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Panel participants included (left to right): Scottie Willis (Interdisciplinary Studies); Garyanna Simmons (Social Work); moderator Dr. Carolyn Casale; Rhahan Sarwar (CIS); Kelsa Powell (Social Work); and Hafsa Alharoon (MBA/Accounting). Photo by Kelly Kirkland.

Student panel focuses on technology

By | Faculty/Staff, Office of Information Technology, Students | No Comments

The Office of Information Technology hosted a Connected Learner Panel on Wednesday in celebration of Connected Educator Month.

Five Delta State students participated in the discussion moderated by Dr. Carolyn Casale, assistant professor in the College of Education and Human Sciences. The topic was “Connected Learners: Perspectives in Learning with Technology from Millennials and Gen Z.”

The discussion explored how students representing these generations respond to technologies used in online and face-to-face class environments. Panelists shared their motivations in learning with technology, expectations for using technologies in class, and gave insight as to what the future of technology should look like to prepare them for the future.

“It was very interesting to learn how students see things,” said Casale. “Sometimes, as instructors, we aren’t aware of the positive impact we are having. This was very useful information.”

Casale posed several questions to uncover ways instructors are using technology to improve student participation and performance. Students mirrored recent research by indicating that they would benefit from more technology training tutorials, intermittent social media activity, and tools to develop their online research skills. Panelists agreed that campus instructors were moving in the right direction for engaging learners, technology diversity and interaction.

“I am shy and sometimes afraid to speak in class,” said social work major Garyanna Simmons, “But working online in discussions improved my confidence to speak up and participate.”

“Blended formats work best for me because we like the convenience of online, but we need that occasional face-to-face,”said MBA and accounting graduate student Hafsa Alharoon. “Interaction with the professor is very important.”

Dr. Nicole House, director of instructional technology, said understanding the current technological needs is imperative.

“Gen Z consists of digital natives born between the mid-1990s and 2010, and they are becoming the majority in our college classrooms,” said House. “So if we understand their needs and expectations, we can develop new teaching strategies to challenge them as well as prepare them to work in a world that requires technical proficiency.”

Learn more about Connected Educator Month at http://www.connectededucators.org.

Allie Rose Parker, SGA president at Delta State, recently became the first student appointed to the board of directors for the Cleveland-Bolivar County  Chamber of Commerce.

Parker named to Chamber Board of Directors

By | Academics, Community, President, Students | No Comments

Allie Rose Parker, Student Government Association president at Delta State, recently became the first student member of the Board of Directors for the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce.

Parker was appointed to the position at the recommendation of Board President Heather Robinson ’01, ’03. She will begin her duties next month.

“This is a special opportunity for me because I have the chance to interact with some of the people who work so hard to make Cleveland the awesome city that it is,” said Parker. “As a student, I feel that I’ll be able to learn from these men and women and gain experiences and knowledge for the future.”

“Cleveland is a unique city because the residents here care so deeply about DSU,” she added. “With this position, I hope to involve the city even more with events happening on our campus. Community events are such a big thing in Cleveland, and with the city and Delta State working together, I think we will see some really great things accomplished.”

Chamber Executive Director Judson Thigpen ’78 said he’s thrilled to bring a student voice on board.

“We feel a strong bond with Delta State, especially with the faculty and staff, and we wanted to become more mindful of the things students would like to see,” said Thigpen ’78. “We really value Allie Rose’s input as she represents the student body, and we expect that each year the SGA president would serve this role for the Chamber.”

Dr. Vernell Bennett, Delta State’s vice president of Student Affairs, said this is the perfect opportunity for Parker to strengthen the university’s bond with the community.

“This is a great opportunity for Allie Rose and very insightful of the Chamber to include the student voice on its board,” said Bennett. “In doing so, I believe they’ll see a marked increase in DSU students being engaged in their programming and activities. I think it’s mutually beneficial because it allows both entities to capitalize off of the strengths of the other. DSU students will benefit from the Chamber’s programming, services, networking opportunities and possible merchant mentorships.”

Bennett noted that this has become a semester of firsts for Parker. She also became the first Delta State student to have voting privileges on the President’s Cabinet.

Delta State President William N. LaForge echoed Bennett’s praise for this opportunity.

“We’re very moved that the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber invited our SGA president to be on the board,” said LaForge. “Just as Allie Rose will serve on the President’s Cabinet, now the Chamber has the benefit of student input for the community. It’s a wonderful illustration of town-gown relations and the engagement of students who have very important perspectives. She will be a great member of their board.”

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

open-call-auditions-poster

Open auditions for musical “Rock of Ages”

By | Community, Students | No Comments

Open call auditions for Delta State’s February show, “Rock of Ages,” will take place in room 302A located in the Student Union on Nov. 2 from 7-10 p.m.

Director Charly Abraham aims to recreate a stark, Hollywood feel with a full band and a cast that can demonstrate what rock theater is all about.

Auditions will consist of performing one of the four songs listed below and a cold reading from the script. All parts require singing and stage movement. Headshots are requested but not required.

Tracks will be provided to the following audition songs (pick one):

  1. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
  2. I Want to Know What Love Is – Foreigner
  3. Hit Me with Your Best Shot – Pat Benatar
  4. I Hate Myself for Loving You – Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

Roles are open to everyone between the ages 18-60. Callbacks, if necessary, will be announced on Nov. 4. Character descriptions can be found at http://www.samuelfrench.com/p/35180/rock-of-ages. Performances will run Feb. 20-22, 2017 in Jobe Hall Auditorium on Delta State’s campus.

