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Tickets available for BPAC School-Time Matinee Series

By | Bologna Performing Arts Center, Community | No Comments

School is back in session and the Arts Education office at the Bologna Performing Arts Center is ready to help teachers make their reservation to the 2016-17 School-Time Matinee Series.

The series connects children, teachers and schools with the performing arts in meaningful ways by bringing performances to Mississippi that complement the school curriculum. Exposure to live theater ignites a child’s imagination in a unique way, opening the door to a greater understanding of the world and a life-long love of the arts.

The School-Time Matinee Series offers a wide variety of programming that incorporates academic subject matter, literary classics, and art-forms such as music and theatre. The series also aims to meet the artistic and educational needs of students from preschool through high school seniors. Each production provides a variety of curriculum connections, as well as comprehensive study guides that aid in classroom learning both before and after the performance.

The season kicks off Oct. 25 with “A Year with Frog and Toad,” based on Arnold Lobel’s beloved children’s books. The program was nominated for three TONY Awards, including Best Musical.

Next, the internationally renowned dance company Parsons Dance Company will perform its energized, athletic ensemble work on Nov. 9. On Nov. 18, audiences are invited to spend some time with the groovy Pete the Cat and rock out as they learn about friendship and adventure.

The first show of 2017 will be Feb. 1 with “Alonzo King LINES Ballet,” which is hailed by critics as stunning, fierce and evocative. On Feb. 23, get ready for the ultimate playdate as “Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo LIVE” takes the audience on a breathtaking tour of pre-historic Australia.

The season concludes with the musical adaptation of the Caldecott award-winning Cinderella tale of John Steptoe’s “Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters” on April 12.

Tickets are now on sale for all productions in the School-Time Matinee Series. To place a reservation for a school group or family, visit http://bolognapac.com/education/school-time-matinee-series/ and complete an order form. Payment is required to hold reservations. For more information, call Joannah Taylor, Arts Education coordinator, at 662-846-4844.

Pictured (left to right): Chris Masingill of Delta Regional Authority, Lane Riley of Shaw, Shellie Michael of Jackson, Dr. Rolando Herts of Delta State University, Joshua Bower of Jackson, Amanda Allen of Clarksdale, Tracy Ausberry of Clarksdale, Jessie Whitley of Greenville, and Mike Marshall of Delta Regional Authority.

Delta Leadership Institute completes 2015-16 Executive Academy

By | Community, Delta Center | No Comments

Fifty community leaders have successfully completed the year-long Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy, a program of the Delta Regional Authority. The Executive Academy is a training program that brings together business and community leaders from each of the eight states of the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions for a collaborative leadership development experience, emphasizing regional approaches to growing local economies and creating opportunities for the people of the Delta region.

Each graduate completed leadership development coursework and field studies in the year-long program that included five sessions in Delta communities and one session in Washington, D.C.

Seven DLI fellows, nominated by Governor Phil Bryant and DRA federal co-chairman Chris Masingill, represented Mississippi this year:

– Amanda Allen of Delta Regional Authority, Clarksdale
– Tracy Ausberry of Delta Regional Authority, Clarksdale
– Joshua Bower of Mississippi Community College Board, Jackson
– Dr. Rolando Herts of Delta State University, Cleveland
– Shellie Michael of Mississippi Minority Business Alliance, Jackson
– Lane Riley of Delta Hands for Hope, Shaw
– Jessie Whitley of the City of Greenville
– Jessie Whitley of Greenville001

“For our communities to grow and support strong economies that create opportunities for Delta residents, we need local leaders that understand the local and regional challenges that we face, as well as the networks and resources that can help identify solutions and address these challenges,” Masingill said. “The Delta Leadership Institute’s dynamic programming and ever-growing alumni network are helping to meet this need and empower our region’s leaders to make the Delta a better place to live and work.”

In addition to the program certificate, participants graduate with an industry-recognized certification in Crucial Conversations. Present for the ceremony were Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson Masingill, alternate federal co-chairman Mike Marshall, and Alice Perry, Gov. Bryant’s senior policy advisor and designee to the DRA board.

Gov. Bryant said, “I am grateful to DRA for cultivating leadership that will strengthen Mississippi, and I thank the graduates for taking an active role in improving their communities. Being from the Delta, I appreciate the importance of leadership for this region of our state.”

The DRA is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives through strategic investments in economic development in 252 counties and parishes across eight states. Through the Rural Communities Advancement Program, the DRA has provided leadership development to more than 400 community leaders over 10 years and strengthened regional collaboration with its Delta Leadership Institute.

