Stephen Cottrell is the assistant director of the International Institute at Mississippi State University (MSU). In this capacity Stephen works closely with his academic and administrative leadership as well as with foreign universities, agencies and embassies in international development. In addition, Stephen serves as the senior university official on matters concerning international student and scholar immigration issues. He also teaches graduate and undergraduate cultural geography courses on Asia, Latin America, the American South, Urbanization and Global Studies.
In 2007, Stephen received a Senior Specialist award to Thailand followed by a similar award to Japan in 2009. His tenure at Mae Jo University in Chiang Mai, Thailand focused on community land sustainability via higher education organizational reframing to accommodate community needs. During Stephen’s visit to the University of Nagasaki-Siebold, he lectured and participated in colloquies focused on the geography of Cambodia and its influence on current realities of that nation. In addition, the economic plantation model of the antebellum South was deconstructed to help both students and their faculty understand some of the current realities of the southern United States today. These topics were of high priority to the host university’s Department of Tourism given that Cambodia and the southern U.S. are very popular Japanese travel locations.
Immediately prior to beginning his career in higher education, Stephen was a refugee resettlement coordinator for a ten year period. He worked in UNHCR camps in Southeast Asia with Vietnamese, Khmer, Hmong and Lao refugees. Returning to the U.S., Stephen coordinated resettlement programs along the northern Gulf Coast for the Vietnamese fishermen and Cambodian survivors of the Khmer Rouge.
Some of Stephen’s other life experiences include his “bush Marine” tour in Vietnam, his Peace Corps days in northern Thailand, teaching in Iran, and a “Walk About” from the Afghanistan border to England. Since 2007 he has made trips into Vietnam, Cambodia & China with the dual purpose of international education development and geography research. Stephen has a Bachelor and Master of Science degree in cultural geography, a Master of Arts degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and an Ed. D. in higher education leadership. Dr. Cottrell’s research interests are focused on cultural influences on higher education’s organizational structure, strategy & goals.