Gillian Oakley, left, passes the crown to 2017 Miss DSU, Hannah Leflore.

Leflore crowned Miss DSU

By | Student Government Association, Students | No Comments

Miss Delta State University 2017 was crowned Oct. 27 in the Bologna Performing Arts Center on campus. Hannah Leflore, a junior speech and hearing sciences major from Greenwood will represent Delta State at the Miss Mississippi Pageant in 2017.

Leflore sang “Mississippi” by Daniel Nail for the talent portion of the competition. Her platform is “Using Music to Teach.” In the upcoming months, she will be busy visiting different local and state schools promoting her platform.

Contestants at the pageant competed in five categories: private interview, evening gown, swimsuit, talent and on-stage question.

The Miss Delta State University Pageant is produced by the University Pageant Board and sponsored by the Student Government Association.

The American Association of University Women recently held a self defense training on campus.

AAUW hosts self defense training

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

The American Association of University Women recenlty sponsored a self defense training with the hope of giving college women access to additional safety tips while away from home.

Brandie Hudson of the Bolivar County Sheriff Department conducted the hands-on tactical training emphasizing the need for women to pay attention to their surroundings.

The class included proper usage of mace, tasers and other weapons. Students also received safety apps training from Antoinette Williams, a computer information systems graduate of Delta State. Williams provided instructions on downloading safety apps on personal cellphones, arming students with an additional sense of security during this holiday season.

The number of sexual assaults, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking cases on college campuses are required to be published as a part of the Campus SaVE Act, which addresses campus sexual assault policies within the Higher Education Act of 1965. The act also require schools to have prevention measures in place to include counseling, health services, school disciplinary proceedings and legal options.

“The AAUW sees this self defense training as a way of giving back to Delta State University for giving us an opportunity to promote our efforts of voting rights, domestic violence awareness, more women in STEM fields and pay equity,” said Dr. Glendscene Williams, president of the AAUW Cleveland branch.

Students are welcome to join AAUW for free. For more information, contact Williams at gwillims@deltastate.edu.

The Division of Teacher Education, Leadership and Research recently hosted hosted the first annual Educational Research Workshop.

Educational Research Workshop hosted

By | Academics, College of Education and Human Sciences, Faculty/Staff | No Comments

The Division of Teacher Education, Leadership and Research within the College of Education and Human Sciences hosted the first annual Educational Research Workshop on Oct. 27.

The workshop provided a unique opportunity for graduate education students from online programs to meet with faculty members and to explore and collaborate in current graduate student research.

“The energy in the building was palpable,” said Dr. Tom Brady, chair of the division. “Interactions between our various students, community members and faculty created an atmosphere of learning that is so rewarding.”

Students from the doctoral, specialist’s and master’s programs in curriculum and instruction, educational leadership and higher education engaged in several events, including a doctoral orientation, a poster session, and a 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition. The 3MT competition required doctoral students to present their research to a non-specialist audience in under three minutes.

Workshop attendees also had the opportunity to join in Dissertation Blind Reads, where each student met with a Delta State faculty member for a one-on-one conversation about his or her chosen research topic.

“Having a one-on-one conversation with a doctoral candidate early in the dissertation process is an easy but effective way to model the habits of a researcher,” said Dr. Vicki Hartley. “It is all about the research question — what do you want to know and what is the best way to find your answers?”

During the morning sessions, Delta State junior and senior K-12 teacher candidates were also invited to participate in round table discussions focused on classroom management, professionalism and data-driven instruction. Table leaders included current K-12 teachers, data coaches and administrators, as well as members of the current DSU Delta School Leadership Pipeline (DSLP) Educational Leadership Cohort.

Blaine Overby, a member of the DSLP cohort and a table leader, said of the morning sessions, “The round table discussion was extremely rich. It was great to talk with a range of educators, from education majors to doctoral students. As the facilitators, we just jumpstarted the conversations. The participants had a wealth of questions and knowledge that benefitted everyone at the table.”

Overby is from the Yazoo County School District and is currently interning at Germantown Middle School in Germantown, Mississippi.

Dr. Leslie Griffin, dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences, said of the workshop, “I commend Dr. Catherine Putnam for providing vision and organization in hosting this event. This focus on educational research speaks to the essence of educational leadership and practice in K-12 schools. Practical research results in informed answers related to issues in school improvement and best practices.”

President’s Statement Regarding the Mississippi Flag

By | General, President | No Comments

Statement Regarding the Mississippi Flag

William N. LaForge, President, Delta State University

November 3, 2016

Today, I am announcing that Delta State University has lowered the flag of the State of Mississippi, and will retire it to the University Archives.

The discussion about the Mississippi flag on the Delta State campus has continued for well over a year.  The conversation increased this fall when the remaining public universities lowered their flags.

