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U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi spoke with Delta State’s group of Okra Scholars students on Wednesday.

Thompson speaks with Okra Scholars

By | Academics, Okra Scholars, Student Success Center, Students | No Comments

Delta State’s group of Okra Scholars students received a special visit Wednesday from U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi.

Thompson was on campus for the Delta State University Colloquia Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series to speak about the 2016 national elections.

Congressman Thompson spoke to students and mentors about how various cultures view politics.

Dr. Jon Westfall, coordinator of Okra Scholars, said it was a great opportunity for the students to interact with a U.S. congressman.

“One of the key areas that Okra Scholars focuses on is culture, and it is vital to understand how our government works to understand how it shapes our cultural viewpoints,” said Westfall. “With the election on everyone’s mind, it is vital our students have access to our leaders, to better understand our country.”

“It is the duty of all citizens and guests of the United States to know how our government operates, and while textbooks and news channels may provide some of this, there is no substitution for hearing it from the source,” he added. “There are only 535 members of Congress — and we cannot miss opportunities to hear their views, as we’re the ones empowering them to act on our behalf.”

Westfall said Okra Scholars embraces a holistic approach to student preparedness, and while academic preparation and career readiness are often stressed, it is culture that will influence the lives of Delta State students far more than grades or job titles.

To learn more about Okra Scholars, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/student-success-center/okra-scholars/.

About Okra Scholars: In 2014, the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education announced funding to launch the First in the World program. Delta State University was one of only 24 institutions selected and the only institution in Mississippi to receive funding. DSU received a four-year, $1.6 million grant to implement Okra Scholars. By incorporating innovative learning strategies into four-year personalized learning pathways, Okra Scholars works to increase the retention, engagement, on-time graduation and employability of DSU students.

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Handel’s “Messiah” to be performed at Delta State

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

Zeigel Hall on the campus of Delta State is currently filled with the sounds of one of the most beloved musical works of all time, “Messiah,” by George Frideric Handel.

The Delta Chorale, Delta Singers Okramen and Delta Singers Women’s Chorale are learning the masterwork for a performance at the Bologna Performing Arts Center on Nov. 28 at 7 p.m.

Across town on Monday nights at First United Methodist Church, the Delta Choral Union is learning the same music in preparation for a grand collaboration that will take shape over the next three weeks, culminating in the concert performance.

Dr. Adam Potter, director of Choral Activities at Delta State and the conductor of the Delta Chorale and Delta Singers Women’s Chorale, is the music director for the performance. He will share the podium with ElizaBeth Beckham, conductor of the Delta Choral Union, and Kevin Tharp, conductor of the Delta Singers Okramen.

“There is no better way to kick off the holiday season than with a gala choral performance like this,” said Potter. “We are so excited to bring ‘Messiah’ to the Delta.”

The Delta Chorale is the premier touring vocal ensemble at Delta State. Comprised of approximately 40 mixed voices, it performs frequently both on and off campus. Its repertoire features high-quality choral music from diverse styles, musical eras, languages and cultures. The chorale has performed by invitation at state and regional conferences of the Mississippi Music Educators Association and American Choral Directors Association.

Delta Singers encompasses two separate choirs, the Okramen men’s choir and Women’s Chorale, which perform together frequently. These non-auditioned choirs provide singers an opportunity to learn many styles of music and also focus on developing vocal and musicianship skills. They also serve as lab choirs for advanced student conductors.

The Delta Choral Union is an adult volunteer community choir based in Cleveland. It has a proud history of excellent singing and highly-anticipated concerts. Beckham serves as its music director.

For this performance, the Delta State University choral program has hired a full roster of professional string players from the Memphis Symphony Orchestra to accompany the choirs. Their concertmaster will be Anne-Gaëlle Ravetto, instructor of violin at Delta State.

Department of Music faculty Josh Armstrong, Shelley Collins, Michael Ellzey, Bret Pimentel and Kumiko Shimizu will complete the orchestra in the wind, percussion and continuo sections.

The performance will also feature professional artists presenting the vocal solos Handel interspersed between the choruses. Laurissa Backlin, soprano, is currently an assistant professor of music at Delta State. Chad Payton, countertenor, is an assistant professor of voice at Capital University in Ohio (former DSU faculty from 2011-16). Jamie Dahman, tenor, joined the DSU voice faculty this fall. Patton Rice, bass-baritone, is the director of vocal music at the Mississippi School of the Arts and a frequent soloist with Mississippi Opera.

Tickets for this event are available at the Bologna Performing Arts Center box office or at choir.deltastate.edu. They are $15 for adults, $10 for DSU faculty and staff, and $5 for students and senior citizens.

This performance has been made possible by a generous donation from Margaret Heard Walker.

