(JACKSON, Miss.) — Dr. Tomaz Cunningham is the new interim director of JSU Global in the Division of Academic Affairs at Jackson State University. Cunningham has spent seven years as an associate professor of foreign languages at JSU.
“I would like to thank Dr. (Joseph) Whittaker and Dr. (Alisa) Mosley for this exciting opportunity to make an impact in that area. I’d also like to thank the excellent staff of professionals at the JSU Global office for their warm welcome, amazing depth of knowledge and their total dedication to mission success,” Cunningham said.
JSU Global is the hub for several student and community programs that assist in the globalization of JSU, Jackson and Mississippi. JSU Global also provides on-going SEVIS and cultural support for admitted international students, faculty and staff.
“Students and faculty, regardless of academic discipline or interests, must be prepared to negotiate a future within a global economy and spheres of influence. Opportunities for education, research, advancement in the STEM fields, the humanities, media and business are all worldwide in scope,” Cunningham shares.
Additionally, JSU Global prepares students for an increasingly interdependent and culturally diverse world through study abroad programs, operates the only international visitor’s center in Mississippi, and offers English as a Second Language courses and translation services.
“I’m looking forward to working with everyone to serve the global vision of Jackson State University,” he said.
Cunningham received a B.A. from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC), where he studied physiology and French. After serving eight years in the United States Army, he completed a dual master’s in foreign languages and literatures and Teaching English as a Second Language at SIUC.
Initially, Cunningham says he envisioned a career in federal law enforcement or government service. Those plans changed at SIUC when he was given an opportunity to teach French as a graduate teaching assistant.
Cunningham then decided to pursue a career in academia, developing a deep interest in literary studies and the methodologies and psychology of second language acquisition.
He received his Ph.D. in romance languages with a minor in Black American studies from the University of Missouri.
Cunningham’s teaching and research interests are French literature, history and civilization, literary theory and criticism, and second language acquisition. His articles and book reviews appear in The French Review, POMPA, and The Journal of Haitian Studies.