The Weeks will perform in downtown Cleveland Sept. 3 following Delta State's first home football game of the year.

The Weeks to rock out at Levitt concert

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Delta State University and the city of Cleveland will welcome local favorite The Weeks for a free concert in downtown Cleveland Sept. 3 at 10 p.m., following Delta State’s first home football game. The show is part of the Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series, which celebrated its second event Thursday with a packed crowd for Bill & Temperance with Jeff Perkins.

Born and raised in Jackson, Miss., The Weeks (Cyle Barnes – vocals; Sam Williams – guitar; Damien Bone – bass; Cain Barnes – drums; Alex Admiral Collier – keyboards) came together in 2006 and showcased their grunge-powered, high-octane anthems common in Southern rock. Like any great rock ‘n’ roll outfit worth its salt, The Weeks played as often as they could in clubs across the Southeast. Their extraordinary energy and outsized performances earned them a fervent fan following and ultimately, a deal with the like-minded Serpents and Snakes Records, who reissued the band’s second full-length album “Gutter Gaunt Gangster.”

With some of the band members once attending Delta State for classes, the group gained a large Cleveland fan base. But as their popularity grew, the band left their old Mississippi home for the bright lights of Nashville, which has continued to propel their name up the Southern rock ranks. 

Thursday’s concert will be held in front of the Delta Arts Alliance on Court Street in downtown Cleveland. Concert goers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, ice chests and bug repellant. Glass bottles are not allowed.

The Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series is supported in part by Levitt Pavilions, the national nonprofit behind the largest free outdoor concert series in America. Dedicated to strengthening the social fabric of our communities, Levitt partners with cities to transform neglected public spaces into thriving destinations through the power of free, live music. 

In 2015, free Levitt concerts will take place in 16 cities across 14 states, all featuring a rich array of music genres and high caliber talent. In addition to Levitt AMP, Levitt forms the only national network of nonprofit outdoor music venues, each presenting 50+ free concerts each year. Within this region is the Levitt Shell (www.levittshell.org) in Memphis, Tenn. Learn more about locations and impact at www.levittpavilions.org.

The Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series is sponsored by Delta State University and its partners: Delta Music Institute, Delta State University Student Government Association, the city of Cleveland, Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce, Team Cleveland, The Grammy Museum Mississippi, Peavey and the Delta Arts Alliance.

For more information about the Cleveland Amp Levitt Concerts Series, visit http://concerts.levittamp.org/cleveland or call 662-846-4579.

Marc A. Leggett (left) of Gautier, Miss., and Columba Ferdinand '15 of Willmar, Minn., recently attended the Student Vice President Leadership Summit hosted by The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

Phi Kappa Phi members attend leadership summit

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Columba Ferdinand ’15 of Willmar, Minn., and Marc A. Leggett of Gautier, Miss., recently attended the Student Vice President Leadership Summit hosted by The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi — the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines — in Salt Lake City, Utah, July 31–Aug. 1.

Ferdinand and Leggett joined more than 65 student vice presidents from across the nation and the Philippines at the Summit. Ferdinand currently serves as a member of the society’s 10-person Council of Students national advisory board, and Leggett serves as student vice president of the Delta State University chapter of Phi Kappa Phi.

The two-day event was developed to engage the society’s student vice presidents in personal and organizational development. Participants learned about strategies for operating and maintaining active chapters of Phi Kappa Phi and participated in a one-day training program of Collegiate EmPowerment seminars, which explored and enhanced individual strengths, interpersonal styles and the capacity to lead.

Founded in 1897 at the University of Maine and headquartered in Baton Rouge, La., Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest and most selective all-discipline honor society. The society has chapters on more than 300 college and university campuses in North America and the Philippines. Its mission is to recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.

More About Phi Kappa Phi
Since its founding, more than 1.25 million members have been initiated into Phi Kappa Phi. Some of the organization’s more notable members include former President Jimmy Carter, NASA astronaut Wendy Lawrence, novelist David Baldacci and YouTube cofounder Chad Hurley. The society has awarded approximately $15 million since the inception of its awards program in 1932. Today, more than $1 million is awarded each biennium to qualifying students and members through graduate fellowships, undergraduate study abroad grants, member and chapter awards and grants for local and national literacy initiatives. For more information, visit www.PhiKappaPhi.org.

