MFAeA establishes Faculty Grants and Awards

Mississippi’s First Alumnae Association (MFAeA) awarded three Faculty Enhancement Grants and a New Faculty Award at the close of the 2010 Spring semester.

MFAeA is the historic alumnae association that has supported MUW continuously since it was founded in 1889. The first graduating class, realizing the value of the education they had received, established this association to help make the W experience possible for generations to come and to promote their connections to the college they loved.

“We recognized that the faculty’s roles as teachers and mentors are what make Mississippi University for Women the outstanding institution of higher learning for which it has long been recognized,” said MFAeA President Lillian Wade ’68. “We wanted to thank them for all they do to enhance the learning experiences of W students and for the contributions they make beyond the classroom to the overall well being of our beloved alma mater.”

In 2009, the Board of Directors of MFAeA established the Faculty Enhancement Grants to enhance educational and professional activities of faculty members. All tenured and tenure-track faculty are eligible to apply for the grants. One grant is available for each of the four colleges.

An interested faculty member submits a brief proposal to their dean detailing how the grant will enhance their activity in one or more of the following areas: instruction, educational programming, research, and conferences.

The Faculty Research Committee reviews the grant applications and recommends the winners. MFAeA makes the awards. Money not awarded in a college, presumably because of a lack of applications, is divided evenly among winners in the other colleges.

Three grants were awarded this year:

Dr. Erin Kempker, Assistant Professor of History, received an award to build a music collection for the History Department that will promote a unique approach to the understanding of the past and encourage an interest in history through the incorporation of the cultural aspects of our history.

Dr. Ghanshyam D. Heda, Assistant Professor of Biology, will use his funds to purchase the reference book Protein Misfolding and Disease by Peter Bross and Niels Gregersen and additional educational materials to enhance his ability to teach the special topic course entitled “Protein Misfolding and Human Diseases” in the Department of Sciences and Mathematics.

Dr. Michelle Harmon, Professor of Speech-Language Pathology, will use her funds to attend the November meeting of the American Speech Language and Hearing Association to enhance her professional development as well as help promote the reputation of MUW among her peers. It will also be an excellent opportunity for professional growth for the students who attend with her and make a presentation.

Mississippi’s First Alumnae Association President Lillian Wade (second from left) congratulates recipients of the first MFAeA Faculty Enhancement Grants and the MFAeA New Faculty Award. The recipients are (from left) Dr. Ghanshyam D. Heda, Assistant Professor of Biology; Dr. Erin Kempker, Assistant Professor of History; and Dr. Michelle Harmon, Professor of Speech-Language Pathology. Dr. Kempker was the winner of the MFAeA New Faculty Award. “The New Faculty Award was established by MFAeA to reward the hard work of a newer faculty member in supporting the academic mission of MUW,” according to Wade. “Dr. Erin Kempker was selected by a committee of her peers for her outstanding dedication to her role as a teacher and mentor.”

Faculty members at the rank of Assistant Professor (tenure track) who have been at MUW for no more than five years are eligible for this award. Each department chair could nominate one faculty member. That nomination was submitted to the dean of the chair’s college.

“We plan to continue this program of awards and grants,” said Wade, “because we know from our own personal experiences as students how very special our faculty members are.”