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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.”  

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 “The State of the University” to a gathering of New Castle County corporate leaders. 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.  

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.

Dr. Harry L. Williams Appointed to Two Major Boards

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DSU President Harry L.Williams will serve on the board of directors for the Thurgood Marshall  College Fund and Bayhealth.

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Delaware State University President Harry L. Williams has been appointed to the board of directors of two major organizations – the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and Bayhealth. Jim Clifton, TMCF board chairman and president of Gallup, said that Dr. Williams was a natural choice. “He has been a longtime partner as the leader of one of TMCF’s most successful member-schools,” said Clifton.  “Serving on the board of TMCF will give me an opportunity to help other HBCUs by sharing some of the innovative strategies we are implementing at DSU to retain and graduate our students,” said Dr. Williams. “It’s a tremendous honor to serve on this esteemed board.” Named for the U.S. Supreme Court’s first African-American justice and established in 1987, TMCF supports and represents nearly 300,000 students attending its 47 member-schools that include publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), medical schools and law schools.  “A quick glance at DSU’s growing partnerships with Delaware government, major nonprofit foundations and international universities shows the kind of change agent Dr. Williams is,” said TMCF President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. “TMCF is lucky to be able to leverage Harry’s talents on behalf of all publicly-supported HBCUs.” Dr. Williams has also been appointed to the Board of Directors of Bayhealth. “We are pleased to welcome Dr. Williams to the Bayhealth Board of Directors,” said Bayhealth Board Chairman John W. Paradee, Esq. “Dr. Williams has an excellent track record for developing innovative strategies and beneficial relationships. We’re excited to have him onboard.” Bayhealth operates Kent General Hospital in Dover and Milford Memorial Hospital as well as a number of the medical centers throughout Kent County. “It is not only a great honor to be a part of a community-minded health system serving central and southern Delaware, but it is also a tremendous privilege to be selected to serve among such a diverse group of talented community leaders as part of Bayhealth’s Board of Directors,” said Dr. Williams.

DSU to Hold Black Panther Symposium Feb. 3-4

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The Symposium will feature the film documentary "Black Lives Matter: 50 Years of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense" on Feb. 3 and BPP co-founder Bobby Seale (pictured on the far right with fellow Panther members) as a guest speaker on Feb. 4.

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Delaware State University will kick off Black History Month with a two-day symposium entitled “Black Lives Matter: 50 Years of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense” on Feb. 3-4. The events of the symposium – which will all be held in the second floor parlors of the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center – are free and open to the public.               Bobby Seale The symposium will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3 with a screening of the film documentary Black Panthers: The Vanguard of the Revolution. On Thursday, Feb. 4 there will be an 11 a.m. guest lecture featuring Black Panther co-founder Bobby Seale. Along with Huey Newton, Mr. Seale established the Black Panthers (later renamed the Black Panther Party) in Oakland, Calif., in 1966 to resist police brutality and the killing of blacks. On the afternoon of Feb. 4, there will be two panel discussions: A 1 p.m. forum will feature a panel of scholars that will include Dr. Charles Jones, director and professor of Africana Studies, University of Cincinnati; Dr. Yohuru Williams, associate vice president of Academic Affairs and professor of history, Fairfield University; and Dr. Alondra Nelson, dean of Social Sciences and professor of sociology and gender studies, Columbia University. Later that afternoon, a 3 p.m. forum will feature a panel of Lynn French, executive director of Hope and a Home, and adjunct professor of history, University of Virginia; Paul Coates, founder and publisher of Black Classic Press; and Mr. Seale, who is also the director of the Bobby Seale Reach Foundation.

Business Faculty Receive TERP10 Certifications

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(L-r) Dr. Lynda Murray-Jackson, Dr. Chittibabu Govindarajulu, Dr. Raveen Pinjani, Dr. DaeRyong Kim and Dr. Bernadette Ruf. These College of Business faculty members have earned TERP10 certifications, reflecting their expertise in SAP SE advance enterprise software processes.

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Five faculty members from Delaware State University’s College of Business have earned TERP10 certification, strengthening DSU’s position as an educational resource leader in SAP SE advanced enterprise application software processes. The newly certified College of Business faculty members are: Dr. Chittibabu Govindarajulu, associate professor of business; Dr. DaeRyong Kim, professor of business and interim director of the MBA Program; Dr. Lynda Murray-Jackson, associate dean of research and analytics; Dr. Raveen Pinjani, associate professor of business; and Dr. Bernadette Ruf, professor of business and chair of the Department of Accounting and Finance. The College of Business faculty members were certified after completing a two-week TERP10 course covering the basic structures, organizational elements, master data and NetWeaver technology infrastructure that are connected with the SAP ERP environment. DSU has entered into a partnership with SAP SE and the Americas’ SAP Users Group to establish DSU as a Center of Excellence where the SAP advanced technologies systems and processes can be taught to students and other HBCUs. SAP SE is a market leader in enterprise application software. Its technologies enable its users – more than 291,000 worldwide – to work together more efficiently and use business insights more effectively. Ms. Donna Covington, dean of the College of Business, said that TERP 10 is an important industry certification that shows a level of expertise with SAP ERP systems.   “The certification of these five faculty members positions our students to also study for the test at Delaware State for this certification,” Ms. Covington said. “The certification allows our students to be extremely competitive in the marketplace.”   The dean added that this certification achievement is in alignment with the University's strategic plan for student success. “What the faculty has done is position our students, the College of Business and the University for the continued progress toward preparing our students to compete in a global market,” she said.  

