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College of Arts and Sciences

Panel and book signing to honor Margaret Block

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The Delta State University Quality Enhancement Plan, and the DSU Diversity Committee invites the public to a special panel and book signing Sept. 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives and Museum Building. The event is titled “In Remembrance of Margaret Block, Civil Rights Movement Organizer: Voting Rights, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.”

During the week of Sept. 6-11, the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP) at the University of Florida, returns to the Mississippi Delta to conduct oral history research on the civil rights movement in Mississippi and the American South. A highlight of this year’s trip will be the public panel. The event is co-sponsored by Delta State University and the University of Florida.

The panel will focus on “Voting Rights, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” and the event will honor the memory of Margaret Block, an organizer of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Bolivar County in the 1960s. Block was a life-long human rights activist.

The panel will begin with the world premier screening of a new documentary titled “Celebrating the Life of Margaret Block, Civil Rights Activist.” The first 50 audience members and educators who attend the event will receive a free copy of the Margaret Block Remembrance DVD, as well as a booklet copy of SPOHP’s award-winning “I Will Never Forget: Memories from Mississippi Freedom Summer,” which contains first-hand accounts from SNCC veterans on the Freedom Movement in the 1960s.

This year’s panel will feature Mississippi State University’s Jason Ward, who will discuss his new book, “Hanging Bridge: Racial Violence, and America’s Civil Right Century.” The book was recently published by Oxford University Press. Ward will be signing copies of his book after the discussion.

Delta State instructor of political science, Arlene Story Sanders, will discuss voting restrictions in Mississippi. Sanders is chair of the DSU Diversity Advisory Committee.

Rounding out the panel will be Paul Ortiz, author of the award-winning books “Emancipation Betrayed” and “Remembering Jim Crow.” Ortiz will speak about voting rights and democracy in the United States.

Since 2008, SPOHP has worked under the guidance of a number of organizations during this annual civil rights history field work trip. These include the Sunflower County Civil Rights Organization, the Sam Block Civil Rights Organization, the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture, Veterans for Peace, United Food & Commercial Workers, as well as the Equal Justice Initiative and the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama. Each of the interviews collected during the history of the project are publicly accessible to all at the University of Florida’s Mississippi Delta Freedom Project Digital Collection, which can be accessed at http://ufdc.ufl.edu/freedom

Panel co-sponsors include: the Delta State University Quality Enhancement Plan, the DSU Diversity Committee, the University of Florida Office Of Research, the Robert and Gay Zieger Social Justice Scholarship Fund, William De Grove and Mark Proctor.

For more information about the panel, contact Sanders at asanders@deltastate.edu or Ortiz at portiz@ufl.edu.

Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series begins tonight

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

The Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series launches tonight at 7 p.m. with the Southern Komfort Brass Band, bringing the joy of free, live music to downtown Cleveland’s Green Space for the next 10 weeks.

Thanks to a $25,000 matching grant from the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, a private family foundation supporting the largest free outdoor concert series in America, the Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series promises high quality entertainment and good times for everyone.

Taylor Henry

Taylor Henry

Those attending are encouraged to bring family and friends, along with picnic blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy the open lawn setting of the Green Space.

All Levitt AMP concerts are free and open to the public.

Visit www.levittamp.org/cleveland for the full concert series and location information.

Nashville’s Taylor Henry, a pop-rock craftsman pairing his pure tenor voice with rhythmic, soulful guitar, is slated for Sept. 8, and the music of Scotland, Ireland, and early America with Chambless & Muse on Sept. 13.

chambless & muse

Chambless & Muse

 

King receives John S. and Jutta Karnstedt Ferretti Fellowship

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Delta State’s Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program (MA-LS) is proud to announce the 2016 John S. and Jutta Karnstedt Ferretti Fellow.

This year’s recipient of the Ferretti Fellowship is Brenton King, who earned his bachelor’s degree in Social Science Education from Delta State in 2016. King is a native of Inverness, Mississippi, and a very deserving recipient, according to Dr. Charles Westmoreland, assistant professor of history and coordinator of the MA-LS program.

