Graduate and Continuing Studies

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

Freedom Summer Workshop offered

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Delta State is offering a Freedom Summer Workshop through the Coahoma County Higher Education Center (CCHEC) on July 14-18.

The workshop is focuses on the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project commonly known as “Freedom Summer.” The classroom instruction is being led by Assistant Professor of History Dr. Chuck Westmoreland on Monday – Thursday from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. with a closing trip to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis on Friday.

The workshop is open to the community and will cost $65 for the full week. Daily attendance is permitted for a fee of $15 per day. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for teachers are available for an additional $20 fee payable at the end of the workshop.

Space is limited, so please register as soon as possible by contacting Director Jen Waller at 662-645-3555 or The CCHEC workshop will take place at 109 Clark Street, Lewis Building Room 301 in Clarksdale.

Fashion students tour Europe

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From London to Paris to Milan, a group of Delta State fashion merchandising students had a summer class to remember thanks to a recent academic-based trip to Europe.

Jan Haynes, professor of fashion merchandising, said the tour was designed to expose students to the global nature of the industries of textiles, apparel and retail.

“Students made contact with business professionals through on-site visits to a couture house, as well as the home office of Diesel, a large Italian apparel producer that caters to a contemporary clientele,” said Haynes.

One of the anticipated cultural experiences was a private showing of Princess Diana’s gowns at Kensington Palace in London. The visit was arranged by Pat Kerr, a Delta State supporter from Memphis and internationally esteemed couture designer of special occasion apparel. She is also a collector of royal memorabilia and the owner of one of the gowns in this “Fashion Rules” exhibit.

One of the major goals of the trip was to emphasize the social and economic importance of the fashion industry in major European apparel centers.

Students were asked to identify the varied career opportunities in the fashion industry and develop an understanding of the duties, responsibilities and training needed for each career.

Opportunities were made to interact with professionals in the fashion industry and gain insight from their personal perspectives.

The trip also aligns with Delta State’s recent five-year Quality Enhancement Plan with efforts to improve overall cultural competence on campus.

Sam Partee, a fashion merchandising major from Clarksdale, said the experience provided some unforgettable firsts.

“It was my first time to Europe and it was definitely a trip to remember,” said Partee. “We got to experience a lot of new things, new cultures and cities – it was a real eye-opener.”

Partee said he would recommend future fashion merchandising trips  because of the first-hand experiences students are able to learn from.

“You really don’t get to experience a lot of opportunities like this when your from around here,” he said. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to tour three major fashion cities and learn so much doing it.”

The trip was designed for students in the fashion merchandising program, but other targeted students included those interested in aspects of the fashion industry including business and art. The tour was also open and promoted to a broad base of interested adults, including university students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members.

Six students took the course for three hours of undergraduate credit. They were required to read several articles prior to the trip. During the trip, they were required to keep thorough journals, with the objectives of reflection and evaluation, and to have a written and visual documentation of activities. They were also required to choose a focus topic and write a detailed research paper.

To learn more about fashion merchandising at Delta State, visit

Continuing education in theology

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Delta State will offer a theology course in the fall to the general public under the Non-Credit Continuing Education Program. The class will meet throughout the semester on Mondays from 6-9 p.m. in Kethley Hall Room 231 and will also be available to graduate students and undergraduates with special permission.

Theology, which has a deep tradition in Western culture and has been defined as faith seeking understanding, uses the tools of science — such as history and research — to help understand the nature of faith, which itself can be defined as the human encounter with the mystery of God. The course is part of the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program (MALS), an interdisciplinary program intended for adult learners interested in perfecting reading, writing and research skills.

James Tomek will preside over the course, assisted at times by Clint Tibbs. Tomek received his doctorate in French from Duke University and two master’s degrees in theology from Spring Hill College in a similar MALS program. Tibbs earned a doctorate in biblical studies and philosophy from Catholic University, a renowned center for theological studies in America.

Areas of study for the course will include biblical, church, systematic and moral theology. Those taking the course will be allowed to explore areas of special interest so they can take their theological education to higher levels, whether it be in church ministry or scholarly areas. The course will be focused on Judeo Christian aspects of theology, but there will also be sessions on world religions.

The course will include readings and a research paper but not examinations. Attendance, reading the material and writing a paper on a specific interest will be the requirements. A reading list of essays is already available for those who want to start reading ahead of time. Those taking the course under the Non-Credit Continuing Education Program are not required to do a research project and can read the material to their individual desires. Regular university prices apply to students taking the course for academic credit while the Non-Credit Continuing Education price is listed as $300.

For more information about the credit course and the MALS Program, contact Tomek ( 662-846-4077), Bill Hays (  662-846-4060), Clint Tibbs ( 662-846-4071) or Chuck Westmoreland ( 662-846-4173).

Those looking to register as a non-credit seeking community member, contact Elizabeth Joel in Continuing Education ( 662-846-4871).