Business Dean Search

Scianna Hall 




business dean search finalists

The screening committee for the Dean of the College of Business and Economic Development has identified two candidate finalists to visit the University for interviews starting Thursday, March 7. While at Southern Miss, each finalist will participate in open forums at both the Hattiesburg and Gulf Park campuses, which will give students, staff, and faculty an opportunity to become better acquainted with each of them.

The two finalists are:


Dr. Bret Becton (CV)  

Dean of the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

  • Gulf Park open forum for faculty, staff, and students: Thursday, March 7, 2:15-3:30pm, North Academic Building, room 103
  • Hattiesburg open forum for faculty, staff, and students: Friday, March 8, 1:45-3:00pm, Thad Cochran Center, room 218


Dr. Christopher Shook (CV

Dean of the College of Business, University of Montana

  • Hattiesburg open forum for faculty, staff, and students: Monday, March 18, 9:15-10:30am, Thad Cochran Center, room 218
  • Gulf Park open forum for faculty, staff, and students: Tuesday, March 19, 2:15-3:30pm, North Academic Building, room 103


You are invited to attend the forums, ask questions, and provide feedback on the finalists via the link below. 

Your input will be valuable in the decision-making process for this important position.

If you have any questions, please contact the Screening Committee chair, Dr. Maureen Ryan.



Position Specification

The University of Southern Mississippi
Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Dean, College of Business and Economic Development

The University of Southern Mississippi seeks a dynamic, forward-thinking leader for its distinguished College of Business and Economic Development. This dean would lead a growing college and an accomplished faculty and become a member of a progressive, collegial academic leadership team. The university, strongly committed to student success and research excellence, is located in one of the Gulf South’s most livable cities.


Responsibilities of the Position

Reporting to the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Dean of the College of Business and Economic Development will plan, develop, and coordinate all administrative and academic proceedings for a wide range of programs and services that enhance the quality of faculty and student academic life in the college. The Dean will also engage in strategic planning and implementation to align the college with the Academic Master Plan and the University’s Strategic Plan and ensure that all initiatives are consistent with the mission and vision of the Office of the Provost and The University of Southern Mississippi. The Dean will be a highly visible representative of the College and the University, advocating for the College and the institution with alumni and business leaders. The Dean will lead more than 70 faculty and staff and oversee an $8 million operating budget.


Desired Qualities and Capacities of the Dean

  • a strong commitment to business and economic development and the capacity for working across disciplines and professions to enhance learning throughout the University
  • an understanding of and respect for Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation and the accreditation process of diverse disciplines
  • a history of innovative and effective leadership in a consultative and collaborative academic environment
  • significant experience in recruiting, retaining, and nurturing faculty, including a well-developed ability to gauge academic quality and an appreciation for the vital importance of hiring and promotion decisions in creating and sustaining excellence in the University
  • knowledge and entrepreneurship in envisioning, managing, and facilitating access to the internal and external sources of funding necessary to build and sustain excellence in research and educational programs
  • an aptitude and enthusiasm for fundraising to support the College’s mission
  • a commitment to collaboration with and effective supervision of college leaders, such as Assistant and Associate Deans and School Directors
  • a well-developed sense of how to allocate resources to fulfill the priorities of the College’s and University’s strategic plans
  • a deft hand in managing procedural details and facilitating shared governance with a spirit of openness and generosity of understanding
  • a commitment to working in partnership with University leadership, including the President, the Provost, Vice Presidents, Vice and Associate Provosts, and the other academic Deans
  • resilience, thoughtfulness in speech, responsiveness, and fair-mindedness



The ideal candidate will have:

  • an earned doctorate or terminal degree in business or a related field or comparable professional and/or academic experience; a record of distinguished scholarly or similar accomplishments; and a strong commitment to research, teaching, and service in a field appropriate for appointment as a full professor in one of the academic programs in the college
  • a demonstrated track record of administrative experience and academic leadership, and a portfolio of professional successes
  • strong and proven capabilities in complex organizational management including strategic planning, financial stewardship, budget creation, resource allocation, human resource management, risk management, and related decision-making
  • the proven ability to work collaboratively with leaders across organizations, including local businesses and business organizations
  • exemplary interpersonal and communication skills
  • impeccable integrity, sense of professionalism, and sound judgment



Academic credentials or professional accomplishments that merit appointment as a full professor in one of the academic departments or programs in the College of Business and Economic Development.


Measures of Success for the Position

The following items will define the success of the Dean of Business and Economic Development throughout the first year of employment:

  • establish a high profile at Southern Miss and actively engage in dialogue and public relations with a broad group of constituents.
  • complete an appropriate assessment of the college’s mission, services, structure, and staffing.
  • connect with key stakeholders and be visible in the local community in order to ensure the University continues to play an important role in the Hattiesburg, Gulf Coast, and regional communities
  • foster among stakeholders a common understanding of the role that the Dean and his or her academic leadership team should play in achieving the University’s priorities and supporting the institutional mission
  • develop a level of trust among faculty and staff across the college
  • ensure that responsibilities have been delegated to the appropriate academic leaders who will be held accountable for outcomes.