“Brent King is a terrific young scholar with a great passion for education and a bright future,” said Westmoreland. “We are proud to recognize him as this year’s Ferretti Fellow. “Brent’s commitment to learning makes him a fitting recipient of the fellowship, which goes to an incoming MA-LS student and honors both Mrs. Jutta Ferretti and her husband, John. Nobody embodies a commitment to lifelong education and service better than Mrs. Ferretti. She is a Delta State treasure and her presence, energy and support is a true blessing to the university family. We in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program want to thank her for her dedication to our students.”

The degree program is one of only a few in the South and provides graduate-level, interdisciplinary expertise in literature, history, gender and diversity studies, globalization studies, and the humanities in general.

The fellowship is made possible by a $10,000 gift from Ferretti and her late husband John. Ferretti graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies degree in 2010, becoming the oldest graduate in the history of Delta State at the age of 86.

“Education has always been very important to me and my late husband, John,” said Ferretti, in a previous Delta State release. “Learning in all fields affects the present and future as there is still so much to be discovered that we are not aware of today. Education also opens many doors to the students which impact lives locally, state-wide, nationally and internationally. You cannot help people in this life without being helped yourself.”

For more information about the MA-LS program and the John S. and Jutta Karnstedt Ferretti Fellowship, contact Westmoreland at 662-846-4174, or visit http://www.deltastate.edu/artsandsciences/languages-literature/master-of-arts-in-liberal-studies/.

Art gallery opens 2016-17 season August 25

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Delta State University’s Fielding Wright Art Center opens its 2016-17 season on Aug. 25 from 5-7 p.m. with an exhibition of Julia Morrisroe’s work “I’m Sorry You Were Saying?”

Morrisroe is an artist and associate professor in painting and drawing at the University of Florida. Her work explores the question of what it means to paint in an age in which digital technology has led to the proliferation and instant availability of images. She is interested in how the flood of images streaming in front of our eyes has affected the way we perceive images.

“Images can be replicated, expanded, enhanced or associated with other images — relevant or not — instantaneously,” said Morrisroe. “The simultaneity of image and experience has led to images becoming hyper-contextualized. The image can no longer exist as a single painting, but belongs to a network.”

Morrisroe creates series of abstract paintings that invite the viewer to explore this hyper-contextualized condition. In her work, patterns are repeated, inverted, rescaled, disrupted or reappear in different media. The artist’s intention is to “subvert the viewers’ desire to look at one painting, compelling a rambling, hyper-linked experience of viewing.”

She received her BFA from Northern Illinois University and her MFA from the University of Washington, and has exhibited nationally and internationally. Morrisroe has received numerous awards, grants and fellowship grants for her work. Last year, she spent time at Anadolu University in Turkey as a Mevlana Faculty Exchange Scholar.

Morrisroe will be on campus to present a public lecture on  Sept. 22 at 4 p.m in the gallery.

The Fielding Wright Art Center Gallery hours are Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gallery is closed on weekends, holidays and during semester breaks.

For more information, visit the Department of Art’s website at http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-arts-and-sciences/art/, or contact 662-846-4720. For updates and announcements of upcoming events, follow Delta State Art Department on Facebook, or join the email list.

$18 million renovations near completion at Delta State science and math facilities

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

With just a few finishing touches remaining, Delta State University’s mathematics and science facility, Caylor-White-Walters Hall, now represents one of the most state-of-the-art higher education facilities in the state.

Thanks to $18 million in capital improvement over the past few years, the building now houses top-notch equipment and laboratories for the Department of Biological Sciences, Department of Chemistry and Physics, and the Department of Mathematics within the College of Arts and Sciences.

Funding for the project came from the State of Mississippi Bureau of Buildings.

The building features laboratories for all areas of sciences including biology, chemistry, physics, DNA technology and anatomy, as well as computer labs and classrooms for mathematics curriculum. It also features a planetarium, making Delta State the only university in the state to host such a facility, and a herbarium, which is home to over 17,000 plant specimens and serves as a scientific and educational resource for researchers around the world.

