Founded in 1910, The University of Southern Mississippi (Southern Miss) is a comprehensive doctoral and research-driven university with a proud history and an eye on the future. A dual-campus university, Southern Miss serves students on campuses in Hattiesburg and Long Beach, in addition to five teaching and research sites in Mississippi and online at Southern Miss. Since 2006, Southern Miss students have collected seven Goldwater Scholarships, three Truman Scholarships, and 16 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. The Drapeau Center for Undergraduate Research affords students meaningful research opportunities, and as a proven leader in innovation, conduct transformative research that translates into real-world solutions. As one of only 36 institutions in the nation accredited in art, dance, music and theatre, Southern Miss is a haven for creativity and artistic expression. In the classroom or lab, on the playing field, or in the performance hall, Golden Eagles strive to have a positive impact on their community.
The director of fraternity and sorority life manages, directs, and coordinates all aspects of the University’s fraternity and sorority system which includes the College Panhellenic Council (CPC), the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC). In addition, the director develops and implements short-term and long-range plans for fraternity and sorority affairs; sets department goals and priorities; and coordinates assessment and evaluation efforts.
Reporting to the assistant vice president for student connections, the director of fraternity and sorority life will:
- mentor and provide advising support to a community with 27 chapters and more than 1,700 members;
- supervise, train and evaluate four full-time staff members—three council advisors and one office manager, developing a high performing and cohesive staff;
- provide oversight for leadership development, chapter and council advising, policy development, advisor support, budget management, evaluation and assessment, and overall administration of the sorority and fraternity community;
- communicate the mission and vision of the department to the fraternity and sorority and university communities, parents, alumni, and fraternity & sorority national headquarters staff;
- develop comprehensive marketing and communication strategies;
- lead departmental strategic planning and vision development;
- facilitate and support educational and programmatic initiatives to promote health and safety;
- cultivate a learning-centered environment that fosters diversity and inclusion through individual, organizational, and community experiences; and
- partner with faculty and administrative leaders across the institution in supporting university initiatives designed to enhance engaged learning experiences.
The successful candidate will have a master’s degree in higher education, student personnel, or related field and four or more years of progressive post-masters experience in fraternity and sorority student involvement, or a related functional area in higher education. The candidate must have demonstrated management experience with budget oversight, personnel supervision, and program development.
Additionally, stakeholders at Southern Miss identified the following characteristics and attributes when considering the director (in no particular order):
- passionate student advocate who can help the University community define a values based fraternity and sorority life system;
- a demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion, student advocacy, and student-centered learning and development;
- experience in strategic planning and an ability to build consensus and support for short and long-term goals;
- strong written and interpersonal communication with the ability to communicate effectively with all components of the University and external constituents;
- the documented ability to promote excellent interpersonal relationships and to work collaboratively with diverse groups of students, staff, faculty, administrators, alumni, parents, and community leaders; and
- documented change management experience with a strong record of assessment and strategic planning leading to continuous program and outcomes improvement.
Likely Opportunities, Priorities, and Challenges of the Position
Under the leadership of interim director Laura Laughlin, the office has continued to develop policies and procedures that focus on developing healthy, connected and learning focused students and communities. Two of the coordinators serving as council advisors are serving in an interim capacity and the next director will be tasked with hiring permanent coordinators to those roles. While fraternity and sorority life is a significant contributor to student life, there is capacity and energy to grow the opportunities available to students. The next director will need to establish collegial working relationships with key stakeholders to meet those goals such as undergraduate admissions, department of housing and residential life as well as the offices of career services and leadership and student involvement among others.
Additional areas of focus for the next director:
- strategic planning and visioning and an ability to build consensus and support for short- and long-term goals leading to clear and defined understanding of Greek life at Southern Miss;
- branding the Southern Miss fraternity and sorority experience leading to increased engagement and a greater sense of pride;
- engaging the Alumni Association and Chapter Alumni organizations in order to identify ways to create a stronger Greek Life fundraising component as well as Greek Alumni affinity programs;
- timely and intentional relationship building with campus partners and student leaders leading to enhanced policy development and decision making;
- identifying opportunities to engage all students at all levels and building trust and excitement about the Greek experience by being accessible and visible;
- hiring, developing, and sustaining a dynamic and engaged fraternity and sorority affairs staff that prioritizes student development and positive student interactions; and
- listening to student leaders and engaging their leadership in order to strengthen a values-based fraternity and sorority system.
History of the Position
The division of student affairs is committed to developing healthy, connected and learning focused students and communities. Connected students and communities produce a positive educational environment and a strong affinity toward Southern Miss. Fraternity and Sorority life is a critical component of the student connections portfolio being led by Wynde Fitts. Laura Laughlin is currently serving as the Interim Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life.
The University of Southern Mississippi opened its doors as a small teachers’ college. Today, the University has grown into a comprehensive doctoral and research-driven institution with a proud history and an eye on the future.
With a diverse student body of approximately 15,000 students representing 74 foreign countries, all regions of the United States, and every corner of Mississippi, the University celebrates diversity in every sense of the word.
