JSU’s Washington Addition Early Childhood Education Project gets a Target grant

WashingtonAdditionProject(JACKSON, Miss.) – Target recently presented a $2,000 check to the Washington Addition Early Childhood Education Project (WAPECEP) for its Raising Readers Book Club.

The six-week initiative will promote literacy to parents and their children through interesting stories about history and culture. Once a week, community leaders will read the stories to participating children, and through those stories, encourage positive character traits, said Thomas Williams, WAPECEP project coordinator.

The Washington Addition Early Childhood Education Project is funded by the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation and provides a comprehensive approach to early intervention for children and families. It involves a multi-disciplinary approach to address the various domains of human development.

– JSU –

About Jackson State University: Challenging Minds, Changing Lives

Jackson State University, founded in 1877, is a historically black, high research activity university located in Jackson, the capital city of the state of Mississippi. Jackson State’s nurturing academic environment challenges individuals to change lives through teaching, research and service. Officially designated as Mississippi’s Urban University, Jackson State continues to enhance the state, nation and world through comprehensive economic development, health-care, technological and educational initiatives. The only public university in the Jackson metropolitan area, Jackson State is located near downtown, with three satellite campuses throughout the city. For more information, visit www.jsums.edu.

JSU names Taylor director of bands

Dowell Taylor

Dowell Taylor

Jackson State University has named Dowell Taylor it new director of bands. Taylor, a 1976 alumnus and former member of the Sonic Boom of the South marching band, has served as interim band director since April. The Jackson native holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in music education from Jackson State and studied wind conducting at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.

Taylor is familiar with the role. As JSU’s director of bands from 1984 to 1992, he led the Sonic Boom to nationally televised performances at Motown’s 30th Anniversary Celebration and the NBA All-Star Basketball game.

Taylor said he is excited about his future with Jackson State’s bands.

“I have a unique opportunity to continue to develop a group of instrumentalists into a fine marching machine,” said Taylor.

Dr. Okojie named to National Academy of Inventors Board of Directors

Dr. Felix Okojie

Dr. Felix Okojie

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Jackson State University Vice President for Research and Federal Relations Dr. Felix Okojie has been named to the Board of Directors of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

Jackson State University is a charter member institution of the NAI, which was founded at the University of South Florida to recognize inventors who have a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Five JSU researchers were among the first inventors to be inducted into the academy. The academy works to enhance the visibility of university technology and academic innovation, mentors innovative students, and translates the inventions of its members to benefit society.

Okojie joined Jackson State University nearly 20 years ago. In his current capacity, he has helped bring in more than $700 million to the university. He holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Auchi Polytechnic, a master of public health from Jackson State University and a doctorate in education from Atlanta University.

JSU contracts compliance specialist received third consecutive SMA award

HillKamesha Hill, contracts compliance specialist in the Jackson State University Office of Contractual Services, recently received a third consecutive Strategic Marketing Affiliates (SMA) Top Artwork Reviewer award. SMA is a collegiate licensing company that partners with Jackson State to generate revenue from the licensing of the university’s logo, image and brand.

Last year, JSU generated about $67,000 through the program.
Hill, who has held her position for seven years, said the award was special because it “shows that I take my job seriously”.

On average, Jackson State has about 112 licensed vendors who regularly submit artwork for approval to adorn various products ranging from t-shirts and caps to socks and area rugs.

“Our vendors submit their designs to SMA and once the company reviews it, they submit it to me for final approval,” she said.

The average turnaround time for vendors to get approval through the program is 125 hours. Hill’s average is three hours.

“I’ve reviewed more than 662 pieces of artwork this year,” said Hill, who’s peers only review (on average) 221 pieces of artwork per year. “It’s important for me to do a good job because I am an alum of Jackson State, I love Jackson State and JSU doesn’t make money if I don’t approve the artwork quickly. So when I approve it, the merchandise is able to get out to the market to be sold.”

For more information on the JSU licensing program, visit smaworks.com.

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Spencer McClenty
601-979-1457

JSU awarded $900K NCAA grant

(JACKSON, Miss.) –The NCAA has awarded Jackson State University $900,000 to help enhance the academic outcomes of JSU student-athletes. The funds, which will be dispersed over three years, are part of the NCAA’s Limited-Resource Institutions Grant Program Pilot.

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“Jackson State University is thrilled to be selected by the NCAA for this innovative program,” said JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers. “We are committed to ensuring that our student-athletes are just as successful in the classroom as they are in their athletic competitions. This grant will help us build upon the great progress we’ve been making in ensuring academic excellence for all students.”

The NCAA grant will fund JSU’s “930 Initiative,” which aims to build a sustainable program that will improve Academic Progress Rate (APR) outcomes for student-athletes.

“Academic success is everyone’s business,” said Dr. Vivian L. Fuller, JSU’s Director of Athletics. “Jackson State University is committed to building champions for generations to come.”

In recent years, Jackson State has been working to steadily improve Academic Progress Rates, Graduation Success Rates, Federal Graduation Rates, team and division grade point averages and credit hours earned for the student-athletes participating in JSU’s 18 athletic programs. Those efforts have yielded great results, including increased APR scores for the six teams whose single-year APR scores had fallen below 930.

The NCAA-funded pilot program at Jackson State will enhance academic support programs for student-athletes and build upon the system of accountability. Expected outcomes of the “930 Initiative” are increased grade point averages for student-athletes, improved team APR eligibility and retention scores and zero teams falling into the penalty structure.

“As the academic expectations for Division I student-athletes continue to increase, the NCAA is proud to offer assistance to those institutions that have demonstrated need and a plan for using these funds to contribute to student-athlete success,” said NCAA Executive Vice President Dr. Bernard Franklin. “We hope these institutions will serve as a model for other schools as they seek to meet the new APR benchmarks. This pilot program is evidence of the NCAA’s commitment to the achievement of our member institutions and the student-athletes on their campuses.”

– JSU –

About Jackson State University: Challenging Minds, Changing Lives

Jackson State University, founded in 1877, is a historically black, high research activity university located in Jackson, the capital city of Mississippi. Jackson State’s nurturing academic environment challenges individuals to change lives through teaching, research and service. Officially designated as Mississippi’s Urban University, Jackson State continues to enhance the state, nation and world through comprehensive economic development, health-care, technological and educational initiatives. The only public university in the Jackson metropolitan area, Jackson State is located near downtown, with three satellite campuses throughout the city. For more information, visit www.jsums.edu or call 601-979-2121.

69-year-old mother of 11 earns JSU degree

Ethel T. Williams Singleton

Fall 2012 graduate Ethel Williams Singleton poses for photo with Jackson State University President Carolyn W. Meyers, Ph.D.

At 69, Ethel T. Williams Singleton has fulfilled her long-term goal of earning a college degree.

“I got married and had children, so I couldn’t go to college,” said the mother of 11, including four sets of twins.

Singleton, is one of close to 550 graduates who participated in Jackson State University’s fall 2012 commencement on Dec. 8.

Along with raising her own children – who all hold bachelor’s or associate’s degrees – the Raymond, Miss., resident worked for years with children at the Mississippi Department of Human Services’ Oakley Detention Center.

In the late 1980s, Singleton decided to go to college, and earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice in 1991 from Hinds Community College. After retiring in 2004, she thought about getting a bachelor’s degree, and returned to the classroom in 2010 at Jackson State University.

DSC_7592Despite the age difference, Singleton said she felt comfortable with her fellow students. She especially loved listening to and participating in classroom conversations.

“Some of my classmates were younger than I was, but they treated me just like I was one of them,” she said. “They didn’t treat me like I was old or anything like that. It just felt good.”

During commencement, Singleton marched along with her classmates to receive her college degree.

“I am very proud of myself,” said the grandmother of more than 30. “I can tell my grandchildren, ‘Keep going until you reach your goals.’ If their grandmother can do it, they can do it.”

Singleton is not rushing back into the world of work with her degree in hand.

“I just wanted my degree,” she said. “It’s a milestone that I had always wanted to accomplish.”