Dr. Jon Westfall was recently selected as the new coordinator of the First Year Seminar program at Delta State.

Westfall named coordinator of First Year Seminar

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Delta State University recently announced the selection of Dr. Jon Westfall, assistant professor of psychology, as the new coordinator of the institution’s First Year Seminar program.

Westfall, who joined Delta State in 2014, will now lead the program that introduces freshmen to the tools and resources available when transitioning to the college level.

The course explores topics critical to the development of academic, social and life skills, such as effective note-taking, time-management, conflict resolution and cultural competency. It assists students in successfully navigating university resources and procedures, developing basic academic skills, and finding their unique place as part of the Delta State community.

“I’m truly honored to be given the opportunity to serve as the FYS coordinator, and want to stress that one of my goals is to increase communication between faculty, staff and students regarding FYS,” said Westfall. “I’m open to all suggestions, comments and criticisms. Together, we can all build this program and give our incoming students the benefit of our shared wisdom.”

Westfall said he looks forward to helping incoming students, but also the entire Delta State community.

“I’ve worked with first-year students most of my career, with general psychology making up over half of the students I’ve taught in the past 10 years,” he said. “It continually amazes me the potential that students have to succeed, and I believe all they need is the right set of tools and mindset.”

Delta State Provost Dr. Charles McAdams said Westfall would build on the efforts of the previous coordinator, the late Dr. Ethan Schmidt, a history professor who was the victim of a fatal shooting in 2015.

“Dr. Schmidt’s efforts impacted the lives of many freshmen and first semester transfer students,” said McAdams. “In his honor, we will continue to make improvements to FYS and provide greater opportunities for new students to succeed. We are excited that Dr. Westfall will lead FYS and serve as an advocate for this very important endeavor.”

In the spring of 2014, the DSU Student Success Task Force recommended expanding the university’s focus on first year students. That summer, the FYS Advisory Board, composed of faculty and staff led by Schmidt, worked diligently to design a streamlined academic course to help prepare the students for college. FYS is now taught in the fall and spring semesters and offers an academic toolkit for the students. The program is a division of the DSU Student Success Center.

“Your first year of college is one of the most exciting, yet challenging, times of your life,” said Dr. Christy Riddle, executive director of the Student Success Center. “First Year Seminar — FYS 100 — is a course that introduces first year students to the tools and resources available campus-wide that, when properly utilized, help students reach their ultimate college journey destination — graduation.”

According to Riddle, statistics reveal participating in FYS improves the retention of first year students: 91.3 percent of students enrolled in FYS return to Delta State the following semester; 93 percent of FYS students recommend the course to future students; and 90 percent of students state that FYS played a role in the successful completion of their first semester.

For more information on the program, contact Westfall at 662-846-4308 or jwestfall@deltastate.edu. Learn more at http://www.deltastate.edu/student-success-center/first-year-seminar/.

Dr. Aram Goudsouzian, professor of history at the University of Memphis, is this year's lecturer at the 19th annual Sammy O. Cranford Memorial History Lecture April 7 at 7 p.m. in Jobe Hall Auditorium.

Goudsouzian to be featured speaker at Cranford Lecture

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Delta State University is gearing up for the 19th annual Sammy O. Cranford Memorial History Lecture on April 7 at 7 p.m. in Jobe Hall Auditorium.

This year’s lecturer is Dr. Aram Goudsouzian, professor of history and department chair at the University of Memphis. In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the 1966 James Meredith March Against Fear, Goudsouzian’s lecture is entitled, “Down to the Crossroads: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Meredith March Against Fear.”

The Cranford Lecture is sponsored by the Delta State Division of Social Sciences and History and is supported by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council. This event honors the life of Dr. Sammy Orren Cranford, longtime history professor and archivist at Delta State. This event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Goudsouzian is one of the leading scholars in post-World War II African American history and civil rights,” said Dr. Chuck Westmoreland, assistant professor of history at Delta State. “He is an extremely versatile scholar who has written biographies of Sidney Poitier and Bill Russell, in addition to his latest work on the 1966 James Meredith March Against Fear. The march, which is an often misunderstood and oversimplified moment in the modern civil rights struggle, gains new life and clarity in Dr. Goudsouzian’s award-winning book ‘Down to the Crossroads: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Meredith March Against Fear.’ 

