LaForge

President LaForge speaks to city and county boards

By | Community, General | No Comments

Delta State University President William N. LaForge gave a campus update to the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors and the Cleveland Board of Aldermen this past week.

The update included topics such as the strong relationship between the university and the city and county, as well as information on enrollment, the university budget, a tuition increase, university programs and initiatives, and measures being put in place to offset more than $2 million in state budget cuts.

LaForge said he is proud of the cooperative nature of the university’s “town-gown relations.”

“We depend on each other,” LaForge said. “Cleveland provides a home for the DSU family, and the university offers Cleveland the benefits of an educational, cultural, intellectual, musical, athletic, and artistic center.”

He added Delta State helps drive the economy of Cleveland and the area.

“Most of our 545 faculty and staff live in Cleveland, pay taxes, buy groceries, clothes, and gasoline, and enjoy the public services, dining, and entertainment Cleveland offers,” he said.

In addition, Delta State students spend as much as $10,000 a year per student for off-campus purchases, including rental housing.

As part of the update, LaForge also explained the status of the university budget and several measures the university has put in place as a result of state budget cuts over the past fiscal year.

One change to offset the narrowing budget is a seven percent tuition increase, amounting to a $441 increase in yearly tuition for students. Even with the increase, Delta State remains a bargain with a tuition total that is higher than only Mississippi University for Women and Mississippi Valley State University among the state’s public universities.

In April, Delta State announced it will be closing the Derrall Foreman Golf Course on June 30, which will amount to an annual savings of nearly $250,000. The course will remain unused until decisions are made regarding the repurposing of the property.

“In these tight budget times, we can no longer afford to operate a woefully underutilized enterprise that really is not in line with our academic mission,” LaForge said. “Unfortunately, the cost is just too much to justify … I would encourage you to withhold judgment and premature concern until we actually focus on a project; for example, issues such as taxation, flooding and drainage, and zoning will all be addressed at the appropriate time.”

In addition, Delta State will cease operating the Coahoma County Higher Education Center in Clarksdale, effective June 30. Coahoma Community College, which utilizes the facility in partnership with Delta State, is working to determine if they can continue to operate the CCHEC for an interim period.

The university has also enacted a hiring and spending freeze, is using some reserve funds, will be shutting down some buildings over the summer to save on utilities, and is moving to a four-day work week over the summer.

Additionally, the university is instituting a five percent fee on designated funds, a subset of the general fund. The fee will be assessed in January each year based on the 12-month average balance of the fund.

Other items include a reduction in the Athletics operation budget, re-budgeting of Capital Projects expenditures, a reduction in the E&G Contingency Budget, and an increase in Foundation support.

LaForge announced Delta State will also boost its efforts for a private funding campaign to secure new resources for student success and enrichment, academic excellence, and cultural and social heritage.

In closing, LaForge pointed to Delta State alumni who hold positions of leadership not only locally but nationally.

“Delta State alumni lead and manage the likes of UPS, Charles Schwab, the Casey Family Foundation, our local schools, our Chamber of Commerce, local churches, numerous local businesses, this university, our county, and this city – and that should be a great source of pride for us all,” he said.

20170502_133458

Zengaro receives Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum Grant

By | Students | No Comments

Italian Americans have a long-rooted tradition in the Mississippi Delta, and their stories will be told in a documentary film by Matteo Zengaro, a sophomore psychology major and history minor at Delta State University.

Zengaro, of Cleveland, is filming a documentary about Italian Americans living in the Delta and 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.

Anthony and Joe Russo are Italian American film and television directors known for directing the popular Marvel franchise movies “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Captain America: Civil War,” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”

The grant provides $7,500 to fund film projects documenting the Italian American experience to maintain its preservation for future generations.

“It feels really great to be able to receive this grant,” said Zengaro. “It is an honor to me and to my family to represent both Delta State University and the Italian American community of the Delta on a national scale by being selected for this grant. As an Italian American myself, it is important to me to help share and preserve our history for others to learn about.”

Zengaro’s film highlights a culture that has been ingrained within the Delta community, but largely ignored in overall Italian American history. He seeks to tell 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.

“Very little is known about the Italian American history in the Mississippi Delta,” he added. “Through my documentary, I want to share the Italian American experience of the Mississippi Delta and what keeps the Italian heritage alive in members of the community today. It is important to me to share the stories of those before me, so their history can be preserved. I hope it will bring more attention to the rich Italian culture of the Delta and share their stories with a national audience.”

Applicants from around the United States and Italy submitted proposals. Zengaro was one of seven applicants chosen for 2017. The honor is the first for Delta State University, and Zengaro will submit a copy of the completed film to the Delta State University Archives to preserve the oral stories of Italian history in the Delta.

The other applicants chosen were: Roberto Angotti, a film studies major at Claremont McKenna; David Joseph Higgins, a high school teacher in Staten Island, New York; Kirsten Keppel, a videographer of the Abruzzo and Molise Heritage Society in Washington D.C.; Dylan Maccarone, a documentary film major at Hampshire College; Cristoforo Magliozzi, a master of fine arts candidate in film production at the University of Texas in Austin; and Margaret Sclafani, an anthropology major at Bryn Mawr College/Haverford College.

