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The Office of Information Technology hosted the third annual Connected Educator Luncheon on Oct. 18 to recognize Delta State instructors nominated by their students. Photo by Jabari Buck, OIT.

Connected Educator awards announced

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The Office of Information Technology hosted the third annual Connected Educator Luncheon on Oct. 18. The annual event is sponsored by Delta State University and Ellucian.

The event is held in celebration of Connected Educator month each October. The lunch also served to acknowledge the 39 Delta State instructors who students nominated for the annual Connected Educator Awards. Instructors were nominated based on specific criteria for efficiency, support and engagement.

“In line with Connected Educator Month, we wanted to identify actions and strategies that have measurable impact derived from using technology to teach, as well as support students,” said Dr. Nicole House, director of instructional technology. “We can harness that information from the nominations to collaborate resources and promote instructional innovation that facilitates holistic student success.”

Recipients of the 2016 Connected Educator Awards were Dr. Donna Koestler, assistant professor of nursing, and Todd Davis, instructor in health, physical education and recreation. In addition, Dr. Catherine Putnam, instructor and director of instructional support for the College of Education & Human Sciences, was recognized with a Canvas Choice Award for instructional innovation in Canvas LMS.

“The Connected Educator lunch is also an avenue for us to recognize all of the honorees and acknowledge their many contributions to academic excellence and student success at Delta State,” said Edwin Craft, CIO of Information Technology. “We have some very accomplished instructors and we aim to provide ongoing support to enhance and strengthen their instruction with technology in the traditional classroom, as well as online.”

This year’s honorees included: Amber Hendricks, Betty Sylvest, Bret Pimentel, Bryon Pickens, Carolyn Casale, Catherine Putnam, Chelsea Pugh, Corlis Snow, David Baylis, David Hebert, Dianne Thomas, Donna Koestler, Emily Newman, Glendscene Williams, Gwen Meador, Jacinda Roach, Jacqueline Craven, Janet Parker, Kevin Tharp, Kirk Mansell, Lee Virden, Leslie Green-Pimentel, Liza Cope, Mary Bess Pannel, Matt Jones, Merideth Van Namen, Michael McNeece, Michaela Merryday, Miller Maddox-Mandolini, Neil Conner, Randy Grierson, Sally Paulson, Sharon Hamilton, Stephanie Bell, Tanya McKinney, Thomas Laub, Todd Davis, Tomeka Harbin and Vicki Jean Hartley.

Luncheon special guests included Ellucian general manager Beverly Fratesi and college deans Dr. Billy Moore, Dr. David Breaux, Dr. Leslie Griffin and Dr. Vicki Bingham. Dr. Charles McAdams, provost of Delta State, provided opening remarks and received special recognition for his support of instructional innovation.

Honorees were presented with a certificate or recognition at the lunch and will receive a commendation letter for his/her tenure portfolios.


Pictured, left to right: Dr. Nicole House, OIT; Judy Haney, RESSON; Amanda Robinson, Family & Consumer Sciences; Phyllis Thornton, Health Services; Shander Gund, Social Work; Elizabeth Ogle, Language & Literature; and Kelly Kirkland, OIT.

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

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

“As a new employee at DSU, this training introduced me to the OIT staff, their responsibilities and an overview of the resources available to make my job a little easier,” said Shander Gund, senior secretary in the Department of Social Work. “These tools will also allow me to be more resourceful to my team.”

Over the course of three days, participants had hands-on experiences and workshops on OIT supported technologies including Canvas LMS, Banner XE, DSU network services, cybersecurity and Sway.

OIT presenters included Kelly Kirkland, senior instructional designer; Dr. Nicole House, director of instructional technology; Chris Giger, director of enterprise services; and Murat Gur, manager of network services.

“All the information was so useful and the instructors were great,” said Phyllis Thornton, senior secretary in Health Services. “I look forward to using what we learned in my department this year.”

P.A.T.H.S. was designed to empower staff with resources to contribute to student success with campus technologies and services. At the conclusion of the program, participants received a certificate of completion with recognition as OIT Certified Strategic Partners in promoting student success with technology on campus.

Along with Gund and Thorton, fellow graduates included: Judy Haney, senior secretary for RESSON; Elizabeth Ogle, senior secretary in Language & Literature; and Amanda Robinson, senior secretary in Family & Consumer Sciences.

