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University institutes campus-wide Capstone Project program

By | Academics, Faculty/Staff, President, Students | No Comments

Delta State University recently announced a new program developed through a university-wide visioning process to promote academic excellence and student success at the institution.

The initiative, called the Capstone Project, aims to increase student learning by providing a Capstone experience for every student in every degree program. Departments across campus have identified a Capstone experience for each of its major programs.

The projects provide students the formal opportunity to connect major themes from their discipline and apply them to their field of study. The desired outcome of the program is that every student will have a capstone experience in their major program to promote reflection and synthesis of key concepts within their major.

“I’m very pleased with the university’s new and revised Capstone Project requirement for every major and every graduate,” said Delta State President William N. LaForge.

LaForge said this new feature would distinguish Delta State in two major ways. First, it underscores and enhances the academic rigor and reputation of the university and its programs. Secondly, it gives Delta State graduates a competitive advantage, including the substantive experience from doing the project, in addition to what they’re able to put on their résumé and discuss in interviews.

“This should make our graduates more competitive for jobs in the marketplace, but also for positions in graduate and professional school,” added LaForge. “The Capstone requirement adds an academic ‘halo’ over our students’ performance and degree that should help them advance in their chosen careers.”

Dr. Charles McAdams, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said the program would strengthen the overall learning experience at Delta State.

“Another step in Delta State’s commitment to providing the best academic experiences possible is making sure that every degree program has a Capstone experience,” said McAdams. “Experiencing a curriculum can sometimes leave students wondering how all the information they are learning, and skills they are developing, will help them in the next phase of their professional life.”

“Capstone projects are designed to help students synthesize what they have learned to ensure they have achieved the outcomes of their degree,” added McAdams. “Many programs, such as teacher education programs, nursing and social work, have traditionally had field experiences at the end of their program. We have expanded this effort so that now every degree program has some type of Capstone experience within their curriculum.”

McAdams said not many universities have taken this extra step, but Delta State remains committed to providing the most meaningful curriculum possible.

Dr. Leslie Griffin, dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences, said the projects should boost the overall academic experience for students.

“I think the saying that ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ applies here,” said Griffin. “That is, increasingly, employers and the world-at-large expect graduates to bring understanding of all the nuances of their specialization to bear on the workplace and in life experiences. Capstone courses help learners to contemplate, analyze and synthesize their learning experiences in a manner that achieves this level of understanding and operation, with an eye on outcomes.”

“In the realm of professional practice in education, counseling, and other related fields, Capstone projects ensure that learners bring the skills, knowledge and dispositions they have developed in their programs to bear on the real world through their work in the professional setting — P-12 schools, counseling centers, medical facilities, others, dependent upon the area of specialization.”

Dr. Dave Breaux, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, echoed Griffin’s praise for the initiative.

“Providing students the opportunity to engage in a Capstone experience will allow them to synthesize and integrate material encountered throughout their program of study,” said Breaux. “It should provide a platform for them to demonstrate mastery of the material within their respective disciplines, and give them a leg up on the job market.”

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

MDNHA, Delta Center share “Heart & Soul” of Mississippi Delta in D.C.

By | Alumni, College of Business and Aviation, Community, Delta Center, Delta Music Institute, Faculty/Staff, Students | No Comments
Senator Thad Cochran (second from right) recently enjoyed a visit with representatives from The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University. The meeting included a performance by Delta State graduate Keith Johnson (second from left), the great nephew of Muddy Waters. The Delta Center is the management entity for the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area (MDNHA). Also pictured (left to right) are Shelia Winters, DCCL program associate for projects; Dr. Rolando Herts, DCCL director and MDNHA executive director; Rhonda Price, executive director of Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area; and Lee Aylward, DCCL program associate for education and community outreach.

 

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University recently attended the Alliance of National Heritage Areas’ annual meeting on behalf of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area. The meeting took place during Valentine’s Day week in Washington, D.C.

