Released February 6, 2003


HATTIESBURG - A diverse cross section of faculty, staff, students and community members has been tapped by The University of Southern Mississippi to select a dean for the College of Science and Technology.

The College of Science and Technology is one of the new colleges created by the recent academic restructuring at Southern Miss, which will streamline nine existing degree-granting colleges into five. The realignment will begin with the fiscal year that starts next July 1.

"The search committee for the dean of the College of Science and Technology is loaded with talented, accomplished and dedicated faculty, staff, students and stakeholders," said Dr. Tim Hudson, Gulf Coast provost. "We appreciate their willingness to commit time and effort to this important process."

Hudson said that once the committees have reviewed applications, a small number of candidates will be invited to Southern Miss in the late spring for interviews and to meet with all interested faculty, staff, students and supporters. The search committee, one of five overall, was formed with volunteers and through nominations by staff and faculty, including chairs and directors.

"We are excited about the strength and perspective that all members bring to their committee," said Dr. Jay Grimes, Hattiesburg provost.

Serving as co-chairs of the search committee will be Dr. Vernon Asper, professor in the Department of Marine Science and currently the dean of the College of Marine Sciences, and Dr. Gordon Cannon, a professor in the Department of Chemistry at Southern Miss.

Cannon said he was pleased with the variety of expertise and opinion present on the committee. "I think all of the components of the college are well represented here," Cannon said.

Hudson said that under the co-chairs' leadership, "the committee will be able to bring to the community a slate of highly qualified candidates ready to continue to move Southern Miss to the top."

One strength of the committee, according to member Maria Cobb, an associate professor of computer science, is its wealth of experience. Having been at Southern Miss for six years, Cobb is "one of the youngest as far as experience on the committee," she said.

"I think there is certainly a cross section of faculty members with a wide variety of experience," said Cobb, also the assistant chair of the Department of Computer Science and Statistics. "Some have 10 and 20 years of experience, so that aspect is well represented. And as far as teaching and research, that is well represented, too."

The new College of Science and Technology will consist of biological sciences; chemistry and biochemistry; computer science and mathematics education; engineering technology; polymers and high performance materials; physics and astronomy; coastal sciences and geology, which are currently in the College of Science and Technology; criminal justice, which is currently in the College of Liberal Arts; marine science, now in the College of Marine Sciences; and geography, currently in the College of International and Continuing Education.

The search committee represents a wide range of strengths, interests and backgrounds. Members include:

– Vernon Asper, professor in the Department of Marine Science and current dean of the College of Marine Sciences. Since arriving at Southern Miss in 1986, Asper has pursued a variety of research interests in numerous parts of the world, including all of the world's oceans, the Black Sea and Lake Baikal in Siberia. He is currently participating in his 11th trip to Antarctica.

– Gordon Cannon, chemistry professor at Southern Miss. Before arriving at the University in 1987, Cannon was a Research Fellow at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology. He has served as the coordinator of the Center for Molecular and Cellular Biosciences since 1997 and in 1999 he was named Thomas Waring Bennett Distinguished Professor in the Sciences.

– Maria Cobb, associate professor and assistant chair of the Department of Computer Science and Statistics at Southern Miss. She has held grants from the Naval Research Laboratory, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency and the National Technology Alliance totaling about $850,000.

– Clifton Dixon, chair of the Department of Geography at Southern Miss. For the past 26 years, Dixon has worked extensively in Central America researching environmental impacts of traditional peoples and land use practices affected by national changes.

– Desmond Fletcher, associate professor in the School of Engineering Technology. Fletcher is serving as coordinator of both the Construction Engineering Technology and Architectural Engineering Technology programs.

– Elizabeth R. Francis, a member of the Southern Miss Honors College. Francis, also a Rhodes Scholar nominee, is pursuing a degree in biological sciences, accompanied with a minor in chemistry.

– Greg Gemeinhardt, a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials.

– Jay Grimes, provost and professor of coastal sciences at Southern Miss.

– Andre Heath, site coordinator for the Alliance for Graduate Education in Mississippi (AGEM) at Southern Miss, where he consults with current and prospective graduate students concerning enrollment.

– Charles L. McCormick, III, a professor of polymer science. In the spring semester of 1992, McCormick served as visiting professor at Cambridge University.

– Frank Moore, professor of biological sciences and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Southern Miss. Moore is a fellow of the American Ornithologists' Union, associate editor of the journal of the North American Ornithologists' Union and a member of the editorial board for the Southeastern Naturalist.

– Sarah Morgan, assistant professor of polymer science at Southern Miss. Before arriving in November 2002, Morgan spent 14 years in industrial research and development.

– Pam Posey, assistant to the dean of science and technology. Employed at Southern Miss since 1979, Posey received a bachelor's degree there in 1993. She serves as president of the university Staff Council.

– Peter Ranelli, interim director of the Center of Higher Learning at Stennis Space Center. Ranelli, a retired U.S. Navy captain, specialized in meteorology and oceanography while in the service.

– William Taylor, professor of criminal justice.

– William Walker, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources.

– Joe B. Whitehead, associate professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Southern Miss. Whitehead received his doctorate from Kent State University, where he performed his doctoral research at the Liquid Crystal Institute.



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July 9, 2003 10:59 AM