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DSU's Dr. Francine Edwards Wins Mrs. Delaware USA Pageant

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DSU’s Dr. Francine Edwards, an associate professor of Mass Communications, is now representing the First State and the University as the 2012 Mrs. Delaware USA. DSU's Dr. Francine Edwards is crowned the 2012 Mrs. Delaware USA by outgoing Mrs. Delaware USA Angie Bell at the end of the May 11 pageant. Dr. Edwards, who primarily teaches public relations, found out that two times was the charm and the victory, as she won the Mrs. Delaware USA Pageant held on May 11 at Everett Meredith High School in Middletown. The previous year she came close, finishing as the first runner-up. The 43-year-old wife and mother noted that it was a challenge competing against eight other women in their 20s and 30s. “You never know what the judges are looking for,” Dr. Edwards said. “After finishing first runner-up the previous year, when you get that close and when you want to do it for the right reasons, you know that you have a good chance.” For Dr. Edwards, the “right reason” was to address the need for more role models who value marriage and family while balancing that with career responsibilities. “I am not perfect, but I have committed myself to my family and have been able to find a balance between that commitment and my happiness in my career,” Dr. Edwards said. “I have to invest as much time in the marriage as I do in work; I still have to be there for my husband and my children.” While clearly an attractive woman, Dr. Edwards said she liked the Mrs. Delaware USA Pageant because it doesn’t just focus on beauty. “This pageant values intelligence, and there is also an emphasis on service.” Dr. Edwards said her platform for the pageant was titled “Blended and Blessed; Stepparent Support,” a platform she was already well-versed in. She is the wife of Micah Edwards, and she is the mother of two (Tyler, 6 and the only girl; and Joshua, 2) and the stepmother of two others (Jordan, 14, and Madison, 11). Throughout the year leading up to the pageant she worked her platform by meeting with other stepparents one-on-one and in small groups to discuss the challenges of raising step-children and help them talk through some solutions to issues. “As I stepparent, I have found that you have to work on communicating,” Dr. Edwards said. “You have to focus on the children and not on the issues that the two parents might have.”    The pageant contest categories included: the interview, evening gown, fitness and on-stage question. She had the highest score in the interview (where she was able to share the work she had done on her platform) and fitness categories. Dr. Edwards said in the excitement of winning, she never found out how well she scored on the on-stage question: “If you were married for 25 years, what advice would you give a newly married couple?” Dr. Edwards said that she hopes her accomplishment shows her students that it's good to get out of one's comfort zone to learn and grow. In her answer, she used some sibling wisdom. “My sister is celebrating her 25th anniversary next month and she would say to keep the lines of communication open, put Christ first in your marriage and keep each other laughing” As the 2012-2013 Mrs. Delaware USA, Dr. Edwards said that she will continue to promote her platform as well as to promote literacy. “I also want to recruit more minority women for the pageant,” Dr. Edwards said. “I would love to see a diverse pool year after year, because it would represent the world that we live in.” Dr. Edwards, a native of Landover, Md., has been a DSU mass communications faculty member since 2006. As an associate professor who focuses on the public relations discipline, Dr. Edwards said her pageant accomplishment is reflective of what she teaches her students.  “I tell them that we market ourselves every single day,” she said. “I want to present myself as genuine, knowledgeable about whatever I am talking about, and always understand that the first impression is a lasting impression. When I go into the classroom every day that is how I try to present myself.” She hopes the take-away for her students from her Mrs. Delaware USA title is that you can accomplish anything you want to. “But sometimes you needs to step outside of comfort zone to learn and grow,” Dr. Edwards said. “Entering the pageant was new to me, and it gave me a way to grow and learn as a role model.”  

2012 DSU Faculty Excellence Award Recipients Named

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The 2012 Faculty Excellence Award recipients (l-r) Dr. Aristides Marcano (research and creative activities), Dr. Sathya Elavarthi (teaching), Dr. Sam Hoff (advising), with DSU President Harry L. Williams. Not pictured is Dr. Gulnihal Ozbay (University and community service).

