May 2014


Detroit Alumni Donate $25,000 for Scholarship

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(L-r) Woodrow Hayward, class of 1964, DSU President Harry L. Williams, and Loretta Washington, class of 1978, hold a display check representing a donation of $25,000 by the Greater Detroit Michigan Alumni of DSU.

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The Greater Detroit Michigan Alumni of Delaware State University have donated $25,000 to the DSU Foundation. The donation establishes the Greater Detroit Michigan Alumni Scholarship, which will provide an annual $5,000 to full-time DSU students in need, with out-of-state students from Detroit given priority. Representing the Detroit alumni, Woodrow Hayward, class of 1964, and Loretta Washington, class of 1978, presented the check to DSU President Harry L. Williams on May 10. In addition to the efforts of Mr. Hayward, Ms. Washington and other Detroit-area DSU alumni,  the late Colene Pearson, Esq., class of 1971, is also credited for being a driving force in the creation of the fund.

DSU, Amir Mohammadi Recognized for Financing Innovation

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The Mishoe Science Center was one of a number of the buildings on campus that received energy upgrades made possible by a financing innovation that was brainchild of Dr. Amir Mohammadi, executive vice president and University treasurer. The innovation was recently recognized by the Obama Administration's Better Building Challenge as a financing solution for institutions.

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– The sustainability efforts and financial creativity of DSU and Dr. Amir Mohammadi, its executive vice president and University treasurer, were recently recognized by Obama Administration’s Better Building Challenge.     Dr. Amir Mohammadi   During the May 7-9 Better Building Challenge Summit in Washington, D.C., DSU was among seven entities recognized for “Sharing Innovative Solutions” to achieve energy reductions.   Specifically, DSU was recognized for coming up with an innovative way of mobilizing capital – the brainchild of Dr. Mohammadi – to finance energy upgrades on campus that will save the University millions of dollars in energy cost over the next 20 years.   In order to achieve its sustainability goals of reducing its energy consumption through energy technology upgrades, DSU had to first overcome the strict debt capacity limits. To accomplish that, r. Mohammadi developed a novel “on balance sheet, off-debt capacity approach, in which the University obtained permission from the state of Delaware to utilize previously restricted appropriations to create a revenue-neutral debt structure.   That enabled the University to access large-scale bond financing to support energy efficiency upgrades on campus. DSU worked with a variety of Delaware stakeholders – including the Office of the Governor, the State Senate Finance Committee, the Bond Council, State Office of Management and Budget, the state Department of Natural Resource and Environmental Control, the state’s Sustainable Energy Utility, as well as a number of financial advisors and external auditors – to make the new approach a practical reality.   As the result of this “on balance sheet, off-debt capacity” approach, DSU was able to obtain bond financing totaling $19.3 million, which paid for energy efficiency work. The energy upgrades has been validated by a Guaranteed Energy Saving Agreement (GESA) with Johnson Controls, the company that won the contract for the work. The agreement ensures that the University will realize the long-term energy savings as a result of the upgrades.   As a result of the GESA, DSU will experience at total of $24.6 million in savings over 20 years, with a net savings of $5.3 million as well as a 26% reduction in greenhouse gases.   According to the U.S. Department of Energy website, “DSU has pioneered a unique financing approach for state universities” that will enable to overcome similar debt capacity limitation challenges that are prevalent throughout the country for other institutions.   Dr. Mohammadi noted that without the novel financial approach, the university would not have obtained the necessary bond financing for the GESA energy upgrade work.   “The implementation of this approach was made possible by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and by State Sen. Harris B. McDowell III, who both through their leadership and support made this financing solution a reality,” Dr. Mohammadi said.   DSU shared the “Innovative Solutions” spotlight with six other honorees – the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, the City of El Paso (Texas), the City of Gillette (Wy.), HEI Hotels & Resorts, Saint-Gobain Corp., and TIAA-CREF (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund).   The Better Business Challenge is a national leadership initiative launched by President Barack Obama in 2011 with the goal of making American commercial and industrial buildings 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020. Beginning with about 60 university, corporate, community and industrial partners, DSU was one of the invited 10 higher education partners when the initiative was launched, and the only HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) that was included.

2nd Annual Data Day held at DSU

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More than 100 DSU faculty, staff and administrators attended the Data Day event held in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center.

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Dr. Jodi Levine Laufgraben The DSU Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs held its second annual Data Day on May 14, an event in which faculty and staff met to discuss their assessment data and to create action plans for impacting future data.  Dr. Jodi Levine Laufgraben, vice provost for Academic Affairs, Assessment and Institutional Research at Temple University, was the keynote speaker for the Data Day event. Dr. Laufgraben has 24 years of experience in higher education, which includes administration, accreditation management, teaching, faculty development, program evaluation and assessment. Her presentation entitled “Closing the Loop: What it really means and how to do it effectively” was well received by more than 100 Data Day attendees.  During the afternoon session, faculty, staff and administrators applied some of these principles to improve the assessment processes in their units. A recording of Dr. Laufgraben’s presentation will be available in the Assessment Office; contact Bina Daniel at bdaniel@desu.edu for more information. 