The 2015 Delta State Connected Educator award recipients are Dr. Temika Simmons (holding plaque on left) and Dr. Michael McNeece (holding plaque on right). Beverly Fratesi, Ellucian general manager (left), Provost Dr. Charles McAdams (center), and Edwin Craft, CIO of OIT (right), congratulated the winners.

Connected Educator award recipients honored

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In conjunction with its activities for Connected Educator Month, the Office of Information Technology hosted the second annual Connected Educator luncheon Wednesday at Delta State University.

Sponsored by Ellucian and Delta State, the luncheon served to acknowledge honorees and announce the two recipients of the 2015 Connected Educator Awards.

One hundred Delta State students nominated 36 faculty members who used technology to positively contribute to their learning experience for the awards. Students were given specific guidelines for their submissions and provided a detailed narrative explaining how the nominees used technology in traditional, blended and online courses to positively influence their academic and personal success.

“We learned that students highly value the use of technology in traditional classrooms as well as access to additional resources for those classes in Canvas,” said Dr. Nicole House, director of instructional technology at Delta State. “Their participation also speaks volumes to how well our faculty are doing to not only strengthen instruction, but also to support student success with the use of instructional technologies.”

Winners were selected based on the number of nominations as well as the clarity of the narrative in addressing the faculty member’s use of technology. The winners of the 2015 awards were Dr. Temika Simmons, assistant professor of psychology, and Dr. Michael McNeece, instructor in teacher education. Both are members of the College of Education and Human Sciences.

Luncheon guests included Ellucian general manager Beverly Fratesi and college deans Dr. Lizbeth Carlson, Dr. Leslie Griffin and Dr. David Breaux. Dr. Charles McAdams, provost of Delta State, provided special remarks. Each honoree was presented with a certificate or recognition and will receive a commendation letter for his/her tenure portfolios.

Other honorees included: Charly Abraham, Jerome Billingsley, Lynn Byrd, Talbot Brooks, Jill Cabrera, Carolyn Casale, Liza Cope, Jacqueline Craven, Todd Davis, Karen Fosheim, Miles Fulwider, Tomeka Harbin, Vicki Hartley, David Hebert, Cora Jackson, Monica Jones, Donghyun Kim, Ronald Koehler, Donna Koestler, Michelle Matthews, Gwen Meador, Paulette-Meikle-Yaw, Terry Parrish, Chad Payton, Bryon Pickens, Duane Shuttlesworth, Mack Smith, Ashley Soliz, Leslie Fadiga-Stewart, Merideth Van Namen, Amit Verma, Vicki Webster, Jonathan Westfall and Clint Wood.

Connected Educator Month is a worldwide initiative led by the American Institutes for Research, Powerful Learning Practice, and Grunwald Associates LLC, and seeks to create a globally-connected, evidence-based movement that fosters collaboration and innovation to transform professional learning and affect educational change.

House explained that the awards are in line with CEM’s goal to document and communicate the measurable impact that faculty members make in connecting with their students.

“It’s our privilege to work with faculty to enable student success,” said Dr. Edwin Craft, CIO of information technology. “And we will use the information shared with us by students to expand on best practices indicated by the nominations and further extend outreach in support of faculty teaching innovation inside the traditional classroom as well as online.”

Delta State University employees Doug Pinkerton, left, and Chris Giger will compete in the May 16 Ironman triathlon outside Houston, Texas.

Ironmen ready to test their limits

By | College of Education and Human Sciences, Community, Faculty/Staff, Office of Information Technology | No Comments

Talk about covering some distance — 97,075 yards swimming, 2,665 miles biking and 522 miles running. Then throw in about 15-20 hours per week working out in the gym. And those are just individual training numbers since October of 2014.

That’s some pretty serious commitment exhibited by two Delta State University employees — Doug Pinkerton and Chris Giger — both prepping for the May 16 Ironman race outside Houston, Texas.

Ironman, known by many as the most extreme endurance race on Earth, begins with a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride and concludes with a marathon-distance 26.2-mile run.

So why compete in this grueling test of fortitude?

“I look at it as a challenge not everybody can do. Everybody has their passion and this is just one of my passions,” said Pinkerton, director of HPER facilities, operations and programming. “I feel blessed with the ability of endurance. If you’ve got it, you need to use it.”

