Norris announces retirement from Mississippi College
Special to The Clinton Courier
A high-ranking administrator and tenured faculty member who came to Mississippi College as a transfer student from Hinds Community College will be leaving the University after forty years of service.
Debbie Norris, dean of the Graduate School and associate provost, who shepherded her alma mater through three successful decennial reviews by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, has announced her retirement at the conclusion of the spring semester.
A Dean of the Graduate School and Associate Provost Search Advisory Committee chaired by Cindy Melton, dean of the School of Education at MC, will begin interviewing candidates for the position, which will remain open until filled. But MC leaders agree that Norris cannot be replaced.
“Dr. Norris’ devotion to our University is unparalleled,” Melton said. “She is a gifted teacher and beloved administrator who has demonstrated unwavering support to our mission of academic excellence and commitment to the cause of Christ. Throughout her years of service to MC, she has led by example and with a friendly demeanor while earning the respect of her students and colleagues through her strong work ethic, professionalism and high standards. When I think of someone who epitomizes the values and ideals of Mississippi College, someone who bleeds blue and gold, I think of Debbie Norris.”
Norris obtained her B.S. in business administration from MC, her M.Ed. from Mississippi State University, and her Ph.D. in higher education from the University of Mississippi. She embarked upon a career in higher education administration, teaching in the School of Business for fourteen years. Granted tenure in 1994, she continued to teach the undergraduate core course Business Communication throughout her time at MC.
In 1998, she became the graduate dean and was appointed by MC President Howell W. Todd to serve as the University’s Title IX coordinator. She has served MC as director of institutional assessment, director of international programs, and chair of the Dean’s Council, Graduate Council, and Academic Council.
Named vice president for planning and assessment in 2003, Norris was the chief administrator responsible for assessing each academic and administrative office at the University. She led the institution’s regional accreditation efforts with successful stints in 2002, 2012 and 2018. In addition, she served as an Association of Business Schools and Programs evaluator.
Norris has served on the Advisory Board for Entergy, Mississippi; the Board of Trustees for the Mississippi Baptist Health Systems; the Board of Trustees for Caring Hands Ministries; and the Jackson Community Advisory Board for Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
Norris will continue to serve Mississippi College on a part-time basis as a consultant and special assistant to President Blake Thompson.