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International

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Students and faculty to discuss exchange in Poland

By | International, QEP, Student Success Center, Students | No Comments

The Student Success Center, International Student Services and Delta State’s Quality Enhancement Plan present a free luncheon Nov. 30 from noon to 1 p.m. to discuss the university’s recent cultural exchange trip to John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin (KUL) in Lublin, Poland.

The event, “You Can Get There From Here: Poland Cultural Exchange,” will take place in the Student Union, Room 302A, and will feature a student, faculty and staff panel highlighting the two-week exchange that occurred in May of 2016.

Dr. Christy Riddle, director of the SSC and ISS, will discuss the partnership with KUL, as well as future international exchange opportunities. Dr. A.H.M. Ali Reza, assistant professor of biology at Delta State, will also discuss his role in leading the trip.

Students Scottie Willis, Katherine Jackson, Maria Belisário and Paxton Stratton will also describe what they learned from the trip.

KUL is one of several universities abroad with which Delta State has signed a memorandum of understanding to further develop international exchanges. Delta State first hosted a group of KUL faculty and students in October of 2015.

“We were extremely excited to offer the Poland trip,” said Riddle. “These international partnerships offer the opportunity for our Delta State faculty and students and their faculty and students to travel, teach and study abroad through various exchange programs. It’s a win-win for Delta State because the students traveling abroad gain a greater understanding of global issues, and it also exposes our on-campus students to other cultures.”

For more information about the event, contact QEP coordinator Michelle Johansen at mjohansen@deltastate.edu.

Svetlana Polyakova (center), an English professor at Perm State University in Russia, hosted Dr. Beverly Moon (l to r), Dr. Charles McAdams, Dr. Christy Riddle and Michelle Johansen, during Perm State's recent centennial celebrations.

Delta State celebrates Perm State centennial in Perm, Russia

By | Academics, Continuing Education, Faculty/Staff, International, QEP, Student Success Center | No Comments

Earlier this month, a Delta State University delegation traveled to Perm State University in Perm, Russia to strengthen ongoing relations between the two institutions.

The Delta State group had the honor of visiting during Perm State’s historic centennial celebrations.

“I was privileged to represent Delta State University at the centennial celebrations of our partner school Perm State University,” said Dr. Charles McAdams, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Delta State. “They had several ceremonial activities and functions celebrating this significant event, and it was important for Delta State to show support for our partner.”

In addition to the celebrations, Perm State held two academic symposia. McAdams presented a session on academic leadership. Dr. Beverly Moon, dean of Graduate & Continuing Studies & Research at Delta State, Dr. Christy Riddle, executive director of International Student Services and the Student Success Center, and Michelle Johansen, coordinator of the Quality Enhancement Plan, presented on the topic of Delta State’s “Quality Enhancement Plan: Intercultural Competence.”

The group was hosted by Perm State professor Svetlana Polyakova, who also orchestrated Delta State’s student exchange at Perm State in 2015.

Delta State provided a customized glass award honoring Perm State on their centennial, and in exchange, Perm State gave Delta State a slice of a branch from a birch tree, encased in glass and wood. The tree was a young sapling when the school was founded in 1916.

Moon said the trip was the next step in developing future exchanges at both universities.

“Developing partnerships such as the one between Perm State and Delta State will greatly benefit our students and faculty,” said Moon. “We hope to work up some exchanges and research opportunities that improve our students’ global understanding and their intercultural competencies — and provide meaningful faculty development.”

The group was also fortunate to be part of a celebration during the centennial week attended by the U.S. Consul General from Yekaterinburg, Marcus Micheli. The consulate in Yekaterinburg has been providing consular services to U.S. and Russian citizens since 1994. Its activities include the issuance of U.S. passports, reports of birth of a U.S. citizen abroad, and adjudication of nonimmigrant visas.

“One of my big takeaways from the trip was the importance of putting aside media perceptions about international relations,” said Johansen. “Every interaction I had with people in Russia was positive and enlightening, even when discussing difficult topics like politics. I feel fortunate to have had this incredible experience and will use these connections to Perm State as part of QEP programming and the courses I teach.”

