The University of Southern Mississippi is hoping to step up its place in marine education and research with the formation of a new school.
The School of Ocean Science and Technology, housed within the College of Science and Technology, brings together marine-related research and education programs under one administration and harnesses elements from key areas of the university including the Division of Marine Science based at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County; the USM Gulf Coast Research Laboratory and Division of Coastal Sciences in Ocean Springs and the university’s fleet of five research vessels.
USM Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Steven Moser, said in a news release that the new school will help position the university as a national leader in marine science research.
“Our faculty and staff in the school will continue to provide high-quality educational and research opportunities in the northern Gulf of Mexico, allowing us to better understand our coastal resources and the associated impacts those resources have on our economy and community,” Moser said.
Dr. Monty Graham, chair of the Division of Marine Science and interim director of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, will serve as the school’s director.
“The ultimate goal of the School of Ocean Science and Technology is to increase productivity of USM’s research, education and economic development enterprises through enhanced coordination of research and education programs, improved opportunities for external funding, and increased focus on community and industry relations,” Graham said.
“Our goal is to expand and advance research in the Gulf of Mexico — work that directly impacts the regional and national economy,” he said. “Establishing this school allows The University of Southern Mississippi to assume a leading role in marine science and education in the Gulf of Mexico.”