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Released June 29, 2003


HATTIESBURG - The University of Southern Mississippi has named a veteran educator and administrator from within it own ranks to serve as interim dean for the College of Health.

At the same time, Southern Miss officials have announced that the search for a permanent dean will resume in the fall, with an eye toward filling the position by the beginning of the 2004-2005 academic year.

Until then, Dr. Joan Exline, who has served as director and graduate coordinator for the Center for Community Health at Southern Miss since 1999, will lead the recently restructured College of Health.

Exline, 46, has an undergraduate degree in business from Indiana University, a master's in health administration from the University of Michigan, and a doctorate in political science from Wayne State University.

Exline has been an instructor and administrator at Southern Miss for seven years. She said that her past experience working in the College of Health and Human Sciences should serve her well in her new role. She has significant knowledge of the task at hand.

"I am certainly familiar with Southern Miss, and many of the directors and chairs who will be overseeing the units (within the College of Health)," Exline said. "I know what our strengths and weakness are, and what other opportunities await us, so we can hit the ground running."

Dr. Tim Hudson, provost of Southern Miss' Hattiesburg campus, said that Exline was a perfect choice to serve as interim dean.

"We are confident that Dr. Exline will handle this leadership opportunity superbly," Hudson said.

Dr. Jay Grimes, provost of Southern Miss' Gulf Coast campus, said that he has enjoyed working with Exline this past year.

"She is a highly successful researcher with considerable health care experience," Grimes said.

Exline will take over a College of Health that has been expanded as a result of the recent realignment of the university's colleges.

Programs in the College of Health will include the departments of Nursing, Social Work, Community Health Sciences, Nutrition and Dietetics, Institutional Management, Human Nutrition, Medical Technology, Human Performance and Recreation, and Speech and Hearing Sciences.

Exline already has an early agenda set, which includes four areas of emphasis for the newly restructured college. One priority will be to establish an effective infrastructure for the college so that it can function as efficiently as possible. Another will be looking at different ways the departments within the college can work together for the betterment of the college as a whole.

There will also be an emphasis on exploring different strategies to further increase external funding for the college, as well as an emphasis on projects that benefit not only the college's traditional stakeholders, but also the community at large.

Before coming to Southern Miss, Exline participated in research at Duke University and taught at the University of Michigan at Dearborn and Wayne State University. Her research interests include Medicare policy and long-term care. Exline has had a diverse career in health care, having served as vice president of several hospitals before going back to school and earning her Ph.D.

Exline, an Evansville, Ind., native, is married to Jeff Williams.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM