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.

Jackson State professor cast in acting role alongside Bruce Willis and 50 Cent

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Jackson State University theater professor Yohance Myles was recently cast in a co-starring role alongside Bruce Willis of Die Hard fame and rapper-turned-actor 50 Cent. The filming of Fire with Fire begins July 6 in New Orleans.

Myles, who began teaching at Jackson State in 2010, is a Birmingham native. The 30-year-old holds a bachelor’s degree in theater arts from Alabama State and a master’s of fine arts in acting from Louisiana State University. His film and television credits include The Royal Family, K-Ville and Treme.

“He’s brought his professional work to the classroom,” said Nadia Bodie, coordinator of theatre at JSU. “It is apparent in the energy and excitement we’re seeing in our students.”

While teaching a full load of classes, Myles also had a lead role in his department’s production of A Lesson Before Dying and directed The Drums of Sweetwater. He also was cast in New Stage’s production of A Soldier’s Story.

Myles’ work may give students experience outside of the classroom, according to Mark Henderson, interim chair. “Myles has goals to maybe have our students work on set during filming,” Henderson said. “His commitment is commendable.”

Hit Blues Artist Zac Harmon To Perform at Jackson State

Tommiea King

(JACKSON, Miss.) – The Margaret Walker Center will host its annual fundraiser, An Evening with Zac Harmon, in the Rose Embly McCoy Auditorium at Jackson State University at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 7. The evening will also be a celebration of Margaret Walker’s birthday; she would have turned 96-years-old that day. Tickets are $30 general admission.

Born and raised in the heart of Jackson, Miss., Zac Harmon is a true disciple of the blues music that emanated from the city’s Farish Street Historic District. Universally recognized as the home of such legends like the late, great Elmore James, Farish Street was quite simply the impetus for the blues, as it was the center of culture, commerce and creativity during Harmon’s early years.

While in high school and college, Harmon gigged as a guitarist for the likes of Z.Z. Hill, Dorothy Moore and Sam Myers. Relocating to Los Angeles in the early 1980s, he worked as a studio musician, and then established himself as a writer and producer.

Composing and performing music for a movie score, Harmon was finally compelled to pursue his longtime dream to return to his roots and record his first blues project. The result was the 2002 Live at Babe & Ricky’s Inn, an electrifying testimony to Mississippi blues. Harmon’s debut release was followed by The Blues According To Zacariah, which won the Blues Music Award for “Best New Artist Debut.” XM Satellite Radio listeners voted Harmon “Best New Blues Artist” in 2005, and later that year, he was featured in Blues Revue magazineas one of the 10 artists who “…represent the future of the blues.”

A graduate of Jackson State University, Harmon looks forward to returning home and performing for such an important cause.

Contact the Margaret Walker Center at 601-979-2055 or mwa@jsums.edu for more information about purchasing your tickets.

– 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.

Mississippi science teachers receive innovative pointers

By Marquita Brown
The Clarion-Ledger
June 27, 2011
(article reprinted from The Clarion-Ledger, http://www.clarionledger.com)

Artis Wheatley (from left) of South Pike Junior High, Laterica Hudson of Whitten Middle School and Jennifer Bordelon of St. Joe High School take part in an experiment to determine which of several materials best removes oil from water. The experiment is part of MAST, or Mississippi Academy for Science Teaching at Jackson State University. / Brian Albert Broom/The Clarion-Ledger

The  problem was simple: Fred’s lifesaver was beneath his overturned boat, and he needed rescuing.

But in this case, “Fred” was a gummy worm, his boat a paper cup and the lifesaver a piece of candy.

His fate rested with elementary teachers, who had to come up with steps to rescue Fred and then use a similar approach in a dozen other scientific scenarios – just as their students would during introductions to the scientific method.

About 100 elementary and secondary teachers from across the state spent the past three weeks participating in the Mississippi Academy for Science Teaching at Jackson State University, also known as Project MAST.

Grants totaling $9.2 million paid to bring teachers and professors from across the country to Jackson to help the local educators.

The Mississippi teachers who participated in the academy received about $1,000 worth of equipment and other items to take back to their classrooms. All of the teachers learned about physics, chemistry and astronomy, as well as age-appropriate and low-cost ways to share those lessons with their students.

In the sessions, the teachers saw firsthand how difficult it is to just sit and listen versus doing hands-on activities, said Lerenda Benjamin, a fifth-grade teacher at Brown Elementary in Jackson. “We were able to see immediate relevance … of how we can incorporate it in the classroom,” she said.

