Archives for April 2015
LIVINGSTON — The University of West Alabama has announced a partnership with Shelton State Community College that will provide unique educational opportunities through resource sharing and coordinated programs at the Demopolis Higher Education Center. The two schools have also entered a reverse transfer agreement for students who wish to earn college credits at various degree levels.
Degree completion is based on the 2+2 model. Courses and training will be offered by both schools through coordinated schedules that lead to degree tracks such as criminal justice, business, and early childhood development.
The courses completed through Shelton State can be credited to a degree program at UWA, allowing students to first earn an associate’s degree from Shelton State, progressing to a four-year bachelor’s degree from UWA. The partnership reflects both schools’ missions to provide accessible and convenient learning and career advancement opportunities for citizens of the Black Belt region.
“Students often plan to attend a four-year college, but countless obstacles can get in the way of even well-scripted plans,” explained Shelton State President Andrea Mayfield. “Shelton State’s reverse transfer partnership agreement with the University of West Alabama provides a pathway for students to obtain college credentials based on credits earned along the way.”
“By saving time and money, the student may continue to advance their education by earning additional credentials and degrees,” Mayfield explained. “We are proud to launch this partnership, thereby making a difference in the lives of the people we serve.”
UWA President Ken Tucker said that the new collaboration will enhance an already productive relationship between the two schools.
“UWA and Shelton State have partnered on several very successful initiatives in the past, and we are confident that this new agreement will continue that trend,” Tucker said. “Our administrations work very well together on a regular basis to serve our communities through work force development and training initiatives, transfers agreements, and outreach programs, and through this agreement, we will enhance and expand the educational and training opportunities that we offer to our service area.”
“Both UWA and Shelton State are committed to providing our students with the knowledge, skills, and ability to be successful in their chosen careers, and indeed throughout their lives.”
Shelton State is the lead partner at DHEC and will offer dual enrollment and dual credit courses, community education opportunities, and programs available to the public for admission and enrollment.
To be eligible for reverse transfer credits offered by UWA through the partnership with Shelton State, a student must transfer directly to UWA from Shelton State. The student’s transcript must include at least 16 hours of academic college-level credit completed at Shelton State. The student must have reached junior standing, 60 or more total credit hours, at UWA, and be in good standing with both schools.
LIVINGSTON — The University of West Alabama has been selected to receive a Blended Learning classroom through the Active Learning Center (ALC)<http://www.steelcase.com/en/products/Category/Educational/Pages/active-learning-center-grant.aspx> program, a grant initiative launched in 2014 by Steelcase.
Education<http://www.steelcaseeducation.com/>. UWA is one of only 12 recipients nationwide. The innovative classroom is valued at $51,200.
This program empowers educators to implement active learning strategies by leveraging classroom space.
Beginning summer 2015, a Steelcase Education learning environment will be installed at UWA’s Julia S. Tutwiler College of Education in the newly renovated Lyon Hall. DeKalb Office, an authorized Steelcase dealer in Birmingham, will lead the classroom installation.
Expected to open with the fall 2015 semester, the Blended Learning classroom will positively impact teaching, learning and support active pedagogies for students eager to return to classes. The Blended Learning classroom easily morphs into various classroom structures including lecture, independent or teamwork, presentation and discussion.
“We are most grateful to have been awarded an Active Learning Center grant from Steelcase,” said UWA President Ken Tucker. “This is an exceptional honor for us, being one of only 12 recipients across the nation from an applicant pool of more than 500.”
Zones within the classroom allow students to work at their own pace with the instructor as a guide. As a result, the learning environment enables the instructor to move easily throughout the space to assess student understanding and guide continued skill mastery and application.
“This very generous support will afford us the opportunity to enhance our already impressive facilities with state-of-the-art technology and furnishings that are proven to be conducive to productivity and learning,” Tucker explained.
“We are extremely thankful for the confidence placed in us by Steelcase Education to utilize their innovations through our academic programs.”
For UWA, the grant is the result of collaboration between the school’s Office of Sponsored Programs and faculty from the Julia S. Tutwiler College of Education.
UWA has been a pioneer in education technology and learning in the state of Alabama. A university-wide paradigm shift from instructor-centered to student-centered pedagogy and implementation of the 5E Learning Model within a Steelcase Blended Classroom will enable a move from a passive to an active 21st Century learning environment.
