Our Faculty

There are many reasons why the Else School of Management is consistently ranked as one of the top graduate business programs in America, but chief among them is our faculty. Each of our professors brings a wealth of academic and professional experience to the classroom, and our students carry that experience with them into their own successful careers.

  • Diane F. Baker

    Diane F. Baker

    Professor of Management

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    B.S., Concordia College; M.B.A., Ph.D., University of Oklahoma

    "My primary interest is in group and organizational behavior. I teach management, group behavior, leadership, and human resource management. I like to engage students in the learning process, so I rely on a highly interactive approach to case studies, group exercises, simulations, movie clips, role plays, etc. I draw from current issues of the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and other sources to explore how the topics from class play out in the world. My research interests focus on group behavior and management education. I have published articles in journals such as Small Group Research, Academy of Management Learning and Education, and Journal of Management Education."

  • Jesse D. Beeler—Millsaps College

    Jesse D. Beeler

    Professor of Accounting, Hyman F. McCarty Jr. Chair of Business Administration

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    B.S., M.B.A., Southwest Missouri State University; Ph.D., University of Texas-Arlington

    "During my teaching career my primary goal has been to help young people develop their ability to think creatively and analytically and develop morally and intellectually. I strive to not only be a teacher but a mentor, role model, and friend to my students. For example, I supervised many independent studies and internships. Several of the directed studies have resulted in research that has been presented at professional meetings and/or published in professional journals. I also strive to involve students and business leaders in an interactive learning environment by bringing real world experiences into the classroom. For instance, I regularly schedule partners from accounting firms in Jackson to present cases drawn from their current practice to my Advanced Financial Accounting Theory and Problems class.

    "I have been very active in the Accounting Residency Program helping place our students in positions that allow them to gain professional work experience before graduation. These activities are critical for expanding partnerships between the College and the regional and national business community. We have had an almost 100 percent placement rate for students who graduate from our M.Acc. Program during the past 20 years.

    "Globalization of business requires accounting educators to take on the challenge of preparing our students to be much more than merely technically competent accountants. We as educators we must foster and nurture an entrepreneurial spirit in our students and motivate them to strive to achieve life goals that go beyond ordinary endeavors. By offering an academically challenging, innovative curriculum we must provide students a strong foundation in fundamental business skills as well as general abilities such as critical thinking, communication, quantitative thinking, historical consciousness and multicultural awareness. Of growing importance is the need to create a focus on global awareness and cultural sensitivity, we must educate our students to the reality that globalization of business is a fact of life and that its' increasing importance in business and in society will impact them personally. Business educators must convey these lessons with a sense of urgency. The future is now and we must broaden accounting education so that our graduates can help lead the economy of this country as we compete beyond our local, state, and national borders. To accomplish these objectives we as educators must take a personal interest in out students' entire professional life. We must be available to serve as role models, mentors, and advocates for our students. We must create programs and connections that will place our students into the broader world. If you strive to create leaders for the future of accounting and business you can no longer simply stay in the classroom and teach your students the technical elements of accounting. We must commit to travel with students for extended periods to introduce them to the broader world, local, regional, national and beyond to the international business community."

  • Kimberly G. Burke—Millsaps College

    Kimberly G. Burke

    Dean of the Else School of Management, Professor of Accounting

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    B.B.A., M.S., Texas Tech University; Ph.D., Oklahoma University

    Students often approach accounting with the misguided ideas that 1) the practice of accounting is just a good way to get a job, and 2) in accounting there is always a single best answer for any problem. Instead I get to introduce students to a profession dedicated to serving the public interest above its own and a complex, intricate system that challenges them to solve problems, communicate complicated ideas and behave ethically in situations where the ‘right thing to do’ may be hard to identify.

    Anyone who has ever completed Intermediate Accounting can tell you that learning the rules of accounting is serious work. But, being a skilled technician is not the end goal – I want students to make learned and thoughtful contributions to the business and nonprofit communities they serve. To do so, they must certainly understand the rules, but they also need to comprehend the politics involved in making accounting or auditing policy, analyze the strengths and weaknesses of current accounting guidance and practice the interpersonal skills required of a successful accountant. So, in my classes, it’s not uncommon for students to role-play the needs of various financial statement users as difficult information is communicated. They play games like Monopoly or Bingo to demonstrate the ambiguities of accounting guidance. Sometimes they are asked to navigate their way through a real example of fraud or accounting failure to obtain a better outcome. These activities take students beyond ‘debit-left, credit-right’ and help them see the discipline as something more than a way to a steady job and develop a keen sense of commitment to using accounting to serve the public interest.

