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Continuing Education

TFA Graduate Fellows complete retreat

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Delta State University’s Graduate and Continuing Studies department recently completed its second annual immersion retreat for the Teach For America Graduate Fellows Program.

The program is a collaboration between Teach For America and Delta State University, offering 20 Teach For America alumni support while working to launch and run a social entrepreneurship project in the Mississippi communities they serve, while also completing a graduate degree program of their interest.

This year’s cohort includes: AK Suggs, Alexis Williams, Catie Denham, Charlotte Arrowsmith, JJ Townsend, Kaitlyn Barton, Latasha Capers, Leigh Hill, Lucas Rapisarda, MK Honeycutt, and Sean Brown.

The retreat offered the fellows the opportunity to refine their leadership skills while also being introduced to entrepreneurial perspectives when tackling social problems. Additionally, the cohort was required to disconnect from their day-to-day stresses and devote all their energy for four days to the retreat. The cohort had the privilege of staying at a cabin directly on the Mississippi River which allowed for stunning sights and sounds, refreshing walks and a beautiful setting to collaborate.

Participants focused on the expansion of their proposed social venture projects through vision setting, customer discovery, probes and prototypes. Spud Marshall served as the facilitator for the retreat. Marshall is the chief catalyst for co.space, an international network of homes for change-makers that launched in State College, Pennsylvania. He is also the co-founder of New Leaf, a nonprofit social innovation incubator in State College.

“We offered the cohort tangible tools for them to use by providing a framework and space to plan out the implementation and design of their projects,” said program coordinator Harrison Wood. “Our retreat was an incredible success. They became more than simply a group of TFA alumni, but rather, a group that will continue to intentionally support and collaborate with one another as they make steps towards change in Mississippi over the next two years.”

The group also visited with Ben Lewis and Amanda Johnson, who are both leading social enterprises in Clarksdale. The trip provided fellows an opportunity to visualize and learn from entrepreneurs who have pursued ventures positioned in a rural area. Wrapping up their visit to Clarksdale, the cohort canoed the Mississippi River with John Ruskey of Quapaw Canoe Company, fostering a team-building experience for the participants.

To complete the fellowship, each participant will focus on social entrepreneurship, while simultaneously completing a graduate degree at Delta State. The cohort will regularly convene to share experiences in a collaborative environment, allowing participants to develop goals.

“We’re delighted that our alumni have an opportunity to further invest their talents and demonstrate their devotion to Mississippi and the Delta in this structured, creative way,” said Teach For America’s Ron Nurnberg. “It’s been terrific for me to see this opportunity move from dream, to discussion, to planning, to unfurling. I’m eager to see this potential unleashed and improving the quality of life for all of us.”

The project is funded through a grant from the Robert M. Hearin Foundation. The principal goal of the foundation is to contribute to the overall economic advancement of the state of Mississippi by making funds available to four-year colleges and universities and graduate professional schools located in the state.

For more information on the program, visit www.tfafellows.com.

Complete 2 Compete Initiative launches website

By | Academics, Continuing Education, IHL | No Comments
Officials, including (left to right) Steve Jaworowski, LK Marketing; John Davis, DHS; Stephanie Bullock, IHL; Governor Phil Bryant; Dr. Andrea Mayfield, MCCB; Dr. Glenn Boyce, IHL; Dr. Casey Turnage, IHL; and Audra Kimble, MCCB; gather to announce the launch of the Complete 2 Compete website.

The portal to a better future is just a click away for thousands of Mississippians. The Complete 2 Compete website provides information and resources available to help Mississippi adults who have completed some college, but not a degree, to return to college and complete the requirements necessary to earn their degrees.

“Complete 2 Compete will grow our skilled, educated workforce, in turn growing economic development across the state,” said Governor Phil Bryant. “This partnership will ensure Mississippi remains attractive to business and industry looking for a favorable tax climate and a workforce ready to excel on day one. I am grateful to everyone involved in making it a reality.”

The website will serve as an important resource for thousands of Mississippians:

  • More than 2,400 former students age 21 or over have enough credits to earn a bachelor’s degree with no additional coursework
  • An additional 28,000 students have enough credits to earn an associates degree with no additional coursework
  • More than 100,000 former students can earn either an associates or bachelor’s degree with some additional coursework

“This website provides important information that can have life-changing results for many Mississippians,” said Dr. Glenn Boyce, commissioner of Higher Education. “Workforce studies have shown that the vast majority of future jobs will go to those with a postsecondary degree or credential of value beyond high school. I would encourage individuals to access this website as it could be an important first step in helping them achieve a goal that will ultimately lead to a better, higher-paying job and greater job and financial security.”

Mississippi Public Universities, the Mississippi Community College Board and the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges are partners in the effort to identify target groups, implement adult learner services and re-engage adult students to help them complete their degrees.

