Mississippi College Adds 16 Faculty Members
September 8, 2009America's troubled economy is triggering a rash of faculty and staff layoffs on many campuses nationwide. It's happening at schools from California to Florida.
Fortunately, just the opposite is true at Mississippi College. The Baptist-affiliated university recently hired 16 new faculty members and a significant number of new staffers.
One of the newcomers on the faculty on the Clinton campus is Jeanne Franks.
The move to MC enabled her to " come back to my first love - wellness and teaching," said Franks, a kinesiology instructor.
Her experience includes service as the executive director of a non-profit in Birmingham. The Hattiesburg native also brings experience as an educator in Hattiesburg and Lamar County public schools. In addition, she worked at the Institute for Wellness and Sports Medicine, part of the Wesley Health Systems in Hattiesburg.
It is refreshing that MC is adding people, Franks said. "I'm so grateful that I'm one of them."
Franklin, who's worked in worked in Tennessee and Alabama for more than a decade, is delighted to return to her native Mississippi. "This is my first time home since 1996."
As unemployment rates nationwide stand at 9.5 percent and exceed that mark in the Magnolia State, Mississippi College is truly blessed to welcome more people to its faculty and staff this fall, school leaders say. MC President Lee Royce gave them the official welcome at the university's recent fall convocation in Swor Auditorium.
As hundreds of faculty and staff looked on, Royce noted the persistent financial problems and downsizing hurting many campuses, even Ivy League schools like Harvard. He said he's happy that such conversations about chopping the campus payroll are not happening at MC's faculty and staff meetings.
The September 4 issue of "The Chronicle of Higher Education" reports that some colleges and universities are closing faculty teaching centers as a response to campus budget cuts. In the past two years, teaching centers have been closed or drastically scaled back at the University of Missouri at Columbia, Eastern Washington University and the University of Southern Maine, among others, the weekly newspaper reported.
Mssissippi College continues to grow despite hard times along Wall Street and Main Street. MC is now home to 500 employees and an annual budget exceeding $60 million.
As the Christian university begins its 184th academic year, MC enrollment reached a new record of 4,871 students as of Sept. 1. In terms of faculty and staff, MC is adding, not subtracting, from its numbers. MC stretches from the main campus in Clinton to the MC School of Law in downtown Jackson, and branches in Brandon and Madison.
Other newcomers to the MC faculty include: Amy Christian, director of the Counseling and Testing Center, Bobby Franklin and Minadene Waldrop, both professors in teacher education, and psychology professor Kenisha Gordon.
A Brandon resident, Franklin brings 20 years of experience with the Louisiana Department of Education in Baton Rouge. Christian, a former Mississippi State professor and counseling staffer on the Starkville campus, succeeds retired counseling center director Buddy Wagner, who worked here 27 years.
New professors in the MC School of Business include: accounting instructor Brooks Poole, who returns to his alma mater (he's a 2002 MC graduate) after teaching at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. Others include: professor Retha Price, a former marketing professor at Belmont University and West Georgia, and Michele Ricker, the new assistant dean and coordinator with the school's Accelerated Degree Program.
MC is also adding professors to the School of Business at a time when enrollment remains strong in the M.B.A. program, the oldest and largest in metro Jackson.More than 250 M.B.A. students are taking classes, says business dean Marcelo Eduardo.
In the School of Science and Mathematics, new folks on board include chemistry professor Trent Shelby, mathematics instructor Daniel Watson, visiting biology professor Robert C. Sample and Robert Philpot, director of MC's new physician assistant program and a professor. Elsewhere, other new faculty aboard are: Carolyn Jefferson, a visiting professor in the School of Law, Sandra Grayson, an instructor in communications, and history professor Steven H. Patterson.
George Conyne, who holds a doctorate from Cambridge University in England, is a visiting professor at the MC School of Law this fall and spring. He's also teaching history classes.He's on sabbatical for a year as a professor at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England.