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Faculty/Staff

Tarnisha Smith

Smith named Employee of the Month

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The Delta State University Staff Council recently honored Tarnisha Smith, coordinator of university facility reservations and calendar, as the June 2016 Employee of the Month.

Smith, a native of Drew, has been working in the Office of Student Life since 2013.

I was completely shocked when I received the award,” said Smith. “I really feel like Delta State is home, so this was just icing on the cake for me.”

Outside of work, Smith enjoys spending time with her children and family.    

Each Employee of the Month winner receives a plaque, monetary award, WalMart gift card from the Student Government Association, an engraved insulated coffee mug, a free parking decal courtesy of the Campus Police Department, a box of treats from The Sweetery, a parking spot of their choice, marquee announcement and website recognition.

For an archived list of previous winners, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/about-dsu/administration/staff-council/staff-council-employee-of-the-month/employee-of-the-month-archives/

Delta State’s Staff Council serves as a liaison between the administration and the staff to provide a formal process for staff to discuss issues involving university policies and procedures and to forward ideas, recommendations and opinions to the president.

Dr. E.E. "Butch" Caston

University recognizes Caston’s career

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

Delta State University is paying tribute to one of its most dedicated retiring employees — Dr. E.E. “Butch” Caston.

Caston, a graduate of Delta State in 1966, retires Friday after serving as interim vice president for Student Affairs since July of 2015. He has come out of retirement multiple times to serve interim roles for the institution.

“I’m looking forward to returning to retirement,” said Caston. “I have a good feeling about our accomplishments this year.”

Caston first made his professional mark at the university by serving as dean of the College of Education from 1989-2002.

“The one thing that I found coming to Delta State initially as a student, was that it’s a close and accepting environment,” said Caston. “Many years later, returning as an employee, I found that quality still existed, and it still does today.”

Caston said he leaves Delta State with nothing but pride for the university that has been a part of his life for decades.

“I’m a product of the university. I came here as a student. Delta State held me up until I could grow up. I’ll always be grateful for that,” he said.

He returned to the university in 2013 at the request of President William N. LaForge to serve as interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. His return in 2015 followed the retirement of Dr. Wayne Blansett, who served the university for 40 years.

“Butch Caston has evidenced outstanding service to Delta State by coming out of retirement twice, first in 2013 as provost, and in 2015 as vice president for Student Affairs,” said LaForge. “He was incredibly successful in both posts. The Delta State family, and I in particular, will be eternally grateful to him for his dedication and loyalty. He was on outstanding member of Delta State leadership for years. I deeply appreciate him for his commitment of time and effort to the university.

“I’ve joked with him already, but I wish him better luck in his next effort at retiring.”

President Emeritus Dr. Kent Wyatt, who worked with Caston when he was dean, echoed LaForge’s praise.

“Delta State University was fortunate to attract Dr. Butch Caston back to his alma mater when he accepted administrative roles in the College of Education,” said Wyatt. “Through his leadership and innovative ideas, he helped make Delta State University the outstanding regional university it is today. Dr. Caston’s love for Delta State has been continuous and an inspiration to all. After retirement, he stepped forward in top administrative roles when his all alma mater needed him. Personally, I want to thank Butch for his loyalty and never failing friendship.”

Dr. Michelle Roberts, vice president for University Relations and Chief of Staff, said she will greatly miss Caston’s presence on campus.

“I have had the opportunity to watch Dr. Caston excel in many different areas at Delta State, and in every role, he has shined,” said Roberts. “But, in my view, his role as vice president of Student Affairs has been his crowning moment. He was a natural when it came to working with students. It’s like his personal family grew to include the thousands of Delta State students as his children.”

“Dr. Caston did not play the typical interim role,” added Roberts. “He did not view this position as simply keeping a seat warm. He rolled up his sleeves, and was determined to leave Delta State a better place than he found it. His love and passion for Delta State, our students, and this community are admirable, and the service he has provided our university has been extraordinary. Dr. Caston exemplifies the spirit of the Delta State family, and he is indeed a true Statesmen.”

Mikel Sykes, a senior at Delta State, has worked closely with Dr. Caston, most recently during Sykes’s two terms as Student Government Association president.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with Dr. Caston the past couple of years, especially seeing how much he cares about the student experience,” said Sykes. “He’s been a leader I’ve looked up to during my time in the SGA. We all wish him the best in retirement.”

Taking over for Caston is Dr. Vernell Bennett. Bennett arrives at Delta State after previously serving in the same role at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky. Her extensive experience at KSU enabled her to foster collaborations between Student Affairs and Academic Affairs, faculty, staff, students, the administration and community.

Follow all Delta State University news at www.deltastate.edu.

Dr. Leslie Griffin, dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences.

Griffin continues role with MAPE

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

Dr. Leslie Griffin, dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences at Delta State, will continue her volunteer service as second vice president on the board of the Mississippi Association of Partners in Education.

MAPE has served as a non-profit network of educators and community partners since 1984 and is one of just a few statewide partnership organizations of its kind in the U.S. The organization is committed solely to providing training and materials to help build local support for the success of all students.

Griffin is returning to fulfill her term in the second vice president role. Newly elected MAPE officers began their terms on June 1.

Veteran board member Phil Hardwick of The Hardwick Company, LLC, was elected president. Board member Maggie Stevenson of Mississippi Public Broadcasting was elected first vice president, and Vickie Powell of Mississippi Economic Council was re-elected secretary. Patrice Guilfoyle of the Mississippi Department of Education returns as treasurer. Past president is Suzanne Bean, education and leadership consultant.

This year, MAPE welcomed new board members Kameron Ball of C Spire, Sumesh Arora of Innovate Mississippi and Sherwin Johnson of Jackson Public Schools.

Former directors re-elected to the board are: Debbie Anglin of Pascagoula-Gautier School District, Jane Beach of Parents for Public Schools, Sandi Beason of Clinton School District, Michael Bentley of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, Nadine Gilbert of Jackson State University, Susan King of Mississippi Department of Transportation and Rebecca Starling, retired partnership coordinator for Jackson Public Schools.

Board members returning to fulfill remaining terms are Everett Chinn of Greenville Public Schools, Beth Fisher of Trustmark and Linda Southward of the Social Science Research Center at Mississippi State University.

On Aug. 23, MAPE will present the 2016 Winter-Reed Partnership Award to Oleta Fitzgerald, Southern Regional director of the Children’s Defense Fund, during a tribute luncheon at the Clyde Muse Center in Pearl. Sponsorship opportunities are available by contacting MAPE at 601-573-0896 or visiting www.mapie.org. Individual tickets for the awards banquet are $75 and may be purchased online at www.mapie.org or from MAPE, P.O. Box 2803, Madison, MS 39130.

MAPE was designated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 1994.

This summer's interns at GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi include: (left to right) Holly Ruth Pitts, Katie Ann Locke, Gregory Braggs, LindseyAnna Pardue and Mary Parker Janoush.

DMI students shine as GRAMMY Museum interns

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

A number of Delta Music Institute students are making their mark at GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi this summer as museum interns.

The museum, which opened on Delta State’s campus in March, is providing unique opportunities for entertainment industry majors enrolled at the DMI.

“Because Delta State is a designated GRAMMY Affiliate University, the partnership between DSU and GRAMMY Museum Mississippi immediately places our students in a professional network of music and entertainment industry professionals,” said Tricia Walker, director of the DMI. “We hope that the knowledge students have gained in the classroom will be reinforced in a professional work setting. It’s important for them to begin to make that transition from student to professional, and their internship experience is critically important in that transition.”

DMI students Gregory Braggs and LindseyAnna Pardue are currently enjoying their internship responsibilities.

“This has been a great learning experience so far,” said Braggs. “It’s given me the opportunity to work with new equipment and troubleshoot issues. A lot of things I’ve learned at the DMI, I’m using here, and it’s great to work in this environment.”

Braggs, who works as an operations/production intern, edits publicity videos, operates visual equipment for different events and programs, and helps design publicity material. Pardue is serving as an administrative intern, where she assists the administrative coordinator with daily operations, and assists with office management projects and tasks.

Former DMI student Katie Ann Locke is also serving as an administrative intern. Other interns include University of Mississippi students Holly Ruth Pitts and Mary Parker Janoush.

