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Laughlin selected for USG Executive Leadership Institute

AMERICUS, GA (November 23, 2022) — Mark Laughlin, D.M.A., interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Georgia Southwestern State University, has been selected to participate in the University System of Georgia’s 2022-2023 Executive Leadership Institute (ELI).

The leadership institute is a comprehensive six-month, 120-hour development program designed to enhance leadership skills and prepare participants for advanced and cabinet-level leadership positions within the University System of Georgia. Laughlin will join 35 faculty and staff members from 25 USG institutions and the University System Office. 

“I am honored and humbled to have been nominated and selected,” stated Laughlin. “I deeply appreciate President [Neal] Weaver and Provost Suzanne Smith’s support, and I am looking forward to working with other ELI scholars throughout the university system.”

For over a decade, the USG has hosted the ELI for faculty and staff to develop new leaders within the university system and offer professional develop opportunities to help them grow their careers in Georgia.

“This is about supporting and growing our own people within the university system,” USG Chancellor Sonny Perdue said. “Many times, the best talent is already among us. We want to give our people the best opportunity to experience this kind of professional development so they can reach their full potential.”

Presidents nominate one academic leader and one staff leader to participate. From the nominees, individuals are selected for the program and participate in a leadership development curriculum that includes content, personal reflection, job shadowing and cross-mentoring.

“Dr. Laughlin has always been student centered in his approach to teaching, and his service to his department, GSW, and the local community is commendable,” said GSW Provost Suzanne Smith, Ph.D. “He is making great strides in leadership at the college level, and I believe he has the skill set to achieve whatever leadership goals he has set for himself.”

Laughlin joined the faculty at GSW in 2008 and has served as chair of the Department of Music, Communication, and Emerging Media as well as interim associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Laughlin holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of North Alabama, Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy from the University of Memphis, Master of Education in Higher Education Administration from Georgia Southern University, Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Georgia College and State University, and Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of South Carolina-Columbia.

The USG ELI program is an effective investment in the future leaders of USG as the university system continues to serve our public higher education community.

To view the full list of this year’s ELI class, visit