The 5E Model is a powerful student-centered instructional model that has been shown to significantly increase student engagement, active learning, and instructional effectiveness (Bybee et al., 2006; Kolis et al., 2011; Tanner, 2010).
Instructors using this model can engage students’ interest in a topic through technology tools, class activity, and more, which allows the instructor to assess students’ prior knowledge. Instructors can explore previous knowledge collaboratively through communication with classmates, questioning and critical thinking
The model also allows instructors to explain topics, introduce new vocabulary, and clarify misconceptions and to elaborate through application of new concepts to new and different contexts. All of this, researchers say, allows for a thorough evaluation of student learning.
Research supports the idea that the order of instructional activities is critically important to factors of student success, such as motivation, retention of information, and understanding of concepts. The flexibility of the model makes it applicable to learners of all ages and within any academic discipline. Additionally, it has been associated with helping instructors demonstrate the qualities (e.g., approachable, creative, interesting, enthusiastic, etc.) associated with excellence in teaching.
The project’s co-directors, Dr. Celeste Wheat, assistant professor of student affairs and director of the UWA Center for Excellence in Teaching, and Dr. Martha Hocutt, professor of instructional technology, will share oversight for all activities. Dr. Yan Sun, assistant professor of instructional technology, will serve as the research methodologist and grant evaluator. Dr. Amy Jones, assistant professor of journalism and speech, and Dr. Andrea Minear, assistant professor of elementary education, also collaborated with the grant writing team.
All University faculty will be given the opportunity to apply to serve as an Active Learning Center Faculty Fellow and teach courses in the Active Learning Classroom. Applicants will submit a teaching philosophy statement and curriculum vitae. Faculty fellows will be competitively selected by a committee of the grant administrators and academic deans.
“UWA has shown its commitment to active learning strategies and student engagement in the classroom,” said Sean Corcorran, general manager of Steelcase Education. “With this new learning environment, UWA will be able to utilize a flexible learning space that allows educators to explore the capabilities of an environment built specifically for improved engagement and collaboration.”
In addition to receiving a new classroom, UWA will receive training from Steelcase leaders on the uses of the technology and furniture in their new spaces and will have the opportunity to participate in a community of practice with all awarded schools to share insights and best practices. Over the two-year program, Steelcase will evaluate student and educator engagement in the newly designed space using Steelcase’s Active Learning Post Occupancy Evaluation<http://www.steelcase.com/content/uploads/2015/03/Post-Occupancy-Whitepaper_FINAL.pdf> and other research tools.
Steelcase research<http://www.steelcase.com/insights/articles/new-learning-curve/> has shown that active learning environments positively impact student engagement. When surveyed, a majority of students and educators reported that the active learning classrooms contributed to higher engagement, the expectation of better grades, more motivation and more creativity, when compared to traditional row-by-row seating.
In addition to UWA, 11 other schools and universities were chosen from the 540 applicants for unique approaches to active learning. For more information on the winners, visit the Steelcase Education website.<http://www.steelcase.com/discover/information/education/active-learning-center-grant/>
Demopolis scored 31 runs in two games against Dallas County Thursday to win the Class 5A, Area 6 tournament championship.
Dallas County opened play as the No. 2 seed and downed Wilcox Central to move to a matchup with Demopolis.
Abbey Latham tripled and gave way to courtesy runner Holli Gandy, who scored on a passed ball to give the Lady Tigers the early 1-0 lead.
Dallas County fired back with a pair of run in the top of the second inning to take a 2-1 lead.
“We were chasing some bad pitches. Their pitcher was pitching it where we couldn’t hit it and we couldn’t lay off it,” Demopolis coach Stephen Campbell said of his team’s slow start. “That third inning, we made her start throwing lower in the zone and we were able to get a lot more line rives off of her.”
Demopolis answered with a four spot in the home half of the second for the 5-2 advantage.
That proved to be the last time Demopolis trailed in the tournament as it went on to hang 12 more runs in the third and down the Lady Hornets 17-2 in only three innings of play. The loss sent Dallas County to another date with Wilcox. After picking up that win, the Lady Hornets played their fourth consecutive game on the day, losing to Demopolis 14-0 in the finale.
