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Higher education proves to be excellent investment

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By Glenn Boyce, Commissioner of Higher Education

In the first half of the 20th century, there were many good jobs available to Americans who held only a high school diploma. These jobs provided stability and an income that, though not lavish, was sufficient to provide for a family who lived modestly and saved prudently. After World War II, a shift began to take place and this shift has only accelerated in the 21st century.

The rate of change in the way businesses communicate, sell, distribute and provide goods and services is incredible. Automation impacts everything from assembly lines to distribution facilities and even our own homes. Innovation and adaptability are essential for businesses and also for the individuals in the workforce. As our economy continues to become more technologically advanced, our workforce must have more credentials of value if we, as a state or a nation, will be able to compete in the global economy in which we now live and work.

Two reports from Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workforce underscore the importance of earning a bachelor’s degree, both in terms of job availability and earnings potential.

In its report, Recovery: Job Growth and Education Requirements through 2020, the Center estimates that 65 percent of all jobs in the economy will require postsecondary education and training beyond high school by 2020.

Those who invest in themselves by completing a bachelor’s or advanced degree will reap the benefits for the rest of their lives. The Center’s Report, The College Payoff: Education, Occupations, Lifetime Earnings, finds that earning a Bachelor’s degree makes a significant difference in lifetime earnings. Nationally, the median annual income of those with a bachelor’s degree is $56,700, which equates to earning $2.3 million over a lifetime. When looking at lifetime earnings, bachelor’s degree holders earn 31 percent more than workers with an Associates degree and 74 percent more than those with just a high school diploma.

We all know Mississippi falls at the lower end when ranking states by median household income, but having a degree makes as much difference here as in other states. Census data shows that the median household income in Mississippi for a high school graduate is $25,954. The median household income in Mississippi for a college graduate is $40,952.

All 25 of the highest paying jobs in Mississippi require a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Holding a bachelor’s degree also brings stability in an uncertain job market. Unemployment rates for those with at least a bachelor’s degree are much lower than those with only a high school diploma and substantially lower than those who do not have a high school diploma.

Higher education is an investment that opens doors of opportunity for our citizens and enables our state to advance. Having more Mississippians with a bachelor’s degree makes our state more competitive.

Approximately 20 percent of Mississippians hold a bachelor’s degree or higher today, but we continue to improve this number. We have had an increase of 8.9 percent in the number of degrees conferred in the last five years, awarding 17,760 degrees, a record number, in 2017. While steady progress is good, we must raise attainment rates exponentially if we are to advance the state and grow Mississippi’s economy.

When Mississippians invest in themselves through higher education, they increase their own economic prosperity, which, in turn, increases the economic prosperity of the state. We all rise together.

COEHS to host annual Kent Wyatt Distinguished Lecture

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The College of Education and Human Sciences will host the fourth annual Kent Wyatt Distinguished Lecture at Delta State University on Nov. 6 at noon in the Jacob Conference Center.

This year’s guest lecturer will be Dr. Renée A. Middleton, dean of The Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education at Ohio University.

Middleton is a distinguished educator with a strong commitment to transforming teaching and learning in schools. She has spent her career ensuring equity and excellence in education (P-20) and is a tireless advocate for ensuring that every student in America has the chance to learn and grow under teachers whose knowledge and skills have been verified through a peer-reviewed, performance-based process.

Dr. Leslie Griffin, dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences at Delta State, is thrilled to host Middleton as the keynote speaker.

“Dr. Middleton’s dedication to partnering with schools to ensure that teachers are fully prepared to assume their roles in the schools they will serve is well-regarded in the broad educational community,” said Griffin. “As faculty in the College of Education and Human Sciences reach out to local schools to understand how to better serve them through the preparation of quality teachers, leaders, and other school professionals, Dr. Middleton’s sharing of her experiences provides guidance. We look forward to learning from her through this lecture.”

Middleton serves on the board of directors of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, a nonprofit organization dedicated to elevating the voice of accomplished teachers in shaping a true profession and raising student achievement. She also serves on numerous other boards, including the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, and the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools.

She has 21 years of experience with consulting, working with issues like public school strategic planning for diversity and rehabilitation counseling and multicultural diversity, within the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services, the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research, the Food & Drug Administration: Center for Devices and Radiological Health and the Alabama Board of Examiners in Counseling working on Ethics/Consumer Protection.

Middleton received her bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing with a minor in behavioral sciences from Andrews University in 1981. She received her master’s degree in clinical audiology with a minor in speech pathology and behavioral sciences from the University of Tennessee in 1983. Middleton received her doctoral degree from Auburn University in 1990, with a focus on rehabilitation administration and a minor in rehabilitation counseling and education.

