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Dr. Robin Williams Hosts 2nd Annual First Lady's Tea for Senior Ladies

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Dr. Robin Williams and the graduating senior women who attended her 2nd annual First Lady's Tea take a parting shot moment at the end of the May 18 event.

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Dr. Robin Williams held her 2nd annual First Lady’s Tea on May 18 for the graduating senior ladies in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center. The event featured the hat-making skills of the senior ladies, as well as food, gifts, as well as some useful etiquette and interviewing wisdom. See the below photo slideshow for images from the event:  

DSU's Planned Early College HS Approved by State Board

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The state's first Early College High School will be located on the campus of Delaware State University.

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The Delaware State Board of Education has notified Delaware State University that it can go ahead with its plans to establish an Early College High School on the campus of DSU. The state Board of Education approved DSU’s application for the charter school during its May 17 meeting. The planned charter high school will be the state’s first Early College High School, which will be designed specifically to serve first generation college-bound students. The Early College High School is a nationally recognized school design brought to Delaware through a partnership between Innovative Schools, a Delaware-based non-profit public school support organization, and EdWorks, DSU and Innovative Schools submitted the charter school application to the Delaware Department of Education in December 2011. After several meetings with the DOE’s Charter School Accountability Committee and a May 8 public hearing, the committee recommended the approval of the application. The State Board followed that recommendation and approved the charter school.  “We are excited about the opportunity to provide an exceptional secondary/post-secondary educational experience to Delawareans,” said Dr. Alton Thompson, DSU provost and vice president of Academic Affairs. “As the first early college high school in the state, we are partnering with the DOE to implement a rigorous curriculum and other support services to ensure our students are competitive on an international level.” The University has included the Early College High School as part of its development of a new Facilities Master Plan, which is expected to be finalized by the fall of 2012. The location of the charter school will be determined by the master plan. Dr. Thompson said the University plans to enroll students in the school by the 2013-2014 school year.  In the Early College model, high school and college combine to form a coherent educational program in which students work toward a high school diploma and up to two years of college credits in four years of high school.  Located on a college campus, the model directly challenges the belief system of under-prepared poor and minority students about their ability to do college level work and get a postsecondary degree.  Housing a high school on the DSU campus is not unprecedented in the University’s history.  In the 1893-94 school year, the then-State College for Colored Students established a two-year preparatory school to help students get ready for a college education. In 1917, a Model Grade School was established by DSU, which granted a high school diploma to graduates.  Capital improvement donations by philanthropist Pierre du Pont in the 1920s included funding to construct a new school building named the Du Pont Building. That building served as the only high school facility for African Americans in Kent County until 1952. “Adding an Early College High School on DSU’s campus is consistent with the University’s historic mission and would strengthen the University’s ability to serve first generation college-bound students and underrepresented minorities from the greater Dover area,” said Dr. Thompson. Students participating in the Early College High School model launched by EdWorks in Ohio have an average graduation rate of 91% and outperform state averages in high stakes graduation tests for reading, writing, and mathematics.  At the completion of four years of high school, 100% of students attending Early College High Schools have earned a minimum of 30 hours of college credit, and as many as 60% of students earn an associate’s degree, or the equivalent of 45-60 college credits.  The University intends to blend the Early College Charter High School with its existing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) Initiative.  “The Early College High School at DSU will be an innovative learning environment designed to inspire students who have the potential and motivation to be the first in their families to graduate from college,” said Dr. Thompson. “We are committed to making this school a good fit for our community.”

DSU's Dr. D. Finger Wright Teaches Afghanistan Women About Addictions

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Dr. Dolores Finger Wright, DSU association professor of social work, was part of a team of substance abuse experts that taught women from Afghanistan about addiction and treatment as it relates to women.

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Dr. Dolores Finger Wright, DSU associate professor of social work, has recently returned from Sicily, where she joined a team of instructors who trained a group of professional women from Afghanistan in addiction issues as they pertain to women. Dr. Finger Wright was a part of the group Guiding the Recovery of Women (GROW), one of 15 instructors with expertise in addiction issues, especially as they relate to women. The instructors represent a wide variety of social service agencies, treatment facilities and academia. Thirty-three professional Afghanistan women – doctors, social workers, therapists and director of substance abuse treatment programs – attended the GROW training program. “That’s why it was a sobering experience, because it provided training to professional women who provide direct services to other women in a war zone,” Dr. Finger Wright said. The GROW training program is designed for addiction specialists, focusing on effective gender-responsive treatment interventions for women substance abusers. The training introduces the principles and values of key experts in the field, and identifies promising practices for treating substance abusing women. The three-week training program in Sicily (an autonomous region of Italy) included topics that explored the relations between substance abuse/treatment and adolescent females, lesbian issues, sexual abuse, domestic violence, detoxification and pregnancy, in addition to other areas. Dr. Finger Wright – who was in Sicily from April 13 to 21 – taught the basic introductory GROW curriculum.