For more information, contact Carrie Lynn Stanford at rockofagesdsu@gmail.com.

Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson will provide his Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series address Nov. 9 at 6 p.m.

Congressman Thompson to provide colloquia address following election

By | Community, President, Students | No Comments

The Delta State University Colloquia Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series continues this semester with U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi on Nov. 9.

Rep. Thompson’s speech, titled “A Look Back at the 2016 National Election,” will begin at 6 p.m. on Nov. 9 in the Jobe Auditorium on campus — just one day after the 2016 national elections. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Delta State President William N. LaForge established the colloquia program when taking office in 2013. The platform is an ongoing series of top-flight lectures and addresses featuring prominent speakers. William F. Winter, former Mississippi governor, was honored as the first speaker in 2013.

“We’re thrilled to bring Congressman Thompson here for our Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series,” said LaForge. “It seemed fitting to invite him to campus the day after the national election to give us a snap-reaction to the election results. It’s an ideal opportunity for our campus to engage him, as our congressman in Washington, and at the same time, allow him to share his knowledge about what’s going to happen at the top of the ticket.”

Rep. Thompson has spent his entire life giving a voice to the voiceless. His lifelong public service record is a testament to his unwavering dedication to fulfill and exceed the expectations of the constituents of the Second Congressional District of Mississippi.

A native of rural Bolton, Thompson has always been aware of the realities that plague the South. Viewing the experiences his family endured firsthand became the catalyst for his passion for those who were often times underserved.

He is a product of the Hinds County School District and later earned a Bachelor of Science from Tougaloo College and a Master of Science from Jackson State University. While pursuing his education, Thompson began to cultivate his passion for grassroots political activism. A product of the Civil Rights movement, he joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and helped to organize voter registration drives for African Americans in the Mississippi Delta. After graduating from college, he followed in the footsteps of his mother and worked as a schoolteacher. It was during this time that he began to aggressively pursue a career in politics.

Thompson has served the Second Congressional District since 1993. He is the longest-serving African American elected official in the state of Mississippi, and he is also the only Democrat in the Mississippi Congressional delegation. Thompson’s voting record is indicative of his determination to be an activist for reform. In 2000, he authored legislation creating the National Center for Minority Health and Health Care Disparities, which subsequently became law. Thompson also received a presidential appointment to serve on the National Council on Health Planning and Development.

In 2006, during the 109th Congress, Thompson’s Washington colleagues expressed their overwhelming confidence in his abilities and selected him to serve as the first Democratic chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. As chairman, he introduced and engineered House passage of the most comprehensive homeland security package since Sept. 11, 2001 — H.R. 1, the “9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007.”

LaForge said the Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series is another commitment to bringing excellence to Delta State.

“The university colloquia program gives our institution a chance to hear from and engage with experts from a wide array of professions and interests,” said LaForge. “It especially allows our students and faculty to rub elbows with professionals and resources we sometimes have the rare opportunity to engage. Great universities have great programs, and this is one.”

Those unable to attend the event can view the live stream speech online through the university’s official LiveStream channel: https://livestream.com/DeltaStateUniversity. Learn more about the series at www.deltastate.edu/president/colloquia.

The Delta State delegation that recently attended Mission Mississippi’s annual Racial Reconciliation Celebration included: (left to right)  Stedmond Ware,  Amber Jordan, Kiara Bryant, Jarrica Carey, Kaviar Lewis, Hampton Strickland, Felicity Strotter and Dr. Temika Simmons.

Delegation attends racial reconciliation conference

By | Faculty/Staff, Students, Winning the Race | No Comments

A Delta State University delegation recently took part in Mission Mississippi’s annual Racial Reconciliation Celebration at the Jackson Convention Complex.

The full day of events focused on racial reconciliation, education and methods for Mississippians, from all walks of life, to work together to create a more unified Mississippi.

Mission Mississippi has been leading the way in racial reconciliation in the state for the past 23 years. Its model is to bring people together to build relationships across racial lines so they can work together to better their communities.

Delta State University faculty, staff and students attended the reconciliation event and participated in a small group session, panel discussion and luncheon.

Student delegates included: Stedmond Ware (graduate student and Delta State staff member), Amber Jordan, Kiara Bryant, Jarrica Carey, Kaviar Lewis, Hampton Strickland and Felicity Strotter. Dr. Temika Simmons represented the university’s faculty.

“The conference raised participant awareness of the significant role that churches and religious organizations can take in bridging racial divides,” said Simmons. “Participants were encouraged to take Mission Mississippi’s 30-day challenge to spend time with a person of another race, sharing, praying and encouraging one another and to share that journey with others via photos on social media. Participants were also encouraged to think of themselves as leaders in the communities for bridging racial gaps.”

“The event is significant in that it raises community awareness of persistent and systemic issues rooted in racial tensions — and empowers participants with ways to get involved to help heal and reunite communities and people,” added Simmons.

Neddie Winters, president of Mission Mississippi, and First Lady of Mississippi, Deborah Bryant, were two featured speakers at the affair.

Delta State’s annual Winning the Race Conference on race relations works in partnership with Mission Mississippi in support of initiatives and efforts to unite and heal groups traditionally separated by race-related divides. Attendance at the reconciliation event is among many sustained campus and community activities supported through the university’s Winning the Race initiative.

The vision of Mission Mississippi is to engage, equip and empower the next generation to build relationships across racial lines, to work together with better understanding, to build greater respect for one another, and to trust each other while making a better Mississippi together.

Learn more at http://missionmississippi.org/about-us.