Fuller honored for contributions to early childhood education program

vivianfuller150Jackson State University’s Director of Athletics Vivian L. Fuller, Ph.D., was presented with an appreciation award on Thursday for her contributions to the Little Tigers Program, an early education initiative in the College of Education and Human Development.

Dr. Ingrad Smith, College of Education associate dean and co-project director, presented Fuller with the plaque, thanking her for helping the program by supplying T-shirts, sports items and food.

“She just jumped in and her efforts really helped the program as it expanded to reach more households in the Jackson area,” Smith said. “We wanted to do something to let her know how grateful we are.”

After accepting the award, Fuller later discussed the importance of giving back to the community.

“These children are our future, and we have to make sure they get the best start in life. These kinds of programs will help give them that boost,” Fuller said.

The Little Tigers program grew out of the Washington Addition Prenatal Early Childhood Project, which had received a $1.6 million, five-year grant from the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation. The Washington Addition project only targeted children from that neighborhood, so the program had limited resources for the children who came from other areas of the city, said Smith.

“We didn’t want to turn anyone away,” Smith said.  “Dr. Fuller and the JSU Division of Athletics staff came to our rescue with food, sports items and T-shirts for the students.”

There are about 40 families enrolled in the program, which is in its fourth year. The children participate in a number of activities designed to ensure they are ready to begin — and thrive — in kindergarten and first-grade. The children are given books, and they spend time in the Harris-Gambrell Reading Center located at the college.

“We take them on field trips and show educational, fun movies,” said Angela Gobar, Ph.D., project director for the Washington Addition Project.

Gobar said parents are encouraged to be a part of their children’s learning experience by reading books aloud to them and initiating other school-readiness activities.

Past activities have included “Music Day” and “Healthy Food Day,” when the art of music and the benefits of healthy eating were emphasized.

Thursday’s session focused on exercise. A group of youngsters jumped on trampolines, and played with hula hoops as Jacqueline Jackson, Ph.D., who is the director of Kids Kollege, explained how exercise is beneficial to academic growth.

Carla Hammond-Harvey is a teacher for the program, but her child is also enrolled. Hammond-Harvey said she likes Little Tigers because the teacher-student ratio is lower than in other early childhood education programs.

“The children really get a one-on-one experience. It’s a close-knit faculty and staff, and I’ve seen the difference pre-K programs can make in a child’s life,” Hammond-Harvey said.

For more information about the program, contact Ingrad Smith, at 601-979-2351.

JSU professor selected as Apple Distinguished Educator

Dr. Robert Blaine is Jackson State University’s interim associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and director of the Global Inquiry Faculty Teaching Seminar. He now has a new credential: Apple Distinguished Educator.

Robert Blaine, Ph.D.

Robert Blaine, Ph.D.

As an ADE, Blaine joins a select group of more than 2,000 education professionals worldwide who are committed to the promise of educational technology to improve teaching and learning. He is one of only a handful of educators to be chosen this year. The Class of 2013 represents a talented cross-section from the education community. Blaine was informed of his selection by Maxx Judd, worldwide program manager for ADE.

“I’m humbled by this award. To my knowledge, there were only 20 higher education people selected worldwide. It’s a significant honor. I think it speaks to the leadership role in innovation that the university is taking, and I’m only one small piece of that,” Blaine said.

Blaine has been on faculty at JSU since 2004. As director of the Quality Enhancement Plan, which is a facet of the university’s accreditation through the Southern Association for Schools and Colleges, he was involved in research a few years ago that gave rise to a plan to improve student learning, Global Education through Analytical Reasoning.

The GEAR plan called for the creation of a learning environment that included newly redesigned courses written as e-texts. After the implementation, educators found that students who owned mobile devices performed at higher levels than students without the devices. Blaine and a team of other JSU faculty and staff worked to level the playing field for all students by launching the 2012 iPad Technology Advantage. As part of the program,  the entire JSU freshman class was given an iPad, and the device was integrated into the curriculum. The program also tracks student progress.

“The research showed that students who used mobile devices in the curriculum were already generally academically enhanced. The students we needed to reach the most didn’t have access to the technology, at first,” Blaine said. “Now they do.”

The ADE program began in 1994 when Apple recognized K-12 and higher education pioneers who are using a variety of Apple products to transform teaching and learning in powerful ways. Today, it has grown into a worldwide community of visionary educators and innovative leaders who are doing amazing things with technology in and out of the classroom.

