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Annual holiday giving has begun at Delta State with the DSU Feed-A-Family and DSU Toy Drive.

Holiday giving begins at Delta State

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The season of giving has already begun at Delta State with its two main holiday gifting campaigns getting underway.

Each year, Delta State’s Administrative Staff Council organizes the DSU Feed-A-Family Food Drive before Thanksgiving and the DSU Toy Drive for children from infancy to 10-years-old during the Christmas season.

The DSU Feed-A-Family program benefits staff and community members each holiday season by encouraging departments across campus to donate non-perishable items to help complete bags that provide a Thanksgiving meal to families in need.

Campus volunteers help sort, pack and deliver these items.

“Feed-A-Family is as a way to give back to the DSU family and community,” said Rhonda Loper, program coordinator. “Without the generosity of the DSU staff, faculty and students, we would bot have been able to provide nearly 100 bags of food last year.”

Departments are encouraged to begin collecting donations in their respective offices, which will be collected now through Nov. 16. Pickups will be available upon request Nov. 14-16.

Loper said community groups and churches have also signed up this year to contribute to the food and toy drives.

The annual DSU Toy Drive has also been a mainstay at Delta State during the holidays. Collection of toys will begin Nov. 28 and run through Dec. 15

Unwrapped gifts are sought for children from infancy to 10-years-old and will be donated to youth identified by the Bolivar County Family and Children’s Services.

To take part in the toy drive, bring donations to bring donations to the Registrar’s office in Kent Wyatt Hall.

For more information about DSU Feed-a-Family or the DSU Toy Drive, contact Loper at rloper@deltastate.edu or 662-846-4041.

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 options to the president.

Students Christine Beck (left to right), Danielle Husley and professor Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding, recently presented at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Delegation presents at vertebrate paleontology conference

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

Delta State University environmental science students and professors recently presented two research posters at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah on Oct. 25-29.

Students Christine Beck and Danielle Husley co-authored a research poster with biology professors Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding and Dr. Eric Blackwell titled “Paleocommunity of Late Pleistocene Megafauna found along the Lower Mississippi River Delta.”

The poster focused on ice age animals that lived in the Mississippi Delta about 12,000 years ago, including bison, mastodons, mammoths, great short-faced bear, ground sloths, ice age beaver, musk ox and more.

Dr. Judy Massare, professor of paleontology and geologist at Suny College at Brockport, New York encouraged Husely and Beck to publish the work in a respectable scientific journal. Additionally, the students became exposed to new morphological and ecological discoveries about fossil reptiles, mammals and amphibians, learned about new techniques including photogrammetry and basic scientific illustration in Adobe Photoshop, and networked with other students and scientists.

Baghai-Riding also co-authored a poster with her colleague Dr. Carol Hotton associated with the Natural Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Department of Paleobiology in Washington D.C. Their work was titled “Palynology of the Late Jurassic Morrison Formation: new insights into floristics, paleoclimate, phytogeography, and tetrapod herbivory.”

Learn more about environmental science opportunities at Delta State by visiting http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-arts-and-sciences/biological-and-physical-sciences/.

Dean Jeff Slagell is the recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Achievement Award from the Mississippi Library Association.

Slagell honored with Outstanding Achievement Award

By | Academics, Faculty/Staff, Library | No Comments

Jeff Slagell, Dean of Library Services at Delta State University, has been recognized with the 2016 Outstanding Achievement Award from the Mississippi Library Association.

The award is given by the MLA to a librarian who has contributed to the permanent improvement of library service; made significant contributions to professional literature; and provided outstanding service to his/her community or institution.

Melissa Dennis, Outreach & Instruction librarian at the University of Mississippi, nominated Slagell.

“It’s always satisfying to be recognized by your colleagues,” said Slagell. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with many talented librarians across the state and have benefited from those relationships, both personally and professionally.”