The idea is that when classes resume this fall, the teachers will be prepared to give better science instruction. That’s critical in Mississippi, where students lag behind the rest of the country on national standardized tests.

Mississippi students’ scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the Nation’s Report Card, lag behind the rest of the country. Scores from the 2009 science test, the most recent year available, show 59 percent of Mississippi eighth-graders scored lower than basic, which is below grade level.

Students struggle on the state standardized tests, too. Fifth- and eighth-graders take a state standardized science test. In 2010, about 45 percent of fifth-graders scored proficient or advanced, and 43 percent of eighth-graders scored proficient or above. That means more than half of the public school students who took those tests did not have grade-level understanding of the subject.

For high school students, passing the state standardized Biology 1 test is one of the graduation requirements. Last year, about 86.2 percent of the first-time test takers passed the test, but 65 percent scored proficient or above. Since the test is not as difficult as the national assessments, students who pass still may not have a grade-level understanding of the subject.

In schools across the state, science instruction – especially the earth, space and physical sciences – tends to be a lower priority because math and reading are the primary subjects tested, said Mehri Fudavi, the academy’s project director and a physics professor at JSU.

Another problem is a shortage of teachers who want to teach science and are willing to work in rural districts.

“There are an array of state-level and campus-level programs available to address teacher shortages in critical subject areas like science,” Al Rankins, associate commissioner of academic and student affairs for the state College Board, said in an email. “Unfortunately, many students with interest in the sciences are opting for majors leading to jobs with more lucrative starting salaries like engineering and health sciences.

“It is critical that we have good science teachers in our classrooms and we continue work to address the shortages in this area.”

There is also a lack of science teachers willing to go to critical shortage areas, which include school districts in the Delta, said Daphne Buckley, deputy superintendent of quality professionals and special schools at the state Department of Education.

Officials try to recruit Mississippi graduates with science teaching certificates and recruit from other states as well. Teach for America also helps provide teachers for critical shortage subject areas, she said.

A task force, formed by a legislative mandate, is focusing on the state’s limited number of teachers, Buckley said.

The academy can help “school districts’ capacity to offer science courses, particularly in rural areas where a school may have three or four science teachers, maybe one of whom is full time because the others are half-time coaches as well,” said James Cooper, project coordinator.

Several teachers have used the program to improve their knowledge of physics or chemistry and add that endorsement to their licenses, he said. Then schools can offer students more physical science courses.

“We count that definitely as one of our accomplishments,” Cooper said.

Taking more higher-level physical science classes would also help students handle higher level math and science in college, he said.

Mississippi is among the states adopting a common set of curricula and standardized tests. As those changes are implemented, students will be asked to move away from basic questions and answering to using more critical thinking skills.

With the curriculum changes, lessons will be like a net, and the strategies for one subject would carry over into another, said Gabrielle Mills, a science teacher at Murrah High School.

With the science academy, teachers learned activities that touch on several subjects at one time.

If students can make an emotional connection to a lesson, they will retain the information and be able to transfer it in other situations, said Mautoyia Cooper, an eighth-grade science teacher at Northwest Rankin Middle School.

Cooper said she participated in the science academy because she wanted the latest information from science professions that she can use with her students to capture “not just their attention, but … create an experience so that they don’t forget it.”

Darlene Rutledge, a biology teacher at Smithville High School, said it is also important for students to be self-driven learners. “We want them to be prepared and motivated to move on,” said.

Travel to China with JSU

Shanghai/Photo by Marshall Strabala-Flickr creative commons

See China and experience an amazing global culture during Jackson State University’s fall 2011 alternative break November 10-23 in Shanghai.

Applications will be accepted through September 2. Students must be in good standing and enrolled in school with at least 6 credit hours and a GPA of 2.5 or above.

For more information, contact the JSU Center for Service and Community Engaged Learning at 601-979-1294.

Jackson State University and Education Online Services Corporation Announce Launch of Online MBA Program

JACKSON, Miss.–(EON: Enhanced Online News)–The College of Business at Jackson State University announces the launch of the Master of Business Administration (MBA) online degree program starting in the fall 2011 semester. Jackson State has partnered with Education Online Services Corporation (EOServe Corp,) to assist in the implementation of the degree program. Active graduate student recruitment and enrollment are now underway in preparation for the first MBA online degree program classes to begin on August 22. The College of Business at Jackson State University is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB), the highest standard of accreditation for business schools in the nation.