DSU's Dr. Myna German Presents Symposium in Portugal

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Dr. Myna German, chair of the DSU Department of Mass Communications, poses with some of the students who attended the symposium she presented in Portugal on May 3.

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Dr. Myna German, chair of the Department of Mass Communication at Delaware State University, has recently returned from Portugal, where she presented a symposium on topics relating to her co-published book Migration, Technology and Transculturation. Dr. German presented the symposium at the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, Portugal, made possible by a grant from the Instituto de Contabilidade e Administracao do Porto. The grant was secured by Dr. Clara Sarmento, director of the Centre, who wanted to do outreach to Delaware State University in conjunction with future research collaboratives. A delegation from the University of Bourgogne in Dijun also was present at the two-day symposium. Dr. German spoke to faculty and students about DSU, the research centers involved in funding Migration, Technology and Transculturation (co-edited with Dr. Padmini Banerjee of the DSU Department of Psychology), and future areas of possible joint research. The second part of the seminar was on the content of her research on the history of globalization and mass communication, migration studies, the conceptualization of the field and where it is going.

DSU Faculty and Administrators Selected for AACU Summer Institute

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The AACU's Summer Institute is designed to help faculty and administrators to develop plans to integrate major programs with general education and to assess broad  student learning outcomes within individual departments and majors.

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Seven faculty members and administrators from Delaware State University have been selected to take part in the American Colleges and Universities’ “Summer Institute on Integrative Learning and the Departments” from July 11-15 in Burlington, Vt. Among the DSU contingent attending the Summer Institute are: Genevieve Tighe, assistant vice president for Academic Affairs/Institutional Effectiveness; Phyllis Brooks-Collins, director of Academic Enrichment; Dr. Rebecca Fox-Lykens, director of the DSU Center for Teaching and Learning; Dr. Joe Amoako, interim chair of the Department of English and Foreign Languages; Dr. Andrew Lloyd, associate professor of biological sciences; Dr. Aristides Marcano, associate research professor of physics; and Dr. Niklas Robinson, assistant professor of history and political science. This Summer Institute is designed for colleges and universities interested in building faculty and departmental leadership for essential 21st century learning – knowledge of multiple disciplines, inquiry and critical thinking, personal and social responsibility, and particularly, integrative learning. The institute helps institutions develop plans to integrate major programs with general education, and to assess broad student learning outcomes within individual departments and majors. Among the 18 institutions of higher education with teams in attendance, DSU will be joined by several other Historically Black Colleges & Universities. AAC&U is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises more than 1,250 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, and universities of every type and size. AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators and faculty members who are engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Its mission is to reinforce the collective commitment to liberal education at both the national and local levels and to help individual institutions keep the quality of student learning at the core of their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges.

DSU Shines at Small Business Administration Awards Gala

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(L-r) Lillie Crawford, director of the DSU Center for Enterprise Development; Dr. Shelton Rhodes, dean of the DSU College of Business; and Nick Callazzo, DSU adjunct instructor, hold the awards they were presented by the Delaware District of the Small Business Administration.

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Two Delaware State University faculty members and a dean were honored by the Delaware District of the Small Business Administration (DSBA) during its 2012 Small Business Week Awards Gala. Tony Leta, Delaware SBA director, presents Outstanding Advocacy Award to Dr. Shelton Rhodes, dean of the DSU College of Business. The DSBA presented awards to DSU’s Dr. Shelton Rhodes, Lillie Crawford, and Nick Callazzo during a May 14 event held at the Executive Banquet and Conference Center near Newark, Del. Dr. Shelton Rhodes, dean of the College of Business, was presented the DSBA Outstanding Advocacy of Small Business Award. Dr. Rhodes was recognized for DSU’s creation of a College of Business Advisory Board that seeks input on how the University can better meet the needs of the Delaware business community; for reaching out to the DSBA, AstraZeneca, DuPont, and veterans’ business organizations to partner on veterans’ business initiatives; and other endeavors, said Tony Leta, DSBA director, who presented the award. “His community outreach has raised the profile of Delaware State in the small business community and positioned it as a leading player in Delaware’s economic growth,” Mr. Leta said. “Under his leadership, Delaware State is walking the walk for small business.” Lillie Crawford, director of the DSU Center for Enterprise Development, received the DSBA Minority Small Business Champion of the Year Award for the state and the region. She was honored for her leadership of the center, along with the numerous outreach efforts and partnerships that have resulted under her watch. Nick Callazzo, adjunct instructor in the College of Business, was honored with the DSBA Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year Award for his renowned support of the small businesses throughout the region over the years.  

