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Forbes names Southern Miss one of Mississippi’s top colleges


Photo by: Loren Jones

Forbes recently named the University of Southern Mississippi the top Mississippi college in education and sixth best workplace in the state.

Forbes, an American business magazine, created their third annual list of “America’s Best Employers By State” with the help of market research company Statista. The list was compiled by data collected through 80,000 anonymous surveys from October 2020 to June 2021, requiring that each state’s businesses, including the District of Columbia, have at least 500 employees.

What makes this list especially important this year is the complications that COVID-19 has caused. Many different employers had to lay off or let employees go due to financial complications. Businesses quickly became short staffed from in-house COVID outbreaks. Many universities had to go remote, with Southern Miss’s 2020-2021 school year almost entirely taught online. 

Despite these hardships, Southern Miss still seems to have maintained a healthy and happy working and learning environment, which is part of the why Forbes’s ranking means so much..

Dr. David Davies, a professor for the School of Communications and the director of the British Studies Program, is approaching his thirty-first year at Southern Miss. Davies was not surprised to hear Southern Miss rank so highly on the Forbes list, as he believes that the great environment and co-workers allow him to work better. 

“These rankings don’t surprise me at all,” said Davies. “With great colleagues and great students, Southern Miss is a terrific place to work. So many of us who have been here a long time have appreciated both the university and Hattiesburg for all it has [to] offer. It’s a great place to be.”

While the Southern Miss’s workplace is comfortable for members that have been here for years, newcomers seem to have the same shared experience. Dr. Edgar Simpson, the Director of and Associate Professor for the School of Communication, started his tenure at Southern Miss last July, having initially worked from Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Simpson said that he has enjoyed his experience so far, and that he respects the way Southern Miss operates. 

“My favorite part of the job is working with the students,” said Simpson. “With moving from 1,000 miles away, folks are very friendly here and the administration is open to new ideas. Southern Miss does a really good job keeping students first. The policies really do try their best to give the students what they

need at a price they can afford.” 

Before going to Southern Miss, Simpson spent 18 years in journalism. Although he is a new professor, his first impressions mean a lot. Simpson has also enjoyed getting to work with graduate students and assisting the Student Media Center, both of which benefit from university teachings.

Among the many graduate students on campus is Ja’Len Husband, a graduate assistant for First Year Programs from the Student Success Center. Husband seems to enjoy and value his work on campus.

“As an alumnus, I enjoy being able to work here as a GA and get a valuable education at the same time,” said Husband. “I love the sense of community and hard work and dedication that everyone shows.”

While there have been many setbacks because of the pandemic, the faculty and students clearly believe that Southern Miss is doing their best to accommodate and keep its workplace experience pleasant. If collective experiences are any indication, this college has a welcoming attitude towards every student and staff member. 

Whether it is the welcoming staff, intriguing students, sense of community or comforting environment that gives Southern Miss its edge, the university has earned its spot on Forbes’s list, and will hopefully make it even higher next year.

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Forbes names Southern Miss one of Mississippi’s top colleges