The University of Southern Mississippi announced the appointment of the founding dean for the College of Arts and Sciences on Tuesday.
USM Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs named Chris Winstead as the dean of the program, which was formed after a reorganization of the school's academic programs, according to a university press release. Winstead currently serves as the interim dean of the university's College of Science and Technology.
“As the founding Dean of the new College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Winstead will lead remarkable faculty and staff in charting the course of the new college,” Moser said in a statement. “Over the last year he has proven himself to possess strong abilities to lead a complex academic organization with great insight.”
The reorganization reduces the number of academic colleges from six to four and aims to "enhance the distinctiveness of the University's academic programs and to create a sustainable model for academic programming," according to the release.
Winstead is a native of Hattiesburg and earned a bachelor's degree in physics and mathematics from the university in 1988 and a Ph. D. in physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1995. He joined the USM staff in 2002 as an associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and was later promoted to professor in 2009.
"I'm very excited about this position," said Winstead. "It's taking our two currently largest colleges and merging them into one. It's going to create, I think, a wide array of opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration."
The new colleges will be implemented on July 1.
Winstead served as principal investigator and director of the Signal Research Center and chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Southern Miss. His research focused on the application of optical, laser, and computational physics to improve radiation detection and investigate the effects of radiation on the atmosphere, and his work has been supported by the Department of Defense, NASA and the Department of Energy.