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Staff Council wraps up successful giving projects

By | Faculty/Staff, General, Uncategorized | No Comments

Delta State University staff fed more than 60 families and donated more than 400 toys for local families during two annual giving campaigns this year.

The Delta State Administrative Staff Council special projects committee sponsors both of the drives.

Rhonda Loper, special projects committee chair for DSU Administrative Staff Council, said that the campus donated 59 bags and nine boxes of food during the annual “Feed a Family” drive. Two members of Delta State’s staff received a bag each, and the remaining 57 bags were delivered to the Bolivar County Family and Children Services office. The nine boxes of food were donated to local churches for their food pantry programs.

For the annual Toy Drive,” more than 425 toys were donated, including two bicycles, nine scooters, and several other large toys. These gifts also were delivered to the Bolivar County Family & Children’s Services, who will distribute them to families in need across Bolivar County.

“Once again, the DSU family has come together to make this another successful ‘giving season,'” Loper said. “This act of selfless giving is what continues to help meet the needs of our community.”

She added, “This year, were once again happy to partner with area churches and members of the community, as the news continues to spread about our efforts. I want to personally thank everyone who participated. Until next year, when we get to do it all over again, richest blessings!”

For more information on how you can become a part of the DSU family, contact Loper at rloper@deltastate.edu or at 662-846-4504.

New stereomicroscope is enhancing the Delta State Herbarium and Environmental Science Programs

By | Academics, Faculty/Staff, General, Uncategorized | No Comments

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During the Fall 2016 semester, the Department of Biological Sciences acquired a new Meji trinocular zoom stereo-microscope on a boom stand with high definition capabilities.

Other features associated with this particular microscope are a LED (Light-emitting diode) ring illuminator, a HD Video Camera, and a widefield, high-eyepoint eyepiece. The instrument was purchased from Miller Microscope and paid for with funds from the National Science Foundation herbarium grant that is associated with the Mississippi Herbarium consortium and participating institutions.

One main goal of this grant is to digitize the entire 17,000 plus herbarium collection that Delta State University possesses.

Mississippi ranks in the top third of U.S. states for the predicted numbers of plant taxa, species, genera, and families per unit area. The documentation of most species is sparse so fulfilling this gap will make an important contribution to the Flora of North America.

Mississippi specimens contained in Delta State University herbarium collection as well as specimens contained in other local herbarium throughout the state (Mississippi State University, the University of Southern Mississippi, The University of Mississippi, and the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science) are being used to compile a checklist of all plant species that occur in Mississippi.

Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding said that the versatility of this microscope is helping with the identification of many problematic herbarium specimens.

“Minute details of flower, stem, and leaf parts can be easily analyzed and photographed and sent to other curators for identification if needed,” she said. “In addition, this microscope has been useful in photographing specimens associated with other undergraduate environmental science projects that will be presented at the upcoming Mississippi Academy of Sciences in Hattiesburg on Feb. 23-24, including prey remains contained in Carolina Biological owl pellets and teeth of a monitor lizard.”

To learn more about the Environmental Science program at Delta State University, contact Baghai-Riding @662-846-4797 or nbaghai@deltastate.edu.

Dr. Rolando Herts (left to right) with Susie Surkamer, executive director of South Arts, and Malcolm White, executive director of the Mississippi Arts Commission, at "The Future of Arts and Creativity" convening in Washington, D.C.

The Delta Center represents Delta State at National Endowment for the Arts convening

By | Delta Center, Faculty/Staff, General, Uncategorized | No Comments

Dr. Rolando Herts (left to right) with Susie Surkamer, executive director of South Arts, and Malcolm White, executive director of the Mississippi Arts Commission, at “The Future of Arts and Creativity” convening in Washington, D.C.

By special invitation, Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State, recently attended “In Pursuit of the Creative Life: The Future of Arts and Creativity in America.” The event was hosted by the National Endowment for the Arts and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

Over 200 artists, industry leaders, educators, scientists, and civic leaders from across the country attended the day-long convening at The Kennedy Center. Participants developed ideas and strategies to enhance America’s creative infrastructure for the future toward making the arts and creative opportunities more accessible to all Americans.

