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Follow Your Heart Arts Program partners with DMI

By | Academics, Delta Music Institute, General, Students | No Comments

The Follow Your Heart Arts Program, launched by Warner Brothers recording artist Charlie Worsham and funded by a grant from the Country Music Association Foundation, recently completed the first season of partnership with the DMI Entertainment Industry program at Delta State University.

The mission of the Follow Your Heart program is to enrich and empower the lives of young people living in Grenada County through music education, music business career exploration, and the study of the rich history of Mississippi music.

The DMI works with the Follow Your Heart Arts Program by connecting entertainment industry majors who provide instruction and mentoring to students in the program.

In addition to the Follow Your Heart Arts Program, Worsham, a native of Grenada, also founded the Follow Your Heart Scholarship Fund to provide financial support to Grenada youth who dream of a career in the arts. In late 2016 he hosted the inaugural Follow Your Heart Scholarship Fund Gala, which benefited the fund. Since starting the campaign, Worsham has raised approximately $60,000.

“I realize this is the most important work I’ll ever get to do,” Worsham said.

The idea for the fund was sparked in Worsham during a conversation with a class of teenagers at a high school in Grenada when one girl was too embarrassed to verbalize her dream of acting on Broadway. Worsham said it broke his heart.

“The kids in my hometown need to have hope. And if the kids in my hometown see me doing it, they need to know they can do it, too,” he said.

Worsham most recent CD, “Beginning of Things,” was released on Warner Brothers Records in April.

For more information on Worsham’s Follow Your Heart Scholarship Fund, visit www.FollowYourHeartArts.org. To learn more about the Follow Your Heart Arts program, visit https://www.facebook.com/FollowYourHeartArts/

The DMI offers a B.S. in Entertainment Industry Studies degree in the College of Arts & Sciences at Delta State. The focus of the DMI is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative, and business areas of the music and entertainment industry. For information, contact (662) 846-4579 or visit http://dmi.deltastate.edu.

DMI student to intern with Yokohama Theatre Group in Tokyo

By | Delta Music Institute, General, Students, Uncategorized | No Comments

While many students across the nation are enjoying the carefree vibes of summer vacation, Delta State student Chris Autry is hard at work preparing for his internship in Tokyo, Japan, next fall.

Beginning Sept. 6, Autry, a senior Delta Music Institute major from Picayune, will be working with the Yokohama Theatre Group doing live and recorded sound for live performances and video recording. He will also assist with mixing and mastering audio for video as well as video editing.

Originally founded in 1900, the Yokohama Theatre Group is located in Yokohama, Japan, just south of Tokyo. As Japan’s capital city, Tokyo is a mix of modern and traditional society – a change from the cotton fields and never-ending sunsets of the Delta. But, the change in culture is also what attracted Autry. He chose to apply for an internship in Tokyo after visiting friends that lived in Tokyo and Osaka.

“After visiting, I realized that Japan was where I eventually wanted to move to and live,” Autry said. “I considered other places within Japan such as Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, and a couple of more places.”

After some further research and a little help from his friends, he found his dream internship. While studying abroad, Autry hopes he can inspire future students to experience new cultures.

“I will also be studying abroad learning the language and hopefully making a study abroad program for other students to be able to come to Japan and experience the same magic that I have,” Autry said. “I hope that I can also share with other students from Delta State some interviews as well as some videos to show a different view of how amazing Japan is.”

DMI Director Tricia Walker said she looks forward to Autry sharing his experiences with other Delta State students when he returns.

“Chris transferred to Delta State from another institution and from day one has been very proactive in his degree path,” said Tricia Walker, director of the DMI. “Having visited Japan before, he took the initiative to seek out an internship position there in his field. He’ll have lots to share with our other students when he returns.”

For more information about the DMI, contact Tricia Walker at 662-846-4579 or twalker@deltastate.edu.

Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service (MCVS) Announces $3.12 Million in AmeriCorps funding

By | Academics, Community, General | No Comments

Delta State University’s Center for Community and Economic Development (CCED) will be one of 11 Mississippi organizations receiving grant funding from a $3.12 million AmeriCorps campaign to support nonprofit and educational organizations across the state.

The grant will continue to support the Delta Reads Plus (DRP) program, which is housed at the CCED on campus. DRP will receive $293,616 thanks to the grant.

Through DRP, 50 AmeriCorps members will provide one-one-one and small group tutoring to students in kindergarten through sixth grade five days a week for the 2017-18 academic term in school districts in Bolivar, Coahoma, Leflore, Sunflower, and Washington counties.

The program will help reach 400 economically disadvantaged students. Focus areas include literacy and math. The AmeriCorps tutors will guide the students to program completion by participating in at least 50 tutoring sessions and helping these students increase their literacy and/or math skills by at least one grade level according to STAR assessment data.

“Public schools in the Mississippi Delta face significant challenges to provide students with a high quality education, such as insufficient resources,” said David Tanner Jr., program director. “Parents, schools, and communities have an exceptional role in the academic success of students. Our goal is to bridge the achievement gap by involving these stakeholders from educationally and economically distressed communities in effective tutorial programs and community improvement projects”.

According to Heather Miller, director of Institutional Grants at Delta State University, “The CCED, MCVS, and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) have a long history of successful partnerships. Through Delta Reads Plus, we will further strengthen that partnership and our commitment to provide successful student outcomes.”

