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DSU Formalizes Agreement with Mauritania Institution

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DSU President Harry L. Williams (seated left) shakes hands with Mauritania Ambassador Mohamed Lemine Haycen after signing an agreement that will facilitate joint projects and exchanges between DSU and the National School for Agriculture Training and Extension. Standing behind (l-r) are DSU administrators Dr. Fengshan Liu, Provost Alton Thompson, Dr. Marshall Stevenson, Dr. Dyremple Marsh, Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, Dr. Adul-Aziz Diop and Dr. Bradley Skelcher.

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  Delaware State University has expanded its international partnerships with the signing of a formal agreement with National School for Agriculture Training and Extension of Kaedi, Mauritania.  DSU President Harry L. Williams signed the five-year agreement on June 29 with Mauritania Ambassador Mohamed Lemine Haycen during a meeting on the DSU campus.   The agreement facilitates joint research projects, joint academic seminars, as well as student and faculty exchanges.   Ambassador Haycen noted that “knowledge is light,” and that technical knowledge is especially needed in Mauritania.   “Knowledge is the noblest that can be given, because through it you can bring a population into the light,” Ambassador Haycen said.   “It is out intent through this partnership to make significant research, training and extension contributions in the subject areas of horticulture, dry land agriculture, protective agriculture and bio-energy,” said Dr. Dyremple Marsh, dean of the DSU College of Agriculture and Related Sciences. “Successful completion of well-thought out projects in these critical need areas will serve to address the sustainability issues in both countries.”  

DSU's Dr. Anjan Biswas Co-Authors New Math Book

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Dr. Anjan Biswas proudly holds a copy of his new book Nonlinear Evolution Equations and Soliton Solutions, which he co-authored with former DSU visiting professor Dr. Yucui Guo.

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Dr. Anjan Biswas, an associate professor of mathematics at Delaware State University, has co-authored a book that discusses complex equations that can be applied to provide solutions for increased optical fiber performance, provide better understandings of the Tsunami wave dynamics and many other applications. The book, entitled Nonlinear Evolution Equations and Soliton Solutions, has been authored by Dr. Biswas and Dr. Yucui Guo, a visiting professor at DSU in 2015 who has returned to her native China, where she is currently a professor of mathematics at the School of Science at Beijing University of Post and Telecommunications. The book discusses integrability aspects of such equations that yield solitons, shock waves and solitary wave solutions. The book deals with many esoteric mathematical equations areas such as traveling wave hypothesis, inverse scattering transform, Backlund transform, as well as additional integration tools such as Hirota’s bilinear method, Hirota calculus and Darboux transform. Finally, the concept of optical solitons is introduced where nonlinear Schrodinger’s equation, with spatio-temporal dispersion, in addition to group-velocity dispersion, is studied. Conservation laws and perturbation terms are considered. There are five forms of nonlinear optical fibers for this chapter. This is the third book published by Dr. Biswas. He previously co-authored Introduction to non-Kerr Law Optical Solitons along with Dr. Swapan Konar (2006), as well as Mathematical Theory of Dispersion-Managed Optical Solitons, which he co-authored with Dr. Daniela Milovic and Dr. Matthew Edwards (2010). Dr. Biswas has been a DSU faculty member since the fall of 2005.

State Archives Unveils 125-year DSU Exhibit

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(L-r) Stephen M. Marz, state archivist, points out to DSU President Harry L. Williams an aspect of the exhibit that celebrates the 125-year history of Delaware State University.

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The Delaware State Archives has opened an exhibit that celebrates the rich history of Delaware State University -- the First State’s only historically black institution of higher education. The exhibit is featured throughout the public lobby of the State Archives, located on the corner of Legislative Ave. and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. (across MLK Jr. Blvd from Legislative Hall). It will be on display until early June and is free and open to the public. Dr. Lloyd Mallory Jr. directs a contingent of the DSU Concert Choir as they perform during the ceremony in which the State Archives opened a new exhibit celebrating the 125-year history of Delaware State University. DSU President Harry L. Williams said it is an exhibit that everyone should experience. “It is very appropriate that this exhibit is being unveiled during Black History Month, because the story of DSU is a part of the history of African-Americans in this country, as well as being the lone representation from the state of Delaware in the story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in this country,” Dr. Williams said The exhibit – which features a wealth of photos and information covering DSU’s 125-year history – was unveiled during a Feb. 10 ceremony in which Gov. Jack Markell presented a proclamation celebrating Black History Month and also in which he signed a Joint House Resolution in which Delaware formally apologized for the slavery that took place in the state. The ceremony ended with a contingent of eight members from the DSU Concert Choir performing the DSU Alma Mater.

