Peter Rabbit coming to BPAC

By | Bologna Performing Arts Center, Community | No Comments

“Once upon a time there were four little rabbits, and their names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail and Peter …”

These famous opening lines of “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” have enchanted young audiences for over 100 years. In celebration of the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter’s 150th birthday, Enchantment Theatre, in collaboration with the Estate of Beatrix Potter and Penguin Books UK, will bring her captivating stories to life at the Bologna Performing Arts Center with two BPAC School-Time Matinee performances of “Peter Rabbit™ Tales” on Jan. 29.

Come along for the exploits of a charming hero, who, going against his mother’s wishes, has adventures (and misadventures) in Mr. McGregor’s garden. Using fantastic masks, whimsical puppets, and original music, Enchantment Theatre introduces children to the timeless stories of Beatrix Potter as never seen before.

This show is locally sponsored by Entergy.

The 9:30 a.m. show is completely sold out, but tickets are still available for the 11:30 a.m. performance. Tickets are $6 for adults and students, and are available for purchase by stopping by the BPAC or calling 662-846-4844 for more information. 

The suggested grade levels for this performance are Pre-K through fourth grade. Teachers are encouraged to download the free study guide created by Enchantment Theatre from the BPAC’s website,

Math science grant

Math and Science Partnership receives over $1 million in grant renewal

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education and Human Sciences, Community, Faculty/Staff, Office of Institutional Grants | No Comments

The Math and Science Partnership Program (MSP) at Delta State University was recently selected by the State Board of Education for a new round of grant support to continue its mathematics teacher-training platform.

The major grant funding will come over a three-year period, totaling over $1.1 million. This marks the second three-year grant for the program, which began in 2013. The most recent installment will focus on K-8 mathematics teachers.

MSP, a federal program backed by the U.S. Department of Education, strives to improve teacher quality through partnerships between state education agencies, institutions of higher education and high-need local education agencies and schools in order to increase the academic achievement of students in mathematics and science.

The size of each state’s grant is awarded based on student population and poverty rates. With the funding provided to Mississippi, the MSP is responsible for improving the content knowledge and teaching skills of K-8 mathematics teachers.

The grant provides professional development training through a two-week intensive summer institute at Delta State, three Saturday sessions throughout the school year, a monthly online discussion, and tri-annual observations during the school year.

MSP Project Director, Kathleen Lott, was thrilled with the grant renewal.

“Acceptance to the Math and Science Partnership grant for 2016-2019 is significant and essential to the Delta, as it provides another option to K-8 math teachers for professional learning,” said Lott. “In providing professional development for teachers, the content knowledge of our K-8 students should be boosted. Due to the continued need in the Delta for professional learning in mathematics education, and the desire to improve student mathematics comprehension, the new grant will continue to strive for a successful program and wise use of the grant allocations.”

Robin Boyles, director of the Office of Institutional Grants at Delta State, was an essential figure in developing the most recent grant proposal.

“This is one of several programs that we have here at Delta State in which we utilize grant funds to address community and regional needs,” said Boyles. “By providing professional development opportunities for middle school math teachers, we hope to be able to impact math scores and improve educational outcomes for students in our school systems. It is through projects such as this that we further our commitment to community and regional stewardship in the Mississippi Delta.”

Boyles said others involved in developing the proposal were Lott, Elizabeth Belenchia, Dr. Liza Cope, Dr. David Hebert, Dr. Clifton Wingard, as well as leadership from Dr. Leslie Griffin, dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences, and Dr. David Breaux, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Their leadership will be utilized as a collaborative partnership between the COEHS and the CAS.

“We have a shortage of qualified math and science teachers in the Delta,” said Griffin. “Not a week goes by that we don’t hear from a school district searching to fill such a position. The grant is Delta State’s effort, with support from the Mississippi Department of Education, to prepare teachers who are highly qualified to teach mathematics and science.

“This will be our second three-year award, which speaks to the sustainability of the program and to the outstanding job that the program faculty have done in providing planning and instruction. We are very pleased that the program has achieved this level of sustainability.”

Cope, an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics at Delta State, said the renewal confirms the serious need for the MSP program.

“In the past, students in Mississippi and particularly the Delta, have earned the lowest scores in the country on these tests,” said Cope. “Therefore, there is a critical need for the work we do with this grant. The fact that this is our second award suggests that our first project was a success.”

Delta State graduate Emma Alford published "Stamped," a collection of poems about losing her best friend.

Alumna publishes chapbook

By | Alumni, Community, Students | No Comments

Best friends die — and that is really difficult. Delta State alumna and Cleveland native Emma Alford ’12 explores such a loss on her own terms in a new chapbook, “Stamped.” In the book’s poems, she taps into the experience of losing her best friend in a car accident at the age of 20, while they both teetered between adolescence and adulthood.