“As a statewide initiative, Complete 2 Compete has the potential to impact hundreds of thousands of Mississippians,” said Dr. Andrea Mayfield, executive director of the Mississippi Community College Board. “Expanding career and wage opportunities are just two, of many, benefits of Complete 2 Compete. I am excited to see this collaborative effort become a reality. Without the partnership and efforts of many, this initiative would not be possible. I look forward to the positive impact on individuals, employers, and Mississippi’s economy.”

The Mississippi Department of Human Services has provided funding through a grant designed to help low-income Mississippians improve their job skills.

“The Mississippi Department of Human Services proudly supports the Complete 2 Compete Project,” said John Davis, executive director of  MDHS. “Our generation plus approach at MDHS begins by addressing poverty as well as associated barriers encountered by Mississippi families. The approach is designed with an intentional focus on working with the family as a whole. Education is one of the key components to create a foundational framework​ for individuals along their pathway to independence. The Complete 2 Compete Project perfectly aligns with our efforts to holistically assist households obtain livable wages.”

The Mississippi Department of Employment Security also provided a grant for the program.

There is no cost for submitting information through the C2C website and doing so may help an individual determine how close they are to completing degree requirements. Depending on what programs are needed to satisfy an individual’s career and educational interests, the Complete 2 Compete website will match him or her to a list of schools that offer the classes needed to complete a degree.

Tuition and fees for enrollment in courses may be assessed according to the established tuition and fee schedule at each institution. Some incentives, including academic forgiveness, virtual tutoring, adult learner scholarships and tuition assistance, prior learning assessment and repayment plan options may be available at some of the institutions.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

 

Full slate of summer courses available at Delta State

By | Academics, Community, Continuing Education, Faculty/Staff, Students | No Comments

Summer at Delta State University offers a number of opportunities for students to stay on track on their path to graduation.

“Summer school is a great way to get ahead with coursework, catch up on credits, boost your GPA and get pre-requisites out of the way,” said Dr. Christy Riddle, executive director of the Student Success Center at Delta State. “Taking one or two courses each summer may allow you to graduate sooner and start your career earlier — which leads to earning a salary instead of paying college tuition.”

A full list of courses offered during Summer I and Summer II sessions is available online.

Instead of taking a course for four months during the fall or spring semesters, summer school courses are condensed to five weeks. The university offers online and on-campus courses in a variety of subjects that count towards general education requirements or for specific majors. 

“Moving home for the summer? No problem,” said Riddle. “DSU’s online courses allow students to take classes from anywhere in the world.”

Students can also go ahead and register for summer courses during Pre-Registration Week from April 3-7. By meeting with academic advisors, students can register for both summer and fall classes.

Dr. Beverly Moon, dean of Graduate & Continuing Studies and Research at Delta State, added that summer coursework provides many opportunities for high students and community members alike.

“So many courses we offer appeal to the wide community,” said Moon. “Those include HPER courses such as swimming, art courses, the blues curriculum, and many others such as personal finance, the history of rock ‘n’ roll, astronomy, karate, or even a computer course.”  

Another benefit is that those signing up for courses don’t necessarily need to be degree-seeking students.

“Many students take a course or two for continuing education credits, or as a requirement for a job,” added Moon. “Some sign up for credit towards a degree somewhere else, to try a new subject, or just for self-gratification.”

Delta Blaze Competition Cheer Program racks up wins

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The Delta Blaze Competition Cheer Program, sponsored by Delta State Continuing Education, began the 2016-17 season at the Critique Kickoff Competition in Jackson on Nov. 12. The 32 team members, coached by Cheryl Turner and assistants, competed against teams from across the southern states.

The Junior Level 1 and Junior Level 2 squads returned to Cleveland with first place team banners from their wining routines.

Under the individual routine category, Bella Morgan received 2nd place in Mini Level 1, Madison Jefcoat received 1st place in Senior Level 3, Lily Naron received 2nd place in Youth Level 3, Caitlyn Smith received 4th place in Youth Level 3, Carlie Rogers received 2nd place in Junior Level 2, Haley Bassie received 3rd 4th place in Junior Level 3, and Machia Franklin received 2nd place in Youth Level 2.

All Delta Blaze squads and individual routines earned bids for the Emerald Coast Nationals that will be held in Florida in April of 2017.

“This is a great start to the new season. Dedication and hard word do pay off, and this is only the beginning for these girls,” said Turner. “The judges expect teams to get better through the season. Now it’s time to practice even harder, make our stunts and tumbling harder, and work on technique in all elements of our routine.”