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Goudsouzian give this year’s Cranford Lecture. It will be a great time for learning and for honoring one of Delta State’s most distinguished faculty members, Dr. Sammy O. Cranford, and the Cranford family.”

For more information on the Sammy O. Cranford Memorial History Lecture, contact Westmoreland at cwestmoreland@deltastate.edu.

Previous lecturers include: 1998, John Marzalek; 1999, John Ray Skates; 2000, James Cobb; 2001, Martha Swain; 2002, Lawrence Nelson; 2003, Nan Woodruff; 2004, David Sansing; 2005, Charles Reagan Wilson; 2006, James Hollandsworth; 2007, Elbert Hilliard; 2008, Larry Griffin; 2009, William LaForge; 2010, Chris Myers Asch; 2011, Charles Eagles; 2012, George Rable; 2013, Jeannie Whayne; 2014, Tim Huebner; and 2015, Alecia Long.

new DMI equipment Dec. 2015-4

DMI to host Sound Advice event

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The Delta Music Institute, an entertainment industry studies program at Delta State University, is set to host “SOUND ADVICE: Audio Production with DPA,” a two-day event featuring audio demonstrations, product reviews, recording sessions, and live sound reinforcement workshops with representatives from DPA Microphones.

The event is scheduled for February 22-23 at the DMI and other venues on the campus of Delta State. The interactive sessions are designed to offer entertainment industry students and area audio professionals opportunities to receive professional training on world-class equipment and hands-on instruction in live sound reinforcement, in addition to participating in a professional recording session workshop. There is no admission fee for any of the demonstration sessions.

Sessions will include topics such as “Post Production and ADR,” “Live Sound Reinforcement 2.0,” “Microphone Techniques 101,” “Recording Session Road Map,” and more. Sessions will feature product demonstrations, tutorials, and workshops presented by Christopher Spahr and Gabriel Antonini of DPA Microphones.

Christopher Spahr holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Barry University and a Recording Arts Associate’s degree from Full Sail University. Spahr’s 20-year career spans the music, recording arts and pro sound industries. He currently serves as the VP of Sales & Marketing for DPA Microphones.  Prior to that he oversaw U.S. sales and operations of professional audio metering products for RTW International, and was the Market Development Manager and certified U.S. RF expert for both the installed sound and professional channels of Sennheiser.  He has also served as Staff Engineer at Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida, where he worked with artists such as Julio Iglesias, Jeff Buckley, Shakira and 2 Live Crew and on music, TV and film projects, including a GRAMMY-winning Latin jazz CD.

Gabriel Antonini has over 25 years experience as a musician/composer, broadcast engineer-editor, producer, FOH mixer and AV consultant. Passionate about sound and the microphones that capture it, Gabriel strives to bring that appreciation to a national audience. Gabriel has been nominated for 11 TV Emmys for categories such as outstanding technical achievement, content producer, and original music. He was also the main lead audio designer/mixer for the post 911-tribute world audio feed from the Statue of Liberty. In addition to his responsibilities at DPA in sales and as manager of new business development in the USA, Gabriel has worked as audio post editor/live mixer for local and national music/news programs, including the sound team for NBC Universal and PBS-NJN. Recently, his favorite project has been touring with new recording artist Melody Gardot, with whom he has toured with in Europe and SE Asia.

The DMI is an independent center of study under the College of Arts & Sciences at Delta State University, offering a B.S. degree in Entertainment Industry Studies degree. 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, visit http://dmi.deltastate.edu. For information about the Sound Advice event, call (662) 846-4579 or email dmi@deltastate.edu.

Dr. Bob Watson '89 (with plaque) was recently honored as the Outstanding Alumnus of the Year for the South Central Mississippi Alumni Chapter. Joining him for the celebration were: (l to r) Alumni Director Jeffrey Farris, chapter president Geralyn Russell '03, and Watson's daughter, Cameron.

South Central chapter names Outstanding Alumnus

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The Delta State University National Alumni Association recently held its annual South Central Mississippi Chapter event in Brookhaven. This year, the chapter recognized Dr. Bob Watson ’89 as its Outstanding Alumnus of the Year.