    Dr. Burke is an active scholar co-authoring five continuing education courses offered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and numerous articles published in prestigious academic journals. For her dedication to teaching, Dr. Burke has been recognized as the Mississippi Professor of the Year by CASE and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the Distinguished Professor from Millsaps College, and Outstanding Educator by the Mississippi Society of CPAs.

  • Bill M. Brister—Millsaps College

    Bill M. Brister

    Assistant Professor of Finance

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    B.S., M.B.A., University of Southern Mississippi; Ph.D., University of Arkansas

    "Hello. I’m Bill Brister and I teach finance here at Millsaps. Right after I received my M.B.A. at USM, the Dean there asked if I would teach a class in Business Statistics. Having no other job at the time, I agreed. From the first class I taught I knew that I had found by vocational passion. I continued on with my education and earned a Ph.D. and started teaching at Millsaps in 1989. I love the classroom and teaching, particularly here at Millsaps.

    "In my finance classes we talk about a host of interesting topics such as: MONEY, personal investment, interest rates, the stock market, the bond market, and dividend policy. OK, OK, maybe most of these topics do not sound very interesting, but MONEY is interesting.

    "I also do a good bit of consulting in the area of litigation support. Like the classroom, I like testifying in court as an expert witness. Sometimes it is nerve-racking, and I must be on my toes at all times, but the excitement of the competitive nature of the courtroom is very exciting."

  • Damon E. Campbell

    Damon E. Campbell

    Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems

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    Kelly Gene Cook, Sr., Chair of Business Administration, Director of the M.B.A. Program; B.A., Lewis Clark State College; M.B.A., Ph.D., Washington State University

    "I teach applied topics in the professional school of business (i.e., Information Systems, Analytics, and Survey of Management). The rewarding issue with my style of teaching involves the high balance of teaching the requisite explicit knowledge as well as offer ways for students to gain as much tacit knowledge as possible in a contrived academic setting. "Tacit knowledge is subconsciously understood and applied, difficult to articulate, developed from direct experience and action, and usually shared through highly interactive conversation, storytelling, and shared experience." (Zack 1999) With this type of knowledge, experts are able to know what they don't know, when rules don't apply, as well as make fine distinctions, recognize patterns, recognize context, extrapolate, and make decisions quickly. (Leonard and Swap 2005) This type of knowledge is difficult to teach and subsequently assess in a classroom. "In contrast, explicit knowledge is more precisely and formally articulated, although removed from the original context of creation or use." (Zack 1999) This type of knowledge is fairly commonly encountered in standard classrooms (e.g., reading a textbook and taking a standard exam). However, when challenged to apply explicit knowledge (e.g., complete a case analysis) students soon find it requires an unanticipated level of mastery and tacit knowledge. Thus explicit knowledge is prerequisite in many instances to gaining tacit knowledge. In my classes, I try to give them as much OJT (On-the-Job-Training) as I can by putting students in as many real world (or closer to real world) situations as I can."

  • David Culpepper

    David H. Culpepper

    Professor of Accounting

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    B.S., Belhaven College; B.S., M.B.A., Millsaps College; Ph.D., University of Alabama

    Dr. David Culpepper holds B.S. degrees in chemistry and accounting, an M.B.A., and a Ph.D. in accounting, with minor in statistics, from the University of Alabama. He has been employed by Ernst & Young as well as the U.S. Treasury Department. During the last 25 years, he has served numerous clients in various financial, valuation, and capital deployment related engagements. A Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) since 1995, Culpepper has been involved in private equity evaluation, financial damages and other litigation support, and the valuation of closely-held businesses for the purposes of mergers and acquisitions, estate planning, etc. He has been qualified as an expert witness to testify on business damages in both the Southern District Federal Court and the Northern District Federal Court. He has also conducted evaluations resulting in fairness opinions for the Mississippi Attorney General's office for various hospital and healthcare entity acquisitions.