Pinkerton, also the university’s cross country coach, completed his first Ironman in 2007 in Arizona. He’ll be testing his will again thanks to a push from Giger, enterprise application director with the Office of Information Technology.

“Chris came to me a couple years ago and told me he was interested in doing triathlons,” said Pinkerton. “He got started, and just like me he got addicted to it. I didn’t plan on doing this race, period. He came to me and said he was going to do it and so I decided I’d get in there with him and train hard for eight months.”

Since then, the two have relied on each other and trained together. They both cited accountability — leaning on each other to make sure they keep sight of the end goal.

“Doug’s been there from the beginning,” said Giger. “There’s so much that goes into training for a triathlon. I can go to him with my questions, and training with him really has been a learning experience. There’s a science behind it, and he’s helped guide me through this process.”

Pinkerton has been participating in triathlons since 1999, and Giger is now in his third triathlon season. Next week’s Ironman marks Giger’s first.

“My ultimate goal is just to finish and be standing at the end,” said Giger.

Along with the support they’ve given each other, both said they’ve found motivation in the backing they’ve received from family, campus and the community.

“The neat thing about working at Delta State is that people show a lot of interest,” said Pinkerton. “Chris got me fired up to do another one, but I’ve also had a lot of support from Delta State and Cleveland.”

“Delta State has allowed me the opportunity to access an Olympic-size pool,” said Giger. “I don’t know where I would get my swim training without it. Spin class has been instrumental for my biking training. My coworkers have been very supportive and asked about my progress.

“Another big factor has been the support of my family, especially my wife. Training takes up so much time. She’s been great supporting me and working with me on my training schedule.”

For Pinkerton, this go-around has allowed him to return the favor for all the support he’s received. In the months leading up to the race, Pinkerton led a fundraiser to benefit the Community Fund Program of the Ironman Foundation.

The program benefits the communities where Ironman events are held by providing charitable support to a variety of local non-profit organizations working with citizens in need.

“Just a few days ago I reached the $5,000 mark,” said Pinkerton, who originally set a goal of $3,000. “I just kept expressing how important this is, and Delta State and the people of Cleveland have been real supportive of the fundraising efforts.”

Both competitors are itching for race day and to feel the ecstasy after crossing the finish line.

“I’ve already experienced several emotions — nervousness, anxiousness and excitement,” said Giger. “I’m ready to get it started. I’m always asking myself if I’ve trained enough and if I’ve done enough to prepare. I know I have, but you still question yourself heading into a race of this magnitude.”

“Whether you challenge yourself with a crazy race like Ironman, or it’s just walking a mile, I try to get everybody to see that you can do something if you put your mind to it,” added Pinkerton. “Don’t ever think you can’t. Set some goals and go out and achieve them. To me, it’s all about the finish.”

Learn more about Ironman and the Ironman Foundation at http://www.ironman.com.

tech teaching

Technology in Teaching Symposium returns to campus

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Hosted by the Office of Information Technology, the second annual Technology in Teaching Symposium is scheduled for April 10. The event is sponsored by Delta State University and Ellucian as a free, day-long professional development opportunity for the campus teaching community.

The mission of the symposium is to expose faculty to emerging educational technology that can promote teaching innovation and support student success.

The theme of this year’s event is “Teaching with S.O.U.L.-Technology Strategies & Opportunities for Unified Learning.”

“The theme for the symposium embodies principals of unified learning and will feature sessions in using instructional technology interventions to improve student success outcomes and strategically adapting instructional materials to motivate Digital Natives,” said Dr. Nicole House, Ellucian manager of instructional technology for Delta State.

The schedule will feature a seven member panel discussion, six engaging sessions from campus and regional faculty, and a featured presentation from Dr. Tanya Joosten of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Joosten is the director for eLearning Research and Development at UWM and leads the national Center for the Study of Distance Education and Technological Advancement.

The keynote speaker for the luncheon is Dr. Carmen Weaver, a clinical assistant professor and program coordinator of Instructional Design and Technology for the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences at the University of Memphis.

Faculty participating in the event this year will also have an opportunity to earn one continuing education unit from Continuing Studies.

For more information, contact House at nhouse@deltastate.edu or 662-846-4760.