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Delaware State University has named four faculty members as the institution’s 2012 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. Sathya Elavarthi, assistant professor in the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, has been recognized for his innovative teaching techniques that utilize many varied tools to engage his students and retain them in the department’s majors. He is known for “going the extra mile” to expose his students to as many hands-on learning opportunities as he can. Dr. Elavarthi has developed six agriculture and plant science courses for the department, currently serves on the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, as well as on the University’s Learning Communities Steering Committee. He has been a DSU faculty member since the fall of 2010. Faculty Excellence in Research and Creative Activities Dr. Aristides Marcano, associate research professor in the Department of Physics and Pre-Engineering, came out on top in the highly competitive category as the result of his prolific research activities in the areas of applied spectroscopy and optics. He has co-authored 9 peer-reviewed scientific papers that were published in high ranked scientific journals, and co-authored two book chapters. Dr. Marcano is the principal investigator of two scientific grants and the co-principal investigator of two others that combined were multimillion dollar endeavors. He is the co-author of a scientific patent on an optical fiber detector. He has also advised 14 undergraduate research projects and 12 graduate research projects, while also tutoring three graduate students. He has been a DSU faculty member since the fall of 2006.              Dr. Gulnihal Ozbay Faculty Excellence in University and Community Service Dr. Gulnihal Ozbay, associate research professor and Cooperative Extension specialist in water quality for the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, has been honored for her numerous outreach endeavors that extend to writing and editing science publications, professional organization service and community service relating to her science areas of expertise. She has promoted a public oyster gardening program and the Mid-Atlantic Drinking Water Program, as well as been involved with the Delaware Bay Oyster Restoration Program. Dr. Ozbay has planned and presented more than 100 events regionally and nationally over the last nine years, reaching approximately 2,500 youths and adults. She has also lent her expertise in water quality and environmental issues through international outreach efforts as a lecturer and consultant in Belize, the Marshall Islands and Kenya. She has been a DSU faculty member since 2003. Faculty Excellence in Advising Dr. Samuel Hoff, George Washington Distinguished Professor in the Department of History, Political Science and Philosophy, has been recognized for his outstanding accessibility as an advisor and the results as demonstrated by his students. Dr. Hoff has served as the advisor of students in the Law Studies Program (of which he is the director), graduate students in the Historic Preservation Program, and has served on curriculum committees pertaining to his department and college, as well as on the subcommittee of the University’s Graduate Council. He has also served as a coach and advisor of the DSU Honda Campus All-Star Challenge, as a judge for the DSU Oratorical Contest, as the creator of the DSU Constitution and Citizenship Speech Tournament, and as a member of the Faculty Senate Teaching Effectiveness Committee. Dr. Hoff has been a DSU faculty member since 1989. Each recipient received a monetary award of $2,500.

2012 DSU Commencement -- Photo Slideshow

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The 2012 Commencement presented diplomas to a record 656 graduates during the May 20 ceremony. Click on the below photo slideshow to see images from the event:

DSU's 2012 Commencement has Record 656 Graduates

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The DSU class of 2012 was glad that  University officials decided to return the Commencement ceremony back outdoors for their graduation.