DSU Board Names Dr. Claibourne Smith Trustee Emeritus

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Former Gov. Michael N. Castle, now a DSU board member, gives Dr. Claibourne D. Smith a farewell handshake at the end of the former chairman's last meeting. As Delaware's chief executive in 1988, Gov. Castle appointed Dr. Smith to the board, whose service to the University totaled 28 years -- including more than 20 years as board chairman and 16 months as acting president of the institution..

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Dr. Claibourne D. Smith attended his last regular meeting as a longtime member of the DSU Board of Trustees on Jan. 21, culminating his 28 years of DSU service by being presented the honor of Trustee Emeritus. As Trustee Emeritus, Dr. Smith will be welcomed to attend Board meetings in a non-voting capacity. The below resolution was presented to Dr. Smith by Board Chairman David G. Turner during the meeting:   DSU Board Chairman David G. Turner presents outgoing board member Dr. Claibourne D. Smith with a resolution granting him the status of Trustee Emeritus.. DELAWARE STATE UNIVERSITY BOARD OF TRUSTEES   A RESOLUTION HONORING DR. CLAIBOURNE D. SMITH FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES AND ELECTING HIM AS A TRUSTEE EMERITUS                Whereas, Dr. Claibourne D. Smith has served as a Trustee of Delaware State University for almost 28 years since his initial appointment in July 1988 by then-Gov. Michael N. Castle to finish the term of former board member Arthur Richardson;                Whereas, at the time of his appointment, his background included chemistry degrees that culminated with a terminal Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Oregon in 1964, as well as his employment as an executive with DuPont;               Whereas, Dr. Smith’s diligent service resulted in the Board’s confidence to elect him board president (changed the following year to the office of board chairman) in 1993;               Whereas, during his leadership of that body, the DSU Board of Trustees oversaw numerous improvements and advancements at the institution, including but not limited to: the elevation of the college to university status in 1993; the expansion of the campus infrastructure, which included the construction of 12 new buildings as well as an off-campus apartment complex; the growth of bachelor’s and master’s degree offerings and the establishment of the University’s first five doctoral programs; two successful presidential search processes; three reaffirmations of the University’s accreditation; as well as many other institutional achievements;               Whereas, prior to his 1998 retirement as vice president of technology of DuPont, Dr. Smith also served as the vice chairman of the company’s Corporate Educational initiatives and was responsible for manpower planning and development for the Central Research and Development function;               Whereas, over the years, Dr. Smith served as a 13-year member of the Delaware State Board of Education, Northeast Area director and a member of the National Association of State Boards of Education’s (NASBE) Board of Directors, a member of the Advisory Committee on Education Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education and a member of the National Science Foundation’s CEOSE (Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering);               Whereas, following the August 2008 resignation of DSU President Allen L. Sessoms, Dr. Smith temporarily stepped down from his board chairmanship to assume the post of acting DSU president during which service he provided stable presidential leadership over the next 16 months, enabling the University to carry out a methodical and successful presidential search process;              Whereas, upon the appointment of Dr. Harry L. Williams as the 10th president of DSU in January 2010, Dr. Smith resumed his responsibility as board chairman and continued to lead this body until he announced that he would step down from the post effective January 2015. He also announced at that time that he would continue to serve as a board member until his appointment expired Feb. 18, 2016;             Whereas, in high recognition for his leadership’s countless contributions to remarkable growth of the University during his tenure, in June 2015 the DSU Administration Building was renamed the Claibourne D. Smith Administration Building; and             Whereas, during his long service on the Board, Dr. Smith has demonstrated great dedication and collegiality and has provided highly valued leadership and counsel to the Board’s deliberations.             NOW THEREFORE, in recognition of his long and distinguished service to the University and its Board of Trustees, having received the recommendation of the Committee on Trustees, the Board hereby elects Dr. Claibourne D. Smith as a Trustee Emeritus of Delaware State University.             The undersigned certifies that the foregoing Resolution was unanimously adopted by the Board of Trustees of Delaware State University on January 21, 2016.   David E. Turner Chairman, Board of Trustees  

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