An Academic Affairs UpdateDear Colleagues

July 2019

Thank you all for the kind words over the past few weeks as I have prepared to move into my new role as provost and executive vice president. I’ve shared dozens of “Dear Colleagues” letters with you for the past nine years or so -- highlighting our research and economic development news -- and now I’m planning to continue a regular, monthly update from the Division of Academic Affairs. Let’s jump right in.

MSU contributions to Journal of Mississippi History

The Journal of Mississippi History’s current issue, which has a theme of “Grant and Mississippi,” features contributions from our leading Ulysses S. Grant researchers -- John Marszalek, David Nolen, and Louie Gallo. The issue also includes an article by doctoral alumnus Timothy Smith, a lecturer in the University of Tennessee at Martin’s Department of History and Philosophy. Read more at

MSU-Meridian awarded grant for first state-run residency program to train teachers

MSU-Meridian is playing an integral role in a new teacher training program. We will welcome 12 teacher assistants from the Jackson Public Schools this fall for participation in the Mississippi Teacher Residency program, which is administered by the Mississippi Department of Education. MSU-Meridian’s Brandi Sumrall and Jeff Leffler are co-directors for this unique program. The first of its kind state-run initiative was awarded first-year funding of more than $198,000 from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Read more at

School of Architecture leadership transition

Congratulations to Michael Berk, who recently retired as director of the School of Architecture and F.L. Crane Professor after a distinguished 29-year career here at Mississippi State. Jassen Callender, who has led the Fifth Year Program for more than a decade, will serve as interim director during this transition period. Read more at

New parking option for students

It’s no secret that parking is a major topic of discussion on college campuses around the country, and that’s certainly true on our growing campus. With the start of the fall semester less than six weeks away, I’d encourage all of you to learn more about a new parking option for our commuter students. The “any valid permit” zone permit allows for parking in the outlying Any Valid Permit areas of campus. The permits will be less expensive than other commuter permits designated for specific zones. Additionally, a new parking lot between Critz Hall and BSU is under construction, with work expected to be complete in September. This lot will add 225 parking spaces available to anyone with a commuter permit. And we’re looking forward to breaking ground very soon on a new 500-space parking garage between Deavenport Hall and the Howell Building. In the near future, we’ll also construct a new lot near Fresh Foods for commuter west parking. Read more at

Kudos and congratulations

Every month, I look forward to sharing faculty and staff success stories with you, and here are a few that have crossed my desk recently:

* Congratulations to Mary Love Tagert, an assistant Extension professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, who is one of four individuals selected nationally as a fellow in the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program. Read more at

* Kudos to Critz Campbell, associate professor and the head of the Department of Art, who is the recipient of the Mississippi Museum of Art’s Jane Crater Hiatt Artist Fellowship. Read more at

* Congratulations to Dominic Lippillo, associate professor of photography, whose work has been selected for the 2019 Mississippi Invitational exhibition in Jackson, along with Professor Campbell’s artwork. Read more about the exhibition at

* Kudos to Michael Potter, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, who has been named editor-in-chief of Public Integrity, an American Society of Public Administration scholarly journal. Read more at

* Congratulations to Tommy Anderson, who has been named associate dean for academic affairs for the College of Arts and Sciences. Read more at

* Kudos to David Peebles, a professor in the Department of Poultry Science, who has been named a fellow of the Poultry Science Association. Read more at

* Congratulations to Nicole Rader, who is our new head of the Department of Sociology. Read more at

* Kudos to Peter Allen, an associate professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, who recently received a Fulbright grant to teach and conduct research in Chile. Read more at

* Congratulations to Robert Thompson, who has been named the new head of the Department of Philosophy and Religion. Read more at

Final Words

Thank you for taking the time to read this month’s letter. Please feel free to contact me at if you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns.


Hail State!