DSU Participates in Slavery Apology Ceremony

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(Center) State Sen. Margaret Rose Henry and State Rep. Stephanie T. Bolden (also a DSU alumna) hold up the Slavery Apology Joint House Resolution that they crafted as the primary sponsors and was signed by Gov. Jack Markell (standing next to Rep. Bolden) during a Feb. 10 ceremony at the State Archives. On the far left are DSU President Harry L. Williams and Rev. Rita Paige (daughter of former DSC President Luna I. Mishoe), who both were also a part of the ceremony.

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Delaware State University took part in a ceremony that featured Gov. Jack Markell’s historic signing of a Joint House Resolution that formally expressed Delaware’s apology for slavery. DSU President Harry L. Williams participated in the event, which took place at the Delaware State Archives and also had a healthy representation of DSU students, faculty and alumni. Gov. Markell signed House Resolution 10, which he explained apologizes “for Delaware’s historic role in enslaving people of African descent.” State Rep. Stephanie T. Bolden, who is a DSU alumna (Class of 1969), and State Sen. Margaret Rose Henry were the primary sponsors of the legislation. “The egregious sin of prior generations is not merely a fact of our state’s past. We cannot separate slavery from the challenges we face today in pursuit of ensuring Delawareans of all races have the opportunities to pursue their dreams and realize their potential,” Gov. Markell said. “A candid acknowledgement and acceptance of our past is the only way to understand our present and take full responsibility for our future.” After Gov. Markell signed the joint resolution, a contingent of eight members from the DSU Concert Choir sang the Negro National Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” For Rep. Bolden and Sen. Henry, the signing represented a legislative victory of historic proportions. “This is an important step in the history of this State, being the first state to ratify the constitution and the last to nullify slavery,” Rep. Bolden said. “I conclude as I began, asking God to bless the people of this Great State of Delaware as it heals from separate but equal, Jim Crow, the whipping post and all the ills of slavery.” The DSU president said it was appropriate for DSU to be a part of the Slavery Apology Joint Resolution signing. “The very property that is now known as Del State’s main campus was formerly owned by the Loockerman family, which owned slaves on this very land. In fact, there are bricks in the current Thomasson Building on campus that came from the slave quarters that existed on the property more than two centuries ago,” said Dr. Williams. “Just like the State of Delaware has come a long way, so has DSU.”

Endowed Scholarship Named for Michael J. Feeney

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In addition to the newly established $10,000 Michael J. Feeney Memorial Endowed Scholarship launched by family and friends, the below article also provides some information about the two funerals that were held to celebrate the young DSU alumnus' life.

