Mississippi University for Women
2022 Annual Report

In the past year, campus units worked together to tie their goals to overall university priorities and build on strengths. Collectively, they are helping focus resources and talents in areas that create a solid foundation for the future. Priorities included academic excellence; advancement excellence; community connections; degree completion; diversity, equity and inclusion; and financial sustainability.

Students: Our Core Mission



student-faculty icon 11:1
older student icon 27%
students icon 35%
mississippi icon 87%
healthcare icon 45%

Academic Excellence

Academics are at the heart of a W education. Our dedicated faculty, respected in their fields, champion a commitment to teaching shaped by their research, scholarship and creative expressions. Partnered with an equally committed staff, they foster a learning environment that is both broad and highly personalized. For The W, academic excellence results in graduates who are equipped for the competitive and diverse global economy.

The College of Nursing and Health Sciences graduated the most undergraduate nurses in the Institutions of Higher Learning system in 2022. ASN had 100%, pass rate reported in 2022 for the 2021 May class.

Dr. Heda and a student int he lab.

Dr. Ghanshyam Heda, professor of biology, received the “John Tanner 2nd Timer Award” at the 36th annual meeting of the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society, held in May in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Last spring he spent his sabbatical at the University of Bristol (England) as visiting professor in the Department of Physiology & Neuroscience. He also won $70,000 in research grants through Mississippi InBRE and NASA and continues to collaborate with the Cystic Fibrosis Research Center at University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The Department of Psychology & Family Science created a 2+2 agreement for family science and psychology majors who start at Copiah-Lincoln CC. The arrangement provides a transfer pathway for students to receive the Child Advocacy Studies Training (CAST) certificate offered at The W. The arrangement also includes CEU training on mandated reporting for K-12 teachers, provided by CAST faculty from Co-Lin.

Advancement Excellence

A strength of any institution is the level of engagement with those it serves. At The W, that includes a diversity of constituents: students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends, the community and elected officials. By cultivating these relationships, we build support critical to the future of The W. One important outcome of valued relationships is the continued generosity of our larger W family, providing resources that allow us to improve quality across all aspects of the institution.

Foundation Assets of $57 Million in FY 2022

57% Faculty/Staff Giving Participation

A Total of $1,909,807 Awarded to 476 Students From 338 Scholarship Funds in FY 2022

Community Connections

The W’s unique niche is not confined by geographic boundaries. By serving its communities through programs and partnerships, both locally and globally, the university will continue to communicate its value and explore ways to create significant impact through its areas of strength.

2022 CHEER conference

The School of Education, in partnership with Excel by 5, hosted the first CHEER conference in April for early childhood providers in Columbus and Lowndes County. CHEER was created to provide quality professional development and Celebrate and Highlight Early Education Respect. A major goal was to build relationships and importance in the early childhood community during the NAEYC Week of the Young Child. The celebration also included Early Educator of the Year financial achievement awards. CHEER was sponsored by multiple community and regional grants secured by the School of Education.

Dr. Jon Fessenden

Dr. Jon Fessenden, assistant professor of music therapy, presented a continuing education workshop via Zoom at Molloy College (New York) on autistic hearing.

hand puppets sit on a shelf in a new classroom

The Child and Parent Development Center renovated classrooms and one playground with $411K in grant funds through Child Care Strong program. This funding allowed the CPDC to enhance resources and spaces to support their work as a university laboratory school. The CPDC supports university students in multiple degree programs by providing practical experience and supports the community by providing high-quality childcare for children and families.

Karina Garcia

Three Spanish majors interned last spring serving their communities as volunteer advocates, tutors and translators of legal and other important documents for Spanish-speaking residents.

gear iconThe School of Education completed the $150,000 first phase of the Phil Hardin Innovative Learning Lab Project, which renovated and upgraded first floor physical learning environments.
hands in shape of heart logo Students, faculty, and staff of The W provided




The university offers cultural events annually, most without charge, enhancing quality of life in the region.

The Department of Music hosted the 6th Annual Music by Women Festival, drawing national and international participants.

The Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium, now in its 34th year, continues to draw emerging writers and regional participation.

Degree Completion

The W recognizes that degree completion requires recruitment, retention and support through graduation and into a career. We aim to provide holistic support for all students throughout their time at the university.

The W graduates students at the rate of

36.8 per Full Time Students, Leading the IHL.

(the system average is 24.1, based on 2020-21 Institutional Profile)

graduation cap icon 926
5% INCREASE in degrees since 2017
graduate degree icon 33%
INCREASE in Graduate Degrees awarded 2017-2022
undergraduate degree icon 27%
INCREASE in Undergraduate
Degrees awarded in the last
10 years

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

The W is on a mission to create a welcoming, diverse, equitable and inclusive campus climate for all. As the university strives to reach the highest levels of academic excellence, it is also essential that the university fosters an environment where all members of the campus community can flourish. Diversity recognizes the value of varied perspectives, which helps drive innovative solutions to an ever-changing world.

Callaway Clocktower at sunset

The university announced a Naming Taskforce to explore the idea of a more inclusive name to remove a recruitment barrier. A naming survey was launched in October and focus groups were conducted in November with more than 4,300 people completing the survey created by Love Communications based out of Salt Lake City. Survey results are published at: muw.edu/name/.

Dr. Catherine Cotton

Dr. Catherine Cotton was announced as the recipient of The W’s Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award. Cotton, assistant professor of speech language pathology, consistently co-leads first-year speech-language pathology graduate students and faculty members through discussions surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion related topics.

