STARKVILLE, Miss.—Julia Hodges and Allison Pearson will serve as co-interim deans for Mississippi State University’s Meridian Campus beginning Saturday [Sept. 13].
The two veteran MSU Starkville Campus employees are filling the vacancy created by the departure this month of MSU-Meridian Dean Steven Brown, who recently was named dean of arts, social sciences and humanities at the University of West Florida.
“I’m very pleased that Drs. Hodges and Pearson have agreed to take on this very important interim role. They both have tremendous experience in transition leadership and will do an excellent job,” said Jerry Gilbert, MSU provost and executive vice president.
For more than 30 years, Hodges has been an MSU faculty member and now serves as associate vice president for academic affairs in the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President. In 1997, she was named head of the computer science and engineering department and remained in that role for 12 years before accepting her current position.
Hodges holds a bachelor’s and two master’s degrees from Mississippi State and received her doctoral degree in computer science from the University of Louisiana–Lafayette. She is a senior member of the Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. She also is a member of the IEEE Computer Society and the American Society for Engineering Education.
A 21-year faculty member at Mississippi State, Pearson currently serves as special assistant to the provost. The William L. Giles Distinguished Professor of Management holds the distinction of “Grisham Master Teacher” at the university and teaches principles of management and production. She also holds the Jim and Julia Rouse Professorship in the College of Business.
Pearson received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and earned her doctorate in organizational behavior at Auburn University. She has more than 70 research publications and presentations to her credit and has served in previous university leadership roles as interim co-executive director of academic outreach and continuing education, and as director of the Day One Leadership Community.
Gilbert said, “These administrators are committed to MSU-Meridian’s success.”
In fall of 2014, MSU-Meridian will introduce a kinesiology program with an emphasis in clinical exercise physiology. The new degree program is supported by an $11 million Riley Foundation grant, which also is providing for renovations to the campus’ downtown Kress Building and equipment, furnishings and technology.
Last year, the new Phil Hardin Foundation Library opened at the MSU-Meridian College Park Campus. A $1.25 million gift by this foundation made possible the new 1,860 square-foot facility created through renovation of existing space.