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College of Arts and Sciences

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.

“Viva Ginastera! A Centennial Celebration” by guest pianist Jovanni-Rey V. de Pedro

By | Bologna Performing Arts Center, College of Arts and Sciences, Community | No Comments

The Department of Music at Delta State University presents guest artist Dr. Jovanni-Rey V. de Pedro in a master class at noon and recital at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 17 in the Recital Hall of the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

In celebration of the centennial of Alberto Ginastera’s birth, de Pedro will perform piano solo works written by the Argentine composer and two other composers, Christopher Norton and Sonny Chua, at the evening recital. Both events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Delta State Department of Music at 662-846-4615.

Filipino-American pianist de Pedro enjoys an artistic career that has brought him to concert venues and musical institutions in Asia, across North America, South America, Australia and Europe. Winner of the Boesendorfer Stipendium and Grand Prizewinner of the Fidelio Competition sponsored by the city of Vienna’s Cultural Affairs Department, de Pedro also acquired top prizes in several competitions including the United States Open Music Competition, Pacific Piano Competition in Canada, Ibiza Competition in Spain, and the Beethoven Society of Europe’s Intercollegiate Piano Competition in England.

Upon graduation from Trinity College of Music, he received the Isabelle Bond Gold Medal for Performance Excellence. He was recently given a first place award at the American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition, which led to a performance in Weill Recital Hall. His artistic and educational activities have been further supported by grants from the Solti Foundation in Belgium, the Irish Arts Council and the American Women’s Association in Vienna.

de Pedro ’s academic research and pedagogical interests have led to numerous presentations at conferences for the Music Teachers National Association, College Music Society, European Piano Teachers Association/World Piano Teachers Association in Serbia and the Australasian Piano Pedagogy Association. As a passionate and dedicated educator, he has presented numerous master classes in institutions in the U.S. and abroad. He has served on the teaching staff at City University London and the New Ross Chamber Music Festival (Ireland), and he currently is on the piano faculty at Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan.

As a chamber musician, de Pedro has collaborated with numerous instrumentalists and vocalists. Together with Irish cellist Tara-Lee Byrne and Portuguese clarinetist Sergio Neves, he founded the Tarvangio Trio in 2008. After making their debut at the Yamaha Chamber Music Series in London, they joined with Hungarian violinist Gwendolyn Masin for a tour of Ireland performing Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time.” Tarvangio continues to bring entertaining and innovating programs to audiences in the U.S. and Europe.

He continually seeks to serve the music profession and wider community. Through benefit and outreach recitals, he has raised funds for various community, educational, religious and non-profit organizations. As president of the University of Michigan’s MTNA Collegiate Chapter, he established the Piano Pedagogy Symposium, a national pedagogy conference for university students, which aims to promote communication, fellowship and collaboration among these future music professionals.

A California native, de Pedro holds a Konzert Diplom (with auszeichnung) from the Vienna Conservatory in Austria, where he spent six years as a scholar of the ASCAP/Leiber and Stoller Foundation, a Master’s of Music from Trinity College of Music in London, and a doctoral degree in piano pedagogy and performance from the University of Michigan. He has worked with pianists Robert Ward, Aries Caces, Gerhard Geretschlaeger, Yonty Solomon, Mikhail Kazakevich, Deniz Gelenbe and Louis Nagel, and he coached with Menahem Pressler, Martino Tirimo and Pierre Laurent Aimard. He received additional studies in pedagogy with John Ellis and collaborative piano with Christopher Harding and Eugene Asti.

de Pedro recently served as a visiting professor of music at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, and an instructor of piano and chamber music at the Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C. He joined the faculty at the University of Idaho’s Lionel Hampton School of Music in 2014 as an assistant professor of piano and piano pedagogy and co-director of the preparatory division.

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.

 

 

GRAMMY U officers elected for 2016-17

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

Officers for the GRAMMY U chapter at Delta State University have been elected for the 2016-17 year.

Kailey Mathis, a junior entertainment industry studies major from Madison, Mississippi, was elected as this year’s president. Jessica Faith Wishard of Monticello, Arkansas will serve as vice president. Brittany McGee of Ecru, Mississippi will serve as secretary/treasurer.

GRAMMY U is a unique and fast-growing community of college students, primarily between the ages of 17-25, who are pursuing a career in the recording industry. GRAMMY U events and special programs touch on all aspects of the music industry, from the technology to the tracks themselves. Events are scheduled throughout the semester to give members a wide variety of experiences and professional development. Because GRAMMY U is part of The Recording Academy, members have extraordinary access to the industry and its artists.

In setting the vision for this year’s group, Mathis said, “ I hope to see our current and new members participate more within our chapter and in our community. A big thing we want to implement this year is group service projects around the community. We are planning some projects to help local charities, sing at the nursing homes, and also make efforts to help clean the Delta State campus and some streets in Cleveland.”

The Delta Music Institute is an independent center of study under the College of Arts and Sciences at Delta State University, offering a bachelor’s 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, contact 662-846-4579 or visit http://dmi.deltastate.edu.

Planetarium to host grand re-opening showings

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

The Roy L. and Clara Belle Wiley Planetarium at Delta State, housed in the Caylor-White-Walters complex, will celebrate a grand re-opening after major renovations to the facility were completed this summer.

The planetarium was founded in 1976 and named for Roy Lee Wiley and his wife Clara Belle Wiley. Roy taught Physics at Delta State from 1942-1975.

On Oct. 9, a private showing for distinguished guests will honor the Wiley family for their commitment to the university and planetarium.

The public will have opportunities to view the facility with a 6 p.m. showing on Oct. 12, a 4 p.m. showing (geared toward children) and a 6 p.m. showing on Oct. 14, and finally, a 1 p.m. showing on Oct. 15 before Delta State’s Homecoming kickoff. Tickets for these shows will be $5 per person and may be purchased at the door with cash or check.

Recent upgrades to the facility were a big part of the $18 million overhaul at Delta State’s science and math building. Renovations on the entire building are nearing completion.

The planetarium is used for university astronomy classes and also presents special programs for schools and the general public.

In addition to its new seats, carpet and other amenities, the renovation also included the installation of the dual projector Digistar 5 planetarium system from Evans and Sutherland, and the professional quality 5.1 surround-sound system from Bowen Technovation.

The system not only allows users to move their view of the stars back and forth through time, but it also lets users fly through the solar system to the other planets. As a bonus, it also turns the planetarium into a 3-D digital theater.

“The astronomy classes will of course use the planetarium, but one long-term goal is to use the planetarium as an instructional tool for other subjects,” said Dr. James Gerald, assistant professor of physics. “Dr. Adam Johanson helped a student with a project this summer to build 3-D models of molecules and display them on the dome. The priority of the planetarium will be teaching astronomy, but we will also have public outreach through shows. We look forward to collaborating with other departments across campus to create new content, and watch for us to start having more shows for the public. This will help us broaden the educational mission of the planetarium.”

Johanson, an assistant professor of physics, is looking forward to using the planetarium to inspire people of all ages.

“Most people have had a fascination with astronomy sometime in their life, particularly as little children,” said Johanson. “We hope that all will rediscover that child-like wonder as they experience the awe and majesty of the cosmos in the immersive environment at the Wiley Planetarium.”

The planetarium will soon have its own website as public programming, and shows will begin to ramp up.

For more information, email planetarium@deltastate.edu.