Public Relations
LISTENING TOUR PRESENTS OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR FROM ALL STAKEHOLDERS

7/16/2018 - Jackson, Miss.

by Dr. Al Rankins Jr.
Commissioner of Higher Education

I am no stranger to the university system. I have earned my degrees from and devoted my career to higher education in Mississippi. That is not to say I know everything there is to know about it.

That is why I am beginning my tenure as Commissioner of Higher Education visiting the campuses I have been to many times before. I want to see them with fresh eyes and listen with fresh ears.

Beginning tomorrow, I will visit all eight public universities and the University of Mississippi Medical Center. I will visit 13 campuses in 12 cities during my first 100 days in office. I look forward to meeting with students, faculty, staff, alumni, elected officials and community leaders in every region of the state. I want to hear their thoughts on the university system and how we can continue to advance the state together.

The university system is a powerful, unmatched resource for advancing the state. Through a tri-fold mission of education, service and research, our universities play an integral role in shaping our future.

Our graduates will be the future leaders, teachers, doctors, nurses, engineers, and entrepreneurs of our state. We awarded more than 17,000 degrees in 2017, including 3,727 degrees to graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. We have had a 37.9 percent increase in STEM graduates during the past five years. Having more STEM graduates in Mississippi makes our state more attractive to business and industry, bringing more jobs, particularly advanced manufacturing jobs, to our state.

Our research helps solve Mississippi's most pressing problems, including helping Mississippians lead healthier lives and helping improve educational outcomes for children. Our researchers work with manufacturers in the state to make production more efficient and make better, safer products. Our extension services reach every county in our state and provide assistance and education on everything from agriculture irrigation to website design.

The university system carries an awesome responsibility on its shoulders and does incredible things everyday to fulfill that responsibility. However, there is always room for improvement. I look forward to visiting the campuses and hearing ideas on how we can continue to improve and advance the university system and the state.

I hope you will join me on one of the stops of the tour. More information, including the schedule, details on the events and a survey on various aspects of the university system, is available online at the following link: www.mississippi.edu/tour.

I look forward to seeing you soon.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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