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Released Februrary 2, 2004


HATTIESBURG -- Two candidates are scheduled for interviews over the next two weeks for the position of dean of The University of Southern Mississippi College of Education and Psychology.

Dr. Rik Carl D'Amato and Dr. Willie Lee Pierce have been chosen by a university search committee as candidates for the position.

"These two candidates have advanced through a rigorous search and screening process," said Dr. Elliot Pood, dean of the Southern Miss College of Arts and Letters and chair of the search committee. "The search committee spent two months soliciting applications and reviewing credentials, and conducted phone interviews with five outstanding, nationally recognized scholar-administrators and Drs. D'Amato and Pierce emerged as the leading candidates from this process. Both present outstanding credentials and experience for this position."

Dr. Pierce, who is currently serving as interim dean of the Southern Miss College of Education and Psychology, is a professor of educational leadership and research and is director of the Southern Miss Center for Adult Learning and Education. He will interview Feb. 4-5.

Pierce received his bachelor's and master's degrees in education from Delta State University and his doctorate in education from North Carolina State University in 1975. He is a member of the American Association for Adult & Continuing Education, an executive committee member and membership chair for the Commission of Professors, and served as the past board president of the Hattiesburg Education Literacy Project.

Dr. D'Amato will interview Feb. 11-13. He is currently the assistant dean and director of the Center for Collaborative Research in Education and Undergraduate and Graduate External Degree Programs and Outreach for the College of Education at the University of Northern Colorado. He received his bachelor's degree in education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and his master's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 1987, D'Amato earned his doctorate from Ball State University.

Following the interview process, the search committee will make their recommendation for the position to the Southern Miss provosts who, with the input of the search committee and Southern Miss President Dr. Shelby Thames, will make a final selection.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM