Jackson State University names new athletics director

Jean Gordon Cook

Dr. Vivian L. Fuller

Jackson State University has named a seasoned athletics director and college administrator as its new athletics director.

Vivian L. Fuller, 56, will take the helm of Jackson State’s athletics program later this summer, just in time for the start of JSU’s celebration of 100 years of football.

“I’m excited to be a Tiger,” Fuller said. “Jackson State has such a long and proud tradition; I look forward to honoring that tradition and helping our student athletes be the best they can be.”


JSU President Carolyn Meyers announced Fuller’s appointment on July 20 before a large crowd of JSU fans inside the Lee E. Williams Athletics and Assembly Center’s Sports Hall of Fame.

“Vivian Fuller’s leadership skills, along with her experience as an athlete, academician, and director of athletics at three institutions, make her the best choice for Jackson State University at this time.” Meyers said. “I’m very confident that she will be able to lead our athletics programs to prominence, ensuring that JSU student-athletes succeed on the field or court as well as in the classroom.”


AUDIO: WJSU 88.5FM sports team discuss Vivian Fuller ]

Fuller comes to Jackson State University from Sojourner-Douglass College, where she serves as dean of the college’s Cambridge, Maryland campus. Before joining Sojourner-Douglass in 2003, Fuller spent more than a decade directing the athletics programs at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Tennessee State University and Northeastern Illinois University.

When named AD at Tennessee State in 1997, Fuller became the first African-American woman to lead a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Athletics program with a football team. That team finished its first season under her leadership with a 9-3 record and won the Ohio Valley Conference championship.

Jackson’s State’s new AD is a nationally known expert on academic support programs for student-athletes, academic advising, women in sports and management and gender equity. She has testified before the U.S. Senate in congressional hearings on gender equity and minority participation in sports and has been involved in numerous NCAA committees including the Management Council, the Peer Review Committee, the Initial Eligibility Standards Committee, the Gender Equity Task Force and the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP), for which she served as chairperson.

Fuller began her career in higher education at Bennett College in 1978 as the director of intramurals and instructor of physical education. From 1984-87 she served as assistant director for advisement programs for student-athletes at North Carolina A&T, earning a promotion to assistant director of athletics. In 1987, she became associate director of intercollegiate athletics at Indiana University in Pennsylvania, where she was responsible for internal operations of the program and developing the academic component for student-athletes.

Fuller earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education from Fayetteville State University in 1977, a Master’s of Education from the University of Idaho in 1978, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Iowa State University in 1985.

 For more photos, click the following link: http://jsutigers.cstv.com/view.gal?id=97221.

– JSU –


About Jackson State University: Bridge to a Brighter Tomorrow

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 http://www.jsums.edu.

Founder of JSU Taekwondo Karate Club honored for 40 years at helm

The Clarion-Ledger


Lindsey Horton couldn’t fight back the tears this weekend as he was honored for 40 years as chief instructor of Jackson State University’s Taekwondo Karate Club. Students from as far as Bermuda returned to Jackson to celebrate the man who

Lindsey Horton has been chief instructor at the Jackson State University TaeKwonDo Karate Club for 40 years. / Special to The Clarion-Ledger

taught them the rules of martial arts and life. Several thousand students have joined the karate club since its founding in 1971.

“This program has the opportunity to reach a lot of young people,” Horton, 59, said. “I use taekwondo to get their attention because you have to get their attention before you teach them anything.”

Horton, an eighth-degree black belt and deputy chief of the Jackson Police Department, was introduced to taekwondo at an early age. His brother was a military man stationed in Korea.

“He would come back and talk to us about his experience,” Horton said. “The word alone amazed me – taekwondo.”

Horton took lessons at the YMCA throughout middle school and high school before enrolling at Jackson State. A snare drummer in the Sonic Boom Marching Band and a first-degree black belt, an 18-year-old Horton incorporated taekwondo into his personal workouts and caught the attention of his fellow bandmates.

“They observed me working out and approached me,” Horton said. “One workout led to many workouts, and at that time everyone wanted to be Bruce Lee, myself included.”

Horton soon got the green light from university officials to start the club, which was only open to students and faculty at the time. The club is now open to all ages 5 and up. Former students reflected on how Horton has shaped their lives. Robert Cook, who founded the spinoff Metro Karate Club in 1978, said Horton holds a special place in his life for several roles including as an instructor and law enforcement colleague.

“I have never been disappointed in any of those capacities,” said Cook, deputy director of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.

Recalling the first day he met Horton in 1974 at JSU, Cook said he saw “this guy who wasn’t big in stature doing some amazing things.”

Many said Horton was the father they never had, the man who taught them the true meaning of respect, discipline and integrity. This past Father’s Day, he received 67 text messages, more than 40 cards and countless phone calls.

“I’ve been truly blessed, perhaps more than I deserve,” said Horton, who has received recognition from state, local and county officials.

Cook said Horton has made a significant difference in so many lives not just for teaching how to kick and punch “but for the life skills he teaches, by living by example.”

He’s taught that “your word is your bond, that your character is what you do when no one is watching,” Cook said.

Southern Heritage Classic Tiger Lane Tailgating Spots Go On Sale

Casey Therriault, JSU Quarterback

Tailgating spots on Tiger Lane for the Southern Heritage Classic presented by FedEx, will go on sale Wednesday July 13, 2011 at 10 a.m. The purchase of a Tiger Lane tailgating spot is for the Southern Heritage Classic on September 10, 2011, and for no other games or events at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.Similar to previous Southern Heritage Classic football games, all other tailgating areas will be sold on a first come first service basis beginning Thursday, September 8th at 8 a.m. on site.
A limited number of RV spaces with electrical connections will also be available through Ticketmaster be-ginning July 13th, 2011. RV spaces with electrical connections will be sold for $60.00 per space plus ser-vice charges.

To purchase Tiger Lane tailgating spots, patrons can visit Ticketmaster on line atwww.tickemaster.com and search “2011 Southern Heritage Classic Tiger Lane” or to charge by phone, call Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000.

[Visit the Southern Heritage Classic facebok page for info on this year's event!]

Each Tiger Lane Tailgating space is $25.00 plus Ticketmaster service charges. Patrons can purchase up to 4 Tiger Lane tailgating spots at one time. Each Tiger Lane tailgating space has a 10’Wx20’L parking space, an adjacent 10’x10’ grass pad, and one (1)-20 amp electrical connection.

A few things you should know about tailgating at Tiger Lane:

  • Tailgaters must make sure that all of their tailgating equipment/belongings and vehicle fit into their as-signed spaces as not to infringe upon other patrons, drive lanes, walkways or adjacent spots.
  • Staking or drilling on the lawn or any asphalted area is not allowed.
  • For safety and traffic flow, golf carts, ATV’s and scooters are prohibited on the property and in Tiger Lane. Any utility trailer, flatbed, truck or vehicle carrying this type of equipment will not be allowed to enter the property.
  • Game day entrance into Tiger Lane will be at gates 8 and 9.

Enjoying Tiger Lawn 
Tiger Lawn is the open grassy area that is free and open to the public. People are encouraged to enjoy the park on game day by bringing blankets, lawn chairs and picnic items. Tiger Lawn is located between the Tiger Lane tailgating spots. For safety reasons, no tents or cooking of any type will be allowed on the lawn.

About the Southern Heritage Classic presented by FedEx
Established in 1990, the Southern Heritage Classic was founded by Fred Jones Jr., a veteran of the national entertainment industry and owner/limited partner of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies. The Southern Heritage Classic is the premier sports and entertainment event in Memphis and is produced by SMC Entertainment. For more information about the Southern Heritage Classic, visit online at www.southernheritageclassic.com.

Entergy Mississippi, Inc., presents $50,000 JSU School of Engineering

Jean Gordon Cook

Sen. John Horhn (left), Entergy Mississippi, Inc., president and CEO Haley Fisackerly, JSU College of Science, Engineering and Technology dean Mark G. Hardy, JSU School of Engineering associate dean Robert Whalin, JSU Development Foundation executive director Evangeline Robinson, Sen. Hillman Frazier and Entergy Mississippi, Inc. major projects director Jeff Richards.

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Entergy Mississippi, Inc., presented Jackson State University with a $50,000 check on July 12 toward the company’s $500,000 commitment to JSU’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology. The grant is part of the company’s support of JSU’s Entergy Power Systems Laboratory and scholarships for the university’s engineering students.  

In 2009, Entergy Mississippi, Inc., pledged $400,000 to Jackson State to establish the Entergy Power Systems Laboratory in the School of Engineering and an additional $100,000 for scholarships. The grant also helps fund the power systems track in Jackson State’s proposed electrical engineering program anticipated to being offering classes in 2012.

The availability of engineering graduates is especially critical for the utility industry, where a large percentage of the work force is nearing retirement. To guarantee a steady supply of qualified replacements, Entergy has increased efforts to renew interest in engineering-related fields and work with schools to expand degree programs.

Speaking at a press conference when the $500,000 award was announced. Entergy Mississippi, Inc., president and chief executive officer Haley Fisackerly said, “The students who graduate from this program will be an incredible resource not only for Entergy, but for businesses and industry throughout Mississippi.”

The Entergy Power Systems Laboratory at Jackson State is being equipped to enable students to conduct experiments in power simulation, power electronics, electrical machines and other subjects related to managing and modernizing the nation’s energy transmission systems. Students also will learn about electric grid infrastructure, energy conservation, renewable energy and large-scale smart grids.

JSU professor of Military Science promoted to lieutenant colonel in U.S. Army with twin sister

Sonny Long
Victoria Advocate


Sisters climb Army ranks together

Identical twins Vanessa Hicks-Callaway (left) and Jennifer Hicks-McGowan, professor of Military Science at JSU, were promoted together Thursday in San Antonio to the rank of Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army.

When Jennifer Hicks-McGowan, JSU professor of Military Science , and Vanessa Hicks-Callaway were little, their mother used to dress the identical twins alike, but in different colors so people could tell them apart.

Today, the 44-year-olds proudly wear the same colors, those of the U.S. Army with lieutenant colonel insignia on their shoulders. The sisters were promoted to their new rank together in a ceremony Thursday at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. This wasn’t the first time the pair was promoted at the same time – they also received their promotions to captain and to major together.

“To be promoted at the same time, together, is a tremendous blessing for both of us,” said Hicks-Callaway. “It is an indicator that we have not failed those who have played a part in our success along the way. Their efforts, their prayers, their advice, their mentorship has not been in vain.”

Her sister expounded on their relationship.

“We are confidants of each other,” Hicks-McGowan said. “I don’t make a decision, professional or personal, without bouncing it off Vanessa first.We are constantly reminding and encouraging and pushing each other to make it to that next level together. The teamwork has paid off.”

The sisters grew up in Victoria, Texas and graduated from Victoria High School in 1985.

“It is a great feeling to have an identical twin. You have this feeling that someone understands you and relates to you,” said Hicks-Callaway. “At the same time, there is a balance. We tried to establish our own identity, our own selves. There are two sides to the coin.”

Hicks-McGowan gave credit to their mother, Viola Hicks, for helping them remain individuals.

“We’d dressed alike, but in different colors, so parents and teachers would not get confused. From the beginning, she tried to help us establish our own identify through that process,” she said.

