Graduate and Continuing Studies

Online graduate programs rank high in national poll

By | Academics, Graduate and Continuing Studies, Students | No Comments

Delta State University once again ranked high in a national poll on affordability. The independent college search and rankings website College Choice ( recently tabbed Delta State as No. 15 on its 2016 ranking of Most Affordable Online Graduate Schools for Master’s Degrees.

The rankings are based on the total cost to attend, including tuition and all fees. Only schools that are regionally accredited and offer at least five degree options were considered. Delta State was the only university from Mississippi listed in the top 15.

Learn more about the award and view the ranking in its entirety at:



RESSON master’s rank No. 2 most affordable online

By | Academics, Faculty/Staff, Graduate and Continuing Studies, School of Nursing | No Comments

In a recent ranking by, Delta State University’s Robert E. Smith School of Nursing was recognized for being one of the 10 most affordable online master’s degree programs in the nation.

RESSON came in at No. 2 on the list after receiving recognition for its unique concentration options.

To establish the ranking, took a look at several other websites that rank online MSN programs, including U.S. News,,, and Get Educated.

The site then conducted an analysis to determine which of these colleges showed up on top ranked lists more than once. Nearly 60 different schools made the cut, and several appeared on as many as three different rankings.

This new ranking represented the “best of the best” in online nursing graduate programs. The final list sorted the top institutions by cost to determine the 10 most affordable programs.

“We offer a high quality Masters of Nursing program with a 100 percent certification rate at a very reasonable cost,” said Dr. Lizabeth Carlson, dean of RESSON. “We have been offering online advanced nursing education since the early 2000s. We have worked diligently to ensure we incorporate national and state accreditation standards into our curriculum and utilize best practices in online learning.”

Carlson said the dedicated RESSON faculty helped make the ranking a reality.

“This is a great honor and reflects the hard work and long hours the nursing faculty have put into ensuring this program is of the very best quality,” she said.

According to the ranking, RESSON distinguishes itself from other top online programs through its unique concentration options. Students can choose a traditional specialization in Nurse Administration or Nurse Education, or seek training as a Nurse Practitioner.

Within the latter option, students can concentrate in an even more specific area based on their career goals; specialty tracks include Family Nurse Practitioner, Gerontological Nurse Practitioner, or Psych Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (with an additional option to concentrate in either adult or family treatment).

Additionally, RESSON received distinction thanks to its exceedingly affordable tuition and fees, which stand at just over $6,500 per year.

Read the full Top 10 list at

Learn more about RESSON at Delta State University at

Hearin funds university and TFA graduate program

By | Academics, Community, Faculty/Staff, Graduate and Continuing Studies, President, Students, Teach for America | No Comments

Thanks to continued support from the Robert M. Hearin Foundation, Delta State University and Teach For America-Mississippi are proud to announce the Teach For America Alumni Retention Assistance Program at Delta State.

The Hearin Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Jackson, has supported Delta State through numerous grants over the years. The organization backs Mississippi higher education and economic development.

The retention project strengthens and expands the partnership between the university and TFA by creating a pathway for TFA alumni to advance their education while simultaneously addressing community and economic development issues in the region and state.

The program encourages TFA alumni to stay in Mississippi after completing their two-year teaching commitment by providing opportunities for educational and professional development, while building professional relationships with businesses, communities and government leaders.

TFA alumni will engage in summer internships with local organizations immediately following their TFA service commitment. This engagement with local entities will enable alumni to use their skills and talents in areas such as economic development, community engagement, project and program management, event planning, creating economy initiatives, public relations, governmental relations, political areas, youth development and research.

In addition to supporting the internships, the Hearin grant will also provide funding for graduate school scholarships and graduate assistantships for 10 selected alumni each year who will attend graduate school at Delta State.

“While Teach for America-Mississippi certainly has a growing number of alumni staying, buying property, starting a family, educating their kids, and following their passions and leading on a variety of fronts here in Mississippi, the ongoing trend of exporting talent simply follows the current local and regional trend for college-educated, young professionals from the Delta,” said Barbara Logan Smith, executive director of TFA-Mississippi. “Instead of losing talent to New Orleans and Nashville, by partnering with the Hearin Foundation, Delta State University, members of the Mississippi Economic Council and others, we posit that we can foster, incubate, retain and attract at least 10 alumni per year who feed off one another’s passions and energies — and who then launch some social entrepreneurial idea or venture here that improves the quality of life of Mississippians.”

Delta State University President William N. LaForge could not be more pleased with the opportunities that will arise for all parties involved.

“This is a win-win-win. It’s a win for TFA alumni who have had great experiences teaching in the Delta for two years and are now looking for the next career move,” said LaForge. “We’re giving them opportunities for internships, graduate programs and graduate assistantships. The second win is for TFA itself. This grant underscores the value of the TFA and perpetuates the cross-cultural experiences that it fosters by bringing in people from other parts of the country. And closer to home, this is a huge win for Delta State, the Delta and Mississippi. Delta State will be bringing in students who otherwise would not matriculate here, and the goal is for them to find a career niche in the region.”

Robin Boyles, director of the Office of Institutional Grants at Delta State, echoed the president’s praise for the program.

“Delta State University recognizes the individual and collective value that Teach For America brings to the Mississippi Delta,” said Boyles. “We are excited that through this grant from the Robert M. Hearin Foundation, we will be able to offer this opportunity for TFA alumni to remain here in the Mississippi Delta following their teaching commitment, and continue to contribute to the community and economic development of the Delta communities.”