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$18 million renovations near completion at Delta State science and math facilities

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Faculty/Staff, President, Students | No Comments

With just a few finishing touches remaining, Delta State University’s mathematics and science facility, Caylor-White-Walters Hall, now represents one of the most state-of-the-art higher education facilities in the state.

Thanks to $18 million in capital improvement over the past few years, the building now houses top-notch equipment and laboratories for the Department of Biological Sciences, Department of Chemistry and Physics, and the Department of Mathematics within the College of Arts and Sciences.

Funding for the project came from the State of Mississippi Bureau of Buildings.

The building features laboratories for all areas of sciences including biology, chemistry, physics, DNA technology and anatomy, as well as computer labs and classrooms for mathematics curriculum. It also features a planetarium, making Delta State the only university in the state to host such a facility, and a herbarium, which is home to over 17,000 plant specimens and serves as a scientific and educational resource for researchers around the world.

Other highlights include new SMART Podium interactive displays and projectors, renovated auditoriums, a new Scanning Electron Microscope that can magnify objects 300,000 times their actual size, specialized temperature and humidity controlled rooms for animal care, new instrumentation like the 300MHz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrophotometer, and much more.

Overall, the changes allow for additional teaching and research space. Additionally, new classroom furniture and faculty offices have drastically improved the overall learning environment.

Delta State University President William N. LaForge is thrilled with the endless opportunities the new facilities will provide.

“This is a top quality feature of Delta Sate, and it represents part of what we do best,” said LaForge. “I am so pleased that we are finally nearing completion on this massive long-term renovation project. And we now, very clearly, have a state-of-the-art set of facilities, labs and equipment to serve our students and faculty. With these tools in place, our faculty will now have an enhanced ability to provide top-tier math and science education for our students — which will prepare them for graduate and professional schools, as well as exciting careers.”

Dr. Charles McAdams, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, echoed LaForge’s excitement.

“We look forward to having this important building renovated and updated. It is especially important in the sciences to have a facility that offers the latest laboratory facilities and equipment,” said McAdams. “Our graduates will leave here to go on to medical school, veterinary school, or dental school, or become a science teacher. To be successful in those professions, we owe it to them to provide the most robust and relevant academic experience possible. The renovation and upgrades to the facility will help us make significant strides in achieving this unending goal. I believe it is essential for a university to provide a physical learning environment that is supportive and conducive for teaching and for learning. Caylor-White-Walters is now a place where faculty and students look forward to come and discover the wonders of math and science.”

According to Dr. David Breaux, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, everyone is relieved to see work wrapping up in a building where students and teachers have had to adapt to the construction going on around them.

“With the end of the renovation process clearly in sight, faculty and students are overwhelmed with joy,” said Breaux. “And, as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, I am proud that we are able to offer our students courses in state-of-the-art classrooms and labs. No longer do students have to worry about dealing with broken or outdated furnishings and equipment, but can instead concentrate fully on mastering the material they are being taught.”

Katie Penton, a graduate student majoring in chemistry, appreciates the opportunity to work and study within the updated facility.

“I’ve been here since undergrad, so I’ve been around to see how far everything has come along,” said Penton. “It’s been really neat to see all the new labs, classrooms and equipment. The computer lab will be great with all the new software, and I really like the lab spaces. As a master’s student, I’ll be doing a lot of lab work and using a lot of equipment. Going into my thesis, it’s really good to know I’ll have access to these features and make my project the best it can be.”

One feature that is receiving extra attention is the planetarium, which will provide the perfect setting for astronomy courses, but will also set the stage for learning opportunities across campus and the community.

In addition to the new seats, carpet and other amenities, the renovation also included the installation of the dual projector Digistar 5 planetarium system from Evans and Sutherland, and the professional quality 5.1 surround-sound system from Bowen Technovation. The system not only allows users to move their view of the stars back and forth through time, but it also lets users fly through the solar system to the other planets. As a bonus, it also turns the planetarium into a 3-D digital theater.

“The astronomy classes will of course use the planetarium, but one long-term goal is to use the planetarium as an instructional tool for other subjects,” said Dr. James Gerald, assistant professor of physics. “Dr. Adam Johanson helped a student with a project this summer to build 3-D models of molecules and display them on the dome. The priority of the planetarium will be teaching astronomy, but we will also have public outreach through shows. We look forward to collaborating with other departments across campus to create new content, and watch for us to start having shows for the public this fall. This will help us broaden the educational mission of the planetarium.”