President LaForge (left) and Dr. McAdams with the centennial gift from Perm State University.

President LaForge (left) and Dr. McAdams with the centennial gift from Perm State University.

Johansen said after each presentation provided by the Delta State delegation, Perm State students and faculty wanted more information about studying at DSU, the Student Success Center’s programs, and cultural competency events.

“DSU students benefit from these international exchanges because they improve their intercultural communication skills and gain real world experience in navigating today’s globalized society,” added Johansen. “I kept thinking about how DSU and Perm State students have a lot in common as young people. I’m looking forward to more DSU students having amazing adventures through international travel.”

The two universities have already conducted numerous student and faculty exchanges in recent years.

Delta State President William N. LaForge first became affiliated with Perm State as a visiting professor in 2008. He returned to the university as a Fulbright Fellow in 2011 and in May of 2015. Additionally, he has continued to network with Perm colleagues since taking office at Delta State in 2013.

Thanks to a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State, a group of Delta Music Institute students and faculty completed a two-week exchange at Perm State in May of 2015. Learn more about this trip at http://www.deltastate.edu/russia.

Polyakova and a number of Perm State students, faculty and staff have also made return trips to Delta State for exchanges.

To learn more about Quality Enhancement Plan at Delta State, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/academics/institutional-research-and-planning/sacs-2014-reaffirmation/quality-enhancement-plan-2014/.

The international student body at Delta State has doubled in three years.

International student body sees major growth

By | Faculty/Staff, International, President, Student Success Center, Students | No Comments

In a span of just three years, Delta State University has seen a dramatic uptick in the number of international students attending the institution.

According to Dr. Christy Riddle, executive director of the Student Success Center and International Student Services, there are 129 international students attending this fall, doubling the amount enrolled three years ago. Additionally, Delta State is sponsoring 14 post-graduate internships, which brings this semester’s international student enrollment to 143 students.

“It’s so gratifying to see how quickly our international student population is growing,” Riddle said. “International students bring additional perspectives and diversity to campus, and we look forward to their contributions across campus. We look forward to even more international students in the years to come.”

According to Riddle, another success story is the current retention rate of 96 percent for international students, a figure of pride for Riddle and her staff.

Elise Mallette, coordinator of International Student Services, is also thrilled with the rise of students coming from abroad.

“Most of our students will probably never have the opportunity to travel to other countries or experience other cultures firsthand,” said Mallette. “Our international students allow all of us, not just our students, to learn about other cultures, life outside of the American norm, and broaden our prospective without having to leave the comforts of Cleveland.

“By increasing enrollment this semester, we now have 50 countries represented on campus compared to 39 last semester. In just one semester we have 11 new cultures right here at our doorstep. The more students we bring to campus, the more we can learn and appreciate other cultures.”

Delta State University President William N. LaForge, who has experience teaching at a number of institutions abroad, has long made it a priority to boost the international presence on campus. He has also spearheaded efforts for Delta State students to study abroad, which has led to cultural exchange trips in Russia and Poland.

“I am absolutely thrilled with the increase in the number of international students at Delta State,” said LaForge. “It’s incredibly exciting to have 50 countries represented here. Our international students add a terrific dynamic to this campus as they bring their cultures and experiences from other parts of the world to our Delta State family.”

To learn more about International Student Services and the Student Success Center at Delta State, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/student-success-center/international-student-services.

 

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GIT Center to host international speakers for discussion on climate change and disaster relief

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Faculty/Staff, GIS, International | No Comments

Delta State’s Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Information Technologies (GIT Center) is hosting its second annual conference on disaster relief.

This year’s event is titled “A Panel Discussion on Climate Change and Disaster in the Developing World: Perspectives From Africa and Asia.”

Students, faculty, staff and the community are invited to attend this free event Oct. 5 from 7-9 p.m. in the Baioni Conference Center in Broom Hall.

