Morrison Named Jo Murphy Chair, Director of Center for International Education

  • News Photo 3814
    Mike Morrison
  • News Photo 3813
    Bill Mitchell
Oct. 2, 2006

- Law professor to succeed Bill Mitchell as head of Baylor's international programs -

by Lori Fogleman, director of media relations, (254) 710-6275

Dr. Naymond Keathley, senior vice provost at Baylor University, has announced that Michael D. Morrison, The William J. Boswell Professor of Law at Baylor Law School, will succeed Dr. William A. Mitchell as The Jo Murphy Chair in International Education and director of the Center for International Education (CIE) at Baylor, effective Feb. 1, 2007.

A Baylor faculty member since 1993, Mitchell has served as CIE director for the past six years. Under his leadership, Baylor increased the number of students studying abroad from 575 in 2000-01 to 855 in 2005-06, and expanded the number of exchange and study abroad programs to nearly 60 programs in 26 countries. Even in the face of world events, the number of international students attending Baylor, under Mitchell, remained steady, while the diversity of the students' home countries grew to 76.

"Dr. Mitchell has made significant contributions to Baylor in the area of international education, and we are grateful for his leadership in expanding our exchange and study abroad programs for students, faculty and staff, while providing a rich experience for international students who study at Baylor," Keathley said. "Bill strengthened Baylor's tradition of 'bringing the world to Baylor and sending Baylor to the world' through the Center for International Education and as part of the global education initiative in Baylor 2012, and we look forward to his continued service to Baylor."

"International education has faced enormous challenges over the past six years, but we have managed to continue improving Baylor's global opportunities for students, faculty and staff in terms of both quality of programs and quantity of choices," Mitchell said. "It has been a pleasure to work with thousands of students, senior administration, deans, department heads, area program directors, faculty and the CIE staff. As we continue to prepare our students for worldwide leadership, it is imperative that we teach them with an international study component that places them globally with the language, culture, knowledge base and character to continue in Baylor's finest traditions. I wish Mike Morrison the very best, and I am certain that international education at Baylor will continue to flourish."

Beginning next year, Mitchell will focus his research on the impact of colonialism in the West African region of Francophone Africa. Mitchell also will continue his research with the Center for Democracy and Diplomacy, which Mitchell helped establish in 2005 at the University of Dohuk in northern Iraq.

Morrison has been a member of the Baylor Law School faculty since 1977 and was designated an Outstanding Professor in 1997. He served two terms as Mayor of Waco from 1996-2000, during which he represented Waco nationally and internationally. He most recently served as interim chief of staff for former Interim President Bill Underwood and current Baylor President John M. Lilley.

"Professor Morrison's expertise in the area of immigration law and in international legal studies programs, his world experience and nearly 30 years as a highly respected faculty member and effective administrator at Baylor, as well as his service as Mayor of Waco, uniquely equip him to take our international programs to the next level," Lilley said.

"I will continue to build on the terrific foundation laid by John Belew, Jim Vardaman and Bill Mitchell, each of whom, in turn, placed their own unique mark on our international programs but who collectively have placed it on the path of achieving Baylor's 2012 goals for our resident and international students," Morrison said. "While it will be a very steep learning curve, Bill has been most generous with his time, and I look forward to working closely with him during the next several months as I prepare for this undertaking. I am particularly looking forward to working with the faculty and staff whose efforts have created such a rich diversity of international opportunities for our students."

A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Morrison earned a degree in psychology with high honors from the University of Oklahoma in 1971. He received his law degree from Oklahoma as the Outstanding Law Student for 1974 by the Oklahoma Bar Association. He served as Note Editor of the Oklahoma Law Review and was elected to membership in the Order of the Coif. He is admitted to practice in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas, as well as the United States Supreme Court and the federal courts of Texas and Oklahoma. He has been recognized by his peers with election as a fellow of both the Texas and the American Bar Foundations.

The Center for International Education serves as the international academic focus for the Baylor campus. The center consists of both International Academic Area Studies and the International Student and Scholar Services. Area studies directors lead the academic programs in the following areas: Asian Studies, African Studies, Latin American Studies, Middle East Studies, Slavic and East European Studies, and Global Christian Ventures. Courses are available for students who are pursuing these studies as majors, minors and for elective credit.

Mitchell received his bachelor's degree from East Texas State University, now Texas A&M-Commerce, followed by a master's degree from UCLA and his doctorate from the University of Illinois. In addition, he is a graduate of the Air War College, Air Command and Staff College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Services.

Before joining the Baylor faculty, Mitchell led a distinguished 34-year military career, in which he served in both the Vietnam and Gulf Wars and commanded bases in Incirlik and Izmir, Turkey. His military career also launched his academic career with his first of several appointments at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado from 1970-86 and then as professor of national security affairs at the Air War College from 1986-88 and from 1991-92.

During his 14 years at Baylor, Mitchell has taught a wide range of multidisciplinary courses, such as geography, political science, national security and ethnopolitical conflict, and regional courses on the Middle East, including instruction in Turkish language.

Mitchell's primary research has focused on emergency response to earthquakes, for which he has traveled to Turkey numerous times as part of the disaster response teams of the National Science Foundation's Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) and the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering (MCEER).

From 2003-05, Mitchell led three different Baylor faculty delegations to Iraq to aid in the assessment and rebuilding of Iraqi higher education following the Saddam Hussein regime. The programs culminated with the inauguration of the Center for Diplomacy and Democracy at the University of Dohuk in northern Iraq in December 2005. His work in Iraq has been featured often by the media, including appearances on CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports in 2003 and Fox News in 2005.

Mitchell has published in numerous journals, including Middle East Journal, Journal of African and Asian Studies, Professional Geographer, Journal of Earthquake Engineering, Journal of Geography and Demokratizatsiya. He also is the author of several books and chapters, such as The Republic of Turkey and Earthquake Disaster Management in 2004 and "Corruption in Construction: Turkish Homeowners Demand and End to Earthquake Devastation in Transparency International's 2005 Global Corruption Report with Baylor alum Justin Page.

Mitchell is the recipient of several awards, including the United States Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, and the Humanitarian Award for Kurdish Relief Efforts, the Humanitarian Award for Armenian Earthquake Relief, and the Air Force Special Research Award for Intercultural Education.

Mitchell chairs the oversight committee of the Glennis McCrary Goodrich Scholarship, which was launched in 2003 and annually awards about $75,000 for study abroad to 45 Baylor students. One of the overall goals, Mitchell said, is to increase the percentage of Baylor students studying abroad to 30 percent of each graduating class by the year 2012.

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