End of Semester

December 7, 2023

Dear Colleagues,

As we wrap up classes and head into the busy season of exams, commencement, and the holidays, I write to provide some updates.

1. I thank all who participated in the November Town Hall. That conversation was helpful to me and constitutes a first step toward our next strategic plan. The recording of that session is here:
Town Hall Presentation to Campus – November 2023.mp4

Those who want to participate in the survey may go here:

2. Speaking of strategic planning, I look forward to formally launching that process after the break. In anticipation, I would like to form a committee that represents various areas of campus. That committee will be charged in January, meet through the spring, and draft a plan in time for adoption in August 2024. If you are interested in helping to map out the future of Delta State University, please email strategicplan@deltastate.edu. The Strategic Planning Committee will meet Wednesdays at 3pm through the Spring term.

3. We recently received a response to our application for reaffirmation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). As expected, there are areas about which SACS has requested additional information. The Office of the Provost, supported by the Office of Institutional Research, is coordinating our response. I just returned from the SACS annual conference with additional feedback and was joined there by a group of colleagues who are central to our reaffirmation efforts. If you are contacted regarding additional SACS documentation, please provide a timely response.

4. I am pleased to report that Dr. Leslie Griffin has resumed her role as Interim Provost. Please join me in thanking Dean Vicki Bingham for providing leadership in the absence of Dr. Griffin.

5. The recent IHL Board meeting contained several items of interest for Delta State University. New policies regarding offsite programs were discussed, and programs across the state that do not meet IHL productivity standards were reviewed. I reiterate my position that DSU programs which do not meet productivity standards (that is, do not generate the IHL-mandated number of graduates per year) will not be automatically renewed. At this time, Delta State has four such programs. The IHL minutes can be found here:
Mississippi Public Universities – The Board of Trustees – Meeting Minutes

6. I have received the initial recommendations from the Ad Hoc Committee on Budget Sustainability. Those recommendations are under review by the Cabinet in anticipation of implementation. For those interested in following the group’s deliberations, the minutes and other budget-related resources can be found here:
Ad Hoc Committee on Budget Sustainability – President’s Site (deltastate.edu)

I appreciate the thoughtful efforts of that committee. In the January Town Hall meeting, I will provide a financial update and take questions. At that time, I will also be prepared to discuss plans for the 2024-25 budget. That session will take place on Tuesday, January 23 at 3pm at the Jacob Conference Center in Ewing Hall.

I look forward to seeing many of you at the various events in the coming days, and most especially at Commencement. Now, six months into this job, and in my 25th year in higher education, I am pleased to be reminded that the end of each semester never disappoints. We are privileged to see the culmination of student efforts in all endeavors. Emerging artists demonstrating their growing mastery, developing scholars sharing their results, student-athletes competing at elite skill levels — I am inspired by it all.

I share with many of you that sense of joy and, perhaps in the background, a creeping weariness born of months of effort. Our students don’t always know, and don’t need to know, the work it takes to position them for success. I trust you’ll agree that such effort is never wasted. So, I wish for you a strong finish to the term, and share your relief that we’re afforded some time to recuperate with family and friends this holiday season.


Dan Ennis

PS—If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, you can certainly hope for a repeat of the 1952 winter break!