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Faculty and students from KUL in Lublin, Poland hosted the Delta State group for a final dinner during the cultural exchange between the two universities.

Delta State completes exchange in Poland

By | Academics, Faculty/Staff, International, Students | No Comments

A Delta State University delegation recently returned from a successful cultural exchange with a partner institution, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin (KUL) in Lublin, Poland.

A select group of four Delta State students, one faculty member and one staff member spent two weeks aboard for the intensive exchange.

KUL is one of several international universities with which Delta State has signed a memorandum of understanding to further develop international exchanges. Delta State hosted a group of KUL faculty and students in October 2015.

The trip, coordinated by DSU International Student Services, marked the first opportunity for Delta State students to visit KUL’s campus, observe classes, learn about college life in Poland, and gain hands-on knowledge of Polish culture.

Students attending the trip included: Scottie Willis, a senior from Byram, Mississippi; Katherine Jackson, a junior from Cleveland, Mississippi; Maria Clara Belisário, a junior from Belo Horizonte, Brazil; and Paxton Stratton, a freshman from Fort Worth, Texas.

“As soon as we flew out of the U.S. for Poland, everything was new to everybody —and that is something that we wanted to offer our students,” said Dr. A.H.M. Ali Reza, assistant professor of biology at Delta State, who also led the group as the university’s international partnership liaison. “Several of our students had never traveled outside the country, and this cultural exchange trip offered them a significant amount of experiences they can utilize throughout their entire life.

“The education system, culture, environment, food, interaction with fellow students — everything that the students experienced during this trip was priceless. You can only get it through an opportunity like this.”

Paulina Liszka, teaching assistant in the Faculty of Law, Canon Law and Administration at KUL, was one of the leading figurse during Delta State’s visit. Liszka was also part of the group that visited Delta State in 2015.

Delta State students taking part in a course at KUL.

Delta State students taking part in a course at KUL.

“Delta State’s visit to Lublin was a fantastic way to get an understanding of Polish history and culture, as well as the university environment,” said Liszka. “This was definitely a life-changing, mind-broadening experience for both sides, and we hope to continue developing cooperation between our universities. Thanks to such international cooperation, we can gain a much greater understanding of other cultures, as well as global issues.”

The trip featured a number of academic highlights, including an international seminar, during which DSU and KUL students presented speeches about systems of education, law and culture in both the U.S. and Poland. Reza also provided a formal lecture on American environmental law.

The students were also able to observe and participate in a KUL course taught in English, providing them a first-hand glance at the Polish university setting.

“The best part about this trip was getting to spend time with the students and see what university life is like in Poland,” said Jackson. “We attended their classes, hung out in the places they usually hang out in, and did the things they do everyday. That made me feel like less of an outsider and realize that college life is universal. On top of that, this trip made me appreciate the little things I take for granted everyday in America.”

Additionally, Reza met with KUL officials and faculty members to discuss future exchanges that would be open to students, faculty and staff at both universities. Among the leaders he met with were: Dean Piotr Stanisz; Tomasz Kostecki, director of International Exchange; professor Sławomir Łukasiewicz; professor Katarzyna Maćkowska, and professor Anna Haladyj.

Dr. Reza lecturing to KUL students.

Dr. Reza lecturing to KUL students.

Rory Doyle, photographer and news writer at Delta State, documented the trip.

“I was thoroughly impressed with the quality education at KUL and the quality of its students,” said Doyle. “We had a number of KUL students help coordinate our visit, and we couldn’t have done it without them. It was a unique exchange for our Delta State group, and I know that we feel privileged and grateful to be given so much access to KUL, their faculty and students — and the special aspects of Polish culture.”

The group also had the opportunity to visit Poland’s capital, Warsaw, and the second largest city, Kraków. Not far from Kraków is Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, a former Nazi concentration camp. The visit greatly impacted the entire group.

“In life, there are so many things you never forget — your first kiss, your favorite teacher, your first car, and even your first true friend,” said Willis. “I added another to my list of unforgettable events. I visited the historic Auschwitz Concentration Camp. To say that it was a humbling experience would be an inadequate description. It was life-changing. For years, we learned about the Holocaust, but to physically walk where they walked definitely invoked feelings of pain and sorrow

The group had the opportunity to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The group had the opportunity to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau.

for those who were forced to endure such things. I’ll never forget the day I walked to the gates of Auschwitz.”

Dr. Christy Riddle, executive director of International Student Services and the Student Success Center at Delta State, added that the university will continue to strengthen ties with KUL and other international institutions.

“These trips offer our students the opportunity for first-hand insights into the global world by putting what they learn in the classroom into perspective,” said Riddle. “The KUL trip was an exciting way to expand DSU’s international opportunities, and it has opened the door for future exchange opportunities with KUL, both for DSU students traveling there and KUL students traveling here. We are already in discussions for a spring 2017 class with a trip planned for next summer.”

Follow all international partnership developments at www.deltastate.edu.

Delta State recently kicked off its 12th Literacy Across the Curriculum Institute for Teachers of Grades 6-12 .

COEHS hosts 12th Literacy Across the Curriculum Institute

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

Delta State University’s College of Education and Human Sciences kicked off its 12th Literacy Across the Curriculum Institute for Teachers of Grades 6-12 (LACI) on Wednesday. The institute is designed to enable teachers in middle and secondary schools to effectively incorporate the teaching of literacy skills in their respective content areas.

