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Released Februrary 16, 2004

SOUTHERN MISS PLANS FOR RAPID ENROLLMENT GROWTH

LONG BEACH, Miss. - To meet the needs of an increasing enrollment, The University of Southern Mississippi plans to hire 24 faculty to be located at the Gulf Park campus for the upcoming academic year and to restructure the customer service process.

These 24 positions will represent a combination of existing vacancies and new hires.

"The hiring of these faculty on the coast aligns with our mission to dramatically grow our enrollment and meet the education needs on the Gulf Coast," said Dr. Shelby Thames, Southern Miss president. "Our students are our number one priority. We are committed to making sure their educational experience is the best it can be."

In an earlier announcement on Jan. 7, a record 112 faculty searches among all colleges and teaching sites university-wide had been approved. Southern Miss filled 44 tenure-track faculty positions last year.

Working with the academic deans and the budget office and using the dividend from last year's college reorganization, which reallocated almost $2 million from administrative areas to the classroom, the university was able to direct approximately $4.8 million toward the salaries needed to fill these positions university-wide.

Increasing student enrollment will depend heavily on customer service excellence. To meet this need, Dr. Lynn Estes will now spearhead an effort to restructure customer service. Estes will work closely with faculty, staff, administration and students to develop a new customer service process.

"Most of our Gulf Coast students work full time, have families to care for, and need an effortless experience in enrollment, financial aid, advisement and business services to allow them to focus their efforts in the classroom," said Dr. Ken Malone, chief operating officer at Southern Miss Gulf Coast.

Assisting Estes in developing customer service excellence will be the Southern Miss Lean Enterprise Center. The Lean Enterprise Center has worked with many Mississippi companies such as Northrop Grumman and Baxter Healthcare to develop efficient processes focused on meeting the needs of the customer.

For more information about programs and services at Southern Miss Gulf Coast, call (228) 865-4500.

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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM

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