Master of Public Administration (MPA)

Mike is an assistant professor and director in the Mike Cottrell College of Business at the University of North Georgia. He has previously served as Director of Legal Studies and Co-director of the Center for Human Rights and Civil Liberties at the University of Southern Mississippi. His research publications and presentations include such areas as developing model rules for AI, comparing French and US practices in religious freedom, and compensating eminent domain victims when their property was taken for economic purposes as public use. Prior to entering academia, Mike practiced law in Athens, Georgia in the area of corporate law and real estate law. Specifically, Mr. Lavender focused on advising nonprofit organization boards on best practices, appealing IRS denials, open-records requests, and commercial finance.


JD, Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University, 2002, Law BS, Liberty University, 1997, Government

More About

Educational Experiences:

Mike began his college experience at the University of Georgia and transferred to Liberty University where he was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Government. Following he enrolled in the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University were he graduated with a Juris Doctrate degree. Later, he enrolled in the University of London’s Master of Law’s program studying European Union Human Rights Law and Russian Law. Currently, Mike is enrolled at the University of Georgia working towards a Master of Public Administration.

Career Goals:

After completing the promotion and tenure process, I would like to improve my research and writing skills to appear in better publications, particularly I would like to increase my influence in the area of law and policy. After establishing myself as a high quality researcher and writer, I would like to enter higher education administration. I am confident that with my legal background and a better understanding of the operation of higher education, I can make a positive impact on even more student’s lives than as a faculty member.

Relevant Work Experience:

Director of Legal Studies – University of Southern Mississippi
Assistant Professor – University of Southern Mississippi
Co-director of the Center for Human Rights and Civil Liberties – University of Southern Mississippi
Director of Paralegal Studies – University of North Georgia
Assistant Professor – University of North Georgia

Of Note

Mike was recognized by both the State Bar of Georgia and SuperLawyer as a Rising Star while practicing law. In academia, he has been recognized by a student organization as the Faculty Member of the Year and his department as Faculty Member of the Year. The American Bar Association (ABA) appointed him a site team member for school evaluations. He was recognized multiple times by the President of the University of Southern Mississippi as a faculty member most noted as having a positive influence on the lives of students. Currently, Mike is going through the process of Tenure and Promotion.

Research Interests

Use of Technology to Improve Higher Education Administration
Law and Policy as it Relates to Human Rights