Chisolm receives award

COLUMBUS, Miss. — Instruction is only part of Ashley Chisolm’s job as associate professor of legal studies at Mississippi University for Women.

Chisolm also believes it is crucial to assist and support students in part because she remembers how her professors at The W helped her graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Legal Studies and a minor in Spanish in 2010. She received her Juris Doctorate from Mississippi College of Law in 2013.

“I know firsthand how important it is to build rapport with students because I was given excellent mentorship opportunities from Legal Studies faculty during my time at The W,” said Chisolm, who has been a faculty member at The W since the fall of 2013. “As a faculty member, I want students to know I am rooting for them and their successes just as the Legal Studies faculty supported me as an undergraduate student.”

Chisolm’s willingness to support her students is a key reason why she recently was named The W’s Faculty Member of the Year.

The award was announced at graduation, includes a $1,000 grant from the Alumni Association. It honors faculty members who exhibit excellence in teaching, advising and professional activities — in particular, those who go beyond all expectations to support The W’s students and academic programs.

“It meant so much to me that several students and a colleague thought enough of me to nominate me,” said Chisolm, who is from Meridian. “I never expected to receive such an honor, so I was surprised and overjoyed to be recognized as the MUWAA/Mortarboard 2022 Faculty Member of the Year.”

Sixty-seven students and faculty members submitted nominations that resulted in six nominees. To appear on the ballot, nominees must be nominated by three currently enrolled, full-time students and at least one other full-time, tenured/tenure-track faculty member. Full-time, tenured/tenure-track faculty then vote to select the award-winner from among those nominated. Only full-time tenured/tenure-track W faculty members are eligible to receive the award. Faculty selected in the previous decade are not eligible.

William Balestrino, Christopher Marshall and Nicole Rensink nominated Chisolm for the award. Even though the students are pursuing different majors, they agree Chisolm is always looking out for the best interests of her students, the Legal Studies program and The W.

“I know from personal experience she has always been a phone call away, and she has helped not only advise me through my undergrad experience, but also going into my graduate experience and navigating the early stages of law school,” Balestrino said. “She always has a positive demeanor, and brings an energy that can turn an 8 a.m. class into a party. Leaving The W, I know she will be there for me not only as a former adviser but as a colleague.” 

Marshall said Chisolm always has been an “amazing” teacher, and that he has had her as a professor in mock trial for the past three years. He said Chisolm is open to talk to students and to help them whenever they need it, whether it be as an advocate or as someone who will listen to them.

Rensink said Chisolm has supported her and helped her fiancé prepare for his Honors project and for Law School. She said Chisolm is a hard worker and determined for all of her students to succeed in everything they do.

“She is quirky and sassy, everything to love about a professor,” Rensink said. “What is a professor without a little sass added to it? I have never once seen Ms. Chisolm be negative, and that is how I aspire to be in the future. This is my first semester taking one of her classes, but even then she’s never shied away from helping me even though I am not a Legal Studies student.”

Chisolm said her sense of connection to The W and its amazing faculty motivates her want to work at such a special place. She remembers walking into Rent Auditorium during her commencement ceremony and spotting her mentor and shouting, “I got accepted into law school!” before continuing into the auditorium. Chisolm said she enjoys serving her students and sharing in their enthusiasm when they realize their dreams.

“I have the privilege of witnessing the excitement on students’ faces when they are accepted into law school or another graduate program, when they reach an exciting life milestone or when they land the job that they sought,” Chisolm said. “I get the opportunity to be a small part in their journeys, and I am so thankful for such a fulfilling career.”

May 7, 2022
Contact: Adam Minichino
(662) 329-1976

About The W

Located in historic Columbus, Mississippi, The W was founded in 1884 as the first state-supported college for women in the United States. Today, the university is home to 2,227 students in more than 70 majors and concentrations and has educated men for 40 years. The university is nationally recognized for low student debt, diversity and social mobility which empowers students to BE BOLD.

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