Interim Dean, Else School of Management; Professor of Business Law; Selby & Richard D. McRae Chair of Business Administration
BA, Mississippi State University; JD, Mississippi College School of Law
“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.”