There are now more than 2,000 ADEs worldwide, from the United States to China, New Zealand to Turkey. They gather every year at ADE Institutes and education events around the world, as well as online in the ADE community to collaborate on solutions to the global education challenges of today and tomorrow.

JSU students win awards in research competition

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Two teams of Jackson State University undergraduate elementary education majors won awards in the 2013 National Association of African American Studies Undergraduate Research Competition.

JiaVanti Johns, Brandy Jackson, Leontyne Snell, LaTisha Johnson, and Brianna McAllister presented their award-winning paper, “Factors Influencing African American Male Choice of Elementary Education as a Major.” Eric Boone, Jessica Trader, and Tearra Williams also presented their award-winning paper, “Effective Teaching Modes of the iGeneration at an HBCU.”

The students’ research papers will be published in the conference proceedings. The students were mentored and advised by Drs. Tony Latiker and Evornia Kincaid, assistant professors of elementary education in the College of Education and Human Development.

JSU to celebrate cultural diversity during International Week 2013

InternaitonJackson State University’s Division of International Studies will host its annual International Week April 8-12 on the university’s main campus, 1400 John R. Lynch St. in Jackson, Miss. The week promotes global and cultural awareness through educational and entertaining activities. International dignitaries and renowned scholars in the international arena will participate, representing countries including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, China, Brazil, Egypt, Japan, Mexico, Jamaica, Kenya, Germany, and many more.

Activities include:

Opening Day Ceremony, 
Noon, Monday, April 8, Tiger Park (Across from the JSU Student Center)
 A proclamation declaring International Week on the campus of JSU will be read.

International Taste of JSU
, 1– 2 p.m., Monday, April 8, Tiger Park (Across from the JSU Student Center) 
Faculty and staff members will prepare international dishes for sampling by the university community.

International Sports
, 1 – 3 p.m., Wednesday, April 10, John A. Peoples Building Greenery and Walter Payton Center. 
International sports will include Cricket and Table Tennis (Ping Pong).

Parade of Flags, 
9:15 – 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, April 10, Gibbs-Green Plaza. 
K-12 students from central Mississippi schools will march from the Lee. E. Williams Athletics & Assembly Center to Gibbs-Green Plaza to the beat of the percussion section of the JSU marching band.

International Bazaar
, 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., Wednesday, April 10, Gibbs-Green Plaza. 
K-12 students from central Mississippi schools will participate with the entire JSU community. Features include cultural exhibits, international games, door prizes, a fashion show, a talent contest and food.

International Night of Dance
, 7 p.m., Thursday, April 11, Rose E. McCoy Auditorium. 
This event will feature dance groups from around the metro area.

International Peace Conference
, April 9 –12.  
Faculty, staff and students from JSU and other institutions will present papers throughout the week related to the theme of “Peace through Understanding.”

International Scholarship and Awards Banquet – 
6:00 p.m., Friday, April 12, JSU Student Center Ballroom
. The banquet will feature an awards ceremony for people who have supported the JSU Division of International Studies in a very special way. Scholarships will be awarded to American and international students.

 For more information about International Week events, visit www.jsums.edu/intweek or call Patricia Jernigan at 601-979-3796.
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Spencer McClenty
spencer.l.mcclenty@jsums.edu

JSU to celebrate National Engineers Week

EngineeringJackson State University will celebrate National Engineers Week with a panel discussion featuring engineers from Entergy Mississippi and Neel-Schaffer at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, in the School of Engineering building. The forum will provide a dialogue between engineering students and practicing engineers. A reception with refreshments and networking opportunities will follow at 7 p.m.

National Engineers Week, which runs from Feb. 17-23, celebrates the positive contributions engineers make to society and is a catalyst for outreach across the country to children and adults. Engineers Week is part of many corporate and government cultures and is celebrated on every U.S. engineering college campus.

The School of Engineering at Jackson State University provides students with quality undergraduate and graduate programs that are designed to prepare graduates for advanced study in the major or related fields and for the interdisciplinary and global workplace.

Entergy Mississippi serves approximately 437,000 customers in 45 of Mississippi’s 82 counties.

Neel–Schaffer, Inc. is one of the largest privately held engineering firms in the Southeast and Southwest. A multidiscipline engineering and planning firm, Neel-Schaffer encompasses a group of specialized companies with offices in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

Other activities that will take place throughout the week include a showcase of student projects, a visit to the concrete canoe project, and a demonstration by civil engineering students.

-Darrell Robinson, Jr. 

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