University updates scholarship policies

By | Academics, Admissions, Students | No Comments

Delta State University recently updated its academic scholarship policy to align more closely with hours required for degree completion, as well as state financial aid policies.

“The changes will take effect fall 2018 and will apply to incoming students only,” said Dr. Debbie Heslep, dean of enrollment management at Delta State. “Current students will not be impacted by these changes.”

The changes include:
— Recipients must complete 15 hours each fall and spring semester.
— Freshman scholarships will be available for a maximum of 8 semesters of undergraduate study only.
— Transfer scholarships will be available for a maximum of 4 semesters of undergraduate study only.
— Transfer students with community college hours only (excluding dual credit hours) will be considered.
— Transfer students will be required to maintain a 3.25 Delta State grade point average for scholarship renewal.

In addition, the Statesman Award will only pay room and board if the student is living on campus. Also of note, Recognition Awards will only be available to Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society members.

“The slight changes impact transfer scholarships based on membership in a national honor society,” said Dr. Charles McAdams, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “The change in the GPA requirement to receive and maintain the scholarship reflect more accurately the academic achievement expected of a student in this honor society. The change also aligns our scholarship requirement with other universities.”

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Delta State to host 9th annual TFA Delta Institute

By | Academics, Students, Teach for America | No Comments

Delta State University will welcome Teach For America back to campus as the organization kicks off its ninth year of training hosted by the university.

Approximately 310 corps members and staff members will begin the intensive summer curriculum June 11 for the 2018 TFA Delta Institute.

On June 10 from noon to 5 p.m., Delta State will host TFA Registration Day at DMI Studio A to welcome the corps on campus. Volunteers are sought to work one-hour increments in one of the following areas: greeters, welcome wagon, Okra Kart drivers, handing out information packets and lunch boxes, and dorm check in at Foundation Hall.

To sign up for a volunteer slot, contact Leigh Emerson, assistant director of Communications and Marketing at Delta State, at or 662-856-4677.

“We are very excited to welcome Teach For America back to our campus again this year,” said Emerson, “We’re grateful that Delta State and TFA have maintained this solid partnership since 2010.”

TFA is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates of all academic majors and career interests who commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools and become leaders in the effort to expand educational opportunity.

These corps members work in school districts challenged by poverty, geography or other issues. Their training to teach begins at summer institutes, and Delta State is one of just a handful of training facilities across the nation.

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Applications open for McNair Research Scholars

By | Academics, Continuing Education, Students | No Comments

The Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies at Delta State University is still accepting applications for the fall 2018 cohort of McNair Research Scholars.

The program was established in memory of astronaut-physicist and Challenger crew member, Dr. Ronald E. McNair. It is administered through the Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies at Delta State.

The MRS program is one of eight federal TRIO programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education. TRIO outreach aims to improve student programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The goal of the McNair cohort is to increase the attainment of doctoral degrees by students from underrepresented segments of society.

All services offered by the program are free of charge to its participants.

View the application at

Scholars will benefit by:
-opportunities for research and scholarly activities
-academic field trips
-paid summer research internships
-tutoring for preparation for graduate school entrance exams such as GRE, NCLEX, GMAT, etc.
-mentorship by a faculty member
-seminars and workshops to prepare participants for doctoral study
-career counseling and exploration
-financial literacy and planning
-increased access and exposure to STEM coursework and careers

For more information, contact project director Wendolyn Stevens at 662-846-4876,, or visit for eligibility requirements.

Smith wins gold medal for memoir

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

Mike Smith, associate professor of English at Delta State, is the recent recipient of a gold medal at the 22nd annual Independent Publisher Book Awards for his memoir “And There Was Evening and There Was Morning.”

The Independent Publisher Book Awards, also known as the IPPY Awards, is an annual book awards contest conducted to honor the year’s best independently published titles from around the world.

Smith’s memoir-in-essays explores the loss of Smith’s first wife to cancer after the birth of the second child, offering a portrait of marriage, family and tragedy. In honest and, at times, darkly comic terms, Smith documents the strange set of coincidences between his first wife’s illness and his stepdaughter’s similar battle the year his second marriage began. He examines blended families, remarriage, the efforts to help children find ways to cope with loss, and the influence of spirituality upon bereavement.