Mary Parker is the daughter of Lucy Janoush ‘78, president of the Cleveland Music Foundation and a key figure in making the museum a reality in Cleveland. Lucy was named the 2015 Delta State University Alumnus of the Year.

And the ties to the DMI run deeper thanks to the museum’s administrative coordinator, Chace Holland, a DMI graduate in 2015.

“I like seeing the different opportunities the Grammy Museum has brought here, especially to the students,” said Holland. “It’s good to give back to Delta State and the DMI program so all the students can have similar opportunities I had as a student. The relationship is a great one, and it’s going to grow exponentially with everything that’s being offered here.”

Walker is thrilled to have DMI students at the museum.

“The internship opportunities at GRAMMY Museum Mississippi provide valuable ‘real world’ experience for our entertainment industry students in the areas of audio/video production, event management, and marketing/promotion,” said Walker. “It’s also important for them to develop their people skills in working with the public, whether that be visitors to the museum or clients using the facilities for specific events.”

To inquire about future internship opportunities at the museum, contact Robin Webb, visitor experience coordinator. Webb, also a DMI graduate, can be reached at rwebb@grammymuseumms.org.

For more information on the DMI, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-arts-and-sciences/dmi-delta-music-institute-homepage/. To learn more about GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, visit http://www.grammymuseumms.org/.

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Accreditation for Delta State business programs reaffirmed

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

The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) Baccalaureate/Graduate Degree Board of Commissioners has reaffirmed accreditation of the business programs within Delta State University’s College of Business.

Established in 1988, ACBSP is the only organization offering specialized business accreditation for all degree levels, from associate to baccalaureate to doctoral degree programs. ACBSP accreditation certifies that the teaching and learning processes within the College of Business at Delta State University meet the rigorous educational standards established by ACBSP.
Delta State was first accredited by ACBSP in 1995. The college is required to go through the reaffirmation process every 10 years to maintain the accreditation.

“Delta State University has shown their commitment to teaching excellence and to the process of quality improvement by participating in the accreditation process,” said Dr. Steve Parscale, ACBSP chief accreditation officer, who will present the Certificate of Reaffirmation of Accreditation at ACBSP Conference 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia on June 19.

“This reaffirmation of accreditation is evidence that Delta State University is committed to maintaining the highest quality business education for their students for the next 10 years, just as they have done since 1995,” added Parscale.

Dr. Billy Moore, dean of Delta State’s College of Business, was thrilled with the reaffirmation and praise from ACBSP.

“Accreditation is a method of self-regulation and quality assurance in higher education. Reaffirmation of our ACBSP accreditation signifies that DSU’s College of Business programs continue to meet certain quality and integrity standards of management education,” said Moore. “Current and potential students, their parents, the business community, and other relevant constituents, can be assured that our college is offering current and relevant academic programs, has faculty that are highly qualified and experts in their disciplines, continues to hold itself to the highest standards of educational accountability, and are fully committed to continuous improvement. Our accreditation is good through 2026.”

“Congratulations to the faculty, staff and student body of the College of Business on accomplishing this significant milestone,” Moore added. “This reaffirmation is the result of their teamwork and commitment to providing a high-quality educational experience for our students.”

Delta State’s Dr. Charles McAdams, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, was also pleased with the reaffirmation.

“I thank the College of Business faculty and staff for their ongoing commitment to excellence and the concept of continuous improvement,” said McAdams. “Reaccreditation by the ACBSP provides an external validation of the quality of the programs in that college. The process used to obtain this reaffirmation is arduous, and I congratulate Dean Moore and his faculty for their work on this significant accomplishment.”

The mission of the College of Business is to prepare students for the marketplace by providing challenging educational opportunities. Service to the community, the profession and the university is a vital aspect of the college’s mission. By nurturing cooperative relationships with business and industry, service organizations, and other institutions, the college will remain dynamic and its activities relevant.

ACBSP’s mission is to promote continuous improvement and recognize excellence in the accreditation of business education programs around the world. ACBSP, www.acbsp.org, is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as a specialized accreditation agency for business education. ACBSP currently has 1,215 member campuses, 235 of which are located outside of the U.S. Of those campuses, 951 have achieved accreditation and 167 are in candidacy for accreditation. Individual members on these campuses now exceed 13,000.

For more information about Delta State University’s College of Business, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-business/.