Three of the seven applicants will be chosen to attend the National Italian American Foundation Gala on Nov. 4, 2017, where the winning film will be announced.

criminology

Criminology program ranked in national poll

By | Academics | No Comments

Delta State University was recently ranked in SR Education Group’s 2017 Top Online Colleges for Criminology.

Delta State came in at No. 4 in the national poll.

“Our fully online program recognizes the various life commitments that graduate students face and allows them the opportunity to obtain an affordable advanced degree no matter their geographical location,” said Dr. Lauren Norman, assistant professor of criminology and sociology. “By remaining affordable, our program allows individuals to strengthen their understanding of the criminal justice system all while giving back to the community at large.”

The ranking is based on value of online criminology programs at accredited online schools across the nation, taking into consideration academic strength factors along with annual tuition rates in order to provide a list of colleges offering the best value to students.

Making it on this list shows high academic standards and a commitment to affordability, two key factors important to prospective students.

View the full ranking at http://www.guidetoonlineschools.com/degrees/criminology#best-value.

SR Education Group created Guide to Online Schools to help students choose the best school for their career aspirations and budget. The organization’s mission is to be the most authoritative online resource for students, dedicated to making objective information about education, careers and college financing easily accessible.

Headshot

Student maps Cleveland Wi-Fi

By | Academics, Community | No Comments

Katlyn Dickerson, a Delta State graduate student in the Clinical and Mental Health Counseling Program, recently completed her unique community development project as one of the institution’s B.F. Smith scholars.

The highly competitive B.F. Smith graduate assistantship is awarded to a limited number of students with a proven record of undergraduate achievement. Participants demonstrate a commitment to the Delta region in pursuit of a degree related to community and economic development.

Dickerson’s project documents Cleveland businesses that offer free Wi-Fi hotspots, which have been mapped for public viewing at https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1DLajPtSZ8JmX8kDxFyDX1j1J5Ek&ll=33.74055561963571%2C-90.73450000000003&z=13.

Ideas for the project began to shape when Dickerson was an intern for the Cleveland-Bolivar Chamber of Commerce.

“Initially, my project started by surveying the student body of Delta State to understand their perceptions of Cleveland,” said Dickerson. “After receiving input from students, I came to the glaring conclusion that millennials are most effectively reached through social media and technology. After attending a meeting with Dr. Roberto Gallardo from the MSU Intelligent Community Institute, I realized that this would be a great bridge for connecting millennials with our community.”

“One of my primary tasks was to document local Wi-fi hotspots and create a Google Map to share,” she added. “We felt that by publicizing local businesses that offer free Wi-Fi, students would be more inclined to support those businesses. We are also working to establish free Wi-Fi hotspots downtown and in local parks. We hope that by creating a more tech-savvy community, students will be more inclined to stay in Cleveland.”

After meeting with Gallardo, Dickerson was convinced to pursue the Wi-Fi project.

“Today, technology has allowed people to work from anywhere,” said Dickerson. “We want to provide Cleveland residents with the tools needed to attract a contemporary workforce.”

Dickerson said the project has also motived her to be a stronger advocate for the city of Cleveland. She thanked Gallardo and Lisa Cooley, with the Chamber, for making the project a reality.

Dr. Beverly Moon, dean of Graduate & Continuing Studies and Research, is thrilled with the opportunities presented by the B.F. Smith scholars program.

“The program provides full tuition and stipends for high academic performers entering their first graduate program,” said Moon. “The students commit to working 20 hours per week under this program, on projects that benefit the Delta region in the broad field of economic development. We look for students who are intent on giving back to their communities, and who envision how their degrees and energy can be applied to help improve conditions in the Delta.”

Learn more about the program at http://www.deltastate.edu/graduate-and-continuing-studies/bfsmith.

masters-overall

Delta State online education programs ranked nationally

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

SR Education Group, an education publisher founded in 2004, recently recognized Delta State University’s College of Education and Human Sciences with multiple honors in their ranking of 2017’s Most Affordable Online Master’s Degrees.

These rankings represent schools across the nation that are making an effort to provide economical options for students seeking online master’s degrees. Due to exceptional affordability, Delta State ranked No. 1 in special education, No. 2 in teaching degrees, and No. 11 in education.

“It is essential in maintaining strong quality programs for those in the teaching profession to consider affordability and access,” said Dr. Leslie Griffin, dean of the COEHS. “Delta State University is sensitive to the balance students must achieve in juggling professional, family and other commitments with the costs of furthering their education. The returns our region receives from the important and lasting work of these educators is a compelling reason to seek ways to continue to make their advanced study affordable.”

The full rankings by category are available here:
http://onlineu.org/most-affordable-colleges/special-education-masters-degrees
http://onlineu.org/most-affordable-colleges/teaching-masters-degrees
http://onlineu.org/most-affordable-colleges/education-masters-degrees

SR Education Group offers free and comprehensive guidance that enables students to compare all online colleges in the U.S. The organization seeks to help driven people accomplish their education goals in a financially responsible manner. Learn more at http://www.onlineu.org/about.