Fighting Okra Records seeks next artist

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Delta Music Institute, Students | No Comments

Fighting Okra Records, the student-run record label within the Delta Music Institute’s entertainment industry program at Delta State University, has launched its search for the next FOR recording artist.

Performing artists interested in pursuing this unique opportunity can visit fightingokrarecords.com, fill out the application form in its entirety, and submit online for a chance to be selected. The submission period will remain opent until  Nov. 10 at 11:59 p.m.

FOR is accepting submissions from both solo artists and bands of any musical genre. This year, the search has expanded beyond Delta State’s campus to include solo acts or groups in the surrounding area. All applicants must be 18 years of age or older and provide basic information regarding their musical endeavors.

FOR’s main purpose is to select a talented musician or band and provide them with professional industry utilities paired with significant industry insight to expand and strengthen the career of whomever the label selects.

“The artist or band selected for the Fighting Okra Records label will have a unique opportunity to have multiple university resources available to them for their career development through the students in the practicum course,” said Tricia Walker, DMI director. “The FOR members will facilitate photography, professional audio, publicity and promotion services on behalf of the artist in order to provide the artist with tools for building a strong foundation going forward.”

The Delta Music Institute is an independent center of study under the College of Arts and Sciences at Delta State University, offering a bachelors degree in entertainment industry studies. The focus of the DMI is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative and business areas of the music and entertainment industry. For information about the DMI or Fighting Okra Records, contact 662-846-4579, or visit http://dmi.deltastate.edu.

Delta State COEHS to screen student documentary

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The Delta State University College of Education and Human Sciences announced it will screen “I Sopravvissuti,” a documentary directed by Delta State junior psychology major Matteo Zengaro, on Nov. 6 at 3 p.m. in the Jacob Conference Center.

Zengaro was named a grant recipient of the 2017 Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum on May 1 for his film depicting the Italian tradition in the Mississippi Delta.

“We are pleased to showcase this creative work of Matteo Zengaro, a psychology major in the Division of Counselor Education and Psychology,” said Dr. Leslie Griffin, dean of the COEHS. “His interest in research dovetailed with the study of the experiences of early Italian immigrants to the Mississippi Delta. My interest is certainly piqued, and I invite others to join with the College of Education and Human Sciences in viewing this screening.”

Italian Americans have a long-rooted tradition in the Mississippi Delta, and Zengaro’s film brings those stories to life. Narrated by Delta State associate professor of English and chair of the Division of Languages and Literature Don Allan Mitchell, Zengaro’s film delves into the hardships early Italian Americans faced and how they overcame obstacles to give future generations a better life.

“I Sopravvissuti” (The Survivors) is the story of the sons and daughters of Italians who immigrated to the Delta and how present day Italian Americans keep their ancestors’ culture flowing within their community. The film highlights a culture that has been ingrained within the Delta community, but largely ignored in overall Italian American history.

“I want to thank the College of Education and Human Sciences for showing my film,” Zengaro said. “‘I Sopravvissuti’ is a unique film that shares the Italian American experience in the Delta. I also want to thank everyone who helped me along the way to make this film a reality.”

Admission to the screening is free and open to the public.

COEHS to host annual Janie Allen-Bradley Literacy Endowment Event

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Delta State’s College of Education and Human Sciences will host the 5th annual Janie Allen-Bradley Literacy Endowment Event on Nov. 2 from 3-5 p.m. in the Jacob Conference Center, to honor the retired educator Dr. Janie Allen-Bradley.

The theme of this year’s event will be “A Legacy of Literacy.”

Allen-Bradley was a dedicated promoter of literacy during her time at Delta State and now has the Janie Allen-Bradley Literacy Endowment established in her name. The COEHS invites the public to help celebrate Allen-Bradley’s efforts.

“We’re looking forward to honoring Dr. Janie Allen-Bradley, one of our most distinguished former reading faculty members, in this fifth annual event in her name,” said Dr. Tim Watkins, coordinator of elementary education and outreach at Delta State.

This year’s featured speaker is Cathy Dickerson, a literacy coach and coordinator of the Mississippi Department of Education’s LETRS program, which provides literacy training to Mississippi teachers.

Dickerson’s previous experiences include teaching for 28 years in grades K-3, serving as the MDE director of the Sylvan Learning Center, and serving as the Barksdale Institute Second Congressional District reading coordinator in the Mississippi Delta.

Classroom teachers, parents, pre-service teachers and librarians are encouraged to attend the event. RSVP the College of Education and Human Sciences at 662-846-4370. Refreshments will be served.

The COEHS operates collaboratively with the other colleges of the university, the university staff, and outside agencies to produce professional graduates who will be effective in the field of human learning and services. The college strives for a stimulating, positive environment and provides its students with professional faculty who emulate and model the profession competencies, skills and affects expected of Delta State graduates.

For more information on the COEHS or its degree programs, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/coehs or call 662-845-4400.