Seal, Ruckel will lead PRCC Honors Institute

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POPLARVILLE – Dr. Jennifer Seal and Dr. Terri Smith Ruckel have been named new deans of Pearl River Community College’s Honors Institute.

Dr. Seal will serve the Honors Institute on the Poplarville campus and Dr. Ruckel will serve the Honors Institute at the Forrest County Center in Hattiesburg. They will work collaboratively across campuses to plan joint opportunities for Honors students.

“We are very pleased with the progress that the PRCC Honors Institute has experienced since its inception a few short years ago,” said PRCC President William Lewis. “The quality students that are participating in this program are a real asset to our institution.  At the same time, the programmatic and scholarship opportunities that are afforded these students are significant and, in some cases, life-changing.

“I am most confident that the leadership roles that Dr. Ruckel and Dr. Seal have assumed for this program will enable the Honors Institute to continue to grow and to benefit many more Pearl River Community College students.” 

Dr. Seal will add the duties of dean to her role as vice president for planning and institutional research, a position she has held since 2014. Prior to that, she was director of institutional effectiveness and served as a reaffirmation review committee member for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the College’s accrediting body.

“The Honors Institute provides an excellent experience for students who want to challenge themselves academically,” said Dr. Seal.  

She chairs several college committees, including the Women’s Health Symposium steering committee, and has served on the Honors Institute advisory board. In addition, Seal currently serves as president of the Hancock County School District Board of Education and as president of the Rotary Club of Poplarville. 

Dr. Ruckel has served as Honors Coordinator at the Forrest County Center since 2012 and has served as a member of the Honors Institute advisory board from its inception. She currently serves Mississippi and Louisiana as the associate regional coordinator for Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society for the two-year colleges, while she continues to work with Beta Tau Gamma, the award-winning local chapter on the Forrest County Center campus.

“There are so many exciting opportunities associated with this position, not the least of which is working with Dr. Seal,” said Dr. Ruckel. “The commitment of Dr. Lewis and Pearl River to outstanding scholarly activity has clearly made a difference in the past six years, and I am looking forward to working with Dr. Seal to strengthen and advance an already strong reputation in honors education.”

An honors education at Pearl River includes personal attention, award winning faculty, lectures and seminars, study-travel experiences, research opportunities, and career-building studies – all designed to enhance a classic education and to prepare students for a lifetime of achievement.

According to Dr. Ruckel, “The Honors Institute provides opportunities like those which might be found at a much more expensive liberal arts college.”

The opportunities are significant, as last spring’s numbers prove: Honors graduates earned more than $500,000 in total transfer scholarships. As a means of growing that impressive figure, Seal and Ruckel are planning a series of workshops for Honors Institute students on both campuses.