"I LOVE teaching Philosophy, and I have been doing so for decades. But Philosophy is not really practical is it? I mean to say: it isn’t exactly USEFUL is it, in the big scheme of things? Well, there’s the rub, because it is precisely the big scheme of things with which I concern myself. What does it mean to exist? What is the purpose of living and how does one live a good life? How do we know what we know? These questions and others are chased around the block everyday of our lives in one way or other. How do we “chase” them in the Philosophy Department at Millsaps College? In our courses, obviously, but more specifically through the dialectical method of question & answer – a method some call the Socratic Method. And indeed many of us look back to Socrates for clues to conducting ourselves as Philosophers. So, come to Millsaps and take a Philosophy course – you have my assurance that you won’t regret doing so.
"Oh yeah, and there is this stuff: Theodore (Ted) G. Ammon was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi and attended Mississippi State University intending to be a civil engineer but graduated with a BA in Philosophy and English. My graduate work at Washington University-St. Louis resulted in a MA and PhD in Philosophy. I have taught at Millsaps College since 1985. Awarded the Distinguished Professor Award in 1992, I continue to teach with great enthusiasm and to publish occasionally in a variety of areas. My publications include the book Conversations With William H. Gass and articles in the areas of moral theory, mathematics, philosophy & literature and the history of philosophy. I’ve been married 40 years, have two children and two grandchildren.
"I wish all and sundry to note that my grandchildren are the brightest and most beautiful, that Jimi Hendrix rules electric guitar and that my 1956 Dodge Coronet (with push-button transmission) is surely the classiest car on the streets of Jackson, Mississippi. And yes, I still collect and play vinyl."
"My primary interest is in group and organizational behavior. I teach management, group behavior, leadership, and human resource management.I like to engage students in the learning process, so I rely on a highly interactive approach to case studies, group exercises, simulations, movie clips, role plays, etc. I draw from current issues of the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and other sources to explore how the topics from class play out in the world. My research interests focus on group behavior and management education. I have published articles in journals such as Small Group Research, Academy of Management Learning and Education and Journal of Management Education."
"During my teaching career my primary goal has been to help young people develop their ability to think creatively and analytically and develop morally and intellectually. I strive to not only be a teacher, but a mentor, role model, and friend to my students. For example, I supervised many independent studies and internships. Several of the directed studies have resulted in research that has been presented at professional meetings and/or published in professional journals. I also strive to involve students and business leaders in an interactive learning environment by bringing real world experiences into the classroom. For instance, I regularly schedule partners from accounting firms in Jackson to present cases drawn from their current practice to my Advanced Financial Accounting Theory and Problems class.
"I have been very active in the Accounting Residency Program helping place our students in positions that allow them to gain professional work experience before graduation. These activities are critical for expanding partnerships between the College and the regional and national business community. We have had an almost 100 percent placement rate for students who graduate from our MAcc Program during the past 20 years.
"Globalization of business requires accounting educators to take on the challenge of preparing our students to be much more than merely technically competent accountants. We as educators we must foster and nurture an entrepreneurial spirit in our students and motivate them to strive to achieve life goals that go beyond ordinary endeavors. By offering an academically challenging, innovative curriculum we must provide students a strong foundation in fundamental business skills as well as general abilities such as critical thinking, communication, quantitative thinking, historical consciousness and multicultural awareness. Of growing importance is the need to create a focus on global awareness and cultural sensitivity, we must educate our students to the reality that globalization of business is a fact of life and that its' increasing importance in business and in society will impact them personally. Business educators must convey these lessons with a sense of urgency. The future is now and we must broaden accounting education so that our graduates can help lead the economy of this country as we compete beyond our local, state, and national borders. To accomplish these objectives we as educators must take a personal interest in out students' entire professional life. We must be available to serve as role models, mentors, and advocates for our students. We must create programs and connections that will place our students into the broader world. If you strive to create leaders for the future of accounting and business you can no longer simply stay in the classroom and teach your students the technical elements of accounting. We must commit to travel with students for extended periods to introduce them to the broader world, local, regional, national and beyond to the international business community."
"Interacting with each and every student is one of my most rewarding experiences, and I am excited to teach anthropology and archaeology at Millsaps. I teach in the classroom but also across the street and around the globe, and I take every opportunity to include hands-on activities and go on field trips with students. We visit archaeological sites around Mississippi, take a tour at a plantation, or participate in an archaeological excavation in Peru where I conduct research.
"My first anthropology class at the Université de Montréal, where I did my undergrad, was an eye-opener; it exposed me to the cultures, beliefs, customs, languages, and origins of different human populations around the world. I try to provide the same experience for my students because I think that an informed appreciation and understanding of other cultures – past and present – is fundamental in our contemporary globalized world. In the classroom and in the field, I hope to open the students’ mind to practices and customs that may be different from their own.
"As an anthropological archaeologist I am interested in the impact of expansionist states and empires on the daily lives of the members of local communities. I have been exploring this theme in the Andes of South America since 1999. My current research takes place in Cusco in the southern highlands of Peru. Cusco was the capital of the Inka empire, but it is also a key location for understanding the expansion of the earlier Wari state. Wari colonists migrated to the area and constructed large settlements during a period spanning from AD 600 to 1000. Most research in Cusco has focused on these large Wari installations, leading many scholars to conclude that Wari administrators established direct imperial control over the region. My research takes a complementary “bottom-up” approach and documents how local communities experienced Wari state expansion and how exchange with Wari colonists and others contributed to increasing social inequality in the region. So far, results show that daily life was little affected by Wari presence, although it provided new opportunities that local leaders used to enhance their own prestige. During the summers I invite students to participate in my research project in Peru. We excavate at the archaeological site of Ak’awillay near the city of Cusco and do lab work to inventory our findings. Cusco is famous for its many touristic attractions including the large Inka site of Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley, and its friendly people, good food, and fabulous landscapes. Throughout the summer students gain hands-on experience in archaeology, discover many facets of Peruvian culture, and even learn a few phrases in Spanish. It is a unique experience studying and living abroad."
With Dr. George Bey, not only do you have the opportunity to study the ancient Maya on campus, but you can actually explore the ruins of this past civilization at our own archaeological project in Yucatan. As his archaeology student, you will discuss the latest theories on the rise and fall of this civilization, work with millennium old artifacts in our on-campus laboratory, and excavate the temples and palaces of a civilization that rivaled that of the Greeks or Egyptians. Working with Dr. Bey is not “like” a National Geographic special, it “IS” a National Geographic special. If you are interested in a career in archaeology, or just want to experience it, Millsaps and Dr. Bey will provide you opportunities unrivaled in the U.S.
"I'm James Bowley and I've been running around here at Millsaps since 2002. I'm the chair of the Religious Studies Department, and some people think that teaching Religious Studies must be boring. They're crazy! Religion is the most powerful social force on the planet, and studying religions is never dull. What's not to like about spending the day with great colleagues and students thinking and conversing and researching about religious traditions, reading beautiful or even shocking texts, and investigating intriguing religious practices?
"I teach a lot of courses in ancient religious texts and history that are related to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and courses like Women in the Ancient World or Ancient Poetry. In the modern world, I teach our introductory and field trip course, World Religions and How to Study Them and classes like Sex, Death, and Religion. For first year student I have a cool investigation course called, Did Jesus and the Buddha Exist? I also love to travel with students and have led courses in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Europe, and Yucatan.
"I've published half a dozen books and numerous articles, and I love being a teacher and scholar. My work on the Dead Sea Scrolls for many years has been very successful and rewarding. But what I really am is a student—a student who gets paid! My real job is to be with other students and to ask questions about why people do the things they do, like pray and fight and love; and questions about texts and history and then to devise meaningful and enjoyable ways of exploring in many directions. We explore and learn together, and on most days I can't think of a more enjoyable way to spend time than to be leading students into the fascinating ways the world works and people think. And guess what? This all turns out to be a very practical for getting interesting jobs too, because our graduates are doing fascinating things and getting paid!"
"Hello. I’m Bill Brister and I teach finance here at Millsaps. Right after I received my MBA at USM, the Dean there asked if I would teach a class in Business Statistics. Having no other job at the time, I agreed. From the first class I taught I knew that I had found by vocational passion. I continued on with my education and earned a Ph.D. and started teaching at Millsaps in 1989. I love the classroom and teaching, particularly here at Millsaps.
"In my finance classes we talk about a host of interesting topics such as: MONEY, personal investment, interest rates, the stock market, the bond market, and dividend policy. OK, OK, maybe most of these topics do not sound very interesting, but MONEY is interesting.
