April 2010


Dr. Melissa Harrington Named ACE Fellow

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  The American Council on Education (ACE) has named Dr. Melissa Harrington, associate professor of biology at Delaware State University, as an ACE Fellow for academic year 2010-11. The ACE Fellows Program, established in 1965, is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing promising senior faculty and administrators for responsible positions in college and university administration.   As part of the fellowship, she will spend a semester with a president or senior administrator at a yet-to-be selected university or college. The fellowship also requires Dr. Harrington to focus on an issue of concern to DSU                                Dr. Melissa Harrington Dr. Harrington said she will use the fellowship experience to assist the University in its reaccreditation self-study and strategic plan projects. “During my fellowship year, I would like to learn more about the strategic planning process at other universities, as well as how institutions assess and document their progress in meeting accreditation standards,” she said.   Melissa Harrington earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Molecular Biology from Purdue University and a PhD in Neuroscience from Stanford University. She joined the faculty at DSU as an assistant professor in biology in fall 2001 after four years as a faculty member at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga.   Dr. Harrington was promoted to associate professor in 2005 and has been promoted to the rank of professor effective August 2010. Since coming to DSU, Dr. Harrington has led 17 successful grant partnerships that have brought over $13 million in federal funding to DSU for education, research and outreach efforts. In her role as the chair of the DSU Biology Curriculum Committee, Dr. Harrington was the driving behind the successful development of the Neuroscience Ph.D. program and the Forensic Biology Program.   She was nominated for the fellowship by Dr. Harry L. Williams, who submitted her name in his previous capacity as the University’s provost prior to being elevated to the DSU president’s post.    Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents, and more than 200 related associations, nationwide. It seeks to provide leadership and a unifying voice on key higher education issues and influence public policy through advocacy, research, and program initiatives.   Dr. Sharon A. McDade, director of the ACE Fellows Program, noted that most previous Fellows have advanced into major positions in academic administration. Of the nearly 1,700 participants in the first 45 years of the program, more than 300 have become chief executive officers and more than 1,100 have become provosts, vice presidents, or deans.              

DSU Supports Dover's Muscular Dystrophy Fundraiser

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Carlos Holmes, DSU director of News Service, languished for about an hour in the MDA "jail" before the bail money provided by other University employees liberated him.

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  Carlos Holmes, DSU director of News Services, had to do a bit of jail time on March 31, but it was worth it as DSU faculty and staff donated $425 towards his “bail” in the annual Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Dover Lock Up. Mr. Holmes was one of numerous representatives of businesses, state agencies, churches and other organizations to raise funds as part of the MDA Dover Lock Up.   Seventy DSU employees each contributed between $5 and $20 to go toward Mr. Holmes’ “bail.” The MDA sent a Delaware State University trooper to DSU present him with the MDS warrant for his arrest on the morning of March 31. The trooper pulled him out of his weekly Integrated Marketing meeting and took him in a patrol car to the jail site at the Buffalo Wings Restaurant in Dover.   Mr. Holmes detained in “jail” for about an hour and was released after presenting the “bail” money he raised at DSU.   The money will go toward needs for those afflicted with muscular dystrophy that are not covered by insurance, such as the upgrade of braces, as well as fund a MDA Summer Camp for kids.   On behalf of Carlos Holmes and the MDA, sincere thanks go out to all DSU faculty and staff that contributed to this fundraiser.   The MDA will continue to collect donations through the month of April as part of this fundraiser. Anyone interested in making a contribution to the MDA can contact Mr. Holmes at cholmes@desu.edu.    

