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Faculty/Staff

Katembe named Employee of the Month

By | Faculty/Staff, Library | No Comments

The Delta State University Staff Council recently honored Margaret Katembe, acquisitions and accounting coordinator for the university library, as the February 2017 Employee of the Month.

Katembe, a native of Kenya, has been working in the library since 2013.

“Thank you for nominating me as Employee of the Month,” said Katembe. “Working in the library is a team effort environment, and it makes it such a wonderful place to work. It is extra special to be honored and appreciated in such a manner. I know we all work hard in our areas, and I appreciate my colleagues and members of the Staff Council for this nomination.”

Katembe is a two-time graduate of Delta State with a bachelor’s and master’s of business administration.

Her husband, Dr. William Katembe, is an associate professor of biology at Delta State. The couple has three children who attend the Cleveland School District.

Each Employee of the Month winner receives a plaque, monetary award, 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.

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.

Winning the Race returns March 27-28

By | Academics, Community, Faculty/Staff, President, Students, Winning the Race | No Comments
2017 Winning The Race Committee member include: (front, left to right) Dr. Rolando Herts, Dr. Billy Moore, Dr. Lekeitha Morris, Tricia Walker, Georgene Clarke, Jeanna Wilkes and Dr. Temika Simmons. Back (l to r): Dr. Charles Westmoreland, Dr. David Breaux, Sam Washington, Michelle Johansen and Davlon Miller. Members not pictured: Bryce Anderson, Dr. David Baylis, Dr. George Beals, Travis Calvin, Jondelyn Catlette, Dr. Edwin Craft, Dr. Ellen Green, Dr. Leslie Griffin, Matthew Harris, Dr. Garry Jennings, Elizabeth Joel, Paula Lindsey, Michael Lipford, Don Allan Mitchell, Cleveland Phinisee, Arlene Sanders, Jeremiah Smith, Dr. Myrtis Tabb (ex-officio), Jenn Keathley and Chante Willis.

Delta State University’s award-winning conference Winning the Race returns to campus for the fourth year on March 27-28.

Conference updates, registration and additional information are available at http://www.deltastate.edu/winning-the-race/.

This year’s conference, “Winning the Race: Advancing Education in the Mississippi Delta,” is presented in partnership with the Casey Family Programs and the Mississippi Humanities Council and will focus on identifying educational inequities and strengthening educational opportunities in the Mississippi Delta.

The inaugural program, spearheaded by Delta State President William N. LaForge in 2014, was designed as an innovative academic conference with a focus on engaging, promoting and rekindling conversations in hopes that Delta-area communities can move toward greater equity, forward thinking and reduced racial tensions.

“I am very much looking forward to another outstanding race relations conference, with a program I’m advised will be top flight,” said LaForge. “From the special speakers, breakout sessions and general discussion topics, this conference promises to be another great success.”

“While our conference is not conducted in reaction to anything in the current political climate, it certainly comes at an appropriate time to contribute to the national, regional and local dialogue on how we get along in society,” added LaForge.

In recognition of this work, the university received the 2014 Civil Rights and Social Justice Award accepted by LaForge at the fourth National Civil Rights Conference in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

The 2017 schedule will continue the critical dialogue about current issues related to education, social justice and community healing, while highlighting opportunities for sustained community action, awareness and mobility.

“This year’s conference will provide attendees with the tools to engage in not only the dialogue, but the work of strengthening the educational community and infrastructure in and around the Mississippi Delta,” said Dr. Temika M. Simmons, assistant professor of psychology and conference chair. “Unique to the 2017 platform are opportunities for professional development credits for teachers and counselors, in addition to a special workshop track for high school students — further evidence of the university’s commitment to moving the conference initiative beyond the current dialogue to tangible action and outcomes.”

Highlight speakers for the 2017 conference include Dr. Ivory Toldson, president and CEO of the Quality Education for Minorities Network, and Dr. William C. Bell, a Delta State graduate and president and CEO of Casey Family Programs.