    Culpepper has coordinated and participated in numerous private equity investments by various investor groups. These investments have ranged from early stage seed capital to later stage mezzanine financing rounds, and include a variety of industry sectors: medical devices, wireless technology, network routing technology, oil and gas exploration, commercial/residential real estate development, renewable energy technology, natural gas pipeline technology, among others. He also serves as managing partner of a hotel development/management firm that has acquired or developed ten hotels, and a construction firm that specializes in hotel construction.

    Culpepper is a professor of accounting and eEntrepreneurship for the Else School of Management at Millsaps College, and serves as chair of ELSEWorks, the College's entrepreneurial initiative, as well as on the Board of Midtown Partners, Inc. He has also held the Kelly Gene Cook Chair of Business Administration, and has taught various courses in accounting, tax, finance, and entrepreneurship at both the undergraduate and graduate level. He has published numerous articles in both academic and professional journals including the Journal of Applied Business Research, CPA Journal, Journal of European Business, Journal of International Taxation, Journal of Accounting and Finance Research, Journal of Accountancy, Journal of Accounting Theory and Practice, Journal of State Taxation, and the Mississippi Business Journal.

  • Blakely Fox Fender

    Blakely Fox Fender

    Professor of Economics, J. Armistead Brown Chair of Business Administration

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    B.A., Millsaps College; M.S., Ph.D., University of Texas-Austin

    “I am a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Millsaps College where I received a B.A. in economics. After receiving my Ph.D. in economics at the University of Texas at Austin, I joined the faculty of the Else School of Management at Millsaps. I knew the significance of a Millsaps education and wanted to be a part of that experience.”

    “My background in consulting taught me the value of statistical modeling and the information it can provide us to help solve problems. Whether I’m teaching econometrics, managerial analysis or labor economics, I bring that pragmatic, evidence-based approach to the classes I teach. ”

    “I also enjoy giving my students opportunities to practice problem-solving beyond the classroom setting. For example, one of my students completed an honors project that helped a local financial institution better serve low-income Mississippians. Other students used their problem-solving skills to help 5th and 6th grade students at Midtown Charter School understand the basics of entrepreneurship. With the input and guidance of Millsaps students, the 5th and 6th graders created and sold a comic book about the entrepreneurial efforts of superhero Midbot in the Midtown community across the street from Millsaps. Helping my students acquire economic skills that they use to better their communities is one of the greatest rewards of teaching.”

    Dr. Blakely Fox Fender is a Professor of Economics. She also works with ELSEWorks, the entrepreneurial initiative, and directs the Business Advantage Program. Dr. Fender has published articles in academic journals such as The Journal of Economics, Southern Economic Journal, Journal of Forensic Economics and the Justice System Journal.

  • Harvey L. Fiser—Millsaps College

    Harvey L. Fiser

    Associate Professor of Business Law

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    B.A., Mississippi State University; J.D., Mississippi College School of Law

    "I left a partnership at a law firm to join the Millsaps faculty, and I have never looked back. This vocation allows me to be who I am and to meet students where they are. Our minds meet to analyze a challenge and, in that work, we all learn. It’s an extraordinary adventure.

    "I get the chance to work closely with students, helping them learn how to critically analyze problems and work through solutions. Probably the most enjoyable part of my classes is also one of the most dreaded—that moment when I pose a question to the class, and someone provides a "correct" answer from the book, only to realize that the correct answer is just the start of the conversation, and one that often includes an open debate and the degrees of "correctness" of the answer.

    "The study of law is an ideal fit at Millsaps. Since there are rarely legal issues which are no longer up for debate or analysis, I focus on exploring the limits of law and policy, and I challenge students to debate these issues openly and to be prepared to defend their positions both in and out of class. A yes or no to a question is only the beginning of the response!

    "For example, with Mock Trial students, I insist that there is no manual on how to handle all cases from beginning to end, and no one can have all of the knowledge of the many areas in which you may be called to practice. As our Mock Trial team members have learned, one case may be about scuba diving and nitrogen narcosis while the next may be exploring fraudulent accounting records of a questionable amusement theme park. Or, in one of my favorite classes is "From Minds to Markets," taught in the Yucatan each summer, I work with a philosophy professor to guide the class through the crowded streets of Merida, Mexico, asking them to note the unusual or curious. From those exercises, the class works as a team to use those ideas to create new products or services—often far outside of the current knowledge of our class. Through research, creative thinking, and critical analysis of ideas, the class culminates in a final "product pitch" of their new creations and the students have gained valuable insight into exploring new cultures.