Earth Day Marked by Dedicating Sustainability Garden

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Delaware State University highlighted Earth Day on campus by christening a new Sustainability Garden that underscored the institution’s commitment to be faithful environmental stewards.   The University held an April 22 ribbon cutting ceremony for the Sustainability Garden at its site just northeast of the Village Café. In dedicating the garden, DSU President Harry Lee Williams noted that vegetables grown on the plot will be served in the Village Café and sold at the DSU’s Farmer’s Market. The surplus will be donated to low-income families in the community.   “It is equally important that this Sustainability Garden will be an outdoor laboratory for our students to learn the full cycle of the food chain from growing, harvesting, selling and contributing to mankind,” Dr. Williams said. “It will beautify an area that would have been desolate after the removal of a temporary building that previously housed the University’s post office and student bookstore.”   The Sustainability Garden is the latest development in DSU’s Go Green Initiative that was launched last September when then-acting DSU President Claibourne Smith signed the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment to lead DSU to climate neutrality. With that pact, DSU joined 650 other universities in committing to reduce the campus’ carbon footprints.   This commitment led to the formation of the DSU Go Green Steering Committee which attracted more than 80 members. Seven subcommittees each play a role in focusing on green environmentally friendly and climate neutral measures that relate to the University’s procurement and fundraising activities, buildings and facilities, as well as in disseminating information about its efforts to the campus community and the surrounding communities.    “The (DSU) colleges, the president and vice presidents, as well as the Student Government Association, are represented on every subcommittee and are actively involved in the greening of DSU,” said Carolyn Curry, DSU vice president of Institutional Advancement.   The DSU Go Green Committee is chaired by Vita Pickrum, DSU associate vice president for development.   More than 30 children from the University’s Child Development Lab took part in the dedication program, reciting an environmental pledge, singing a song, as well as taking part in the planting afterwards. The Sustainability Garden event highlighted a day full of Earth Day activities with a panel discussion, a tour of the DSU Aquaculture Pond Research and Demonstration Facility, and a DSU Lab School Playground Beatification project. The Village Café even served specially prepared “green eggs and ham” to mark the day.   The DSU Earth Days activities will continue on Friday, April 23 with a beautification project at the University Courtyard Apartments complex, a screening of the documentary An Inconvenient Truth at 10:30 a.m. and culminated by a 1:30 p.m. Campus Trees Nature Walk that will begin at the DSU flagpoles near the main gate of the campus.   DSU’s Go Green initiative was featured in the April 19-26 issue of Jet Magazine.      

DSU Awarded $100,000 Walmart Foundation Grant

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This DSU team -- (l-r Dr. Niklas Robinson, Phyllis Collins, Dr. Marshall Stevenson, Dr. Myrna Nurse and Frances Rogers -- will coordinate the high impact academic activities that the Walmart Foundation grant will fund.

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  Delaware State University has been selected by the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) to receive a Walmart Minority Student Success Award – a $100,000 grant to help build on DSU’s demonstrated successes in enrolling, retaining, and graduating first-generation college students. The $100,000 grant is being made possible by a $4.2 million grant to IHEP from the Walmart Foundation. The University was selected as one of only 30 minority-serving institutions (MSIs) —Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Predominantly Black Institutions, and Tribal Colleges and Universities—through a highly competitive application process to strengthen efforts to support first-generation students. DSU will be attending the annual IHEP Summer Academy where they’ll be joined by representatives from 14 other minority serving institutions to establish action plans to increase capacity, share ideas to better serve first-generation college students and develop partnerships with other colleges and universities. “Delaware State University is honored to be selected as one of just several outstanding higher education institutions nationwide to receive the Walmart Minority Student Success Award,” said DSU President Harry Lee Williams. “Thanks in large part to this award, we will be able to enhance and expand our work with first-generation students.” The funding will be used at DSU to provide high impact academic activities in the general education curriculum of first-year students. The project will be coordinated by a team of faculty members in the University’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences as well as academic enrichment administrators – Dr. Myrna Nurse, assistant professor of English, Dr. Niklas Robinson, assistant professor of history and political science, Frances Rogers, acting director of Academic Enrichment, and Phyllis Collins, executive director of Academic Enrichment. “We are delighted and excited that DSU has received this funding,” said Dr. Marshall Stevenson, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. “This will allow the University to provide added academic assistance to ensure that our students have every opportunity to succeed in accordance with the mission of the institution.” “The institutions in our 2010 Minority Student Success cohort broaden and deepen the pool of MSIs committed to ensuring the success of the first-generation student success both at their campuses and beyond,” said Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) President Michelle Asha Cooper, Ph.D. “We are pleased to be working with them on programs that are sure to serve as models to all of higher education.”   ”At Walmart, we understand that education is critical to the lives and well-being of all Americans. We’re proud to support giving that enables the success of first-generation college students,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation. The Walmart Foundation grants support the existing work of MSIs to strengthen first-generation student success programs, with a special focus on classroom practices and the role faculty play in their students’ academic success. Approximately 41% of students enrolled at MSIs are first-generation, compared to 30% of students at Predominantly White Institutions. The overrepresentation of first-generation students at MSIs makes them ideal to help improve retention and persistence gaps for this student population.   The other 2010 winners include: Adams State College (Colo.), Bloomfield College (N.J.), Bowie State University (Md.), Coppin State University (Md.), El Camino College (Ca,), Fort Belknap College (Mont.), Hampton University (Va.), Leech Lake Tribal College (Minn.), New Jersey City University (N.J.), United Tribes Technical College (N.D.), University of Houston- Downtown (Texas), University of New Mexico (N.M.), Valencia Community College (Fla.), and Winston-Salem State University (N.C.). For more information about the initiative and grantees, visit the IHEP Web site at www.ihep.org/walmartminoritystudents.cfm.    