Originally from the Delta, Watson graduated from Cleveland High School and Delta State University before graduating from Mississippi State College of Veterinary Medicine in 1994. In 1996, he married Dr. Dianne Watson, also a veterinarian. Together, they own Brookhaven Animal Hospital.

Watson was selected as Mississippi’s Young Veterinarian of the Year in 2004. He served as vice president of the Mississippi Veterinary Medical Association in 2009 and as president of the MVMA in 2010.

He and Dianne attend Mt. Zion Baptist Church, where he serves as a deacon. When not following his children’s’ ballgames or rodeos, Watson enjoys hunting and fishing.

Over 50 alumni and friends attended this year’s event at Mitchell’s Steak and Seafood, with 11 prospective students in attendance.

Alumni Director Jeffrey Farris gave a report on the university. Assistant Alumni Director Jordan Thomas was also in attendance and streamed the entire program live on Periscope. Sponsors for this year’s event were: WGK Engineers and Surveyors, Inc., Nena Smith School of Dance, Trustmark Bank and Magnolia Electric Company.

To view photos from the affair, visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/dsualumni/albums/72157664530756642.

To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), Tumblr (http://www.dsualumni.tumblr.com), LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1). Save the date for this year’s Go Green Weekend (April 2), Pig Pickin’ (Sept. 24) and Homecoming (Oct. 15).

Delta State honorees at the 29th annual HEADWAE program in Jackson included student Mikel Sykes and the late Dr. Ethan Schmidt. Pictured are: (l to r) Sen. Buck Clarke, Sykes, Sen. Willie Simmons, Dr. Chuck Westmoreland and Elizabeth Schmidt.

Sykes and Schmidt honored by state

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Two Delta State honorees were recently recognized at the 29th annual HEADWAE program in Jackson.

Higher Education Appreciation Day — Working for Academic Excellence (HEADWAE) was established by legislative resolution to honor individual academic achievement and the overall contribution of the state’s public and private institutions of higher learning.

The annual event honors outstanding students and faculty members from 34 Mississippi public and private universities.

This year’s Delta State honorees included Mikel Sykes, a senior social science and history double major from Winona and the late Dr. Ethan Schmidt, a history professor who was the victim of a fatal shooting on Sept. 14, 2015.

Sykes is a two-term SGA student body president, former orientation leader, vice president of the IHL student body presidents council, and the recipient of the Delta State University Bobby Rowe Outstanding Leadership award.

“It is always great to be recognized for something, especially on the state level, but I have to say that the highlight of the event for me was opening up the program and seeing the picture of Dr. Ethan Schmidt,” said Sykes. “I usually don’t keep copies of programs like that, but I made an exception for this one.”

Schmidt, who taught at Delta State for two and a half years, worked as an assistant professor of American history in the Division of Social Sciences and History. On campus, he served as the director of the First Year Seminar Program and organized the university’s inaugural Native American Heritage Month celebration. He was also a member of the Delta State University Diversity Committee.

Elizabeth Schmidt, wife of Ethan, accepted the award on his behalf. Dr. Charles Westmoreland, assistant professor of history, represented the university at the ceremony.

“I was extremely humbled and honored to represent Delta State on this important occasion,” said Westmoreland. “Ethan had a profound impact on Delta State because, above all else, he loved being part of a university family. He loved teaching. He loved listening to and imparting advice to students. He loved working with colleagues to find ways to improve our academic programs and enhance student success. He loved going to campus lectures, plays and sporting events. Furthermore, as much as possible, he loved making his own family a part of this university’s culture.

“In just two short years, Dr. Ethan Schmidt left an indelible mark on Delta State and made it a better place for everyone who walks on this campus. His legacy will be felt for many, many years to come.”

Honorees began the day with a visit to the State Capitol, where they were welcomed by Governor Phil Bryant, recognized by the Senate and House of Representatives, and given a tour of the Capitol.

Click here http://www.ihl.state.ms.us/headwae/downloads/headwaehonorees2016.pdf for a list of 2015-16 HEADWAE honorees.