“This event provided opportunities for interdisciplinary idea exchanges in strategic issue areas like economics, technology, and cultivating creative talent,” said Herts. “Our discussions will enhance The Delta Center’s community-engaged programs like the International Delta Blues Project and the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area that connect arts, culture, the creative economy, and people in our region.”

The convening featured keynote speaker Questlove, GRAMMY Award-winning founding member of The Roots and musical director for “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” in a moderated discussion with National Public Radio media critic, Eric Deggans. Facilitated working group discussions were framed by expert panel sessions on how to help creative people and communities thrive now and in the future.

Support for the event was provided by the Ford Foundation, Heinz Endowments, The Henry Luce Foundation, McKnight Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, and Walton Family Foundation.

Travel supplements for invited entities like The Delta Center were provided by South Arts. South Arts is a nine-state regional arts organization based in Atlanta that provides grants, programs and services to artists and arts organizations in the southern United States.

The mission of The Delta Center is to promote greater understanding of Mississippi Delta culture and history and its significance to the world through education, partnerships and community engagement. The Delta Center serves as the management entity of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and is the home of the International Delta Blues Project and the National Endowment for the Humanities “Most Southern Place On Earth” workshops. For more information, visit http://deltacenterdsu.com/.

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Bolivar Medical, Delta State partner on Student Health Center

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Delta State University and the Bolivar Medical Center have entered into a new collaboration that will benefit students, faculty, staff and the community.

In addition to serving the Delta State student body, the O.W. Reily Student Health Center now offers comprehensive health care and wellness services to any Delta State employee or community member who has insurance coverage.

The center is being managed and staffed by BMC personnel and maintains the current staff while adding new positions.

“We’re very excited to partner with Delta State University,” said Rob Marshall, CEO of Bolivar Medical Center. “We believe this agreement can pave the way for a much broader relationship to serve the campus and the DSU community. One of the benefits of working together is that students have easier access to all the services available within our hospital.”

Delta State University President William N. LaForge is also thrilled to bring expanded health care options directly to campus.

“This partnership with Bolivar Medical Center is a great example of town-gown relations,” said LaForge. “We are not only ratcheting up our level of health services for our students, first and foremost, but we are also providing services for our faculty and staff as well as members of the community. I’m thrilled that Rob Marshall and everyone on his team have worked so diligently with our team to make this day come true.”

Services at the O.W. Reily Center include:
-Flu Clinics
-Tobacco Cessation
-Immunization and Travel Clinics
-TB Skin Testing
-Physical and Occupational Therapy
-Sports Medicine
-Diabetes Management
-Laboratory Services
-X-Ray and Imaging Services
-Asthma and Allergy Clinics
-Federal Aviation Administration Physicals

Other services include an after-hours University Health Center Nurse Advice Hotline, access to the Health Care Portal and Worker’s Compensation assistance.

Additionally, the BMC will be the primary caregiver for Delta State Athletics, offering services that include orthopedic physician coverage at home and away games, physicals, and wellness and preventive education programming.

Jamie Rutledge, vice president for Finance & Administration at Delta State, said the partnership will provide a strong financial benefit to the university.

“Transferring this important service to the folks who are in the day-to-day business of healthcare management provides cost savings to Delta State while delivering services to our students, and others, in an enhanced fashion,” he said. “This is a win-win for everybody. In addition, Bolivar Medical Center will offer an extended array of services that were not offered previously, and will also develop specialized programs and services to meet the needs of Delta State students, faculty, staff, and the community.”

The clinic is open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Additionally, the BMC has an after-hours clinic at the Cleveland Medical Mall that is open from 5 p.m. until midnight.

A grand re-opening of the O.W. Reily Student Health Center is scheduled for January 2017.

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

President’s Statement Regarding the Mississippi Flag

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Statement Regarding the Mississippi Flag

William N. LaForge, President, Delta State University

November 3, 2016

Today, I am announcing that Delta State University has lowered the flag of the State of Mississippi, and will retire it to the University Archives.

