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Academics

Dr. Brian Becker, assistant professor of history

Becker honored with Humanities Teacher Award

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

The time has come again to recognize arts and humanities across Mississippi colleges and universities.

The Mississippi Humanities Council celebrates each October by awarding one humanities faculty member at each state institution with the Humanities Teacher Award.

Dr. Brian Becker, assistant professor of history, is the 2016 award recipient for Delta State.

“It is indeed a true honor to be this year’s recipient of the Mississippi Humanities Council Humanities Teacher Award for Delta State,” said Becker. “It is humbling, yet also gratifying, to receive an award from an organization such as the MHC, with which I share the goals of promoting humanities programs and also an understanding of cultural heritage through public discourse in particular, as well as working to improve said programs however I am able. The MHC provides a wonderful service to the state of Mississippi, and I could not be prouder to be associated with it.”

Becker will be officially recognized Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in the Howorth Room of the Capps Archives and Museum. That night, he will also give a presentation entitled, “Going ‘Viral’ is Nothing New: Martin Luther and the Use of Propaganda during the Reformations.”

Becker’s presentation will examine how Protestant reformers and Catholic counter-reformers in the 16th century used the “social media” of their day to communicate powerful ideas that still resonate with us.

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Becker earned his masters and doctorate in medieval history from Western Michigan University. He graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelors in history.

Becker has been a member of the Delta State faculty since 2011. He specializes in the study of medieval Mediterranean history, Byzantium, the Latin language and paleography.

Becker’s Nov. 7 presentation is free and open to the public. The event is made possible through a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to the Mississippi Humanities Council. Learn more about council at www.mshumanities.org.

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DSU fashion show scheduled for Nov. 2

By | Academics, Bologna Performing Arts Center, College of Education and Human Sciences, Community, Students | No Comments

This year’s Delta State fashion show, “Behind the Seams,” will take place at the Bologna Performing Arts Center on Nov. 2 at 7 p.m.

The event is made possible by a partnership between the Delta State fashion promotion course and the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce.

Designs from fashion merchandising students will be showcased on stage, as well as clothing for the whole family from area merchants.

A silent auction featuring products from local artists, artisans and businesses kicks off before the event from from 5-6:30 p.m. Cleveland’s own musical group, Southern Halo, will open the affair. Exciting door prizes from Chamber merchants will be given away during the show.

This year’s event is dedicated to Pat Kerr Tigrett, a well known Memphis fashion designer and longtime Delta State supporter.

Admission is free for all Delta State Okra Card holders, $15 for general admission, and free for children ages five and under.

All proceeds will benefit the DSU Fashion Merchandising program.

William Bell acknowledges the audience for their standing ovation following his performance at GRAMMY Museum Mississippi on Oct. 12.

International Delta Blues Project, GRAMMY partner for free public film and music event

By | Academics, Community, Delta Center, GRAMMY, International Delta Blues Project | No Comments

The Delta Center’s International Delta Blues Project at Delta State University recently partnered with GRAMMY Museum Mississippi to present a free, public event of educational film and live music on Oct. 12.

The “Take Me to the River” community film screening is one of several Blues Leadership Incubator events that have been offered by the International Delta Blues Project. The incubator events focus on economic opportunity related to blues education and tourism in the Mississippi Delta. The events are free and open to the public through a generous grant from the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation.

Martin Shore introduces his film "Take Me to the River."

Martin Shore introduces his film “Take Me to the River.”

Nearly 150 guests from throughout the Delta gathered at the museum to see a 45-minute version of the critically-acclaimed documentary “Take Me to the River,” produced by Martin Shore and created at historic Royal Studios in Memphis. The film brings multiple generations of award-winning Memphis and Mississippi Delta musicians together, following them through the creative process of recording a historic new album. “Take Me To The River” features Terrence Howard, William Bell, Snoop Dog, Mavis Staples, Otis Clay, Lil P-Nut, Charlie Musselwhite, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Yo Gotti, Bobby Rush, Frayser Boy, The North Mississippi Allstars and many more.

After viewing the film, the crowd enjoyed live performances from The Hi Rhythm section (featuring Charles and Leroy Hodges), Stax Music Academy Alumni Band, William Bell, Frayser Boy, Al Kapone, and GRAMMY winner Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell, owner of Royal Studios. Mitchell recently served as keynote speaker for Delta State’s International Conference on the Blues during a Blues Brunch held at the museum.

According to Frayser Boy, an Academy Award winner for Best Original Song, these performances are as much about education as they are entertainment.

“I come from a hip-hop background. I never really used live music in performances before I was invited to be a part of this project,” he said. “But these guys have taught me more in a couple of years than the 15 or so previous years I was working in this business. All these old guys — these guys that have spent their lives making music — they taught me to better understand where music comes from, and how important it is to our communities. Just as importantly, they are teaching me how to make a career out of this, not just a single record. To do that, I need to know where my music comes from and why it was made the way it was made.”

To underscore the educational emphasis of the event, the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area was invited to open the program with oral history documentaries created by students from Delta Hands for Hope of Shaw, Mississippi, and the Rosedale Freedom Project of Rosedale, Mississippi. The students attended after-school workshops learning film and oral history skills through a grant from the MDNHA. The students interviewed and photographed Mississippi Delta residents to learn how music has influenced their lives.

Attendees linger in the lobby of the museum and visit with the musicians following the performance.

Attendees linger in the lobby of the museum and visit with the musicians following the performance.

“The ‘Take Me To The River’ program was one of the best nights of music we’ve had at the museum,” said Jane Marie Dawkins, education and public programs manager for the museum. “The artists, film and student projects all provided a very entertaining and educational experience. It meant a lot to us to showcase this music from our region, and it was an unforgettable night at GRAMMY Museum Mississippi.”

