Joplin, MO (SNS) – Four finalists have been selected for the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs position at Missouri Southern State University.

Each of the four candidates have extensive experience in higher-education leadership and will have the opportunity to meet with members of the selection committee as well as faculty, staff and the Missouri Southern community.

The first of the four candidates is scheduled to visit the campus Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 10-11, and the second will visit Thursday and Friday, Feb. 12-13. Dates for the other two visits will be announced as they are scheduled.

A campus email with more information about the candidates’ visits will be forthcoming.

The four finalists are:

Dr. Joseph D. Bessie is a professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. From May 2013 to March 2014, he served as the university’s Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs. He previously held the post of Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs from May 2009 to April 2013 at St. Martin’s University in Lacey, Wash.

Dr. Paula Phillips Carson has been employed at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette since 1991. She currently serves as the university’s Assistant Vice President for Institutional Planning and Effectiveness. Previous posts included Special Assistant to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration.

Dr. Lisa M. Boyd Cobb recently served as vice president of Dyersburg State Community College in Dyersburg, Tenn.  From 2002 to 2013, she served first as an associate professor and later a professor of biology. In 2007, she was appointed Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Associate Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Howard W. Smith currently serves as dean of the College of Education at Pittsburg State University. During his 19 years at PSU, he has served as a professor of leadership studies, the interim chair of the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, chair of Special Services & Leadership Studies, executive director of the PSU-Kansas City Metro Outreach Center, and assistant to the president and legislative liaison.

The search committee charged with selecting candidates and finalists for the position include co-chairs Dr. Alan Marble and Dr. Michael Garoutte, Rachel Burleson, Dr. Al Cade, Diana Fordham, Darren Fullerton, Dr. Crystal Lemmons, Dr. Melissa Locher, Alan Schiska, Dr. Dave Smith, Dr. Steve Smith,  Julie Wengert and secretary Connie Shelton.

Detailed information about each of the finalists and their backgrounds will be available at the time of their visit.