Other highlights include new SMART Podium interactive displays and projectors, renovated auditoriums, a new Scanning Electron Microscope that can magnify objects 300,000 times their actual size, specialized temperature and humidity controlled rooms for animal care, new instrumentation like the 300MHz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrophotometer, and much more.

Overall, the changes allow for additional teaching and research space. Additionally, new classroom furniture and faculty offices have drastically improved the overall learning environment.

Delta State University President William N. LaForge is thrilled with the endless opportunities the new facilities will provide.

“This is a top quality feature of Delta Sate, and it represents part of what we do best,” said LaForge. “I am so pleased that we are finally nearing completion on this massive long-term renovation project. And we now, very clearly, have a state-of-the-art set of facilities, labs and equipment to serve our students and faculty. With these tools in place, our faculty will now have an enhanced ability to provide top-tier math and science education for our students — which will prepare them for graduate and professional schools, as well as exciting careers.”

Dr. Charles McAdams, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, echoed LaForge’s excitement.

“We look forward to having this important building renovated and updated. It is especially important in the sciences to have a facility that offers the latest laboratory facilities and equipment,” said McAdams. “Our graduates will leave here to go on to medical school, veterinary school, or dental school, or become a science teacher. To be successful in those professions, we owe it to them to provide the most robust and relevant academic experience possible. The renovation and upgrades to the facility will help us make significant strides in achieving this unending goal. I believe it is essential for a university to provide a physical learning environment that is supportive and conducive for teaching and for learning. Caylor-White-Walters is now a place where faculty and students look forward to come and discover the wonders of math and science.”

According to Dr. David Breaux, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, everyone is relieved to see work wrapping up in a building where students and teachers have had to adapt to the construction going on around them.

“With the end of the renovation process clearly in sight, faculty and students are overwhelmed with joy,” said Breaux. “And, as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, I am proud that we are able to offer our students courses in state-of-the-art classrooms and labs. No longer do students have to worry about dealing with broken or outdated furnishings and equipment, but can instead concentrate fully on mastering the material they are being taught.”

Katie Penton, a graduate student majoring in chemistry, appreciates the opportunity to work and study within the updated facility.

“I’ve been here since undergrad, so I’ve been around to see how far everything has come along,” said Penton. “It’s been really neat to see all the new labs, classrooms and equipment. The computer lab will be great with all the new software, and I really like the lab spaces. As a master’s student, I’ll be doing a lot of lab work and using a lot of equipment. Going into my thesis, it’s really good to know I’ll have access to these features and make my project the best it can be.”

One feature that is receiving extra attention is the planetarium, which will provide the perfect setting for astronomy courses, but will also set the stage for learning opportunities across campus and the community.

In addition to the 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 shows for the public this fall. This will help us broaden the educational mission of the planetarium.”

In April of 2016, the COAS established a two-year campaign to build a program called Integral Funding for Science Education, or InFuSE. The goal of InFuSE is to raise funds to support science education and research for Delta State students of all ages, and to increase the involvement of alumni and the community in science education.

“Science education, especially hands-on, is quite costly. In order to keep up with industry standards, we need to have current equipment to prepare our students to go into the workforce or to continue their educational careers through graduate education,” said Darlene Breux, Academic Affairs development officer. “Funding will also help the departments in their outreach efforts to support the community. It is necessary to be able to support summer STEM camps for K-12 students. In increasing STEM students, especially here in the Delta, it will help our community grow.”

Dr. Rose Strahan, who served as a mathematics faculty member at Delta State for over 40 years, has also kick started an effort to support mathematics students. She initiated the Rose Strahan Scholarship for Mathematics, which is used to support one deserving student in mathematics. She is also a donor to the Mathematics Fund, which provides funding to assist the department in its teaching, research and faculty development needs.

For more information on giving to InFuSE or one of the mathematics funds, visit the Delta State Foundation website at http://www.deltastategiving.org, and search for Instrumental Funding in Science Education, the Rose Strahan Scholarship for Mathematics, or the Mathematics Fund. You may also contact Darlene Breaux for assistance at dhbreaux@deltastate.edu or 662-846-4013.