I wish to make it clear that this university is making an institutional decision on this issue because the state government has declined to change the flag.  This is a painful decision in many respects because this is a highly charged emotional issue for many people.  The University finds itself in the untenable position of making a decision that will disappoint some, no matter the outcome.  But in the absence of state action, we are making a decision that I believe is right and just on all levels.

In the spirit of open academic discussion, our various university constituencies — especially our students, faculty, and staff — have given thoughtful consideration to this issue.  As expected, there are differences of opinion and divergent viewpoints. However, my Cabinet and I have carefully weighed the input from all quarters, and it is now my responsibility to speak for the University on this matter.

The objectionable portion of the state flag — the stars and bars — presents a polarizing symbol that is a barrier to progress and improved understanding of our state, our university, and our people.  Delta State recently completed a visioning process, during which we set a course of excellence for the university’s future.  Included in our visioning principles are a number of core values that we promote and embrace, including civility, respect for all, diversity, inclusion, fairness, hospitality, and a welcoming environment that is conducive to the success of our students, faculty, and staff.  We believe that continuing to fly the state flag — with its divisive symbol that sends a confusing message, at best, and that has increasingly become a distraction to our mission — is contrary to our core values and to an accurate understanding of who we are and what we stand for as a university.

In 2015, the University announced its strong support for the adoption of a new flag by the State of Mississippi that would be a symbol of unity rather than one of divisiveness.  But, that change, unfortunately, has not occurred. So, today, I renew Delta State’s support and call for that change.

While taking the flag down is a symbolic act, its removal, nevertheless, underscores the numerous positive things we do on this campus to advance inclusiveness, fairness, and transparency in our various enterprises.

As the state’s most racially diverse university, Delta State is proud of its multicultural heritage and identity.  We are leading conversations and programs of action on the important topics of race relations, the Delta Blues, international business, educational advancement, scientific research, and community engagement — most notably through our signature conferences on those themes and through our outstanding academic programs. Those who study, teach, and work on this campus, as well as those who visit Delta State from around the country and the world — especially our record number of international students — deserve to know that our welcoming community and commitment to inclusiveness are not encumbered by an outdated symbol in the state flag.  And, after a 15-year ban by the NCAA, Delta State University deserves the opportunity to host swimming and other athletic championships that are currently not allowed because of the design of the state flag.

As a public institution of higher learning, Delta State continues to honor and respect its relationship with the people and state that support this university.  That will not change merely because we choose to join our seven sister universities in solidarity in lowering a flag that contains an antiquated symbol that is offensive to so many, and that public universities are not required by law to fly.  Delta State will demonstrate its respect for the state by continuing to inspire its students and educate new generations of thinkers and leaders who will invest in this state’s future.

I am grateful to the Delta State community for engaging in a deliberate, thoughtful, and sometimes difficult conversation about the flag.  It is now time for us to turn our full attention to the more serious matters of teaching, learning, and service at a university that is working hard to guide and educate our students, while also helping to provide vision for the future of the Mississippi Delta and our state.

In a recent court decision involving a legal challenge to the state flag, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves astutely wrote: “At times there is something noble in standing alone.  This is not one of those times.  The Confederate battle emblem has no place in shaping a New Mississippi, and is better left retired to history.”

In sum, Delta State’s decision to take down the Mississippi flag signals this university’s opposition to the design of the current flag, and sends the message to our state leadership that the time for a new, unifying state flag is long overdue. We look forward to raising a state flag that will represent the New Mississippi.  However, until that new flag becomes available, and as an added measure of respect for the state, Delta State will fly the state’s bicentennial banner that was recently unveiled by the Mississippi Economic Council.

Taking down the state flag on this campus is the right thing to do, and it is in the best interest of Delta State University because we are working to help shape the New Mississippi.

Experience the exhilarating feats of Parsons Dance Company at the Bologna Performing Arts Center on Nov. 9-10.

BPAC to host NYC’s Parsons Dance

By | Bologna Performing Arts Center | No Comments

New York City’s Parsons Dance Company comes to the Bologna Performing Arts Center Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m.

Parsons Dance, a modern dance company, is noted for its contemporary, athletic movements and high-energy ensemble performances. Created in 1985 by artistic director David Parsons, and two-time TONY Award winning lighting designer Howell Binkley (for Jersey Boys in 2006 and Hamilton in 2016), the event promises to entertain, challenge, and educate audience members.

The Bologna Center is thrilled to host the internationally renowned group on both Nov. 9-10.

In addition to their public performance on Nov. 10, the company will also present a shortened version of their evening program for K-12 students on Nov. 9 at 11 a.m. Immediately following both performances, dance members will participate in a Q&A session with audience members. The company will also lead two masterclasses in the afternoon on Nov. 9 for dance students ages four and up. Limited space is available, and interested students are encouraged to call 662-846-4844 for more information and to sign up for the free masterclass.

Tickets are available for both performances. For more information, visit www.bolognapac.com or call the Ticket Office at 662-846-4626.

The Parsons Dance performance and residency activities are funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mississippi Arts Commission.