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IHL

First C2C participants receive degrees

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Left to right: Dr. Karen Bell, Provost Dr. Charles McAdams, Randa Hitchcock, Keir Davis, Jeremy Weaver and President William N. LaForge.

 

Earlier this year, Mississippi’s Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) launched the statewide initiative, Complete 2 Compete (C2C), to encourage adult learners to return to college and complete degrees.

The program focuses on adults who have accumulated hours towards a college diploma but have not finished a baccalaureate degree.

Since the C2C launch, Dr. Karen Bell, Delta State University’s C2C coach, has been working with 142 C2C leads (applicants). At Delta State’s commencement ceremonies on Saturday, 14 of the program participants reaped the benefits of graduation.

“We are excited to have our first graduates in the new adult degree completion program, Complete 2 Compete,” said Bell. “This program is a great opportunity for students who have been out of school at least two years and have completed 90 hours to reconnect and finish their degree.”

“Having a college degree makes a real difference for many people, and we want to help adults earn their degree,” said Dr. Charles McAdams, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Delta State.

Through this initiative, Randa Hitchcock will receive the new bachelor’s in general studies and finish what she started.

“It is important for me to show my daughter, as well as others, that no matter what life may throw at you, you can accomplish anything you set out to do,” said Hitchcock. “It is important not to give up on a dream, and completing my degree was a dream of mine.”

This year’s graduating class includes:

Ashley Bobo
Keir Davis
Chelsey Dunn
Dana Floyd
Judy Haney
Randa Hitchcock
Marilyn James
Jon McKinney
Phillip Sarullo
Paul Scott
Keisha Thompson
Jeremy Weaver
Joshua Williams
Sandra Williams

“I plan on using the degree to build a better career,” said Jones. “I will be entering the Master of Arts Teaching program, and I could not do this without the BS degree.”

“I plan to use this degree to motivate me to finish what I started,” said Bobo. “I’ve never been more grateful for this opportunity. This is just the first step in my educational journey, and I plan to get my masters as well.”

Learn more about C2C at http://www.msc2c.org.

Mississippi public universities contribute 60K jobs to Mississippi employment

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By Dr. Glenn Boyce, commissioner of Higher Education

In 2015, Mississippi Public Universities’ contribution to Mississippi employment was 59,258, or approximately 3.74 percent, jobs in Mississippi. The university system contributed $3.78 billion, or approximately 3.5 percent, to total personal income in Mississippi.

On the Mississippi Business Journal’s Book of Lists 2017, the University of Mississippi Medical Center, with 9,000 employees, is listed as #3, behind Huntington Ingalls Industries and Keesler Air Force Base, with 11,000 employees each. Other universities on the list include:

  • #9 Mississippi State University: 4,740 employees, including extension service employees serving the citizens in every county of the state
  • #11 University of Mississippi: 4,200 employees
  • #27 The University of Southern Mississippi: 2,212 employees

In addition to the professors who support the university’s core mission of teaching and learning, many other employees are essential for student success. For example, Delta State University has placed an emphasis on improved retention and has invested in human resources to support these efforts.

This investment has paid off. Between the fall of 2015 and the fall of 2016, Delta State experienced significant increases in retention rates for first-time, full-time, degree-seeking freshmen—5.2 percent; first time, full-time, degree-seeking transfer students—7.8 percent; and, all full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students—3.7 percent. Simply put, this means more students stayed in school and on the path to graduation—and on the path to being more productive, employable citizens of our state.

Similar efforts on all campuses have resulted in an 80 percent one-year retention rate for entering full-time freshmen, based on the Fall 2014 cohort.

Universities also employ scientists who conduct research that solves problems and helps Mississippians lead better, healthier lives. This past year, the university system received $420.7 million in research funding from federal, state and private/corporate sources, supporting 2,407 projects.

Our campuses are like small cities, requiring the support staff to run them. This includes the campus police force, the crews that maintain the buildings and grounds, the staff that run the physical plant and he employees who manage the residence halls.

Universities also support indirect jobs, including those supported by the renovation and construction projects on campus and those working in transportation that connects the campus and the community. Universities outsource some functions, such as food service and bookstores, supporting additional indirect jobs.

Additional jobs are supported through student spending on off-campus housing, in restaurants and other entertainment venues, in local retailers, including grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, clothing stores and book stores.