“With the professional landscape and job market becoming increasingly competitive, people are investing in themselves and seeking to advance their careers through education. The MBA program at Jackson State University is accredited, respected, accelerated and specifically designed to meet the needs of working professionals and adult learners.”

“Jackson State University is at the forefront of innovation in higher education while preserving the highest standard of academic excellence,” said Jackson State University President Carolyn W. Meyers. “The global launch of the JSU MBA online degree program is another unprecedented step forward for our university.”

The MBA degree program is designed to develop students in all of the functional areas of business and economics from an applications standpoint, to train them in research methodology as it pertains to business research, and to prepare them for professional and mid-level management positions in a work environment where internationalization of business and industry are critical for remaining competitive.

“The College of Business is pleased to reach this significant milestone,” said Glenda Glover, dean of the JSU College of Business. “Students from across America and throughout the world will now have an opportunity to have access to our world-class MBA degree program online.”

Ezell Brown, Chairman of Education Online Services Corporation, said an MBA is one of the most sought-after graduate degrees in the business world. “The degree is indicative of one’s qualifications in having the skills needed to be successful in business,” Brown said. “With the professional landscape and job market becoming increasingly competitive, people are investing in themselves and seeking to advance their careers through education. The MBA program at Jackson State University is accredited, respected, accelerated and specifically designed to meet the needs of working professionals and adult learners.”

Applicants with a baccalaureate degree in business generally have met the undergraduate pre-requisites necessary prior to enrollment in the JSU MBA online degree program. The curriculum consists of a total of 30 credit hours of graduate business courses. Federal financial aid is also available to applicants who qualify. For further information please visit http://www.jsumsonline.com/MBA/.

“We are very pleased with our ongoing partnership with Jackson State University” Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr, president of Education Online Services Corporation. “The JSU Master of Business Administration online degree program is an affordable and accessible graduate degree program that should be viewed as an excellent opportunity by people who desire to advance their careers in the business marketplace.”

According to salary reports, a college graduate with a business degree can expect to earn about $45,000 as a starting salary as compared to a graduate with an MBA, who can expect to earn about $75,000 as a starting salary.

Also, as the nation moves toward greater financial stability, more employers are investing in talent for the long term, according to CareerBuilder and USA Today’s latest Q2 2011 job forecast.

For more information, call the Jackson State University Office of Business Graduate Programs at 601-979-4323 or JoAnn Zarick at the Education Online Services Corporation at 954-509-0221.

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 www.jsums.edu.

Education Online Services Corporation was founded by a select team of academic and marketing professional who recognized the opportunity to assist colleges and universities in underserved communities with the development of full-service online degree programs. With the primary focus on graduating students, Education Online Services Corporation works closely with the admissions, financial aid, and academic departments of each institution to help them market and increase enrollment by expanding their on-campus degree programs to online degree programs. For more information please got to www.EducationOnlineServices.com.

Mississippi church establishes $10,250 scholarship fund for JSU students

(l-r) Minister Kenneth Johnson, New Freedom Family Ministries Pastor Edwin Smith, JSU Development Director Linda J. Daniels, Regina Trotter Johnson, Treva Benson and Elder Arthur Benson, Sr.

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Members of the New Freedom Family Ministries in Oxford, Miss., recently donated $10,250 to the Jackson State University Development Foundation to establish the Charles E. Johnson Memorial Endowed Book Award. The book award honors the late Charles E. Johnson, a longtime educator in north Mississippi. For over 25 years, Johnson taught at Oakland Elementary School and Coffeeville High School, respectively. Johnson also taught General Educational Development (GED) classes until he retired in 1997. It is estimated that the Memphis, Tenn., native touched over 5,000 students’ lives through his gift of teaching.

“Since my husband Charles was an only child, we wanted a large family and were blessed with nine children,” said Regina Trotter Johnson. “He was not only an educator in the classroom, but an educator at home to our children, all of whom attended college and so far five have earned degrees.”

New Freedom Family Ministries member Elder Arthur Benson said the scholarship is being established in Johnson’s name because of his great influence on academia and the world as a whole.

“This scholarship enables Johnson’s legacy to continue through the recipients of this book award,” said Benson, who along with the church family is credited with initiating the scholarship as a tribute to the former deacon.

“We are extremely appreciative of the New Freedom Family Ministries’ support of Jackson State University and the students we serve,” said JSU Development Director Linda J. Daniels. “This book award will enable the university to provide additional financial assistance to students in pursuit of a quality education. Without private support, many students would be denied the Jackson State experience.”

