EAC Report Cards posted online

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The Education Achievement Council Report Cards for Mississippi universities have been posted online at the following link: http://www.mississippi.edu/eac/. The report cards show the progress that has been made toward educational goals for each university and community college.

The Delta State EAC report card is posted here: http://www.deltastate.edu/academics/institutional-research-and-planning/resources/

The Report Cards include information on student enrollment, degrees awarded, college readiness, student progress, research and other university variables. The report cards include university-specific information, along with system-level data. Archived reports from previous years are also available online.

The Education Achievement Council was established by the Mississippi Legislature in 2010 to sustain attention to the state’s goal of increasing the educational attainment and skill levels of the state’s working-age population benchmark to the national average by 2025. The Council members are representatives of state government, public K-12 leaders, public, private and proprietary higher education officials and business community leaders.

Fighting Okra Records seeks next artist

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Fighting Okra Records, the student-run record label within the Delta Music Institute’s entertainment industry program at Delta State University, has launched its search for the next FOR recording artist.

Performing artists interested in pursuing this unique opportunity can visit fightingokrarecords.com, fill out the application form in its entirety, and submit online for a chance to be selected. The submission period will remain opent until  Nov. 10 at 11:59 p.m.

FOR is accepting submissions from both solo artists and bands of any musical genre. This year, the search has expanded beyond Delta State’s campus to include solo acts or groups in the surrounding area. All applicants must be 18 years of age or older and provide basic information regarding their musical endeavors.

FOR’s main purpose is to select a talented musician or band and provide them with professional industry utilities paired with significant industry insight to expand and strengthen the career of whomever the label selects.

“The artist or band selected for the Fighting Okra Records label will have a unique opportunity to have multiple university resources available to them for their career development through the students in the practicum course,” said Tricia Walker, DMI director. “The FOR members will facilitate photography, professional audio, publicity and promotion services on behalf of the artist in order to provide the artist with tools for building a strong foundation going forward.”

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.

Brooks provides lecture at UN conference in China

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Talbot Brooks (second from right), director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Information Technologies at Delta State University, speaks on a panel at a United Nations conference in Beijing, China on Oct. 25.

Talbot Brooks, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Information Technologies at Delta State University, provided an invited plenary lecture at the 7th annual United Nations International Conference on Space-based Technologies for Disaster Risk Reduction in Beijing, China on Oct. 25.

His presentation was titled “Application of Standards for Crisis Response and Risk Reduction” and was delivered to an audience of approximately 150 delegates from 44 nations. Brooks also hosted a plenary session about the latest space-based technologies for disaster risk reduction and participated as a member of the closing panel.

Brooks will be a contributing author for an upcoming United Nations policy paper about the use of space-based technologies, such as satellite imagery and GPS, for disaster risk reduction. He was also asked to present at the UNISPACE +50, a meeting celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first UN conference about the peaceful use of space. This meeting will take place in Vienna, Austria this coming summer (http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/unispaceplus50/index.html).

Brooks has served as a technical advisor for the United Nations since 2008 and participated in technical advisory missions to Vietnam, Mozambique, Laos, Nepal, and the Republic of Georgia.

“Our work with the United Nations is important to DSU from several perspectives,” said Brooks. “First and foremost, dignitaries from the countries I work with have visited campus and interacted with our students. For example, visitors like Jaime Neto, a minister of parliament from Mozambique, toured our lab and participated in a panel discussion about Africa and GIS.

“Working with the UN has also helped us develop new funding opportunities that are now starting to mature and translate into grants. We were invited to bid on a contract with the Singapore Land Authority earlier this year, and through a senior-level contact made at this last meeting in China, we will submit a proposal to the UN World Food Program to develop a flood severity rating using GIS. Lastly, we are consistently the only U.S.-based university invited to participate in meetings and technical advisory missions focusing on the application of geospatial technologies to crisis and emergency response. It’s something we can be truly proud of and part of what President LaForge means when he talks about creating ‘signature programs.'”

Students from Delta State’s  GIT Center students will also join Brooks this coming year for return visits to Vietnam and Mozambique, as well as a new mission to Sri Lanka.

Learn more about opportunities at Delta State’s Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Information Technologies at http://www.deltastate.edu/artsandsciences/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.

Delta State COEHS to screen student documentary

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The Delta State University College of Education and Human Sciences announced it will screen “I Sopravvissuti,” a documentary directed by Delta State junior psychology major Matteo Zengaro, on Nov. 6 at 3 p.m. in the Jacob Conference Center.

Zengaro was named a grant recipient of the 2017 Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum on May 1 for his film depicting the Italian tradition in the Mississippi Delta.

