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Dear USM Community,

Communications play an important role in conveying the essence and value of an organization. As such, The University of Southern Mississippi has begun a comprehensive effort to refresh our institutional communications strategy. This Strategic Communication Initiative will include an examination of current communications materials and messaging across all platforms, provide multiple avenues for stakeholder input, and identify opportunities for greater effectiveness and consistency across units and locations.

Our Office of University Communications will lead this initiative to enhance communications with key audiences, and they will work closely with The Focus Group, an experienced external agency we have engaged to guide this process. The Focus Group, headquartered in Gulfport, will collect and analyze stakeholder input, develop a comprehensive market position report, and provide recommendations for a refreshed and integrated communications strategy moving forward. Additional details and a tentative timeline are available online at

One of the first components of this process is a short benchmark perception survey that we invite you to complete. The purpose of this evaluation is to gauge initial perceptions of the University, and results will be used to lay the foundation for the rest of this important initiative. You will also have the opportunity to complete a more in-depth survey at a later date.

I look forward to the progress of our Strategic Communication Initiative, and I am confident that our work in this area will help us advance the mission of the University as we establish our communications strategy for the next several years. Thank you for your participation in this important endeavor.

Rodney D. Bennett
The University of Southern Mississippi