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Delaware State University awarded 656 diplomas during its 2012 Commencement ceremony – a record number of graduates in the institution’s 121-year history, surpassing the previous record of 646 in 2009. After moving the graduation ceremony indoors during the last two years, the May 20 Commencement returned to the outdoor confines of DSU’s Alumni Stadium. Among DSU’s 2012 graduating class’ 656 degrees – 496 bachelor’s degrees, a record 145 master’s degrees (surpassing the then-record 143 in 2008) and 15 doctoral degrees. This graduating class produced 136 honors students, which included 21 Summa Cum Laudes (3.75 GPA or above), 54 Magna Cum Laudes (3.5 to 3.74), 48 Cum Laudes (3.25 to 3.49) and 13 honorable mentions. DSU President Harry L. Williams congratulates Dr. Mable Morrison after she was awarded an honorary doctorate. Dr. Williams presented Presidential Academic Excellence Awards to Jazmyne C. Hefflefinger, a movement science major from Harrisburg, Pa. who maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA throughout her undergraduate years. In addition to her academic success, Ms. Hefflefinger was a member of the DSU Women’s Bowling Team. The DSU president also presented a Presidential Leadership Award to J. Jamel D. Smiley, who came to DSU from Augusta, Georgia. He worked as a residential assistant and senior residential assistant from 2009 to 2012, twice winner the Residential Assistant of the Year Award (2010 and 2011). During his undergraduate journey, he served as the vice president and then president of the DSU Rotaract Club. He was a McNair Research Program inductee, a member of the DSU Concert Choir, and also served as the president in 2012 of the Alpha Eta Rho Aviation Fraternity. As an aviation major Mr. Smiley maintained a 3.2 GPA. Darrell Peebles, Jr., a graduating aviation major and ROTC cadet, was also commissioned as an U.S. Air Force Officer during a DSU Commencement Ceremony. Mable R. Morrison, an associate professor of music and a 50-year faculty member of DSU, was presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Letters in honor her half-century of dedication and music instruction at DSU. During the DSU Commencement weekend, the University honored the 50th anniversary of the Class of 1962 during a reception on Saturday, May 21 in the Bank of America Building on campus. Fifteen 1962 graduates of then-Delaware State College returned to their alma mater this weekend, donned robes and took part in the Commencement ceremony. The Class of 1962 didn't show up empty-handed as they presented DSU President Harry L. Williams with a donation of $18,250 to go toward scholarships. Warren Brown, the 2012 keynote speaker The Commencement ceremonies featured Warren Brown, a nationally known entrepreneur, as this year’s keynote speaker. He told the graduates that when it comes to their life’s direction, to follow their heart. “Once you have identified your passion, you should do three things: first direct yourself to greatness, second answer to your call, and thirdly, answer to yourself,” Mr. Brown said. Warren Brown left a career practicing law as a litigator for the federal government to found CakeLove bakery in 2002. He has grown his organization to include six retail storefronts and has been recognized for his entrepreneurial spirit by local and national media including The Oprah Winfrey Show, Today, NPR, and national advertisement campaigns for American Express and Dell computers. From 2005 to 2007 Mr. Brown was the host of the television show Sugar Rush on the Food Network. He enjoys sharing the joys of baking and has authored three cookbooks to encourage others to bake from scratch: CakeLove in the Morning which celebrates weekend brunch (May 1, 2012), United Cakes of America featuring recipes from every state in the Union (2010), and CakeLove-How to bake cakes from scratch (2008).     

DSU Class of 1962 Returns to Alma Mater With $18,250 Donation

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Phil Sadler and DSU President Harry L. Williams hold a display check representing the class of 1962's donation of $18,250 to go toward DSU scholarships. The returning members of the Class of 1962 stand behind him.

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Fifteen members of DSU’s Class of 1962 celebrated their 50th anniversary by returning to their alma mater for the May 19-20 Commencement Weekend. The 1962 class was joined by other alumni and University officials during a May 19 reception in the Bank of America Building on campus. During the event, the 1962 alumni presented DSU President Harry L. Williams with a check for $18,250 to go toward scholarships. The next day, the Class of 1962 members donned robes and took part in the May 20 Commencement ceremony. Click on the below slideshow to see images from the Class of 1962 weekend, followed by a group shot and the names of the class members that returned for the weekend:   Seated (l-r): Patricia Snead Minor, Joyce King, Dolores Blakey, Delema Burris-Carter, Phyllis Hayes-Dixon, Janice Knight Boettger, Hortense Swiggett Macon, Juanita Coverdale Williams; (standing) Adele Hill Reed, Peggy Hunter Swygert, Barbara Willis, Patricia Dormaan Randall, Rev. Bill Granville, Alonzo Kittrels, Cleo Pearson, Alex T. Norwood, Phil Sadler, Hewitt Joyner, and J. Frank Marshall              

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.

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