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Released June 30, 2004


HATTIESBURG -- University of Southern Mississippi President Dr. Shelby Thames issued checks Wednesday to 33 faculty and staff members as part of an incentive program that rewards those who secure and manage contract and grant support.

In all, $382,223.07 was distributed through the incentive policy, called Model for Incentive Dollars for Augmenting Salaries. The fundamental goal of MIDAS is to create an incentive base to grow and promote research activities and research enterprise for Southern Miss.

Dr. Vivien Carver, a professor in the Center for Community Health who received a check for $18,534.42, said the MIDAS program is a great incentive for faculty to seek grant funding.

"In a state where faculty and staff rarely get raises, this is the only way to increase one's earnings and at the same time generate money for the university," said Carver, who has secured more than $2.5 million in funding during the past six years. "I appreciate Dr. Thames' and Dr. Angeline Dvorak's willingness to share some of the funds generated, and it is great to be rewarded for this contribution."

MIDAS provides a positive incentive to stimulate research activity that ultimately benefits the university community as a whole, said Dvorak, president of The University of Southern Mississippi Research Foundation.

"The university wins, with additional resources to carry out its mission. Every faculty member, staff member and student wins with the increase in revenues that support every aspect of their work and studies.

"The MIDAS recipients have contributed to filling the gap between the resources that the university has and the resources that the university needs. Hopefully, additional incentive programs will be developed that will reward and support other aspects of the university," Dvorak said.

Available during the fall and spring terms, MIDAS is open to full-time faculty and staff whose base salary is paid from the education and general (E&G) funds. The maximum research supplement is 30 percent of the regular academic salary, based on 100 percent released dollars.

To qualify for the supplement, the employee must recover at least 25 percent of his or her salary. Checks distributed to recipients Wednesday were gross amounts, unadjusted for federal and state taxes.

Nursing professor Dr. Bonita Reinert, who received a check for $21,395.39, said the MIDAS awards are an "essential component in retaining the experienced researchers at (Southern Miss)." Most researchers, she said, invest far more than 40 hours a week in obtaining and maintaining their funding.

"This award comes at a critical time when raises have not been available for several years and funded grants are an increasingly important way to bring money into the university. I definitely appreciate Dr. Dvorak's efforts in developing and implementing this innovative program," Reinert said.

Polymer science professor Dr. Marek Urban, who received $20,847.11, said the program provides an opportunity for the faculty to create and develop a research portfolio attractive to students and to potential sponsors. At the same time, he said, it allows the faculty to be rewarded for their hard work.

"In this fiscal climate…it is essential that the legislators understand and appreciate the value each individual faculty member brings to the economic development of the region," Urban said. "Education and scholarship through research, followed by intellectual property development, is the strength of advanced countries and is the strength of Southern Miss."


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July 15, 2004 5:26 PM