Diversity and Community Engagement
The University of Mississippi

CE Year in Review – The OCE Team

The Office of Community Engagement (OCE) in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DCE) has developed a great team over the past year to focus on elevating the work of community engagement across the university, celebrating these important efforts and developing the institutional infrastructure required to sustain excellence in community engagement for decades to come.

Dr. M. Cade Smith was hired as Assistant Vice Chancellor of Community Engagement in September of 2018.  Cade joined UM after spending 24 years at Mississippi State University in Starkville where he Directed their Leadership Programs, established and directed the Maroon Volunteer Center Programs (MVC), and Served as Director of the Center for Community-Engaged Learning.  Cade brings a wealth of experience and vision to the University of Mississippi, where he leads our efforts to support the extensive community engagement efforts in colleges, schools, departments and units across the University.  

Erin Payseur-Oeth came to UM in March of 2019 to serve as the Project Manager in Community Engagement. Erin came to UM from Baylor University where she was the Associate Director of Civic Learning Initiatives. Erin is a national leader in deliberative dialogue facilitation, working with colleagues across the nation through National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) as well as the Kettering Foundation to foster critical thinking, reflection, and action on relevant social issues. Before Baylor, Erin worked at Columbia College in South Carolina as a Graduate Assistant in Leadership Studies and a Program Coordinator in the Center for Engaged Learning. At UM, Erin has developed a number of signature campus events, including the Longest Table and the MLK Dinner and Day of Service, and has taken the lead in building strong partnerships between the OCE and nonprofit agencies in the Lafayette Oxford University Community (LOU).  

Carissa Pauley serves as the OCE’s Graduate Assistant in Community Engagement, supporting our communications efforts and assisting with partnership development. Carissa graduated from UM in May of 2019 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a minor in Education. Carissa is currently working on her Master’s of Education in Counselor Education with a focus on Clinical Mental Health, and has extensive experience working with college students through personal, spiritual, and academic challenges. Carissa contributes to nearly every aspect of our work in the OCE.

Dr. Anthony C. Siracusa is the newest member of our team, joining UM as the inaugural Director of Community Engagement on March 23 amidst the Covid-19 global health pandemic. Anthony grew up in Memphis, Tennessee and attended Rhodes College as a first generation student where he was also a Bonner Scholar. Anthony was a Thomas J. Watson Fellow in 2009 and 2010 studying bicycle cultures across the world, traveling to 8 countries over 12 months. He was the Community Service Coordinator in the Bonner Center for Service at Rhodes College before earning his M.A. and Ph.D. in History at Vanderbilt University.  Most recently, Anthony served as the Assistant Director in the Collaborative for Community Engagement (CCE) at Colorado College.  Anthony is responsible for developing four key areas of campus infrastructure, needs that surfaced in the Carnegie self-study: a comprehensive volunteer center, social change leadership development programs for students, a faculty fellows program that supports community engaged teaching and research, and a place based institute. 

Next week, we will detail our team’s progress on building out these initiatives, and we are hopeful to grow our team in the years ahead. In the meantime, let’s celebrate these wonderful staff members who are working diligently to support community engagement efforts at UM.