Characterized by history and tradition, the Hattiesburg campus sits on 300 acres in the middle of the city. More than 180 buildings dot a landscape that has been transformed into a pedestrian-friendly environment for students, employees, and visitors. From the rustic, industrial feel of the Power House Restaurant to the ultra-modern Trent Lott Center, the campus has a character and charm all its own in the heart of an urban setting.
Gulf Park Campus
Surrounded by live oak trees and sitting along the waters of the Gulf of Mexico sound, the 52-acre Gulf Park campus in Long Beach provides a beautiful setting for both learning and research. Not only is it the only beachfront campus in the state, but the Gulf Park campus offers educational opportunities ranging from freshman coursework to doctoral degree programs.
As the premier research university of the Gulf South, Southern Miss takes pride in being classified as a RU/H: Research University (higher research activity) by the Carnegie Foundation for the advancement of teaching among doctorate-granting universities. The Drapeau Center for Undergraduate Research affords students meaningful research opportunities, and as a proven leader in innovation, Southern Miss is generating real-world solutions through transformative research. In fact, one of its research projects was one of only two worldwide selected by NASA to be conducted on the International Space Station, to explore whether life can survive on Mars. Other notable research areas include:
- The School of Ocean Science and Technology conducts marine-related research and administers innovative academic programs that enhance the University’s position as the leader in marine education and research in the Gulf of Mexico, contributing not only to our understanding of Gulf waters and species, but also promoting economic development of local maritime industries.
- The National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security offers solutions for the security of sports stadiums and arenas that have been identified as potential targets of terrorism.
- The School of Polymers and High Performance Materials is creating new polymer materials used in everyday products such as cosmetics, ship building, and sports equipment and is partnering with GE Aviation to focus on composites development processing for the GEnx aircraft engine.
The people of Southern Miss choose to go beyond the boundaries of its campuses and make a difference in their community. Each year, students contribute more than 100,000 hours of volunteer service. In addition, the University has been honored with the prestigious Carnegie Community Engagement Classification for the many ways in which students, faculty, staff, and programs engage and enhance the people and places of South Mississippi and beyond.
Southern Miss is one of only 36 institutions in the nation accredited in all four arts disciplines: theatre, dance, art, and music. The School of Music produces more than 300 performances each year, featuring students, faculty, and world-renowned guest artists. By hosting artists such as Plácido Domingo, Yo-Yo Ma, Sir James Galway, and Joshua Bell, the University has provided unparalleled cultural experiences to its communities.
Winning national scholarships is a proud tradition of Honors College students. In 2013 and 2014, Southern Miss accounted for the only Truman Scholarship winner representing a Mississippi university. And in 2013, Southern Miss accounted for 2 of the 3 Goldwater Scholarships awarded to students at Mississippi universities. Since 2006, Southern Miss students have collected 7 Goldwater Scholarships, 3 Truman Scholarships, 16 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, and numerous other prestigious awards.
Southern Miss participates at the NCAA’s Division I level in 16 sports. The Golden Eagle football team has won five Conference USA Championships and was victorious in the 2016 New Orleans Bowl. The baseball team returned to NCAA Regional play in 2016, following its win in the Conference USA Tournament. The softball team is reigning Conference USA West Division Champions, and the men’s and women’s basketball teams are regular participants in postseason play.
Rodney D. Bennett, President
Rodney D. Bennett serves as the chief executive officer and principle educational officer of The University of Southern Mississippi. Under his leadership, the University has invested in new faculty positions, expanded coastal operations, and worked to increase access to quality education and research programs to serve the needs of the state of Mississippi and beyond.
President Bennett’s vision is for The University of Southern Mississippi to become the model for public higher education across the country. Moving forward, his key institutional priorities include improving quality across the board while ensuring student success; expanding enrollment strategies; enhancing academic instruction; fostering greater focus on research; bolstering economic and community partnerships; and maximizing human potential.
Dr. Dee Dee Anderson – Vice President for Student Affairs
In the Spring of 2018, the University selected Dr. Dee Dee Anderson to lead the Division of Student Affairs at Southern Miss. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Anderson served as the Interim Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where she provided leadership, vision and strategic direction for the Division of Student Affairs. She has previously held positions as Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and Dean of Students. Her broad experiences and over 20-year career are complemented by leadership positions in various professional associations and community service. She is an active member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and among other appointments, she currently serves as co-chair on the Provost’s Council. In 2017, Dr. Anderson was awarded the Women in Higher Education Tennessee Women of Achievement Award. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Chris and her daughter, Katelin. Dr. Anderson holds a doctorate degree in Education Leadership, a Masters of Arts in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, a Masters of Arts in Elementary Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education.
Wynde Fitts – Assistant Vice President for Student Connections
Wynde Fitts, Assistant Vice President for Student Connections, experienced student affairs professional, and Hattiesburg native, currently oversees Leadership and Student Involvement, the Center for Community Engagement, and Multicultural Programs and Services. She will add Fraternity and Sorority Life to her portfolio upon the hire of the Department’s new director. Previously, Ms. Fitts has served as Assistant Dean of Students, Director for the First Year Initiative, and Director of Greek Life.
Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Anne-Marie Kenney at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.
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