Toldson is a professor of counseling psychology at Howard University and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Negro Education. Toldson’s previous appointments include executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, senior research analyst for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and contributing education editor for The Root.

With more than 60 publications, four books, and over 150 research presentations in 36 states and numerous countries, Toldson’s work and research have focused on dismantling some of the most pervasive myths about African Americans. Instead, he highlights the talent and potential of students of color. Toldson has been featured on MSNBC, The New York Times, various radio stations, and has been dubbed one of “30 leaders in the fight for Black men,” by Newsweek Magazine. Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said he is “a prolific young scholar and myth buster.”

William C. Bell, president and CEO of Casey Family Programs, is returning for another highly anticipated speech. With more than 35 years of experience in the field of human services, Bell chairs the executive team for CFP and is responsible for the vision, mission, strategies and objectives of the foundation.

Bell’s awards include Special Contribution to the Judiciary Award from the King County Washington Women Lawyers (2016), the Orgullo de la Comunidad (Pride of our Community) Award from the Coalition for Hispanic Family Services (2015), and the 2014 James A. Joseph Lecturer for The Association of Black Foundation Executives.

Additionally, he was named Delta State’s 2012 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year and was inducted into the university’s Alumni Hall of Fame and the Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society.

Bell is nationally renowned for his contributions and lifelong commitment to improving the lives of children and families, his tireless work to prevent child abuse and neglect, his fight to make the judicial system more accessible to all, and his battle to improve the lives of children in foster care.

In addition to stellar speakers, conference breakout sessions will feature topics covering social justice, civil rights and law, economic opportunities, education and community, and culture and community. These sessions will be guided by leaders from around the state and nation.

Other featured activities include poster competitions for high school and college students, and performances by the ROOTS of Sunflower County and the Delta Blues Museum Band.

The university will kick off this year’s conference with an open house on March 26 from 2-6 p.m. at the Amzie Moore House Museum and Interpretive Center located at 614 South Chrisman Avenue in Cleveland. A press conference honoring the work of Mississippi civil rights veterans will take place at the house at 3 p.m.

Conference activities will begin on campus at 8 a.m. on March 27 in the Bologna Performing Arts Center at Delta State.

For more information, contact Simmons at tsimmons@deltastate.edu.

Staff members complete P.A.T.H.S. program

By | Faculty/Staff, Office of Information Technology | No Comments
Pictured (left to right): Mallory Shemwell (history), Cornelia S. Thomas (HPER), Dr. Edwin Craft, (CIO of OIT), Waukesha Pates (Student Success Center) and Rhonda Boyd (DMI).

Five Delta State staff members recently completed the P.A.T.H.S. (Partnership for Applying Technology to Help Students) program sponsored by the Office of Information Technology.

The second cohort of the 2016-17 academic year graduated Thursday after participating in the professional development program over a three-day period.

“My participation in the P.A.T.H.S. program gave me the opportunity to meet the members of the OIT department,” said Cornelia Thomas, senior secretary of Health and Physical Education and Recreation. “I knew a little about technology, but this training has given me a better understanding of many of the different programs being used, how the Internet works, how Canvas works and more. This training will help me be better at my position in my department.”

On the first day, participants received a welcome and an overview of OIT services by Dr. Edwin Craft, CIO of Information Technology. Over the course of three days, participants had hands-on experiences and workshops on OIT supported technologies including Canvas LMS, AV online services, cybersecurity and Sway.

OIT presenters included: Kelly Kirkland, senior instructional designer; Dr. Nicole House, director of instructional technology; Murat Gur, manager of network services; and Dawn Carver, technical support specialist.

Graduates included: Mallory Shemwell, senior secretary in history; Cornelia S. Thomas, senior secretary in HPER; Waukesha Pates, academic support clerk in the Student Success Center; and Rhonda Boyd, secretary in the DMI. Not pictured is Chris D. Smith, program manager in the GIT Center.

Biology credits available for trip to Bangladesh

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

Dr. A.H.M. Ali Reza, assistant professor of biology at Delta State, is leading another international field course this summer in his homeland of Bangladesh.