IHL names Hood as assistant commissioner for strategic research

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Commissioner of Higher Education Glenn Boyce announced recently that Dr. Jim Hood has been named Assistant Commissioner for Strategic Research for the Institutions of Higher Learning. He has served as Director of Strategic Data Management for IHL since 2011.

As Assistant Commissioner for Strategic Research, Dr. Hood is responsible for the agency’s data and research functions, including data modeling and predictive analytics. He works closely with a variety of constituent groups on educational policy analysis and provides credit hour and performance metric data to operate the agency’s funding allocation model. He has worked extensively with the Education Achievement Council, Mississippi’s Optical Network (MissiON), Mississippi’s Lifetracks System and the Mississippi Association for Institutional Research.

“Dr. Hood collects and analyzes data on all facets of university performance,” said Dr. Glenn F. Boyce, Commissioner of Higher Education. “This information is essential for making data-driven decisions that will advance the university system and the state. Dr. Hood’s work with the institutional research officers on the campuses helps direct policies to improve student outcomes.”

As Director of Strategic Data Management, Dr. Hood supervised the implementation of agency’s first online Interactive Data Portal enabling users to develop individualized data queries and developed report cards for the Education Achievement Council and the IHL Diversity Committee. As former Assistant Executive Director of Research and Effectiveness for the Mississippi Community College Board, Dr. Hood has experience with both two-year and four-year postsecondary data systems.

Dr. Hood joined the Institutions of Higher Learning staff in 1996 as Senior Research and Statistical Analyst and has also served as Director of Institutional Research and Director of Institutional Research and Technology at IHL. Prior to joining IHL, Dr. Hood worked at Delta State University as a research analyst. Dr. Hood has developed numerous reports and presentations on postsecondary data metrics and analysis, including enrollment, graduation rates, transfer students and forecasted degree production.

A past president of the Mississippi Association of Institutional Research (MAIR), Dr. Hood received the Jim Nichols Service Award earlier this year. The Nichols Award is the highest award presented to a current or former member of MAIR who has shown exemplary service and leadership to the organization. He serves as a Board Member of the Mississippi Optical Network (MissiON) and as a member of several committees, including the Technical Management Committee for Mississippi Lifetracks and the IHL Diversity Committee Report Card Committee. He serves as the coordinator for the Council of Institutional Research Officers (CIRO) and as conference co-chair for the Creating Futures Through Technology Conference. Dr. Hood served as the system representative to the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) in 2008 and as the State Coordinator for the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems (IPEDS) in 2009.

Dr. Hood holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Mississippi. In addition, he earned a master’s of business administration and a master’s of education, both from Delta State University. He also holds a bachelor’s degree from Delta State.

Dr. Hood and his wife, Angie, have four children and reside in Flowood.

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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

Susan Lee

Lee named interim associate commissioner for academic and student affairs

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Commissioner of Higher Education Glenn Boyce announced recently that Dr. Susan Lee has been named as Interim Associate Commissioner for Academic and Student Affairs for the Institutions of Higher Learning. She has served as Director of Academic Affairs for the Institutions of Higher Learning since 2012.

As Interim Associate Commissioner for Academic and Student Affairs, Dr. Lee serves as the university system’s chief academic officer. She provides leadership for the development, interpretation and implementation of all policies related to academic and student affairs. She works closely with the chief academic officers and chief student affairs officers on the campus to ensure the achievement of the system’s strategic goals and mission.

“Dr. Lee has been an integral part of the IHL Staff for many years and has done a wonderful job, said Dr. Glenn F. Boyce, Commissioner of Higher Education. “ I appreciate her willingness to step into this role and know that she will continue to do a stellar job leading this area and working with our universities. Her experience on both the campus and system level gives her a keen understanding of the issues students face and how best to address those issues to help all students graduate.”

