Mid-South Delta Leaders program makes call for applications

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The Mid-South Delta Leaders (MSDL) program is making a call for qualified applicants, as Class III of MSDL is set to begin in September 2006.  

“We are searching for individuals throughout the 55-county/parish Delta region of Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas who are committed to improving the quality of life in the Delta and have a strong commitment to professional and personal growth and development,” stated Dr. Myrtis Tabb, MSDL Tri-State Leader at Delta State University.

MSDL, a tri-state Delta regional leadership development program, is unique because of its three state focus.  The program’s tri-state regional mission brings together a diverse group of citizens to enhance the quality of life through human resource development, community development and economic development. 

Forty-five class members, 15 from each state, will participate in a 16-month curriculum designed to improve their leadership, management and communication skills.  MSDL class members range in age from 21- 70 and represent a wide variety of employment sectors, including higher education, K-12 education, government, non-profit, for-profit businesses, faith-based organizations, self-employment and community volunteers.

“We often forget or don’t know how to see value in ourselves.  MSDL impacts us economically, educationally and culturally.  I have taken what I’ve learned, and I’m working to try to help others to see their importance in making positive changes,” stated a graduate of MSDL.

Ultimately, MSDL serves as a forum to share ideas, encourages participants to bring their strengths to collaborative efforts and brings together persons of diverse backgrounds in a variety of programs and experiences, in a non-traditional learning process. 

 “The MSDL curriculum has long-term effects that extend beyond the 16-month structured program.  MSDL takes action by uniting men and women of diverse backgrounds who have the desire to work collectively for the benefit of the entire tri-state Delta,” Christy Montesi, MSDL Tri-State Director offered. 

MSDL is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation/Mid-South Delta Initiative through a partnership between leader partner Delta State University, Grambling State University in Louisiana; and Arkansas State University.

Applications are due by July 21, 2006.  To receive an application or for more information, visit the MSDL website at or contact Montesi at (662) 846-4336 or by email at


Delta State to host Youth-In-Action workshop

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Delta State University will host a workshop, “Delta Youth-In-Action: Engagement and Evaluation for Community Change,” Thursday, June 1 through Saturday, June 3. Both innovative in format and spirit, the workshop will bring together youth in the tri-state Delta region in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

“This three day, two-night workshop will strengthen the civic engagement and leadership development of young people in Delta communities,” Dr. Myrtis Tabb, Senior Administrator of Special Projects at Delta State University maintained. 

Barry Checkoway, University of Michigan, added “The workshop will provide young people with hands-on skills for using evaluation as a tool for community change.” 

Seven teams from across the tri-state Delta region will be selected to participate in the workshop.  Youth teams will bring project ideas and leave with plans to implement and evaluate the selected project in their community.  Each team will be composed of three to four high school sophomores and juniors (entering Fall 2006) and an adult advisor who will work together and are motivated to create positive change in their community. 

The workshop is a collaboration between the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work’s Program for Youth and Community and Delta State University’s Mid-South Delta Leaders program. 

“Delta State is excited about this unique collaboration and is pleased to host the innovative workshop this summer,” Tabb continued. 

Checkoway concurred, “We are excited about this partnership with Delta State University and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and look forward to working with young leaders from across the region.” 

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation was established in 1930 “to help people help themselves through the practical application of knowledge and resources to improve their quality of life and that of future generations.”  Its programming activities center around the common vision of a world in which each person has a sense of worth; accepts responsibility for self, family, community, and societal well-being; and has the capacity to be productive, and to help create nurturing families, responsive institutions, and healthy communities.

For more information on the program, please call or email Christy Montesi, Workshop Coordinator, at (662) 846-4336 or





Walker tabbed new DMI director

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Tricia Walker will direct the Delta Music Institute at Delta State, beginning July 1.

Her hope is to become a successful cross-over artist. It is not musical genres Tricia Walker is looking to cross, though. Rather the Fayette, Miss., native is aiming to parlay over 24 years of industry experience into the educational corridors of Delta State University’s Delta Music Institute (DMI).

Recently selected the program’s new leader, Walker will officially take the reigns July 1, replacing former executive director Norbert Putnam.

Of Walker’s hiring, Dr.
John Thornell, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost at Delta State University, offered, “I am pleased that Tricia Walker has accepted the directorship of the Delta Music Institute. Her background in the music industry in Nashville and her management of her own music production company will serve her well in this important position.

“I am confident she will not only move the academic program forward with our students, but also create partnerships with music constituencies throughout the Delta,” he continued. “She provides the enthusiasm needed to ignite this program and bring it to its full potential. We look forward to her joining the DSU community.”

A graduate of Delta State University, Walker earned a bachelor’s degree in music education en-route to completing her graduate work in theory and composition at Mississippi College. While in Clinton, she performed at various festivals and bookings. She won American Song Festival and Mississippi Song Festival awards and moved to Nashville to sign with giant gospel music publisher Word, Inc. As her songs were recorded on Grammy-nominated discs by Kathy Troccoli, Debby Boone and The Imperials, her reputation as a songwriter spread.

Following a two year stint with PolyGram Publishing International, Inc. as a staff writer, Walker advanced to creative director/staff writer for Crossfield Music, a post she held for a decade. In 2000, she launched her own production company, Big Front Porch.