For more information about the International Delta Blues Project, visit http://www.internationaldeltabluesproject.com/.

The mission of The Delta Center is to promote greater understanding of Mississippi Delta culture and history and its significance to the world through education, partnerships and community engagement. The Delta Center serves as the management entity of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and is the home of the International Delta Blues Project and the National Endowment for the Humanities “Most Southern Place On Earth” workshops. For more information, visit http://deltacenterdsu.com/.

Delta State University launches nationally-recognized faculty program

By | Academics, General, Uncategorized | No Comments

Delta State University has joined a growing national initiative to dramatically expand the use of evidence-based teaching practices shown to promote college student completion and success.

University educators have launched a new, national certificate program in Effective College Instruction offered through the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) and endorsed by the American Council on Education (ACE). The new partnership builds on recent student success achievements and a deepening commitment to the University’s core values of embracing civility, inclusion, and diversity.

“Instructional excellence is key to our students’ success, both in their studies here on campus and for their careers after graduation,” said Charles McAdams, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Delta State. “This partnership with ACUE recognizes the role that effective instruction plays in promoting critical thinking skills and supports Delta State’s mission to ensure all of our students succeed.”

The Office of Academic Affairs will implement a customized faculty development program that includes ACUE’s course in Effective Teaching Practices. ACE, as part of its nearly century-old mission to improve access to postsecondary education and help institutions enhance student outcomes, is collaborating with ACUE to dramatically expand the use of effective teaching practices in higher education.

“ACUE’s program offers higher education institutions a scalable, extensive opportunity to support instructors through tools and techniques proven to help students succeed,” said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad. “ACE and ACUE have an important shared goal to expand dramatically the use of effective teaching practices to benefit students, faculty, and institutions.”

Delta State University’s new program will focus on the research-based teaching techniques shown to make classrooms more engaging, civil and embracing of diversity. Research shows that students learn more, persist in their students, and complete their degrees with access to evidence-based instructional practices.

“The research is clear: High quality instruction helps students learn more and complete their degrees,” said Penny MacCormack, Chief Academic Officer at ACUE. “We are honored to partner with Delta State University as they work to provide the highest quality learning experiences for their students.”

Faculty members who complete the program will earn badges and a Certificate in Effective College Instruction endorsed by ACE. ACUE’s comprehensive services also include exclusive access to an online Community of Professional Practice designed to sustain development and connect educators from around the country.

ACUE’s program was developed with colleges and universities nationwide. Course modules feature videos of classroom demonstrations with award-winning college faculty and interviews with the nation’s leading subject matter experts. Since ACUE and ACE announced the collaboration in March, institutions across the country have recognized the value of providing this support and are making effective instruction central to student success. To date, over 1,800 faculty members have learned about and are implementing evidence-based approaches.

About ACUE

ACUE partners with colleges and universities to make effective instruction central to their student success agendas. Founded by leaders in higher education, ACUE fulfills this mission by helping institutions implement faculty development resources that are scalable, research-based, and of the highest quality. ACUE’s online modular course of study leads to a first-of-its-kind Certificate in Effective College Instruction endorsed by the American Council on Education. For more information, visit http://acue.org.

Honors Program boosting curriculum

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

Delta State is committed to providing its students superior academic experiences. With that in mind, Delta State University Provost Dr. Charles McAdams has charged the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. David Breaux, with leading a task force to develop a more robust Honors Program at the university.

The task force will be comprised of faculty from across campus and will begin work soon. While the group is conducting their work, Michael Smith, associate professor of English, will serve as interim director.

“As Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, I want to thank professor Leslie Fadiga-Stewart, former director of the Honors Program, for her undying commitment to the Honors Program and its students,” said Breaux. “Delta State is truly blessed to have faculty like professor Fadiga-Stewart and Smith, who go beyond the call of duty to ensure that its students receive a first-rate education.”

Currently, the Honors Program provides enhanced educational and cultural experiences for talented and academically committed students within an environment that fosters discovery and creativity.

“We are in the process of revamping the curriculum to increase the sense of identity and community an honors program can provide,” said Smith. “We are also expanding our vision of the program to include engagements off campus and outside of the classroom, including attendance at state and national conferences, as well as retreats that will bring current fellows together with alumni of the program. The Honors Program also includes a very active student organization, the Honors Program Association, which meets monthly on campus.”

Students accepted into the program become Honors Fellows and enjoy benefits such as smaller class size, priority for early registration each semester, and recognition at the university commencement ceremonies.

In addition, Honors Fellows have access to opportunities for extra-curricular activities, including but not limited to cross-cultural experiences, civic engagements and lectures. The program also provides mentoring and advising opportunities for participants.

“Delta State benefits from a great number of high-achieving students, so the application process is competitive and the curriculum is rigorous,” added Smith. “Each Honors Fellows class is capped at 20 spots per year.”

A select number of high school students who apply to Delta State as incoming freshmen are selected as fellows each academic year. Guidelines for consideration include: a composite ACT score of 26 or higher (no sub-score may be below 17), a high school GPA of 3.5+ (4.0 scale), and documented evidence of leadership and community engagement.

“I’m honored to have been asked to serve as interim director, and I’m excited about the direction the program is headed,” said Smith. “As a scholar, I’ve always been interested in cross-curricular dialogue and study, and the Honors Program, although housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, is a university-wide initiative. I feel it’s important for scholars to occasionally move beyond the limits of their own disciplines and see the interesting work being done across campus — and inter-disciplinary programs like the Honors Program allow students and faculty to do just that.”

For a program application, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-arts-and-sciences/honors-program/. For more information, contact Smith at honors@deltastate.edu.