In high school, they were members of the Victoriadores dance team, the first blacks to make the senior squad in 1985, said Hicks-McGowan……………

Read the rest of this story here

Miss. Learning Institute and Ole Miss host first Early Childhood Leadership Institute

Spencer McClenty


Nikisha Ware, Ph.D

The Mississippi Learning Institute (MLI) at Jackson State University, in collaboration with the University of Mississippi’s Institute for Education and Workforce Development, recently hosted the first National Institute for School Leadership’s Early Childhood Executive Leadership Institute at the JSU Student Center, located on the university’s main campus.

The event serves to bridge the gaps between early learning programs and K-12 schools and was designed to increase the capacity of leaders in early childhood education programs by helping them understand and connect the many public and private systems that are focused on the developmental needs of children from birth through age 8.

“MLI has a record of offering quality, research-based professional development to build teacher capacity,” said Nikisha Ware, executive director for the MLI.  “We learned long ago that a single dose of training or coaching will not sustain our successes. Professional development for early childhood professionals must be job-embedded and meaningful in order to sustain student achievement.”

Participants of the institute engaged in several activities focused on principles early childhood leaders need to know in order to lead programs that develop and sustain learning in young children.

The event also aims to help ensure a seamless, coordinated transition of children from the early childhood care and education system into the formal K-12 school system, and provides an opportunity for shared growth and learning that cannot be achieved by sectors engaging in professional development in isolation.

“MLI and Jackson State are visionary in bringing this research based professional development to our state,” said Susan Rocker, director of the University of Mississippi’s Institute for Education and Workforce Development

JSU National Alumni Association, Inc. 8th Bienniel Conf. recap

Alice M. Smith
JSUNAA Reporter

Roland S. Martin

Roland S. Martin, a national award-winning and multifaceted journalist, syndicated columnist and CNN analyst, was the keynote speaker at the Jackson State University National Alumni Association’s (JSUNAA) 8th Biennial Conference which was held in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 2-5, 2011, at the Sheraton Hotel on Canal Street. Martin is the author of several books, namely Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith; Speak Brother!: A Black Man’s View of America; and The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House.  He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University in 1991, a 20-year member of the National Association of Black Journalists and a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.  Martin was named by Ebony Magazine as one of the “150 Most Influential African-Americans in the United States.”  He delivered his “Jackson State of the Art” speech with power and dynamite, bringing home many points about the high percentage of African-American alumni who attend historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and do not give back to their universities. Martin is a committed contributor to his alma mater and his message regarding giving back to one’s educational institution was very encouraging and persuasive.

The JSUNAA, armed with the slogan “Renewed Alumni: Preserving the Legacy, Embracing the Future,” was true to its words. The alumni, families and friends that attended the conference were representative of the strong evidence of the perseverance to sustain the mission and goals of the association and Jackson State University (JSU).

As a sign of goodwill, conference volunteers planned community events in New Orleans which were associated with the conference. The events included a service project with the Ronald McDonald House in New Orleans and a Job Fair in partnership with Job1 New Orleans. The volunteers provided valuable service to the community projects.

The opening session for the 8th Biennial Conference was held in the Waterbury Ballroom of the Sheraton Hotel. Terry L. Woodard, JSUNAA President, presided over the meeting. After his welcome, mistress of ceremonies, Tarita Benson Davis, Southwest Regional Vice President and conference chairperson, also welcomed everyone to the 8th Biennial Conference. There was a “Parade of Flags” which highlighted the six regions and members of the JSU National Alumni Association. The parade yielded an atmosphere of celebration with party-horns, dancing,  Mardi Gras beads, alumni, family, friends and some of that good ole’ New Orleans second-line music by the Pin Stripe Brass Band. Dr. Carolyn W. Meyers, JSU President, greeted everyone in grand JSU style. The topical presenters included JSU’s very own Dr. John A. Peoples, Jr., JSU President Emeritus (The Historical University Overview) and Dr. Hilliard L. Lackey, III, JSUNAA Immediate Past President (A Historical Perspective of JSUNAA). The featured speakers were Dr. Charles K. Chiplin, English Professor for University College at JSU and Brittany Patton, JSU Pre-Alumni Council President. In a highly dramatic and riveting speech, Dr. Chiplin talked about the ongoing struggles of African-Americans in their quest for freedom and equality. Patton delivered a powerful message to alumni about their commitments and contributions to JSU.

