USM president talks plan to revive the university’s coastal campus

A recent report showed enrollment at USM’s Gulf Park campus is steadily dropping.
Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 6:03 PM CDT
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LONG BEACH, Miss. (WLOX) - “It’s important for a president to be present,” said newly named University of Southern Mississippi president Dr. Joe Paul. “It’s such a big enterprise. It can’t be micromanaged. To be out and about, to engage with students, faculty, and alumni. To listen to them. When you make a commitment to doing something, you’re careful about that, but you follow through.”

A recent report showed enrollment at USM’s Gulf Park campus is steadily dropping. Just days into his new role, Paul said he has a plan to fix that.

“What we’re going to focus on at Gulf Park are coastal academic programs for coastal people for coastal jobs,” Paul added. “We’re going to pour a tremendous amount of energy and resources into it. We are going to grow this thing.”

Senior Associate Vice President for Coastal Operations Dr. Shannon Campbell believes Paul’s experience with student affairs will benefit the campus on the Coast.

“We’re going to be enrolling entire groups of new students in the spring and moving forward,” Campbell said. “We look forward to all that Dr. Paul brings to the table and his leadership.”

The Gulf Park campus is starting a new accelerated nursing program in January, and a film studies program that comes with new renovated facilities is also in the works.

“A lot of change for the better for our students to be able to enjoy with those amenities they expect when they come here and enroll,” Campbell added.

Dr. Joe Paul said he has a vested interest in the Gulf Park campus because he grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

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