HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- The University of Southern Mississippi has selected two veteran professors, administrators and researchers as the new dean of the College of Arts and Letters and director for the School of Music.
Dr. Denise K. von Herrmann, who has served as interim dean of the college since February 2007, will become the college’s second dean since it was formed in 2003. She was chosen from an experienced group of candidates in a national search.
In his seventh year as chair of the Department of Fine Arts at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Dr. Michael A. Miles was named director of the School of Music. He will assume his position in July 2008, replacing Dr. Charles Elliott, who is retiring.
“I am pleased with this appointment,” said Southern Miss President Martha Saunders. “Dr. von Herrmann is a talented administrator and gifted academician. Her experiences at Southern Miss will serve her well as she moves a diverse college forward.”
Having served Southern Miss as department chair of Political Science, International Development and International Affairs before her appointment as interim dean, von Herrmann, 45, was associate dean for academic affairs in the college from January 2004 to April 2006.
She also served as interim dean of the Gulf Coast from May to October 2003, when she directed all academic operations of the Gulf Park campus in Long Beach.
Dr. Joe B. Whitehead Jr., associate dean and professor of the College of Science and Technology at Southern Miss, chaired the search committee that selected von Herrmann.
Dr. von Herrmann is a well-known expert for her research dealing with the politics and impacts of gambling. She is the author of two books on the subject. She also has authored several journal articles and made presentations to a variety of professional organizations on this and other political issues.
She holds a bachelor’s degree from Washington and Jefferson College, a master’s from Jacksonville State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama.
“I am deeply honored to have been selected by my peers and by the administration to lead the college forward in this time of growth and change,” von Herrmann said. “The College of Arts and Letters is poised to dramatically extend its reach into the community, through both our academic programs and our creative and research activities.”
Miles brings a teaching career that spans a spectrum of musical instruction to the School of Music director’s position. He taught applied trumpet for 22 years, conducted wind ensembles, brass ensembles and symphony orchestras, directed marching bands, taught general education lecture courses and directed a jazz ensemble recognized by the Oklahoma State Legislature as the “Official Jazz Ambassadors of Okalahoma,” among other music education activities.
In his letter of intent for the position, Miles said he became a musician because he “pursued a calling” and an administrator as he “responded to a need.”
“It is evident that the new administration at Southern Miss has a very clear vision for the future, and I look forward to working with the faculty and administration in projecting the School of Music as the standard bearer of excellence within that vision,” Miles said. “We will continue to build on the great musical tradition at Southern Miss and look for opportunities to grow our music programs artistically, academically and philosophically.”
Miles holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Hartford Connecticut and a master of music from Florida State University. In 1992, he earned his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Kentucky in trumpet performance and conducting.
“My family and I are extremely excited about the opportunity to be associated with an institution of higher learning with such an outstanding academic and artistic tradition,” Miles said. “The reputation of the music programs at Southern Miss makes this position very desirable.”
Dr. Denise K. von Herrmann
Dr. Michael A. Miles
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.