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The family and friends of Michael J. Feeney came together in a big way in the week following his unexpected Jan. 31 death, raising enough money to create an endowed scholarship at Delaware State University in the esteemed alumnus’ name. During both the Feb. 8 and Feb. 9 funerals held in New York City and Englewood, N.J., respectively, the newly created $10,000 Michael J. Feeney Memorial Endowed Scholarship was announced to the large gatherings assembled. The Feeney Endowed Scholarship will be available to DSU sophomores, juniors or seniors majoring in mass communications who have an overall GPA of 3.25 or higher. Financial need will be priority consideration in the awarding of the scholarship. Dr. Harry L. Williams, DSU president, said the endowed scholarship in the name of Mr. Feeney will be a lasting and loving tribute to his character and to the dynamic, far-reaching impact of his life.  “We should all hope to live in such a way that will plant seeds that produce long after our spirits have flown,” Dr. Williams said. “Because he was all about being a positive force in the lives of his fellow Hornets and others, I am certain Michael would be proud to know that his legacy of giving will be honored in this significant and impactful manner.” The endowed scholarship became a reality after 573 donors responded to an online fundraiser spearheaded by Mr. Feeney’s classmates and family, raising (as of Feb. 10) over $27,000 that went to the funeral costs and the endowed scholarship. Additional donations to the Feeney Endowed Scholarship can be made online on the DSU Development webpage at http://www.desu.edu/mjfendowment. Michael J. Feeney in 2010 with his 2010 NABJ Emerging Journalist of the Year Award. Mr. Feeney, Class of 2005, was an editor-in-chief of the DSU Hornet newspaper. After his graduation with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications/Print Journalism, he was immediately hired by the Associated Press. Over the next 10 years, Mr. Feeney would write for The Record of Bergen County and the New York Daily News. He was at the latter newspaper in 2010 when he was awarded the Emerging Journalist of the Year Award from the National Association of Black Journalists. He was slated to soon begin a new job as an entertainment reporter for CNN.com in Atlanta, Ga., which his untimely death robbed him of at age 32. The huge outpouring of expressions of love were in great evidence at the two large church sites of the funerals – on Feb. 8 at the First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem, N.Y., and on Feb. 9 at the Community Baptist Church of Englewood, N.J. The exceptionally large sanctuaries of both churches were filled to near capacity, in large part due to the more than estimated 600 DSU alumni (mostly young alums) who came to pay their respects to their fellow Del State Hornet. In his eulogy, Community Baptist Church Pastor Rev. Dr. Lester Taylor, Jr., noted that some folks were expressing sadness that Mr. Feeney had passed away at the young age of 32. “Jesus only needed 33 years, and He turned this world upside down,” the Rev. Taylor said. “(At 32 years) it looks like Mike did alright… it was long enough to make an impact.”   The entire Feb. 9 funeral service can been seen via a live stream recording on the Community Baptist Church’s website at http://www.cbcofe.org/services.php#live. Among his accomplishments as a journalist, a recurring theme during both funerals was Mr. Feeney’s passion for helping others, especially in sharing his experience and knowledge with students majoring in mass communications and others striving to make it as successful media professionals. Many comments were also made about the numerous NY Daily News articles written by Mr. Feeney, especially pieces that gave a voice to the common men and women, while at the same time incurring the anger of those in power over his coverage. Perhaps Cheryl Willis, Channel NY1 News Anchor, summed it up as well as anyone when she noted that Mr. Feeney an extraordinary young man. “This brother was a soldier and he wasn’t afraid to stand on the front lines of the battle,” said Ms. Willis, who served as vice president when Mike was the president of the New York Association of Black Journalists. “He wasn’t afraid to say something if he saw something. Whatever the risk, he was willing to take it.”

Dr. Harry L. Williams Speaks to NCCo Corp Leaders

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(L-r) DSU Board of Trustees member Charles McDowell; Nick Lambrow, president, M&T: DSU President Harry L. Williams; DSU Board of Trustees member Jim Stewart; Rich Heffron, Delaware State Chamber of Commerce president; Enid Wallace-Simms, of Delmarva Power and DSU alumna; and Daryl Graham, of JP Morgan Chase

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DSU President Harry L. William traveled to Wilmington on Feb. 3 to present his inaugural “The State of the University” address to a gathering of New Castle County corporate leaders, elected officials and corporate executives. For images of the event, click on the below link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/48216028@N03/sets/72157664023172130/show Held at the M&T Bank in downtown Wilmington, Dr. Williams delivered an inspirational message concerning the academic achievement, history and institutional direction of the state's only historically black institution of higher education. Dr. Williams gave the attendees information about the latest DSU enrollment figures, student profiles and an overview of the University’s academic programs, international partnerships and the University’s work to achieve its goals of operational sustainability and student success.   More than 50 persons attended the breakfast meeting, which included representatives from Christiana Care Health Systems, Delmarva Power, M&T Bank, JP Morgan Chase, Nemours, Barclay's Bank and the Wilmington City Council.

Gates Foundation Publishes Article by Dr. Teresa Hardee

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The article by Dr. Teresa Hardee focuses on the University's analytical strategy to achieve its goals for retention, graduation rate and student success.