The Panel Discussion: Engaging Alumni in Athletic Enhancement, a concurrent workshop, presented moderator, Robert Walker, Interim Athletic Director and panel participants, which included Adrienne Sweeney, JSU Compliance Officer and Ricardo Comegy, JSU Head Football Coach. The panel was asked a series of questions regarding the athletics department and their financial goals and objectives for JSU and the athletes.   

The second concurrent workshop, Leadership Development, was presented by Dr. Dyrren Davis who represented an interactive and lively discussion on “Leadership: How to Persuade and Influence as a Leader.”  

The Panel Discussion: For Your Health – “Health and Wellness in the African-American Community,” was conducted in the Waterbury Ballroom. Annette Johnson, Midwest Regional Vice President, was the facilitator and the panel participants included moderator, Dr. Earlexia Norwood, Family Practice, Board Certified Physician with the Henry Ford Health Systems (Detroit, Michigan); and JSUNAA 1st Vice President; Dr. LaToya Mason, Anesthesiologist, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, TX); Dr. Davida Manor-Ward, Emergency Room Physician, Memorial Herman Hospital System (Houston, TX); Dr. Katrina Davis, OBGYN, Associate Professor of OB/GYN at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Director of University Women’s Clinic (Little Rock, AR); Dr. Paresh Ray, JSU Professor Prostate Cancer Research; and Ms. Angela Walker, a breast cancer advocate who is employed by a community based health organization in Chicago, Illinois that advocates for early detection. Walker is a five-year breast cancer survivor. Impressionably, the panel consisted of JSU alumni and affiliates.

The Meet the President Reception, hosted by the New Orleans Alumni Chapter, was held in the New Orleans Board of Trade Building. The food and camaraderie were fun and relaxing and Dr. Meyers enjoyed the festivities and food. She was very positive when expressing the advancements and opportunities of JSU and other historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

 Regardless of the activities that were experienced the previous night, early Saturday morning found the Get Fit Part 1 folks ready, willing and able to exercise and focus on personal training, fitness and nutrition.  This exercise event, led by Mia Trevillion Barney, Dr. Katrina Lackey-Davis and Mr. Dennis Davis, was held in the Southdown room of the hotel.

After all the physical activity and sweating, the alumni had their business meeting and breakfast which was led by Terry L. Woodard, National Alumni Association President.  Gwen Caples, JSU Director of Alumni and Constituency Relations and JSUNAA Executive Director, announced that approximately $36 million had been raised for “The Campaign for Jackson State,” and alumni contributed $2.8 million. She mentioned that the fundraiser ends on June 30, 2011 and encouraged alumni to continue giving to JSU. She also talked about ways for increasing the JSUNAA membership that included the suggestion for early preparation for high school seniors.     

Ted Ellis, Artist in Residence, is artistically gifted. He spoke eloquently about the history and purpose for art. Ellis was recognized as an artist of historical importance and several of his paintings are in the permanent collection of the DuSable Museum, McKenna Museum, The Free People of Color Museum and the Amistad Research Center.  (For more information on his art, please visit http://www.tellisfineart.com).

The Saturday plenary session was a moderated discussion on the future of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The panelists included Rhonda Cummings (Moderator), Dr. Carolyn Meyers, JSU President, Dr. Victor Okpolo, Chancellor, (Southern University of New Orleans), Dr. Betty Graves, JSU Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management and Dr. Hilliard L. Lackey, III, JSUNAA Past President. The panel of officiators answered questions from the audience explicitly and with expertise. Other concurrent workshops conducted in various areas of the Sheraton included Legal Issues for Alumni Organizations (presented by Mr. Michael Bruno of Bruno and Tervalon and Camelia Joseph of The Joseph Group), Building Your Financial Portfolio/Investments (presented by Mr. Donnell Carter, Primerica),  Friendraising & Fundraising (presented by Evangeline Robinson, Executive Director of Institutional Advancement) and Get ‘Em While They’re Young: Alumni Orientation for Students (presented and moderated by  JSU alumni and students: Nora Jones, Brittany Patton, David Robinson, Ranetta Goss, Raven Griffin and Lonnie Simpson).  

