dsu

Beals honored for Excellence in Diversity by IHL

By | Academics, College of Education and Human Sciences, Faculty/Staff, IHL | No Comments
Dr. George Beals, center, receives the IHL Excellence in Diversity and Inclusive Award from trustee Shane Hooper (left) and Delta State President William N. LaForge.

The Mississippi Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning recently held its annual diversity celebration to recognize campus and community leaders for the impact they have made in advancing diversity and encouraging understanding and respect.

Dr. George Beals, assistant professor of counselor education, was selected as the Delta State University nominee for the IHL Excellence in Diversity and Inclusive Award. Beals is also the program coordinator/assessment director for the Division of Counselor Education and Psychology at Delta State.

I am deeply honored and very humbled that my dean and colleagues appreciated my efforts around diversity,” said Beals. “I think what they saw in me was the fact that my lens of diversity, inclusion and social justice is always a primary when focusing on programmatic efforts and teaching my classes. Being a part of DSU has always been a point of pride for me because we can boast that per capita, we are the most diverse campus in the state.”

Social justice is a value that is most primary in my interactions with others and with institutions,” added Beals. “I hold the vision that the world can be an amazing place if we all work toward communicating with each other.”

Among his many efforts on campus, Beals serves on both the Diversity Committee and the Winning The Race Conference Committee. He also provides diversity trainings including Safe-Space Training, and has led some diversity experiences for Delta State students as a part of the Diversity Efforts and the Quality Enhancement Program.  

Beals, who has taught at Delta State for eight years, received his doctorate in counselor education from Mississippi State University in 2007, and received his master’s in community counseling, also from MSU, in 1995. Additionally, he is a member and current chapter advisor for Delta State’s chapter of Chi Sigma Iota, the international honor society for students, professional counselors and counselor educators. He is also the recipient of the 2016 Janie G. Rugg Career Contributor by the Mississippi Counseling Association.

His academic interests include: personal growth and wellness of counselor trainees, experiential therapies across diverse populations, somatization of oppression, systems theories and interventions with community applications, and counseling theories and neurosciences.

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.

Spring-Movie-Series-TWITTER-POST

BPAC announces 2017 Spring Movie Series

By | Bologna Performing Arts Center | No Comments

Returning for the fifth year, the Bologna Performing Arts Center at Delta State University will host the Spring Movie Series featuring new releases of major motion pictures on its big screen in the Delta & Pine Land Theatre.

All tickets are $5 for general admission seating. Popcorn and candy concessions are available for purchase (cash only) to enhance the movie experience.

First up in the series is Illumination’s hit animated film, “Sing,” on March 5 at 3 p.m. From the same creators of “Despicable Me,” the film is rated PG and features the voice talents of Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, among others, in this story of a singing competition.

Next, the Star Wars epic saga continues in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” on April 9 at 3 p.m. Rated PG-13, the Lucasfilm and Walt Disney Studios film is the first installment of the Star Wars Anthology series, and is set immediately before the events of “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.”

The final screening of “The LEGO Batman Movie” will take place April 30 at 3 p.m. In the irreverent spirit of fun that made “The LEGO Movie” a worldwide phenomenon, LEGO Batman, aka Bruce Wayne, stars in his own big-screen adventure in which he must work with others to save Gotham City. This film is rated PG.

For more information, to see film trailers, and buy tickets, visit www.bolognapac.com, or call the ticket office at 662-846-4626.

Heflin ribbon cutting compressed

Ribbon cut at Dave Heflin Outdoor Recreation Education Laboratory

By | Uncategorized | No Comments
Dave Heflin (center, with scissors) cuts the ribbon for the opening of the new Dave Heflin Outdoor Recreation Education Laboratory on Feb. 11.

The division of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at Delta State University held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Dave Heflin Outdoor Recreation Education Laboratory on Feb. 11.

The event featured an opportunity for the community to view the lab, honor Helfin, and participate in a social and lunch.2017 Heflin Lab Outdoor Recreation-41

This space is an exciting new addition to campus that will further expand curriculum available to HPER students and enhance recreational opportunities for the campus as a whole.

