An Academic Affairs UpdateDear Colleagues

February 2020

I hope your spring semester is going well. Please let me take a few minutes to give you a quick update from the Division of Academic Affairs.

Carnegie Community Engagement Classification

By now, I hope you’ve seen the terrific news about Mississippi State again attaining Carnegie Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. This distinction is an achievement by our entire university family, and additional confirmation that we are making a difference in the many different communities we serve. My thanks to the Community Engagement Committee members who prepared our formal application, all who contributed to it, and all of you who are a part of our community engagement, service learning, and other outreach and service activities. Well done! Read more at

Partnership honors MSU Idea Shop and College View

Congratulations to all involved in the extraordinary success of the MSU Idea Shop and in College View. During its annual awards banquet this month, the Greater Starkville Development Partnership recognized the Idea Shop with a Partner of the Year Award from the Starkville Main Street Association, and College View received the Best New Development Award. Read more at

CVM hospitals attain AAHA accreditation

I also congratulate Dean Kent Hoblet and the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Animal Health Center, Veterinary Specialty Center, and Animal Emergency and Referral Center for attaining American Animal Hospital Association accreditation after a rigorous review. This achievement illustrates the outstanding work of the college’s faculty, staff and students. Read more at

Center for Distance Education reaches milestone

Our Center for Distance Education recently reached an important milestone. It’s now offering more than 50 accredited online programs, including the recent additions of master’s programs in foreign language and educational psychology. The center team and Executive Director Susan Seal, along with MSU-Meridian and Associate Vice President Terry Dale Cruse, are also coordinating the new Bachelor of Applied Science program, which is seeing great success. Read more at

Important and timely update to sponsored projects policy

As you may recall me saying over the past few years, the funding environment for research has never been more competitive. In late January, the university’s Executive Council approved a revision of OP 70.01: Sponsored Projects, designed to help us be more competitive when submitting funding proposals. The updated policy requires that all proposals must be complete and identified as final in the Office of Sponsored Projects Portal at least three business days ahead of the deadline in order to be submitted for funding consideration. This change will help to ensure that proposals from Mississippi State are thoroughly reviewed and our submission packages are as strong and competitive as possible. I would encourage you to reach out to OSP Director Kevin Enroth and his team with any questions about this important and timely change --

Application deadline for Community-Engaged Learning Fellows Program

A reminder that the deadline for applications to this year’s Community-Engaged Learning (CEL) Fellows program is coming up February 21. The program will meet for three weeks in May with CEL Fellows exploring community-engaged learning theory, course design, and pedagogy. Participants will receive a $1,000 course or research development award, peer support, and one-on-one assistance to design a new community-engaged learning course or modify an existing course. Additional information and application instructions are available at

Nominations sought for Jefcoat and Ammon Advising Awards

I’ll also remind you that we are also taking nominations for 2020 Irvin Atly Jefcoat Excellence in Advising Awards and Wes Ammon Outstanding New Advisor Awards. The deadline for nominations for both awards is March 23. Read more at

Changes in the Provost’s Office

I want to make you aware of some staff changes in the Provost's Office: Recently, Susan Brooks moved to the Office of Human Resources Management to help them address several special projects. Ardra Morgan will be shifting responsibilities to a Business Development Assistant for the International Institute, the Office of Research and Economic Development, and the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President. As a result, we are currently advertising for two positions, a Director of Academic Fiscal Affairs and an Executive Assistant to the Provost.

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 Keith Coble, William L. Giles Distinguished Professor and head of the Department of Agricultural Economics, who has been selected for the Southern Agricultural Economics Association Lifetime Achievement Award. The honor recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to scholarship and public service in southern agricultural economics over the course of a career spanning 25 years or more. Dr. Coble is without question one of the nation’s leading agricultural economists and well deserving of this prestigious recognition. Read more at
  • Kudos Daniel Carruth, associate director for advanced vehicle systems at the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, who is part of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization research task group examining autonomous vehicle modeling and simulation tools. The group will work through 2023 to determine standards for modeling and simulation tools, allowing military and research personnel to more effectively develop algorithms that will allow autonomous vehicles to navigate off-road and unknown terrain. Read more at
  • Congratulations to Shawn Lambert, an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures and a research fellow at the Cobb Institute of Archaeology, who is part of a multi-institution collaboration awarded $300,000 from the National Science Foundation to support research that will help prevent sexual harassment during undergraduate field-based study. Read more at
  • Kudos to the information systems faculty in the Department of Management and Information Systems, who are ranked fourth in the SEC and 48th in the world in scientific journal publications in the last decade in the prestigious top six journals known as the "Association for Information Systems (AIS) Senior Scholars Basket of Journals." Only four other SEC schools were ranked among the top 100 in the world. Merrill Warkentin, the James J. Rouse Endowed Professor of Information Systems and a William L. Giles Distinguished Professor, was 37th among global IS scholars for the 2010-2019 decade. Furthermore, Mississippi State ranks 22nd in the world (16th in the US and 3rd in the SEC) in publications in the top IS journal, MIS Quarterly, over the past decade.
  • Congratulations to Jan Chambers, William L. Giles Distinguished Professor of Veterinary Medicine and director of the Center for Environmental Health Science, who has been reappointed to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board for a second term. The board is charged with providing scientific advice to the EPA administrator. Read more at
  • Kudos to Xin Cui, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, who is the recipient of the 2020 Thieme Chemistry Journal Award in recognition for his laboratory research on organic chemistry, catalysis and medicinal chemistry. Recipients are selected by the editorial board members of Synthesis, Synlett, and Synfacts, an in-print and e-journal. Read more at

Final words

Mississippi State University and the nation are celebrating Black History Month in February, and there are multiple events scheduled on our campus that are free and open to all as part of this annual observance. Additional details about these exhibits, lectures, presentations, and other special events, as well as information about the State of Black Men Symposium, are available at

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

Hail State!


Dr. David R. Shaw is Provost and Executive Vice President at Mississippi State University. His email address is