“LACI’s curriculum will be rigorous and broad in scope to enable both new and experienced teachers to attain highly qualified status according to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001,” said Dr. Merideth Van Namen, LACI director. “Participants will gain skills regarding the Mississippi Curriculum Frameworks, test blueprints provided by the Mississippi Department of Education, College and Career Ready Standards, national standards, and data driven instruction and performance based assessments.”

LACI is provided through the support of the No Child Left Behind Act: Improving Teacher Quality State Grant.

Participants in this year’s institute represent various school districts from the Mississippi Delta who are eager to improve their classroom instruction and student performance. They will attend the 22-day institute, which includes one session in June and follow-up sessions.

“I am truly excited. I am so eager to learn how to improve my classroom,” said participant Brandy Davis. “I’m hoping this is also the push I need to continue learning by getting my master’s in education.”

Along with Van Namen, the LACI administrative team includes Dr. Janet Parker, instructor, and Pam Maxwell, instructor.

Contact Van Namen at mvannamen@deltastate.edu or 662-846-4412 for more information.

Beverly Lindsey has been named to the position of university comptroller.

Lindsey promoted to comptroller

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Delta State University recently announced the promotion of Beverly Lindsey to the position of comptroller. Lindsey officially begins her new role June 1.

Lindsey, who previously served as assistant comptroller, takes over for Jamie Rutledge, who was recently promoted to vice president for Finance & Administration.

“I am very appreciative for this opportunity to continue to work for Delta State and with the great people in our department,” said Lindsey. “I look forward to learning more about elements of the positions that I have had a supporting role in, and continue to help Delta State move in the positive direction our administration is guiding us.”

“The accounting department is made up of a great group of people, and I am very honored to work with them,” she added. “I look forward to continuing the precedent set by Jamie Rutledge and helping the university succeed so that it remains a great place to work, as well as a great university for students to come and get an outstanding education.”

Lindsey, a Delta State accounting graduate in 1989, has 13 years of experience working in the university’s accounting department.

She has worked in numerous roles for the department — starting as an accountant, then working her way to payroll administrator, procurement manager and assistant comptroller.

“I’m very excited that Beverly has been appointed to the comptroller role,” said Rutledge. “She’s extremely familiar with university accounting processes, procedures and the software. She’s a hard worker, dedicated and loyal to Delta State.”

Lindsey was born and raised in Cleveland, where she attended Cleveland High School. She has been married to her husband and fellow Delta State graduate, John, for 24 years. They have two daughters who attend Bayou Academy.

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

Dr. Vernell Bennett has been named the new vice president of Student Affairs.

Bennett named VP of Student Affairs

By | Faculty/Staff, President, Students | No Comments

Delta State University President William N. LaForge recently announced the hiring of Dr. Vernell Bennett for the position of vice president of Student Affairs.

Bennett replaces Dr. E.E. “Butch” Caston, who had filled the role on an interim basis following the retirement of Dr. Wayne Blansett, who served the university for four decades.

Bennett will officially take office July 1, pending IHL Board approval, but will begin the transition process on June 15.

I am honored to join Delta State University as the newest member of the great executive team President LaForge has built,” said Bennett. “To say that I’m eager to work with the students the university educates is an understatement. It is truly exciting to join forces with engaged faculty, staff and community members to help Delta State University continue its long legacy of service and excellence.”

In the role, she will serve as the chief student affairs officer for the university. This position is responsible for providing leadership and administrative direction to a comprehensive Student Affairs Division, which complements and supports the academic mission of Delta State.

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. At KSU, Bennett oversaw a personnel and operating budget of $5 million and a scholarship budget of $2.6 million.

Prior to her VP role at KSU, she served as the university’s assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion, the senior advisor to Academic Affairs, and as a presidential liaison.

She holds a doctorate in instruction and administration from the University of Kentucky, received her master’s from Eastern Michigan University and her bachelor’s degree from Fisk University.

Bennett’s professional memberships include: The Council on Student Affairs; The National Association of Student Affairs Professionals; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated; The Links, Incorporated; and the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.

Additionally, she has a background in teaching music courses, including voice instruction, elements of music, phonetics and dictation, and more.

President LaForge said he was thrilled to bring Bennett’s leadership to campus.

“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Bennett to Delta State,” said LaForge. “She brings a wealth of talent and experience to the position of vice president for Student Affairs, and I know she will have a terrific impact on our students and our campus culture. I look forward to her contributions to our leadership team.”

A selection committee, chaired by Dr. Temika Simmons, assistant professor of psychology, was formed in order to guide the national search for the position. Finalists recently visited the Delta State campus and spent time meeting with various groups including the President’s Cabinet, Academic Council, division directors and the search committee, along with addressing open forums attended by faculty, staff and students.

Along with Simmons, search committee members included: Michael Lipford, Dr. David Hebert, Marilyn Read, Mike Kinnison, Diana McLemore, Dr. David Breaux, Betsy Elliott, Porter Leftwich, Mikel Sykes (student), Allie Rose Parker (student) and Lisa Giger (ex-officio).

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

Elizabeth Joel

Joel named Employee of the Month

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The Delta State University Staff Council recently honored Elizabeth Joel, coordinator of Continuing Education, as the April 2016 Employee of the Month.

Joel, a native of Doddsville, has been a staff member at Delta State for nearly six years.

I am honored to receive Employee of the Month from my peers at Delta State,” said Joel. “I could not accomplish what I do without the support of the other staff members in Graduate and Continuing Studies, and those across campus who I work with on a daily basis.”

She is a 2005 Delta State graduate with a degree in fashion merchandising.

Joel currently resides in Cleveland with her husband, Jeff Joel, and their two children, Justin (12) and Anna James (3).    

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.