Mississippi Public Universities serve more than 95,000 students during the academic year. This requires a lot of hands on deck to meet their needs both inside and outside the classroom, which, in turn, supports the Mississippi economy.

The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

Delta State enrollment increases over five percent

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For the fourth year in a row, Delta State University is proud to announce an increase in university enrollment.

The preliminary numbers, as of Sept. 8, were 3,035 undergraduate students and 743 graduate students, for a total enrollment of 3,778. The increase of nearly 5.5 percent was the largest increase among the state’s eight public universities this year.

According to Delta State University President William N. LaForge, the growth is due to a number of major institutional efforts.

“I am very pleased with the increase in enrollment for the fall of 2017,” said LaForge. “Early reports indicate we are up 190 students, or nearly 5.5 percent over last year. This significant uptick represents the fourth consecutive increase, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

LaForge credited six major reasons for the enrollment increase:

  • A great team of faculty and staff across campus.
  • Smarter and more targeted recruiting in high schools and community colleges. This includes doubling community college recruiters, and increasing partnerships with high schools.
  • Improved retention rates thanks to engaged faculty and programs such as the Student Success Center and First Year Seminar.
  • Signature programs that continue to attract more students, including the Robert E. Smith School of Nursing, Delta Music Institute, Health/Physical Education/Recreation, and Aviation.
  • Doubling the number of international students in the last three years.
  • Offering a competitive tuition rate with stellar academics, including capstone projects for every major — all at an unparalleled value.

“I would be remiss not to mention that we have a welcoming student environment,” added LaForge. “Students feel very welcomed here and have the total college experience. There’s a buzz on campus, and there’s excitement all around.”

Caitlyn Thompson, director of recruiting, said recruitment efforts have focused on directly communicating with potential students.

“The recruiting staff worked very hard over this past year to reach new students, and one effort that may have contributed to the enrollment increase is the E-Communication Center that was implemented last fall,” said Thompson. “Current Delta State students contacted prospective students to speak with them about topics like campus events, scholarships, admissions deadlines, application reminders and more.”

Tricia Walker, director of the Delta Music Institute, said the DMI program has experienced significant growth over the past few years.

“The sustained growth of the DMI program brought the opportunity to add a faculty member and a studio manager to our ranks in order to better serve our students,” said Walker. “We are grateful to the administration for their support of this unique program. With an incoming class of more than 30 new students this fall, the DMI will exceed 120 majors in our entertainment industry studies program. We are packed and we like it that way.”

Tim Colbert, chair of the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, said HPER is one of the fastest growing majors.

“HPER has good degree options in multiple areas that lead not just to employment, but also sustainable careers with a chance for advancement,” said Colbert. “Our faculty understand how to relate to students on a personal level and help them to deal with their issues to become successful.”

Additionally, Delta State saw another uptick this year in the number of international students. Dr. Christy Riddle, executive director of the Student Success Center and International Student Services, is proud that the university has doubled its international student body since the spring of 2013.

“We love that our international student population is growing each year,” said Riddle. “International students contribute so much to campus because of their global perspectives and diverse cultures. We welcome them to Delta State and look forward to even more international students for years to come.

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

Complete 2 Compete Initiative launches website

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Officials, including (left to right) Steve Jaworowski, LK Marketing; John Davis, DHS; Stephanie Bullock, IHL; Governor Phil Bryant; Dr. Andrea Mayfield, MCCB; Dr. Glenn Boyce, IHL; Dr. Casey Turnage, IHL; and Audra Kimble, MCCB; gather to announce the launch of the Complete 2 Compete website.

The portal to a better future is just a click away for thousands of Mississippians. The Complete 2 Compete website provides information and resources available to help Mississippi adults who have completed some college, but not a degree, to return to college and complete the requirements necessary to earn their degrees.

“Complete 2 Compete will grow our skilled, educated workforce, in turn growing economic development across the state,” said Governor Phil Bryant. “This partnership will ensure Mississippi remains attractive to business and industry looking for a favorable tax climate and a workforce ready to excel on day one. I am grateful to everyone involved in making it a reality.”

