University of Southern Mississippi vice president for research Dr. Denis Wiesenburg has been named the university’s next provost, pending approval by the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning. The change is effective July 1.
Wiesenburg, who has served as the university’s vice president for research since 2010, also became interim provost last November when Dr. Bob Lyman tendered his resignation. USM president Dr. Martha Saunders said Wiesenburg would be charged with reorganizing the Office of the Provost to include the research function, thus centralizing the leadership for both academic affairs and research in one office.
Before joining Southern Miss as vice president for research in June 2010, Wiesenburg served as the dean of the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. From 1994 to 2004, he served Southern Miss at the Stennis Space Center as director of the Center for Marine Science, associate director for the Institute of Marine Science and as chair of the Department of Marine Science.
In the role of provost, Wiesenburg will work as the chief academic officer and the senior university officer next to the president. He will also oversee planning for the university’s educational programs and work with the vice presidents and deans in accomplishing the university’s educational objectives. He will oversee budget development by the colleges and monitors these budgets throughout the academic year.
A Pascagoula native, Wiesenburg earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University in 1970. He obtained his master’s degree from Old Dominion University in 1975, followed by his doctorate from Texas A&M University in 1980. He was an associate research scientist (1988-1994) at Texas A&M University and worked as an oceanographer for the U.S. Navy (1981-1988) at the John C. Stennis Space Center.