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DIrector of the School of Ocean Science and Engineering

The University of Southern Mississippi
Long Beach, MS
Closing date
Jul 20, 2022

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Interdisciplinary/Other, Ocean Science
Career Level
Education Level
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Relocation Cost
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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) CV, 3) 2-3 page statement describing your approach to leadership, qualifications for this position, and past contributions and aspirations for strengthening the academic programs and creating and maintaining a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment, and 4) contact information for 3 references. Academic transcripts will be required prior to on campus interviews. Application materials must be uploaded through the Human Resources site at: Review of applications will begin May 20, 2022 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, and principled administrative guidance and advocacy for the mission of SOSE in the areas of teaching, research, professional and public service, and outreach while working to maintain and nurture philosophies of shared governance and research-integrated teaching. SOSE includes graduate and undergraduate degree programs spanning Coastal Sciences, Hydrographic Science, Marine Biology, Marine Science, and Ocean Engineering, and a certificate program in Uncrewed Maritime Systems. The faculty and staff of SOSE leverage its location on the Gulf Coast and expertise in marine science, engineering, policy, and ecosystem health to address challenges facing coastal and marine environments nationally and internationally. SOSE has significant research infrastructure and facilities across four principal sites spanning the Mississippi Gulf Coast: 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 and teaching effectiveness and scholarly research.  The Director leads, promotes, and/or participates in research including large inter- and multi-disciplinary collaborations with 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, and begins as early as Fall 2022.  Salary is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience.

For more information, contact

Dr. Derek Patton

Director, School of Polymer Science and Engineering

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. In addition, the Director:

  • Oversees and guides strategic planning and analysis of School operations, budget, technology, and facilities, and actively engages in external/extramural relations 
  • Guides student recruitment and retention practices 
  • Engages in program and curriculum development for undergraduate and graduate academic programs, including remote learning 
  • Oversees program assessment and accreditation in the School 
  • Fosters community, professional and public partnerships that support the mission of SOSE 
  • Engages in faculty recruitment, review, and retention practices 
  • Promotes diversity, equity, inclusion, and faculty governance 
  • Promotes research and scholarship productivity and fosters an environment conducive to impactful, externally funded scholarly activities among faculty and students 
  • Participates as a member of the University in scholarship and teaching activities 
  • Enhances a collegial workplace built on mutual respect, transparency, and accountability 
  • Contributes to the Coastal Operations Leadership Team 
  • 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; administrative experience that indicates an ability to manage a diverse school with multiple programs; 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/or mentoring experience; evidence of significant national and/or international professional service.

Preferred Qualifications  

Experience and a distinguished record of achievements consistent with a preferred rank of full professor; experience with research and scholarly programs represented in SOSE; experience with undergraduate and graduate programs, including online education; experience with securing funding for and leadership of large research efforts or units; experience with budget preparation and resource allocation; experience with communications and outreach. 

About the School:  SOSE includes two academic divisions, Marine Science and Coastal Sciences. SOSE collaborates closely with several R&D centers across the coast: Hydrographic Science Research Center, Roger F. Wicker Center for Ocean Enterprise, which includes the Marine Research Center, Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Center, Marine Education Center, Center for Fisheries Research and Development, Marine Toxicology Facility , Gulf Coast Research Laboratory and Gulf Blue

The Division of Marine Science is largely based at the NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center s. Stennis Space Center is a “federal city” hosting 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 Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Center, Marine Education Center and the Center for Fisheries Research and Development. Ocean Springs on the Gulf Coast is known for its beauty, natural resources, and arts. It 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   including Jim Franks (60 ft.), Tommy Munro (97 ft.) and Point Sur, a 135 ft. regional class vessel. USM led the NSF proposal for the future 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 131 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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