The discussion about the Mississippi flag on the Delta State campus has continued for well over a year.  The conversation increased this fall when the remaining public universities lowered their flags.

I wish to make it clear that this university is making an institutional decision on this issue because the state government has declined to change the flag.  This is a painful decision in many respects because this is a highly charged emotional issue for many people.  The University finds itself in the untenable position of making a decision that will disappoint some, no matter the outcome.  But in the absence of state action, we are making a decision that I believe is right and just on all levels.

In the spirit of open academic discussion, our various university constituencies — especially our students, faculty, and staff — have given thoughtful consideration to this issue.  As expected, there are differences of opinion and divergent viewpoints. However, my Cabinet and I have carefully weighed the input from all quarters, and it is now my responsibility to speak for the University on this matter.

The objectionable portion of the state flag — the stars and bars — presents a polarizing symbol that is a barrier to progress and improved understanding of our state, our university, and our people.  Delta State recently completed a visioning process, during which we set a course of excellence for the university’s future.  Included in our visioning principles are a number of core values that we promote and embrace, including civility, respect for all, diversity, inclusion, fairness, hospitality, and a welcoming environment that is conducive to the success of our students, faculty, and staff.  We believe that continuing to fly the state flag — with its divisive symbol that sends a confusing message, at best, and that has increasingly become a distraction to our mission — is contrary to our core values and to an accurate understanding of who we are and what we stand for as a university.

In 2015, the University announced its strong support for the adoption of a new flag by the State of Mississippi that would be a symbol of unity rather than one of divisiveness.  But, that change, unfortunately, has not occurred. So, today, I renew Delta State’s support and call for that change.

While taking the flag down is a symbolic act, its removal, nevertheless, underscores the numerous positive things we do on this campus to advance inclusiveness, fairness, and transparency in our various enterprises.

As the state’s most racially diverse university, Delta State is proud of its multicultural heritage and identity.  We are leading conversations and programs of action on the important topics of race relations, the Delta Blues, international business, educational advancement, scientific research, and community engagement — most notably through our signature conferences on those themes and through our outstanding academic programs. Those who study, teach, and work on this campus, as well as those who visit Delta State from around the country and the world — especially our record number of international students — deserve to know that our welcoming community and commitment to inclusiveness are not encumbered by an outdated symbol in the state flag.  And, after a 15-year ban by the NCAA, Delta State University deserves the opportunity to host swimming and other athletic championships that are currently not allowed because of the design of the state flag.

As a public institution of higher learning, Delta State continues to honor and respect its relationship with the people and state that support this university.  That will not change merely because we choose to join our seven sister universities in solidarity in lowering a flag that contains an antiquated symbol that is offensive to so many, and that public universities are not required by law to fly.  Delta State will demonstrate its respect for the state by continuing to inspire its students and educate new generations of thinkers and leaders who will invest in this state’s future.

I am grateful to the Delta State community for engaging in a deliberate, thoughtful, and sometimes difficult conversation about the flag.  It is now time for us to turn our full attention to the more serious matters of teaching, learning, and service at a university that is working hard to guide and educate our students, while also helping to provide vision for the future of the Mississippi Delta and our state.

In a recent court decision involving a legal challenge to the state flag, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves astutely wrote: “At times there is something noble in standing alone.  This is not one of those times.  The Confederate battle emblem has no place in shaping a New Mississippi, and is better left retired to history.”

In sum, Delta State’s decision to take down the Mississippi flag signals this university’s opposition to the design of the current flag, and sends the message to our state leadership that the time for a new, unifying state flag is long overdue. We look forward to raising a state flag that will represent the New Mississippi.  However, until that new flag becomes available, and as an added measure of respect for the state, Delta State will fly the state’s bicentennial banner that was recently unveiled by the Mississippi Economic Council.

Taking down the state flag on this campus is the right thing to do, and it is in the best interest of Delta State University because we are working to help shape the New Mississippi.