The website will serve as an important resource for thousands of Mississippians:

  • More than 2,400 former students age 21 or over have enough credits to earn a bachelor’s degree with no additional coursework
  • An additional 28,000 students have enough credits to earn an associates degree with no additional coursework
  • More than 100,000 former students can earn either an associates or bachelor’s degree with some additional coursework

“This website provides important information that can have life-changing results for many Mississippians,” said Dr. Glenn Boyce, commissioner of Higher Education. “Workforce studies have shown that the vast majority of future jobs will go to those with a postsecondary degree or credential of value beyond high school. I would encourage individuals to access this website as it could be an important first step in helping them achieve a goal that will ultimately lead to a better, higher-paying job and greater job and financial security.”

Mississippi Public Universities, the Mississippi Community College Board and the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges are partners in the effort to identify target groups, implement adult learner services and re-engage adult students to help them complete their degrees.

“As a statewide initiative, Complete 2 Compete has the potential to impact hundreds of thousands of Mississippians,” said Dr. Andrea Mayfield, executive director of the Mississippi Community College Board. “Expanding career and wage opportunities are just two, of many, benefits of Complete 2 Compete. I am excited to see this collaborative effort become a reality. Without the partnership and efforts of many, this initiative would not be possible. I look forward to the positive impact on individuals, employers, and Mississippi’s economy.”

The Mississippi Department of Human Services has provided funding through a grant designed to help low-income Mississippians improve their job skills.

“The Mississippi Department of Human Services proudly supports the Complete 2 Compete Project,” said John Davis, executive director of  MDHS. “Our generation plus approach at MDHS begins by addressing poverty as well as associated barriers encountered by Mississippi families. The approach is designed with an intentional focus on working with the family as a whole. Education is one of the key components to create a foundational framework​ for individuals along their pathway to independence. The Complete 2 Compete Project perfectly aligns with our efforts to holistically assist households obtain livable wages.”

The Mississippi Department of Employment Security also provided a grant for the program.

There is no cost for submitting information through the C2C website and doing so may help an individual determine how close they are to completing degree requirements. Depending on what programs are needed to satisfy an individual’s career and educational interests, the Complete 2 Compete website will match him or her to a list of schools that offer the classes needed to complete a degree.

Tuition and fees for enrollment in courses may be assessed according to the established tuition and fee schedule at each institution. Some incentives, including academic forgiveness, virtual tutoring, adult learner scholarships and tuition assistance, prior learning assessment and repayment plan options may be available at some of the institutions.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

 

Students to present at Posters in the Rotunda

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Students from all eight of Mississippi’s public universities will share their research and creative activities on a variety of topics Thursday with legislators and state leaders at Posters in the Rotunda, held in the Rotunda of the State Capitol. Students will show how their research solves some of Mississippi’s most pressing problems and benefits the citizens of the state.

Participating Delta State students and their topics included:

  • Kristina Hong: Game-Based Student Response Systems and Academic Performance
  • Brittany Hulsey: Paleocommunity of Rancholabrean Age Megafauna Found Along Lower Mississippi Delta Gravel Bars
  • Kiersten Page: Using VARK Modalities to Increase Retention in Organic Chemistry
  • William Weeks: Electrospinning Alginate-Based Nanofibers

The event provides opportunities for legislators to visit with students from their districts, allows students to network with each other as they learn about work on other campuses, and showcases the cutting-edge research conducted by undergraduates that benefits the residents of Mississippi.

“Posters in the Rotunda epitomizes both the diversity and high quality of the scholarship being done by students and their faculty mentors,” said Dr. Marie Danforth, chair of the steering committee for the Drapeau Center for Undergraduate Research at The University of Southern Mississippi, and coordinator of the event. “This year, we’ve been able to expand the event to include more undergraduates from each university. Two students representing Mississippi INBRE, a statewide program focusing on biomedical research, are also participating.”

Scheduled speakers include Governor Phil Bryant and Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves, with introductions given by Dr. Gordon Cannon, vice president for research at The University of Southern Mississippi.

“I am so pleased that the Posters in the Rotunda event has been expanded to include even more students for its second year,” said Dr. Glenn Boyce, Commissioner of Higher Education. “This is an excellent program that highlights the value of undergraduate research and the impact university research has on solving Mississippi’s most pressing problems. Participating in undergraduate research projects provides a great experience for the students, strengthening their academic, leadership and presentation skills and preparing them for research on the graduate level.”

Modeled after the Posters on the Hill event in which students from across the country share their work in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Mississippi’s event is similar to ones held in 17 other states.

More information on the Posters in the Rotunda event is available at http://postersintherotundams.org.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.