Vision, Mission & Values
The University of Southern Mississippi will emerge as the premier research university of the Gulf South -- engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities.
Our primary mission is to cultivate intellectual development and creativity through the generation, dissemination, application and preservation of knowledge.
Our mission is supported by the values that have been formed through the history and traditions of our institution. These values are widely and deeply held beliefs of our faculty, staff, students, and administrators:
- Education provides opportunities to improve the quality of intellectual, social, economic, and personal well-being. These opportunities should be available to all who are willing and able to meet our standards of excellence.
- Our success is reflected by the degree to which our students become well-read, articulate, and creative and critical thinkers. It is measured by their display of specialized knowledge and abilities suitable to the pursuit of a career and life in our complex, ever- changing world.
- We cherish innovation in the creation and application of basic and applied research findings, creative and artistic expression, meaningful learning experiences, the scope of services provided to our students and the broader community that we sustain, and the continuing evolution of degree programs that both respond to and anticipate the evolving demands of our society, employers, and the labor market.
- Education encourages and advances the ideals of a pluralistic democratic society: civic responsibility, integrity, diversity, and ethical behavior.
- Academic freedom and shared governance are long-established and living principles at the university. We cherish the free exchange of ideas, diversity of thought, joint decision making, and individuals’ assumption of responsibility.
- We make efficient and effective use of our resources, for we are accountable to our university communities, the Board of Trustees, and taxpayers.
Four priorities guide The University of Southern Mississippi, each helping to support our vision. These priorities, identified through a strategic planning process in 2007-2008, provide a solid foundation for progress.
- Climate of Academic Success
- Image Development
- Community Connection
- Healthy Minds, Bodies, and Campuses
Climate of Academic Success
Our vision for a climate of academic success includes a unified environment that minimizes barriers for prospective and enrolled students, attracts and retains quality faculty and staff, embraces and reflects diversity, and produces graduates who are truly competitive in the global marketplace.
Students, faculty, and staff at Southern Miss, along with the larger community, benefit from a wide range of cultural, social, and educational experiences that yield informed, responsible, and productive citizens with a standard of lifelong learning.
University experiences are supported by quality facilities and up-to-date technology accessible to the entire university community. Educational programs adhere to rigorous standards in terms of student advisement, engagement, and mentoring; curriculum development and delivery; and the exploration and generation of scholarly work.
Students admitted to Southern Miss have every opportunity to earn a degree and acquire a comprehensive educational foundation that expands their perspectives, enhances their opportunities, and enriches our society.
Supporting Measures: Baccalaureate degrees awarded/six-year graduation rates/student return rates/square footage of new or substantially renovated facilities/accreditation for eligible programs/NSSE senior scores in the top 50 percent in each of the five benchmark areas/percentage of graduates employed in desired field or admitted to graduate school within one year of graduation.
Image development promotes the internal and external reputation of the university and supports the vision of Southern Miss. Image development must be linked to what we do and how well we do it.
Supporting Measures: Results on Chronicle/Gallup Branding Index/scores in U.S. News and Forbes University rankings/positive national media coverage.
We envision engaged citizens of Southern Miss (students, faculty, and staff) who genuinely invest in their university community and their host communities (locally, regionally, nationally, and globally.) Our engaged citizens internationally build community through learning and working together inside and outside the university in order to create and sustain a culture of respect and civility. We do this through hosting, serving, sharing, and discovering.
- Hosting refers to the importance of every contact made on campus – from the first to the last.
- Serving allows university citizens to invest in people, agencies/businesses, and organizations through volunteering, service learning, internships, applied scholarship, and university/community partnerships.
- Sharing focuses on how we build relationships and engagement inside the university and with our host communities.
- Discovering encompasses the scholarship and creative activities of the university communities.
Supporting Measures: Student volunteer hours/square footage of sharing (social/learning) space/attendance at university-sponsored events/peer reviewed publications and presentations/external research funding/total endowed portfolio/alumni giving.
Healthy Minds, Bodies, and Campuses
A culture that emphasizes a multidimensional healthy environment at Southern Miss is deemed central to attain the goals of this strategic plan. An emphasis on healthy lifestyles will enhance the quality of the Southern Miss experience and beyond. Appropriate efforts in campus sustainability will contribute to an improved environmental impact and an informed perspective on resource use. Continuous efforts to maintain safety and security of all at Southern Miss will increase the potential to attain individual and community goals.
Supporting Measures: Participation in university-sponsored wellness/fitness activities/employee absenteeism/LEED certified buildings and renovations/solid waste reduction/recycling.