Delta Dollars helps with asset-building

By | Center for Community and Economic Development, General | No Comments

Delta State University and the Center for Community and Economic Development recently announced the successful completion of the asset-building program Delta Dollars.

Delta Dollars is an 8:1 matched individual development account program that focuses on financial literacy and post-secondary education. Since the spring of 2015, 19 participants have utilized Delta Dollars to accumulate a combined savings total of $9,730 — money students use to build financial assets needed to pursue their college education. A total of $66,641.55 has been disbursed for their post-secondary expenses at Delta State.

“Without the funding provided by this program, I would not have been able to graduate this semester,” said student Jammie Marquez. “I have been beset by difficulties that have required me to take extra classes. Knowing that I would be able to rely on my savings and funding from Delta Dollars made me confident that I could overcome those difficulties and add the courses without worrying about the added cost.”

Nursing student Gabrielle Windless shared the same appreciation for Delta Dollars.

“This is a great program,” she said. “I was able to stay on track towards graduation by attending summer school with the funds. I learned a lot from the self-paced financial literacy modules.”

A grant from Assets for Independence, a program of the U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services, funds approximately 50 percent of program costs. The remaining half is funded through non-federal sources. Other partners and contributors included Delta State University Foundation and Renasant Bank.

Learn more about the program and at

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Bolivar County Alumni Crawfish Boil hosted Thursday

By | Alumni, Community | No Comments

The Delta State University Alumni Association has been busy planning the annual Bolivar County Alumni Crawfish Boil. This year’s event will be April 28 at 5:30 p.m. in front of Walter Sillers Coliseum.

In addition to crawfish, BBQ plates can also be purchased. Free Domino’s pizza will be available to children 12 and under with the purchase of an adult ticket. There will also be a silent auction and a Kids Zone. Live entertainment will be provided by the Delta All Star Cheerleaders, Fusion Gymnastics and Delta Blaze Competition Cheer.

Tickets for crawfish are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. BBQ tickets are $10. Tickets can be purchased at the Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni-Foundation House, online at, or at the door.

All alumni, friends, students, faculty and staff are invited to attend. Proceeds from tickets, the silent auction and sponsorships benefit the Liza Vaughn Memorial Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to incoming Delta State students from Bolivar County. This scholarship was established in 2011 and was named for past assistant director of Alumni Affairs, Liza Vaughn, who lost her battle with cancer in April of 2012. To donate to the scholarship, visit

“The Delta State Bolivar County Alumni Chapter’s top priority is to raise scholarship dollars for students who attend Delta State from Bolivar County,” said Will Bradham, president of the Bolivar County Chapter.

2016 Bolivar County Alumni Association Crawfish Boil planning committee.

2016 Bolivar County Alumni Crawfish Boil planning committee.

This year, the Alumni Association is teaming up with Athletics to provide a photo booth with the Delta State coaches from 5:30–7:30 p.m. Visitors will be able to take photos with their favorite Delta State coaches.

Fans who use the Statesmen Nation app will be able to receive points for attending the crawfish boil.

The event would not be possible without the generosity of sponsors. Corporate Sponsors include: Statesmen Level – Bolivar Medical Center and Polk’s Meat Products; Okra Level – Patrick Davis State Farm, Air Evac Lifeteam, Hey Joe’s, Celia Manley ERA and Renasant Bank. This year’s event sponsors include: Okra Level – Guaranty Bank, Boyle Lumber Company, Needle Speciality Products, Yo Eddie BBQ, Kossman’s, Majic 107.5, Delta Radio, Domino’s, Delta Maids, Right at Home Healthcare; Green Level – Auto Mark, Nehi Bottling, Planters Bank, Denton’s Dairy, Statewide Federal Credit Union, Cleveland Lumber, Lipscomb Oil Company, Mississippi Land Bank, Ray Funeral Home, Shipp Family Eyecare, Ten Twenty Four, The Image Specialist, Hardy & Associates, PA and Griffith Real Estate; White Level – Robinson Electric Company, South Street Pharmacy, Backdraft, Bolivar Tire and Alignment, H Squared Ladies Wear, New York Life, Joe Reed & Co., Sonic Drive-In, Cleveland State Bank, Byrd Service Station, Peltan Eye & Laser, Todd Walley Plumbing, Williams Equipment & Supply, Cleveland Apartments, Abraham’s, Harmony Lanes and Flatlanders.

Join the Facebook Event page at To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), Tumblr (, LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1). Save the date for this year’s Pig Pickin’ (Sept. 24) and Homecoming (Oct. 15).

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New Canvas User Interface coming soon

By | Office of Information Technology | No Comments

Delta State’s current Canvas User Interface (UI) will be upgraded May 8, just in time for summer intersession.

Canvas is the campus learning management system used to deliver online course content. The new UI is an enhanced layout that supports a more responsive user experience for faculty and students to access their courses inside Canvas.

“The most noticeable change is that when users hit the landing page, the Global Navigation menu will appear on the left side of the screen,” said Dr. Nicole House, director of Instructional Technology. “This shift certainly feels more natural and supports easier navigation once users enter their courses.”

The release is meant to provide the least amount of disruption to user access. In the new UI, users can customize the appearance of the Global Dashboard by selecting course card colors, nicknaming courses and toggling detail views. The update will not affect mobile view or course content.