LaForge was quick to thank the Hearin Foundation for its continued faith in the university. The foundation has also backed groundbreaking programming such as Delta State’s International Delta Blues Project.

“This is yet another amazing partnership with the Hearin Foundation, and I am very grateful for their confidence and trust in us to put this sort of program in operation,” said LaForge. “This program has wonderful potential, and a big thanks goes to the Hearin Foundation. This will boost the value of our university and will bring in some amazing talent.”

All parties remain hopeful of the longlasting results this program will have on economic development, education and social impact in the region.

“We believe that this opportunity with Delta State University has the capacity to create an exponential win-win for the state through the deepening of established partnerships, the mobilization of new hearts and minds determined to highlight the great assets of our state, and address the challenges while living with us as neighbors — and a focus on making Mississippi a preferred destination for living, learning and leading,” said Smith. “We are excited about this new investment in Mississippi and our opportunity to be a partner in such an important endeavor.”

The program will be coordinated through Delta State’s Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies under the leadership of Dean Beverly Moon.

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About Teach For America:

Teach For America works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding college graduates and professionals to make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the movement to end educational inequity. Today, 10,600 corps members are teaching in 50 urban and rural regions across the country while more than 37,000 alumni work across sectors to ensure that all children have access to an excellent education. For more information, visit



Coahoma hosts book lecture series

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The Coahoma County Higher Education Center (CCHEC) and Carnegie Public Library in Clarksdale will present the Community Book Talks lecture series at the historic Cutrer Mansion on Aug. 28. The lecture series will feature veteran journalist and author Juan Williams and is free to the public.

Williams is an Emmy Award-winning journalist with the Fox News Channel. He has spent decades working with news outlets like The Washington Post, NPR and Fox News. He covered every major political campaign from 1980 to 2000 as a national correspondent and political columnist. He is also a frequent contributor to magazines, including TIME, Fortune, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, Ebony and GQ.

Sarah Crisler-Ruskey, director of Carnegie Public Library, is excited about the series.

“I feel that this lecture series has been a unique and positive addition to the cultural life of Coahoma County, and I look forward to the next installment with Juan Williams,” said Crisler-Ruskey. “I have learned from each and every one of our speakers, and I hope the community will come out and take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.”

It is Williams’ work as an author that brings him to the lecture series. He is the author of six books, including the non-fiction bestseller that will be highlighted at the lecture series, during the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer — Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965.

Eyes on the Prize traces the American Civil Rights Movement from the landmark Brown versus the Board of Education case in 1954 to the march on Selma and the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. The piece tells the stories of ordinary people who participated in the movement. From leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr., to lesser-known figures such as Barbara Rose John and Jim Zwerg, each man and woman made the decision that something had to be done to stop discrimination. These moving accounts are a tribute to the people, black and white, who took part in the fight for justice and the struggle they endured.

The Community Book Talks lecture series is free and open to the public thanks to community sponsor Northwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center and a special fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.

The series includes a complimentary hors d’oeuvres reception (by Chris Card and The Ranchero) at 5 p.m. followed by the talk at 5:30 p.m. The speakers will also be available to sign books and talk with attendees. For more information, please visit

Director of CCHEC Jen Waller views the series as an advantage to the surrounding community members.

“We hope the Community Book Talks lecture series is a positive force in Clarksdale and Coahoma County,” said Waller. “It aims to further expose us to a world beyond small-town Mississippi by connecting us to stories and authors who make us think and remember and see more than just the everyday grind.”

The series continues through October with two more highly-anticipated author events. On Sept. 25, Mary Miller, John Grisham Writer-in-Residence at Ole Miss and author of The Last Days of California, will be featured. On Oct. 23, Lois Lowry, winner of two Newberry Awards and author of The Giver (now a major motion picture) and Number the Stars, will visit.

The Coahoma County Higher Education Center (CCHEC) is located at 109 Clark Street in Clarksdale, Mississippi. CCHEC a partnership between Delta State University and Coahoma Community College (CCC). It was designed to enhance the outreach capabilities of both institutions. The partnership encourages regional growth and development by expanding educational opportunities for the people of Coahoma County and the surrounding countie and by targeting high needs in the North Mississippi Delta region.

The purpose of the Carnegie Public Library is to provide opportunities for information, education, culture, and recreation through books, computers, videos, and other materials as well as offer library services, to the people of Clarksdale and Coahoma County. Service is available to all citizens of Coahoma County through tax support from the City of Clarksdale and the County Board of Supervisors.

CPR/Basic Life Support certification course offered

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Delta State University’s Office of Continuing Education is offering a CPR/Basic Life Support (BLS) certification course. In this classroom-based course, participants will learn to recognize several life-threatening emergencies, provide CPR to victims of all ages, use an AED and relieve choking in a safe, timely and effective manner.

The course is designed for community members, certified or non-certified healthcare professionals and first responders seeking first time certification or re-certification. Adult and Infant/Child CPR will be covered in this certification course. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn the key changes in CPR/BLS under the 2010 American Heart Association guidelines for CPR and Emergency Cardiovascular Care.

This class will be held Aug. 27 at 5 p.m. in the Simmons Room of the Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni Building. The cost is $35 per person. Certification cards will be issued for participants who successfully complete requirements.

Preregistration is required for this course, and the deadline to register is August 22. Interested applicants must contact Marilyn Read in the Office of Continuing Education at 662-846-4874 or e-mail