"I also do a good bit of consulting in the area of litigation support. Like the classroom, I like testifying in court as an expert witness. Sometimes it is nerve-racking, and I must be on my toes at all times, but the excitement of the competitive nature of the courtroom is very exciting."
"Students often approach accounting with the misguided ideas that 1) the practice of accounting is just a good way to get a job, and 2) in accounting there is always a single best answer for any problem. Instead I get to introduce students to a profession dedicated to serving the public interest above its own and a complex, intricate system that challenges them to solve problems, communicate complicated ideas and behave ethically in situations where the ‘right thing to do’ may be hard to identify.
"Anyone who has ever completed Intermediate Accounting can tell you that learning the rules of accounting is serious work. But, being a skilled technician is not the end goal – I want students to make learned and thoughtful contributions to the business and nonprofit communities they serve. To do so, they must certainly understand the rules, but they also need to comprehend the politics involved in making accounting or auditing policy, analyze the strengths and weaknesses of current accounting guidance and practice the interpersonal skills required of a successful accountant. So, in my classes, it’s not uncommon for students to role-play the needs of various financial statement users as difficult information is communicated. They play games like Monopoly or Bingo to demonstrate the ambiguities of accounting guidance. Sometimes they are asked to navigate their way through a real example of fraud or accounting failure to obtain a better outcome. These activities take students beyond ‘debit-left, credit-right’ and help them see the discipline as something more than a way to a steady job and develop a keen sense of commitment to using accounting to serve the public interest."
Dr. Burke is an active scholar co-authoring five continuing education courses offered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and numerous articles published in prestigious academic journals. For her dedication to teaching, Dr. Burke has been recognized as the Mississippi Professor of the Year by CASE and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the Distinguished Professor from Millsaps College, and Outstanding Educator by the Mississippi Society of CPAs.
Connie M. Campbell is a professor of mathematics and teaches mathematics courses at all levels. She enjoys teaching upper level courses where the majority of students enrolled are excited about mathematics, but also has a real passion for teaching entry level classes where it is not uncommon to work with students who have a great deal of anxiety about mathematics. Connie enjoys breaking concepts down and explaining how mathematical principles work. She likes to help students see that mathematics is accessible, logical, relevant, and fun.
The hallmark of Connie's classroom presence is her sheer delight in teaching. She has a love of mathematics that is contagious, and students often comment that she is enthusiastic and obviously enjoys working with them. She views the most important goal of teaching as helping students develop as more critical thinkers. Connie's teaching style is very conversational as she facilitates a dialogue in which students learn to ask key questions and uncover new ideas. This process of discovering the solution together helps students develop their own problem solving skills.
Perhaps the course Connie is most well known for is Math 2310: Introduction to Advanced Mathematics. This course serves as the gateway course to the mathematics major and is where students are formally trained in logic and mathematical writing. Connie wrote Introduction to Advanced Mathematics: A Guide to Writing Proofs, which serves as the textbook for this class. She has also worked under two National Science Foundation grants to develop teaching resources to help students develop proof writing and problem solving skills.
Associate Professor of Management Information Systems, 2008
Kelly Gene Cook, Sr. Chair of Business Administration
Director of the MBA Program
B.A., Lewis Clark State College; M.B.A., Ph.D., Washington State University
"I teach applied topics in the professional school of business (i.e., Information Systems, Analytics, and Survey of Management). The rewarding issue with my style of teaching involves the high balance of teaching the requisite explicit knowledge as well as offer ways for students to gain as much tacit knowledge as possible in a contrived academic setting. "Tacit knowledge is subconsciously understood and applied, difficult to articulate, developed from direct experience and action, and usually shared through highly interactive conversation, storytelling, and shared experience." (Zack 1999) With this type of knowledge, experts are able to know what they don't know, when rules don't apply, as well as make fine distinctions, recognize patterns, recognize context, extrapolate, and make decisions quickly. (Leonard and Swap 2005) This type of knowledge is difficult to teach and subsequently assess in a classroom. "In contrast, explicit knowledge is more precisely and formally articulated, although removed from the original context of creation or use." (Zack 1999) This type of knowledge is fairly commonly encountered in standard classrooms (e.g., reading a textbook and taking a standard exam). However, when challenged to apply explicit knowledge (e.g., complete a case analysis) students soon find it requires an unanticipated level of mastery and tacit knowledge. Thus explicit knowledge is prerequisite in many instances to gaining tacit knowledge. In my classes, I try to give them as much OJT (On-the-Job-Training) as I can by putting students in as many real world (or closer to real world) situations as I can."
Curtis came to Millsaps in 2009 to direct the Communication Studies program. In this program, Curtis teaches the introductory course, the senior capstone course, Journalism, Communication Ethics, Media History, Intercultural Communication, American Popular Culture and Public Rhetoric. When possible, he also leads a study abroad course on media and tourism in the Yucatan entitled Sun, Sand … and the Cult of the Dead. Finally, on occasion, he teaches courses on media and religion and on superheroes in American cinema.
Curtis joined the Millsaps faculty because he was committed to engaging the field of communication studies within a liberal arts environment. This approach allows students to develop media production skills within a deeper context of media theory, history and ethics. "It's not enough to just develop skills," he noted. "Skills must be honed in a deep exploration of history, theory and ethics. This allows students to do things while also learning why they are doing them, how the skills have developed historically, and whether they should do certain things in certain contexts."
Curtis takes a conversational approach to teaching. He said, "I try to create an environment where the student is teacher and teacher is student. We learn from one another. We engage one another. Students are not interested in hearing my voice drone on and on about material they should have read. And I'm not interested in seeing bored, disengaged or distracted students. The better approach is to engage one another, to interact, to invest in creating the learning environment."
"My early passion for music began at the age of three, when my parents presented me with a toy piano. Since we lived in a small apartment, a "real" piano was not available until I was ten. Before that time, I continued to play regularly on the little instrument, developing musical skills and a growing appreciation for "making music," however that could be accomplished.
"My philosophy of teaching reflects the title Adventures in Singing, a text written by Dr. Clifton Ware, one of my voice teachers. Encouraged at Millsaps to follow his passion, Ware began his journey at Millsaps when he majored in philosophy. He has since published several books about singing and teaching.
"Students of voice at Millsaps bring diverse backgrounds and abilities to their study. This diversity gives me the opportunity to guide each student in exploring his or her unique potential, working together to discover his or her passion in music while finding his or her voice. A liberal arts setting provides interaction that connects disciplines within the voice studio, as conversations are initiated about philosophy, psychology, anatomy, acoustical physics, history, poetry, communication, and drama. Not all my students are voice majors, and these topics of discussion can be related to the study of voice.
"The passion for making and sharing music continues to expand with each new student as we begin our journey of adventures in voice together. And the toy piano that started everything for me? It sits today in my studio as a reminder of my own personal journey."
Dr. David Culpepper holds B.S. degrees in chemistry and accounting, an M.B.A., and a Ph.D. in accounting, with minor in statistics, from the University of Alabama. He has been employed by Ernst & Young as well as the U.S. Treasury Department. During the last 25 years, he has served numerous clients in various financial, valuation, and capital deployment related engagements. A Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) since 1995, Culpepper has been involved in private equity evaluation, financial damages and other litigation support, and the valuation of closely-held businesses for the purposes of mergers and acquisitions, estate planning, etc. He has been qualified as an expert witness to testify on business damages in both the Southern District Federal Court and the Northern District Federal Court. He has also conducted evaluations resulting in fairness opinions for the Mississippi Attorney General's office for various hospital and healthcare entity acquisitions.
Culpepper has coordinated and participated in numerous private equity investments by various investor groups. These investments have ranged from early stage seed capital to later stage mezzanine financing rounds, and include a variety of industry sectors: medical devices, wireless technology, network routing technology, oil and gas exploration, commercial/residential real estate development, renewable energy technology, natural gas pipeline technology, among others. He also serves as managing partner of a hotel development/management firm that has acquired or developed ten hotels, and a construction firm that specializes in hotel construction.
Culpepper is a professor of accounting and eEntrepreneurship for the Else School of Management at Millsaps College, and serves as chair of ELSEWorks, the College's entrepreneurial initiative, as well as on the Board of Midtown Partners, Inc. He has also held the Kelly Gene Cook Chair of Business Administration, and has taught various courses in accounting, tax, finance, and entrepreneurship at both the undergraduate and graduate level. He has published numerous articles in both academic and professional journals including the Journal of Applied Business Research, CPA Journal, Journal of European Business, Journal of International Taxation, Journal of Accounting and Finance Research, Journal of Accountancy, Journal of Accounting Theory and Practice, Journal of State Taxation, and the Mississippi Business Journal.