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Delta State ranks in top 50 for MBA program

By | Academics, College of Business, Faculty/Staff, Students | No Comments

TopManagementDegrees.com recently ranked Delta State University in its annual ranking of the top 50 most affordable MBA programs.

Delta State came in at No. 47 overall, and was the only school in Mississippi to receive recognition.

The ranking is designed to find the best and most affordable on-campus MBA degrees available nationwide. A list of over 1,000 MBA programs was obtained and then vetted based on accreditation and estimated tuition costs.

According to TMD, an MBA is one of the most sought after graduate business degrees in the world. It not only covers the most critical topics in business and management within its curriculum, but it can fast-track professionals into a management career.

To view the full rankings, visit http://www.topmanagementdegrees.com/rankings/most-affordable-mba-programs-2017/.

TopManagementDegrees.com education rankings are designed to help prospective students make a smart choice about where to invest their time and money. They are committed to connecting people to inspiring ideas and high quality educational opportunities.

Learn more about Delta State’s College of Business at http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-business.

The Division of Teacher Education, Leadership and Research recently hosted hosted the first annual Educational Research Workshop.

Educational Research Workshop hosted

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

The Division of Teacher Education, Leadership and Research within the College of Education and Human Sciences hosted the first annual Educational Research Workshop on Oct. 27.

The workshop provided a unique opportunity for graduate education students from online programs to meet with faculty members and to explore and collaborate in current graduate student research.

“The energy in the building was palpable,” said Dr. Tom Brady, chair of the division. “Interactions between our various students, community members and faculty created an atmosphere of learning that is so rewarding.”

Students from the doctoral, specialist’s and master’s programs in curriculum and instruction, educational leadership and higher education engaged in several events, including a doctoral orientation, a poster session, and a 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition. The 3MT competition required doctoral students to present their research to a non-specialist audience in under three minutes.

Workshop attendees also had the opportunity to join in Dissertation Blind Reads, where each student met with a Delta State faculty member for a one-on-one conversation about his or her chosen research topic.

“Having a one-on-one conversation with a doctoral candidate early in the dissertation process is an easy but effective way to model the habits of a researcher,” said Dr. Vicki Hartley. “It is all about the research question — what do you want to know and what is the best way to find your answers?”

During the morning sessions, Delta State junior and senior K-12 teacher candidates were also invited to participate in round table discussions focused on classroom management, professionalism and data-driven instruction. Table leaders included current K-12 teachers, data coaches and administrators, as well as members of the current DSU Delta School Leadership Pipeline (DSLP) Educational Leadership Cohort.

Blaine Overby, a member of the DSLP cohort and a table leader, said of the morning sessions, “The round table discussion was extremely rich. It was great to talk with a range of educators, from education majors to doctoral students. As the facilitators, we just jumpstarted the conversations. The participants had a wealth of questions and knowledge that benefitted everyone at the table.”

Overby is from the Yazoo County School District and is currently interning at Germantown Middle School in Germantown, Mississippi.

Dr. Leslie Griffin, dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences, said of the workshop, “I commend Dr. Catherine Putnam for providing vision and organization in hosting this event. This focus on educational research speaks to the essence of educational leadership and practice in K-12 schools. Practical research results in informed answers related to issues in school improvement and best practices.”

Students Christine Beck (left to right), Danielle Husley and professor Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding, recently presented at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Delegation presents at vertebrate paleontology conference

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Delta State University environmental science students and professors recently presented two research posters at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah on Oct. 25-29.

Students Christine Beck and Danielle Husley co-authored a research poster with biology professors Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding and Dr. Eric Blackwell titled “Paleocommunity of Late Pleistocene Megafauna found along the Lower Mississippi River Delta.”

The poster focused on ice age animals that lived in the Mississippi Delta about 12,000 years ago, including bison, mastodons, mammoths, great short-faced bear, ground sloths, ice age beaver, musk ox and more.

Dr. Judy Massare, professor of paleontology and geologist at Suny College at Brockport, New York encouraged Husely and Beck to publish the work in a respectable scientific journal. Additionally, the students became exposed to new morphological and ecological discoveries about fossil reptiles, mammals and amphibians, learned about new techniques including photogrammetry and basic scientific illustration in Adobe Photoshop, and networked with other students and scientists.

Baghai-Riding also co-authored a poster with her colleague Dr. Carol Hotton associated with the Natural Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Department of Paleobiology in Washington D.C. Their work was titled “Palynology of the Late Jurassic Morrison Formation: new insights into floristics, paleoclimate, phytogeography, and tetrapod herbivory.”

Learn more about environmental science opportunities at Delta State by visiting http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-arts-and-sciences/biological-and-physical-sciences/.