    "Whether on our study abroad classes in Yucatan or Europe, in a Mock Trial case, while developing a new class, exploring new research interests, or in a normal everyday classroom discussion, I value intellectual curiosity. At Millsaps, students demonstrate their intellectual curiosity in delightful ways and, for me, that’s the best part of this extraordinary adventure we call Millsaps."

  • Michael Ray Grubbs—Millsaps College

    Michael Ray Grubbs

    Professor of Management

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    B.S., Millsaps College; M.B.A., Mississippi College; Ph.D., University of Mississippi

    "I am a 1973 graduate of Millsaps with a degree in Psychology and joined the faculty of the Else School of Management in January of 1987. I have been a member of this community for most of my adult life giving me first hand knowledge of the value of being associated with a College such as Millsaps.

    "In my classroom, I like to blend theory and practice, the perspective I bring to teaching. I have observed over the years that a deep dive into theory is the best way to teach a practitioner about improving their practice of management. Many times I find that a practitioner limits their perspective on a problem or issue in business because they do not have a sufficiently broad and deep understanding of the theory that shapes their views. So, a student of mine can expect a blending of theory and practice in class.

    "My industry experience is primarily in banking, having worked for banks either as an employee, consultant or board member since I was 17 years old. I continue to consult to the banking industry and serve on the Board of First Commercial Bank in Jackson and Chair the Bank’s Risk Management Committee. I also serve as a member of the Bank’s Asset Liability Management Committee as well as the Trust Committee. One of my most significant professional accomplishments was participating in the group that originated First Commercial Bank in October 2000.

    "In addition to my banking background, I have consulted with a wide range of private sector, non-for-profit and governmental organizations over the past 30 years. I have many relevant stories to tell about this work in the classroom.

    "I have become interested in two very different pursuits over the past 5 years. One is working with Boards to improve their governance of institutions. This work has resulted in my work with the Millsaps Board of Trustees as they seek to become an even stronger institution in pursuit of Millsaps’ mission. The other pursuit is the formation of Modern Retirement Theory with a colleague of mine, Jason Branning. We have developed this new approach to retirement planning that has been widely recognized as a comprehensive planning framework and have been recognized as thought leaders among proponents of the Safety-First school of thought."

  • Jane Collins Harkins

    Jane Collins Harkins

    Instructor of Accounting

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    B.B.A., Millsaps College; J.D., University of Mississippi; L.L.M. Estate Planning, University of Miami

    I teach accounting and tax classes for the Else School of Management. The nature of my teaching material is technical and detail oriented but it is my hope that I also provide my students with practical experience and current relativeness for a fuller classroom experience. I see a range of students from sophomores to master's-level students and see many of the same students as they progress through their accounting coursework. I enjoy watching my students develop into accounting professionals ready to enter the workplace.

  • Guy Matthew McClain

    Guy Matthew McClain

    Assistant Professor of Accounting

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    B.S., Louisiana Tech University; M.Acc., University of Mississippi; Ph.D., University of Arkansas

    Guy McClain is an assistant professor in the Else School of Management. He teaches courses in accounting, primarily focusing on auditing and financial statement analysis. He also teaches the accounting senior seminar which focuses on the globalization of accounting standards. He is also an affiliated visiting professor with the IESEG School of Management in France with campuses in Lille and Paris. He has also taught during the summer term with the East China Normal University in Shanghai, China. Professor McClain adds, “I love to travel and there is such a need for accounting professionals around the world that I have done some type of accounting work on every continent but Africa and Antarctica. Africa is on the horizon, but Antarctica might be a bit of a stretch! I love sharing my experiences with students and, hopefully, opening their eyes to the opportunities that are available.”

  • Penelope Prenshaw

    Penelope J. Prenshaw

    Professor of Marketing

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    B.S., M.B.A., University of Southern Mississippi; Ph.D., University of Houston

    "I have great passion for my chosen field of study, which I try to demonstrate in every class session. My marketing profession, too, provides me with many avenues for displaying an enthusiasm for learning that makes for an interesting classroom experience. We are surrounded by marketers' creations in the form of advertisements, websites, and brand images competing for our attention and our dollars. Marketers filter much of what we learn about the world, such as when we see images of rich or beautiful people in TV commercials or magazines. Ads show us how the mass culture expects us to act and what merchandisers hope to convince us to purchase.

