New term for students, administrator

Smith leads College’s Student Services

It’s a new academic term and for Deanna Smith that means a new work position.

Smith is dean of student services for Meridian Community College; a position she filled when her predecessor Soraya Welden was named vice president of operations in the fall 2018 semester. “MCC has always felt like home to me,” Smith said. An alumna of the College who as a student served as an assistant in the public relations department, it has been a work home for her.

She counts nearly 11 years as an MCC’er. Here at MCC for three years before leaving the College to go to another alma mater – Mississippi State University – to work as a recruiter, Smith returned to MCC as director of advising and retention. When Welden’s position opened, Smith knew she wanted to take a chance.

“I felt like I had a lot of experience within the student services arena whether it was recruiting, retention, special population, the Honors College,” she said.

“I am thankful and excited for the opportunity and everything to come for MCC. I really am,” Smith said. A strong believer in team work, Smith said she’s always willing to listen to colleagues and students. “I hope we can build goals together that best fit MCC,” she said. Building the student population is important, but Smith sees that there’s more. “I want students to be happy about coming to MCC and when they walk into student services they know, ‘hey, those people are here to help us.’”

Many students’ first encounters with a college is often with a staffer in student services – an area that covers campus police, athletics, residence life, admissions, advising, financial aid and campus life. Smith said student focus is paramount for the department and the College. “We want students to be successful, but more than that, we want the students at MCC to be successful so they can go out and help spread our word. We want to make their MCC experience that much better.”

The education world is also center to her personal life. Her husband is an eighth-grade teacher at Southeast Middle School and they have two sons, Wilson, 4, and Grey, 1. “I stay pretty busy with the boys and work,” she said.

She added, “I am blessed.”

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