Gayla Dance came to Millsaps College in 1989 and teaches in the Mathematics Department. Dance stresses class interaction as a way of getting students to engage with their math classes. She says, "I have been known to say, "It is too quiet in here. I seem to be the only one talking." I encourage, applaud, and beg students to join in the class discussion. I continue to look for ways to motivate my students, and I'm shameless with what I will try. I always try to keep my presentations energetic and interactive. Also, I want to create an environment where students are comfortable enough to say that they do not understand. I do this by telling them that our classes are conversations, not lectures, and I encourage them to ask questions in class. To alleviate some of the anxiety found in many students in freshman level mathematics courses, I encourage group problem solving and extended guided practice.
"I love mathematics in its pure and abstract form, but some of my students have difficulty seeing its beauty. However, most of them respond very well to the applied side of math. I try to convey that math is the language of science and, as such, it can be a tool used for understanding our world. While their eyes might glaze over during the delta-epsilon definition of a limit in calculus, the students perk up when I show them using calculus that the B-2 Stealth bomber was built exactly wrong - it should be a flying fuselage instead of a flying wing. Because of the students interest in applied situations I have overhauled all of my projects. One class calculated the amount of stone and labor needed to build the Great Pyramid of Cheops in Giza, while another class used the Hoover Dam in a similar project. Yet another class had to prove for the defense that the McDonald's customer could not have been burned by the spilt coffee, using Newton's Law of Cooling. I could have asked them to work the same math problems in the abstract, but the context brought it to life and made it relevant to them."
"My passion for history developed in high school as I explored slave forts and castles along the coast of Ghana and listened to the stories told by the drummers in the northern regions of that country. The pursuit of this passion has led me on adventures from the Poverty Point mounds of Louisiana to the temples on Bali in Indonesia. My approach to teaching the history of Africa and the Middle East is to try and bring some of those places and faces into the classroom through the "artifacts" left behind by the very folk who lived out those events. The texts they wrote, the weapons they crafted, and the textiles they wove tell us about their world and invite us to share that world. It is from these pieces of evidence that historians ply their craft and try to answer some of the enduring questions of the human condition."
Liz Egan is a writing instructor and the Writing Center coordinator at Millsaps College. She believes writing centers are important spaces for inquiry, discovery, idea generation, intellectual conversation, and of course, writing practice. Egan envisions the Millsaps Writing Center as a space for all writers, at all skill levels, and in all stages of the writing process. Egan is particularly interested in writing pedagogies that serve multilingual writers and invites students and faculty alike to visit the Writing Center to learn more about teaching or studying with multilingual writers.
Egan embraces multiple modalities of writing and of teaching writing, so her approach to teaching is to blend traditional forms of writing instruction and independent practice with small group workshops and technologies that facilitate interactive approaches to text generation and revision. The idea that writing is both process and social enterprise is at the core of Liz's teaching philosophy.
Egan comes to Millsaps from George Mason University, where she served as assistant director of the GMU Writing Center and taught writing courses including Composition, Reading and Writing about Texts, and Intro to Creative Writing, a craft course that surveys artistic techniques of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama. She earned her B.A. in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago in 2007 and earned her M.F.A. in creative writing with an emphasis on fiction from George Mason University in 2014. Her thesis was an original collection of short fiction about military culture. Egan also serves as a co-editor of Gazing Grain Press, an inclusive feminist chapbook press that publishes poetry, prose, and hybrid texts.
Louwanda Evans joined the Department of Sociology and Anthropology in 2012. In the program, Louwanda teaches Introduction to Sociology, Research Methods & Statistics, The Many Dimensions of Poverty, and numerous other courses that focus on social inequality and criminology. Her newest course on poverty is directly connected to the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty, an interdisciplinary program housed at Washington & Lee University that focuses on the eradication of poverty. This course also serves as the gateway course through which several Millsaps students enter a summer internship housed throughout the nation.
Louwanda joined Millsaps because of the great opportunities it offers students to learn and grow though community engagement. Her teaching philosophy is one in which everyone takes responsibility for learning. Her courses center on conceptual discussions in which students engage the material in a way that creates deeper connections between sociological concepts and the real world. At Millsaps, "I have the opportunity to bring students into the local community to understand the connections between our social lives and our social outcomes." In the classroom, Louwanda believes in the reciprocity of learning and that all students have a voice."I believe that everyone has a responsibility in the classroom and that all perspectives and voices are valued, not just my voice."
Dr. Priscilla Fermon, associate professor of French, teaches elementary, intermediate and advanced French grammar, composition, and literature. She also teaches courses on French culture and civilization.
"Foreign language study attracted me because I am the child of immigrant parents who, not knowing a word of English, sailed to Ellis Island and learned English in New York City public schools although they continued to speak Yiddish at home. New York City has residents from all over the world, residents speaking in languages that I cannot identify, but that I love to hear.
"In junior high school and high school, both of my parents and my older brothers studied French. Consequently, that was the language I chose to study too. I will never forget my very first day in French class. I was in seventh grade and my teacher was Mrs. Angert. The moment Mrs. Angert walked into the classroom and said "Bonjour," I fell in love with French and that French language love affair continues to this day."
"I teach in the Modern Languages Department, where I have had the opportunity to give courses in all levels of languages as well as all areas of Latin American and Spanish literatures, cultures and civilizations. In addition, I have taught courses on European early views of the Americas and introduction to Latin American Studies. In my language courses I try to get students to communicate without getting too concerned about grammatical perfection. The confidence they gain by doing this helps them have a better experience in class and in more advanced classes, if they decide do so. To all my classes I bring a wide variety of experience as a person who migrated to this country many years ago, which helps me understand my students’ struggles in learning or perfecting a foreign language. I also have a great range of interests such as film, popular culture, visual arts and music, and this helps me engage my students in the development of their own interests. I enjoy teaching because shaping minds, no matter in how small a way, is one of the greatest services to the future a person can offer."
"I left a partnership at a law firm to join the Millsaps faculty, and I have never looked back. This vocation allows me to be who I am and to meet students where they are. Our minds meet to analyze a challenge and, in that work, we all learn. It’s an extraordinary adventure.
"I get the chance to work closely with students, helping them learn how to critically analyze problems and work through solutions. Probably the most enjoyable part of my classes is also one of the most dreaded - that moment when I pose a question to the class, and someone provides a "correct" answer from the book, only to realize that the correct answer is just the start of the conversation, and one that often includes an open debate and the degrees of "correctness" of the answer.
"The study of law is an ideal fit at Millsaps. Since there are rarely legal issues which are no longer up for debate or analysis, I focus on exploring the limits of law and policy, and I challenge students to debate these issues openly and to be prepared to defend their positions both in and out of class. A yes or no to a question is only the beginning of the response!
"For example, with Mock Trial students, I insist that there is no manual on how to handle all cases from beginning to end, and no one can have all of the knowledge of the many areas in which you may be called to practice. As our Mock Trial team members have learned, one case may be about scuba diving and nitrogen narcosis while the next may be exploring fraudulent accounting records of a questionable amusement theme park. Or, in one of my favorite classes is "From Minds to Markets," taught in the Yucatan each summer, I work with a philosophy professor to guide the class through the crowded streets of Merida, Mexico, asking them to note the unusual or curious. From those exercises, the class works as a team to use those ideas to create new products or services - often far outside of the current knowledge of our class. Through research, creative thinking, and critical analysis of ideas, the class culminates in a final "product pitch" of their new creations and the students have gained valuable insight into exploring new cultures.
"Whether on our study abroad classes in Yucatan or Europe, in a Mock Trial case, while developing a new class, exploring new research interests, or in a normal everyday classroom discussion, I value intellectual curiosity. At Millsaps, students demonstrate their intellectual curiosity in delightful ways and, for me, that’s the best part of this extraordinary adventure we call Millsaps."
Dr. Laura Franey specializes in the literature of Victorian England, but she enjoys teaching a range of classes – from Sex Comedies of the 18th Century to Mysteries of Human Behavior (Freshman Seminar) to Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies.