Delta Blaze members include: Junior Level 1 – Kamiyah Burchfield, Mia Delahoussaye, Sara Peyton Edwards, Virginia Harris, Sarah Hendon, Carter Kittle, Daylen Kittrell, Rivers Langston, Ryley Massey, Katelyn Massey, Ann Gerard Mohamed, Emma Oswalt. Junior Level 2 – Amber Kirsten Allen, Gracie Day Bishop, Mary Ella Chicorelli, Sara Peyton Edwards, Jordan Ferrell, Mary Michael Fioranelli, Ella Fioranelli, Machia Franlin, Virginia Harris, Sophie Hays, Sarah Hendon, Daylen Kittrell, Rivers Langston, Mary Cambre Lee, Kirstin Lucas, Carrie Maggio, Bylar Malloy, Ryley Massey, Katelyn Massey, Ann Gerard Mohamed, Peyton Murry, Emma Oswalt, Elizabeth James Sanders, Caitlyn Smith. Individual routine participants – Caitlyn Smith, Machia Franklin, Lily Naron, Madison Jefcoat, Bella Morgan, Carlie Rogers, Haley Bassie.

Delta Blaze, a competition program from Delta AllStars Cheer, is organized through Delta State Continuing Education. Multiple level cheer and tumbling technique classes are offered for ages four and up throughout the year. For those interested signing your child up for cheer and tumbling classes, contact Elizabeth Joel, coordinator, at 662-846-4700.

Delta State celebrates Perm State centennial in Perm, Russia

By | Academics, Continuing Education, Faculty/Staff, International, QEP, Student Success Center | No Comments

Earlier this month, a Delta State University delegation traveled to Perm State University in Perm, Russia to strengthen ongoing relations between the two institutions.

The Delta State group had the honor of visiting during Perm State’s historic centennial celebrations.

“I was privileged to represent Delta State University at the centennial celebrations of our partner school Perm State University,” said Dr. Charles McAdams, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Delta State. “They had several ceremonial activities and functions celebrating this significant event, and it was important for Delta State to show support for our partner.”

In addition to the celebrations, Perm State held two academic symposia. McAdams presented a session on academic leadership. Dr. Beverly Moon, dean of Graduate & Continuing Studies & Research at Delta State, Dr. Christy Riddle, executive director of International Student Services and the Student Success Center, and Michelle Johansen, coordinator of the Quality Enhancement Plan, presented on the topic of Delta State’s “Quality Enhancement Plan: Intercultural Competence.”

The group was hosted by Perm State professor Svetlana Polyakova, who also orchestrated Delta State’s student exchange at Perm State in 2015.

Delta State provided a customized glass award honoring Perm State on their centennial, and in exchange, Perm State gave Delta State a slice of a branch from a birch tree, encased in glass and wood. The tree was a young sapling when the school was founded in 1916.

Moon said the trip was the next step in developing future exchanges at both universities.

“Developing partnerships such as the one between Perm State and Delta State will greatly benefit our students and faculty,” said Moon. “We hope to work up some exchanges and research opportunities that improve our students’ global understanding and their intercultural competencies — and provide meaningful faculty development.”

The group was also fortunate to be part of a celebration during the centennial week attended by the U.S. Consul General from Yekaterinburg, Marcus Micheli. The consulate in Yekaterinburg has been providing consular services to U.S. and Russian citizens since 1994. Its activities include the issuance of U.S. passports, reports of birth of a U.S. citizen abroad, and adjudication of nonimmigrant visas.

“One of my big takeaways from the trip was the importance of putting aside media perceptions about international relations,” said Johansen. “Every interaction I had with people in Russia was positive and enlightening, even when discussing difficult topics like politics. I feel fortunate to have had this incredible experience and will use these connections to Perm State as part of QEP programming and the courses I teach.”

President LaForge (left) and Dr. McAdams with the centennial gift from Perm State University.

President LaForge (left) and Dr. McAdams with the centennial gift from Perm State University.

Johansen said after each presentation provided by the Delta State delegation, Perm State students and faculty wanted more information about studying at DSU, the Student Success Center’s programs, and cultural competency events.

“DSU students benefit from these international exchanges because they improve their intercultural communication skills and gain real world experience in navigating today’s globalized society,” added Johansen. “I kept thinking about how DSU and Perm State students have a lot in common as young people. I’m looking forward to more DSU students having amazing adventures through international travel.”

The two universities have already conducted numerous student and faculty exchanges in recent years.

Delta State President William N. LaForge first became affiliated with Perm State as a visiting professor in 2008. He returned to the university as a Fulbright Fellow in 2011 and in May of 2015. Additionally, he has continued to network with Perm colleagues since taking office at Delta State in 2013.

Thanks to a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State, a group of Delta Music Institute students and faculty completed a two-week exchange at Perm State in May of 2015. Learn more about this trip at http://www.deltastate.edu/russia.

Polyakova and a number of Perm State students, faculty and staff have also made return trips to Delta State for exchanges.

To learn more about Quality Enhancement Plan at Delta State, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/academics/institutional-research-and-planning/sacs-2014-reaffirmation/quality-enhancement-plan-2014/.