Architecture professor completes new writing excellence course

June 30th, 2014 Comments Off

New Maroon Institute for Writing Excellence graduates include (seated from left) Kim Walters, Stephanie Bennett, Amy Crumpton and Renee Clary, (standing from left) Becky Smith, Robert Damm, Elizabeth Payne, Melanie Loehing, Juyoung Lee, institute facilitator Rich Raymond, Jeff Roberson, Peter Allen and Mehrzad Netadj. Photo by: Megan Bean

New Maroon Institute for Writing Excellence graduates include (seated from left) Kim Walters, Stephanie Bennett, Amy Crumpton and Renee Clary, (standing from left) Becky Smith, Robert Damm, Elizabeth Payne, Melanie Loehing, Juyoung Lee, institute facilitator Rich Raymond, Jeff Roberson, Peter Allen and Mehrzad Netadj. Photo by: Megan Bean

By Leah Barbour | MSU Public Affairs

After becoming students once again at Mississippi State’s recent Maroon Institute for Writing Excellence, the new faculty-member graduates are ready to incorporate what they’ve learned in courses not traditionally associated with writing.

Now in its second year, the annual summer institute trains teachers to modify course syllabi to incorporate more writing-to-learn strategies in class assignments. Known as “Maroon & Write,” the overall initiative is the university’s quality enhancement plan to improve undergraduate learning at all class levels.

The QEP is required to maintain accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

During Thursday [June 26] ceremonies, the 11 participants representing architecture, language arts, mathematics, music and various sciences formally concluded the three-week intensive institute. By free writing and journaling, conversing and debating, they have developed methods to amend syllabi to include writing assignments, many of which qualify as participation grades.

Creating a “culture change” to make MSU a more writing-centric institution is the underlying purpose of Maroon & Write, said Rich Raymond. Head of the English department and the institute’s facilitator, Raymond has for some time applied the writing-to-learn techniques in all his courses.

“We are very excited about the QEP and Maroon & Write,” said Jerry Gilbert, provost and executive vice president, at the graduation celebration. “We’re introducing writing-across-the-curriculum, and I tell students at each orientation, it’s important for their future careers. We’re preparing them for life and to be leaders.

“Our students are going to graduate from Mississippi State better prepared to be better members of the community,” Gilbert added.

The summer 2014 institute graduates and the writing-to-learn courses they’ll be teaching this fall include, by department:

–Agricultural economics assistant extension professor Becky Smith, three Honors Forum sections in the Shackouls Honors College.

–Architecture visiting assistant professor Jeffery Roberson, architectural theory.

–Communication assistant professor Melanie Loehwing, rhetorical theory.

–Curriculum, instruction and special education assistant professor Stephanie Bennett, integrated language arts instruction.

–Geosciences associate professor Renee Clary, principles of paleobiology.

–Human sciences assistant professor Juyoung Lee, sociological and psychological aspects of clothing.

–Interior design associate professor Amy Crumpton, principles, processes and practices for interior design.

–Landscape architecture assistant professor Elizabeth Payne, fundamentals of planning design.

–Mathematics and statistics instructor Kim Walters, problem-solving with real numbers for education majors.

–Music professor Robert Damm, African-American music.

–Sociology instructor Mehrzad Netadj, marriage and family.

–Wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture assistant professor Peter Allen, fish physiology.

This group joins the institute’s inaugural class from 2013, many of whom plan to continue teaching Maroon & Write courses. They include, by department:

–Animal and dairy science assistant professor Jamie Larson, physiology of reproduction.

–Associate professor Matthew Little, American literature survey, and instructor LaToya Bogard, introduction to literature. Both are English department faculty members.

–Forestry professor Stephen Grado, forest resources survey.

–Human sciences instructor Rick Noffsinger, introduction to technical writing in agricultural communication.

–Marketing, quantitative analysis, and business law professor Robert S. Moore, Internet marketing.

–Music professor Michael Brown, history and appreciation of music and honors history and appreciation of music.

Learn more about Maroon & Write at

Annual Design Discovery camp wraps up at MSU

June 12th, 2014 Comments Off

Construction with Legos has been part of MSU's 2014 Design Discovery Workshop Camp. This team of campers includes (l-r) Asher Paxton of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Trey Box of Jackson and Jonathan Ambion of Biloxi. Photo by: Keats Haupt

Construction with Legos has been part of MSU’s 2014 Design Discovery Workshop Camp. This team of campers includes (l-r) Asher Paxton of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Trey Box of Jackson and Jonathan Ambion of Biloxi. Photo by: Keats Haupt

Via Leah Barbour | MSU Public Affairs

More than 20 students from throughout the Magnolia State, as well as several from Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia, are part of Mississippi State’s 2014 Design Discovery summer camp.