The lab is named for Dave Heflin, assistant professor emeritus HPER at Delta State, and the founder of the Outback and Kayak Club. Heflin’s contributions to the field of educational recreation at Delta State are legendary among the generations of students whose lives he influenced.

Heflin and his family have provided funding and support to enable the program to continue in that tradition, making it possible for future generations of students to experience a range of outdoor education experiences that lead to lifelong recreational habits.

“The new space will provide this program with an enhanced identity and place of pride for students as they engage in activities and educational experiences in the outdoor recreation program,” said Dr. Charles McAdams, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “The program has a great history and many alumni recall with great fondness the experiences they have had in this program. Dave Heflin was able to build a program with a great reputation, and Todd Davis has grown the program and clearly taken the program to the next level. The future is indeed bright for this program, especially with this newly renovated lab.”

The lab allows for new classroom space, an HD projector and screen for lectures and presentations, a rock climbing wall, maps and guidebooks, equipment storage space, kitchen and laundry facilities, and adequate space to function as an operating training facility for outdoor recreation.

Dr. Leslie Griffin, dean of the College of Education and Human Science, is thrilled with the new facility.2017 Heflin Lab Outdoor Recreation-7

“The Dave Heflin Outdoor Recreation Lab is testimony to the inherent power in shared vision and what it can produce,” said Griffin. “With Todd Davis at the helm, the opening of the lab is our next step along the way to engage students in the program early and in authentic ways.”

In recent years, the Outdoor Recreation Education Program has expanded to include a viable HPER concentration in Recreation Leadership and an array of outdoor recreation courses that expose students to a variety of experiences. The rigor of trip courses has increased through curriculum development, and enrollment trends are positive. A total of 637 students have enrolled in outdoor recreation trip courses during the past 12 years.

Todd Davis, program director for Outdoor Education, is excited to begin programming in the new space.

“I’m excited for our students,” said Davis. “I’m excited that they will have a professional space to learn and develop their skills in a beautiful setting with photos that illustrate the legacy of the program. I’m excited for the possible growth of this program.

“I hope students are able to realize what an enormous benefit this program is to campus life and to the overall education of a student,” added Davis. “It provides opportunities for students to grow, understand and be active in their world. This lab is a magnificent addition to the College of Education and Human Sciences, the Dave Heflin Professorship, and the Division for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. We are very proud of the fact that we re-purposed an unused space and stayed under budget, while exceeding expectations.”

For more information, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-education/health-physical-education-and-recreation/orep.

DMI-All-Stars-Performance-Photo

DMI All Stars take on Los Angeles

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Delta Music Institute, GRAMMY, Students | No Comments
Delta State students in the DMI All Stars band recently performed atop GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. Live.

For the fifth consecutive year, the DMI All Stars – a select group of musicians from the Delta Music Institute program at Delta State University – performed a collection of Mississippi centric covers on Mississippi Night during GRAMMY® Week in Los Angeles, California.

The group, under the direction of DMI instructor Charly Abraham and assisted by DMI instructor Barry Bays, consisted of 12 students who performed in the band or assumed management positions. The DMI All Stars provided an excellent performance atop the Target Terrace on the fifth floor of the GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. Live.

With many notable musicians and GRAMMY representatives in attendance, the All Stars showcased their musical abilities for a group of respected industry professionals.DMI-All-Stars-Group-Photo

The performance was a great experience for many of the students, including vocalist Audrianna Johnson from Grenada.

“My experience in Los Angeles felt like a dream come true,” she said. “Words can’t explain how grateful I am for the opportunities I’ve had.”

In addition to performing on a special night, the students were able to get a taste of the city life while exploring locales such as downtown Hollywood, Malibu and Venice Beach.

“Going to L.A. with the All Stars gave me an opportunity to make new friends and share great memories with them,” said Carrie Lynn Stanford from Gautier, a vocalist for the DMI All Stars.

This year, entertainment industry studies senior Lindsey Anna Pardue from Clinton chose to use the L.A. trip as part of her senior project by acting as directing manager and overseeing the trip, as well as scheduling rehearsals for the band.

