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Released January 17, 2003


PRESIDENT THAMES ANNOUNCES PLAN FOR EFFICIENCY, EFFECTIVENESS AND INNOVATION AT SOUTHERN MISS

 

HATTIESBURG, MS - Dr. Shelby F. Thames today announced plans to make The University of Southern Mississippi more efficient and more effective in the way it delivers education to its students.

The new academic structure, introduced by Thames, will streamline nine existing degree-granting colleges into five. "This new university structure creates five robust colleges, which hold the promise of improving academic, administrative and budgetary effectiveness at Southern Miss, allowing us to better serve our students," Thames said.

"The realigned structure will reap an immediate cost reallocation of at least $1 million, and possibly twice that much. Current administrative costs will be reallocated and invested in educating our students," he said. The new structure will result in fewer administrators and more faculty members in the classroom.

The current degree-granting colleges are the College of The Arts, College of Business Administration, College of Education and Psychology, College of Health and Human Sciences, College of International and Continuing Education, College of Liberal Arts, College of Nursing, College of Marine Sciences and College of Science and Technology. "These colleges and their leaders have served our students well," Thames said. "However, this realignment should energize each of us to reach even greater heights."

 

dr thames at the address

 
 

The new colleges are the College of Arts and Letters, College of Business and Economic Development, College of Education and Psychology, College of Health and College of Science and Technology.

Restructuring and reallocation do not threaten any academic program, major or field of study at the university, and no tenured faculty positions will be affected. Thames said, "By restructuring, we minimize administration, which creates the opportunity for more experienced faculty to be in the classroom. "We are making students and their education our first priority, and giving faculty new opportunities to be successful in their disciplines."

This academic realignment gives the university the opportunity to create new synergistic opportunities among colleges, allowing faculty members from different disciplines to collaborate more easily on research initiatives, grant proposals and educational instruction. It will also allow faculty to share equipment, facilities and resources more efficiently.

Enhanced student access is also a feature of the new structure. With five colleges, students will find it easier to access their college's centralized services. Rather than a central graduate school office, each college will absorb those duties to assist and support graduate students within their college. Counseling and advisement will also be available to students within each college, allowing easier and faster access when making inquiries and seeking assistance.

"This restructuring changes the way we approach education," Dr. Thames said. "My goal for The University of Southern Mississippi is to be the best – not the best compared to other universities – but to be the best university we can be; to be a world-class university with a reputation of excellence comparable to none."

"I truly believe our university is composed of committed people who believe in being the best," he said. "We can change Southern Miss for the better, making us a recognized leader in education. These changes bring with them opportunity – opportunity for success; opportunity that will be embraced by those who want to see The University of Southern Mississippi take its rightful place of leadership and distinction."

The College of Arts and Letters will consist of art, music, and theater and dance, currently in the College of the Arts; interior design and fashion merchandising, currently in the College of Health and Human Sciences; and English, history, philosophy and religion, foreign languages and literature, mass communication and journalism, speech communication, anthropology and sociology and political science , currently in the College of Liberal Arts.

The College of Business and Economic Development will consist of accounting and information systems, marketing and management and economics, finance and international business, which are in the current College of Business Administration; economic development and planning, which are in the current College of International and Continuing Education; hospitality management, which is in the current College of Health and Human Sciences; and workforce training, which is in the current College of Science and Technology.

The College of Education and Psychology will consist of education leadership and research; curriculum, instruction and special education; technology education; and psychology, in the current College of Education and Psychology; library and information sciences, currently in the College of Liberal Arts; and family and consumer sciences education; child and family studies; family and consumer studies; early intervention and marriage and family therapy, in the current College of Health and Human Sciences.

The College of Health will consist of nursing, which is in the current College of Nursing; community health sciences; nutrition and dietetics; institutional management; human performance and recreation; social work and human nutrition, which are in the current College of Health and Human Sciences; medical technology, currently in the College of Science and Technology and speech and hearing sciences, which is in the current College of Liberal Arts.

The College of Science and Technology will consist of biological sciences, chemistry and biochemistry; computer science, statistics, and mathematics; 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 nonacademic programs in the College of International and Continuing Education will continue to operate under their current structure and will report directly to the provosts. The Honors College and University Libraries will also function in their current capacities.

The new academic structure will start at the beginning of the next Fiscal Year, July 1, 2003. Searches for deans of the five new colleges will begin shortly and will be led by the Hattiesburg Provost, Dr. Jay Grimes, and the Gulf Coast Provost, Dr. Tim Hudson. "Current deans, along with professionals who are interested in the positions from both in and outside the university, are welcome to apply," Grimes said. Search committees will be composed of faculty, staff, alumni and students.

 
 

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Last updated: February 11, 2003