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College of Arts and Sciences

Pianist Andrea McAlister presents a free lecture recital Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in the BPAC Recital Hall.

McAlister to be featured in lecture recital

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Pianist Dr. Andrea McAlister will be featured in a lecture recital of works by Mendelssohn, Fauré, Dello Joio, Grieg, and transcriptions by Liszt and Wild on Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in the BPAC Recital Hall.

The recital kicks off the annual Art of the Piano event hosted by the Delta State University Department of Music. The two-day schedule, Feb. 26-27, is free and open to the public.

On Feb. 27, pianists of all ages from Mississippi and Tennessee will come together for a day of performances centered on making music through the medium of piano. McAlister will give a lecture for teachers, “Technology and the Brain: How to Teach to the 21st-Century Student.”

McAlister is an associate professor of piano pedagogy at Oberlin College. In addition to her teaching activities, she coordinates the class piano program and the secondary piano studies program. She earned her DMA at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music where she held a teaching assistantship and graduated summa cum laude.

McAlister’s research in piano pedagogy, technology, motivation and neural development has been featured at national and international conferences, and she is active as a clinician for state and local teachers. She has recently presented at the International Society of Music Education Conference, the Music Teachers National Association Conferences, the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, the World Piano Pedagogy Conference, the Group Piano and Piano Pedagogy Seminar, the International Conference on Sociology in Music Education, the Piano Wellness Seminar, the International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, and the International Technology, Education, and Development Conference.

Her research has also been featured in the Music Teachers National Association’s American Music Teacher, the MTNA e-journal, the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy’s Proceedings, as well as Clavier Companion and Keyboard Companion.

As a performer, McAlister has appeared in festivals and recitals throughout the United States, Europe and Canada, including performances with the Aspen Music Festival, the Rome Festival, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony and Opera Cleveland.

She is an active clinician, adjudicator and member of the Music Teachers National Association, and she currently holds the office of president for the Ohio Music Teachers Association. In addition, McAlister serves on the executive steering committee for the MTNA Group Piano and Piano Pedagogy Seminar and Editorial Committee for the MTNA e-journal.

The Art of the Piano is sponsored by the Delta State University Department of Music.

For registration information and schedule details,  call 662-846-4615 or visit http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-arts-and-sciences/music/piano-studies/the-art-of-the-piano/.

Python workshop_BD

Reza to lead python workshop

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Dr. A.H.M. Ali Reza, assistant professor of biology at Delta State, will be one of just a handful of instructors at the Bangladesh Python Project Workshop beginning this July.

Reza, a native of Bangladesh, is looking forward to working with fellow academics to shed light on a significant snake species and other important vertebrate animals from his homeland.

“This is a very exciting opportunity open to all students,” said Reza. “We are doing some important work radio-tracking these snakes, the same species that we seeing as an invasive problem in Florida. I would strongly encourage students to consider this workshop. They will get some great hands-on experience with animals from a very different part of the world.”

Reza has returned to Bangladesh a number of times in recent years after previously publishing his book “Diversity of Amphibians and Reptiles in Bangladesh.” His trips focus on ecological and conservation efforts, and he has worked with many snake species and other vertebrates for his scientific research.

The workshop cost is $2,000 but does not include airfare to Bangladesh. For more information, contact Reza at areza@deltastate.edu.

portfolioday_datechange copy

Art department to host portfolio day

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The Delta State University Department of Art will host its annual Portfolio Day on Jan. 29 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Interested high school juniors and seniors are encouraged to bring a portfolio of six to eight original art pieces for review. The purpose of the review is to guide and encourage the development of promising area artists in their pursuit of an art career.

Works should display the artist’s interests, artistic abilities, and reflect strong, creative conceptual skills. Works should be matted, and neat in appearance. Top mounting is acceptable. Three dimensional work may also be submitted. Photographs of pieces too large to bring may be included in the portfolio.

Submissions should be labeled with name, title and media. Applicants are asked to include a transcript with ACT or SAT score.

Art faculty will review the artwork, discuss educational and professional goals and share information on art programs, careers, admissions, financial aid and scholarships.

Up to $9,500 will be awarded in scholarships.

The schedule of events includes a campus tour and a cookout. Pre-register online at www.deltastate.edu/coll-of-arts-and-sciences/art/portfolio-day-form/, or call 662-846-4720.

Christine Beck, an environmental science major concentrating on wildlife management, is the recipient of the 2016 Mississippi Association of Conservation Districts Scholarship.

Beck wins conservation districts scholarship

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Christine Beck, an environmental science major concentrating on wildlife management, was recently awarded the 2016 Mississippi Association of Conservation Districts scholarship in the amount of $5,000.

