Alumni News

If you ask Tara Dunn what her goals as dean of students for Northwest Mississippi Community College are, she will quickly tell you she wants to improve student development and success. Dunn hopes her own practical experience and desire will provoke positive influence on the students and the colleagues she works with daily.

In her capacity as dean of students, she will be responsible for housing, student conduct and educational programming for students and the Northwest community regarding safety, security, relationships, cultural awareness and substance abuse. She will also be teaching the college’s Leadership and Organizational Skills courses.

Dunn came to Northwest in November 2016 when former Dean of Students Aime Anderson became the college’s Registrar. Prior to coming to Northwest, Dunn had served as associate director of Housing and Residence Life and student success specialist at Hinds Community College since July 2010. She also served as a student orientation instructor and as an adjunct reading instructor.

In the fall of 2016, she was given additional duties as director of Hinds’ Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). Prior to her time at Hinds from 2008-2010, Dunn served as a residence hall director at Delta State University.

Dunn is a native of Picayune. After graduating from Picayune Memorial High School, she received a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from Delta State University and a Master of Science in Higher Education from Mississippi College. Dunn is currently working on a doctorate in Urban Higher Education at Jackson State University.

Dunn’s passion for student affairs and higher education began when she was a sophomore at Delta State. “My freshman year, I planned to go to school, do homework and come home on the weekends. That changed my sophomore year when I became a resident assistant. It sparked my interest in housing and student affairs, which led to me getting involved in student government, recruitment and honor organizations. I had no idea that my involvement with student activities would be the basis of my future career,” Dunn said.

She had been majoring in English Education and had taken a lot of psychology classes for her major. She was planning to become a teacher, but her interest in student affairs led her down a different path.

When she was a senior, she spoke with her adviser, who helped her change her major to Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in English and psychology. “Once I realized how much I loved higher education, and that teaching English was not my passion, I only wanted to focus on the skills that could help me in my career. Writing skills are transferrable, and understanding people is essential to any job. I knew an Interdisciplinary Studies degree would give me a good integration of both,” Dunn said.

Dunn has been a member of several committees and organizations dedicated to aiding student development and success including the Mississippi Community College Board Student Leadership Conference; Project ME (Mentoring Effort) and IDEAL Woman Lead Advisor. IDEAL is an acronym for Intelligent. Dignified. Emerging. Ambitious. Leaders.

She is a member of Alpha Kappa Sorority, the Mississippi Association of Housing Officers and the Southeastern Association of Housing Officers. She received the Mississippi Association of Housing Officers Service Award in 2011.

Dunn believes that orientation and students’ first-year experience will be something she wants to focus on in her capacity as dean of students. She feels that the relationship between a student’s first year experience has a lot to do with student retention in college. She believes one big area where some guidance for students is necessary is social media, and its affects on students during college and in their future as employees. “College professionals should educate students on the impact of social media. It can enhance or damage your future opportunities. It is important to understand it and use it to promote the best representation of yourself,” Dunn said.

“From one of the most competitive pools of job applicants I’ve seen in a long time, Tara emerged as our strongest candidate for the job of dean of students.  Everyone was impressed.  I know she is going to do some great things here at Northwest,” said Dan Smith, vice president for student services and chief of staff.

In her spare time, Dunn enjoys working out and visiting family and friends. She has an older brother, Kenwa and a sister-in-law, Kim. Her younger sister, Aleia is currently a student at Hinds. Her parents, Donald and Audrey are both retired.

Dunn is very passionate about what she does, and believes that she should be first and foremost, a student advocate. As a manager, she strives to listen, but also be a firm managerial leader.  “My goal is to always be firm, fair and friendly. When others know where you stand, it increases your credibility to lead,” she said.

Posted in Alumni News

A resident of Clinton, MS, Garrett serves as the alderwoman-at-large for the city.

“I had previously served as executive director of the Mississippi Nurses Association and had founded the Mississippi Association of Nurse Practitioners,” she said. “I also manage the Mississippi-Speech-Language Hearing Association. I served a 12-year term on the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, gaining valuable educational experience.”

In addition to teaching high school English and serving in a variety of leadership positions across multiple state professional associations, Garrett has dedicated many years to public service in local boards, agencies and community organizations. After earning a bachelor’s degree in English from the Mississippi University for Women, Garrett went on to earn a master’s degree in English from the University of Mississippi and a Ph.D. in Urban Higher Education from Jackson State University.

