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Released April 19, 2004


By David Tisdale

HATTIESBURG - The University of Southern Mississippi's nationally ranked, cutting- edge international and continuing education programs will now operate from a new center, according to an announcement made on the university's campus in Hattiesburg Thursday. "This Center for International and Continuing Education will enable our professional staff, who are so skilled at what they do, to continue to work with our faculty to offer Southern Miss students these important learning opportunities," said Dr Tim Hudson, founding dean of the College of International and Continuing Education at Southern Miss and now the provost for Southern Miss Gulf Coast.

A streamlined version of the staff structure formerly housed in the College of International and Continuing Education will comprise the center. Largely self supporting, the center will facilitate faculty and student participation in the university's revenue-generating international, lifelong learning and Web-based courses and programs. These programs include international programs that offer study-abroad opportunities to students in more than 30 countries worldwide, and annually sends approximately 700 students overseas.

In addition, Continuing Education and Distributed Learning provides lifelong educational opportunities to learners outside the traditional campus and at all stages of life and career, while the English Language Institute provides English language instruction to students from all over the world. Nearly 20,000 students have studied at the ELI since its creation in 1947, and the International Student and Scholar Services offers services to 420 international students and scholars annually, representing 65 countries worldwide.

Construction of a new, $8 million facility for the new center is ongoing. Nearly half of the funding for the facility is from revenue generated by international and continuing education programs.

"The center will maintain the university's important role in providing excellent international and continuing education programs that improve the lives of the people of our state and nation, and in building new bridges of positive communication and cooperation across the globe," said Southern Miss President Dr. Shelby Thames.

Dr. Andrew Wiest, the Southern Miss professor of history who leads the award-winning Vietnam Studies Program abroad, believes the center will be an excellent resource for students and faculty. "For several years, Southern Miss has been a leader in international education, and I believe the streamlining and re-casting of our infrastructure will enable us to continue and build on our past successes," he said.

Hudson, a native of Purvis and graduate of Southern Miss, will serve as executive director of the center in addition to his duties as provost. He served as an intelligence analyst at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. before returning to Southern Miss in 1985 to oversee the development of the university's vast and nationally recognized international programs. He has implemented more than 40 study-abroad programs worldwide, and, in 1996, he received an honorary doctorate from London's Guildhall University in 1996 for his lifelong contributions to international education.

Susan Steen, currently director of international programs at Southern Miss, will serve as director of the center, Hudson said. "Ms. Steen is extremely talented, well educated and well suited for this position," he said.

A native of Natchez, Steen grew up in Jackson and is a graduate of the Southern Miss Honors College with a degree in speech communication. She also holds a master's degree in communication from the University of Florida and is completing work on a doctorate in speech communication from Southern Miss. While an undergraduate at Southern Miss, she participated in the school's student exchange program to the University of Wales in Swansea. She was named a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar following completion of her master's degree from Florida, which allowed her to spend a year of study at the University of Canberra in Australia. "The creation of the center will ensure the continued growth of these highly successful programs," Steen said. "We look forward to working with our outstanding faculty in offering students the chance to broaden their educational experience and world view, and in providing lifelong learning opportunities to members of our Hattiesburg community."


OCEAN SPRINGS -- Award-winning wildlife photographer Tom Ulrich will lead two photographic events at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory on Wednesday, March 10.

He will present a nature photography workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and then a talk and slide show called "Wildlife Images 2003" at 7 p.m., both at The University of Southern Mississippi GCRL.

Admission to the evening event is free and will be held in the Caylor Auditorium at GCRL. The veteran photographer will feature photos from his 2003 photographic safaris abroad and in North America. He will answer questions and sign his books during the reception following his slide show.

The registration fee for the all-day workshop is $50 per person, payable to GCRL. Registration includes a continental breakfast, light lunch and snacks. Participation is limited to 20. Though the workshop is geared toward beginners, Ulrich tailors the experience to meet needs for all degrees of skill.

"The beginners will definitely benefit from the workshop, but I always help the more advanced get something out of it also," Ulrich said. "I lead many photo trips and always find a wide range of levels."

Ulrich said participants do not need to bring their photographic equipment unless they need an explanation about some aspect of their equipment.

Topics include a brief review of the principles of photography, relationships between shutter and aperture settings, fundamental elements of composition, use and timing of fill-in flash, digital versus film photography, techniques of close-up photography, and a brief discussion of slide etiquette, the photography business and marketing.

Ulrich grew up in South Chicago, graduated with a degree in biology from Southern Illinois University and taught for four years before launching his career as a freelance photographer. He has supported himself with nature photography for the past 29 years.

His library of more than 300,000 transparencies includes birds and mammals from all over the world. His photographs have been featured in publications such as National Wildlife, Audubon, National Geographic, Montana Outdoors and Life.

He has published six nature books, including Mammals of the Rockies, Birds of the Northern Rockies, Once Upon a Frame and his 2002 release, Photo Pantanal. Dr. William E. Hawkins, GCRL executive director, said Ulrich brings the scientific and artistic worlds together.

"Tom earns his living photographing wildlife all over the world," Hawkins sad. "He is an outstanding observer and a biologist. His approach to photography is to capture his subjects exhibiting their natural behavior."

The GCRL is home to the university's Department of Coastal Sciences, the Center for Fisheries Research and Development, and the Gulf Coast Geospatial Center. The J.L. Scott Marine Education Center and Aquarium is also a unit of the laboratory. The GCRL is part of the Southern Miss College of Science and Technology. For more information, call the laboratory at (228) 872-4200.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM