Reza leads field course in Bangladesh

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Faculty/Staff, International, Students | No Comments

Dr. A.H.M. Ali Reza, associate professor of biology at Delta State, recently returned from leading another international field course in his homeland of Bangladesh.

The two-week tropical field biology study abroad course, which took place in July, was in partnership with the Creative Conservation Alliance (CCA), an NGO that works tirelessly to conserve Bangladesh’s imperiled wildlife.

“This was a special opportunity for students to get direct access to one of the most diverse environments in the world — the jungles of Lawachara National Park,” said Reza. “Students were provided with some of the best résumé-boosting conservation field experience you could imagine.”

Dr. A.H.M. Ali Reza

Open to university students around the world, the curriculum focused on biology, natural resources management, conservation biology, wildlife ecology, management, veterinary sciences and related fields.

Thanks to the partnership with CCA, course fees directly contributed to the conservation of the endangered flora and fauna of Bangladesh.

Reza also led a shorter-term outdoor adventure education workshop from July 13-16 open to local participants. The workshop was sponsored by Delta State University, the DSU Quality Enhancement Plan and the CCA. Participants learned about environmental policies and issues, research and study practices, and wildlife photography techniques.

A group of 45 students from local universities participated in the workshop and received a certificate issued by Delta State and CCA. Reza was joined by a team of experts to manage the large group of students. Colleagues included: Ceasar Shahirar Rahman, CEO of CCA; Dr. Kamrul Hasan, professor of zoology at Jahangirnagar University; Scott Trageser, director of CCA; Dr. Samia Saif, biologist of BCAS; and Tania Khan, a freelance naturalist.

Reza said hands-on field courses often help students get recognized in the scientific field.

“You have a great chance of getting your name on a scientific publication by making a range extension, or even discovering a new species,” he said. “Our 2014 and 2015 trips recognized multiple potentially new species and made several range extensions. In 2016, our group discovered a new species of a Takydromus lizard.”

During his trip to Bangladesh, Reza also organized two seminars at Jahangirnagar University and Independent University of Bangladesh, where he discussed the environmental policy issues related to U.S. and Bangladesh perspectives. Both seminars had high attendance and wide covered by the local media.

At the end of the trip, Reza participated in a live — online as well as on a local television — panel discussion on river conservation and aquatic biodiversity in Bangladesh. The small country, slightly bigger than the state Mississippi, has more than 700 major rivers.

“Many of them have issues related to pollution, encroachment, building unplanned dams, etc.,” said Reza. “During the panel discussions, experts and managers discussed ways to mitigate the issues.”

Reza, who also serves as Delta State’s international partnership liaison, is planning to offer another field course in December. For more information about fieldwork and other opportunities with Delta State’ environmental science program, contact Reza at areza@deltastate.edu.

Alumni prepping for 2017 Pig Pickin’

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The Delta State University National Alumni Association is gearing up for the 32nd annual Pig Pickin’ scheduled for Oct. 6-7 at Statesmen Park.

The Alumni staff is proud to announce Pig Pickin’ is now a member of the Memphis BBQ Network.

The mission of the Memphis BBQ Network is to promote, educate and enhance the aspects of pork barbecue cooking and competitions that are associated with the unique style of Memphis barbecue. The MBN was formed to provide organization and support for new and existing contests; to provide the contest network with knowledgeable and experienced judges; and to maintain the integrity of judging procedures.

“The National Alumni Association is pleased to announce the 32nd annual Delta State University Pig Pickin’,” said Jeffrey Farris, director of Alumni Affairs. “The growth of Pig Pickin’ over the past 30 years is a testament to the support of the local businesses and greater Mississippi Delta region. Pig Pickin’s deep rooted tradition is evident with the thousands of alumni who attend and the hundreds of volunteers involved. This year we are excited to join the Memphis Barbeque Network.”

According to Melissa Love, assistant Alumni director, Pig Pickin’ will likely double in size thanks to the MBN sanctioning.

“We look forward to seeing our alumni and friends return to campus for this wonderful tradition,” said Love.

Supporters are invited to become an official sponsor of this university event, which now promises an even larger audience. Sponsorship opportunities range from $150-$1,000+, and donations help support the event. The deadline to become a sponsor is Sept. 29.

The success of Pig Pickin’ 2017 is largely dependent on the financial and in-kind support of the community, Delta region, state and national business partners. Businesses can benefit by:
• business exposure to over 8,000 attendees at Statesmen Park
• business exposure to over 30,000 alumni and friends of Delta State University (local, state, national, international)
• over 15,000 email addresses (all email blasts for the event)
• social media outlets (sponsored Facebook posts/Twitter/LinkedIn/Instagram)
• association with the premier cultural event in the Mississippi Delta
• tax benefits of supporting a 501©3 organization
• website exposure (www.deltastate.edu – www.gostatesmen.com – www.deltastategiving.org – www.dsupigpickin.com)

To become a sponsor, complete and return the official form here: pigPickn_sponsor_2017.

For more information on becoming a sponsor contact the Alumni Association at 662-846-4660, or visit the Delta State University Foundation website at www.deltastategiving.org/alumniassociation/pigpickin.

The 32st Annual Pig Pickin’ official Facebook event page can be found at http://bit.ly/2ielhZn

To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1). Save the date for Pig Pickin’ (Oct. 6-7) and Homecoming (Nov. 10-11).

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SAA planning for academic year

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Pictured, left to right: Alyssa Johnson, projects chair; Abbey Ray Gordon, vice president; Kaylie Carpenter, social chair; Jessi Massey, secretary; Batesville, Callie Blake Masterson, treasurer; and Brittany Earls, president.

 

Delta State’s Student Alumni Association is hard at work making plans for the 2017-18 academic year.

The SAA, which acts as a bridge between the Delta State student body and the Delta State University Alumni Association, helps with events such as Pig Pickin’, Homecoming and community service projects.

SAA officers for the 2017-18 academic year:
— Brittany Earls — president
Cleveland, Mississippi
— Abbey Gordon — vice president
Senatobia, Mississippi
— Jessi Massey— secretary
Batesville, Mississippi
— Callie Blake Masterson — treasurer
Batesville, Mississippi
— Kaylie Carpenter — social chair
Crystal Springs, Mississippi
— Alyssa Johnson — projects chairman
Lake Village, Arkansas

The Alumni Association recently awarded Hannah Goudy with the H.L. Nowell Student Alumni Association Service Award at the annual 2017 Student Hall of Fame Banquet.

The award is named for Henry Lee “H.L.” Nowell Jr., who worked at Delta State from 1948-1987. During his 40-year tenure, Nowell served in numerous capacities including dean of men, dean of students, director of student activities, director of public relations, Delta State’s first director of the Student Union, and he was the first paid alumni secretary.

The award is given each year to the Student Alumni Association member that has given tireless effort and generosity throughout the academic school year. Goudy will graduate in December with her nursing degree and has been a Student Alumni Association member since her freshmen year.

Follow the SAA on Twitter @DSU_SAA. View SAA photos from 2007 to present at https://www.flickr.com/photos/dsualumni/albums/72157672291991031.

For more information, contact the Alumni Association at 662-846-4660. To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1). Save the date for this year’s Pig Pickin’ (Oct. 7) and Homecoming (Nov. 11).

LaForge outlines bright future at convocation

By | Academics, Community, Faculty/Staff, President | No Comments

Delta State University President William N. LaForge delivered his State of the University address Thursday during opening convocation ceremonies at the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

The address was titled “With Gratitude” and began with a thank you to faculty and staff for their continued efforts at the start of Delta State’s 93rd academic year.

“I am pleased to report that the current state of the university is positive, stable and advancing, and I am optimistic about a bright future,” said LaForge.

President LaForge said the university remains positive thanks to Delta State’s stellar people and programs.

“We embrace and promote core values such as individual worth, a healthy life style, hospitality, a strong work ethic, cultural enrichment, civility and respect for all, loyalty, ethical conduct, and accountability in all we do — for which I am profoundly grateful,” he said.

“We certainly have serious challenges, especially budget related, but we can rightfully commence our new academic year with the confidence that the ship is upright and moving in the right direction — combined with a dose of caution about the budget situation.”

LaForge was referencing major state budget cuts that have trimmed institutional funds by approximately $2.2 million in the last fiscal year. Despite these cuts, the president said the university is stable thanks to a recent recovery from years of eroding enrollment and financial woes.