Explaining how she got involved with MSCRA, Garrett stated, “I had previously worked with John Morgan Hughes, the executive director and lobbyist for MSCRA, and he asked me to assume the executive director role, with the approval of the board, so that he could focus on legislative issues.”

Garrett is excited for the new opportunities that MSCRA members will see under her leadership.

“I think there is tremendous potential for growing the association and enhancing the educational opportunities for its members,” she said. “They will see their association grow and expand its benefits, including a new partnership with CARS. There will be more educational opportunities and an expanded Southern Automotive Repair Conference (SARC). We plan to expand and enhance the SARC Conference under our leadership and direction.”

MSCRA’s Board of Directors will host its next meeting on August 14 to look at the association’s bylaws and discuss priorities for upcoming workshops and the SARC.

Posted in Alumni News

Dr. Latitia McCane Hill (Cohort 9)

June 28th, 2019 by ephd

APRIL 7, 2018 — Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII) reports that Latitia D. McCane has been named director of education for the Apprentice School at Newport News Shipbuilding.

McCane is responsible for the overall leadership, vision and strategic direction of craft training, academic delivery, student services, accreditation and recruitment for the school, which provides high quality, comprehensive four-to eight-year apprentice programs for approximately 800 students.

Since 1919, the school has produced more than 10,000 graduates. It will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year.

McCane will report to Ray Bagley, Newport News' vice president of trades operations.

"Latitia comes to us at an important time in our company's history when we are focused on people and technology—transforming the way we do business," Bagley said. "Given Latitia's wealth of experience, I'm confident that she will play an integral role in helping prepare our shipbuilders for the future. We are fortunate to have Latitia on our team."

Since 2007, McCane has held several leadership positions at Bishop State Community College, a two-year public institution with an enrollment of 3,400 students in Mobile, AL. She most recently served as dean of instructional services and was responsible for all academic programs across the four campuses. She also was associate dean of instruction at Jefferson Davis Community College in Brewton, Alabama.

McCane earned doctoral degrees in urban higher education administration and education administration from Jackson State University and Lacrosse University, respectively. She also holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in organic chemistry and chemistry from the University of Alabama, Texas Southern University and Alabama State University.

The Apprentice School accepts about 225 apprentices per year. The school offers four- to eight-year, tuition-free apprenticeships in 19 trades and eight optional advanced programs. Apprentices work a 40-hour week and are paid for all work, including time spent in academic classes. Through partnerships with Thomas Nelson Community College, Tidewater Community College and Old Dominion University, the Apprentice School's academic program provides the opportunity to earn associate degrees in business administration, engineering and engineering technology and bachelor's degrees in mechanical or electrical engineering.

Posted in Alumni News

Clark Atlanta University announced Wednesday that George T. French Jr., the current president of Miles College, will become its next president.

French has been president of the historically black liberal arts college, located in Fairfield, Ala., since 2006. He replaces Ronald Johnson, who resigned in December. Lucille Maugé, CAU’s chief operating officer, has been serving as interim president and will continue to do so until French arrives in September.

“I am thankful and blessed to have the opportunity to lead another great institution and serve as the fifth president of Clark Atlanta University,” French said in a statement. “CAU has strong faculty, students and academics. I’m optimistic about the University’s next stage of growth and eager to build on the strong foundation CAU has established.”

French, a native of Louisville, Ky., has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisville, a law degree from Miles Law School and a doctoral degree in higher education from Jackson State University. 

Miles College has 1,600 students and a six-year graduation rate of about 20%, federal statistics show. About 90% of its students receive Pell Grants, federal funding given to students based on financial need.

Clark Atlanta officials cited French’s fundraising background, noting he surpassed prior records at Miles College, among the reasons he was hired. They also said French increased student access to educational funding and doubled the size of the existing campus with several key land acquisitions.

Article by Eric Stirgus

Posted in Alumni News

Larissa.Stieb.LittletonDr. Larissa Littleton-Steib was unanimously selected as the chancellor of Baton Rouge Community College by the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) Board of Supervisors. Dr. Monty Sullivan, LCTCS president, made the recommendation to the board during its monthly meeting. The recommendation was made after a comprehensive and competitive national search that included on campus interviews and public forums with students, faculty and staff, and community members.  Littleton-Steib's appointment is effective January 2, 2017.