Jessica Adams took Most Valuable Player honors for the tournament, going 4-for-5 with a walk, a double, five RBIs and five runs scored on the day.
“I can’t say how proud I am for her. If there is a kid that deserves to have luck and a good day, it’s that kid,“ Campbell said of Adams. “She works hard everyday. Having her on base is a catalyst for this team. Having her in centerfield, I know I have someone who can cover right-center to left-center with the best in the state.”
Courtney Smith, Jade Montgomery, Cameron Thomason, Abbey Latham and Hanna Malone also earned All-Tournament distinction.
Smith went 5-for-8 with a triple, five RBIs, five runs scored and two stolen bases. Montgomery was 3-for-4 with four RBIs, three walks, a steal and two runs scored.
Latham went 5-for-6 with two walks and three RBIs. Thomason finished with a pair of hits, one RBI and three runs scored.
Malone notched the win in each contest, working a total of seven innings and allowing only four hits, one walk and no earned runs while striking out six.
“I can’t preach about Hanna enough,” Campbell said. “She got a little frustrated about some of her pitches early, but she never deviates. She’s pretty constant in what she does.”
Natalie Tatum reached base five times in two games, notching one RBI. Kendall Hannah went 2-for-4 with a double, two walks, a hit-by-pitch, three RBIs and two runs scored.
Taylor Smith scored three runs. Anna Caroline Logan drew three walks, scored three runs, recorded a single and one RBI. Elly Brown reached base twice and picked up one RBI in her stead.
Gandy, Alex Abrams, Kayla Montz and Lane Braeden Burbage all scored as courtesy or pinch runners. Rachel Smith had a pinch hit appearance.
The win sends Demopolis to regional tournament play in Troy next week.
“I expect them to fight,” Campbell said of his team. “They went through it this year. With the schedule we played and all the one-run games, they’re mentally prepared for it. I think they’re going to handle the pressure just fine.”
As an event for the Smithsonian Exhibition, The Way We Worked, during its Spring 2015 stop at the Marengo County History and Archives Museum in Demopolis, acclaimed artists in writing, painting and design with attachments to the Demopolis will talk about the influences of home on their work on Friday, May 1 at 6 p.m. at the Marengo County History and Archives Museum.
Demopolis native Rusty Goldsmith, retired Rector of St. Mary’s-on-the-Highlands of Birmingham, speaks about the impact of Demopolis on his sermons and essays appearing in The Sewanee Review. One of Goldsmith’s essays recalls the days of the venerable Merchants Grocery in the building that now houses the Museum.
Carolyn Goldsmith’s artworks have been displayed in regional galleries such as the Monty Stabler Galleries (Birmingham), the Judith Proctor Gallery (Seaside, Florida), and the Bennett Galleries (Nashville). Her work has also been presented by Birmingham’s Civil Rights Institute and the Huntsville Museum of Art.
Mark Abrams of Demopolis is an ARTS Award winner and designer for Port 68, a home décor company specializing in table lamps, accent furniture, upholstered chairs, benches and home accessories. All will discuss the influence of home and place on the way they have worked.
This event is presented by the Marengo C
ounty History and Archives Museum, the Marengo County Historical Society, the Demopolis Public Library and the Southern Literary Trail as a feature of The Way We Worked exhibition with grant support by the Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state agency of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
Admission is free. A champagne reception honoring Rusty and Carolyn Goldsmith and Mark Abrams will follow the discussion. For more information call the Museum at 334.289.0599 or the Library at 334.289.1595.
On Thursday, April 16, Shelton State Community College hosted its fourth annual Engineering Day, an outreach activity for students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Sumter Academy participated in the Egg Drop Competition and won both first and second place, defeating over 30 teams from West and Central Alabama.
The competition required students to design and build a container using only straws, toothpicks, rubber bands and tape that would enable an egg to survive a 36-foot drop onto a concrete surface. Successful containers were then ranked according to their weight (lightest being the most desirable).
“I am so proud of my students’ performance this year,” Sumter Academy science teacher Angela Smith said. “It is a truly impressive feat to take both first and second place in the face of such stiff competition from large public schools. We have some very talented young engineers at Sumter Academy.”
Beginning a process that is expected to take four to six months, the Demopolis City School Board Wednesday morning voted to have the Alabama Association of School Boards conduct the search for a new superintendent.
In a unanimous vote at the called meeting, with all but member Ronnie O’Neal in attendance, the board chose to have the AASB handle all of the details of the search for a cost of about $8,500. Board attorney Alex Braswell will be the point of contact for the AASB.
“I think we’ll get the cream of the crop if we go through the state,” said board member Conrad Murdock.
Whoever is selected will be succeeding Dr. Al Griffin who is retiring June 30.
“It is important that whoever we hire needs to understand Demopolis,” including the faculty, staff and demographics, stressed board chairman Jim Stanford. “It’s important that they understand small town life. We have a great community,” he continued. “It’s important that whoever does the search for us looks for those qualities. That is something that is really weighing heavily on me through this whole process.”
The AASB will do all the advertising and recruitment of applicants, conduct a survey of the community as well as hold up to six meetings with residents of the city, teachers, administrators, support personnel for input; prepare and publish a brochure, screen applicants, check credentials, provide an interview guide for the board and other duties.
In other action the board approved a bid of $5,987 from Jennings Service Company for the installation of HVAC digital equipment at the high school as part of the geothermal project.
In response to questions from the board, Griffin said the excavation site will be seeded with grass, and the dirt from the excavation will be used to fill in low spots near the ball fields, creating more parking and recreation areas.
Griffin said some $68,500 should be left in the account, and he recommended the board consider using the funds to renovate the high school bathrooms.
The board also approved hiring Will Rouse as a Demopolis High School math teacher and assistant coach. Rouse holds a master’s degree from Mississippi State.
Two K-6 positions will be posted until filled. A third will remain vacant until the board learns what the state school budget will be.
Accepting the resignation of Demopolis Middle School business/marketing teacher Vincent Pitts, the board voted to post the position.
LINDEN — Marengo Academy (24-6-1) saw its season end in a loss to Edgewood again Wednesday, falling in both ends of a doubleheader to the perennial AISA power despite late-inning heroics.
David Cayton slid home on a bases-loaded grounder off the bat of Jackson Tate with two outs in the eighth to hand Edgewood the 6-5 victory in game two of the twinbill.
“The most important thing about this series is doing the little things right,” Edgewood coach Bobby Carr said. “We didn’t make a lot of mental mistakes.”
Marengo rallied from a 4-3 deficit in the seventh. David Dunn doubled in Andrew Martin to tie the game before Caleb Broadhead scored a Weldon Aydelott grounder to give the Longhorns the 5-4 lead.
The inning looked as if it would be much bigger before a failed attempt at a squeeze play led to Marengo getting a runner thrown out at third for the first out of the frame.
“There’s a couple of plays we didn’t execute,” Marengo coach Steve King said. “The squeeze play, we didn’t execute. We had a couple defensively we didn’t execute that cost us.”
Edgewood rallied in the bottom of the seventh without benefit of a hit as J.J. Kidd absorbed an errant pitch to lead off the inning before advancing on an error and scoring on another error.
Edgewood took the first lead of the game in the second when Jake Sisson was hit by a pitch and later scored on a Cayton single. Hayden Huckabee tied in the third with a solo homer.
Edgewood regained the lead when Tate scored on a bases-loaded hit batsman that gave Noah Eller the RBI. Marengo knotted it again in the fourth with a solo homer from Wallace Tutt. Dunn went yard in the fifth for the 3-2 lead.
Edgewood then played a little long ball of its own when Sisson and Keith Johnson each hit solo shots in the sixth.
Edgewood took game one 11-5, capitalizing on three early Marengo errors to build a 5-0 lead. Aydelott doubled in Hayden Hall and Martin in the fourth to cut it to 5-2. Edgewood then reeled off six runs over two innings for the 11-2 lead. The Longhorns rallied for three in the seventh as Hayden Huckabee doubled in Robert Tutt and Hall doubled home Daniel Pritchett and Huckabee.
“We came out tight,“ King said. “The errors were costly. They were putting the ball in play hard. That was not our ball game. We normally play well defensively We got great pitching from Kyle Friday, we just made errors behind him. Tip of the cap to Edgewood. They came ready and forced mistakes.”
The game one loss snapped a 21-game win streak for Marengo, which was No. 1 in the ASWA poll entering play.
“We had a great season,” King said. “We came in here with a 21-game winning streak and they had the better day. I love all these young men to death.”