Faculty and students from KUL in Lublin, Poland hosted the Delta State group for a final dinner during the cultural exchange between the two universities.

Delta State completes exchange in Poland

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A Delta State University delegation recently returned from a successful cultural exchange with a partner institution, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin (KUL) in Lublin, Poland.

A select group of four Delta State students, one faculty member and one staff member spent two weeks aboard for the intensive exchange.

KUL is one of several international universities with which Delta State has signed a memorandum of understanding to further develop international exchanges. Delta State hosted a group of KUL faculty and students in October 2015.

The trip, coordinated by DSU International Student Services, marked the first opportunity for Delta State students to visit KUL’s campus, observe classes, learn about college life in Poland, and gain hands-on knowledge of Polish culture.

Students attending the trip included: Scottie Willis, a senior from Byram, Mississippi; Katherine Jackson, a junior from Cleveland, Mississippi; Maria Clara Belisário, a junior from Belo Horizonte, Brazil; and Paxton Stratton, a freshman from Fort Worth, Texas.

“As soon as we flew out of the U.S. for Poland, everything was new to everybody —and that is something that we wanted to offer our students,” said Dr. A.H.M. Ali Reza, assistant professor of biology at Delta State, who also led the group as the university’s international partnership liaison. “Several of our students had never traveled outside the country, and this cultural exchange trip offered them a significant amount of experiences they can utilize throughout their entire life.

“The education system, culture, environment, food, interaction with fellow students — everything that the students experienced during this trip was priceless. You can only get it through an opportunity like this.”

Paulina Liszka, teaching assistant in the Faculty of Law, Canon Law and Administration at KUL, was one of the leading figurse during Delta State’s visit. Liszka was also part of the group that visited Delta State in 2015.

Delta State students taking part in a course at KUL.

Delta State students taking part in a course at KUL.

“Delta State’s visit to Lublin was a fantastic way to get an understanding of Polish history and culture, as well as the university environment,” said Liszka. “This was definitely a life-changing, mind-broadening experience for both sides, and we hope to continue developing cooperation between our universities. Thanks to such international cooperation, we can gain a much greater understanding of other cultures, as well as global issues.”

The trip featured a number of academic highlights, including an international seminar, during which DSU and KUL students presented speeches about systems of education, law and culture in both the U.S. and Poland. Reza also provided a formal lecture on American environmental law.

The students were also able to observe and participate in a KUL course taught in English, providing them a first-hand glance at the Polish university setting.

“The best part about this trip was getting to spend time with the students and see what university life is like in Poland,” said Jackson. “We attended their classes, hung out in the places they usually hang out in, and did the things they do everyday. That made me feel like less of an outsider and realize that college life is universal. On top of that, this trip made me appreciate the little things I take for granted everyday in America.”

Additionally, Reza met with KUL officials and faculty members to discuss future exchanges that would be open to students, faculty and staff at both universities. Among the leaders he met with were: Dean Piotr Stanisz; Tomasz Kostecki, director of International Exchange; professor Sławomir Łukasiewicz; professor Katarzyna Maćkowska, and professor Anna Haladyj.

Dr. Reza lecturing to KUL students.

Dr. Reza lecturing to KUL students.

Rory Doyle, photographer and news writer at Delta State, documented the trip.

“I was thoroughly impressed with the quality education at KUL and the quality of its students,” said Doyle. “We had a number of KUL students help coordinate our visit, and we couldn’t have done it without them. It was a unique exchange for our Delta State group, and I know that we feel privileged and grateful to be given so much access to KUL, their faculty and students — and the special aspects of Polish culture.”

The group also had the opportunity to visit Poland’s capital, Warsaw, and the second largest city, Kraków. Not far from Kraków is Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, a former Nazi concentration camp. The visit greatly impacted the entire group.

“In life, there are so many things you never forget — your first kiss, your favorite teacher, your first car, and even your first true friend,” said Willis. “I added another to my list of unforgettable events. I visited the historic Auschwitz Concentration Camp. To say that it was a humbling experience would be an inadequate description. It was life-changing. For years, we learned about the Holocaust, but to physically walk where they walked definitely invoked feelings of pain and sorrow

The group had the opportunity to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The group had the opportunity to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau.

for those who were forced to endure such things. I’ll never forget the day I walked to the gates of Auschwitz.”

Dr. Christy Riddle, executive director of International Student Services and the Student Success Center at Delta State, added that the university will continue to strengthen ties with KUL and other international institutions.

“These trips offer our students the opportunity for first-hand insights into the global world by putting what they learn in the classroom into perspective,” said Riddle. “The KUL trip was an exciting way to expand DSU’s international opportunities, and it has opened the door for future exchange opportunities with KUL, both for DSU students traveling there and KUL students traveling here. We are already in discussions for a spring 2017 class with a trip planned for next summer.”

Follow all international partnership developments at www.deltastate.edu.

Delta State recently kicked off its 12th Literacy Across the Curriculum Institute for Teachers of Grades 6-12 .

COEHS hosts 12th Literacy Across the Curriculum Institute

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Delta State University’s College of Education and Human Sciences kicked off its 12th Literacy Across the Curriculum Institute for Teachers of Grades 6-12 (LACI) on Wednesday. The institute is designed to enable teachers in middle and secondary schools to effectively incorporate the teaching of literacy skills in their respective content areas.

“LACI’s curriculum will be rigorous and broad in scope to enable both new and experienced teachers to attain highly qualified status according to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001,” said Dr. Merideth Van Namen, LACI director. “Participants will gain skills regarding the Mississippi Curriculum Frameworks, test blueprints provided by the Mississippi Department of Education, College and Career Ready Standards, national standards, and data driven instruction and performance based assessments.”

LACI is provided through the support of the No Child Left Behind Act: Improving Teacher Quality State Grant.