“Going to Los Angeles with the DMI All Stars is always amazing, but it was especially interesting this year because I had the opportunity to direct the group,” said Pardue. “I am honored to have been able to spend my time with such a kind, talented and fun group of students.”

The DMI is an independent center of study under the College of Arts and Sciences at Delta State University, offering a bachelor’s 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.

To learn more about the GRAMMY connection with the Delta Music Institute at Delta State, visit http://dmi.deltastate.edu.

Investing in Our Academic Future

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

By President William N. LaForge

The continued cuts to state funding for public universities in Mississippi present a significant challenge that is felt not only at the university level, but also across the entire state.

Each of the eight public four year universities has a considerable investment in our students, businesses, employees, communities, outreach efforts, and research projects—all of which ripple out to impact the state’s economy and future. All of us as citizens of Mississippi are affected directly or indirectly by higher education outcomes, sometimes in ways we don’t even realize.

Mississippi Today recently reported that between fiscal years 2010 and 2017, state university funding has declined 4.5 percent, and general funding for IHL has declined more than 7 percent. During that same time, system-wide enrollment has increased more than 12 percent, and the number of degrees awarded in this state has increased nearly 14 percent.  The hardest hit budgets have been the universities’ operating budgets that provide funding for maintaining campus operations and paying the salaries of the faculty and staff who educate our students.

State funding is necessary to supplement tuition and other revenue for our universities that, collectively, are one of the best higher education bargains in the country, and which boast reasonable tuition rates that other states and universities envy.

To support the vision of a new Mississippi, the most appropriate view of higher education expenditures by the state is not simply that of an expense item in the budget. It is much more essentially an investment—in our students, in our state, and in our future.

Like our sister public institutions, Delta State manages scarce resources in an environment of competing priorities every day. We strategically focus our attention and spending on programs, initiatives, and educational offerings that bring value to our students and to the state. And, we rely basically on state funding and student tuition to provide the revenue necessary to accomplish our mission. Some ask, ‘How can we measure the outcomes and the return on our investment?’  The answer is in the products we produce—prepared students who are ready to enter the professions and workforce across the state.  All of our state universities are working hard every day to meet that goal through prudent allocation of resources.

One example of smart, targeted spending that produces terrific outcomes at Delta State is our emphasis on improved retention—helping our students stay in school and on the path to graduation.  Between the fall of 2015 and the fall of 2016, we 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.

But, the retention programs that produce this success cost money. Better said, they beg for our investment of dollars to support a program that will help Mississippi get off the bottom rung of American educational and economic metrics.  We are being asked by the state to continue doing this good work—to continue producing more and better-educated students—with fewer and fewer resources. By any measure, that is an unsustainable pattern.

Here at Delta State University, as at all our public universities, we believe in putting students first, and that quality education should be available to all qualified students in this state. We offer the lowest tuition in the region, and we make the most of our limited resources, while still providing a top-tier education for our students.  But, as long as state funding is severely limited or cut, this model of success will be undermined.

Just as our eight public universities merit the investment of Mississippi tax dollars to support our educational mission, our students individually also need financial assistance to enroll and stay in school.  State research data show that 89 percent of our eligible full-time, degree-seeking students, both undergraduate and graduate, received some form of financial aid during the 2015-16 academic year. These deserving students need our support to help them earn a college degree—a tangible outcome that serves the best interests of our state on so many   levels.

In the rural Delta of Mississippi, Delta State is seen as a beacon of opportunity in a place where opportunity is sometimes lacking. In the fall of 2016, for example, 25 percent of our student body comprised first-generation students. This number is clearly indicative of the urgent need for, and value of, higher education in the Magnolia State. When we educate that first­ generation student, we are lifting up an entire family.

Continuing to cut state funding for higher education puts statewide efforts for student success at dire risk. Future cuts will only produce a steeper uphill battle in the fight to lift this state off the economic bottom. We cannot continue to be expected to produce more graduates, continue our outreach efforts in our communities, and fund vital research with fewer resources.

Let’s continue to educate Mississippians and to make this state a better place to live, work, prosper, and raise our families. Enhanced state funding for higher education—not more budget cuts—is the key to a brighter future for this state.