In her role as Director of Academic Affairs, Dr. Lee provided leadership for the development and implementation of system-wide academic policy and worked closely with the system provosts and vice presidents of academic affairs, leaders of other segments of higher education in Mississippi and across the nation. She served as liaison to the Mississippi Department of Education in all matters related to the state’s 15 Teacher Preparation Programs and Alternative Route Teacher Preparation Programs. She served as the Director for Title II-Part A and Director of the Higher Education Leadership Team for Post-Secondary Engagement.

Dr. Lee joined the Institutions of Higher Learning staff in 2007 as Director of P-20 Initiatives. Prior to joining IHL, Dr. Lee worked at Delta State University as Director of Field Experiences, Coordinator of Technology for the College of Education, and Adjunct Professor for the Education Leadership Program.

Her other work experiences include serving as the Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Delta State; Technology Coordinator and elementary and secondary school teacher in the Indianola School District; private piano instructor at Indianola Academy and elementary teacher in the Grenada School District.

Dr. Lee serves on several professional boards, including the Redesign College of Education Advisory Board, SEDL Advisory Board, Mississippi Teacher Fellowship Program Board and the Mississippi Council on Economic Education Board. She is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Delta Kappa, Kappa Delta Pi, The National Scholars Honor Society, and the American Association of University Women. A William J. Fulbright Scholar and Mississippi Teacher Fellowship Program Scholar, Dr. Lee was named one of Mississippi’s 50 Exemplary Teachers.

Dr. Lee earned her Doctorate of Professional Studies with an emphasis in higher education administration, an Educational Specialist degree in leadership and administration, a Master of Education in Curriculum and Supervision, all from Delta State University. She received a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Mississippi State University.

Dr. Lee and her husband, Joe, a registered nurse, have three children and nine grandchildren. They are members of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Indianola, which she serves as organist.

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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.

Ten years ago, Talbot Brooks, director of Delta State University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Information Technologies, helped map the way for emergency responders when Hurricane Katrina hit Mississippi's Gulf Coast. Photo from giscorp.org.

Delta State’s Katrina mappers

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Less than a year after becoming the director of Delta State University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Information Technologies in January of 2005, Talbot Brooks stepped up in a big way to help with devastating Hurricane Katrina.

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the heartbreaking day Katrina brutally swept across the southeastern U.S. The extraordinary storm system killed nearly 2,000 people, and effects of the hurricane are still visible in different ways today.

Brooks, who worked alongside Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, is remembered for the important role his storm surge prediction played with first responders on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. The maps and information that he and his students continued to pump out hours after the storm’s landfall were also vital in post-Katrina relief efforts.

He was directly responsible for organizing hundreds of volunteers involved with first deployment. These volunteers came from across the nation, including Ohio, Missouri, Florida, North Carolina, Illinois, California, New York, Texas, Arkansas, Colorado and Mississippi.

Utilizing his expertise with mapping technology, Brooks helped translate more than 100 addresses/locations into GPS coordinates for the U.S. Coast Guard rescue helicopter evacuation missions. Many of these location-to-GPS translations could only be done fast enough using geographic information system technology.

“We built the initial indexed search maps for the initial responders and strike teams  — printed nearly 200 maps in under 10 hours,” said Brooks, who also helped finish a revised and expanded search map set that covered eight county areas and was used for house-to-house rescue efforts.

And in this role, Brooks realized the real need for better integration among GPS technologies and printed maps, particularly when coordinating search and rescue activities.

Ever since, he has worked with several GPS manufacturers to integrate disaster mapping standards such as the U.S. National Grid, intelligent GIS data collection, and emergency responder accountability with GPS technologies.

“The spirit of volunteerism is alive and well in the state of Mississippi,” said Brooks. “As volunteers, they were able to truly make a difference in the lives of their neighbors by bringing this technology to their search and rescue damage assessment and similar efforts. I’m honored to be associated with such a wonderful group of people.”

Learn more about opportunities at Delta State’s Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Information Technologies at http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-arts-and-sciences/center-for-interdisciplinary-geospatial-information-technologies/.

The mission of the center is to provide geospatial services, accessible education and training, and institutional knowledge for geospatial information technologies to the widest possible audience, and particularly, the mid-Delta region.