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Director of the School of Ocean Science and Engineering

The University of Southern Mississippi is currently accepting applications for the position of Director of the School of Ocean Science and Engineering.

Position Details
Location Gulf Park

730 East Beach Boulevard
Long Beach, Mississippi, 39560
United States
Division School of Ocean Science and Engineering
Position Type Administrative Faculty
Employment Status Full Time
Grant Funded No
Posting Close Date Open Until Filled

Special Instructions to Applicants
The School of Ocean Science and Engineering (SOSE)  at The University of Southern Mississippi seeks experienced and mission-driven candidates to apply for the position of SOSE Director. A completed application will include: 1) cover letter; 2) curriculum vitae; 3) two-page statement describing your approach to leadership, qualifications for this position, past academic leadership and administrative achievements, and vision for growing the academic programs and fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment in the School; 4) one-page research statement;  5) one-page teaching statement; and 6) contact information for three references. Academic transcripts will be required for candidates who are invited for on-campus interviews. Application materials must be uploaded through the Human Resources site at: Review of applications will begin February 1, 2024, and will continue until the position is filled.
Job Summary
The Director of the School of Ocean Science and Engineering (SOSE) will provide energetic, collaborative, and visionary leadership, administrative guidance, and advocacy for the mission of SOSE in the areas of teaching, research, professional and public service, and outreach. The Director will be expected to maintain and nurture philosophies of shared governance, research-integrated teaching, and diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and accessibility (DEIJA). SOSE includes graduate and undergraduate degree programs spanning Coastal Sciences, Hydrographic Science, Marine Biology, Marine Science, and Ocean Engineering, as well as a certificate program in Uncrewed Maritime Systems. The faculty and staff of SOSE leverage their locations along the Gulf Coast and expertise in marine science, engineering, policy, and ecosystem health to address challenges facing coastal and marine environments, both regionally and globally. SOSE has significant research infrastructure and facilities across four principal sites: the NASA Stennis Space Center, the Gulf Park Campus at Long Beach, the Roger F. Wicker Center for Ocean Enterprise at the Port of Gulfport, and the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs. 
The Director will guide the strategic vision for undergraduate and graduate education, teaching effectiveness, and scholarly research.  In addition to investing in their own research agenda, the Director is expected to lead, promote, and/or participate in inter- and multi-disciplinary research involving inter-institutional collaborations and diverse funding sources. The Director also encourages partnerships with USM coastal research centers (described below), and community and professional agencies. The Director serves as the chief academic and administrative officer of SOSE, reporting to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The position is full-time, 12-month, tenure track (pre- or tenured), and begins as early as Summer 2024. The salary for this position is competitive and commensurate with the qualifications and experience of the candidate. 

For more information, contact: 
Dr. David M. Cochran, Jr. 
Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education 
Campus Coordinator, NASA-Mississippi Space Grant Consortium 
Chair, Director of Ocean Science and Engineering Search Committee 

Primary Duties and Responsibilities  
The Director holds responsibility for leadership of SOSE and representation of SOSE to the College and University administration. The main office for this position is at the Gulf Park campus in Long Beach, but the Director is expected to maintain a regular, sustained presence at all campuses where SOSE has a presence. In addition, the Director: 

  1. Oversees and guides strategic planning and analysis of School operations, budget, technology, and facilities, and actively engages in external/extramural relations 
  2. Contributes to the Coastal Operations Leadership Team 
  3. Participates as a member of the University in scholarship and teaching activities 
  4. Engages in program and curriculum development for undergraduate and graduate academic programs, including remote learning 
  5. Oversees program assessment and accreditation in SOSE 
  6. Guides student recruitment and retention practices 
  7. Engages in faculty recruitment, review, and retention practices 
  8. Promotes research and scholarship productivity and fosters an environment conducive to impactful, externally funded scholarly activities among faculty and students 
  9. Fosters community, professional, and public partnerships that support the mission of SOSE 
  10. Promotes diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and accessibility, and faculty governance 
  11. Enhances a collegial workplace built on mutual respect, transparency, and accountability 
  12. Performs other duties as assigned 

Minimum Qualifications 
An earned Ph.D. from an accredited college or university in a relevant discipline in marine/coastal/ocean science or engineering or a closely related field; evidence of administrative leadership experience; evidence of a distinguished and sustained scholarly record that would qualify the applicant for tenure at the rank of at least associate professor; evidence of strong teaching and mentoring experience; evidence of significant national and/or international professional service; evidence of potential to develop/maintain a strong, externally funded research program, publish peer-reviewed literature, contribute across disciplines, and promote the continued interdisciplinary growth of the academic and research programs within SOSE. 

