MGA Appoints New Deans of the Schools of Arts & Letters and Business
Tuesday, August 27th, 2019
Middle Georgia State University (MGA) has appointed Dr. Mary Wearn as dean of the new School of Arts & Letters and Dr. Stephen Morse as dean of the School of Business.
Their appointments come as MGA introduces a new academic organizational structure to help strengthen efforts to create smaller, supportive communities of students, faculty, and others within the University as a whole.
Wearn joined MGA in 2004 as an assistant professor of English. She moved into administration in 2010 when she became chair of the Department of Media, Culture, & the Arts. She has also been assistant provost for Academic Planning and Policy and, most recently, an associate provost. Among other things, Wearn has managed the curriculum development process for MGA and served in leadership roles to support enrollment, student success, and academic engagement. She is a past recipient of MGA’s Outstanding Scholarly Activity award.
Originally from Massapequa Park, N.Y., Wearn holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Georgia, a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Maryland-University College, and a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University. Her scholarly work includes publishing two books, Nineteenth-Century American Women Write Religion: Lived Theologies and Literature and Negotiating Motherhood in Nineteenth-Century American Literature.
Before becoming an English professor she worked as a professional engineer within the federal government.
Wearn is the first dean of MGA’s School of Arts & Letters, created when the University recently reshaped the former College of Arts & Sciences. The School of Arts & Letters includes departments in English, history, and media, culture and the arts.
“I feel so fortunate to be the inaugural dean of the new School of Arts & Letters, a community of scholars united by our love of humanities and the arts,” Wearn said. “In the coming years, we aim to be the engine of culture on our campuses and beyond. This fall, for example, we are bringing student theater back to MGA and are planning a host of co-curricular activities, including poetry readings, film screenings, and various arts and languages programming. Our future plans include developing new programming in art, creative writing, public relations, and sports communication.”
Wearn said the school’s flexible, liberal arts curriculum fosters innovation and leaves room for professional minors and certifications. “We provide students with credentials to land their first job and the learning skills needed to evolve across an entire career span,” she said.
Morse is an economist who has taught courses in airline and hotel revenue management and price strategy, hospitality and tourism, and economic and business demand analysis. He was previously on the faculty and held administrative positions at the University of Tennessee, Western Carolina University, and Reinhardt University.
Morse is frequently quoted as an expert in the U.S. travel industry in leading news sources in the U.S. He tracks economic trends in the travel sectors in the Southeast and U.S. economies. He is a frequent speaker at national and state hospitality and tourism conferences, economic development conferences, and conducts workshops and seminars for regional and local tourism organizations, governments, and Chambers of Commerce to better understand the impact of tourist spending on the economic development of local economies. Since 2008, he has conducted over 225 customized keynote speeches, seminars, presentations and workshops on economic trends in travel and tourism to both public and private sector organizations across the U.S.
Morse’s research on the October 2013 federal government shutdown’s economic impact on the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was used by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, and North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory in their unprecedented joint decision to fund opening of that park.
His applied and practical research has been recognized by the hospitality and tourism industry with numerous industry awards including the 2010 Shining Light Research Award from the Southeast Tourism Society, the 2011 Hospitality Professor of the Year from the Tennessee Hospitality Association, and the 2011 Tourism Industry Spotlight Award from the Tennessee Association of Convention and Visitor’s Bureaus. In 2010, peer professors and members of the Southeast Chapter of the Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Educators (Southeast CHRIE) created the “Steve Morse Award” to recognize fellow academicians sharing the passion for excellence in teaching and research in the travel and tourism business sectors. In April 2014, he was awarded the Center for Service Learning’s Shining Light Award for his applied community engagement in tourism research he integrated for students in the classroom.
Originally from Whitesburg, Ga., Morse earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural and applied economics from the University of Georgia, and his Ph.D. in the same subject from the University of Tennessee.
“It’s exciting to join the School of Business at Middle Georgia State, which has carved out an excellent reputation for teaching and mentoring students that will be the next generation of leaders in elevating the regional economy and beyond,” he said. “I look forward to a growing business program and more outreach to the business community in Middle Georgia.”
In addition to the School of Arts & Letters and School of Business, Middle Georgia State’s new and/or restructured academic schools are the School of Computing, School of Health and Natural Sciences, School of Education and Behavioral Sciences, and School of Aviation.