The conference banquet was a sight to behold with the entertainment and delicious menu. Roland S. Martin, Keynote Speaker, Lydia Payne Monie, Mistress of Ceremonies and President (New Orleans Metro Alumni Chapter), Terry Scott, Master of Ceremonies and 1st Vice President (New Orleans Metro Alumni Chapter) and Robert Norwood, President (Detroit Michigan Alumni Chapter) really set the pace for a grand celebration. Scott, a comedian, really sported his wares as he entertained the audience and convinced us all that “he’s got jokes.” The entertainment was performed by the Culu Children’s Traditional African Dance Company and they are managed by Mariama Curry, JSUNAA Southwest Regional Board Member. The extremely tall stilts dancer held everyone’s attention in awe. He was an expert dancer and probably danced better than some with their natural legs. The dancers were absolutely beautiful in their colorful attire and put their hearts and soul into their dance rituals. Other entertainment included Kiana Day-Holder, Miss JSU 2004-2005. During the course of the banquet, Terry Scott, a member of the New Orleans Alumni Chapter, made the following check presentations to JSU: $2,500 to President Carolyn W. Meyers and $2,500 to Lydia Payne Monie (New Orleans Metro Alumni Chapter).

            Annette Johnson and Terry L. Woodard presented awards to the chapters and Young Alumni Achievement Award honorees: Christen Scott (Memphis, TN), Rosalind E. Hal (Jackson, MS), Will C. Pugh (Duncanville, TX), Candace Elliott (Richmond, TX), Erin Mercer (Antioch, TN), Lauren Spinks (Chicago, IL), Leon D.E. Cole (Newport News, VA), Marlene V. Harris ( Loganville, GA) and Danyelle McKinney-Armour (West Bloomfield, MI). They were all successful alumni that graduated less than 15 years ago. The chapter awards were presented in the following categories: Membership (Tupelo), Student Recruitment (Metro Atlanta, Chicago, Nashville, Los Angeles), Public Relations (Metro Atlanta, Memphis, Chicago, Houston, Hattiesburg, Los Angeles) and Fundraising (Meridian, Houston). Dr. Derek Henson, JSUNAA 2nd Vice President, shared acknowledgements and the closing remarks were offered by the Master and Mistress of Ceremonies. Together, we sang the Alma Mater “Jackson Fair” by Pawley Hall.

As the old saying goes “all good things must come to an end” and there was no exception for the conference.  On Sunday morning, Get Fit, Part 2 was in motion with Mariama Curry and her Culu Children’s Traditional African Dance Company and the participants enjoyed the rigorous and fun workout.

The Closing Prayer Breakfast was the finale for 8th Biennial Conference. Tarita Benson Davis presided over the breakfast which included inspirational messages from Reverend Barron Banks, JSUNAA Chaplain and Vera Watson, JSUNAA Mississippi Regional Vice President. The assembly enjoyed singing by the Golden Voices Community Choir Youth Ensemble, a group of only four, whose voices filled the room like a large choir in perfect pitch. After their performance, Davis thanked everyone for their participation and presented certificates and awards of appreciation. In closing, Terry L. Woodard encouraged all alumni to remain faithful and committed to JSU.   

            The JSU National Alumni Association Executive Committee would like to thank alumni and friends nationwide who worked tirelessly to plan a successful and productive 8th Biennial Conference.  