Intrigued by questions of how literature both reflects and creates social values and hierarchies, she encourages students to ask questions about what they read and see, to form connections between the different classes they are taking, and to appreciate all genres (prose fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction) by learning how to analyze individual cultural texts. As students who have taken her classes know, she believes students learn best when engaged in creative, interactive activities; for that reason, she has students write dialogues between characters from different books or imagine how they would change a famous novel's plot for a movie adaptation.
Franey earned her Ph.D. in English at UCLA in 1999 and began teaching at Millsaps immediately afterward. She is the author of Victorian Travel Writing and Imperial Violence: British Literature on Africa, 1855-1902, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2003. Four years later, working with Edward Marx of Ehime University, she brought out the first annotated, scholarly edition of the first novel ever published in the United States by someone of Japanese descent—Yone Noguchi's The American Diary of a Japanese Girl (originally published in 1902). She is currently engaged in a book project in which she looks at how women are portrayed traveling by train, boat, and horseback in Victorian novels and narrative paintings.
Friedrich is in his second year as a professor of theatre at Millsaps College. He has lectured at several other institutions in the last year, including Stanford, New York University and Columbia University, and was a Scholar in Residence at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. This summer at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, he will facilitate a physical theatre collaboration between teenagers and adults. He is a regular presenter for the Association of Theatre in Higher Education, where he is Chair of the Task Force on Interactive Theatre. The American Conservatory Theater awarded Friedrich the 2013 Contribution to the Field Award for his five years of work in Northern Iraq. He continues theatre-making on national, overseas and Millsaps community stages.
Dr. Stan Galicki came to the Millsaps geology department in 1993 after eight years in petroleum exploration with Unocal. His teaching responsibilities include a variety of courses in geology and the environmental fields. Courses include introductory level Human and Natural Disasters and Environmental Science, and upper level courses in Hydrogeology, Mineralogy and Petrology, Subsurface Mapping, and Introduction to Geographic Information Systems. He routinely teaches geology field courses in Yellowstone National Park, the Pacific Northwest, and the Appalachians. Galicki is interested in sustainable technology. In addition to his electric motorcycle, he is currently developing an off the grid summer retreat in Montana.
Employers are looking to academia to produce students with a firm foundation in the geosciences and the ability to integrate biology, chemistry, and physics to solve problems. Graduates must also understand the relationship between the geosciences and the cultural, economic, and political issues surrounding issues. Millsaps does that.
All our students complete a senior research project. The senior research project is one of the most rewarding programs for both the student and faculty that the department has to offer. Galicki's research interests include paleoenvironmental interpretation, dendrochronology, and applied sustainability.
Millsaps Scholar of Maya Studies, 2000
Licenciado de Antropologia, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mérida, México: M.A., Tulane University
Visiting Associate Professor of Classics, 1994
A.B., A.M., Ph.D., Brown University
“My degrees are in Comparative Literature, a field that lets me explore everything from Homer’s Odyssey to Joyce’s Ulysses. If you’re like me, you will love tracing the Classical inheritance of Greek and Latin across the centuries, following the great themes of love and war, the heroes and the villains, and the languages that grew up and sometimes disappeared again—Germanic, Celtic, Romance. But a career at Millsaps has also opened my eyes to the wonders of world literature, especially in a team-taught course like Heritage. My friends in Philosophy, History, and Religious Studies have introduced me to Egyptian love lyrics, Japanese haiku, the epics of India, and Choctaw creation myths. There is so much left to discover, so much left to read in ancient, medieval, or modern works, and the best material shows us who we are and where we came from.”
"My current interest in philosophy and the academy is interdisciplinary, and interdisciplinary work is at the core of my Philosophy of Happiness course. Many think they know what happiness is, but classic philosophers and contemporary scientists continue to disagree about it. Some questions my happiness course raises and explores include: Is happiness an emotion or feeling (the viewpoint of many current investigators)? If so, does it mean the joyous insane person is happy? Is the pleased serial killer happy? Or, is happiness the activity of a flourishing life of moderation, as some Greek philosophers believe? Or something else? Why?
"In Philosophy of Violence we look at war theory and at pain theory and we apply them to current world problems. Students single out plausible theories and discern how they fare in explaining pertinent issues. Dilemmas we study include the ethics of drone technology and the psychological effects of combat violence and domestic violence.
"In all classes I welcome current research and empirical data. We read texts by psychiatrists, anthropologists, and journalists, in addition to philosophers. We ask broad questions. Students are asked to apply largely framed ideas to narrowed fields of reasoning and data. For example: Is post-traumatic stress syndrome a cross-cultural fact? The results might surprise you."
"I’m known to many students and faculty colleagues as simply “Griff,” and I’m chair of the English Department. Although I teach many kinds of classes, my specialty is Renaissance studies. So classic writers from this era—including English ones like Shakespeare, Spenser, and Milton, and even Italian or Spanish ones like Petrarch, Ariotso, and Cervantes—tend to make appearances in my syllabi. In fact, one of my most popular courses, The Romance, features all of these writers in order to trace a literary tradition that extends from medieval times, through the Renaissance, and on down to the present day via J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Monty Python, and even Game of Thrones. I love seeing what happens when students are turned loose to come up with their own romance-inspired projects while reading these authors. If I can help you unlock your own creative sensibilities, that’s when I’m really teaching.
"My Shakespeare classes have also been some of the most popular on campus. It may sound clichéd, but a college education is incomplete without a Shakespeare class. And I’m not talking just to English majors. I’ve had anthropology, education, classics, modern foreign language and psych majors take Shakespeare with me, and lots of pre-meds and business majors, too. Shakespeare permeates our culture; my students get intimate with him.
"And because my own research focuses on the English- and Spanish-speaking worlds, in 2009 I helped found the Millsaps Latin American Studies Program, which I currently direct. In this capacity I often lead summer study abroad trips to the college’s facilities in Yucatán. I hope you’ll join me there!"
Sabrina Grondhuis came to Millsaps College in the fall of 2013. Grondhuis brings a developmental approach to the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience where she teaches a variety of courses including Introduction to Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Theories of Personality, and Adulthood & Aging. In the future, she also hopes to offer courses that mirror her research focus on persons with developmental disabilities and issues in intelligence.
Grondhuis is committed to the ideals of a liberal arts education by taking psychology out of the classroom and helping her students incorporate the concepts discussed into everyday situations. Class discussions often encourage students to come up with their own "real world" examples to help internalize the material and make the topics more salient than only reading a textbook or taking notes during a lecture.
Grondhuis also aims to correct underlying misconceptions about psychology as a science and help students understand that it is a discipline that is based on research as well as theoretical foundations. During lecture, she presents classic studies that were influential in the field and pairs them with more current research to juxtapose the differences in methodology and interpretation throughout the relatively short history of psychology.
"I am a 1973 graduate of Millsaps with a degree in Psychology and joined the faculty of the Else School of Management in January of 1987. I have been a member of this community for most of my adult life giving me first hand knowledge of the value of being associated with a College such as Millsaps.
"In my classroom, I like to blend theory and practice, the perspective I bring to teaching. I have observed over the years that a deep dive into theory is the best way to teach a practitioner about improving their practice of management. Many times I find that a practitioner limits their perspective on a problem or issue in business because they do not have a sufficiently broad and deep understanding of the theory that shapes their views. So, a student of mine can expect a blending of theory and practice in class.
"My industry experience is primarily in banking, having worked for banks either as an employee, consultant or board member since I was 17 years old. I continue to consult to the banking industry and serve on the Board of First Commercial Bank in Jackson and Chair the Bank’s Risk Management Committee. I also serve as a member of the Bank’s Asset Liability Management Committee as well as the Trust Committee. One of my most significant professional accomplishments was participating in the group that originated First Commercial Bank in October 2000.
"In addition to my banking background, I have consulted with a wide range of private sector, non-for profit and governmental organizations over the past 30 years. I have many relevant stories to tell about this work in the classroom.
"I have become interested in two very different pursuits over the past 5 years. One is working with Boards to improve their governance of institutions. This work has resulted in my work with the Millsaps Board of Trustees as they seek to become an even stronger institution in pursuit of Millsaps’ mission. The other pursuit is the formation of Modern Retirement Theory with a colleague of mine, Jason Branning. We have developed this new approach to retirement planning that has been widely recognized as a comprehensive planning framework and have been recognized as thought leaders among proponents of the Safety-First school of thought."
