HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi has selected a leading strategic planning and economic development professional to position USM’s coastal teaching and research sites in Long Beach, Gulfport, Ocean Springs and at the Stennis Space Center for future growth in support of the education, business and industry needs unique to the region.
Dr. Shannon Campbell will begin her new role as Senior Associate Vice President for Coastal Operations on March 1.
In this new position, Campbell will serve as the lead administrative officer for the university’s coastal operations and will be part of USM’s senior leadership team. She will plan, develop and coordinate all administrative proceedings for a wide range of activities, programs and services that enhance the quality of student life at the university, and she will serve as the lead strategist and relationship builder for coastal initiatives.
“Dr. Campbell has a deep understanding of the State of Mississippi and has spent decades cultivating rich relationships with community partners,” said USM President Dr. Rodney D. Bennett. “I am confident her strong ties across our state will elevate and further enhance the university’s coastal operations, which remain a key component in our larger vision to be the model for public higher education across the country.”
“I am excited about Dr. Campbell’s depth of experience with Mississippi’s community college system and her strong relationships with our community college partners,” Bennett added. “I look forward to her leadership as we continue USM’s work to expand educational access and opportunities for the pipeline of students who begin their educational journeys in that system.”
In recent years, Campbell has led the Trent Lott National Center for Excellence in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship at The University of Southern Mississippi. As the center’s director, Campbell administered economic impact studies, created strategic partnerships and connected business and industry with expertise offered by the university.
Dr. Chad Miller, Professor of Economic Development and Program Coordinator for the Master of Science in Economic Development, will serve as interim director of the Trent Lott National Center while USM conducts a search for a new director.
Notably, Campbell has conducted applied research on a variety of projects along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, including 2017 State of the Coast Economy, Highest-and-best Use Analysis for NASA Stennis, 2018 Quality of Place Study and 2018 Economic Impact of Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. She also served as project lead for developing “A Narrative for The University of Southern Mississippi’s Role in the New Blue Economy.”
“USM’s Coastal Operations have tremendous momentum,” Campbell said. “We are building long-term partnerships with communities and organizations along the entire coast. As we are finding new ways of sharing a common vision and better leveraging our resources, we are positioning the Mississippi Gulf Coast to compete for the best of jobs and business growth.”
“The university has spent quite a bit of time working on the vision being that we want to be the nation’s solution provider for the things that are important to coastal environments. There’s a lot of opportunities there, and so we want to make sure that everybody across the state understands how important the coastline economy is to the entire state,” Campbell added.
Prior to her work at USM, Campbell served 17 years in community college administration and five years as a manufacturing quality engineer.
Campbell earned an industrial engineering degree from Mississippi State University and Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from The University of Southern Mississippi. She is a certified project management professional.
The new position of Senior Associate Vice President for Coastal Operations (SAVPCO) came as USM announced a restructuring of its coastal operations that has been built on the vision to be a national leader addressing issues relevant to people in coastal and maritime settings.
This work is anchored in three foundational pillars: understanding the ocean and coasts, improving coastal resilience and supporting the “blue Economy.”