In April of 2016, the COAS established a two-year campaign to build a program called Integral Funding for Science Education, or InFuSE. The goal of InFuSE is to raise funds to support science education and research for Delta State students of all ages, and to increase the involvement of alumni and the community in science education.

“Science education, especially hands-on, is quite costly. In order to keep up with industry standards, we need to have current equipment to prepare our students to go into the workforce or to continue their educational careers through graduate education,” said Darlene Breux, Academic Affairs development officer. “Funding will also help the departments in their outreach efforts to support the community. It is necessary to be able to support summer STEM camps for K-12 students. In increasing STEM students, especially here in the Delta, it will help our community grow.”

Dr. Rose Strahan, who served as a mathematics faculty member at Delta State for over 40 years, has also kick started an effort to support mathematics students. She initiated the Rose Strahan Scholarship for Mathematics, which is used to support one deserving student in mathematics. She is also a donor to the Mathematics Fund, which provides funding to assist the department in its teaching, research and faculty development needs.

For more information on giving to InFuSE or one of the mathematics funds, visit the Delta State Foundation website at http://www.deltastategiving.org, and search for Instrumental Funding in Science Education, the Rose Strahan Scholarship for Mathematics, or the Mathematics Fund. You may also contact Darlene Breaux for assistance at dhbreaux@deltastate.edu or 662-846-4013.

Michael Lipford

Lipford named director of Student Development

By | Faculty/Staff, Housing, Students | No Comments

Micheal Lipford will begin his new role as director of Student Development at Delta State on Sept. 1. Lipford has worked as Delta State’s assistant director of Housing and Residence Life for more than seven years. Additionally, he is currently serving as advisor to the National Pan-Hellenic Council and Order of Omega and director of Multicultural Affairs. 

Lipford, a native of Coldwater, Mississippi, is excited to begin this new role on campus.

This new journey will allow me yet another avenue to reach students and to make a positive impact on their lives,” said Lipford. “Housing and Residence has been such a big part of my life for so many years starting with my undergraduate years. It’s definitely a bittersweet moment, but I’m excited about this new role and the opportunity to advance my career in Student Affairs.”

Under the leadership of Dr. Vernell Bennett, Delta State’s new vice president for Student Affairs, Lipford will be assisting in the efforts to increase student engagement.

I believe Michael’s institutional knowledge and strong rapport with the students will serve him well in this position,” said Bennett. “As the director of Student Development, he will play an instrumental role in increasing student engagement and developing collaborations across the campus and in the community. His high energy work ethic and passion for student success will serve him well as he seeks to engage and support our students.”

Lipford graduated from Delta State in 2006 with a degree in real estate/insurance, and he completed his MBA at Delta State in 2010.

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Okra Works program seeking participants

By | Career Services | No Comments

Most college students are looking for ways to help pay for college. Plenty of businesses need part-time help from able-bodied, college-aged people. That’s where the Okra Works program at Delta State is trying to bridge the gap between the two. 

Davlon Miller, director of Career Services at Delta State, has created a program that will connect students who need help to pay for school and businesses who need workers — the Okra Works Program. Currently, the program is in its pilot stage, and Miller is looking for both students and businesses to match up together.

“This is a program that allows students to work in a part-time situation and allows them to focus on their studies on campus,” Miller said. “We mimic it after the amount of tuition needed for a student.”

The student would essentially work for a company and the money earned would go directly to pay for their college.

“We balance it out and allow them to work for that employer for that amount of money,” he said. “But we know that it won’t always work out evenly so there is an option for the employer to give the student a scholarship to make up the difference.”

If tuition is $3,200 and if a student works 10 hours a week over a four-month period, the student would make about $1,700 or more. 

“If the student is in good standing and everything has gone well and according to plan, the employer will pay a ‘merit scholarship’ as well. It’s a good incentive for the student to do well,” he said.  

While it is in the pilot stage, Miller is searching for businesses to take part.

“I’ve been working on it for a while now and I’m looking to get it off the ground,” he said. “We can try our best to match up students with a business related to their major, but we would place students in businesses that have a need.”

Students can sign up on the career services web page and businesses need to contact Miller directly via email at careerservices@deltastate.edu or call him at (662) 846-4646 to take part in the program. Miller is actively searching and seeking both qualified students and businesses. The program will have students ready for businesses to hire.

“We do some screening up front when students apply to see what their need is and their skills are. Businesses don’t normally have time to pre-screen as we do,” Miller said. “We can give them a cross section of students that have applied.”

Okra Works — a program that will benefit both students and businesses.