Alford began writing these poems five years ago in a college poetry workshop class immediately after the death of her friend and completed the collection in 2015. Some of the poems were written in response to actual postcards from her friend, with the book displaying reproductions of the postcards next to their corresponding poems.

“I found these postcards from Cassidy, some I had responded to and some I hadn’t,” said Alford. “I had these things I needed to say to her and about her. Finding the postcards pushed me to start writing these poems.”

Nearly all the poems are constructed as a conversation with her deceased friend, directing each line toward her. They capture the experience of loss, but also the humor and subtleties of a friendship cut short much too early.

“You can’t make new, old friends, and I think that’s what’s most crushing about losing them at a young age,” she said. “Any friends I make as an adult won’t have grown up next door — they’ll never know 14-year-old me. Addressing and exploring that fact through these poems has been very important and therapeutic for me.”

Mike Smith, author of “Byron In Baghdad” and “Multiverse,” said, “Emma Alford’s first book is a beautiful elegy. Expertly rendered through a series of poems that transforms a friend’s postcards into a means of coming to terms with loss, this collection participates in the great tradition of English-language poems that celebrate and mourn best friends lost too soon. This is a deeply moving book and one I will read and reread for years to come.”

“Stamped,” from Finishing Line Press, is Alford’s first published work of poetry. The book is available online at Some of the poems have previously appeared in Delta State University’s literary magazine, Confidante. She hails from the Mississippi Delta, but now lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her overweight, orange tabby. She is an editor and contributor for The East Nashvillian magazine.

The DMI All-Stars will perform at Delta Night at Hal & Mal’s in Jackson on Jan. 30 at 7 p.m.

Mississippi Delta Night in the capital city

By | Academics, Delta Music Institute, GRAMMY, Students | No Comments

The Delta Music Institute entertainment industry studies program at Delta State University will host its sixth “Delta Night at Hal & Mal’s” in Jackson on Jan. 30 at 7 p.m.

Delta Night promotes the music of Mississippi by featuring musical performances by multiple entertainers from Delta State University’s entertainment industry studies program. Featured performers for the evening will be the DMI All-Stars, a select group of Delta State students who will be performing Feb. 11 for Mississippi Night during GRAMMY Week in Los Angeles, California.

The DMI will also bring three additional student bands to perform at the Jan. 30 Jackson event. Ol’ Skool Revue is an R&B/funk/soul/blues band playing the hits of Motown, Memphis and Muscle Shoals, while DeltaRoX delivers chart-topping songs from the genre of classic rock. The newest DMI band is B4Y2K, covering hits from the ’90s.

“The entertainment industry studies program at Delta State University is growing, offering courses in recording technology, music business, songwriting, production and much more,” said Tricia Walker, DMI director. “Our studio facilities are second to none, and our connection to the soon to be opened GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi will be unique. That fact added to an interactive, small college experience with low student-to-instructor ratio, offers students a one-of-a-kind learning environment. The DMI program is structured to offer students hands-on, project-based learning opportunities as often as possible, including working in real recording sessions and at actual festivals and live venues. You can’t beat that for an educational experience.”

There will be a $5 cover charge for the “Delta Night at Hal & Mal’s” event, which is located at 200 Commerce St. in Jackson. For more information, contact Hal & Mal’s at 601-948-0888 or the Delta Music Institute at 662-846-4579.

The DMI is an independent center of study under the College of Arts and Sciences at Delta State University, offering a bachelor’s degree in entertainment industry studies. 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

Nursing school banner post

Online masters program in nursing excels nationally

By | Academics, School of Nursing | No Comments

Delta State University’s Robert E. Smith School of Nursing once again received high praise at the national level. RESSON was recently recognized in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of “Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.”

RESSON came in at No. 42 on the list of 1,200 schools, putting the program in the top four percent nationally. The school received high marks for faculty credentials and training, as well as high levels of student engagement.

To establish the rankings, U.S. News & World Report examined five categories:

  • Student engagement
  • Faculty credentials and training
  • Peer reputation
  • Student services and technology
  • Admissions selectivity

This new ranking represented the “best of the best” in online nursing graduate programs.

“We offer a high quality Masters of Nursing program with a 100 percent certification rate at a very reasonable cost,” said Dr. Lizabeth Carlson, dean of RESSON. “We have been offering online advanced nursing education since the early 2000s. We have worked diligently to ensure we incorporate national and state accreditation standards into our curriculum and utilize best practices in online learning.”

Carlson said the dedicated RESSON faculty helped make the ranking a reality.

“This is a great honor and reflects the hard work and long hours the nursing faculty have put into ensuring this program is of the very best quality,” she said.

Read the full rankings at

Learn more about RESSON at Delta State University at