New Freedom Family Ministries began in 2004 with weekly Wednesday night services at the Days Inn in Oxford. The ministry has since relocated to 809 College Hill Road and has about 70 members and many outreach activities.

“We are thankful to all our members who contributed and made pledges to the book award,” said Minister Edwin Smith, pastor of New Freedom Family Ministries. “One hundred percent of the donations will be used to support students attending Jackson State.”

For information about establishing a book award or scholarship in memory of a loved one, please contact Jackson State University Development Director Linda J. Daniels at 601-979-2282 or linda.j.daniels@jsums.edu.

JSU Centennial Bite: Did you know that W.C. Gorden…?

by Jamea Adams-Ginyard


W. C. Gordon

In this week’s edition of Centennial Bites, JSUTIGERS.com highlights some of the unknown accomplishments of Jackson State University’s most winningest former football Head Coach W.C. Gorden.

Hometown: Nashville, Tenn.
College: Tennessee State University
Favorite Jazz Artist: Thelonious Monk
Coached: 1975-1991

As head coach of the Jackson State University football team, his team led the nation in attendance at football games in Division I-AA from 1983-1994, or 11 straight years. Moreover, JSU achieved the highest average for attendance in Division I-AA history when it averaged 38,873 fans a game in 1977.

In 1980-81, the NCAA issued its first comprehensive graduation rate scorecard and JSU led the state of Mississippi with a 61.9% graduation rate followed by the University of Mississippi with a 45% graduation rate among football players.

In the 1981-82 season, JSU had 21 former student-athletes playing in the NFL, which placed the school in the top five schools producing professional football players.

Over a period of four years (1985-1988) JSU won 28 straight Southwestern Athletic Conference football games, making them the only SWAC team to beat Grambling State four consecutive years.

From 1980-1990 JSU won eight SWAC Championships.

Jackson State University will celebrate its 100th year of Tiger football during the 2011 season. To help Tiger Fans gear up for this very exciting season, JSUTIGERS.com will feature a series of informative and educational snippets of JSU football history from over the last 100 years, with its Centennial Bites series.

CSET grads hired by U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Command

Posted by Jean Gordon Cook

The U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Command (AMCOM) Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala., has recruited some of the best and brightest students from the Jackson State University College of Science, Engineering and Technology.

The five Jackson State graduates pictured below were recently hired permanently into the AMCOM intern program at Redstone Arsenal. The intern program hires quality college graduates and provides the education and training so that each intern develops the advanced skills, knowledge and abilities for successful performance at the journeyman level. Recruits may be located anywhere within the United States.

Brett Williams

Brett Williams
B.S., 2004, Industrial Technology
M.S., 2008, Hazardous Materials Management
Position: Logistics Management Specialist

Lance Bartee

Lance Q. Bartee
B.S., 2010, Industrial Technology/Computer Science
Position: Logistics Management Specialist

Pamela Sharp

Pamela D. Sharp
B.S., 2010, Science/Industrial Technology
Position: Logistics Management Specialist

Timothy White


Timothy White
B.S., 2010, Computer Engineering
Position: Computer Engineer

Natalie E'dris Kelly


Natalie E’dris Kelly
B.S., 2010, Computer Engineering
Position: Software Test Engineer/Programmer

Biology graduates admitted to medical schools

 Posted by Jean Gordon Cook

Kristen Crittle

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Six Jackson State University B.S. biology graduates will start medical school in August to pursue their medical degrees and fulfill their lifelong dream to become medical doctors.

Movado Long

Kristen Crittle, a spring 2011 summa cum laude graduate and a native of Terry, Miss., and Movado Long, a spring 2010 magna cum laude graduate and native of Jackson, Miss., were both admitted to Meharry Medical College in Nashville.

Charnell Cain

Charnell Cain, a spring 2011 summa cum laude graduate and a native of Las Vegas, was admitted to the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn.

Antoinette Taylor

Antoinette Taylor, a spring 2011 magna cum laude graduate and a native of Coffeeville, Miss., was admitted to the School of Medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center, in Jackson, Miss.

Lydia Patton

Lydia Patton of Houston, Texas, a spring 2011 graduate, was admitted to College of Medicine, International University of Nursing, St. Kitts.

Phillip Jenkins of Douglasville, Ga., (photo not available) an August 2010 magna cum laude graduate, was admitted to Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.

“I am very proud of our biology graduates,” said Dr. Greg Begonia, chairman and professor of the Department of Biology in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology at JSU. “The admission of our outstanding graduates to these medical schools reflects the high quality education and service that we provide to our students during their matriculation at JSU.”