Doctoral Trio Wins 1st in National Research Poster Competition

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(L-r) DSU mathematics doctoral students Fang Zeng, Tiara Turner and Yuhong Liu stand with their research poster that won 1st place at a recent national research conference. Their research showed how radar can be used through walls to detect biological movement such as respiration and the mathematical measurements that are employed in such technology.

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  Three Delaware State University doctoral students took 1st place with their mathematics research poster at the 5th annual National Minority Serving Institutions Research Partnership Consortium Conference held recently at Morgan State University in Baltimore. The doctoral students – Fang Zeng and Yuhong Liu of China and Tiara Turner of Princess Anne, Md. – won the top prize in their category for the complex poster on “Detection of Periodic Motions of Visually Obscured Human Beings Using UWB Radar.” With great relevance to security and surveillance operation, the DSU trio showed how UWB radar can be used to detect through a wall biological motion such as respiration and the movement of human limbs. According to the research, such radar technology could be used to help protect troops in conflict by detecting threats in hidden areas. The radar could also have applications in earthquake and fire rescue operations.      

Students Volunteer for Special Olympics

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DSU students (in white t-shirts) pose with Special Olympics athletes from the Charlton School: (bottom l-r) William Walter Pepper, Aaron Watson, Brittany Alston, Jason Anthony; (top l-r) Shawn W. Gordon, Jr., Cayla Lord and Francis Washington II.

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  Delaware State University students helped make it a special day for a host of youngsters as the University once again hosted the April 1 Special Olympics Delaware’s Basketball Skills competition in the Memorial Hall Gymnasium. About 50 DSU students volunteered their time to coordinate the competition events for children from 13 different Central Delaware public schools. The Special Olympics athletes competed in the following events; the Target Pass, Ten-Meter Dribble, Spot Shot and Speed Dribble. Special Olympics Delaware is an organization that changes lives by promoting understanding, acceptance and inclusion between people with and without intellectual disabilities.    

DSU Selected to Receive Kresge Foundation Fellowship Award

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DSU President Harry L. Williams stands with the DSU Green Ambassadors, a student organization dedicated to supporting DSU sustainability goals. Such endeavors have helped DSU obtain the Kresge Fellowship Award.

