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Cochran Named Associate Dean of USM College of Education and Human Sciences

Thu, 12/17/2020 - 15:05pm | By: Karelia Pitts

Dr. Noal CochranDr. Noal Cochran, interim director and teaching professor of educational administration in the School of Education, has been named associate dean for educator preparation in the College of Education and Human Sciences at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM). In this position, Cochran will serve as the bridge between the University, Mississippi Department of Education and P-12 educational communities.

“Dr. Cochran brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to educator preparation in our college,” said Dr. Trent Gould, dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences. “He plays a critical role as our liaison with the Mississippi Department of Education and works tirelessly with our P-12 stakeholders to co-construct outstanding educational experiences for our students.”

Growing up with limited resources in rural Perry County, Miss., Cochran saw education as his ticket to a better life. He worked hard throughout grade school and earned multiple scholarships to attend college at USM. Like many Southern Miss students, the ability to earn a high-quality education while staying near to family was a desirable combination for Cochran.

He went on to earn not one, but five degrees from the University. After completing a bachelor’s degree in polymer science in 1988, Cochran finished a master’s in science education in 1990, master’s in marriage and family therapy in 1999, education specialist degree in 2009 and a doctorate in educational leadership in 2011. Although the fields of study he has pursued vary, a passion for education is at his core.

Cochran joined the School of Education at USM in 2018 as associate director, following an extensive career in P-12 education. With more than 25 years of experience as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal and superintendent, Cochran is amply prepared to transition into his new role as associate dean for educator preparation. He has experienced the power a Southern Miss degree has to change a student’s life and believes in the influence his students have to change the lives of countless others through their careers as educators in Mississippi and beyond.

“USM is home to me. Walking across the Hattiesburg campus, I love to feel the energy, hear laughter and see studious looks and furrowed brows on the faces of Golden Eagles,” said Cochran. “Our students’ dedication to their studies and pursuit of excellence resonates deeply with me as an alumnus who once stood where they are. As a faculty member in the College of Education and Human Sciences, my greatest joy comes from being a part of the power of our collective movement. Being surrounded by other professionals who see the greatness tomorrow could hold and work tirelessly to get our institution, our professions and our communities to that point is beyond exciting. It is invigorating.”

With an enrollment of more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students, the School of Education is the largest school in the College of Education and Human Sciences. Building on the University’s history of being founded as a normal college in 1910, Cochran sees opportunity for continued excellence in training the educators of tomorrow.

“With USM’s roots deep in the soil of Mississippi’s educator preparation history, my hope is to play a vital role in developing operational strategies that make us the premier educator preparation program within our state, region and nation,” said Cochran. “Being powerful in thought and efficient in operation is our goal.”

For more information about the College of Education and Human Sciences, visit To learn more about the School of Education, visit