Spotlighting Staff #9

We're happy to spotlight Dr. Michael King, Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Director of Strategic Planning!



Who are you (name, title, department)?

Michael L. King, Assistant to the VPSA and Director for Strategic Planning

How long have you been with Southern Miss and Student Affairs, specifically?

I came to Southern Miss in 2008 to earn a doctoral degree in communication studies. Although my interest in the professorship waned during that experience, I wanted to remain working toward the ideals of higher education. In August of 2012, I was pleased to secure such a position in Southern Miss’ Union and Programs Department.

What do you do?

Primarily, I coordinate and work to optimize assessment efforts within the Division of Student Affairs. This work involves directing strategic planning, creating professional development workshops, learning about marketing, and overseeing related initiatives. That’s the technical answer. 

What does that mean? 

This means that I get to work closely with all the directors and many others throughout the division. I enjoy this work because I get to learn about each unit within the division and help them get the most benefit from assessment as possible.

Where did you attend college?

I have two degrees from South Dakota State University.

Where have you been employed during your professional career?

I was a faculty member for four years at Winona State University in Minnesota. Prior to and during that time I operated a wedding DJ business. I worked in Southern Miss’ Speaking Center during graduate school.

What brought you to (and/or keeps you at) Southern Miss?

I came to Southern Miss for the doctoral program in the Communication Studies department. A colleague of mine at the time (who is a former Southern Miss graduate) told me about the program, and I applied. Almost ten years ago from this writing, I was accepted into the program. Although staying in Hattiesburg was not the plan at first, it is where my wife and I found opportunity—I’m glad we did. We also enjoy the close proximity to New Orleans and the coast, but most of all, we enjoy the residential atmosphere and community that Hattiesburg offers.

What does your average day look like?

I’m either planning, executing, or reflecting on an event. Or meetings. Sometimes there are many meetings to attend.

What has been your most memorable or impactful experience at Southern Miss?

My most memorable and impactful experience is easy to name—I met my wife on the steps of the Thad Cochran Center. Coming in second would be earning my doctoral degree.

What kinds of things were you involved with as an undergraduate student?

Here’s a selection: I served three terms as an SGA senator, I managed the university’s student team of sound and lighting technicians, and I gave tours for prospective students.

What do you know now as a staff member that you wish you knew as an undergraduate student?

As a staff member I have a much better understanding of the purpose of higher education and how to make the most of it. Besides wishing I had known more tricks for making the most of my experience, I also wish I had applied for more scholarships! Paying back student loans is no fun.

Who else has been spotlighted? Find our Spotlight Archive here!