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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

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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.

The Office of Information Technology hosted the third annual Connected Educator Luncheon on Oct. 18 to recognize Delta State instructors nominated by their students. Photo by Jabari Buck, OIT.

Connected Educator awards announced

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The Office of Information Technology hosted the third annual Connected Educator Luncheon on Oct. 18. The annual event is sponsored by Delta State University and Ellucian.

The event is held in celebration of Connected Educator month each October. The lunch also served to acknowledge the 39 Delta State instructors who students nominated for the annual Connected Educator Awards. Instructors were nominated based on specific criteria for efficiency, support and engagement.

“In line with Connected Educator Month, we wanted to identify actions and strategies that have measurable impact derived from using technology to teach, as well as support students,” said Dr. Nicole House, director of instructional technology. “We can harness that information from the nominations to collaborate resources and promote instructional innovation that facilitates holistic student success.”

Recipients of the 2016 Connected Educator Awards were Dr. Donna Koestler, assistant professor of nursing, and Todd Davis, instructor in health, physical education and recreation. In addition, Dr. Catherine Putnam, instructor and director of instructional support for the College of Education & Human Sciences, was recognized with a Canvas Choice Award for instructional innovation in Canvas LMS.

“The Connected Educator lunch is also an avenue for us to recognize all of the honorees and acknowledge their many contributions to academic excellence and student success at Delta State,” said Edwin Craft, CIO of Information Technology. “We have some very accomplished instructors and we aim to provide ongoing support to enhance and strengthen their instruction with technology in the traditional classroom, as well as online.”

This year’s honorees included: Amber Hendricks, Betty Sylvest, Bret Pimentel, Bryon Pickens, Carolyn Casale, Catherine Putnam, Chelsea Pugh, Corlis Snow, David Baylis, David Hebert, Dianne Thomas, Donna Koestler, Emily Newman, Glendscene Williams, Gwen Meador, Jacinda Roach, Jacqueline Craven, Janet Parker, Kevin Tharp, Kirk Mansell, Lee Virden, Leslie Green-Pimentel, Liza Cope, Mary Bess Pannel, Matt Jones, Merideth Van Namen, Michael McNeece, Michaela Merryday, Miller Maddox-Mandolini, Neil Conner, Randy Grierson, Sally Paulson, Sharon Hamilton, Stephanie Bell, Tanya McKinney, Thomas Laub, Todd Davis, Tomeka Harbin and Vicki Jean Hartley.

Luncheon special guests included Ellucian general manager Beverly Fratesi and college deans Dr. Billy Moore, Dr. David Breaux, Dr. Leslie Griffin and Dr. Vicki Bingham. Dr. Charles McAdams, provost of Delta State, provided opening remarks and received special recognition for his support of instructional innovation.

Honorees were presented with a certificate or recognition at the lunch and will receive a commendation letter for his/her tenure portfolios.

 

The Delta State delegation that recently attended Mission Mississippi’s annual Racial Reconciliation Celebration included: (left to right)  Stedmond Ware,  Amber Jordan, Kiara Bryant, Jarrica Carey, Kaviar Lewis, Hampton Strickland, Felicity Strotter and Dr. Temika Simmons.

Delegation attends racial reconciliation conference

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A Delta State University delegation recently took part in Mission Mississippi’s annual Racial Reconciliation Celebration at the Jackson Convention Complex.

The full day of events focused on racial reconciliation, education and methods for Mississippians, from all walks of life, to work together to create a more unified Mississippi.

Mission Mississippi has been leading the way in racial reconciliation in the state for the past 23 years. Its model is to bring people together to build relationships across racial lines so they can work together to better their communities.

Delta State University faculty, staff and students attended the reconciliation event and participated in a small group session, panel discussion and luncheon.

Student delegates included: Stedmond Ware (graduate student and Delta State staff member), Amber Jordan, Kiara Bryant, Jarrica Carey, Kaviar Lewis, Hampton Strickland and Felicity Strotter. Dr. Temika Simmons represented the university’s faculty.

“The conference raised participant awareness of the significant role that churches and religious organizations can take in bridging racial divides,” said Simmons. “Participants were encouraged to take Mission Mississippi’s 30-day challenge to spend time with a person of another race, sharing, praying and encouraging one another and to share that journey with others via photos on social media. Participants were also encouraged to think of themselves as leaders in the communities for bridging racial gaps.”

“The event is significant in that it raises community awareness of persistent and systemic issues rooted in racial tensions — and empowers participants with ways to get involved to help heal and reunite communities and people,” added Simmons.

Neddie Winters, president of Mission Mississippi, and First Lady of Mississippi, Deborah Bryant, were two featured speakers at the affair.

Delta State’s annual Winning the Race Conference on race relations works in partnership with Mission Mississippi in support of initiatives and efforts to unite and heal groups traditionally separated by race-related divides. Attendance at the reconciliation event is among many sustained campus and community activities supported through the university’s Winning the Race initiative.

The vision of Mission Mississippi is to engage, equip and empower the next generation to build relationships across racial lines, to work together with better understanding, to build greater respect for one another, and to trust each other while making a better Mississippi together.

Learn more at http://missionmississippi.org/about-us.

Dr. Brian Becker, assistant professor of history

Becker honored with Humanities Teacher Award

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

The time has come again to recognize arts and humanities across Mississippi colleges and universities.

The Mississippi Humanities Council celebrates each October by awarding one humanities faculty member at each state institution with the Humanities Teacher Award.

Dr. Brian Becker, assistant professor of history, is the 2016 award recipient for Delta State.

“It is indeed a true honor to be this year’s recipient of the Mississippi Humanities Council Humanities Teacher Award for Delta State,” said Becker. “It is humbling, yet also gratifying, to receive an award from an organization such as the MHC, with which I share the goals of promoting humanities programs and also an understanding of cultural heritage through public discourse in particular, as well as working to improve said programs however I am able. The MHC provides a wonderful service to the state of Mississippi, and I could not be prouder to be associated with it.”

Becker will be officially recognized Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in the Howorth Room of the Capps Archives and Museum. That night, he will also give a presentation entitled, “Going ‘Viral’ is Nothing New: Martin Luther and the Use of Propaganda during the Reformations.”

Becker’s presentation will examine how Protestant reformers and Catholic counter-reformers in the 16th century used the “social media” of their day to communicate powerful ideas that still resonate with us.

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Becker earned his masters and doctorate in medieval history from Western Michigan University. He graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelors in history.

Becker has been a member of the Delta State faculty since 2011. He specializes in the study of medieval Mediterranean history, Byzantium, the Latin language and paleography.

Becker’s Nov. 7 presentation is free and open to the public. The event is made possible through a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to the Mississippi Humanities Council. Learn more about council at www.mshumanities.org.