"On behalf of the Board of Supervisors, I want to congratulate Dr. Littleton-Steib on her selection as the new chancellor of BRCC," said Mickey Murphy, LCTCS board supervisor and chair of the search committee.  "We were impressed by the knowledge and experiences of each finalist.  After a thorough vetting process, we believe Dr. Littleton-Steib is the perfect fit for the students, the college and the community it serves and she will continue leading our efforts to deliver world class academic and workforce training."

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Tonjanita JohnsonDr. Tonja Johnson
Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer

Tonjanita (Tonja) L. Johnson was appointed executive vice president and chief operating officer for the University of Tennessee System on October 14, 2016. In this capacity, she has primary responsibility for assisting the President in maximizing the System’s operating performance and achieving its strategic goals and objectives.

Currently, Johnson’s primary responsibilities include overseeing the System’s strategic plan, initiating and managing strategic alliances, participating in the development of operating and capital budgets and providing executive oversight for five system-level offices, including: academic affairs and student success, communications and marketing, facilities planning and capital projects, human resources, and institutional research.

Johnson has served as a cabinet-level administrator for more than 15 years, working directly with and reporting to the institution’s president and serving as a trusted advisor. Her professional experiences have been focused on high-level organizational and operational activities and broad-based strategic communications and marketing efforts.

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Kevin WilliamsThe University of the Virgin Islands is pleased to welcome Dr. Kevin L. Williams as its new Vice Provost for Access and Enrollment Services.  Dr. Williams comes to UVI having served in leadership roles in enrollment management, admissions, retention and diversity – most recently at Talladega College in Alabama, but also at Mississippi Valley State University, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Ross University and others. 

I was a finalist for this position three years ago,” said Dr. Williams, who has been following UVI closely through the network of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to which he has devoted his career.  “So when it came up again I was excited, and very happy now that it all came together.  I’m feeling great about the team, the support I’ve received since I got here, and making the adjustment to island life.  It’s wonderful to wake up every morning feeling enthusiastic about what the day will bring.”

Dr. Williams’ primary focus will be on expanding the population of territory, stateside and international students enrolling at UVI through marketing, branding, outreach, and staff development.  In an effort to expand awareness and interest of students attending the University, Williams plans to concentrate on recruitment as well as working to Update UVI’s marketing materials – and not just the print editions.   

“In order to tell the UVI story to students who are not already familiar with the University, you need to be very social media savvy,” said Williams.  “You need to engage in creative outreach campaigns, attend HBCU and other college fairs, school visits, and utilize current UVI students themselves to talk about what they’re doing and share their successes.”

Williams acknowledged that UVI presents several unique marketing challenges.  Not only is competition for college-ready applicants fierce these days because students have so many choices, but most students from the U.S. mainland don’t know that the University of the Virgin Islands exists. Nevertheless, he relishes the opportunity to raise awareness about the country’s youngest HBCU by taking the UVI story on both physical and virtual roads. 

In addition to graduating from Morehouse College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology, Dr. Williams holds a Master’s in Business Administration from American Intercontinental University and a Ph.D. in Urban Higher Education from Jackson State University.  Through his previous work, Dr. Williams had oversight of undergraduate and graduate admissions, where he implemented various innovative strategies leading to enrollment increases.

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Cohort 9 Graduate to Accompany MDA to Canada

September 15th, 2016 by webmaster


Dr. DeJonnette King will accompany Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) to participate in a multi-sector business development trade mission to Canada September 21-28, 2016. The trip will include stops to Toronto, Ontario and Winnipeg, Manitoba for Mississippi companies to launch or increase export business in the Canadian market. The mission will offer opportunities to generate growth, gain market information, make business and government contacts, solidify business strategies and gain a better understanding of business opportunities in these two Canadian markets. Each stop will include one-on-one business meetings and appointments with qualified buyers, agents, distributors and joint venture partners. The delegation includes Mississippi firms, representing a cross-section of U.S. industries with growth potential in the Canadian market.

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Alcorn State University has chosen the person they believe will enhance online education for students.

Jackson, Mississippi native, Dr. Tamia Herndon, is the newest director of Online Education. She has over 16 years of experience in higher education. She started her career at Tougaloo College where she served as a fundraiser, senior admissions counselor, head recruiter and director of Alumni Affairs in the school’s Office of Institutional Advancement. She was also the major gifts manager at Jackson State University. She went on to become a full-time faculty before becoming a campus dean at Strayer University.

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