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities
  • Understands higher education and is proficient in industry/professional terminology. 
  • Thinks strategically and seeks to align department services and goals with institutional strategic goals.  Asks critical questions to identify solutions.  Understands the interconnection of decisions, actions, outcomes, and measures. 
  • Demonstrates openness and flexibility towards new ideas and concepts, and effectively influences and facilitates during times of change.  Helps others become more effective through development and coaching.  Utilizes candid feedback, knowledge, resources, and opportunities to improve the performance of others and to increase their contributions.  Sets clear expectations for performance, provides meaningful and timely feedback, holds employees accountable, and recognizes successes. 
  • Demonstrates the ability to deliver accurate, concise, and quality communication (verbal and written) in a timely manner.  Encourages an open exchange of ideas and differing perspectives.  Adapts communication style to meet the needs of diverse audiences and situations. Actively listens to others and makes a concerted effort to understand alternative and opposing points of view.  
  • Works to build and manage productive relationships with peers, leaders, and partnerships. 
  • Effectively engages and interacts with others to collaborate and provide value-added support that enhances department results and team effectiveness.  Affects outcomes and direction of partnerships by maintaining effective relationships, trust, and credibility.    

Preferred Qualifications  
Distinguished record of achievements consistent with a preferred rank of full professor; administrative and leadership experience that indicates an ability to manage a diverse school with multiple programs and across multiple campuses; experience with research and scholarly programs similar to SOSE; expertise in undergraduate and graduate programs, including online education; experience with securing funding for and leadership of large research efforts and centers; experience with budget preparation and resource allocation; experience with organizational communication and outreach. 

About the School 
SOSE includes two academic divisions, Marine Science and Coastal Sciences, which are located at three sites along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. SOSE collaborates closely with multiple R&D centers: Hydrographic Science Research Center,  Roger F. Wicker Center for Ocean Enterprise, Marine Research Center, and Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, which is co-located with the Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Center,  Marine Education Center,  Center for Fisheries Research and Development,  and the Marine Toxicology Facility. The offices of the SOSE Director are located at the Gulf Park campus of The University of Southern Mississippi at Long Beach.  

The  Division of Marine Science is based at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center and at Gulf Park. Stennis Space Center is a “federal city” that boasts the world’s highest concentration of oceanographers and hydrographers. Marine Science faculty benefit from close working relationships with multiple on-site federal agencies, including the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, the Naval Oceanographic Office, the Fleet Survey Team, the Naval Research Laboratory, the U. S. Geological Survey, and NOAA including its National Data Buoy Center and branches of other Centers. The Division of Coastal Sciences is housed at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL). Located in Ocean Springs, GCRL was formed in 1947 to meet the need for research and education in the Gulf of Mexico. The Division is co-located with the Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Center, Marine Education Center and Center for Fisheries Research and Development. Ocean Springs, known for its beauty, natural resources, and arts, is home to galleries, restaurants, and schools that are ranked among the best in the State. Both divisions contribute to undergraduate education programs at the Gulf Park Campus. These programs include Hydrographic Sciences, Ocean Engineering, Marine Biology, and Marine Science. 

USM is a partner institution in the NOAA Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute. The University has been a University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System member since 1992 and operates a fleet of coastal and oceanographic research vessels, including Jim Franks (60 ft), Tommy Munro (97 ft), and Point Sur (135 ft). USM led the NSF proposal for the upcoming Gilbert R Mason (199 ft), a state-of-the-art Regional Class Research Vessel which will have its home scientific port at the Roger F. Wicker Center for Ocean Enterprise. 

About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is a comprehensive public research institution delivering transformative programs on campuses in Hattiesburg and Long Beach, at teaching and research sites across the Mississippi Gulf Coast, as well as online. Founded in 1910, USM is one of only 146 universities in the nation to earn the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education's "R1: Doctoral Universities - Very high research activity" designation, and its robust research enterprise includes experts in ocean science and engineering, polymer science and engineering, and large event venue safety and security, among others.  USM is also one of only 37 institutions in the nation accredited in theatre, art and design, dance and music. As an economic driver, USM generates an annual economic impact of more than $600 million across the state. USM welcomes a diverse student body of more than 14,000, representing 71 countries, all 50 states, and every county in Mississippi. USM students have collected four Truman Scholarships and 37 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, while also leading Mississippi with 27 Goldwater Scholarships, an honor that recognizes the next generation of great research scientists. Home to the Golden Eagles, USM competes in 17 Division I sports sponsored by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). For more information, visit

As an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer/Americans with Disabilities Act institution, The University of Southern Mississippi encourages minorities, women, veterans and persons with disabilities to apply.


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