“Our profession is unique in that on an almost daily basis, you can see the impact that our resources and services have on people in a tangible way,” he added. “You know you’re making a difference. That’s gratifying for all of us here at Delta State.”

Slagell has dedicated the last 18 years of his career serving the students, faculty, staff and community at the Roberts-LaForge library. As dean, he manages the library, Charles W. Capps Jr. Archives and Museum, and the Instructional Resources Center.

His areas of expertise include academic library administration, budgets, accreditation, assessment, and conference coordination.

Slagell has been a speaker and supporter for MLA initiatives for over a decade. He has served the roles of president, vice president, past president, ALA councilor and ACRL chair.

“Jeff is amazing at supporting others but doesn’t do the best job promoting himself,” said Dennis. “I felt like it was about time someone bragged on the way he has lifted up so many of us. He has impacted the community in so many ways.”

“Jeff’s selfless compassion for others has not only allowed him to be a great librarian, but has also contributed to his influence on our state by serving as a leader, mentor, advisor, activist, listener, teacher and friend,” she added.

Dr. Charles McAdams, Delta State provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said Slagell is extremely worthy of the recognition.

“Dean Slagell is very deserving of this award from the Mississippi Library Association,” said McAdams. “He operates a student-focused, service-orientated, library with extremely limited resources. Regardless, he continues to ‘make things happen’ in the library, and we all owe Dean Slagell a debt of gratitude for what he does for students, faculty, staff and the community. I am pleased for him that his statewide professional organization has chosen to reward him in this manner.”

Learn more about the Mississippi Library Association at http://www.misslib.org.

Svetlana Polyakova (center), an English professor at Perm State University in Russia, hosted Dr. Beverly Moon (l to r), Dr. Charles McAdams, Dr. Christy Riddle and Michelle Johansen, during Perm State's recent centennial celebrations.

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/.

Panel participants included (left to right): Scottie Willis (Interdisciplinary Studies); Garyanna Simmons (Social Work); moderator Dr. Carolyn Casale; Rhahan Sarwar (CIS); Kelsa Powell (Social Work); and Hafsa Alharoon (MBA/Accounting). Photo by Kelly Kirkland.

Student panel focuses on technology

By | Faculty/Staff, Office of Information Technology, Students | No Comments

The Office of Information Technology hosted a Connected Learner Panel on Wednesday in celebration of Connected Educator Month.

Five Delta State students participated in the discussion moderated by Dr. Carolyn Casale, assistant professor in the College of Education and Human Sciences. The topic was “Connected Learners: Perspectives in Learning with Technology from Millennials and Gen Z.”

The discussion explored how students representing these generations respond to technologies used in online and face-to-face class environments. Panelists shared their motivations in learning with technology, expectations for using technologies in class, and gave insight as to what the future of technology should look like to prepare them for the future.

“It was very interesting to learn how students see things,” said Casale. “Sometimes, as instructors, we aren’t aware of the positive impact we are having. This was very useful information.”

Casale posed several questions to uncover ways instructors are using technology to improve student participation and performance. Students mirrored recent research by indicating that they would benefit from more technology training tutorials, intermittent social media activity, and tools to develop their online research skills. Panelists agreed that campus instructors were moving in the right direction for engaging learners, technology diversity and interaction.

“I am shy and sometimes afraid to speak in class,” said social work major Garyanna Simmons, “But working online in discussions improved my confidence to speak up and participate.”

“Blended formats work best for me because we like the convenience of online, but we need that occasional face-to-face,”said MBA and accounting graduate student Hafsa Alharoon. “Interaction with the professor is very important.”

Dr. Nicole House, director of instructional technology, said understanding the current technological needs is imperative.

“Gen Z consists of digital natives born between the mid-1990s and 2010, and they are becoming the majority in our college classrooms,” said House. “So if we understand their needs and expectations, we can develop new teaching strategies to challenge them as well as prepare them to work in a world that requires technical proficiency.”

Learn more about Connected Educator Month at http://www.connectededucators.org.