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    Delaware State University has been awarded a 2010 Kresge Foundation Fellowship Award that will provide it with significant opportunities to build upon its current Go Green initiative for sustainability.   The environmental non-profit organization Second Nature, with funding from The Kresge Foundation, has presented fellowship awards to DSU and 24 other higher education institutions that were selected from 60 applicants. The selections were based on a diverse selection committee’s assessment of these institutions’ level of need, statement of interest, and campus sustainability capacity.             The fellowship provides a senior member of the college/university community with education on green building and sustainability in higher education and peer-to-peer networking opportunities. DSU has selected Vita Pickrum, associate vice president of Development and chair of the University’s Go Green Committee, to represent the school in this fellowship opportunity.   This is the latest development in the University’s Go Green initiative that was launched last September when then-acting DSU President Claibourne Smith signed the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment to lead DSU to climate neutrality. With that pact, DSU joined 650 other universities in committing to reduce the campus’ carbon footprint.   This commitment led to the formation of the DSU Go Green Steering Committee which attracted more than 80 members. Seven subcommittees each play a role in focusing on green environmentally friendly and climate neutral measures that relate to the University’s procurement, curriculum and fundraising activities, buildings and facilities, as well as in disseminating information about its efforts to the campus community and the surrounding communities.   “We are elated to receive the Kresge Fellowship Award, as it will assist DSU in furthering its efforts toward sustainability,” said DSU President Harry L. Williams. “The award confirms that DSU is on the right path with its environmental priorities.”   “The Kresge fellows are becoming key players in the education for sustainability movement.  We’re thrilled to welcome the selected 2010 fellows to this effort, and we are excited to support them as they champion green building on their own campuses and beyond,” says Dr. Anthony Cortese, President of Second Nature.   A goal of the fellowship program is to offer university executives the information and networks requisite to become successful green building leaders at their own under-resourced campuses. These representatives will attend one of two noteworthy green building-related conferences for the year 2010, where they will have the opportunity for training, networking, and inspiration for campus green building.   The Kresge Fellowship Program is one of the key educational and outreach programs within the Advancing Green Building in Higher Education Initiative. This capacity-building initiative, launched by Second Nature and funded by The Kresge Foundation, focuses on addressing some of the crucial challenges faced by under-resourced colleges and universities to ‘build green’ on their campuses. Through this initiative, Second Nature is helping under-resourced higher education institutions build champions for green building and learn about the resources and networks available to construct and renovate campus buildings in ways that save money, reduce environmental and health impacts, serve as educational tools, and increase student enrollment.   For more information on Second Nature's Advancing Green Building in Higher Education Initiative, please contact Ashka Naik, Program Manager, at anaik@secondnature.org. ----   The Kresge Foundation is a $2.8 billion private, national foundation that seeks to influence the quality of life for future generations through its support of nonprofit organizations in six fields: health, the environment, arts and culture, education, human services, and community development. In 2008, it awarded 342 grants totaling $181 million. Second Nature is a Boston-based nonprofit organization that works to accelerate movement towards a sustainable future by helping senior college and university leaders in making healthy, just, and sustainable living the foundation of all learning and practice in higher education. Second Nature is the lead support organization of the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment, which has been signed by more than 665 school presidents who are committed to eliminating carbon emissions on campus and training students to help society address climate change.       

DSU Receives Grant to Help 1st Year Students

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Scholarships from this grant will go toward 1st year STEM students.

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  The National Science Foundation has awarded Delaware State University a five-year grant of $600,000 to be used for undergraduate scholarships for students majoring in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines (known as STEM). The principal grant writer was Dr. Andrew Lloyd, DSU associate professor of biology. The co-grant writers were DSD STEM faculty members Dr. Chandran R. Sabanayagam, assistant professor of physics, Dr. Cherese Winstead, assistant professor of Chemistry, Dr. Clytrice Watson, assistant professor of biology, and Mazen M. Shahin, professor of mathematics.   “Our long term goal for this scholarship program is to increase the number of financially-disadvantaged, academically-talented students graduating from DSU with Bachelor of Science degrees in the STEM areas,” Dr. Lloyd said. “We will also work to strengthen their preparation for and interest in pursuing a Ph.D."   He said that scholarships will be awarded based on academic merit, level of financial need, commitment to a career in STEM, interest in graduate school and evidence of overcoming obstacles.  