Participants in this year’s institute represent various school districts from the Mississippi Delta who are eager to improve their classroom instruction and student performance. They will attend the 22-day institute, which includes one session in June and follow-up sessions.

“I am truly excited. I am so eager to learn how to improve my classroom,” said participant Brandy Davis. “I’m hoping this is also the push I need to continue learning by getting my master’s in education.”

Along with Van Namen, the LACI administrative team includes Dr. Janet Parker, instructor, and Pam Maxwell, instructor.

Contact Van Namen at mvannamen@deltastate.edu or 662-846-4412 for more information.


Delta State online master’s in elementary education ranks nationally

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Best College Values recently ranked Delta State University in its national list of Top 10 Most Affordable Online Master’s Degrees in Elementary Education.

Delta State came in at No. 6 on the list. The curriculum at Delta State is designed to prepare quality teachers who can deliver effective instruction at all levels of elementary school.

This program balances academic content with practical learning experiences while engaging students in a rich online learning community. Core coursework includes psychology of learning, methods of research, classroom management and curriculum theory development.

Learn more about BCV’s rankings at http://www.bestcollegevalues.com/rankings/online/affordable/masters-in-elementary-education-2016/

BCV is an online resource for prospective undergraduate and graduate students seeking an education worth its cost. The organization strives to provide the most comprehensive and rigorously researched set of online resources on the intersections of college affordability, educational quality, and educational outcomes so that individuals pursuing higher education can make informed decisions about what and where to study.

 “We at Best College Values are committed to connecting prospective students with high quality educational opportunities at affordable costs, and are confident that students will find this at Delta State,” said Hannah Gatner, editor of BCV. 

Learn more about Delta State’s elementary education master’s opportunities at http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-education/teacher-education-leadership-and-research/master-of-education-in-elementary-education.

Laforge GSC

LaForge elected president of Gulf South Conference

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Delta State University President William N. LaForge will add another prestigious leadership post to his list of accomplishments this week, as he officially takes office as the president of the Gulf South Conference at the league’s annual summer meetings. He has spent the past two years as vice president of the GSC.

“I am thrilled and honored to be able to serve the GSC and Delta State in this new capacity,” said LaForge. “I look forward to working with the CEOs, ADs and staffs of our member institutions, Commissioner Matt Wilson and the conference office staff in advancing the interests of the league. We are in a position of strength to expand and I welcome the opportunity to work with colleagues as we move the GSC forward.”

The president of the GSC oversees the board of directors for the league and is responsible for chairing all board and general session meetings; appoints all standing and special committees and their chairs; calls all special meetings of the conference and executive committee; represents the conference in all of its business; and is legally empowered to bind the GSC when the commissioner is unavailable.

The GSC, with offices in Birmingham, Alabama, sponsors 17 sports at the NCAA Division II level and features membership across Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and Tennessee. In its 46-year history, the GSC has won 49 national team championships in 13 sports and more than 100 regional titles.

“The Gulf South Conference is lucky to have President LaForge serve as president of the GSC and chair of our board of directors,” said Wilson. “He is a great supporter of the Division II model and is a consistent advocate for the GSC, its member institutions and student-athletes. I look forward to working alongside President LaForge during his term.”

LaForge’s election as president of the GSC continues Delta State’s longstanding tradition of leadership within the league. In the summer of 1970, DSU was one of six charter institutions that formed the GSC. Since that time, the Statesmen and Lady Statesmen have won 44 league championships, including the 2015-16 women’s basketball and baseball titles.

“The GSC is one of NCAA Division II’s premier conferences, and President LaForge’s leadership will be a major asset to the league as we move forward,” said Ronnie Mayers, DSU director of athletics.

Earlier this spring, LaForge was selected to serve on the NCAA Division II Presidents Council, the highest governing body of Division II responsible for implementing policies adopted by the NCAA Board of Governors.

LaForge represents those active Division II institutions in Region 2, which include schools in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and Tennessee.

The council is a 16-member body that is based on a weighted regional representation by institutions and includes one president or chancellor per region for every 22 institutions in that region. In addition to setting policies adopted by the NCAA Board of Governors, the Presidents Council establishes and directs the general policy for Division II, with all other Division II committees reporting either directly or indirectly to it.

Beverly Lindsey has been named to the position of university comptroller.

Lindsey promoted to comptroller

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Delta State University recently announced the promotion of Beverly Lindsey to the position of comptroller. Lindsey officially begins her new role June 1.

Lindsey, who previously served as assistant comptroller, takes over for Jamie Rutledge, who was recently promoted to vice president for Finance & Administration.

“I am very appreciative for this opportunity to continue to work for Delta State and with the great people in our department,” said Lindsey. “I look forward to learning more about elements of the positions that I have had a supporting role in, and continue to help Delta State move in the positive direction our administration is guiding us.”

“The accounting department is made up of a great group of people, and I am very honored to work with them,” she added. “I look forward to continuing the precedent set by Jamie Rutledge and helping the university succeed so that it remains a great place to work, as well as a great university for students to come and get an outstanding education.”

Lindsey, a Delta State accounting graduate in 1989, has 13 years of experience working in the university’s accounting department.

She has worked in numerous roles for the department — starting as an accountant, then working her way to payroll administrator, procurement manager and assistant comptroller.

“I’m very excited that Beverly has been appointed to the comptroller role,” said Rutledge. “She’s extremely familiar with university accounting processes, procedures and the software. She’s a hard worker, dedicated and loyal to Delta State.”

Lindsey was born and raised in Cleveland, where she attended Cleveland High School. She has been married to her husband and fellow Delta State graduate, John, for 24 years. They have two daughters who attend Bayou Academy.

Follow all Delta State news at www.deltastate.edu.