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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has published an article on DSU's data-driven process for achieving operational sustainability and student success, written by Dr. Teresa Hardee, chief operating officer and senior vice president of Finance and Administration. The below article was published on the BMGF website: Better by the Numbers            Dr. Teresa Hardee By Teresa Hardee January 27, 2016 Like many smaller colleges and universities, my institution (Delaware State University, a Historically Black University) is laser-focused on two priorities: increasing student success and achieving operational sustainability.  We are committed to achieving those goals while remaining faithful to our mission of providing educational opportunity to historically underserved groups. Our board of trustees has set ambitious performance targets for reaching those goals, such as an 80 percent retention rate and improving our four-year graduation rate by 4 percentage points per year.  We are making progress toward those targets – for example, our retention rate is now above 70 percent – but still have gaps to close.  And they may be the hardest ones. So how are we tackling that task?  By doubling down on data.  We have loads of data, but the challenge is turning it into information.  So we established a data transformation team to start analyzing raw data.  This cross-functional team is led by me and includes institutional research, faculty, a dean, a business process re-engineering director, and a business analytics/data scientist.  This group functions as a think tank, analyzing data and focusing on its uses for decision-making. Specifically, we are employing data mining approaches that were originally developed for use in large business datasets, adapting them to an educational environment.  In particular, we are using predictive modeling techniques that go beyond traditional statistics to unpack driving forces behind students’ success. Our focus has led us to deploy decision trees to predict students’ retention and identify key factor(s) that may lead to attrition.  During this process, we have identified attributes that are correlated with retention/attrition (financial, demographic, socioeconomic, and academic).  Decision trees can provide rules that explain key components of higher education process: enrollment, retention and timely graduation. We are working on the combination of decision tree models with sequential pattern mining to determine the characteristics of successful students (in this case, those graduating within four years). This helps us to identify students at risk and streamline best advising practices via Individual Developmental Plans (IDPs). The ultimate goal is to provide holistic, data-driven personalized academic advising that can best address any need for remedial actions and provide efficient scheduling. Additionally, we use our data to develop, pilot, and document different initiatives designed to improve results for more students.  For example, we are now using multiple measures (SAT, performance in last high school math course, GPA) to place students in remedial courses, rather than a single test.  Using a more holistic and predictive approach, we moved more students directly into credit-bearing courses, where they performed well, reducing their time-to-degree and increasing the likelihood they will finish in four years.  It’s a win for the student and a win for us. We at Delaware State know that we still have our work cut out for us in meeting the expectations of our board, and more importantly, our students.  However, we are confident we are on the right track, guided by data that don’t give us the answers but help us ask the right questions.  

DSU Mourns Passing of Michael J. Feeney -- Funeral Info

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Michael J. Feeney (l) is congratulated during the 2005 Honors Program by then-DSU President Allen L. Sessoms.

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The DSU community is deeply mourning the passing of award-winning journalist and University Class of 2005 graduate Michael J. Feeney. Michael J. Feeney show his Presidential Leadership Award that was presented to him when he graduated from DSU in 2005. Mr. Feeney died of cardiac arrest early Sunday morning after he had been hospitalized at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, N.J. about a week. A popular student at DSU, Mr. Feeney honed his journalism skills as a mass communications/print journalism major as well as with The DSU Hornet student newspaper, where he began as a freshman reporter and culminated as the publication’s editor-in-chief. “During his DSU years, Mike took advantage of every opportunity that was available to develop himself as a journalist,” said Carlos Holmes, director of News Services, who as advisor of The DSU Hornet worked very closely with Mr. Feeney. “He was one of the early members of the DSU Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), and took full advantage of having daily access to DeWayne Wickham, USA Today columnist, who taught advanced journalism courses at DSU during Mike’s undergraduate years.” Dr. Marcia Taylor, assistant professor of mass communications, called Mr. Feeney “one of the DSU Mass Communications Department’s best and brightest, who loved his peers on campus, our department, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and DSU.” She said that she was profoundly saddened by his passing. “I vividly remember Mike as a student in my Editorial and Feature Writing class where he successfully juggled assignments, managing The Hornet newspaper staff, and fraternity life,” Dr. Taylor said. “He has mentored current students and recent graduates, helping them to transition successfully as media professionals. This is a monumental loss that most of us still cannot put our minds around.” Mr. Feeney’s leadership skills as head of The Hornet and his other constructive activities at the University were recognized during his 2005 graduation when he was presented the Presidential Leadership Award. His undergraduate preparation showed upon graduation, as he immediately landed a job as a writer/reporter with the Associated Press. He would later write for the New York Daily News; his journalism work there led to the NABJ recognizing him in 2010 as the Emerging Journalist of the Year. Mr. Feeney maintained a strong network of journalism connections through his active involvement with the NABJ. In 2011, he was elected as the president of the New York Chapter of the NABJ. Amid his journalism activity, he never forgot his alma mater, often returning to participate in the annual DSU Mass Communications Day in the spring to share his experience and advice with the DSU students. “I remember bringing him back for the first Mass Comm Day symposium that I coordinated and being in awe of how entrenched and knowledgeable he was as a young journalist,” said Dr. Francine Edwards, current chair of the DSU Department of Mass Communications. “But even more amazing was his passion for the undergraduates and this University. Feeney was a staple here and a true trailblazer.” In 2014, Mr. Feeney returned to DSU to serve as the Convocation speaker that September. DSU President Harry L. Williams recalls that Mr. Feeney’s Convocation address gave the students some valuable advice for the future. “He didn’t sugarcoat the challenges that are faced in the real world after graduation, but he noted the importance of using their undergraduate years to prepare themselves to achieve future excellence and professional success,” the DSU president said. At the time of his fatal illness, Mr. Feeney was preparing to begin a coveted job as an entertainment reporter for CNN.com in Atlanta. Due to the huge outpouring of expressions of love in the wake of Mr. Feeney’s passing, the following funerals will be held on two separate days in New York City and in New Jersey: A viewing will be held on Monday, Feb. 8 from 9-11 a.m. followed immediately by an 11 a.m. funeral at First Corinthian Baptist Church, 1912 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd., New York, NY 10026.   A viewing will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 9 from 4-6 p.m. followed immediately by a 6 p.m. funeral at Community Baptist Church, 224 First Street, Englewood, N.J. 07631. Then-Hornet newspaper advisor Carlos Holmes poses with Michael Feeney in the student newspaper office in 2004. Mr. Feeney was editor-in-chief of the Hornet from the fall of 2003 to spring 2005.  

