Saunders names Lyman as USM's next provost

University of Southern Mississippi President Martha Saunders announced today that Dr. Robert Lyman has been selected as the university's next provost.

Lyman is currently dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. He will begin his duties at Southern Miss July 1 and will have overarching responsibility for the university's academic enterprise. The selection ends a six-month national search for the cabinet-level position.

"I am delighted that Dr. Lyman has accepted our offer to join the Southern Miss administrative team. He brings a wealth of experience to the job," said Saunders in a prepared statement. "He respects and is respected by the academic community. He understands the value of research and securing external research funding. He will move quickly to address the most pressing needs of our faculty and students. I believe he will be a strong leader."

Lyman visited the Hattiesburg and Gulf Park campuses on Feb. 7 and 8, where he met with students, faculty and staff in the final stage of the search process that began last August.

"The primary responsibilities of the provost are to ensure the quality of the academic programs and to facilitate scholarly productivity by the faculty and staff," said Lyman ina prepared statement. "These will be easy to accomplish at The University of Southern Mississippi because of the institutions' proud history and great potential in both of these areas."

Before joining Appalachian State University, Lyman served as dean of the School of Arts and Letters at North Georgia College and State University from 2003-05.

From 1975-78, Lyman was a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alabama Medical School in Birmingham, and from 1978-2003, he served as a department head within the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa.

For 19 of these years, he was executive director of Brewer-Porch Children's Center, a children's mental health treatment, research and training program affiliated with the college's Department of Psychology.

During his 25 years at the University of Alabama, he held other academic positions including chair of the Department of Psychology and coordinator of the Clinical Child Psychology Doctoral Training Program.

He is a well-published scholar in psychology with more than 90 academic publications and presentations to his credit.

Joe Paul, chair of the 22-member campus search committee said in a prepared statment, "I am thrilled with the president's selection, and I am very proud of the search process Dr. Saunders created. It was thorough, transparent and inclusive. I want to commend the members of the search committee for their hard work over these past six months."