Kathryn S. Hahn, Ph.D. is an assistant professor at Millsaps College. She received her B.A. in psychology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and earned in M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. She regularly teaches applied courses such as Abnormal, Social, Test and Measurements, Personality, Clinical Psychology, and History and Systems in addition to enjoying even more specialized courses such Worry/Anxiety-Related Disorders and Clinical Reasoning (Science vs Pseudoscience).
Hahn's clinical specialty and teaching focus on the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral intersect of psychopathology. She has authored several articles and professional presentations related to the role of information processing biases and emotional dysregulation in the development and maintenance of anxiety and depression. She enjoys inspiring and guiding student interest in both the science and application of psychology.
"I teach accounting and tax classes for the Else School of Management. The nature of my teaching material is technical and detail oriented but it is my hope that I also provide my students with practical experience and current relativeness for a fuller classroom experience. I see a range of students from sophomores to master's- level students and see many of the same students as they progress through their accounting coursework. I enjoy watching my students develop into accounting professionals ready to enter the workplace."
Jamie Harris is a professor of geology and specializes in near-surface geophysics. He has undergraduate degrees in geology (from Eastern Kentucky University) and geophysics (from the University of Houston) and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Kentucky. Harris teaches introductory geology courses and upper level courses in structural geology and geophysics. In addition, he has taught field courses in Southwest Montana, the Pacific Northwest, Yellowstone, Alaska, and Scotland.
Harris has developed an active field-based research program focused on seismic imaging of the shallow subsurface. He and his research students have been involved in numerous geophysical surveys centered on earthquake hazards of the lower Mississippi valley and high-resolution imaging at archaeological sites in Albania, Turkey, and the Yucatán Peninsula. Harris' expertise in geophysics is widely recognized. In recent years he has travelled to Italy to present an invited paper on near-surface seismic methods, and served as a keynote speaker for an international geophysics conference in China. In 2006 he was named Millsaps' Distinguished Professor, and in 2009 was recognized as the Mississippi Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
When not in the classroom or in the field, Jamie can be found on the tennis courts at Millsaps where he serves as a volunteer assistant coach for the men's tennis team.
"I'm a philosopher and what's called a moral psychologist (that's not a good psychologist, haha, but someone who studies moral cognition). I teach courses in medical ethics, business ethics, philosophy of mind, psychopathology, and the psychology and neuroscience of morality. I'm also a professor at the medical school nearby where I work with their Bioethics Center and the Psychiatry Department, and I take students over there for projects all the time. You want to work on a research project about medicine, neurotechnologies, psychopaths? Hit me up. I also love science fiction, gaming, and crossfit/weightlifting, so if I'm not killing darkspawn in Thedas, I'm doing drop-set bicep curls in the campus gym."
Assistant Professor of Marketing, 2015
B.A. 2009 California State University, Chico; Ph.D. 2015 University of Utah
After brief stints in retail management (Walgreens) and financial services (UBS Financial), Dr. Jake D. Hoskins received his Ph.D. in Business Administration with emphasis in Marketing from the University of Utah in May of 2015. His dissertation received The Monty & Christine Botosan Bridge to Practice Doctoral Thesis Award and was a runner up in the University of Illinois at Chicago-Product Development Management Association Dissertation Proposal Speed Funding Competition.
His research interests include product management, retailing, and marketing strategy. His research has been published in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services and has been presented at the INFORMS Society for Marketing Science Conference, Academy of Management Annual Meeting, and the Strategic Management Society Conference.
He teaches Principles of Marketing, Marketing Management, and Marketing Research.
Beth Hussa's main interests, both in teaching and research, involve the most diverse organisms on the planet: the microbes. More specifically, she is focused on the way microbes interact with a wide variety of other organisms, ranging from microscopic worms (called nematodes) to humans. There are a multitude of fascinating scientific questions to ask regarding these relationships. Are the microbes beneficial or harmful? What do the microbes do differently in each case? What does the microbe need to do to maintain these relationships, and how are these factors regulated?
Beth's passion for teaching arose from the multitude of mentoring opportunities she experienced throughout her own education. She came to realize that there is nothing more satisfying than inspiring students to embrace and explore the wonders of the natural world. Her students get to learn science as science is done: through synthesis and application of concepts both in lecture and laboratory settings.
Teaching Fellow in Art History, 2014
B.A., University of Redlands; Ph.D., University of California, San Diego
Monica Jovanovich-Kelley hails from Southern California and has been teaching art history courses for many years. Her teaching style is dynamic and engaging with the goal of having students leave with not only a more confident grasp of the material, but also a greater understanding of the relevance of our cultural history. Her approach includes the development of core written and spoken skills that allow students the confidence to communicate their understanding of art both inside and outside of the classroom. Given today's 21st century learning environment, Monica strives to incorporate new technologies in her art history courses such as through using the Google Cultural Institute's Open Gallery and by having students collaborate on interactive, web-based timelines and contribute to Wikipedia entries as part of their research projects. While as the Teaching Fellow in Art History at Millsaps, Monica will be teaching a course on art since 1970, a Modern Art course as well as a Core 4 course - Developments in Modernity in 19th Century Art.
Monica's research interests investigate the intersections of public space, mural painting, corporate patronage and the construction of civic identity throughout the United States during the 20th century. Her dissertation looked to how depictions of industrial progress, labor and gender functioned within mural making, corporate spaces and private commissions during California's interwar period. Her next research project examines the sponsorship of exhibits and rides at Disneyland by corporations such as Monsanto, Richfield Oil and Kaiser Aluminum during the 1950s and 1960s.
Dr. Melissa Lea is an associate professor of psychology and the director of the Neuroscience and Cognitive Studies program at Millsaps College. She earned her B.S. in cognitive science from the University of Michigan-Flint in 1999 and her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology/science from Miami University in 2005. Her areas of expertise are in face perception and categorization. While at Millsaps Lea has branched out and has been studying food perception and food behaviors that lead to eating disorders, as well as how social roles influence team cohesion in athletics.
"Teaching: I love to teach at Millsaps and I think the students appreciate my caring nature. For example, if a student makes a zero on a quiz, I draw a sad face in it so they know I feel their pain. Also, on the rare occasions I make a mistake at the board (like, diamond rare), I’ll take points off myself. I’ll write a big ‘minus 5’ on the board. That way, when I take points off their tests, they know they’re not being treated any differently than I treat myself. It gives me street-cred in the classroom.
Research: Several of my recent ideas have been featured in textbooks (2 in calculus texts). A statistics idea has been the subject of a webinar sponsored by the Journal of Statistics Education (perhaps it will appear in a text, too). I’ve focused my efforts on new ideas that can be shared with undergraduates. My days of exploring twigs on the branches of obscurity are long gone.
Outside Class: I live in Madison with my wife, two dogs, and a cat on 2.5 acres of a wooded cul-de-sac. I have one son who recently graduated from the Naval Academy as a math major (3.95 GPA). But he isn’t your typical math major…HOOYAH! Currently, my favorite hobby is rappelling. Rappelling from a building is illegal so I rappel off pine trees. Many pines have no low hanging branches so I’ll climb 50 feet and rappel down. Pretty cool."
Dr. Anne C. MacMaster's areas of teaching-interest include modernist fiction, drama, and poetry, as well as the art of adaptation--turning fiction into film. Courses that she has offered recently include Homer's Odyssey and Joyce's Ulysses, Twentieth-Century African American Fiction, and Faulkner, Film, and Social Justice, and authors whom she has published on include Wharton, Woolf, James, Keats, and Milton.
Debora Mann serves as chair of the Biology Department and director of the Environmental Studies Program. She currently teaches Botany, Ecology and Environmental Studies Seminar, as well as a science a course for non-science majors, Explore the Natural World. In May she teaches a course for both science majors and non-science majors in the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador. After visiting Quito on the mainland of Ecuador, her class travels on a 16-passenger vessel for a week, exploring various islands of the Galapagos archipelago and the surrounding marine reserve.
Whether at home or abroad, Mann enjoys exploring the world of living things with her students. She explains, "There is so much to learn about the organisms whose lives are playing out all around us. It's a 3 1Ž2 billion-year-old legacy on which we all depend and yet understand so little about."
Guy McClain is an assistant professor in the Else School of Management. He teaches courses in accounting, primarily focusing on auditing and financial statement analysis. He also teaches the accounting senior seminar which focuses on the globalization of accounting standards. He is also an affiliated visiting professor with the IESEG School of Management in France with campuses in Lille and Paris. He has also taught during the summer term with the East China Normal University in Shanghai, China. Professor McClain adds, “I love to travel and there is such a need for accounting professionals around the world that I have done some type of accounting work on every continent but Africa and Antarctica. Africa is on the horizon, but Antarctica might be a bit of a stretch! I love sharing my experiences with students and, hopefully, opening their eyes to the opportunities that are available.”