During the Alliance’s “Heart & Soul” congressional breakfast at the Rayburn House Office Building, the MDNHA and Delta State were honored for receiving National Park Service Centennial Awards for creating the Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership. This cultural heritage interpretation project has engaged over 1,000 residents and visitors in honoring the lives of unsung African American church mothers featured in Alysia Burton Steele’s book “Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom.”

Delta State was the only higher education institution and MDNHA is the only National Heritage Area in the country that received NPS Centennial Awards this year.

In recognition of the MDNHA’s rich cultural heritage, the Alliance of National Heritage Areas invited Keith Johnson, “Prince of the Delta Blues,” to be the featured performer at the “Heart & Soul” breakfast. A graduate of the Delta Music Institute at Delta State, Johnson is currently a graduate assistant in The Delta Center pursuing a Master of Business Administration at Delta State. He also is the great nephew of Delta Blues legend, Muddy Waters.

After the breakfast, the Delta delegation met with Mississippi legislators Senator Thad Cochran, Congressman Bennie Thompson and Senator Roger Wicker. They shared copies of the MDNHA’s 2014-2016 progress report and forthcoming economic impact study. During the visit with Cochran, they were joined by Rhonda Price, executive director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area.

Delta Center team members with Congressman Bennie Thompson

“I am very pleased that our team was able to thank Cochran, Thompson and Wicker in person for their continued support of National Heritage Areas,” said Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center and executive director of the MDNHA. “The Mississippi Delta, Hills and Gulf Coast National Heritage Areas are acknowledged by so many of our colleagues and supporters for doing great work in the communities we proudly serve.”

Johnson was especially excited to visit Cochran’s office where he was invited to perform his song “Come to Mississippi.”

“The song explores the culture of the Mississippi Delta. It expresses the feeling of blues musicians that are from Mississippi and includes references to hit songs they have written,” said Johnson. “I wrote this song so that I could connect with the Delta’s heritage, which includes blues music and more. I am honored that Senator Cochran invited me to perform it for him.”

The mission of The Delta Center is to promote greater understanding of Mississippi Delta culture and history and its significance to the world through education, partnerships and community engagement. The Delta Center serves as the management entity of the MDNHA and is the home of the International Delta Blues Project. For more information, visit http://deltacenterdsu.com/.

The MDNHA is a cultural heritage partnership between the people of the Mississippi Delta and the National Park Service. Led by Herts, it includes

Delta Center team members in front of the U.S. Capitol building.

18 counties that contain land located in the alluvial floodplain of the Mississippi Delta: Bolivar, Carroll, Coahoma, DeSoto, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Leflore, Panola, Quitman, Sharkey, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tunica, Warren, Washington and Yazoo. The MDNHA was designated by U.S. Congress in 2009 and is governed by a board of directors representing agencies and organizations defined in the congressional legislation. More information about the MDNHA, including the complete approved management plan, is available at www.msdeltaheritage.com.

Blue Sky Studios producer featured in upcoming DMI All Access

By | College of Arts and Sciences, Community, Delta Music Institute, Students | No Comments

The Delta Music Institute entertainment industry studies program at Delta State University will host producer and Blue Sky Studios owner Casey Combest Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. in Studio B for an interactive discussion and Q&A as part of the DMI All Access series.

DMI All Access is a series of open forums and lectures throughout the academic year featuring industry professionals from various areas of the music business. The event is hosted by Richard Tremmel and is open to the public at no charge.

As a producer and audio engineer, Combest has plenty of incentive for keeping the local recording industry thriving. In 2002, he began recording music in his dorm during his freshmen year at Mississippi College, which allowed him to explore his interest in recording gear and to demo music for his own band.

While Combest has produced music under the Blue Sky Studios moniker since 2009, he decided to focus on recording full-time in 2013, shortly after he and his wife moved to Jackson. Currently, he has a steady stream of studio projects, both in and outside of music, which he divides between himself and engineer Justin Patterson and editor Bobby Hansford, based on their different sensibilities.

Combest says there’s a surprising level of cooperation between recording studios in the Jackson area. He often rents studio time from Malaco Records, and has also had a hand in developing country/bluegrass trio Long Time Coming, made up of three brothers enrolled in the DMI entertainment industry program at Delta State.