    "To involve my students with the subject matter requires a curriculum design that emphasizes the use of experiential learning. I often employ class projects that require the students to "get out in the real world" to solve marketing-related problems. My teaching strategy is based upon the fundamental premise that the classroom can be a rewarding and exciting place. Emphasizing participation provides an environment that encourages creative thought and convergence of ideas with marketing skills. Class participation provides the students with the opportunity to develop skills in presenting points of view and in listening; these skills are as valuable as the "techniques" discussed during the course."

  • Caitlin Sockbeson

    Caitlin Sockbeson

    Assistant Professor of Management

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    "My research interests lie in the realm of organizational behavior, particularly at the individual level. Most of my research focuses on gender and diversity at work or feedback and performance management, and I have published articles in the Journal of Management and The Academy of Management Annals. Before pursuing my Ph.D., I worked for several years in the publishing industry. I draw on this experience in class and encourage my students to relate their own organizational experiences to the topics we discuss. My classes focus on academic content in a practical way, while also fostering collaborative learning, discussion, and dialogue. Class participation is an integral part of my course design because the more students can tie the material to their own experiences, and teach and learn from each other, the longer the knowledge will stay with them. My classes also incorporate team projects, to prepare students for today’s collaborative work environments. My students learn from quality textbooks, but also recent articles, videos, and/or podcasts to connect course topics to current events. I teach management, organizational behavior, and human resource management."

  • Pat Taylor

    Patrick A. Taylor

    Associate Professor of Economics

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    B.B.A., University of Mississippi; M.B.A., Ph.D., University of Alabama

    “I am an avid fan of the many successful sports teams here at Millsaps College. If you’re in attendance at the basketball, football, etc. games, you’re likely to see me there. One of my favorite applications of economic theory has been in the business of sports class I teach. In that class we analyze the economic, legal, and governance models in various sports industries and examine issues facing the industry, from salaries to unions to talent management. The sports industry  is just one great example of the impact economics has in business. ”

    Dr. Pat Taylor is an Associate Professor of Economics. He serves actively on the Midtown Partners Board that promotes the social and economic revitalization of the Midtown neighborhood across the street from Millsaps College and the board of the Center for Christian Ministry, a joint venture between Millsaps College and the United Methodist Church. Dr. Taylor also provides training to K-12 teachers in economics and financial literacy for the Mississippi Council on Economic Education. Dr. Taylor has published articles most recently in academic journals such as the Journal of Academic Administration in Higher Education and the Academy of Educational Leadership Journal.

  • Susan Taylor

    Susan W. Taylor

    Professor of Economics, Richard and Selby McRae Chair of Business Administration

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    B.A., B.S., Blue Mountain College; M.S., Ph.D., Louisiana State University

    "My goal in teaching economics is to help economic decision-making to become second nature for our students. After all, at its heart, economics is about making choices. We make choices every day…how much should I spend on movies? Should I go to graduate school after my undergraduate years at Millsaps? Business and government makes choices. How much health care services should be produced and what determines how it’s allocated? Should the state government spend more on infrastructure? Economics provides a framework for making those decisions, comparing the additional costs of a choice to the additional benefits.

    "While there is economic theory in my classroom, there’s an equal dose of “real world” interaction. How does the Federal Reserve make choices about monetary policy? In my Intermediate Macroeconomics course, students think through these choices by participating in a semester long project culminating in a simulation of a Federal Open Market Committee meeting. Students learn through doing.

    "Economics extends beyond the Millsaps classroom. Our faculty take Millsaps students to see “economics in action”…meeting with pricing analysts at The Home Depot Corporate, at The Southern Company and Delta Air Lines, They meet with leaders in the banking industry at the American Bankers Association. And, yes, our Millsaps students have the opportunity to meet with the members of the Federal Reserve Governors whose policy they have simulated in class. "

    Dr. Susan Taylor is Professor of Economics at Millsaps College. Her primary teaching interests include Macroeconomics, International Economics, and Health Economics. She is an active scholar, having published over 20 articles in peer-reviewed journals.