The Bennett Philosophy

President Rodney D. Bennett met and took questions from multiple university constituencies Feb. 7, 2013, in advance of the announcement he had been hired as the University's 10th president. The following are excerpts from those sessions.

Staff, Academic Enhancements and How They Relate to Student Success

"Every interaction with a student creates an opportunity for you to say or do something that helps create a path toward completion for them. Regardless of your background, once you come to work at Southern Miss, you’re an educator. I will expect everybody to see themselves as a part of the mission of Southern Miss and work to create pathways of completion for students."

Students

"At every institution I’ve been affiliated with, students have been among the workhorses of moving the institution forward. There is nothing that a group of students, when asked, won’t do to support their institution. We’ve got to invest and support them."

Working with Faculty

"I don’t know how to be a senior administrator without involving the stakeholders. My natural instinct will be to get a group of people together and to get as many voices in the conversation as we can. If we want shared governance, we have to share in the successes and setbacks of shared governance. It’s an interactive process, and I’ll need everybody to be full participants."

Community

"I’ve had so many wonderful opportunities come my way, I know in my heart I have to find ways to give back and share that with other people. We cannot be an island to ourselves. We cannot make decisions only thinking about what’s good for the university. We have to make decisions about what’s good for the community."

Tuition

"I’m very sensitive to the cost of attendance for students. I don’t think the university ought to, as the first option, balance and steady the ship on the backs of students through raising tuition and other fees."

Technology

"Our future is going to depend on how we use technology. If Southern Miss is going to be competitive and attract the best students, the integration of technology into everything we do is going to have to be considered."