After serving for six years as Missouri Southern’s provost/vice president of academic affairs, Dr. Paula Carson has decided to step down from her administrative role at the end of June 2021.

In announcing her decision, Carson expressed her desire to return to the faculty role.

“I’ve truly appreciated the opportunity to serve Missouri Southern as Chief Academic Officer through such a period of advancement and growth,” said Carson.

“The expansion of our degree offerings and research programs as well as our intensified community outreach and partnerships have created a trajectory of success for our fine institution. But I am thrilled to move to a position where I can have a more direct influence on individual student development and growth.”

Prior to her role at Missouri Southern, Carson served for 25 years at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Her service there ranged from teaching to serving as the director of graduate studies, dean of the university’s college of business administration and as the assistant vice president for institutional planning and effectiveness.

Dr. Dean Van Galen, president of MSSU, expressed his support of Carson’s wish to get back to the classroom and more hands-on work with students.

“I am grateful for the leadership that Dr. Carson has provided in her role as provost and vice president for academic affairs over the past six years,” said Van Galen. “I respect her decision to return to the faculty full time, and know that she will positively impact Missouri Southern students in new ways.”

As provost, Carson has served as the university’s chief academic officer, making her responsible for administration as well as the coordination and development of all academic activities and functions of the university, such as planning, program development, assessment and the advancement of scholarship. Carson was the first person to have the provost title at Missouri Southern.

During her tenure at Missouri Southern, she helped to develop and introduce the campus-wide strategic plan, and spearheaded the university’s successful effort to obtain a full 10-year accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission. Developing and showcasing new research opportunities for students and faculty members has been a particular passion, as well as bolstering the university’s academic degree and certificate offerings.

In 2015, shortly after being named the next provost, Carson said she looked forward to interacting with many different Missouri Southern community members.

“Along the path, I came to realize there is no greater opportunity to influence future generations or make a positive impact on someone’s life,” Carson said.

“I love the passion for learning and seeing the transformation of students from when they enter college until the time they graduate. I think there’s no greater gift anyone can be given than the opportunity to work in an institution of higher learning.”

Carson will continue to influence future generations, firsthand, as a faculty member as she returns to teach in the Robert W. Plaster College of Business.

The process of identifying new leadership for Academic Affairs, effective July 1, will begin soon.