Novelist Tony D’Souza said, “Rarely does a book demand so much strength of a reader. Smith is a reflective and precise writer, [who] invites us to walk each step with him as his heart is annihilated.”

Mississippi Poet Laureate, Beth Ann Fennelly, stated, “Smith has written a book for all of us who are dying — which is to say, all of us who are living, and our lives will be the better for having read it.”

Launched in 1996 and conducted each year to honor the year’s best independently published books, the IPPY Awards recognize merit in a broad range of subjects and reward authors and publishers who “take chances and break new ground.” These winners from university and small presses give experimental authors a platform to share their stories, impart wisdom, and speak out against ignorance and prejudice.

IPPY medal-winning books will be celebrated on May 29 during the annual BookExpo publishing convention in New York, with gold, silver and bronze IPPY medallions awarded.

This year’s contest drew 4,500 entries in a variety of categories, and medals will go to authors and publishers from 43 U.S. states, six Canadian provinces, and 12 countries overseas.

The work was published by WTAW Press, an independent publisher of exceptional literary books and builder of literary community.

Learn more about Smith’s book at

Delta State University mourns veteran professor’s passing

By | Academics, College of Education and Human Sciences, Faculty/Staff | No Comments

The collective Delta State University community is reeling with the devastating news of the passing of Dr. Cheryl Cummins on May 19.

Cummins passed away in a car accident in Leland, Mississippi. Cheryl’s husband, Mark, was airlifted from the scene and is recovering at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. Mark is an aircraft repair technician and inspector in Delta States’ Department of Commercial Aviation.

Police reports indicate that the Cummins’ were struck head-on by a vehicle that was traveling in the wrong lane.

“The Delta State University family is grieving the loss of Dr. Cheryl Cummins,” said Delta State University President William N. LaForge. “She had been actively involved with Delta State since her time as an undergraduate student in the 1980s, to her most recent role as the head of our Field Experiences program in the College of Education and Human Sciences. We are praying for a full recovery for Mark, who is also a member of the Delta State family, employed in our Commercial Aviation department, and have offered our assistance and support to their daughters, Kellie and Hayley, who are students at Delta State.”

Cummins was the Director of Field Experiences and professor of teacher education in the College of Education and Human Sciences at the university. She began working at the school in 1996 as an adjunct faculty member in elementary education.

In her role as Director of Field Experiences, she guided countless Delta State education majors as they took on their student-teaching roles.

“The legacy Dr. Cummins leaves through her varied roles in Teacher Education is manifested through the teachers she prepared and supported,” said Dr. Leslie Griffin, dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences. “Her dedication to Delta State began in her undergraduate years and extended through a 21-year career in the College of Education and Human Sciences. “Dr. Cummins’ genuine caring and ability to consider the needs of students while guiding them to implement best practices in education — this is what made her the ideal person to direct their teaching experiences and prepare them for schools. We will never get beyond the ‘missing’ of this special colleague, but will endeavor to keep her memory alive through fidelity to the ideals she lived by.”

Griffin said the college established the Cheryl Jackson Cummins Memorial Scholarship in her honor. Contributions can be made at

In addition, the Faculty Senate and Staff Council at Delta State have set up a donation account at Renasant Bank under the Cheryl and Mark Cummins Fund. Details for an online donation link will be announced at a later date.

“Dr. Cummins was a very knowledgeable and giving person who always made time to help a student or a colleague,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Charles McAdams. “She was held in the highest regard by her many colleagues across campus due to her expertise in teacher education and the caring manner she treated people each and every day. She exhibited the perfect balance of character, competence and compassion, and she contributed in many important ways to the operations of the College of Education and Human Sciences. She will be greatly missed.”

Cummins received her bachelor’s degree from Delta State in elementary education in 1988, and she received her master’s degree from Delta State in elementary education in 1989. In 1996, she received her doctorate from the University of Mississippi in curriculum and instruction.

“Cheryl was one of the kindest people that I have ever worked with,” said Jamie Rutledge, vice president for Finance and Administration at Delta State. “She did so much for the university and our community without ever asking for praise or credit. The university and everyone that knew her has lost a close and dear friend. Our prayers are with her entire family.”

Funeral services will be announced at a later date.

The Campus Counseling Center is providing counseling services to members of the Delta State family seeking assistance with the grieving process.

In keeping with university protocol, Delta State will lower the university flag on the day of Dr. Cummins’ service.