2016 WTR committee group photo-1

Winning the Race returns March 27-28

By | Academics, Community, Faculty/Staff, President, Students, Winning the Race | No Comments
2017 Winning The Race Committee member include: (front, left to right) Dr. Rolando Herts, Dr. Billy Moore, Dr. Lekeitha Morris, Tricia Walker, Georgene Clarke, Jeanna Wilkes and Dr. Temika Simmons. Back (l to r): Dr. Charles Westmoreland, Dr. David Breaux, Sam Washington, Michelle Johansen and Davlon Miller. Members not pictured: Bryce Anderson, Dr. David Baylis, Dr. George Beals, Travis Calvin, Jondelyn Catlette, Dr. Edwin Craft, Dr. Ellen Green, Dr. Leslie Griffin, Matthew Harris, Dr. Garry Jennings, Elizabeth Joel, Paula Lindsey, Michael Lipford, Don Allan Mitchell, Cleveland Phinisee, Arlene Sanders, Jeremiah Smith, Dr. Myrtis Tabb (ex-officio), Jenn Keathley and Chante Willis.

Delta State University’s award-winning conference Winning the Race returns to campus for the fourth year on March 27-28.

Conference updates, registration and additional information are available at http://www.deltastate.edu/winning-the-race/.

This year’s conference, “Winning the Race: Advancing Education in the Mississippi Delta,” is presented in partnership with the Casey Family Programs and the Mississippi Humanities Council and will focus on identifying educational inequities and strengthening educational opportunities in the Mississippi Delta.

The inaugural program, spearheaded by Delta State President William N. LaForge in 2014, was designed as an innovative academic conference with a focus on engaging, promoting and rekindling conversations in hopes that Delta-area communities can move toward greater equity, forward thinking and reduced racial tensions.

“I am very much looking forward to another outstanding race relations conference, with a program I’m advised will be top flight,” said LaForge. “From the special speakers, breakout sessions and general discussion topics, this conference promises to be another great success.”

“While our conference is not conducted in reaction to anything in the current political climate, it certainly comes at an appropriate time to contribute to the national, regional and local dialogue on how we get along in society,” added LaForge.

In recognition of this work, the university received the 2014 Civil Rights and Social Justice Award accepted by LaForge at the fourth National Civil Rights Conference in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

The 2017 schedule will continue the critical dialogue about current issues related to education, social justice and community healing, while highlighting opportunities for sustained community action, awareness and mobility.

“This year’s conference will provide attendees with the tools to engage in not only the dialogue, but the work of strengthening the educational community and infrastructure in and around the Mississippi Delta,” said Dr. Temika M. Simmons, assistant professor of psychology and conference chair. “Unique to the 2017 platform are opportunities for professional development credits for teachers and counselors, in addition to a special workshop track for high school students — further evidence of the university’s commitment to moving the conference initiative beyond the current dialogue to tangible action and outcomes.”

Highlight speakers for the 2017 conference include Dr. Ivory Toldson, president and CEO of the Quality Education for Minorities Network, and Dr. William C. Bell, a Delta State graduate and president and CEO of Casey Family Programs.

Toldson is a professor of counseling psychology at Howard University and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Negro Education. Toldson’s previous appointments include executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, senior research analyst for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and contributing education editor for The Root.

With more than 60 publications, four books, and over 150 research presentations in 36 states and numerous countries, Toldson’s work and research have focused on dismantling some of the most pervasive myths about African Americans. Instead, he highlights the talent and potential of students of color. Toldson has been featured on MSNBC, The New York Times, various radio stations, and has been dubbed one of “30 leaders in the fight for Black men,” by Newsweek Magazine. Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said he is “a prolific young scholar and myth buster.”

William C. Bell, president and CEO of Casey Family Programs, is returning for another highly anticipated speech. With more than 35 years of experience in the field of human services, Bell chairs the executive team for CFP and is responsible for the vision, mission, strategies and objectives of the foundation.

Bell’s awards include Special Contribution to the Judiciary Award from the King County Washington Women Lawyers (2016), the Orgullo de la Comunidad (Pride of our Community) Award from the Coalition for Hispanic Family Services (2015), and the 2014 James A. Joseph Lecturer for The Association of Black Foundation Executives.

