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MSU working to close opportunity gap in state’s natural resource sector
Breaking down barriers for minorities and women to pursue natural resource careers is the focus of a new diversity initiative in Mississippi State’s College of Forest Resources. “There are tremendous career opportunities in natural resource management fields. Our forestry students report 100% job placement with starting salaries averaging $42,500 and ranging as high as $75,000,” said CFR Dean Wes Burger. “This initiative seeks to ensure those opportunities are available to all.” The initiative includes two new full-time staff positions focused on improving diversity across CFR. T.J. Walker is CFR’s new director of diversity programs and student development. Morgan Alexander, who earned a bachelor’s in wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture from CFR, is the new student diversity coordinator.
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Boltz, Komakech and Zelaya joining summer institute addressing health disparities
Three Mississippi State early career faculty members are representing the land-grant university next month on a select 10-person panel charged with finding solutions to persistent health disparities plaguing Magnolia State citizens. The weeklong Mississippi Center for Clinical and Translational Research’s Community-Engaged Research Summer Institute begins July 9 and includes representation from MSU Assistant Professors Laura Boltz, Department of Sociology; Joel Komakech, Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion; and Karina Zelaya, Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures. The event is led by the University of Mississippi Medical Center, University of Southern Mississippi and this year’s host, Tougaloo College.
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Smoke-free policy enhances healthy environment
Mississippi State University is a smoke-free campus. Official policy prohibits the use of any combustible or vapor products anywhere on campus property including university buildings, university grounds, university vehicles, parking areas and sidewalks. The smoke-free campus policy is part of the university's commitment to creating a healthy environment for all members of the campus community. Use of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, pipes, hookah or other similar devices are prohibited by this policy. The complete policy is available at www.policies.msstate.edu/policy/91301.


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Rogers, Locke named new chief, assistant chief
Longtime Mississippi State policeman Kenneth Rogers now is entering the force’s lead position as chief of police. His appointment brings MSU’s Brian Locke into the role of assistant chief of police, with both officers having a combined 30-plus years with the land-grant university. “MSU is fortunate to have the experienced leadership of Chief Rogers and Assistant Chief Locke in the University Police Department,” said MSU Vice President for Student Affairs Regina Hyatt. “Chief Rogers’ years of work in the MSUPD, coupled with Assistant Chief Locke’s involvement with other law enforcement agencies, brings a wealth of knowledge and commitment to positive university policing. We look forward to MSUPD, with these two leaders, continuing to take care of what matters most -- the safety and security of our students, employees and visitors.”
New Maroon Academy for Teaching Excellence sets course for faculty advancement
Thirty faculty members are participants in Mississippi State’s new Maroon Academy for Teaching Excellence, a university certificate program for both early career and established teachers. The four-course summer program is being introduced as a result of the MSU Faculty Development Task Force, one of 17 such committees charged with exploring best practices and recommending advancements across the university. “We’re embarking on our most ambitious instructional professional development program in my 25-year career at MSU. This first cohort is committed to completing and adopting strategies learned in the academy, and ultimately, we will train 90 faculty members over three years, with the potential for training hundreds more beyond the pilot period,” said Jim Dunne, associate vice president for academic affairs and task force committee member.
Faculty, staff, students honored for excellence in ag, life sciences during academic year
Mississippi State faculty, staff and students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station have received special recognition for excellence in teaching, research and service throughout the 2022-2023 academic year. Scott Willard, CALS dean and MAFES director, shared his excitement and appreciation for the honorees and award winners. “We have exceptional teaching faculty, research scientists and extension specialists in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. Our faculty and staff are dedicated to student success and making new discoveries to improve agriculture in our state. It is an honor to recognize our faculty, staff and students for the work they do every day to improve the lives of Mississippians,” Willard said.
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