Dr. Robert S. McElvaine is the author of ten books and has four more in the works. He is considered one of the world's leading historians of the era of the Great Depression. His specialties include cultural and political history and sex and gender. He teaches courses in American history and interdisciplinary courses on segments of twentieth century America. Currently he is completing a comprehensive history of America in the year 1964. He travels abroad extensively and teaches a course in Vietnam and Cambodia on the American War in Vietnam.
"Several of my passions come together in the classroom. I love to teach, write, and travel. I write in a conversational tone and consider my writing as teaching to a larger audience. In the classroom this means much interaction and discussion with students. My objective is always to talk not to students, but with students.
What I write about often finds its way into the classroom, and most of my foreign travels produce insights that are useful in class. I also love music and film and these media are featured prominently in my classes. My courses on The Great Depression, The 40s and 50s, The Sixties, and The 70s and 80s all utilize literature, films and music and involve students in much discussion."
Zach joined the Geology Department at Millsaps College in 2007. He teaches Geosystems, Plate Tectonics and Earth History, Sedimentary Geology, Processes Geomorphology and the Junior/Senior Geology Seminar. His field courses include The Greater Yellowstone Geoecosystem, Earthquakes and Volcanoes of the Pacific Northwest, Folded Rocks – Crossing the Appalachia, and the Department's capstone field experience in southwest Montana.
Zach joined the Millsaps faculty because he is committed to engaging undergraduate students in research and sharing the learning process in the field. Research and teaching within the field are crucial components to understanding most aspects of the earth system. Learning and studying volcanoes becomes more interactive when you are standing on a hotspot in Yellowstone or looking at the flank collapse of Mt. St. Helens. Placing the enormous amount of energy glaciers have in context is much more appreciated when you are looking out over a U-shaped valley from the lateral moraine of Nisqually Glacier on the snowcapped side of Mt. Rainier. It is these sensational experiences that make the earth sciences exciting, and what Zach appreciates the most about engaging his students.
Walter Neely is a Chartered Financial Analyst. His teaching interests include corporate finance, portfolio management, international finance and the Wilson Fund. His research interests include portfolio management, corporate finance and valuation of closely held firms. He has selected publications in the Journal of Applied Business Research, Financial Review, International Journal of Finance and Financial Management.
"I find teaching to be quite fun and rewarding. The job of a math professor is to both teach the material and demonstrate to the students why it is interesting and convince them that they are capable of learning it. I want all students to leave my classroom understanding the basic concepts covered in the course, but I see further opportunities to assist them in their evolution as critical thinkers and problem solvers. To this end, I am incorporating more learner-centered techniques than ever before.
"I strive to create a relaxed classroom atmosphere and make sure that student responses are always given merit – because right or wrong, they are valuable and we can all learn from them. My goal as a teacher is to foster the desire to learn and encourage learning by opening my own mind to let the students teach me new ways to reach them.
"While at Millsaps, I have taught Elementary Functions, Elementary Statistics, Calculus I, Calculus II, Introduction to Advanced Math, Linear Algebra, Graph Theory, and Number Theory. Hopefully new adventures await me in other courses as well! I plan to continue to find ways to connect with students and help them to connect with the material."
A native of Memphis, Tenn., Dr. Pearigen is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he earned a bachelor of arts in political science. He received his master's and doctoral degrees in political science from Duke University. His post-graduate study included constitutional law, judicial process and political theory, particularly the work of Plato and Aristotle. His academic fields of interest include public law, political theory and American government.
Over his career, Dr. Pearigen has served as a secondary school teacher and trustee and in higher education as a professor, dean of students and vice president for university relations. As Millsaps' president, Dr. Pearigen has launched a comprehensive college-wide strategic plan entitled “Across the Street and Around the Globe: Partnerships and Influence at Millsaps College.” Rooted in the college’s values, mission and purpose, the strategic plan has been animated by a growing awareness of the need to make the most of Millsaps’ distinctive strengths, including its location in the capital city of Mississippi, its international programs and partnerships (including a 4,500 acre bicultural reserve in the Yucatan), and the unique combination of a liberal arts college with a business school accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
It's unusual for college presidents with academic credentials to continue to teach. However, President Pearigen has continued to teach throughout his administrative career because, in his words, "It connects me with a small group of students in close and personal way; it reinforces my relationship with my faculty colleagues who are engaged in the classroom experience; and it keeps me in touch with my academic discipline and the core academic mission and purpose of the institution."
As a faculty member at Millsaps, Dr. Pearigen teaches courses in constitutional law, civil rights and liberties, jurisprudence and political theory. He is an advocate for, and believer in, liberal arts education as intrinsically meaningful for individuals as well as the very best preparation for a good and worthy life of learning, leadership and service.
Michael Pickard offers classes in Creative Writing, British Romanticism, the history of poetry,and the history of the book. Pickard was the 2005-2006 Writer-in-Residence at St. Albans School in Washington, D.C. He is the co-editor of Online Humanities Scholarship: The Shape of Things to Come (Rice University Press, 2010). His work has appeared in Studies in Romanticism and The Helen Burns Poetry Anthology: New Voices from the Academy of American Poets University and College Prizes (2010). He has received grants from the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia and the Buckner Clay Endowment of the University of Virginia.
"I teach in the Religious Studies Department and specialize in Christianity. One of my aims as a teacher is to open students to the broad and rich thought-life of Christians throughout time and space. My students and I explore the many different Christianities we find across the globe and here in the U.S. It’s amazing just how diverse Christians really are. What’s more—we find that Christianity has profound capacities for self-criticism and change. By studying Christianity in an academic context, students become empowered to engage in our multi-religious world with deep respect for the complexity of religious life.
"I teach courses like History of Christian Thought, Modern and Contemporary Theology, Christian Liberation: Race and Sex, The Pentecostal Explosion, The Meaning of Work, Does Religion Belong in the Hospital?, Feminism in Religious Traditions, and Re-thinking Jesus. In these courses, I take a learner-centered approach. I focus on helping students achieve their particular learning goals and providing opportunities and assistance for them to develop their own reflections and thoughts."
"I have great passion for my chosen field of study, which I try to demonstrate in every class session. My marketing profession, too, provides me with many avenues for displaying an enthusiasm for learning that makes for an interesting classroom experience. We are surrounded by marketers' creations in the form of advertisements, websites, and brand images competing for our attention and our dollars. Marketers filter much of what we learn about the world, such as when we see images of rich or beautiful people in TV commercials or magazines. Ads show us how the mass culture expects us to act and what merchandisers hope to convince us to purchase.
"To involve my students with the subject matter requires a curriculum design that emphasizes the use of experiential learning. I often employ class projects that require the students to "get out in the real world" to solve marketing-related problems. My teaching strategy is based upon the fundamental premise that the classroom can be a rewarding and exciting place. Emphasizing participation provides an environment that encourages creative thought and convergence of ideas with marketing skills. Class participation provides the students with the opportunity to develop skills in presenting points of view and in listening; these skills are as valuable as the "techniques" discussed during the course."
"Since coming to Millsaps in 2008, I have taught courses in physics, astronomy, and mathematics. I am currently the chair of the Physics Department and director of the pre-engineering program at Millsaps.
"Ever since I was 12 years old, I have been drawn to science and the quest to understand the "why" and "how" the universe works the way it does. These questions pulled me to study physics, where we learn the how and why of the universe and to study mathematics, the language in which that story is written. I have undergraduate degrees in physics and mathematics. My PhD is in theoretical nuclear physics.
"Now as a faculty member at Millsaps I get to not only pursue that quest through my own work as a scientist, but to share the excitement and challenges inherent in that quest with my students in my classes. In those classes I hope my students will gain an understanding of what we know about how the Universe works. We also discuss some of the things we do not understand yet, and how modern day physicists are attempting to find out how those secrets of our Universe."