DSU Engineering Students to Benefit from Software Donation

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Lennea Davis and Brandon Davis (l-r at computers), engineering physics majors, with Dr. Mukti Rana, assistant professor of engineering and physic, will get hands-on experience in electrical power supply analysis.

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The Department of Physics and Engineering has received an in-kind donation of computer software valued at $430,750 from Operation Technology Inc. that will help DSU engineering students get hands on training in electrical power analysis. The ETAP electrical power systems design and analysis software will be used to train the engineering students in electrical power system analysis. This will be used as a Laboratory Simulation Software in a newly developed senior course “Power System Analysis” in the Department of Physics and Engineering. It will also be used in future courses that will be taught in the area of electrical power.   ETAP is a fully integrated electrical power system analysis tool for both direct and alternating currents. Engineers use ETAP in thousands of companies and electric utilities worldwide in the design, analysis, maintenance, and operation of electrical power systems. ETAP software can be used to perform network analysis, real time monitoring, protective device design, transient analysis, user defined dynamic modeling, cable thermal analysis, fault analysis, load shedding, stability analysis and many others to simulate and design the electrical power system. Dr. Mukti Rana, assistant professor of physics and engineering, facilitated the development of the department's relationship with Operation Technologies, resulting in the software donation. Dr. Rana noted that Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology, was also helpful in the endeavor.

DSU is Site of State's First-Ever Maternal Transport Course

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A "patient" is moved out of the Price Building as part of Maternal Transport Nurse Course recently taught at DSU as continuing education for area nurses.

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DSU was recently the site of the first-ever Maternal Transport Nurse Course offered in Delaware entitled “Safety on the Road.”   The April 30 course was the result of a unique collaboration of Delaware Section of the Association of Women’s Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (DE AWHONN), Delaware March of Dimes – Perinatal Cooperative, DSU Department of Nursing, Christiana Care Critical Care Transport Team Care Net, the Delaware Child Death, Near Death Still Birth Commission’s Every Mother Initiative and the Standards of Care Committee of the Delaware Healthy Mothers and Infants Consortium.   Carol Ann Faedtke, RN, critical care transport manager and Access Center manager for Christian Care Health System, was the course instructor. She brought the ambulance and crew that conducted the “transports” on the DSU campus.   Dr. Margaret-Rose Agostino, DSU assistant professor of nursing at DSU, chair of the Delaware Maternal Mortality and immediate past section chair for DE AWHONN, was the course coordinator responsible for setting up the transport simulation with two senior nursing students who served as patient models.   The DSU Department of Nursing’s Practice Lab was transformed into a Labor & Delivery Unit to create the simulation environment complete with fetal heart monitors needed for the care of pregnant women.   Ten registered nurses from Delaware area hospitals completed the pilot course.   The course will be offered once a month at DSU beginning in September 2014 and continue through 2015 until all designated nurses completed the training. The overall goal is to improve perinatal outcomes for women being transported via ambulance between facilities. It will also enhance the competence and confidence of nurses designated to care for pregnant women during transport via ambulance between facilities.   Upon completion of this course the nurses will incorporate into practice knowledge & skills to safely transport a pregnant patient via ground transportation. The course has been awarded 3.5 Contact Hours by the DSU Department of Nursing, an approved provider of Nursing Continuing Education by the Delaware Board of Nursing.

2014 OSLA Awards & Appreciation Ceremony -- Photo Slideshow

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Shashanna Simeon (l), recording secretary of the 2013-14 SGA, gives the installation oath to the 2014-2015 executive SGA officers, "The Family" -- (2nd from left to r) Edward Doxen, president; Kimani Robinson, vice president; Christen Thomas, treasurer; Donametria Stallings, recording secretary; and Kalea Phelps, corresponding secretary.

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The Office of Student Leadership and Activities held its 2014 Student Organization Awards and Appreciation Ceremony on April 30 in the MLK Jr. Student Center. For images of ceremony and the award recipients, click on the below photo slideshow, followed by the list of awardees: The following organizations and individuals were honored during the ceremony: Outstanding Student Leader – Anna Kay Davis, Allied Health Organization Student of the Year – Jonnie Lonon, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Student Volunteer of the Year – Quira Parker Outstanding New Organization – iStep Organization of the Year – DSU Theater Society Fraternity of the Year Highest GPA – Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. Sorority of the Year Highest GPA – Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Outstanding Student Organization Program – HBCUs vs. PWIs Part 2, Kappa Alpha Psi, Fraternity, Inc. Advisor of the Year – Tina George, Culture Exchange Program Best Organization Portfolio – Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. Fraternity of the Year – Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Sorority of the Year – Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. During the ceremony, the incoming 2014-2015 SGA executive officers – The Family – as well as other SGA student leaders all took their installation oaths. The ceremony was emceed by the incoming 2014-2015 Mr. and Miss DSU – James L. Jones and Jamila Mustafa.  

