The University of Southern Mississippi's Department of Economic
Development is aggressively planning its future and including in
its strategic vision the input of economic development professionals
from across Mississippi. As the process of expanding the department's
offerings continues, there are plans to include professionals from
across the nation in the ongoing discussions.
Southern Miss administrators met with a large group of public and
private sector economic development professionals on the Hattiesburg
campus for the purpose of mapping out the future of economic development
at Southern Miss. The meeting, which alternated between prepared
presentations and impromptu exchanges, yielded significant results.
developers of Mississippi gave their strong support to the growth
plans of the department of economic development," said Dr.
Ken Malone, the department's chair.
plan that came from the meeting is the idea of "branding"
the Southern Miss Department of Economic Development as the economic
development department of the United States. This is fitting, as
Southern Miss is the only university in the nation to offer a master's
and doctorate in economic development.
Malone said, "we reaffirmed the importance of the internship
program, which places our students to work with these economic developers.
This incorporates the high synergy of both the practitioner and
the academician teaching the student."
conference gave Southern Miss administrators a chance to show economic
development professionals what Southern Miss is doing to serve and
enhance their field. Evidence of that ongoing and expanding effort
is all around at Southern Miss, Malone said.
a president (Dr. Shelby Thames) who has made economic development
a mission of the university, and the only vice president of research
and economic development (Dr. Angeline Dvorak) of any university
in the country," Malone said. "Also, we have a newly formed
College of Business and Economic Development, which increases the
important synergy of business and economic development curriculum.
And we have
a commitment to offer the economic development degree in a distance
learning format that will be available across the nation."
director of the regional services division of the Mississippi Development
Authority, attended last week's meeting, and said that it was a
valuable experience for all involved.
development profession by nature cannot be done by one individual
or one organization," Hardin said. "It truly is a partnership.
One of the good things about The University of Southern Mississippi's
program is that it is so unique, and then, in addition to that,
they do a good job of reaching out to their various allies. This
meeting is a good example of that."