DSU Donates Strength/Condition Equipment to Five High Schools

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(L-r) Trae Anderson, DSU project manager; Jeremy Jeanne, Glasgow H.S. athletics director; Marques Brown, Christiana H.S. assistant football coach;and Andrew Mears, Smyrna H.S. athletics coach, at the former Wellness Center to select the available donated equipment..

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Delaware State University is literally helping to strengthen the athletics programs of five Delaware high schools through its donation of used strength and conditioning equipment. University officials are donating a variety of fitness machines and equipment to the following high schools – Brandywine, Christiana, Glasgow, Brandywine, Mount Pleasant, and Smyrna. Since the 2009 completed construction and opening of the DSU Wellness and Recreation Center, the previously used Wellness Center – a 3,000-square-foot module building next to the Village Cafeteria – has remained idle. Because only new strength and conditioning equipment was installed in the new facility, the equipment formerly used in the old Wellness Center remained in that building. With plans in place to move the module building to another part of the campus to make room for a planned Optics Center on that site, University officials decided to offer the equipment to five high schools on a first-come, first-serve basis. After DSU contacted the state concerning the availability of the equipment, the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association sent a notice to all the high schools in the First State. The abovementioned high schools were the first five to respond. Athletics representatives from the high schools visited DSU last week to select the equipment – which included a variety of Tuffstuff strength machines, Trotter treadmills, stationary bikes, and other equipment.  

DSU's Vita Pickrum Named Certified Fund Raising Executive

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CFRE International has named Vita Pickrum, associate vice president of development at DSU, as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). Ms. Pickrum joins more than 5,299 professionals around the world who hold the CFRE designation. Vita Pickrum, associate vice president of Development and a Certified Fund Raising Executive Individuals granted the CFRE credential have met a series of standards set by CFRE International, which include tenure in the profession, demonstrated fundraising achievement, and  a commitment to service to not-for-profit organizations. They have also passed a rigorous written examination testing the knowledge, skill and abilities required of a fundraising executive; they have also agreed to uphold Accountability Standards and Donor Bill of Rights. CFRE recipients are awarded certification for a three-year period. In order to maintain certification status, such fundraising executives must demonstrate ongoing fundraising employment and fundraising results, as well as continue their professional education. CFRE International is an independent organization dedicated to the certification of fundraising executives by setting standards in philanthropic practice. Consistently meeting the highest standard of certification excellence, the CFRE International is itself accredited by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies. Ms. Pickrum has been a fundraising executive at Delaware State University since September 2008.  

Hornet Editor-in-Chief Recipient of William P. Frank Scholarship

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Synquette K. Wilks, editor-in-chief of The DSU Hornet student newspaper, is the 2012 recipient of the $10,000 William P. Frank Scholarship.

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Synquette K. Wilks, a junior mass communications major at Delaware State University, has been awarded a $10,000 William P. Frank Scholarship. The scholarship was presented during the May 5 annual First State Gridiron Dinner in Wilmington. Ms. Wilks is majoring in the convergence (journalism) concentration of mass communications undergraduate degree program. Since the fall of 2011 she has served as the editor-in-chief of The DSU Hornet student newspaper and has written for the campus publication since her freshman year. She is also in the McNair Research Program at DSU. Ms. Wilks, of Wilmington, said that the Frank Scholarship will greatly help her development as a journalist. “It will enable me to continue my education as well as learn more about print and internet journalism,” Ms. Wilks said. “I believe this opportunity will provide me with the foundation to build up my journalism career and give me the skills that I will need to compete in the journalism world.” A graduate of Newark High School, Ms. Wilks is the daughter of Kevin Moore and  Shavon Wilks-Taylor William P. Frank (1905-1989) was one of Delaware’s best-known journalists of the 20th century. His career spanned 65 years, during which he became a prominent newspaper columnist and radio commentator. He was also a Delaware historian, a Judaic scholar, a Shakespearean actor and a social activist. Although he was listened to by powerful people, he made the concerns of ordinary people his concerns, according to the Gridiron event program. In 2011, three DSU students were awarded the William P. Frank Scholarship – Deborah Miller ($10,000) from New Castle, Del.; Krystina Muhammad ($5,000) from Newark, Del.; and Desiree Williams ($5,000) from Dover.