Stephanie Rolph, assistant professor in the Department of History, is a native of Jackson and a Millsaps alumnus (1999). She earned her M.A. in 2004 and her Ph.D. in 2009 from Mississippi State University, where she specialized in the history of the American South. Since arriving in fall 2010, Rolph has offered a variety of courses including Mississippi History, Civil War, Colonial America, Gilded Age and Progressive Era, Masculinity in the Twentieth Century, Women and Men in America, and Afro-American Heritage, in addition to Core Curriculum courses. Rolph also serves as the internship coordinator for the History Department and faculty director for Community Engaged Learning. Her expertise in southern history, her Jackson roots and her commitment to Millsaps as her alma mater make active, experiential learning a priority for Rolph. Her students are likely to find a rigorous exposure to the discipline's traditions and are challenged to consider innovative ways that historians can make contributions to their communities through preservation, memory, educational outreach, and the construction of identity. Rolph is currently writing her book,Whiting Out the Movement: The Citizens' Council and Civil Rights in the South.
Teaching young people is no one-size-fits-all endeavor; it is the most complex challenge that any professional could ever undertake. It forces you to think about identity and philosophy and logistics in concert; you can’t effectively teach without being incredibly wise to all of the contextual factors at play. This is why I love being a teacher of teachers at a deep-thinking place like Millsaps College. I am especially interested in pushing the envelope of what is conceived as “traditional” literacy education, and I define literacy as an inherently social form of “meaning-making.” I enjoy exploring with students and practicing teachers just how reading and writing practices are shifting, adapting, or remaining the same as learners interact with new media.
In all of my courses, students will find themselves surrounded by a variety of texts (e.g. articles, textbooks, podcasts, blogs) and a variety of instructional approaches (collaborative, project-based, etc.). They will constantly be pushed to make connections between their community-engaged learning experiences (often situated in schools) and the theories we are discussing in class. I believe that learning spaces are co-constructed, and I actively invite students to stamp their own identities, passions, interests, and question marks into the curriculum. Millsaps' commitments to cross-disciplinary connections and local-global partnerships make it a fertile space to explore the intersections of education, new media, society, and literacy practices in the 21st century.
Before arriving at Millsaps in fall 2014, Nathan Shrader served successively as legislative aide and deputy director of communications to Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll, legislative aide to Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter in the Virginia General Assembly, and research analyst at Abrams Learning and Information Systems under General John N. Abrams (retired). He most recently worked from 2009 to 2014 at the Center on Regional Politics at Temple University and was an adjunct professor at Drexel and Neumann Universities. Shrader earlier served as legislative intern in Washington for United States Senator Arlen Specter, legislative intern to Pennsylvania State Representative Rod E. Wilt, and as a clerk under Westmoreland County (PA) Recorder of Deeds Tom Murphy. He has worked as a consultant, manager, staffer, and volunteer on more than two dozen campaigns for federal, state, and local candidates.
Through his own unique experiences both studying and practicing the art of politics and governance, Shrader encourages his students to build bridges between the theoretical and the real-world application of political science. His main areas of academic interest include state and local government, political history, the presidency, political marketing, campaigns and elections, political parties, and public policy.
Elise Smith is a professor of art history and the Sanderson Chair in Arts and Sciences, and she also serves as the chair of the Art Department. She has taught a wide array of art history courses, including all of the major periods from Ancient to Contemporary as well as certain specialized subjects such as Women Artists, Images of Women in Art and Literature, History of Architecture, and Topics in World Art. As the founder of the Museum Studies program at Millsaps, she teaches the introductory Museum Studies course and oversees all of the student internships. In addition to giving many of the Heritage art lectures, she has also offered a number of Core humanities courses, including the freshman Core 1 seminar (Art Talk: Controversies in the Visual Arts and Social Justice and the Arts: Images of Race and Gender) and interdisciplinary premodern and modern Topics courses (Self and Community in the Sixteenth Century and Art and Revolution: Visual Propaganda during the French Age of Revolution).
Dr. Smith explains, "I have been profoundly influenced by my years of teaching at a liberal arts college that values interdisciplinary thinking. I approach art in a very different way than I used to, now seeing it in the larger context of other cultural developments." She adds that she particularly values open discussion in the classroom: "I love seeing what questions students come up with and how they approach art works from different perspectives. Teaching should always be surprising and invigorating."
"I have the good fortune to belong to two great departments, philosophy and religious studies. There's an endlessly interesting interaction between the things I learn in these two fields, but my purposes are quite distinct: in philosophy I want to see what can be figured out just by the free exercise of reason, while in religious studies I deal with the experiences, practices, and spiritually potent thoughts of actual individuals and historical communities.
"My specialty is philosophy of religion, but in the liberal arts college context I've had the opportunity to explore and teach in many related subjects, including the history of Western philosophy; philosophy of human nature; ethics; aesthetics and philosophy of film; religion and science; religious ethics; and the history of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim thought. My historical and cultural awareness has grown immensely as a result of teaching in the Millsaps humanities core, both in the Heritage program and in the Topics course sequence.
"I teach because I want to learn and be in conversation, especially about viable ideal standards of realness and goodness. (Platonic Forms? Perhaps!) Outside of active inquiry, knowledge isn't alive. Outside of conversation, ideas are dull and untrustworthy. One has to test one's understanding of anything by trying to share it with others. Together we have to test the way we live by trying to apply our best ideas. For me, every class is a fellowship dedicated to these principles."
William Kelleher Storey is professor of history at Millsaps College, where he has taught since 1999. Storey teaches classes about the British Empire, South Africa, the First World War, and the Second World War, often with a focus on environment and technology. He has also taught for British Studies at Oxford. His classes are typically discussion-based seminars in which students learn about the past by means of direct engagement with source materials.
Storey hopes to build a community of writers at Millsaps College and often shares his own research and writing with students.
He is the author of four books, all of which have been drafted and revised in dialogue with students. Two books are based on research about environmental and technological aspects of imperialism: Guns, Race, and Power in Colonial South Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2008) and Science and Power in Colonial Mauritius (University of Rochester Press, 1997). He is also the author of two textbooks that draw on his teaching at Millsaps: Writing History: A Guide for Students (Oxford University Press, 4th ed. 2012) and The First World War: A Concise Global History (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009). Storey is currently writing a biography of Cecil Rhodes.
For his commitment to teaching and writing, Storey has been recognized as the Mississippi Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He has also won the Millsaps Distinguished Professor Award and the Mississippi Humanities Council Teacher Award. His writing has won the prizes for the best journal article and best scholarly book from the Society for the History of Technology. His research has been sponsored by grants from Fulbright; the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
"I earned a doctorate in media studies from the University of Western Ontario in 2013, and I’m in my first year of teaching at Millsaps. My research interests include popular music, media theory and history, digital games, and celebrity culture, but the concept of authenticity has been a guiding concern. What does it mean to be or to become what one ‘really’ is? More importantly, what kind of work has been done by answers to this question across the diverse fields of media culture and everyday life?
"My scholarship has fed back into my activities as a creative worker. I’ve produced radio documentaries, written journalism and fiction, and presented my interdisciplinary music projects across Canada (see, for instance, www.folksingularity.com). My interest in practice is something I try to bring into the classroom—and is just one of the reasons I'm thrilled to be at Millsaps."
Holly Sypniewski is an Associate Professor of Classics. She teaches Greek and Latin at all levels, study abroad courses in Italy, and a range of courses on Greek and Roman civilization including Gender and Sexuality in the Ancient World. She received her M.A. And Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her B.A. from the University of Cincinnati. Her research interests include Latin poetry, the epic tradition, ancient graffiti, and the reception of classical texts by later authors.
“No matter what I teach, I try to bring the ancient world to life for students and to help students connect with the past. If we’re reading Cicero’s Latin orations, then we’re going to learn how to wear a toga and recite those speeches in Latin. Classical literature is so much more than text on a page! Traveling to Italy with my students is one my favorite aspects of teaching. No book can replicate the experience of discussing Julius Caesar in the middle of the Roman Forum, or learning about Roman wall painting by walking through the rooms of a Roman villa in Pompeii. I’ve recently joined a long-term research project on ancient graffiti at Herculaneum and Pompeii and look forward to my students joining in that research."
"My goal in teaching economics is to help economic decision-making to become second nature for our students. After all, at its heart, economics is about making choices. We make choices every day…how much should I spend on movies? Should I go to graduate school after my undergraduate years at Millsaps? Business and government makes choices. How much health care services should be produced and what determines how it’s allocated? Should the state government spend more on infrastructure? Economics provides a framework for making those decisions, comparing the additional costs of a choice to the additional benefits.
"While there is economic theory in my classroom, there’s an equal dose of “real world” interaction. How does the Federal Reserve make choices about monetary policy? In my Intermediate Macroeconomics course, students think through these choices by participating in a semester long project culminating in a simulation of a Federal Open Market Committee meeting. Students learn through doing.