“We are pleased to showcase this creative work of Matteo Zengaro, a psychology major in the Division of Counselor Education and Psychology,” said Dr. Leslie Griffin, dean of the COEHS. “His interest in research dovetailed with the study of the experiences of early Italian immigrants to the Mississippi Delta. My interest is certainly piqued, and I invite others to join with the College of Education and Human Sciences in viewing this screening.”

Italian Americans have a long-rooted tradition in the Mississippi Delta, and Zengaro’s film brings those stories to life. Narrated by Delta State associate professor of English and chair of the Division of Languages and Literature Don Allan Mitchell, Zengaro’s film delves into the hardships early Italian Americans faced and how they overcame obstacles to give future generations a better life.

“I Sopravvissuti” (The Survivors) is the story of the sons and daughters of Italians who immigrated to the Delta and how present day Italian Americans keep their ancestors’ culture flowing within their community. The film highlights a culture that has been ingrained within the Delta community, but largely ignored in overall Italian American history.

“I want to thank the College of Education and Human Sciences for showing my film,” Zengaro said. “‘I Sopravvissuti’ is a unique film that shares the Italian American experience in the Delta. I also want to thank everyone who helped me along the way to make this film a reality.”

Admission to the screening is free and open to the public.

LaForge surpasses 75,000 lifetime running miles

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Delta State President William N. LaForge (in white jacket) leads an early morning run during his inauguration ceremonies in 2013.


Off the heels of Health and Wellness Week at Delta State University, President William N. LaForge reached a major fitness milestone — surpassing 75,000 lifetime running miles.

The total eclipses a little more than three trips around the Earth’s circumference. And the president shows no signs of hanging up his shoes soon. He can still be spotted early mornings on campus racking up the miles.

“At first glance, running the equivalent of three times around the globe sounds daunting, even bizarre,” said LaForge. “But when you break it down over 41 years of running, it’s a bit more comprehensible — a little more than 1,800 miles a year. I hit the 75,000 mark this fall.”

LaForge began running seriously in the mid-1970s, but it was not with the intention of accumulating such high mileage. The running started when he moved to the Washington, D.C. area for his political career.

The so-called “running boom” was underway after elite runners like Bill Rogers and Frank Shorter captured the attention of Americans with their stellar performances in the Olympics and Boston Marathon. LaForge said he just got caught up in the running movement.

“The miles just accumulated as I trained and raced,” he said. “I’ve kept a log since 1978, so I know where and how much I ran each day for four decades. Recently, my daughter Caroline and I were trying to recall what year our family took a certain trip. All I had to do was to consult my running log for the answer.”

In his peak racing years, LaForge sometimes ran more than 3,000 miles annually, with the highest total of 3,300. Occasionally, he would put in 80-100 mile weeks in training leading up to a marathon. His marathon personal best of 2 hours and 40 minutes was set at the Mardi Gras Marathon in New Orleans in 1982.

And his commitment to running has allowed LaForge to test his physical fitness around the globe. A few of his favorite runs include the Great Wall and the Forbidden City in China, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, Marrakesh, Bermuda, Moscow, Hong Kong’s Victoria Peak, Berlin, the Golden Gate Bridge, Baghdad, along the Seine in Paris, and all around the trails and parks of Washington, D.C.

“At 67, I don’t race any longer, but I still run everyday, wherever I happen to be — just not as fast or far,” said LaForge. “The exceptions have been times when I was ill or under doctor’s orders to refrain. I had a couple of streaks when I went eight years without missing a day. Since the late 1970s, I’ve missed only 159 days running.”

Remaining physically active has always been at LaForge’s forefront.

“Early on, I bought into the idea of a healthy lifestyle,” he said. “Running is convenient, efficient and rewarding in many ways. It’s a great physical activity, and it also serves to clear your mind and make your day more productive. It’s good for the body and the mind, and provides both energy and relaxation.”

And LaForge believes it’s important for everyone, including college students, to include these health and wellness factors in their daily lives.

“College is a great time to establish healthy life-long interests and habits,” said LaForge. “Whether it’s intercollegiate sports, intramurals, occasional gym or pool workouts, or casual walks around campus and town — I encourage all students to make time for an activity of their liking.

“Running happens to be one activity I enjoy. It’s not for everyone, but there is a healthy lifestyle fitness or recreational activity to suit everyone’s interest and need. Staying active, including frequent aerobic activity, is a key to a healthy life, especially as one ages. And it is a priority that can and should start early in life. College is a great time to make the commitment. Even a small investment of time and effort to exercise can yield great dividends over a lifetime.”

LaForge continues to show his dedication as a runner and as the tireless leader of Delta State University.

“Friends have sometimes joked that I’ll go the distance or the extra mile,” he said. “Perhaps I owe that to running.”