Daughter of ex-USM president taken off administrative job

Published 6:51 pm Friday, July 13, 2007

The daughter of former University of Southern Mississippi President Shelby Thames was asked this week to step down from her job as head of the university’s Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education.

Dana Thames had held the administrative job the past seven years. She will return to a faculty post in her specialty area of reading.

Interim Education and Psychology Dean Wanda Maulding, who was appointed to replace former dean Willie Pierce shortly before Shelby Thames left the presidency this year, said it was her decision to return Dana Thames to a faculty role and not an order passed down from the new president, Martha D. Saunders.

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Maulding said she believes it is time for new leadership in the department.

Thames said she did not step down voluntarily.

An interim chairman is expected to be appointed in the near future and a national search will be conducted to find a permanent replacement, Maulding said.

Dana Thames often was the object of scrutiny during her father’s tenure — including talk of favoritism when she was given a $13,000 a year raise in 2006 and the number of new hires her department got compared to others that same year.