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Council Tasked with Supporting, Advancing International Profile of Southern Miss PDF Print E-mail
Friday, January 22, 2010
Contact David Tisdale, 601.266.4499   

A group of key University of Southern Mississippi constituents is examining opportunities to advance the university’s standing as an international leader in education, research, economic development and culture.

The Southern Miss Internationalization Council will evaluate the university’s existing strategies and goals for integrating international and intercultural dimensions into the university’s teaching, research and service. It will also look at ways to strengthen recruitment and funding for its international programs.

“This initiative is important because we want to expand the opportunities our students and faculty have to not only benefit from, but positively impact, our global economy,” said Dr. Susan Steen, director of International Education at Southern Miss.

Co-chaired by Steen and Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Joe Paul, the group includes faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, community members and former and current students who have benefited from the university’s international education programs. 

Council members and the areas they represent include Dr. Thomas Osowski, School of Social Work; Dr. David R. Davies, dean of the Honors College; Dr. Andrew Wiest, Department of History; Dr. Carmen Carracelas Juncal, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures; Dr. Fei Xue, School of Mass Communication and Journalism; Dr. Monika Gehlawat, Department of English; Dr. Danilo Mezzadri, School of Music; Dr. Curtis Austin, Department of History; Dr. David Duhon, Department of Management and Marketing;Dr. Marco Wolf, Department of Management and Marketing; Dr. Thomas O’Brien, College of Education and Psychology;

Tracy Englert, University Libraries; Dr. Sabine Heinhorst, Department of Chemistry; Dr. Chad Miller, Economic Development; Dr. Vafa Kamali, Office of the Vice President for Research; Russ Willis, director of Human Resources; Mary Dayne Gregg, Office of the President; Dr. Larry Sparkman, Luckyday Scholars Program;  Shawnboda Mead, Department of  Residence Life; Audrey Charoglu, Student Activities; Jason Gray, Department of Athletics; Allan Nation, Hattiesburg resident and International Programs Advisory Board; Liz Cleveland, Mississippi Development Authority; Barbara Travis, Mississippi World Trade Center; Rachel Marlow, a former study-abroad undergraduate student; and Hana Prudilova, and international graduate student.

"Ensuring that Southern Miss graduates are prepared to succeed and lead in the global economy is crucial to strengthening our university's position as a premier research institution, one that is focused on global opportunities and outreach,” said Southern Miss President Martha Saunders. “I'm confident the council will help us achieve that goal."  

Southern Miss has a longstanding commitment to international education and global initiatives. Its English Language Institute, one of the oldest in the country, has provided excellence in English language instruction to approximately 10,000 students since its creation in 1947.  Its international student and scholar population represents some 60- 70 countries worldwide, and its study-abroad and exchange programs, first established in 1976, have engaged more than 10,000 students in academic and cultural immersion overseas and have earned national recognition and awards.

Despite uncertain economic times, Dr. Joe Paul said it is crucial that Southern Miss maintain the strong reputation it has earned in international education and research. “It not only expands opportunities for our students and faculty, it also positions us to play a key role in working with government and economic leaders on important international opportunities benefiting our state, region and nation.”

Sabine Heinhorst, an associate professor of chemistry and a member of the council, said international education and research collaboration open new avenues of learning and academic enrichment for students and faculty alike. “It’s important for our students, especially those who have not travelled outside of the U.S., to gain a wider and more accurate global perspective than from what they may hear and read in the media, and our study abroad and exchange programs give them a chance to do that,” she said.

“And for faculty, advancing our global profile is crucial because of the nature of our work, particularly in the sciences, as we are often involved in research that includes international collaboration with colleagues around the world.”

Steen added that global literacy and intercultural competence are important qualities that can prepare Southern Miss for its next century of service. “I believe this group can help us enhance those attributes for the benefit this institution and those it serves,” she said.

For more information about Southern Miss International Education programs, online visit

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
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