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Released June 3, 2003


HATTIESBURG - The University of Southern Mississippi has selected two veteran professors, administrators and researchers in their respective fields as the new deans for the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Science and Technology.

Dr. Elliott A. Pood, currently the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Alabama, and Dr. Rex Franklin Gandy, currently the chair of the University of Idaho's Department of Physics, will bring their leadership and expertise to the newly restructured colleges August 1.

Pood and Gandy were chosen from a strong group of candidates vying for dean positions.

"Many talented, high-quality individuals were interested in the various opportunities provided by Southern Miss, and we were pleased with the selection pool," Hattiesburg Provost Dr. Jay Grimes said. "Southern Miss is competing in a global society and competitive marketplace, and we have had interest from candidates from across the nation."

Pood, 52, received his doctorate in organizational communication from Florida State University. He holds a master's degree from the University of Central Florida and a bachelor's degree in communication from West Georgia College.

After beginning his teaching career at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in the division of communication studies, Pood served at UNCG as the director of the Institute for Communication Research and Consulting. He then served as director of the broadcasting/cinema division at UNCG, teaching in both the communication studies division and the broadcasting/cinema division.

"We commend the members of the search committee for their diligent work," said Gulf Coast Provost Dr. Tim Hudson. "They were successful in getting input throughout the selection process from all stakeholders, including faculty, staff, alumni, community members and students."

Pood will become the first dean of Southern Miss' newly reconfigured College of Arts and Letters, which consists of the previous College of The Arts and College of Liberal Arts. The change becomes effective July 1.

In 1989, Pood was selected to be the founding chairperson of the Department of Radio/Television/Photography at Middle Tennessee State University. There he helped oversee the design and construction of a $20 million mass communication complex. He was also successful in attracting more than $1 million in grants from the Bosch/BTS Educational Foundation, Sony, IBM, Wavefront Technologies and NewStar Systems.

Pood later served as assistant dean and interim associate dean of the College of Mass Communication at MTSU.

"The College of Arts and Letters' search committee, composed of faculty, staff, students and community leaders, worked diligently to identify top candidates for this important new position," said Dr. Andrew Wiest, professor of history and search committee co-chairperson.

"Dr. Elliot Pood quickly rose to the top of the list in a spirited competition. He is both talented and amply qualified to face the challenge of leading a newly formed and quite diverse college. I wish him the best in this important endeavor and look forward to working with him as dean."

The author of more than 60 articles and professional papers on the subjects of organizational and mass communication, Pood has won awards for his research from the International Communication Association. His specialty is in organizational communication, with a research-consulting specialty in organizational conflict management. He teaches courses in broadcast management, history and development of broadcasting, communication theory and research, organizational communication, video production, interpersonal communication, nonverbal communication and statistical research methods in the social sciences.

He has served as the producer for two regional Emmy telecasts, served on the Board of Governors for the Mid-South Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and has participated as producer, director, writer and broadcast coordinator for more than 20 video productions.

Pood has also served as a consultant to more than 75 different public agencies and private corporations. In addition, he has reviewed manuscripts for two publishing companies and currently serves as the executive editor for The Journal of Academic Leadership. Pood is married to Bonnie Wagner Pood and has three children, Kenneth, Lindsey and Elise.

Dr. Gandy received his undergraduate education at Johns Hopkins University and at Memphis State University (MSU), and was awarded B.S. degrees in physics and mathematics from MSU in 1975. He received an M.S. degree in plasma physics from MSU in 1977, and in 1981 was awarded a Ph.D. in plasma physics from the University of Texas. From 1981 to 1984, he held a postdoctoral research appointment at MIT's Plasma Fusion Center.

Prior to his work at Idaho, Gandy, 49, served as associate dean for research at Auburn University's College of Science and Mathematics. Before that, Gandy was an assistant professor, associate professor and professor at Auburn for 15 years.

"We are all incredibly fortunate to have Dr. Gandy join our faculty," said Dr. Vernon Asper, COST search committee chairperson. "He brings just the right balance of background, talents and leadership ability that will be needed to build the new College of Science and Technology and make it all that we know it can be."

During his career, Gandy has played a major role in leading research projects, managing staff and overseeing various financial aspects of his departments. At Idaho, he worked closely with faculty and staff to improve the Department of Physics. Over the past three and a half years, enrollment for undergraduate physics major increased from 27 to 74. Over that same period, graduate student enrollment increased from seven to 20, and the department's annual external funding increased from approximately $100,000 to $1 million.

Gandy has published 65 referred articles and has generated approximately $8.5 million in external research funding. Gandy has supported nine postdoctoral researchers, served as major professor for 12 graduate students and supported over 50 undergraduate research assistants.

Gandy has produced a long and distinguished research career. While in graduate school at UT he carried out experimental studies on the Texas Experimental Tokamak, and while at MIT he worked on the Alcator C Tokamak, one of the nation's premiere fusion research devices. At Auburn, Gandy led the research activities on two fusion devices, the Auburn Torsatron and the Compact Auburn Torsatron. At Idaho, he has expanded his research interests to include studies of plasma-material interactions, with an emphasis in applications of plasmas in the production of novel nanomaterials.

Gandy has a long record of successful collaborative research with researchers from the University of Texas, MIT, University of Wisconsin, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Georgia Tech, Boise State University, Idaho State University and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Gandy is married to Dr. Laura Prange, an award-winning sculptor who will be working as an assistant professor at Southern Miss. He has three children, Neil, Joan and Amanda, all of whom are currently pursuing degrees in higher education.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM