Fireside Chat | Diversity


President LaForge hosts guest speaker Dr. Noah Lelek to discuss diversity efforts across campus and recognize his recent award.

“Welcome to this edition of fireside chat. The topic of discussion for today is diversity and the efforts in place by the Delta State faculty, staff, and students,” said LaForge.

Delta State promotes diversity in many ways. The Diversity Committee, chaired by Arlene Sanders, provides opportunities for faculty, staff and students to enhance their understanding of diversity and of multicultural sensitivity; and, promotes curricula to include more opportunities for student engagement in issues of diversity in the classroom. The annual “Winning the Race” conference, which is scheduled for March 30th and 31st, promotes dialogue on race relations by building conversations that bring together diverse communities in the Delta. The Conference Planning Committee is co-chaired by Dr. Paulette Meikle and Dr. Chuck Westmoreland, and the coordinator of the conference is Dr. Myrtis Tabb, who also serves as Delta State’s Title IX officer and represents the university on the system’s Diversity committee.

“The dedication and hard work of our campus community, both inside and outside of the classroom, does not go unnoticed.”

Recently, the Institutions of Higher Learning’s Board of Trustees recognized Dr. Noah Lelek, an outstanding professor here at Delta State, with the Diversity Award of Excellence. Lelek’s rapport with students and colleagues and his dedication to broadening insight into issues of diversity on our campus have led him to receive this prestigious award.

Lelek serves in many capacities at our university.  He is Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and Theatre Arts and also serves as the Coordinator of the university’s Quality Enhancement Plan.

LaForge and Lelek discuss the QEP, a 5-year plan for a university-wide effort to improve cultural competency, and how it will assist Delta State with its diversity efforts.

Lelek has been very involved in developing and promoting activities that advance diversity on campus and within the campus community.  He created and organized the “Bullying, Bystanders, and Violence in the Classroom” conference at Delta State; created and was Artistic Director for the Diversity in Performance Series at Delta State; and, he instituted a nationally-respected Safe Space Training Program for faculty and staff who are interested in learning about how they can provide support and work toward being an ally for the LGBTQ community.

The two discuss the importance of these programs on campus and their impact on the community. LaForge announces this week’s events and closes the chat.

“Coming up this week on campus, The Great Gatsby will be performed at the Bologna Performing Arts Center on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. For tickets or more information, contact the BPAC at 846-4626. On Friday, the Margaret Tullos Symposium will take place from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. This annual conference seeks to highlight the importance of social work practice and service delivery to vulnerable populations in a non-traditional environment. For registration, please visit the website at www.deltastate.edu. Support our athletics program this week by logging on to gostatesmen.com for a list of events taking place this week.”

“Thank you for joining me, and I will see you here next week for another edition of fireside chat.”

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Alumni Board Visit

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Taste of Greenwood

President LaForge attended Taste of Greenwood sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce where he introduced Delta State Alumnus and CEO of UPS David Abney as the Leflore County Hall of Fame inductee.

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