"Economics extends beyond the Millsaps classroom. Our faculty take Millsaps students to see “economics in action”…meeting with pricing analysts at The Home Depot Corporate, at The Southern Company and Delta Air Lines, They meet with leaders in the banking industry at the American Bankers Association. And, yes, our Millsaps students have the opportunity to meet with the members of the Federal Reserve Governors whose policy they have simulated in class."
Dr. Susan Taylor is Professor of Economics at Millsaps College. Her primary teaching interests include Macroeconomics, International Economics, and Health Economics. She is an active scholar, having published over 20 articles in peer-reviewed journals.
"As someone trained as a behavioral neuroscientist, I often am asked why I teach in a Psychology Department.
"The answer to that question is straightforward: The connection between our brain and our behavior is something that can be assessed in a variety of ways. Having previously worked in both physiological research facilities as well as behavioral research programs my preference is to examine behaviors directly. Psychology focuses on behavior so it is a natural fit for my interests.
"Working within the area of psychology we can address specific behavioral questions such as:
"What leads to hunger and satiation? Are drug addictions just bad choices or are these behaviors governed by neurological changes? How does learning occur and how can you measure it? Are the brains of men and women different with respect to how they respond to sex?
"My classes focus on measurable behaviors and the underlying brain areas that regulate and modify such behaviors. By looking at both the neural substrates as well as accompanying overt behavior, students can make the direct connection between what they do and how the brain is controlling it all. Our students end up in a variety of professions (physicians, clinical psychologists, physical therapists, neuroscientists, etc) and having an understanding of how the body and brain work together is an integral part of their education and servers them well in any field of study they pursue."
Kristen Tordella-Williams teaches sculpture, drawing, digital arts, paper making, and performance art to majors and non-majors. She works alongside her students to teach techniques that range from Photoshop to wood joinery. Beyond learning new skills, Kristen focuses on how to convey your ideas in visually, in order to hone each student's understanding of the world around us. Using a hands-on approach, students in her classes experiment with expressing themselves across the spectrum of contemporary fine art, while grounding each new process and material with art history.
Kristen works across media exploring imagery and sculpture generated from the performative process. She uses performance and sculpture to investigate issues of labor, identity, gender, and memory using an array of material commonly found at hardware stores, supermarkets and recycling bins. Raised in Massachusetts, Kristen received her B.F.A in sculpture from UMass Dartmouth. She completed her M.F.A concentrating in Sculpture and Dimensional Studies from New York State College of Ceramics. She has exhibited nationally and internationally and has been an artist in residence at Salem Art Works, the Visitor Center, and Franconia Sculpture Park. She is represented by Art Shape Mammoth and is a proud member of the Mid-South Sculpture Alliance.
A 2004 graduate of Millsaps College, Kenneth Townsend returned to his alma mater in 2012 to serve as Assistant Professor of Political Science and to work as Special Assistant to Millsaps President Rob Pearigen.
With graduate degrees in law, religion, and political theory, Kenneth teaches courses in political and legal theory, ethics, and constitutional law. His academic research and writing concern the role of religion in a democracy and the moral foundations of law. Kenneth loves teaching and has been known to offer one-on-one directed study courses for students who develop out-of-the-ordinary interests.
Committed to connecting theory and practice, Kenneth regularly brings judges, elected officials, and community leaders to speak to his classes. Kenneth also serves on the board of directors for various local, national, and international non-profit organizations, and every semester he helps connect students with jobs and internships in government, political consulting, economic development, and private law in Jackson and beyond.
Kenneth is also charged with helping make Millsaps Jackson's "public square" by organizing discussions and debates on matters of public significance. Recent public forums have included prominent local and national leaders and have explored topics such as the role of religion in public life, public education reform, the shift from print to electronic media, and the Affordable Care Act's impact on Mississippi.
A recipient of the Truman Scholarship for Public Service and the Rhodes Scholarship, Kenneth chairs the National Fellowships Committee at Millsaps and works closely with students who apply for these and other fellowships.
"I am a professor in the Department of Education. In our department, we teach courses for students majoring in Education and seeking elementary licensure (k-6); we also teach courses for students earning secondary licensure (7-12) and majoring in another discipline. Many Millsaps students earn a minor in Education. I teach a field-based literacy course in which our students provide literacy intervention instruction for at-risk elementary students in a nearby public school. I also teach our assessment course and our senior capstone course, Education Theory, Policy, and Practice.
"It is exciting to watch our students develop confidence in their professional abilities to impact k-12 student learning. Especially during the clinical practice semester, our students participate in 13 weeks of student teaching and manage k-12 student learning as they prepare for a career in teaching and serving others. Many of our students are employed prior to graduation from Millsaps.
"Our classes in the licensure programs are designed for teaching and learning for understanding with active in-depth learning activities and emphasis on authentic performance in field based settings."
"Having attended a small liberal arts college, I knew that I wanted to teach in one. I enjoy getting to know students personally and maintaining contact with many of them after they graduate. Classes at Millsaps College are small enough to allow students to explore issues through discussion as well as through creative projects that often take them into the surrounding community. Thus, my main role is to pose questions that facilitate students' exploration within the classroom and to arrange for opportunities beyond the classroom. Because I want students to understand that professors do not have all the answers, I often present problems about which I am curious. This allows all of us to experience the excitement and wonder of discovery together.
"When I was an undergraduate, I was browsing the library's bookshelves in the religion section and thought, "I could read every book here." That's when I knew that becoming a professor of religious studies would satisfy me in a way that no other career could.The field is so deep that it can never be exhausted, which makes teaching continually fresh. My regular offerings include classes on the various religions of South and East Asia. One of my degrees is a Master of Liberal Studies, which I earned after reading the major literary and philosophical classics of western civilization.This degree serves me well now since I also contribute to Millsaps' core humanities program."
Dr. David Wood joined the Millsaps faculty in the fall of 2014 after teaching at Lyon College for nine years. He is currently an associate professor of Spanish and chair of the Modern Languages Department.
At Millsaps, he teaches a range of courses from introductory Spanish to Peninsular literature and Hispanic culture and civilization. He earned a doctorate in Hispanic languages and iteratures from UCLA in 2005. He is currently writing a book on restoring literary value to Azorín's works and co-editing a critical edition of the Gaucho Martín Fierro for advanced undergraduate and graduate students. His articles on Azorín have appeared in Anales de la literatura contemporanea, Philological Review, and in Azorín, Los clásicos redivivos y los universales renovados. Wood has traveled widely throughout the Spanish-speaking world.
David Yates is an Assistant Professor of Classics. He teaches Greek and Latin at all levels and several courses on various aspects of ancient Greek and Roman society (for example, War and Society in the Ancient World, Greek and Roman Civilization, and Mythology). He received his Ph.D. from Brown University, an M.A. from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and his B.A. from the University of Virginia. His research interests are ancient warfare, politics, and memory.
“My favorite part of teaching Classics at Millsaps is showing students the unexpected things about the ancient world – how did it smell, sound, and feel? 50 students with PVC pipe spears in the Bowl isn’t exactly Spartan warfare, but it leaves students with an excellent sense of the real experience that stood behind the battles we discuss in class. I bring the same attitude to Greek and Latin. It’s not just about how to read Plato, Caesar, or the New Testament in their original languages (though that is pretty rockin’!). It’s also about how languages work generally and the interplay between language and culture that you can only appreciate when you see it from a different perspective.”
Jennifer Lewton-Yates teaches a variety of courses in the Classical Studies curriculum, from beginning language and Classical Mythology to advanced readings in Latin and Greek (recent authors include Euripides, Lucian, Apuleius, and Ovid). Lewton-Yates completed her undergraduate degree at Ohio Wesleyan University and is currently finishing her Ph.D. at Brown with a dissertation focusing on the relationship between the Ancient Novels (fabulous stories about lovers separated by shipwrecks and men who get turned into donkeys) and Greek Tragedy (more fabulous stories about wives who have been replaced by ghosts and heroes who rescue their friends from the clutches of Death). "Having thrived on small classes and personalized attention from my professors as an undergraduate, I love being able to offer my students the same type of experience here at Millsaps," she said. "I like to keep the format of my language classes as flexible as possible. When students ask to read a particular Catullus poem, this tragedy instead of that tragedy, or even a little bit of Latin Harry Potter the answer is almost always yes."
When she isn’t teaching Latin or Greek, Lewton-Yates directs the College’s 1 Campus 1 Community Program and the Wellspring Living-Learning community for first-year students.