The university’s College of Architecture, Art and Design annually sponsors the week-long campus experience for high school students interested in becoming architects. MSU is home to the state’s only postsecondary academic program leading to an architecture license.

This week [June 5-13], the campers have been engaged in a variety of activities, from designing buildings to constructing models. The last major activity Friday will involve formal reviews of projects developed from their tours of Starkville’s Cotton District residential community.

This year’s campers include (by hometown):

BILOXI–Jonathan Ambion, the son of Jerome Ambion and Analyn Ambion.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.–Annabelle N. Neville, the daughter of Paul and Jocelyn Neville.

BRIGHTON, Tenn.–Erin Prester, the daughter of Kevin and Jackie Prester.

DIAMONDHEAD–Nicholas P. “Nick” Bevis, the son of Jim and Sherri Bevis.

COMO–Ikhlas F. Khan, the son of Faheem and Saira Khan.

CONEHATTA–Samantha K. Graham, the daughter of Mitchell and Anita Graham.

FLOWOOD–Joshua Q. “Josh” Cummins, the son of James and Donna Cummins.

FULTON–Stone Brown, the son of Jamie and Cheree Brown.

GRAY, Tenn.–Erin Sanders, the daughter of Stan and Kara Sanders.

HOLLY SPRINGS–Cedric Hampton, the son of Jannie Richards; Corey Luellen Jr., the son of Corey Luellen Sr. and Crystal Boxley; and Allyson Parker, the daughter of Willie and Karon Parker.

HURON, Tenn.–Lauren Taylor, the daughter of Jon Taylor and Ruth Taylor.

JACKSON–Charles “Trey” Box, the son of Chuck and Amanda Box.

MADISON–Kristin Boykin, the daughter of Billy Boykin and Lynn Boykin.

MADISON, Ala.–Brooke M. Russo, the daughter of Scott and Kristin Russo.

MCCOMB–Marcus Graves, the son of Warren Gilmore and Lynn Gilmore.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn.–Asher E. Paxton, the son of Jane Paxton.

NEWNAN, Ga.–Elizabeth Wilson, the daughter of Clay and Sherry Wilson.

OLIVE BRANCH–Mikayla Anewalt, the daughter of Michael Anewalt and Renee Couch, and Tracey McDaniel, the daughter of Vic McDaniel and Holly McDaniel.

OXFORD, Ala.–Leah Graham, the daughter of Paul and Janice Graham.

PONTOTOC–Anna Grace Dye, the daughter of Frances Dye.

RANDOLPH–Sarah Hoing, the daughter of Tim and Sonia Hoing.

RIDGELAND–Ford Williams, the son of Ben Williams and Melissa Williams.

SAUCIER–Kaitlin Givens, the daughter of Steve Givens and Peggy Givens.

STARKVILLE–Ali Otondo, the daughter of Robert and Rosa Otondo, and Zahria Towns, the daughter of Anthony and Tiffany Harris.

TERRY–Jasmine Dennis, the daughter of Reginald Dennis Sr. and Patricia Dennis.

VANCLEAVE–Shelby Christian, the daughter of Richard and Lark Christian.

For more about the annual camp–and to view a continually updated blog about the activities–visit

School of Architecture professors to retire after 26 years of service

June 10th, 2014 Comments Off

Two longtime professors in the School of Architecture will retire this summer after twenty-six years of service.

David C. Lewis, Ph.D., and Rachel McCann, Ph.D., will both retire at the end of June.

Lewis joined the School of Architecture faculty as a visiting assistant professor in 1988. He served as an associate professor from 1994-2007, was interim director of the School of Architecture from 2006-2007 and was promoted to full professor in 2007. He represented the College of Architecture, Art and Design from 2008-2013 as associate dean and most recently was the interim director of the Building Construction Science Program.

Lewis was the recipient of the National Educator Honor Award AIAS for the 1988-1989 academic year. In 2005, he received the College of Architecture, Art and Design Faculty Research Award, and he was also the recipient of the prestigious ACSA Faculty Award from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, the association’s top teaching honor.

McCann joined the School of Architecture in 1988 as assistant professor. She served as an associate professor from 1994-2007, and she was promoted to full professor in 2007.