The W Counseling Center hosted its second annual Mental Health & Wellness Fair in conjunction with The W’s Common Reading Initiative of Alexi Pappas’s book “Bravey,” a memoir that details how a drastic change in the Olympic runner’s life caused great highs, deep lows, joy and sorrow. Approximately 30 agencies participated in the fair that was free and open to students, faculty, staff and the public.

Speech Language Pathology students work with a child during Camp TnT.

Speech-Language Pathology hosted the first Camp TnT (Talking in Turner: A Communication Explosion) for children with communication disorders. Camp TnT was for children with augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices and encouraged language development, language use and social interactions with peers in a typical summer camp, language-rich environment.

The Center for Women’s Research & Public Policy secured a $50,000 grant from the Ascend Fund to support its work advancing women’s political representation and public service.

Campus hosted Col. Justin T. Grieve, commander at 14th Flying Training Wing, Columbus Air Force Base, who spoke about his perspective on Veterans Day.

Financial Sustainability

A financial model supports the efforts and goals of academics, student services and the campus as a whole. The W’s mission-driven approach involves clear strategic planning and actions that ensure the ongoing financial health of the university.

In FY 2022, the university had an operating cash flow of +$3,498,920, due in large part to federal COVID funds expended in prior years but drawn down in FY 2022. As of June 30, 2022, we had 124 days of cash on hand, exceeding IHL’s minimum expectation of 90 days.

construction equipment in front of the new Culinary Arts Building

Construction continues on the Culinary Arts building. The 51,275 gross square foot facility is estimated to cost more than $15 million and is expected to be on-line Fall 2023.

The W has moved to a more automated and efficient environment through software implementations:

  • Ellucian Ethos
  • Banner Extensibility
  • Banner 9 Self-Service (AIP & Communication Management)
  • NextGen Scholarship Manager – Financial Aid
  • OnBase has also been expanded to Accessibility & Accommodations


It is an exciting time for the university’s intercollegiate athletics program. With a total of 17 sports carrying the name of The W across the region (and beyond), the athletics program has enjoyed some tremendous successes and is looking ahead with great anticipation.

Owls Athletics logo

In what was, without a doubt, its most important achievement to date, The W’s Athletics program successfully completed its Year Two annual report in 2021-22 and was advanced to the third – and final – year of the process to full membership by the NCAA III Membership Committee. Year Three officially began September 1, 2022. When completed, the Owls would enter into full NCAA III membership - and their new league home as members of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) - beginning with the 2023-24 season.

The W Athletics Hall of Fame logo

Another exciting aspect that was approved to go forward in 2022 was the establishment of the first-ever The W Athletics Hall of Fame. The inaugural inductees were enshrined as a part of Homecoming 2023 on April 1.

Individually, a total of 19 Owls earned USCAA All-American honors in their respective sports. The W student-athletes picked up 18 USCAA Player of the week accolades, as well. Four individuals – Amelia Stalter (softball), Logan Pannell (men’s golf), Ta’Dashia Flowers (women’s golf) and Millie Mask (women’s soccer) - were voted as the USCAA Student-Athlete of the Year (considers academics, community service and athletics) in their respective sports.

In the classroom, the Owls lived up to the symbolism of academic prowess and wisdom commonly associated with the school’s nickname. In 2022 alone, there were a total of 284 recognitions afforded on the Athletics Director’s Honor Roll (requiring a term grade point average of 3.0 or above) in the spring and fall terms, better than 70 percent of all student-athletes. Sixty-two percent of those named the A.D. Honor Roll had term GPAs of 3.50 or better, with 29 percent (94 total) posting perfect 4.0 term GPAs. As a department, The W had an impressive grade point average of 3.25 for the calendar year 2022.

The W Athletics also continued its hallmark of giving back to both campus and community. Owls’ teams were involved in such areas of volunteerism as working at street festivals for Columbus, supporting The W Oktoberfest fundraiser, doing food drives for both campus and the United Way/Helping Hands, Loaves and Fishes Ministry, Walk for Diabetes-Columbus and breast cancer awareness activities, to name a few.

University Honors

US News & World Report logo

  • Least Debt in Regional Universities (South) – #1
  • Best Value Public Schools in the South – #1
  • Top Public Southern Regional Universities – #18
  • Best Regional Public Universities in the South, 2022 – #10
  • Best Colleges for Veterans in Regional Public Universities (South) – #6
  • Top Performers on Social Mobility in Regional Public Universities (South) – #2
  • Economic Diversity in Regional Public Universities (South) – #19
  • Campus Ethnic Diversity in Regional Public Universities (South) – #14


Washington Monthly logo

Best Public Master’s Universities (National) – #132

Best Public Master’s Universities (South) – #21

Best Bang for the Buck Public Universities (South) – #33


Military Friendly logo

The W has earned the 2021-2022 Military Friendly® School designation.


Intelligent.com Logo

  • Best Master’s in Creative Writing – #4 in the nation
    Best Student-Faculty Ratio
  • Best Online Master’s in Creative Writing – #9 in the nation
    Best Scholarships
  • Best RN to BSN Programs – #17 in the nation
    Best in the South
  • Top Online Bachelor’s in Public Health Programs – #23


Great Colleges 2022 logo

For the tenth year in a row, Mississippi University for Women has been named one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, according to a survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education.