Special Thanks

Tarita Benson Davis, Conference Co-Chair

Lydia Payne Monie, Conference Co-Chair

D’An Carter, Conference Co-Chair

James Kelley Terry, Conference Coordinator

 Steering Committee

Local Host Committee Members

Alumni Chapters

 Volunteers, Presenters, Sponsors, Vendors 

 Alumni, Family and Friends

 8th Biennial Conference Participants

Donald Richardson, Photographer 

Anthony Dean, JSU Photographer

Keith Collins, JSU Photographer and Videographer

Sherman L. Jackson, Jr., Photographer

Sheraton New Orleans Hotel  

Harvard University selects JSU Associate V.P. for summer institute

Spencer McClenty


Nicole E. Evans, Ph.D

Jackson State University administrator Nicole E. Evans recently completed the summer 2011 session of the Institute for Management and Leadership in Education (MLE) at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Evans, associate vice president for the JSU Office of Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness, and director of the university’s reaffirmation process with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), was one of 109 participants from 34 states and nine countries.

The MLE, held June 18 – July 1, is designed for experienced administrators who are responsible for thinking strategically about their institutions’ change agendas. Participants are taught to understand which aspects of their institution’s mission and culture are critical to future success and how to close the gap between their best intentions and what they are actually able to accomplish. The institute also serves as a valuable opportunity for mid-career professional assessment and renewal. Participants are able to reflect on their own leadership strengths and weaknesses with Harvard faculty and accomplished colleagues from across the country and around the world.

JSU professor named Hinds County School District Parent of the Year

Spencer McClenty


Jackson State University professor, Gwendolyn S. Dawkins, was recently selected Parent of the Year for the Third Congressional District of Mississippi, the Hinds County School District, and Byram Middle School by the Mississippi Department of Education.

Gwendolyn Dawkins

Dawkins, who serves as visiting professor in the JSU College of Education and Human Development, has been actively involved in the Hinds County School District since August 2003 when she became a member of the district’s Parent Teacher Organization. Over the years, she has served as PTO treasurer at Gary Road, volunteered as the Homeroom Parent and helped with the school’s Honor Roll Program, teacher recognition activities, book fairs, Back To School Night and more.

“Gwen has worked very hard in the Hinds County Schools,” said Larry Cotton, president of the Byram Middle School PTO. “She started at Gary Road Elementary and then continued on to Gary Road Intermediate and Byram Middle. She is the backbone of the PTO. Without Gwen’s assistance, events and other activities at our school would go undone.”

Gwen has been employed at Jackson State University for over 20 years and engages her JSU students by having them judge class projects of students from Byram Middle School. She also is very active in the community by volunteering for the Junior Auxiliary, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., and the Cure Sickle Cell Foundation.

JSU College of Education to provide virtual classroom simulation for students

Spencer McClenty

Ingrad Smith, associate dean of the College of Education, and Daniel Watkins, dean of the College of Education

The Jackson State University College of Education and Human Development has partnered with simSchool as one of 39 schools to be part of this year’s simSchool Modules Project, a web-based classroom simulation program where students and instructors can explore instructional strategies, examine classroom management techniques, and practice building relationships with students that will translate into increased learning.

“Many colleges around the world applied to be part of this program,” said Ingrad Smith, associate dean of the College of Education. “This is going to help our graduates to be better prepared for the real life classroom.”

The SimSchool Modules Project is funded by Next Generation Learning Challenges, a collaborative, multi-year grant program aimed at dramatically increasing college readiness and completion through applied technology. As a Level 3 simSchool partner, which is the highest level offered in the program, the College of Education and Human Development receives 600 licenses, along with 15 months of free online access to simSchool activities and unlimited copies of research and learning materials on the American Association for Colleges for Teacher Education web site, as well as the opportunity to author and edit peer-reviewed research journal special editions.

Furthermore, the partnership allows College of Education professors to undertake collaborative research to contribute to national publications. This research will provide the venue for the development of quarterly reports and summary documents of partnership activities.

“The intended result of this program for us is that our students be better qualified to go out into the field,” Smith said.