October 20, 2014  

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Ellen Weinauer Named Dean of Southern Miss Honors College

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Dr. Ellen Weinauer, associate professor of English, will take over as the new Dean of the Honors College at The University of Southern Mississippi on July 1. (Submitted photo)

After 20 years of distinguished service as an English professor at The University of Southern Mississippi, Dr. Ellen Weinauer has been named the next dean of the University’s Honors College. She will assume her new duties on July 1, pending IHL Board approval.

“It’s exciting to be chosen to serve the Honors College, such a cherished institution here at Southern Miss, and I welcome the opportunities and challenges ahead,” said Weinauer. “I will strive to continue the strong tradition of excellence built by Dean Davies and other predecessors, and I look forward to collaborating with faculty, staff, and students from across the University as, together, we take the Honors College into the future.”

Weinauer came to Southern Miss in 1994 as an assistant professor in the English Department. An active scholar in the field of 19th-Century American Literature, Weinauer also has directed the Women’s Studies Program and the Graduate Program in English. For the past two years she has served as the Director of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program. Weinauer has also taught numerous honors World Literature courses and has mentored many students through the honors thesis process.

“We are delighted that Dr. Weinauer has accepted the position as dean. She will provide strong leadership and continue the development of our Honors College at USM,” said Southern Miss Provost Dr. Denis Wiesenburg. “She is student-focused, will bring new ideas, and has a strong background in mentoring students in the Honors College. I look forward to working with Dr. Weinauer in this crucial leadership role.” 

Weinauer takes over for Dr. David R. Davies, who is stepping down from the position he held for the past seven years to focus on his role as director of the British Studies Program and the Chateau Program (formerly the Abbey Program). He also plans to spend more time as a classroom instructor.

“While I look forward to taking on new challenges after stepping aside as Honors College dean, I will always appreciate the incredible collaboration with faculty and staff all across campus whose combined efforts did so much to benefit our fine students,” said Davies. 

During Davies’ tenure, the Honors College enrollment grew by more than 200 students. In 2010 the college moved into a new home on the Hattiesburg campus – the Honor House.

A Minnesota native, Weinauer received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Wisconsin, graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the Honors Program in 1985. She earned her Master’s Degree (1987) and doctorate (1993) in English from Indiana University.  

In 1999 Weinauer became an associate professor of English at Southern Miss. While at Southern Miss she has twice won the Excellence in Teaching Award -- in 2001 and 2012. In 2006 she received the Mississippi Humanities Council Teaching Award.

Founded in 1976, the Honors College at Southern Miss is the oldest of its kind among Mississippi’s universities. The college currently enrolls approximately 650 students, which represents a 43 percent increase since 2007. In the fall of 2013, the Honors College welcomed its largest freshman class to date (178 students) with an average ACT score of nearly 30 and a median GPA above 3.85.

To learn more about the Southern Miss Honors College, call 601.266.4533 or visit: http://www.usm.edu/honors