The tropical field biology study abroad course is in partnership with the Creative Conservation Alliance (CCA), an NGO that works tirelessly to conserve Bangladesh’s imperiled wildlife.

“This is really a special opportunity for students to get direct access to one of the most diverse environments in the world, the jungles of Lawachara National Park, as well as the largest mangrove forest in the world, the Sundarbans Reserve Forest.” said Reza. “I would strongly encourage students to consider joining this trip if they have an interest in resume-boosting conservation field experience. You’ll have a real chance at seeing tigers, saltwater crocs, five species of primates, and finding dozens of snakes in a single night.”

Students at Delta State will have the opportunity of gaining three credits during the Summer II session with a two-week field trip mandatory for the course, from July 10-25. BIO 492: Tropical Field Biology, is course appropriate for any student enrolled or interested in biology, natural resources management, conservation biology, wildlife ecology, management, veterinary sciences or related fields.

Students enrolled in other universities or colleges in the U.S. will also be able to transfer course credits from Delta State to their home institution.

Thanks to the partnership with CCA, the course fee of $2,200 per student directly contributes to the conservation of the endangered flora and fauna of Bangladesh. The fee also covers housing, meals, local travel and fees to the forests. Separate from the course fee, students will be responsible for their airfare to Bangladesh.

Taking the course for university credit is optional. The fee to take the trip for credit is an additional $802.50.

“While we encourage everyone to enroll for academic credit on this trip, students or anyone else can attend without registering for credit,” added Reza.

Reza said this hands-on experience can help students get recognized in the scientific field.

“You have a great chance of getting your name on a scientific publication by making a range extension, or even discovering a new species,” he said. “Our 2014 and 2015 trips recognized multiple potentially new species and made several range extensions. In 2016, our group discovered a new species of a Takydromus lizard.”

For more trip information, contact Reza at areza@deltastate.edu.

Beals honored for Excellence in Diversity by IHL

By | Academics, College of Education and Human Sciences, Faculty/Staff, IHL | No Comments
Dr. George Beals, center, receives the IHL Excellence in Diversity and Inclusive Award from trustee Shane Hooper (left) and Delta State President William N. LaForge.

The Mississippi Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning recently held its annual diversity celebration to recognize campus and community leaders for the impact they have made in advancing diversity and encouraging understanding and respect.

Dr. George Beals, assistant professor of counselor education, was selected as the Delta State University nominee for the IHL Excellence in Diversity and Inclusive Award. Beals is also the program coordinator/assessment director for the Division of Counselor Education and Psychology at Delta State.

I am deeply honored and very humbled that my dean and colleagues appreciated my efforts around diversity,” said Beals. “I think what they saw in me was the fact that my lens of diversity, inclusion and social justice is always a primary when focusing on programmatic efforts and teaching my classes. Being a part of DSU has always been a point of pride for me because we can boast that per capita, we are the most diverse campus in the state.”

Social justice is a value that is most primary in my interactions with others and with institutions,” added Beals. “I hold the vision that the world can be an amazing place if we all work toward communicating with each other.”

Among his many efforts on campus, Beals serves on both the Diversity Committee and the Winning The Race Conference Committee. He also provides diversity trainings including Safe-Space Training, and has led some diversity experiences for Delta State students as a part of the Diversity Efforts and the Quality Enhancement Program.  

Beals, who has taught at Delta State for eight years, received his doctorate in counselor education from Mississippi State University in 2007, and received his master’s in community counseling, also from MSU, in 1995. Additionally, he is a member and current chapter advisor for Delta State’s chapter of Chi Sigma Iota, the international honor society for students, professional counselors and counselor educators. He is also the recipient of the 2016 Janie G. Rugg Career Contributor by the Mississippi Counseling Association.

His academic interests include: personal growth and wellness of counselor trainees, experiential therapies across diverse populations, somatization of oppression, systems theories and interventions with community applications, and counseling theories and neurosciences.

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.