Additionally, he was named Delta State’s 2012 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year and was inducted into the university’s Alumni Hall of Fame and the Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society.

Bell is nationally renowned for his contributions and lifelong commitment to improving the lives of children and families, his tireless work to prevent child abuse and neglect, his fight to make the judicial system more accessible to all, and his battle to improve the lives of children in foster care.

In addition to stellar speakers, conference breakout sessions will feature topics covering social justice, civil rights and law, economic opportunities, education and community, and culture and community. These sessions will be guided by leaders from around the state and nation.

Other featured activities include poster competitions for high school and college students, and performances by the ROOTS of Sunflower County and the Delta Blues Museum Band.

The university will kick off this year’s conference with an open house on March 26 from 2-6 p.m. at the Amzie Moore House Museum and Interpretive Center located at 614 South Chrisman Avenue in Cleveland. A press conference honoring the work of Mississippi civil rights veterans will take place at the house at 3 p.m.

Conference activities will begin on campus at 8 a.m. on March 27 in the Bologna Performing Arts Center at Delta State.

For more information, contact Simmons at tsimmons@deltastate.edu.

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Staff members complete P.A.T.H.S. program

By | Faculty/Staff, Office of Information Technology | No Comments
Pictured (left to right): Mallory Shemwell (history), Cornelia S. Thomas (HPER), Dr. Edwin Craft, (CIO of OIT), Waukesha Pates (Student Success Center) and Rhonda Boyd (DMI).

Five Delta State staff members recently completed the P.A.T.H.S. (Partnership for Applying Technology to Help Students) program sponsored by the Office of Information Technology.

The second cohort of the 2016-17 academic year graduated Thursday after participating in the professional development program over a three-day period.

“My participation in the P.A.T.H.S. program gave me the opportunity to meet the members of the OIT department,” said Cornelia Thomas, senior secretary of Health and Physical Education and Recreation. “I knew a little about technology, but this training has given me a better understanding of many of the different programs being used, how the Internet works, how Canvas works and more. This training will help me be better at my position in my department.”

On the first day, participants received a welcome and an overview of OIT services by Dr. Edwin Craft, CIO of Information Technology. Over the course of three days, participants had hands-on experiences and workshops on OIT supported technologies including Canvas LMS, AV online services, cybersecurity and Sway.

OIT presenters included: Kelly Kirkland, senior instructional designer; Dr. Nicole House, director of instructional technology; Murat Gur, manager of network services; and Dawn Carver, technical support specialist.

Graduates included: Mallory Shemwell, senior secretary in history; Cornelia S. Thomas, senior secretary in HPER; Waukesha Pates, academic support clerk in the Student Success Center; and Rhonda Boyd, secretary in the DMI. Not pictured is Chris D. Smith, program manager in the GIT Center.

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University to close golf course due to budget cuts

By | General, Uncategorized | No Comments

Faced with nearly $2 million in state budget cuts in the past 13 months, Delta State University will close the university golf course as a way to offset cuts and protect the university’s core operations.

President William N. LaForge said this is a difficult but necessary decision in order to protect university programs and personnel.

“Regrettably, the Cabinet has been put in the difficult position of closing the university golf course to achieve savings in our budget — necessary because of the continuing state budget cuts,” LaForge said. “We are working hard to identify areas for budget savings on campus to offset these cuts that avoid impacting personnel and academic programs. We realize that the golf course is a longstanding and traditional feature of the university, and we regret having to make this tough decision. However, this action is absolutely necessary.”

The golf course will close on June 30 and remain non-operational after that. The decision will not affect the university golf team which will practice and play at the Cleveland Country Club.

The closure will translate into nearly $250,000 in savings for the university, which are needed to offset $1.1 million in state budget cuts from this fiscal year alone. There is no plan to repurpose the course at this time.

All golfers with memberships at the golf course are welcome to use the course until the end of June. Anyone with memberships extending beyond June will be refunded a pro-rated share of their fee.

James Rutledge, vice president for Finance and Administration, said the closure will not affect current golf course employees.

“The three golf course employees will have the opportunity to transfer into current vacant positions in Facilities Management, therefore none of the golf course employees will be terminated,” he explained.