The scholarship is available to any sophomore, junior, senior or graduate student enrolled in a college or university in the state of Mississippi. Beck, a senior from Crystal Springs, Mississippi, stood a notch above the competition and received the first place scholarship.

MACD, established in 1945, is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization composed of the 82 Soil & Water Conservation Districts in Mississippi. MACD is governed by a 31-member board of directors and represents more than 400 district commissioners who promote the conservation of Mississippi’s natural resources through education and outreach.

“I’m so thankful to the Mississippi Association of Conservation Districts and the encouragement of my professors to pursue this opportunity,” said Beck. “The MACD Endowment Fund scholarship will be a big help throughout my remaining time here at Delta State.”

Applications for the scholarship were evaluated based on the student’s GPA, activities and leadership qualities, financial need and supporting materials. All majors were encouraged to apply, but conservation related fields of study were given priority.

Beck credited her unique educational opportunities at Delta State.

“The environmental science program at Delta State provides students with numerous opportunities to go out into the field to learn about and interact with plants and animals. These field trips provide great hands-on experiences to those considering a career working outdoors.”

Dr. Ellen Green, chair of the Department of Biological sciences, was thrilled with Beck’s recognition.

We’re extremely proud of Christine,” said Green. “She was one of only three winners of the first place award in the state of Mississippi. We are growing our environmental science program and it is gratifying to see that our students are competitive at the highest levels.”

To learn more about environmental science and biological sciences at Delta State, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-arts-and-sciences/biological-and-physical-sciences.

Math science grant

Math and Science Partnership receives over $1 million in grant renewal

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education and Human Sciences, Community, Faculty/Staff, Office of Institutional Grants | No Comments

The Math and Science Partnership Program (MSP) at Delta State University was recently selected by the State Board of Education for a new round of grant support to continue its mathematics teacher-training platform.

The major grant funding will come over a three-year period, totaling over $1.1 million. This marks the second three-year grant for the program, which began in 2013. The most recent installment will focus on K-8 mathematics teachers.

MSP, a federal program backed by the U.S. Department of Education, strives to improve teacher quality through partnerships between state education agencies, institutions of higher education and high-need local education agencies and schools in order to increase the academic achievement of students in mathematics and science.

The size of each state’s grant is awarded based on student population and poverty rates. With the funding provided to Mississippi, the MSP is responsible for improving the content knowledge and teaching skills of K-8 mathematics teachers.

The grant provides professional development training through a two-week intensive summer institute at Delta State, three Saturday sessions throughout the school year, a monthly online discussion, and tri-annual observations during the school year.

MSP Project Director, Kathleen Lott, was thrilled with the grant renewal.

“Acceptance to the Math and Science Partnership grant for 2016-2019 is significant and essential to the Delta, as it provides another option to K-8 math teachers for professional learning,” said Lott. “In providing professional development for teachers, the content knowledge of our K-8 students should be boosted. Due to the continued need in the Delta for professional learning in mathematics education, and the desire to improve student mathematics comprehension, the new grant will continue to strive for a successful program and wise use of the grant allocations.”

Robin Boyles, director of the Office of Institutional Grants at Delta State, was an essential figure in developing the most recent grant proposal.

“This is one of several programs that we have here at Delta State in which we utilize grant funds to address community and regional needs,” said Boyles. “By providing professional development opportunities for middle school math teachers, we hope to be able to impact math scores and improve educational outcomes for students in our school systems. It is through projects such as this that we further our commitment to community and regional stewardship in the Mississippi Delta.”

Boyles said others involved in developing the proposal were Lott, Elizabeth Belenchia, Dr. Liza Cope, Dr. David Hebert, Dr. Clifton Wingard, as well as leadership from Dr. Leslie Griffin, dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences, and Dr. David Breaux, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Their leadership will be utilized as a collaborative partnership between the COEHS and the CAS.

“We have a shortage of qualified math and science teachers in the Delta,” said Griffin. “Not a week goes by that we don’t hear from a school district searching to fill such a position. The grant is Delta State’s effort, with support from the Mississippi Department of Education, to prepare teachers who are highly qualified to teach mathematics and science.

“This will be our second three-year award, which speaks to the sustainability of the program and to the outstanding job that the program faculty have done in providing planning and instruction. We are very pleased that the program has achieved this level of sustainability.”

Cope, an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics at Delta State, said the renewal confirms the serious need for the MSP program.

“In the past, students in Mississippi and particularly the Delta, have earned the lowest scores in the country on these tests,” said Cope. “Therefore, there is a critical need for the work we do with this grant. The fact that this is our second award suggests that our first project was a success.”