“As an added bonus, we’ll also launch Canvas Commons with the new UI as a learning repository for faculty to retrieve additional resources to bolster their teaching effectiveness,” added House. “Some of our faculty here got their first look at the Commons update this week and they’re excited about the possibilities of this platform.”

Faculty can find additional information about the update by visiting the Canvas Instructional Support page. Students can watch the intro video DSU New Canvas UI and retrieve the student guide currently in Canvas Announcements.

Instructional Technology staff will provide ongoing training in the new UI for users through the online student orientation and faculty workshops.

The 2016 inductees for the Phi Alpha Theta International Honor Society include (left to right): Brenton King, Katherine Jackson, Laura Kate Fortner and Matt Riggins. Missing from the photo: are Alexis Danielle Banks, Dylan Garrett, Wesley Rippee and Kaelin Kneeland.

Phi Alpha Theta welcomes new members

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

The College of Arts and Sciences at Delta State University inducted eight new members to the Phi Alpha Theta International Honor Society today.

This year’s inductees included: Alexis Danielle Banks, Laura Kate Fortner, Dylan Garrett, Wesley Rippee, Matthew Riggins, Kaelin Kneeland, Brenton King, and Katherine Jackson.

Dr. Charles Westmoreland, assistant professor of history and Phi Alpha Theta advisor, inducted the new members and award certificates.

Phi Alpha Theta is an American honor society for undergraduate and graduate students and professors of history. The society has over 350,000 members, with about 9,500 new members joining each year through 860 local chapters.

The organization was established on March 17, 1921 at the University of Arkansas by professor Nels Cleven. Cleven had become convinced in his time at the university that a fraternity of scholars (which would accept men or women) was important for the study of history.

Dr. Rolando Herts receives the Georgene Clark Diversity Champion Award from Arlene Sanders, Diversity Committee chair (center) on behalf of The Delta Center, along with staff members (left to right) Patricia Webster, Heather Miller, Lee Aylward and student employees Lydia Haley and Moira Fair. Student employees not pictured include Stephanie Green and Erica Spiller.

Delta Center presented 2016 Georgene Clark Diversity Champion Award

By | Delta Center, Diversity Committee, Faculty/Staff | No Comments

The Diversity Committee at Delta State University recently awarded the 2016 Georgene Clark Diversity Champion Award to The Delta Center for Culture and Learning.

The inaugural Diversity Champion Award was presented to Georgene Clark, retired assistant professor of English. The award was presented to Clark at the 2015 Winning the Race conference where it was announced that the award was being named in her honor. The annual conference promotes conversations between and among individuals and communities about race relations, social justice, diversity and inclusion.

This is the second year that the award has been presented, which was was established by Delta State University’s Diversity Committee to recognize individuals and divisions/departments that have made extraordinary efforts to promote diversity awareness at Delta State and in the broader community.

Dr. Temika Simmons and Dr. Garry Jennings, co-chairs for the 2016 Winning the Race conference, both praised The Delta Center for its commitment to diversity awareness.

“The Delta Center has been an active partner with the Winning the Race conference since it began three years ago,” said Simmons, assistant professor of psychology and recipient of the 2016 Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning’s Award for Excellence in Diversity. “The Delta Center’s ongoing support of the conference, among several other projects and initiatives, is noteworthy and deserves the university-wide recognition that this award embodies.”

“The Delta Center’s collaboration is essential to the success of the Winning the Race Conference. It means that the conference has the support of an organization deeply involved with the culture, history and, most importantly, the soul of the Mississippi Delta,” said Jennings, professor of political science and director of the The Madison Center. “In keeping alive the history of this region, the Delta Center connects the past to our efforts in the present, building hope for justice in the future. This is essential for our work on the Winning the Race Conference.”

Arlene Sanders, instructor of political science and chair of the Diversity Committee, presented the award during the closing session of the 2016 Winning the Race conference.

“For several years, The Delta Center has offered programs that highlight the Mississippi Delta’s rich cultural diversity,” said Sanders. “They offer National Endowment for the Humanities workshops that attract educators from all over the country to learn about the Delta. They manage the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area that offers programs like the Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership about African American church mothers. They direct an international blues project that highlights the global influence of blues music and culture. For these reasons and many more, The Delta Center is most deserving of this award.”

Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center, accepted the award on behalf of The Delta Center.

“The Delta Center is honored to receive the Georgene Clark Diversity Champion Award,” said Herts. “For over 15 years, The Delta Center has been promoting appreciation of the Mississippi Delta’s diverse culture and history as part of the American experience. That includes telling inclusive stories involving cultural perspectives regarding race, social injustice, civil rights, regional identity, and even expressions of faith.”

The Delta Center met the following criteria for the award: innovative teaching, educational programming, or activities designed to engender diversity within the classroom and/or curriculum at Delta State; a documented record of committee work, community involvement or outreach to the local community by a campus organization or department or division; and active leadership in promoting cultural diversity at Delta State.

To learn more about The Delta Center, visit

The mission of The Delta Center is to promote greater understanding of Mississippi Delta culture and history and its significance to the world through education, partnerships and community engagement. The center serves as the management entity of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and is the home of the National Endowment for the Humanities “Most Southern Place on Earth” workshop and the International Delta Blues Project.