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New Provost Seeks to Fulfill MC’s Mission, to Improve AI Policies
Dr. Michael Highfield steps into his role as MC's Provost amidst AI concerns.
Mississippi College has a new Provost and Executive Vice President, Dr. Michael Highfield. Highfield entered the position this past summer with over a decade of experience in Finance and Education. Highfield has already presented the official 2023-2024 student syllabus, and now, he is actively working to connect with the faculty and address concerns over artificial intelligence in the classroom.
Highfield graduated from Mississippi State University in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He earned his master’s degree from the same university the following year. From there, he attended the University of Kentucky, where he earned a doctorate degree in finance and Master’s of Science in Economics. In addition, Highfield has multiple professional designations, including from the CFA Institute, the Association for Financial Professionals, and the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Louisiana.
Dr. Michael Highfield has been a finance professor at Louisiana Tech University from 2002-2005 and at Mississippi State University from 2005-2023. He served as the head of the Finance and Economics Department of MSU from 2009-2018. It was this experience that prepared him for the new role he currently plays as Mississippi College’s Provost.
“I have an interest in finance and the business side of industry, particularly the finance side of industry,” said Highfield. “I think it’s very useful now for this position because a lot of issues that come across my desk are allocations of resources. We have unlimited wants and finite resources to fulfill those wants. Looking at the institution as a whole, the question is ‘How do we allocate those resources to educate students appropriately?’”
In this role, Highfield reports to the President and is responsible for supervising academic programs, enacting student policies, and budgeting items.
“My responsibilities are to make sure we’re directing the institution down a path that leads us to fulfilling our mission: academic excellence with a commitment to the cause of Christ,” said Highfield.
The emergence and popularity of artificial intelligence (AI) has opened up a lot of academic questions over the past year. One of Highfield’s goals is to ensure academic integrity in the age of AI. A policy concerning AI has already been enacted at Mississippi College School of Law, but Highfield is working on incorporating a similar policy campus-wide.
“AI is something the faculty is very passionate about,” said Highfield, “so I have asked that we have an honor code task force to look into this issue and include it in the student honor code. We also have an AI task force which is looking into the best practices for using artificial intelligence in the classroom.”
Hatfield has enjoyed the position so far and highlighted the extra efforts he has made to work with deans and department heads.
“One of my big goals when I came on board was to visit with every single dean in their office and take a tour of the different schools on campus,” said Highfield, “Also, I want to visit every department and their heads to learn more about their department, operations, what they are struggling with, and what they’re doing really well.”
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