The impressive panel features speakers from Vietnam, Mozambique and a United Nations member from China. Talbot Brooks, director of the GIT Center, will moderate the discussion. Panelists will discuss the challenges faced every day in their nations and their struggle to become more resilient.

“The event will focus on developing nations being particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and disaster,” said Brooks. “Their populations, economies and physical environments are often fragile, and due to scarcity of resources, less able to respond to and recover from crisis than those of the developed world.”

It is not only in our national interest to support stability in these regions, but a moral obligation,” added Brooks. “For example, the U.S. does $38-43 billion in trade with Vietnam each year, and a substantial loss to their manufacturing base due to a crisis would have a significant and direct impact on our economy.”

The speakers include:

-Dr. Quang Hoai Tran, vice director, Water Resources Institute of Vietnam
-Dang Quang Ming, director, Disaster Management Center of Vietnam
-Dr. Teresa Abeu, deputy general director, National Institute for Disaster Management of Mozambique
-Alfredo Magumisse, parliamentarian and member, Committee on Agriculture, Economy and Environment, Parliament of Mozambique
-Jaime Neto, parliamentarian and Member, Committee on Agriculture, Economy and Environment, Parliament of Mozambique
-Teixeira Almeida, director for Manica Province, National Institute for Disaster Management of Mozambique
-Jiayi Sun, United Nations Office for Outter Space Affairs, Beijing, China

 Learn more about the event at: http://www.deltastate.edu/artsandsciences/geospatial-information-technologies/explore-the-center/events/perspectives-from-africa-and-asia/.

Thanks to donations from the First Baptist Church College Ministry, Delta State's new international students were welcomed with “Dorm Room Essentials” kits.

International students welcomed with “Dorm Room Essentials” kits

By | Community, Faculty/Staff, International, Student Success Center, Students | No Comments

Members from Cleveland’s First Baptist Church College Ministry stepped up in a big way recently to support the arrival of Delta State’s new contingent of on-campus international students.

Church member Missey Hudson helped coordinate the group effort to purchase and organize what they call the “Dorm Room Essentials” kit.

The idea was presented to Hudson by an international student she met last year through the church’s ongoing efforts to welcome international students.

“What we wanted them to be able to do after an international flight and a two-hour drive from Memphis, was to be able to go into their dorm room, have a snack, take a shower and go to bed — and not have to go to WalMart to pick up the things they need after they’re exhausted and jetlagged,” said Hudson. “We wanted to make sure students don’t have to arrive to an empty bedroom.”

Hudson took the idea to the church’s college minister, and church members came together to donate funds for the kits.

“This was really a group effort,” stressed Hudson. “I had the blessing of coordinating someone else’s idea and everyone else’s hard work.”

The donations included sheets, a pillow, blanket, towel set, a planner and a small bag of snacks.

Marwa Cherraf, an international student from Morocco, was thrilled to receive the welcome gift.

“I was very pleased to get the basket — it meant a lot,” said Cherraf. “There are some international students who don’t know where to go and what to get when they first arrive. This was such a nice gift because it had all the stuff we need, especially for the first couple days. It makes me feel really welcomed as a new international student at Delta State. I appreciate that people want to make sure we feel comfortable and at home.”

To top it all off, Dr. Christy Riddle, executive director of International Student Services and the Student Success Center at Delta State, boxed everything together in new laundry baskets.

“This was such a kind act from the First Baptist Church,” said Riddle. “It warms our hearts that people in our community want to help welcome our international students. We have a growing international student body at Delta State, and this help will go a long way.”

Hudson said the church’s small act of kindness was a simple way to make the new students feel more at home.

“I’m hoping this idea will grow,” added Hudson. “International students are so far away from home, their friends and their family members. They’re looking to Cleveland and Delta State to form those friendships and family-like connections. As members of the Cleveland community, we can all step up and welcome these folks into our homes and our lives.”

Learn more about International Student Services at http://www.deltastate.edu/student-success-center/international-student-services.