After an extended process of listening, debate, and deliberation, President Bennett made a tough – and I’m convinced, correct – call on the university’s organization of its Gulf Coast operations. Pending final approval by the IHL (Mississippi’s higher education governing body), Southern Miss will soon be working with a unified, “one university” administrative structure. Roles and responsibilities of a number of personnel will adjust to align with the new arrangements.
While some colleagues on the coast pushing for greater local autonomy are no doubt disappointed with this outcome, academic chairs and college deans strongly advocated the unified approach, believing it the most resource efficient, most clear in establishing lines of authority and accountability, and most likely to ensure sustained enrollment growth. With this long-lingering uncertainty resolved, the university is free to move forward on another critical task – strategic planning.