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 Horne Professor of Accounting (2015-present)

Paul Beck

Paul Beck

Professor of Accounting
Ph.D. in Business from the University of Texas at Austin

My research over the past 10 years has focused on financial reporting by Banks. A specific issue addressed is how the changes in credit loss Accounting have affected banks' provisions for credit losses. Recently, I have studied how capital ratios reported to bank regulators can be adjusted to make them more responsive to interest rate risk. Such changes will hopefully provide investors and bank depositors with greater confidence in the financial reports, so that depositor-runs such as those occurring Silicon Valley Bank are less likely to occur. 

My endowed professorship with Horne has helped me in two ways. First, it has enabled me to develop relationships with members of the firms who have provided me with insights from audit practitioners about research issues. Additionally, I have had opportunities to bring guest lecturers from the firm into my classes at USM.

Paul Beck, 2024


 Nina Bell Suggs Endowed Professor (2023-26)

Kelsey Bonfils

Kelsey Bonfils

Assistant Professor of Psychology, School of Psychology
Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI)

Schizophrenia Research and Treatment • Serious Mental Illness • Social Cognition • Sleep Disturbance

My research examines social cognition, or the mental processes that support social interaction, in people diagnosed with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders. With grant funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Brain and Behavioral Research Foundation, and the Mississippi Center for Clinical and Translational Research, I investigate factors that influence social cognition, including sleep disturbance, as well as how we can positively influence social cognition through treatment to promote recovery in people with serious mental illnesses.

Being chosen as the Nina Bell Suggs Endowed Professor was deeply meaningful for me and signaled that my work across the domains of teaching, research, and service has benefitted the university community. Since assuming this position, I obtained a supplement to my grant through the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) which will extend that work to qualitatively examine the perspectives of participants with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders regarding the impact of sleep disturbance on their daily lives, with emphasis on their social connections. As part of this supplement, which was intended to promote excellence in mentorship regarding diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, I am working with a group of undergraduate and graduate students to build their knowledge, expand our understanding of the impacts of sleep disturbance for those with schizophrenia, and strengthen our work in the community. 

Kelsey Bonfils, 2024


 Charles Moorman Distinguished Professor in the Humanities (2023-25)

Monika Gehlawat

Monika Gehlawat

Professor of English
Ph.D. in English, University of California, Berkeley

Modern and Contemporary Literature • Aesthetic and Critical Theory • Art History

My research for the Moorman Professorship focuses on contemporary American ekphrastic literature, which is the topic of my current (and 2nd) monograph, tentatively titled Triptych: the Ekphrastic Mode in Teju Cole, Siri Hustvedt, and Ben Lerner. I have published peer-reviewed articles and taught both graduate and undergraduate seminars on this subject.

Ekphrasis is a formal concept originating from ancient Greek philosophy; Aristotle defined it as literature that represents other art forms, most often, visual art. Homer’s description of Achilles’ shield in The Iliad and John Keats’ poem “Ode to a Grecian Urn” are two famous examples of ekphrasis, a tradition that continues to the present day. Writers like Teju Cole, Ben Lerner, Rachel Kushner, Don DeLillo, and Siri Hustvedt, among others, are publishing novels which take as their primary concern the aesthetic experience of painting, photography, performance art, sculpture, and music. Less concerned with plot, theme, or traditional conflict, these novels foreground the experience of beholding art, so that we come to understand their characters vis-à-vis aesthetic encounters.

My working argument for this project is that these writers turn to art in order to cultivate the intersubjective sensitivity they find eroding in neoliberal capitalism. The first-person narrators of these novels often face a crisis of interpretation; as connoisseurs, they may excel in “reading” art, but often blunder when it comes to comprehending the signs they receive from other characters and responding appropriately. Gradually, their aesthetic experiences serve as a kind of conduit for intersubjective readiness; the openness these narrators feel for art guides their emotional development towards greater vulnerability and self-awareness. Qualities of perceptual intuition, deep absorption, and intellectual curiosity are initiated through aesthetic engagement, counteracting the social atomization and dulling effects of the digital image realm. 

Since receiving the Moorman, I have been able to spend more time on my research by buying out a portion of my teaching load. As a result, I have written two chapters (half) of my book so far. I have also traveled to see several exhibitions of contemporary art that engage with literature and/or contain a linguistic component. These interdisciplinary exhibitions of contemporary art offer me a way to consider the efficacy of the novels I write about as well as to familiarize myself with the artists they describe. I have also corresponded with the writers I focus on in my research and have plans to travel to meet and interview them in person. These research trips to view art and meet with artists have helped me to hone my book's argument about the nature of aesthetic experience and its translatability in ekphrastic literature. 

Monika Gehlawat, 2024


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