Dr. Karen S. Coats, a decorated scholar with nearly 25 years as an educator and administrator, has been named the new dean of the Graduate School at the University of Southern Mississippi. Coats, a native of Springfield, Louisiana, comes to Southern Miss from Mississippi State University in Starkville where she has spent the past three years as associate dean of the Graduate School. A professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, she has served as a member of the university’s faculty since 1990.
Coats received her bachelor of science from Southeastern Louisiana University in 1981; her master’s in biology, with a concentration in microbiology, from Southeastern Louisiana University in 1983; and her doctorate in veterinary medical sciences, with a concentration in virology, from Louisiana State University in 1987.
Named a John Grisham Master Teacher in 1996, Coats has also served as an adjunct instructor in the research program at Mississippi State’s College of Veterinary Medicine since 1992.
Her distinguished career includes numerous awards, including the Outstanding Graduate Student Mentor Award (2011); StatePride Award – Dr. Nino A. Bologna Faculty Award (2010); Research Award for Natural & Physical Sciences and Mathematics & Statistics (2010) and Faculty Recognition Award for Upper Level Undergraduate Teaching (2005).
Coats takes over for Dr. Maureen Ryan, who has served as interim dean of the Graduate School since February when longtime Dean Susan Siltanen passed away.