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Thomas Named MSU Finance and Economics Department Head

7-26-18 - Contact: James Carskadon

Mississippi State Professor of Economics Kathleen Thomas is now leading the university’s Department of Finance and Economics.

Thomas has been a faculty member in the department since joining the College of Business as an assistant professor in 2002. A distinguished researcher in the field of economics, Thomas now oversees the department’s continued growth in academic offerings and research programs. She began her new role as department head July 1.

“As department head, it is my responsibility to support faculty and staff as they strive to reach the goals they have set for themselves,” Thomas said. “Over the years, previous department heads thoughtfully mentored me at every stage of my career, and I am excited to have the opportunity to give back to my department in this way.”

Thomas said she aims to continue to provide opportunities for students in the Department of Finance and Economics to gain 21st century skills and connect with professionals and academics as they enter the job market or pursue graduate studies.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Thomas is taking on this leadership role,” College of Business Dean Sharon Oswald said. “She has been a tremendous asset to the College of Business during her time here, and I look forward to seeing her continue the positive momentum we have in our Department of Finance and Economics.”

Thomas received her bachelor’s degree in economics from Birmingham-Southern College, her master’s from the University of Alabama and her doctorate from Georgia State University.

Since joining MSU’s faculty ranks, Thomas has been involved with over $750,000 in funded research grants, contracts and awards. She specializes in public finance and education policy. In her senior level courses, Thomas uses economic theory and empirical evidence to examine education, health, poverty and income equality. She said she enjoys merging her teaching and research in a way that keeps students up-to-date on current trends and policies.

“A department can only be as strong as the people who inhabit it, and I am fortunate to be surrounded by good people,” Thomas said. “My colleagues are faculty who engage in top-notch scholarship and bring their passion for research into the classroom. I work with staff who go the extra mile to support faculty and meet the needs of every student who walks through the department door. The department also receives guidance from an advisory board of university alumni that uses its combined years of industry experience to help us solve difficult problems.”

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