The Office of Information Technology hosted the third annual Connected Educator Luncheon on Oct. 18 to recognize Delta State instructors nominated by their students. Photo by Jabari Buck, OIT.

Connected Educator awards announced

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The Office of Information Technology hosted the third annual Connected Educator Luncheon on Oct. 18. The annual event is sponsored by Delta State University and Ellucian.

The event is held in celebration of Connected Educator month each October. The lunch also served to acknowledge the 39 Delta State instructors who students nominated for the annual Connected Educator Awards. Instructors were nominated based on specific criteria for efficiency, support and engagement.

“In line with Connected Educator Month, we wanted to identify actions and strategies that have measurable impact derived from using technology to teach, as well as support students,” said Dr. Nicole House, director of instructional technology. “We can harness that information from the nominations to collaborate resources and promote instructional innovation that facilitates holistic student success.”

Recipients of the 2016 Connected Educator Awards were Dr. Donna Koestler, assistant professor of nursing, and Todd Davis, instructor in health, physical education and recreation. In addition, Dr. Catherine Putnam, instructor and director of instructional support for the College of Education & Human Sciences, was recognized with a Canvas Choice Award for instructional innovation in Canvas LMS.

“The Connected Educator lunch is also an avenue for us to recognize all of the honorees and acknowledge their many contributions to academic excellence and student success at Delta State,” said Edwin Craft, CIO of Information Technology. “We have some very accomplished instructors and we aim to provide ongoing support to enhance and strengthen their instruction with technology in the traditional classroom, as well as online.”

This year’s honorees included: Amber Hendricks, Betty Sylvest, Bret Pimentel, Bryon Pickens, Carolyn Casale, Catherine Putnam, Chelsea Pugh, Corlis Snow, David Baylis, David Hebert, Dianne Thomas, Donna Koestler, Emily Newman, Glendscene Williams, Gwen Meador, Jacinda Roach, Jacqueline Craven, Janet Parker, Kevin Tharp, Kirk Mansell, Lee Virden, Leslie Green-Pimentel, Liza Cope, Mary Bess Pannel, Matt Jones, Merideth Van Namen, Michael McNeece, Michaela Merryday, Miller Maddox-Mandolini, Neil Conner, Randy Grierson, Sally Paulson, Sharon Hamilton, Stephanie Bell, Tanya McKinney, Thomas Laub, Todd Davis, Tomeka Harbin and Vicki Jean Hartley.

Luncheon special guests included Ellucian general manager Beverly Fratesi and college deans Dr. Billy Moore, Dr. David Breaux, Dr. Leslie Griffin and Dr. Vicki Bingham. Dr. Charles McAdams, provost of Delta State, provided opening remarks and received special recognition for his support of instructional innovation.

Honorees were presented with a certificate or recognition at the lunch and will receive a commendation letter for his/her tenure portfolios.

 

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

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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.

Join the Delta Music Institute for a DMI All Access event featuring Rodeo & Juliet Oct. 25 at 6 p.m.

Rodeo & Juliet scheduled for DMI All Access

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The Delta Music Institute, an entertainment industry studies program at Delta State University, will host Rodeo & Juliet for their upcoming DMI All Access event. The event, free and open to the public, will be held Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. in DMI Studio A on the campus of Delta State.

Chris and Jan Harris — Rodeo and Juliet — have been producing, writing and singing for a wide array of artists for over 40 years, including Stevie Ray Vaughn, Loretta Lynn, Amy Grant, Kristin Chenoweth, Dolly Parton, Michael W. Smith, CeCe Winans and more.

Throw in 15 years of writing, producing and singing on hundreds of commercials, including Cinnamon Toast Crunch, McDonalds, Transformers, Chick-fil-A and Southwest Airline. Additionally, they have raised two musically gifted sons while residing in the Music City — Nashville, Tennessee.

In 2008, the duo sold their farm and figured out a way to sing sweet, soul harmonies and formed Rodeo and Juliet. After spending time recording in the studio, they decided to work up 100 love songs and hit the road at the seasoned age of 55. They released a self-titled debut CD full of their timeless American roots music.

