty and staff maintained a high level of research activity that generated a total of $98.6 million in external funding for the 2006-07 academic year that ended June 30. "The ability of our top-notch faculty to attract this type of external funding translates into quality academic experiences for our students," said President Martha Saunders. "This is one of the building blocks that has helped transform Southern Miss from a good regional college to a national university." Dr. Burge said that the 2007 total is consistent with the record $102 million in 2006 and is indicative of a great deal of hard work on the part of faculty and staff. "The university has been able to sustain this level of funding due to increased activity by the faculty." Learn more.

Southern Miss Gulf Coast Announces Plans for Entertainment Industry Center

The DuBard School for Language Disorders Kicks Off 45th Anniversary

Southern Miss's Family Network Partnership Continues Enrichment for Area Students

Hattiesburg Families Host Southern Miss International Exchange Students

Southern Miss Gulf Coast Provost Among 50 Leading Business Women
Dr. Pat Joachim, associate provost at The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast, has been named one of the state’s 50 Leading Business Women of 2007 by the Mississippi Business Journal . Along with Joachim, 49 other professional women who have made a significant contribution to society and the workplace are being recognized today at an awards luncheon in Raymond, Miss. “I am extremely honored to be recognized as an outstanding business woman,” said Joachim. “My time at Southern Miss has been an amazing two years. Serving the higher education needs of the Gulf Coast by rebuilding our coast sites has been a top priority. My work in education over the past 30 years has been very rewarding, and I am happy to contribute back to the state.” As the associate provost for Southern Miss Gulf Coast, Joachim serves as the chief academic and operating officer for the Gulf Park Campus and other teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. In addition to her work for Southern Miss, Joachim has extensive administrative experience in education within the Gulf Coast’s school districts. She has previously served as principal at Central Elementary School in Gulfport, assistant principal at Fernwood Junior High School in Biloxi, and as the assistant superintendent of personnel with the Ocean Springs School District. “There are so many deserving women across the state,” said Joachim. “I am honored to be one of many representing South Mississippi.” Learn more.

Southern Miss Katrina Research Center Fundraiser at Gulfport Barnes and Noble

Southern Miss Gulf Coast Welcomes 12 New Faculty Members

Alcornite Graduate of Harvard University Principals’ Center
Mitchell M. Shears, who received his bachelor's degree in 1999 and his masters degree in 2001 from Alcorn State University, recently graduated from the Harvard University Principals’ Center. He attended the summer institute, "Improving Schools: The Art of Leadership." Shears received his bachelor’s degree in mass communications and his master’s degree in elementary education.  He also received his specialist degree from Mississippi College in education leadership. He is currently in his second year as principal at Clausell Elementary School in the Jackson Public School District. Learn more.

Aug. 24 - Delta State University has created the INFO line, your source for “what’s going on” on campus each week. If you would like to know what is taking place on campus from Monday-Sunday, just dial the INFO line at (662) 846-4636.

Aug. 24-25 - The Katrina Research Center (KRC) at Southern Miss has partnered with Barnes & Noble of Gulfport to raise funds for the KRC. With a special voucher from the Southern Miss Gulf Coast Web site, a portion of any purchases made at Barnes & Noble on Friday, August 24, or Saturday, August 25, will go to the KRC. Learn more.

Aug. 25 - The annual "Rumble in the Grove" at the University of Mississippi features performances by Eric Church, Ingram Hill, Drew Holcomb, and Yoni, with a wing-eating contest sponsored by Wing Fanatic. Admission is free. Learn more.

Aug. 28 - Jack Pendarvis, the 2007-08 John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi, reads from his work at 7 p.m. in Nutt Auditorium. The program is free and open to the public. Learn more.

Aug. 29 - Mississippi State University presents a student involvement fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the drill field. The fair will introduce students to campus organizations, local churches, and community groups for opportunities to get involved on and off campus. For more information, call (662) 325-2150. Learn more.

Aug. 29 - Mississippi State University's Gender Studies Lecture Series presents Dr. Lynne Cossman, director of MSU's Women's Studies program. She will discuss "Women and Work at Mississippi State: The A&S Faculty Worklife Survey." To RSVP for the lecture, call (662) 325-1466 or email msuws@hotmail.com. Learn more.

Aug. 30 - Mississippi State University presents its first football game of the 2007-2008 season, hosting Louisiana State University. ESPN will host the game and events associated with the sporting event. A list of events are planned with the football game. For more information, call (662) 325-2703. Learn more.

Sept. 4-9 - The annual Tennessee Williams celebration at Mississippi University for Women includes varied programs of scholarly lectures, dramatic presentations, and social gatherings. For more information, call 1-800-327-2686 or email sbcaradine@cableone.net.

Sept. 13 - Agricultural Field Day at Alcorn State University will feature nine demonstration sites to train farmers on fruit, vegetable, swine, and goat production. Registration and lunch are free, but pre-registration is required. The deadline for registering is August 31. Contact Arkon Burks (601) 877-2311 or arkonburks_2006@yahoo.com. Learn more.

Sept. 13 - Rik Reppe's Staggering Toward America: The Journey Home , a fascinating story of Reppe's trek from California to New York in the wake of September 11, 2001, kicks off the new "108 Ford Center" series at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Mississippi. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $7 for UM students. Learn more.

Oct. 6 - Jackson State will host "High School Community College Day" for prospective students. For more information, call (601) 979-2913. Learn more.

Oct. 10-12 - JSU's 6th Annual Conference on Eliminating Health Disparities will focus on heart disease and obesity. For more information, call (601) 979-1101. Learn more.

Oct. 18-20 - The annual Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium will kick off on Thursday, Oct. 18, with renowned Mississippi writer Ellen Douglas in Parkinson Hall on the Mississippi University for Women campus at 7 p.m. The Symposium is free and open to the public. For more information, call Dr. Bridget Pieschel at (662) 241-6125 or email pieschel@muw.edu.

Oct. 20 - Mississippi Valley State University will hold its Homecoming activities. The Delta Devils will battle Texas Southern during a 2 p.m. contest at Rice-Totten Stadium.

Now through Oct. 31 - A new exhibit, "Everything Old Is New Again" will be open in the Capps Archives & Museum on Delta State's campus. The exhibit features some of the recent donations made to the museum. For more information, call (662) 846-4780.

Nov. 14-16 - JSU's College of Lifelong Learning will host the Spirit of Safety (S.O.S.) Conference, featuring television host Judge Greg Mathis at the Hilton Hotel and Convention Center. The conference's goal is to promote violence free educational environments. For more information, call (601) 432-6649. Learn more.

Look for the next issue August 31.
Mississippi's Institutions of Higher Learning
Attention: Public Affairs
Jackson, Mississippi 39211-6453
Fax: (601) 432-6891

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