Alcorn School of Arts and Sciences has seminar series

The School of Arts and Sciences’ monthly seminar series brings nine departments and more than 100 faculty, staff and students together for discussion and collaboration.

Initiated by former Dean of Arts & Sciences Dr. Samuel L. White, the series has flourished under the leadership of the current Dean, Dr. Babu Patlolla. Since September, 2013, the series has included presentations from the departments of English and Foreign Languages, Math and Computer Sciences, Social Sciences, Biological Sciences, Fine Arts, and Chemistry and Physics, as well as a forum on electronic publishing that included Arts & Sciences faculty and members of the University Press of Mississippi.

“The purpose of the seminar series is to share ideas across the School of Arts and Sciences, to let one another know about the concerns and interests of our various disciplines,” said Patlolla. “These seminars have opened opportunities for faculty and staff to collaborate within and among departments. What is more, the series has given members of the School of Arts and Sciences a venue for sharing topics that interest them deeply.”

Some of the presentations shared interests that have broad appeal. Dr. Robert Sizemore, Department of Biological Sciences, said that he and fellow members of his department were responding to what they perceived as the misinformation in the media regarding the 2014 outbreak of Ebola in West Africa.

“Our goal was to alleviate the fears of our community with our presentation on Ebola,” Sizemore said. “Mr Leroy Johnson described the genetics of the virus, while Dr. Alex Acholonu discussed the epidemiology, and highlighted the pathogenesis (or the causes of the disease). We were grateful to have this opportunity, and hopefully we succeeded in our goal—although it was apparent that many fears remain and other questions need to be investigated.”

Another presentation with broad appeal was given by editorial board members of The University Press of Mississippi, a consortium press that includes all Mississippi Universities. Dr. Diane Bunch, Department of English and Foreign Languages and one of Alcorn State University’s representatives at the UPM, said: “This turned out to be the perfect forum for UPM staff members, for many Alcorn faculty and staff attended and offered the press frank advice about future needs and current issues regarding electronic teaching. Leila Salisbury, Director of UPM, was delighted with the open and lively discussion and this format has been replicated throughout the state at other universities.”

The faculty and staff of Arts and Sciences were pleased with the outcome of the seminar.

“I want to thank all the faculty and staff of the School of Arts and Sciences for their strong support, as shown by the large attendance for each of the seminars. I also want to thank Ms. Judy Smith and Dr. J. Janice Coleman, both of the Department of English and Foreign Languages, for their service as co-coordinators for the seminar series,” Patlolla said.

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