LaForge said university administrators met with a large group of stakeholders, golfers and others, this week to explain the decision.

“We understand that the city of Cleveland is essentially losing what they consider to be a public golf course. Unfortunately, we cannot be that public golf course for our community any longer because of the budget cuts,” LaForge said. “Our primary focus has to be on academics and our students, and our mission as a university. Because of these budget cuts, we can no longer afford to operate a golf course.”

Student lunch Jackson

Students observe state legislators in session

By | Student Government Association, Students | No Comments
Photo 1 (left to right): Sen. Derrick Simmons (District 12, represents Bolivar County); Sen. Buck Clarke (District 22, represents Bolivar County); student Jordan Galtelli; student Hunter Webb; Senator David Parker (District 2, Allie Rose Parker’s father); student Allie Rose Parker; and Senator Willie Simmons (District 13, represents Bolivar County). Photo 2 (l to r): Hunter Webb; Rep. Abe Hudson (District 29, represents Bolivar County); Allie Rose Parker; and Jordan Galtelli.

A delegation of Student Government Association students from Delta State University visited the Mississippi State Capitol this month to observe legislators in session and to host Delta State’s local members for lunch.

The group of students included Allie Rose Parker, SGA president; Hunter Webb, SGA attorney general; and Jordan Galtelli, philanthropic affairs chairman.

Attending legislators included Sen. Derrick Simmons (District 12, represents Bolivar County); Sen. Buck Clarke (District 22, represents Bolivar County); Sen. Willie Simmons (District 13, represents Bolivar County); Rep. Abe Hudson (District 29, represents Bolivar County); and Sen. David Parker (District 2, Allie Rose’s father).

Rep. Hudson said the visit was special for him because of his ties to Delta State.

“Because I worked there for five years, Delta State University will always be a special place to me. I spoke with members of the student government association while they were in Jackson,” he said. “They were all knowledgable about happenings on campus and around the Mississippi Delta. Though we only spent a few minutes together, I was happy to see folks from back home.”

Parker said the experience of seeing the legislators in action was especially exciting.

“We took the time to meet our legislators to discuss Delta State,” said Parker. “We talked with them about the bills going through this session that had to with our university and about the recent budget cuts. It was an awesome experience to see the legislators in session because it was the first date for bills to be on the floor. We were able to witness the bills actually being talked on and voted on.”

The students also took time to complete a recent philanthropy project, delivering Valentine’s cards signed by students across campus to the Blair Batson’s Children’s Hospital.

On March 9, Delta State will continue it’s longstanding tradition of hosting legislators for a brown bag luncheon at the capital, providing more students the opportunity to network and interact with elected officials.

“We really look forward to the luncheon because it’s a great way to spread the word about the great things going on at Delta State,” said Parker. “It’s also a great way for students to connect with legislators on a more personal level, and improve DSU’s relationship with the legislature.”

alumni app

Delta State National Alumni Association announces new app

By | Alumni, Community | No Comments

The Delta State University National Alumni Association recently announced its new free app, now available for download.

Find the app by searching Delta State Alumni in the iTunes App Store for Apple devices and Google Play for Android devices.IMG_0624 copy

The app will display event schedules and provide Statesmen graduates and friends with multiple ways to interact and communicate with Alumni staff.

The user-friendly app makes it easy to join the Alumni Association, call or email the Alumni staff, get directions to the office, or make a gift. Sharing memories, photos, and providing current information has never been easier – from the convenience of a mobile device.

“The new app is a great way to keep up with upcoming events on campus as well as chapter events planned throughout our alumni footprint,” said Sayward Fortner, National Alumni Association president. “We look forward to connecting with our alums and friends, and encourage everyone to enjoy its features — for example, submit photos showing their school spirit.”

Delta State University Alumni Association’s mission is to perpetuate the memories of university life; provide a medium through which interest in Delta State University may be promoted; assist in establishing alumni chapters; bind the alumni into a united fellowship working together for the advancement of the university; serve as a link between the university and its alumni; and to act as a service organization for former Delta State students.

Learn more at http://www.deltastate.edu/alumni-and-foundation.