For the past 10 years, she has been the coordinator of the history/theory curriculum in the school, giving rise to numerous invitations to present workshops, critiques and lectures around North America on the subject. McCann was appointed to the international Board of Directors of the Merleau-Ponty Circle, one of the top philosophical societies in the world. In 2010, she was the recipient of the prestigious Grisham Master Teacher award, Mississippi State University’s top teaching honor. Also in 2010, she was named Outstanding Faculty Member of the Mississippi Association of Colleges and Universities. Currently, McCann has three books in the works with top-tier publishers.

“David and Rachel’s significance started when they became key players in furthering the development of the phenomenological curriculum at MSU, making it one of the earliest curriculums to embrace experiential design-theory in the architectural academy,” said Michael Berk, F.L. Crane Professor and director of the School of Architecture. “Many programs subsequently have been modeled after it. “As senior members of the faculty, their leadership and knowledge will be greatly missed.”

“When a school hires new assistant professors, the ultimate goal is for them to develop, over time, their own thoughts and expertise and then be able to use those to influence, in a most positive way, the pedagogy and direction of the school,” said Jim West, dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Design. “This is an elite goal, but in fact both David and Rachel have accomplished this in the School of Architecture. Their individual contributions to the foundational structure of the architecture curriculum are indelible. While their continued input will be missed, the school will continue to benefit from the rich heritage of their design thinking.”

A lunch celebration was held for McCann on June 25. See the photos:

Mississippi State Alpha Rho Chi Chapter installs colony in Georgia

June 9th, 2014 Comments Off

Hippodamus, the Mississippi State University Chapter of Alpha Rho Chi, was recently invited by the fraternity’s grand council to install a new colony at Southern Polytechnic State University.

Hippodamus is the youngest chapter – just over a year established – to ever install another colony, and they were honored to help install the largest colony in the fraternity’s history.

The Hippodamus members, along with faculty advisor Justin Taylor, spent two days in Marietta, Ga., performing the installation ritual to initiate thirty-eight new members into Polyidus.

“Our members of Alpha Rho Chi did a fantastic job,” said Taylor. “The members of grand council that were there had nothing but complements for the group. On numerous occasions they said it was the best installation they had seen.”

Alpha Rho Chi is the only national coed professional/social fraternity for architecture and the allied arts. The Hippodamus chapter includes 32 members representing students from architecture, interior design, landscape architecture and engineering. Their mission is academic excellence, and the group focuses on leadership, mentoring and professionalism.

“I’m super proud of all the members of Alpha Rho Chi,” said Taylor. “They are a stand-up group of students; they work hard and are continuously working on stuff around the school and for the betterment of the student body.”

For more information on how to become a member of Alpha Rho Chi, contact Justin Taylor at

Hippodamus Executive Board 2014-2015:
President – Megan Vansant
Vice-President – Amarin Montroy
Secretary – Emily Morse
Treasurer – Matthew Peugh
Superintendent – Bradford Trevino

Justin Taylor (Alumni/Faculty Advisor)
Adam Rhodes (Alumni)
Eric Lynn (Alumni)
Melinda Ingram
Cory May
Mark Riley
Megan Vansant
Stefan Balcer
Emily Morse
Lorianna Baker
Ryan Mura
Hannah Waycaster
Sang Nguyen
Patrick Brown
Daniel Torres
Tyler Warmath
Mary Whitney Evins
Elesabeth Evans
Matthew Peugh
Garrett Yelverton
Rashidat Momoh
Amarin Montroy
Lucas Posey
Zachary Busman
Chad Cordray
Bradford Trevino
Maria Germash
Zachary Henry
Nicholas Vezinaw
Gerald Wicks
Sara Peppers
Elizabeth Beuche
Taylor McKinney

National AIA leaders tour the School of Architecture

June 4th, 2014 Comments Off

On Memorial Day weekend, F.L Crane Professor and School of Architecture Director Michael Berk spent the afternoon touring top leadership of the National American Institute of Architects (AIA) around Giles Hall.

The tour had a special focus on the current gallery exhibition, which includes select student work from the spring semester.

The following delegation were a part of the tour: Jeff Potter, FAIA (Dallas, Texas), and Mickey Jacob, FAIA (Tampa, Fla.), both former national presidents of the AIA. Accompanying them was Robert Ivy, FAIA, executive vice president and CEO and a member of the school’s Advisory Council. Also attending were Shelly Potter, landscape architect, and Diane Jacobs, interior designer.

Both Porter and Jacob were presented a copy of BARNworks, a compilation of student work.  All were invited to a dinner engagement and discussion at Ivy’s home in Columbus later that evening.

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