According to LaForge, Delta State is advancing in response to a slate of new and bigger opportunities available on campus. Among those, he cited the remodeled Wiley Planetarium, the creation of the Dave Heflin Outdoor Recreation Lab, a major increase in the international student body, a long list of athletic achievements, a number of facility remodeling and renovation projects, major campus conferences, and a boost to recruitment and marketing efforts.

Despite the optimism, the president asked faculty and staff to remain extra cautious of the state budget cuts.

“A sad and disappointing statistic to report is that, for the first time in history, state funding is no longer Delta State’s largest source of operating revenue,” said LaForge. “This year, we will derive less revenue from the state than from tuition. Arguably, we have crossed over from being a state-supported university to a state-assisted university.”

“I am truly grateful to everyone on campus for joining our efforts to manage our way through this challenging budget time,” he added. “We will hope for, and work toward, a better budget climate for next year — but, that outcome is largely dependent on the fiscal health of the state.”

The president and his cabinet have enacted a responsible budget process, one that remains visionary and transparent, and guides the university according to strict business and ethical principles.

Like the university community as a whole, LaForge’s optimism will guide the institutional vision in the face of challenges. Delta State will remain committed to its 10 visioning principles, which LaForge outlined at last year’s convocation.

“Why shouldn’t we engage in a sense of idealism about who and what we are at Delta State?” asked LaForge. “After all, our ideas and actions make this university what it is every day. There’s no reason why we cannot apply even better ideas and actions to remaking the reality and condition of Delta State. But we must be intentional about it. It won’t just happen. I firmly believe that there is no limit to the creativity of the human mind.”

Visit www.deltastate.edu to stay updated on university news and event coverage.

Koehler honored with retrospective exhibit

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Faculty/Staff | No Comments
“Ron Koehler Retrospective: 45 Years of Sculpture” opens at the Fielding Wright Art Center on Aug. 31.

 

Delta State University’s Fielding Wright Art Center opens its 2017-18 season on Aug. 31 with “Ron Koehler Retrospective: 45 Years of Sculpture,” an exhibition celebrating the career of the former Department of Art chair.

An opening reception will be held Aug. 31 from 5- 7 p.m.

Koehler taught at Delta State University for 35 years and served as chair of the department for more than a decade. He retired this summer as professor and chair emeritus.

During his long and distinguished career, Koehler participated in over 500 regional, national and international exhibitions, received countless awards, and saw his work enter the permanent collections of museums and galleries across the nation.

The retrospective offers a rare opportunity to absorb the astonishing breadth of Koehler’s artistic pursuits, the subject matter that has occupied him, and the variety of media he has employed.

Koehler said that a casual visitor to the exhibit might get the impression that the work was created by more than one artist, but what connects his wide variety of work is his interest in exploration.

“Exploration of shape, form, media, color, texture, concept and genre,” said Koehler. “Exploration of technique, movement, scale, iconography, purpose and activism. Exploration of personal goals. Exploration of time and place. Exploration of fear, and exploration of the absurd.”

His explorations of a subject matter, or the possibilities of a medium, often lead him to work in a series. Another common element in Koehler’s works is his ever-present sense of humor, as seen in the “Balanced Diet” series, which consists of an assortment of cholesterol heavy food items. Examples from his famous “Brush” series, which numbers in the hundreds, will also be included in the exhibit.

“I’m not sure if I made the choice to devote my life to creating art, or if the choice was made for me long before I was born by some cosmic combustion I was never privy to,” said Koehler, looking back on his career. “What I can say for absolute certain is that art and the creation of it has defined my life in immeasurable ways. This exhibition, I hope, will document the trip thus far.”

“Ron Koehler Retrospective: 45 Years of Sculpture” will run from Aug. 24 to Sept. 21. Koehler will generously donate all proceeds from exhibit sales to the foundation of the Salley/Koehler Community College Scholarship Fund at Delta State University.

Regular gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gallery is closed on weekends, holidays and during semester breaks.

For more information, visit the DSU Art Department’s website at http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-arts-and-sciences/art/ or contact 662-846-4720. For updates and announcements of upcoming events, follow Delta State Art Department on Facebook or join our email list.