It’s a long way from Cleveland, Miss., with its flat, dusty landscape and, of course, the blues. Dr. Tyrone Jackson, however, was willing to make the move to South Mississippi and become the first associate vice president for Student Services and Enrollment Management at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
Jackson hails from Rosedale, home of the blues crossroads. In a more abstract sense, he found himself at a crossroads in life, making the decision to turn South, toward the Coast and away from the university that gave him not only his education but most of his career. He received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees and his doctorate from Delta State University, and spent almost 14 years working there as a recruiter, associate director of Housing and Residence Life, director of Graduate Studies, assistant dean of Graduate and Continuing Studies, and, finally, interim dean of Graduate and Continuing Studies.
“My heart is in student services, and I feel that is where my strengths are,” Jackson said. “I am elated to have been given the chance to coordinate these services in a multi-campus environment. I am truly excited about working here.” And he has already fallen in love with the people at Gulf Coast. “The MGCCC family has embraced me with open arms. I really didn’t expect the reception I received on my first day. It was great and everyone has been so welcoming.”
He also has great plans for his department. “I plan to build on the foundation the college already has in place. I want to focus on cohesion, coordinating student services across our multi-campus environment so that we continue to appear as one unit by bringing all the stakeholders to the table on a regular basis and making sure that we’re on the same page. I’d like to assist the recruiting staff in attracting prospective students to MGCCC. Equally important, I will spend time on retention efforts. It is critical for us to retain our students until graduation. Further, I will assist the college in providing first-class services for our students, guiding them to complete their program of study and encouraging them to give back to the institution in some shape, form, or fashion.”
Jackson’s wife, Kashanta, is an instructor of counselor education at DSU and is currently working on her dissertation. She should be moving South to join her husband at the end of the school year. The couple has two sons, Keondrick, 18, and Tyler, 2. Jackson said he misses his family but is excited about the challenges facing him in his new home. “I’m looking forward to this new chapter in my life, and I feel sure I can overcome any challenges in my position with the help of the great team of people working in this environment.” He added, “I have an open-door policy at our central office. I solicit input from the MGCCC family and the general public regarding student services and enrollment management as we strive to make a positive difference in people’s lives.”