No Tuition, Fees and Housing Increase for 2nd Year in a Row!

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Students coming to pay their student accounts bills at the DSU Administration Building will not feel any increased financial pressure, as the DSU Board of Trustees has voted not to increase tuition, fees and housing for the 2014-2015 school year.

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For the second year in a row, Delaware State University is making affordability a priority by not increasing its tuition, housing and fee rates for the upcoming 2014-2015 academic year.   While tuition costs may be increasing elsewhere, both the annual in-state and out-of-state tuition and fees for DSU in 2014-2015 will remain the same as they have been in the previous two school years – $7,336 and $15,692, respectively.   The annual traditional fees that will remain unchanged are the fees for student activities, technology and the Student Center Complex.   In addition, the cost to live in the campus’ traditional housing will be unchanged from the current year costs – remaining in the range of $6,976 to $7,490, depending on the residential hall in which a student resides. The cost of meal plans is also unchanged, with the options ranging from $1,926 to $3,844.   The DSU Board of Trustees decided not to increase the tuition rates during a special executive board meeting on May 21.   “This is a major step on our part to recognize our responsibility as members of the higher education community to control our costs and alleviate the burden on our students and their families,” said Dr. Claibourne D. Smith, board chair. “We have chosen to make major changes in how we operate so that we do not have to increase the weight of tuition and fees on the backs of students.”   DSU has not raised its tuition and fees since the 2012-2013 school year.   DSU President Harry L. Williams said the Board of Trustees’ decision not to increase tuition, fees and housing costs for the second consecutive year is consistent with higher education affordability goals of the Obama Administration. “With the country coming out of a recession, I am pleased that the DSU Board of Trustees understands the challenges our students and their families are facing,” Dr. Williams said.

DSU Dean and Doctoral Student Recognized by NASA

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(L-r) Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology, and optics doctoral student Alissa Mezzacappa have been included in NASA's Group Achievement Award in recognition of the ChemCam Team's work on the Mars Curiosity Rover mission.

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As members of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory ChemCam Instrument Development & Science Team, DSU’s Dr. Noureddine Melikechi and doctoral student Ms. Alissa Mezzacappa have received one of NASA’s Highest Honor Awards – the Group Achievement Award.    The ChemCam team has received this award “For exceptional achievement defining ChemCam’s scientific goals and requirements, developing the instrument and investigation, and operating ChemCam successfully on Mars.”   This NASA Honor Award is presented to a number of carefully selected teams who have distinguished themselves by making outstanding contributions to the NASA mission.   Dr. Melikechi, dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology, as well as vice president for Research, Innovation and Economic Development, along with Ms. Mezzacappa, a Ph.D. candidate in optics, have been active members of the ChemCam team and have assisted in the analysis of data sent back from the Curiosity Rover that has been on Mars since August 2012.   The ChemCam (Chemistry and Camera suite), one of 10 instruments on the Curiosity, is being used to study the soil and rocks at each place the rover stops. The ChemCam shoots an infrared laser – more than a million watts of power – at various rock surfaces on the planet. The resulting light is read by the unit’s spectrometer and the data is sent back to earth.

DSU Announces 2014 Faculty Excellence Award Recipients

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The 2014 Faculty Excellence Award recipients and categories: Dr. Dawn Lott (university/community service), Dr. Jung-Lim Lee (research and creative activity), Dr. Raymond Tutu (teaching), and Dr. Clytrice Watson (advising).