DSU to Hold Public Forum in New Castle County on April 15

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The April 29 Public Forum in Kent County gave DSU President Harry L. Williams (left) and the Blue Ribbon Commission valuable input from the public.

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  Delaware State University’s Blue Ribbon Commission will complete its series of public forums this week in New Castle County to help it develop a fresh new vision for the University’s future.. The public can attend the forum, which will be held from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, April 15 at the NCCo Chamber of Commerce, 12 Penns Way, New Castle.   The Commission had a forum for Kent County on March 29 and earlier this week on April 13 in Sussex County. DSU President Harry Lee Williams says that it is important for the citizens of Delaware to embrace and participate in this new DSU initiative that will lay a roadmap for its future success.   “Delaware State University belongs to the state of Delaware, and it is therefore important for the institution to have the input of its citizenry to help it become a premier institution of higher education in the country,” Dr. Williams said. “In doing so, the residents of the state will also share in the greatness that will result from DSU’s earnest work to become one of the best universities for students to fulfill their academic and professional aspirations.”   Persons interested in attending are asked to register in advanced either online at www.desu.edu/BRC-forum or by calling the Office of the President at (302) 857-6001   President Williams established the Blue Ribbon Commission in January and has directed the group to complete is work in crafting a new vision for the University by the end of May 2010. The group is also charged with developing a set of values to help drive excellence.   The co-chairs of the 14-member commission are Dr. Dyremple B. Marsh, dean of the DSU College of Agriculture and Related Sciences, and Wayne Gilchrest, a retired U.S. Congressman from Maryland. They are joined by a diverse group that represents the faculty, staff, students and alumni of DSU, as well as state and federal government, public school system and the business community.   In addition, each member of Delaware’s Congressional Delegation – U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper, U.S. Sen. Ted Kaufman and U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle – is serving as honorary co-chairs of the Commission.   For more information on the Blue Ribbon Commission and the full list of its members, go to www.desu.edu/dsu-president-names-blue-ribbon-commission.      

Choir to Present "I, Too, Sing America" Choral Festival April 18

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The DSU Concert Choir will perform along with five other regional university choirs in the April 18 Choral Festival on campus.

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  Delaware State University’s Office of Choral Activities will present six university choirs in concert in the “I, Too, Sing America” Choral Festival at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 18 in the Education and Humanities Theatre on campus. The unprecedented DSU event that will bring together six different university choirs for one concert is free and open to the public.   The DSU Concert Choir will perform in the Choral Festival along with the choirs from Bowie State University, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, Lincoln University, The University of the District of Columbia and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.   Each choir will perform individual selections and then join together as a more than 300-voice mass choir to culminate the Choral Festival with several grand finale selections.   Dr. Curtis Everett Powell, the DSU director of Choral Activities, said it will be a special treat for the DSU community and the public at-large to experience this event.    “This festival will provide an unparalleled opportunity for our students to hear not only the excellent individual choral groups, but also experience a performance by a 300-voice choir under the baton of one of this country’s premiere choral conductors, composers, and arrangers,” Dr. Powell said.   In addition to Dr. Powell, the choirs will be led by Dr. Marymal Holmes (Bowie St.), Professor Damon Dandridge (Cheney), Professor Edryn Coleman (Lincoln), Professor William Jones (Univ. of DC) and Dr. Sheila McDonald, (UMES).   The Choral Festival will also be attended by Dr. Roland Carter, distinguished composer, conductor and pianist, who is also the founder and CEO of MAR-VEL, a publishing company that specializes on the music and traditions of African American composers.   “We are deeply honored to be joined for the festival my mentor, Professor Roland Marvin Carter – composer and arranger of several of the selections performed by the DSU Concert Choir such as  “In Bright Mansions,” “True Religion,” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” Dr. Powell said.   

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