Indira Ridgeway Receives White House Award

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DSU President Harry L. Williams surprises Indira Ridgeway (r), a sophomore political science major, with a letter and award from President Barack Obama recognizing her community service to help victims of human trafficking and spread education about the issue.

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Indira R. Ridgeway, a sophomore political science major, has been recognized by President Barack Obama for her unique community service in combating human trafficking. Ms. Ridgeway recently received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for her ongoing work to educate people on the issue of human trafficking and advocate on behalf of victims of those criminal circumstances   Indira Ridgeway (center) celebrates the White House Award with DSU President Harry L. Williams (l) and her mother Deborah Brady. The awards -- of which she received gold, silver and bronze medals -- were presented to Ms. Ridgeway during the Jan. 21 DSU Board of Trustees meeting. “I am honored, but also very humbled by the award,” Ms. Ridgeway said. “I was raised by a family that taught me if you can help someone, then you should do so.”  She is the daughter of Dr. Michael and Deborah Brady; her mother surprised her by showing up at the meeting when the presentation was made. A native of Harrisburg, Pa., Ms. Ridgeway said she was introduced to human trafficking as a high school 9th grader, when she saw the movie Taken. After reading more about the crime, during her 10th grade year she developed a display on the subject and entered it in the regional National History Day competition. She made it to the next level state competition, but did not make the national competition cut. Her success in the competition resulted in being recognized on the floor of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. During her time there, she met Pennsylvania state Rep. Kevin Boyle, with whom she had a lengthy conversation on the issue of human trafficking. That connection with the legislator led to an opportunity for Ms. Ridgeway to meet with a victim of human trafficking – a female from Latin America, who was being forced to commit prostitution. She and Rep. Boyle advocated on behalf of the victim and played a role in convincing the state’s Office of the Attorney to drop prostitution charges against her, Mr. Ridgeway said. Meanwhile, the FBI was able to track down and arrest the traffickers in that case. Throughout her high school years, Ms. Ridgeway continued to serve as an advocate for those caught up in such circumstances. That ranged from working with victims and connecting with authorities who help to bring about a change in their situation, to educating others on the issue. She even appeared before her local school board and persuaded members to approve four points of extra credit for students at her Science Tech High School for accessing the Homeland Security’s Human Trafficking website and taking advantage of the training offered online. Now in her second year at DSU, while majoring in political science and minoring in law studies, she has continued her work on human trafficking. She says that law school is in her future and that she aspires to be a prosecuting attorney.

Dr. Skelcher and Min Gibson Dance with the Del. Stars

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Associate Provost Bradley Skelcher and Min Gibson, Mathematics Computer Lab director, danced to the music of the DSU Approaching Storm Band and were accompanied by members of the DSU's Delagance Dance Team and DSU Flag Team, as well as by drum major Laquita Williams.

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Associate Provost Bradley Skelcher and Min Gibson, computer lab director in the Department of Mathematics, represented DSU on the dance floor at the Jan. 30 Dancing with the Delaware Stars. Held at Dover Downs Hotel, Dr. Skelcher and Mrs. Gibson danced and pranced across the Dover Downs ballroom dance floor to recorded music from the DSU Approaching Storm Marching Band. They were accompanied by members of DSU Delagance Dance Team and the DSU Flag Team, as well as by drum major LaQuita Williams. The well-attended benefit raised money that is going toward Mom’s House and the Boys & Girls Club.

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