DSU, First State Manufacturing and Milford sign collaborative accord

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(Seated l-r) Milford Mayor Ronnie Rogers, DSU President Harry L. Williams, FSM co-owner Eli Valenzuela sign collaboration agreement  to develop a business accelerator in the MIlford-area. Standing (l-r): U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, Dr. Michael Casson, Dr. Nanda Viswanathan, Sher Valenzuela, and Ashley Wolfe. The collaboration is expected to bring increased economic development and job growth to Kent and Sussex counties.

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Delaware State University joined with First State Manufacturing (FSM) and the City of Milford, Del., to announce a new public-private partnership that is expected to stimulate economic development efforts in Kent and Sussex counties. With U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, DSU President Harry L. Williams and Milford Mayor Ronnie Rogers taking part in the media event held May 4 at the FSM facility in Milford, the Small Business Administration announced the launching of the “First State Moves the Nation” Small Business Accelerator. DSU's Dr. Michael Casson said the collaboration will leverage the resources of the partners. Sen. Carper noted the growth of DSU over the years. “Look at it now, with record enrollment and retention, and now DSU is on its way to be an economic engine in Delaware,” he said. As partners in the Small Business Accelerator initiative: DSU’s Center for Economic Development and International Trade (DSU CEDIT) will provide intellectual resources such as economic development forecast data, empirical analyses based on models of the state’s economy, as well as incubator-type services such as marketing research, accounting, project management and IT services. First State Manufacturing will provide 10,000 square feet of physical space at its Milford facility, which will service as an on-site business accelerator. The leadership of FSM will also work with DSU CEDIT to provide a standard and vision for its economic development model, and also serve as part of a  Solutions Group that will contribute information on business solutions and best practices in the area of manufacturing. The City of Milford will commit to leveraging  its economic development resources to provide opportunity and training, oversee the continuation of its Strategic Plan goals and initiatives that will support business development in the city, and actively promote partnerships among business, government and nonprofit sectors in support of job growth in the city. The DSU president noted that this is the type of initiative to which DSU desires to apply its expertise. “After I became president, we looked at how DSU can be a player in this state; and in the vision statement we developed in my first year, it was noted that DSU’s goal is to invigorate the economy of Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic Region,” Dr. Williams said. “This partnership actualizes that vision.” FSM – owned by Eli Valenzuela (president), his wife Sher Valenzuela (vice president), and Ashley Wolfe (executive director) – is an industrial upholstery manufacturing and solutions business in Milford that brings to the business accelerator initiative its experience starting as a small business operated out of a one-car garage in 1998 and developing into a highly successful award-winning company that carries out its work in a 70,000 square-foot facility and employs 70 people. (L-r) FSM's Ashley Wolfe, Eli and Sher Valenzuela; Milford Mayor Ronnie Rogers; Dr. Michael Casson, DSU CEDIT co-director; DSU President Harry L. Williams; Tony Leta, Del. director of the Small Business Administration; Dr. Shelton Rhodes, dean of the DSU College of Business; U.S. Sen. Tom Carper; Dr. Nanda Viswanathan, co-director of DSU CEDIT; and DSU Provost Alton Thompson. “Our story is a Delaware story, and we believe it be the story of others as well,” Mrs. Valenzuela said. She said the business accelerator can bring about an economic ecosystem that will result in “intelligent consumers” of resources. “This business accelerator is going to support the four sectors of business – manufacturing, agriculture, tourism and health care,” Mrs. Valenzuela said. Dr. Michael Casson, who along with Dr. Nanda Viswanathan serves as DSU CEDIT co-directors, noted that the state of the economy and the needed commitment to Delaware’s citizens are addressed by this initiative. “The accelerator will be home to the expertise and resources of DSU, the City of Milford and FSM, all working collaboratively to support entrepreneurship and job growth,” Dr. Casson said.  

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