Big Front Porch Productions is driven by a mission “
to present musical works and opportunities for learning that both entertain and enrich audiences while challenging them to examine their own lives and “tell their own story.” We purpose for our work to have integrity by creating our products with honesty, thoughtfulness, and courage, presenting the truth with love.

Walker’s production company focuses on: 1. live performances, house concerts and festivals; 2. audio recordings; 3. songwriting workshops/residencies designed for beginners through advanced; and 4. audio production.

Additionally, she has worked as a backing musician for Grand Ole Opry star Connie Smith, Paul Overstreet, Russ Taff and country mega-star Shania Twain. Walker was instrumental in forming the original “Women in The Round,” a songwriter group which includes Pam Tillis, Ashley Cleveland and Karen Staley. The foursome ranks as one of the most celebrated foursomes ever at Nashville‘s prestigious Bluebird Café

She has performed at the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Tin Pan South Songwriting Festival in Nashville, was a New Folk Winner at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas and featured at Austin’s South by Southwest Music Festival.

Throughout it all, though, Walker’s focus remained and still remains on her own music – music which has been recorded by Faith Hill, Patty Loveless and Alison Krauss. Krauss’ performance of Walker’s whose “Looking in the Eyes of Love” earned a Grammy.

Recent musical highlights included singing at Robert Redford’s Christmas Cantata at Sundance Resort in Utah as well as a live performance during a newly choreographed work for the Nashville Ballet entitled “All the Way Home,” co-written by Tricia and Kate Campbell.

Delta State’s DMI allows students to study music engineering, music production and video editing, as well as contemporary composition and study musician theory and practice. It is a first step towards a broad program in arts production. First conceptualized, founded and funded by Fred Carl of Viking Range, DMI debuted on the Delta State campus in 2003. 

For more information on the Delta Music Institute, please call (662) 846-4579 or visit


Moon awarded prestigious fellowship

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Dr. Beverly Moon, associate professor of English and Coordinator of the Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies degree program, has been awarded a Sasakawa Fellowship through the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

The fellowship will support Moon’s participation in the National Faculty Development Institute on “Incorporating Japanese Studies into the Undergraduate Curriculum” at San Diego State University June 1 to June 23, 2006.

The award covers institute tuition, housing, some transportation costs and a daily stipend for meals and other expenses.

Designed for faculty without prior experience in Japanese studies who wish to incorporate information about Japan into the undergraduate courses they teach, the institute intends to introduce “participants to a comprehensive range of teaching and learning resources related to the study of modern Japan.”

It involves four weeks of intensive seminars, lectures, readings and cultural activities focused on Japanese culture, literature, history, government, business and education.  The staff includes internationally recognized Japan scholars from across the United States and abroad.

 Made possible by a generous endowment from the Nippon Foundation, Moon contends she applied for the Sasakawa Fellowship because her interest in interdisciplinary studies, cross-cultural experiences and study-abroad programs. Further, she felt it imperative to provide such opportunities to Delta State students. 

“I hope that the classes I teach will benefit from my increased awareness of Japanese culture, history, language and business – an awareness that corresponds to what I stress is essential for my students in our world: global interests, international perspectives and multidisciplinary focuses,” she maintained.   

In addition to taking the Japan Studies experience directly to her classroom, she is also planning to bring programs and exhibits that highlight the cultural experience of Japan to the campus.

Set to begin her eighth
year of service at Delta State University this fall, Moon is a member of the American Association of University Professors and the American Association of University Women.


Delta State’s Roberts completes premier leadership training

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Dr. Michelle Roberts

Dr. Michelle Roberts, Executive Assistant to the President at Delta State University, recently completed The Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI) in Washington, D.C.

Sponsored through American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), MLI is a premier leadership development program focused on “preparing the next generation of presidents and chancellors.”

Designed for senior-level administrators interested in advancing their careers, particularly to the presidency, MLI’s institute consisted of four days of intensive sessions, exposing MLI protégés to the vital topics necessary to understand the responsibilities of the presidency.

Roberts was one of 37 people from across the
United States accepted into the MLI program.  Participants were accepted to the program after an application process that first included a nomination from member presidents and chancellors, after which the presidential subcommittee chose candidates from education, government and private sector.

“MLI’s institute was one of the most rewarding professional development experiences in my career. The program provided me with an opportunity to examine the nuances of the college presidency and to explore the various aspects and skills needed to lead a successful university,” Roberts said.   

Participants explored various topics, including the complexities of working with governing boards; the importance of advancing the institution, including fundraising; the role of the president in institutional budget management; how to communicate the institutional message and present themselves effectively through media training; how to advocate for their institution during a visit to representatives on Capitol Hill; and, how to navigate the executive search process.

Following the four-day training session, participants become involved in a year-long mentoring component, which formally links institute graduates with presidents and chancellors who provide counsel throughout the search process into the early days of the first presidency. This aspect signals the MLI commitment to ensuring graduates’ ongoing success as chief executive officers.

In its seven years, MLI proudly touts 214 graduates, 27 of which have become presidents and chancellors – many at AASCU member institutions.

AASCU represents more than 400 public colleges, universities and systems of higher education throughout the
United States and its territories, including Delta State University.  AASCU schools enroll more than three million students or 55 percent of the enrollment at all public four-year institutions.