The DMI is an independent center of study under the College of Arts & Sciences at Delta State, 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. For more information, visit http://dmi.deltastate.edu.

For information about the DMI All Access event, call 662- 846-4579, or email dmi@deltastate.edu.

(Left to Right ) Dr. Stuart Rockoff, Lee Aylward, Sen. Willie Simmons, Dr. Rolando Herts, President William N. LaForge, National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman William “Bro” Adams, Provost Dr. Charles McAdams and Mound Bayou Mayor Darryl Johnson, pose after a lunch meeting at the Senator's Place.

NEH Chairman visits The Delta Center to experience “The Most Southern Place on Earth”

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At the invitation of the Mississippi Humanities Council, The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University hosted National Endowment for the Humanities chairman William “Bro” Adams during his recent visit to the Mississippi Delta.

The Delta Center is the home of “The Most Southern Place on Earth” workshops for K-12 educators from throughout the U.S. The workshops are funded by the NEH.

This was Adams’ first time visiting the Delta and the state of Mississippi.

“It’s really very powerful being here,” said Adams. “Seeing all of the young people in Ruleville celebrating the birthday of Fannie Lou Hamer, that was extremely impactful and shows how much this kind of work matters.”

“We are honored that the Mississippi Humanities Council brought chairman Adams to The Delta Center so that he could learn more about our ‘Most Southern’ workshops and our region,” said Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center. “This was an excellent opportunity for him, us, and our community stakeholders to participate in an educational exchange about the historical and cultural significance of the Mississippi Delta.”

Adams started his morning at The Delta Center speaking with staff about the “Most Southern” workshops and how they’ve created an alumni network of over 500 K-12 educators across the country. These Delta ambassadors educate their students, colleagues, family members and friends about the culture and history of the region. They also have returned to the Delta as education and cultural heritage tourists.

Adams also learned about The Delta Center’s other partnership programs, including the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and the International Delta Blues Project.

National Endowment for the Humanities chairman Bro Adams views the blues marker at Dockery Farms during a recent visit to the Mississippi Delta.

National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman Bro Adams views the blues marker at Dockery Farms during a recent visit to the Mississippi Delta.

Additionally, Adams was taken to various educational landmarks and cultural attractions featured in the NEH workshops. Stops included Dockery Farms, widely considered to be the birthplace of the blues; the Taborian Hospital and IT Montgomery Home in the historic black town of Mound Bayou; and Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Park in Ruleville, where community members celebrated the 99th birthday of the legendary voting rights activist.

“We thank The Delta Center for taking the chairman around the Delta on a Saturday morning,” said Dr. Stuart Rockoff, executive director of the Mississippi Humanities Council. “Bro had an incredible day and was very inspired by what he experienced. The Delta Center provided a perfect start to a memorable day in the Delta. We are lucky to have such wonderful guides to the ‘Most Southern Place on Earth.’”

The morning wrapped up with an authentic Delta soul food experience at The Senator’s Place in Cleveland. The traveling group was joined by Delta State President William N. LaForge and Provost Dr. Charles McAdams, as well as Mayor Darryl Johnson of Mound Bayou and Senator Willie Simmons, owner of The Senator’s Place.

“Having the chairman for the National Endowment for the Humanities visit this morning is a wonderful experience for the Delta and for Delta State, particularly considering all of the wonderful cultural activities that are occurring in the region, ” said LaForge. “We appreciate his coming to take a firsthand look at all the work taking place in the Mississippi Delta.”

The chairman spent the afternoon and evening visiting other nationally significant Mississippi Delta landmarks, including Emmitt Till civil rights sites in Tallahatchie County and blues establishments in Clarksdale.

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 Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and is the home of the International Delta Blues Project and the National Endowment for the Humanities “Most Southern Place On Earth” workshops. For more information, visit http://deltacenterdsu.com/.

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

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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.