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Delaware State University has named four faculty members as the institution’s 2014 Faculty Excellence Award recipients.   The University has selected the below faculty members in the following categories of Teaching, Research/Creative Activities, University/Community Service and Advising:   Faculty Excellence in Teaching Dr. Raymond Tutu, assistant professor of history, political science and philosophy, has become noted for his student-centered teaching philosophy that inspires innovative and critical thinking. His teaching methods include class interactive discussions, field trips, seminars, and oral presentations and the use of appropriate technology. Regarding program and curriculum development, through the inclusion of a Geographical Information System he has revised the Population Analysis elective course in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice. He and another colleague were awarded a DSU PRIDE Grant to further enhance and integrate the University’s internationalization through curriculum development and student/faculty exchanges. Dr. Tutu contributed to student enrichment activities through a grant awarded him by the U.S. Institute of Peace Public Education for Peace-Building for a guest lecture series on the Arab Spring. Dr. Tutu has also been a co-advisor to the African Students Association. His participation in workshops organized by the Association of American Colleges and Universities is a demonstration of his involvement in teaching development activities. He has developed a tool for evaluating global competence among students (the first results would be presented by one of the students he mentored during Honors Day in April 2014).   Faculty Excellence in Research and Creative Activities Dr. Jung-Lim Lee, assistant professor of food and nutritional sciences, has been an exemplary faculty member in the Department of Human Ecology. To initiate actual research activities in the Human Ecology Department, he set up the department’s first laboratory named “Food Microbiology lab” in 2011. Dr. Jung-Lim Lee has been successful in attracting funds to support his research endeavors. Of the 15 grant proposals he has submitted, eight have been successfully funded, resulting in a just over $1.4 million in federal grants for DSU.   In two years (between 2011 and 2013), Dr. Lee published five peer-reviewed articles; he currently has four manuscripts under review. Additionally, he has been invited to two international conferences as a guest speaker and has presented five posters at professional meetings as a representative of DSU. As a research advisor, Dr. Lee has trained and mentored a total of 17 undergraduate and graduate students through various projects. Two graduate students received a 2nd place award in oral presentation at the Associated Research Directors (ARD) meeting in 2013 and in poster presentation at the DSU graduate research symposium in 2012 respectively, and one undergraduate student was awarded 1st place in oral competition at the ARD meeting in 2013.   Faculty Excellence in University and Community Service Dr. Dawn Lott, professor of mathematics, has demonstrated a commitment to service that is easily seen in the multiple roles she has served in her department and college as well as on the University level. While she has served on numerous committees for her Department of Mathematics and her College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology, she has also served the University on the: Excellence Award Committee, Living-Learning COMMONS Committee, Provost Council, Student Affairs Strategic Planning Committee and University Strategic Planning Council. In addition, Dr. Lott has been the director of the DSU Honors Program since 2009, in which she has created a four-year Honors Program curriculum that allows students to integrate honors courses into their departmental academic schedule.   Outside of DSU, she served as a reviewer in numerous journals in her field; she also belongs to many professional associations, including the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) Mentor Network, Institute for Broadening Participation, Mathematics Association of America (MAA), Committee on Minority Participation in Mathematics and others.   Faculty Excellence in Advising   Dr. Clytrice Watson, associate professor of biological sciences, has made advising and mentoring a major focal point of her DSU tenure, which began in 2006. In addition to serving as an academic advisor, she has advised students – ranging from high school to graduate – in scientific research. Tracking the success of her students has been critical in improving her advising and mentoring practices to ensure that she provides her students with the adequate tools they need to succeed beyond DSU.   Dr. Watson is the primary advisor for forensic biology majors and minors, an academic program she was instrumental in developing. She keeps diligent records for all of her advisees and tracks their progress through their curriculum from their freshman year until graduation and beyond. She provides extended hours during pre-registration to ensure students are adequately advised. Students received an email directing them to make their advisement appointment two weeks prior to the pre-registration period. Dr. Watson has a well-established advisement meeting process, in which students prepare a draft of their schedule for Dr. Watson’s review, which leads into discussion about any academic difficulties and the plan for the following year.   The 2014 Faculty Excellence Award recipients were honored during a May 29 luncheon hosted by DSU President Harry L. Williams and Provost Alton Thompson. Each recipient received a monetary award of $2,500.  

Gov. Markell Appoints DSU's Dr. Heckscher to Natural Areas Council

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Delaware Gov. Jack Markell has appointed Dr. Christopher Heckscher, DSU assistant professor of the College of Agriculture and Related Sciences, to serve as a member of the Delaware Natural Areas Advisory Council (DNAAC).   As an eight-member council created by state law, the DNAAC advises the cabinet secretary of the Delaware Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) on the administration of nature preserves and the preservation of natural areas.   As a governor’s appointment, Dr. Heckscher had to go through a state Senate confirmation hearing on March 26, during which time he received the legislators’ approval to serve on the council.   “In the field of conservation and the environment, it is a prestigious appointment,” Dr. Heckscher said, adding that he believes he is the first DSU faculty member to be appointed to the DNAAC.   Dr. Heckscher is both an entomologist (one who studies insects) and an ornithologist (one who studies birds).  Last year, he gained some notoriety within the entomology science community when he discovered a new species of firefly – Photuris mysticalampas –  which he substantiated in a published peer-reviewed paper.   In addition to his firefly research, he has also broken new ground in the study of the previously unknown migration patterns of the Veery songbird.   Dr. Heckscher has been a DSU faculty member since 2008.

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