DRP is currently seeking school districts and potential members interested in receiving and providing tutoring services within the five target counties for the upcoming school term. Interested districts should contact Tanner at  662-846-4808 or dtanner@deltastate.edu. Interested individuals should contact Bria Beal, program assistant, at 662-846-4807 or bbeal@deltastate.edu. Those interested in serving can also learn more by visiting www.americorps.gov/joinor http://volunteermississippi.org/americorps/americorps-state-programs/.

AmeriCorps members typically receive a modest living stipend and a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, or scholarship, upon completion of their service. The award can be used to pay for future education costs or to pay back student loans.
The federal investment includes 11 AmeriCorps grants to Mississippi nonprofits, Institutions of Higher Learning, and state and local agencies, totaling $3.12 million dollars. The federal investment is projected to generate an additional $2.14 million dollars in local support to increase community impact and return on federal investment. This funding will support 535 AmeriCorps members who will tackle some of the toughest problems in Mississippi including tutoring and mentoring pre-k through 12 students, conservation/environmental services, and providing health education and physical activities to address obesity.

CNCS will also provide up to $1.6 million dollars in education scholarships for the AmeriCorps members funded by these grants to help pay for college, vocational training, or pay back student loans.

Learn more about Delta State’s CCED at www.deltastate.edu/cced.

Upholt paddles “Big River”

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Sleeping under the stars, rising with the sun to the sounds of the Mississippi River, paddling daily in a handcrafted canoe — Boyce Upholt, a graduate student at Delta State University, spent six weeks on the Mighty Mississippi this spring.

Upholt, a candidate for a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (geography), is documenting the “batture,” the woods between the levee and the river, as a part of his thesis.

He calls this important and little-known landscape the “walled-in wild.”

“In a way it’s the leftovers,” said Upholt. “It’s half domesticated, contained by the levee wall, with concrete lining much of the river’s edge, too. But it’s half wild, too — maybe more than half.”

See the full story and photos: http://www.deltastate.edu/photostories/2017/05/25/upholt-paddles-big-river/

 

President LaForge speaks to city and county boards

By | Community, General | No Comments

Delta State University President William N. LaForge gave a campus update to the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors and the Cleveland Board of Aldermen this past week.

The update included topics such as the strong relationship between the university and the city and county, as well as information on enrollment, the university budget, a tuition increase, university programs and initiatives, and measures being put in place to offset more than $2 million in state budget cuts.

LaForge said he is proud of the cooperative nature of the university’s “town-gown relations.”

“We depend on each other,” LaForge said. “Cleveland provides a home for the DSU family, and the university offers Cleveland the benefits of an educational, cultural, intellectual, musical, athletic, and artistic center.”

He added Delta State helps drive the economy of Cleveland and the area.

“Most of our 545 faculty and staff live in Cleveland, pay taxes, buy groceries, clothes, and gasoline, and enjoy the public services, dining, and entertainment Cleveland offers,” he said.

In addition, Delta State students spend as much as $10,000 a year per student for off-campus purchases, including rental housing.

As part of the update, LaForge also explained the status of the university budget and several measures the university has put in place as a result of state budget cuts over the past fiscal year.

One change to offset the narrowing budget is a seven percent tuition increase, amounting to a $441 increase in yearly tuition for students. Even with the increase, Delta State remains a bargain with a tuition total that is higher than only Mississippi University for Women and Mississippi Valley State University among the state’s public universities.

In April, Delta State announced it will be closing the Derrall Foreman Golf Course on June 30, which will amount to an annual savings of nearly $250,000. The course will remain unused until decisions are made regarding the repurposing of the property.

“In these tight budget times, we can no longer afford to operate a woefully underutilized enterprise that really is not in line with our academic mission,” LaForge said. “Unfortunately, the cost is just too much to justify … I would encourage you to withhold judgment and premature concern until we actually focus on a project; for example, issues such as taxation, flooding and drainage, and zoning will all be addressed at the appropriate time.”

In addition, Delta State will cease operating the Coahoma County Higher Education Center in Clarksdale, effective June 30. Coahoma Community College, which utilizes the facility in partnership with Delta State, is working to determine if they can continue to operate the CCHEC for an interim period.

The university has also enacted a hiring and spending freeze, is using some reserve funds, will be shutting down some buildings over the summer to save on utilities, and is moving to a four-day work week over the summer.

Additionally, the university is instituting a five percent fee on designated funds, a subset of the general fund. The fee will be assessed in January each year based on the 12-month average balance of the fund.

Other items include a reduction in the Athletics operation budget, re-budgeting of Capital Projects expenditures, a reduction in the E&G Contingency Budget, and an increase in Foundation support.

LaForge announced Delta State will also boost its efforts for a private funding campaign to secure new resources for student success and enrichment, academic excellence, and cultural and social heritage.

In closing, LaForge pointed to Delta State alumni who hold positions of leadership not only locally but nationally.

“Delta State alumni lead and manage the likes of UPS, Charles Schwab, the Casey Family Foundation, our local schools, our Chamber of Commerce, local churches, numerous local businesses, this university, our county, and this city – and that should be a great source of pride for us all,” he said.