“It’s easy when you first start to think recording is about the gear or even about the end product,” said Combest. “While that’s vastly important, what’s most important is the people and helping them tell their story, helping them achieve what they want to achieve.”

In addition to running his studio, Combest also created and hosts a podcast called ‘Made in Mississippi’ that focuses on entrepreneurs who are building, and have built, successful businesses within the state. Season 3, sponsored by C Spire, launches this month.

The Delta Music Institute is an independent center of study under the College of Arts and Sciences at Delta State University, offering a bachelors in entertainment industry studies. The focus of the DMI is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative and business areas of the music and entertainment industry. For more information, contact 662-846-4579 or visit http://dmi.deltastate.edu.

2018 Statesmen Scholars recognized

By | Admissions, Community, President, Students | No Comments
Delta State President William N. LaForge joined the new class of Statesmen Scholars at the culmination of Statesmen Scholarship Day on Jan. 29.

Delta State University’s Office of Admissions recently announced the distinguished class of 2018 Statesmen Scholars after hosting the second annual Statesmen Scholarship Day Jan. 29 on campus.

Students across the Mississippi and the region were selected to attend this prestigious event based on ACT scores, high school GPA, academic leadership and service demonstration.

Securing one of the four-year “full ride” scholarships is no easy task, as over 100 invitations were sent to prospective DSU students, and the competition was at a high level for a high reward.

Ten worthy students were selected for the Statesmen Scholarship, which covers tuition, room and board, fees, and up to $300 for books.

Participants faced two sets of interviews, one focusing on student life and one focusing on academics. Adding excitement to the event, recipients of the scholarships were announced at a reception at the end of the day.

Admissions recruiter, Rebekah Arant, said this was a unique opportunity for future Delta State Students.

“It’s not hard to recruit high achieving students when they have a chance at a full ride scholarship,” said Arant. “We are thrilled with this year class of scholars, and we’re very excited to welcome them to the Delta State family.”

This year’s scholars are:

For more information on scholarships or the application process at Delta State, visit www.deltastate.edu/admissions, or contact 662-846-4020.

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Fighting Okra Records selects MIC HARGROVE as feature artist

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Delta Music Institute, Students | No Comments

Fighting Okra Records, the student run record label within the Delta Music Institute at Delta State University, has selected its recording artist for 2018. FOR is excited to announce MIC HARGROVE as the label’s newest featured artist.

MIC HARGROVE, born Michael Hargrove, is a modern day hip-hop and soul music renaissance man hailing from Grenada, Mississippi. With years of experience under his belt, Hargrove is looking to expand his career through FOR.

Hargrove is a DMI student in pursuit of the goals he preaches in his music.

“It feels like a great opportunity to represent my family, town, state and school on a level that I’ve never seen before,” said Hargrove. “I’m most excited about the relationships that I will gain with my fellow students within FOR that will last long after we graduate.”

Hargrove has been influenced by the struggles of small-town Southern living but carries himself with the bravado of a seasoned performer. By incorporating his love for live band performances, he has seamlessly blended his admiration for modern hip-hop music with the sounds of authentic musicianship.

The label’s selection followed the public search for artists across Mississippi who submitted their work for a chance to perform in a final showcase. A panel of judges scored the performances of the top five applicants, and after much deliberation, Hargrove was chosen through the highly-competitive audition process.

Fighting Okra Records’ purpose is to provide a practical, real-world entertainment industry experience to DMI students. Its mission is to provide a variety of independent artists with professional quality music and entertainment industry services in an effort to expose their name in recordings to the broadest possible audience. For more information on Fighting Okra Records, visit fightingokrarecords.com, and follow FightingOkraRecords on Facebook and OkraRecords on Twitter.

The Delta Music Institute is an independent center of study under the College of Arts and Sciences at Delta State University, offering a bachelors degree in entertainment industry studies. The focus of the DMI is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative and business areas of the music and entertainment industry. For information about the DMI or Fighting Okra Records, contact 662-846-4579 or visit http://dmi.deltastate.edu.