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Neal H. Hutchens

Chair and Professor of Higher Education

130-A Guyton Hall

(662) 915-2520


Neal Hutchens serves as Professor and Chair in the University of Mississippi School of Education’s Department of Higher Education. Hutchens earned his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and his J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law, where he graduated summa cum laude and was a member of the Order of the Coif and of the Alabama Law Review. His research focuses on legal issues in higher education, with a key strand of his scholarship centered on free speech and academic freedom. Hutchens was the 2015 recipient of the William A. Kaplin Award from the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy at Stetson University College of Law. Hutchens is on the author team—along with William A. Kaplin, Barbara A. Lee, and Jacob H. Rooksby—for the upcoming sixth edition of The Law of Higher Education, the leading treatise on higher education law. He is on the editorial board for The Review of Higher Education and for Education Law & Policy Review and is a member of the authors' committee for West's Education Law Reporter. He also serves on the Litigation Committee for the American Association of University Professors and is a past board member of the Education Law Association.


B.A., Samford University

J.D., University of Alabama School of Law

Ph.D., University of Maryland at College Park




Phillis George

Assistant Professor of Higher Education

107 Guyton Hall

(662) 915-3411


Dr. George is a higher education, scholar-practitioner with a background in academic and student affairs administration. She conducts focused research on social justice and policy issues related to access, affordability, and accountability in higher education. She also teaches a variety of courses within each of the Higher Education degree programs, including College Teaching, Organization & Governance, Recent Developments in Educational Practice, and Advanced Education Policy Analysis.


B.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison

M.Sc., Oxford University

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison


Brandi Hephner Labanc

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs & Associate Professor of Higher Education

238 Lyceum

(662) 915-7705


Appointed as Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs in July 2012, Dr. Hephner LaBanc also serves as an active faculty member in the Higher Education program. More than 20 years in the profession has given her unique perspective on student affairs units and theory to practice integration. Her research and publications address campus crisis management, concealed carry on college campuses, as well as the preparation of student affairs professionals and transition issues for graduate students.


B.S., The University of Akron

M.Ed., Kent State University

Ed.D., Northern Illinois University




John Holleman

Director of Graduate Studies & Clinical Associate Professor of Higher Education

228 Guyton Hall

(662) 915-7198


Dr. Holleman is Director of Graduate Studies in the School of Education, Clinical Associate Professor and Program Coordinator for the Department of Higher Education. Dr. Holleman has worked in higher education for over 25 years as a faculty member and administrator in addition to being a Licensed Professional Counselor since 1991.


B.A., Stephen F. Austin State University

M.S., Texas A&M University at Commerce

M.A., University of Mississippi

Ed.S., University of Memphis

Ed.D., Texas A&M University at Commerce




Kerry Brian Melear

Professor of Higher Education & Affiliate Faculty, School of Law

108 Guyton Hall

(662) 915-5016


Dr. Melear’s areas of expertise are college and university law, finance, and public policy. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Education Law Association and a member of the editorial board of West’s Education Law Reporter and the Journal of Cases in Education. He is also the book review editor for the Journal of Law and Education and a contributing editor to the Higher Education Law Blog. He was the editor or co-editor of The College Administrator and the Courts, a quarterly publication briefing legal cases of interest to university attorneys, administrators, and legal researchers, for seven years. He teaches courses in higher education law, finance, human resources, and international higher education. Dr. Melear has worked as a higher education policy analyst for the Florida Legislature, a research associate for the Florida Postsecondary Education Planning Commission, and practiced in audit for a Big Six accounting firm. He was honored to receive the University of Mississippi School of Education’s Outstanding Researcher Award in 2007, 2010, and 2013, the Outstanding Teacher Award in 2015, and was selected to membership on the Fulbright Specialist Roster in 2012.


B.Accy., University of Mississippi

M.Accy., University of Mississippi

Ph.D., Florida State University


George McClellan

Associate Professor of Higher Education

103 Guyton Hall

(662) 915-4995


Dr. McClellan joined the UM community following 35 years of service as a student affairs professional (including 14 years as a senior student affairs officer) at a variety of institutions. He is a frequent author, editor, and presenter on topics related to student affairs and higher education. He was named Pillar of the Profession by the NASPA Foundation in 2010 and Annuit Coeptis Senior Scholar by ACPA in 2017. His research interests include supporting students who are Native American, issues of access and attainment, the impact of computer-mediated communication on the student experience and student development, college student employment, professional identity and professional development in student affairs, student affairs as teaching and learning, and budget and financial management in higher education.


B.A., Northwestern University

M.A.Ed., Northwestern University

Ph.D., University of Arizona




Whitney Webb

Assistant Dean and Assistant Professor of Higher Education

107 Guyton Annex

(662) 915-7906


Dr. Webb serves as assistant dean, certification officer and Director of the Student Advising and Field Experience Office for the School of Education. She primarily teaches in the Ed.D. in Higher Education program.


B.A., North Carolina State University

M.Ed., University of Mississippi

Ph.D., University of Mississippi


Amy Wells Dolan

Associate Dean & Associate Professor of Higher Education

217 Guyton Hall

(662) 915-5710


Dr. Wells Dolan’s background includes student affairs administration and fundraising. She has worked at seven different types of postsecondary institutions, including a land-grant university, a women’s college, and a community college. She teaches History of American Higher Education and Qualitative Research Methods among other courses. Her research focuses on the history of higher education in the South with attention to philanthropy, race, class, and gender. She is a Principal Investigator for the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate initiative at the University of Mississippi.


B.A., Transylvania University

M.Ed., Kent State University

Ph.D., University of Kentucky