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Dillard University Receives $100K from NEH for Study of Black Creole Culture PDF Print E-mail
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The study will be interdisciplinary and will include digital media

Cook Center


(New Orleans) - Dillard University recently received a $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The university is one of only three institutions in the city and five state-wide to receive a NEH award. The grant is part the NEH’s Humanities Initiatives at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and represents the full amount requested by Dillard. It will commence in Spring 2015 semester for a two-year period and will provide funding for a project entitled “Defining, Documenting, and Teaching New Orleans Creole Culture.”  According to Hannah Saltmarsh, assistant professor of English and principle investigator (PI) for the grant, the project includes documenting contemporary Black Creole culture, creating a digital archive of findings, and will explore the critical aspects of multi-cultural and racial identity of creoles in New Orleans.

“We are excited about this project because it gives us the opportunity to collaborate across disciplines to tell the story of a culture that gives New Orleans its uniqueness,” said Saltmarsh. She explained that the project will include interviews with Black Creole families, elders, artists, craftsmen, musicians and other members in the community to chronicle the evolution of traditions and contemporary life.

Saltmarsh noted that she is working with a team of scholars at Dillard, some of whom were instrumental in writing the proposal for this project. Colleagues like Mona Lisa Saloy, coordinator and professor of English, is already working on a new English course, “Black Creole New Orleans” and will take students on a journey through history to curate and write about this subject.  

Saloy defines the ‘creole’ as a Colonial term designed to describe the native descendants of mixed enslaved Africans born in the New World. "Technically, every Black person who is a descendent of mixed enslaved Africans is Creole, she added. “Because of the pervasive French and Spanish colonial enslavement of Africans, from Louisiana to Florida, Haiti to Martinique, millions of these Creoles share a common language, a culture producing architecture, building trades, cuisine, costuming, music, dancing, and Folklore,”

Saloy said.

Goals of the project include assisting students in developing strong oral communication skills specific to the elderly and larger community as well as understanding the significance of digital archives and technology fluency. “In essence, the project will provide an enhanced humanities education through experiential, project-based, interdisciplinary learning focused on Creole cultures who built this city and retain its international uniqueness, producing Foodways (cuisine), Jazz & R & B, dance, Folklore, and literary traditions revered throughout the world,” Saltmarsh concluded.


In addition to Saltmarsh and Saloy collaborators on the grant included Nancy Dixon, assistant professor of English, Nia Haydel, director for the Academic Center for Excellence, Mark Raymond, media specialist/tech support technician, and Cynthia Charles, director of library.

Dillard to Offer its First Online Course Spring 2015 PDF Print E-mail
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Dillard University will offer its first online course beginning Spring 2015.  The course, PE 306 - Principles of Disease Prevention and Control, will be taught using Blackboard Learn LMS. According to Dr. Rona Tyger, Coordinator for Instructional Technology and the course instructor, 95% of all engagement will be conducted online.  Two face to face meetings will be scheduled for the first week of the semester, in the evening, in computer labs so the instructor can orient the students to the online course delivery format, course student learning outcomes and participation expectations.

PE 306 is a study of major communicable and non-communicable health problems with emphasis on prevention and control.  Students interested in taking the course must have a Blackboard Onboarding course completion certificate and have taken and passed ENG 111 to register.   

Dr. Yolanda Page, Vice President for Academic Affairs, says offering the online course not only meets student demand for such courses, but also provides access to those who can't get to campus and also makes more courses available.  “I think offering online courses will assist the university with increasing enrollment,” Page said.  She added that there are plans to offer additional online courses during Summer 2015.  However, there are no plans to offer any online degrees, but it is anticipated that the university will eventually have a robust offering of online courses.

For more information about PE 306 or online courses contact, Dr. Rona Tyger at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or 816.4873.

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Dillard to Offer Curriculum in Medical Physics PDF Print E-mail
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Written by:

Mona Duffel Jones

Director, Dillard University's Communications and Marketing

November 24, 2014

(NEW ORLEANS, LA) –Dillard University is proud to announce the opening of the Medical Physics concentration under the Physics and Pre-Engineering Program. As a response to the dire need of the city of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana for qualified and well-trained medical physicists, the curriculum of Medical Physics will prepare students for graduate school and work in several areas of medical physics, including Imaging Medical Physics and Nuclear Medical Physics, according to Dr. Abdalla Darwish, professor of physics at Dillard.

"To my knowledge, Dillard is the only private four-year college in the state to offer a concentration in medical physics," Darwish said. "The skills learned in the Medical Physics Concentration will provide students with the training to safely and properly operate and maintain diagnostic imaging devices, such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRIs), Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMRs), ultrasound, and X-rays as well as the ability to analyze the resulting images," Darwish explained. He further noted that Medical Imaging and Ionization Radiation Laboratory Courses will strengthen the already well-established physics curriculum at Dillard and will give students basic hands-on introduction to imaging equipment in the new ionization radiation laboratory.

The Medical Imaging course is a general introduction to the tools and techniques used in medical imaging, the typical imaging devices currently in use, and the underlying Physics involved. In the Ionization Radiation Laboratory Course, radiation, radioisotope techniques, and radioactive tracers will be studied, with emphasis on the safe handling and storage of radioisotopes, in accordance to the various local, state, and federal laws and regulations.

According to the American Institute of Physics, Dillard is ranked as a top producer of African Americans with bachelor’s degrees in physics (2012); and according to the National Science Foundation (2013), among the top 50 colleges whose graduates earn doctorates in the sciences. Courses in the program will be offered in Fall 2015.

For more information on this cutting edge concentration in Medical Physics, please contact Dr. Abdalla Darwish at 504 816 4877.

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Written by:

Mona Duffel Jones

Director, Dillard University's Communications and Marketing

November 24, 2014

(New Orleans) –Dillard University’s Center for Intensive Language (CIEL) welcomed a group of 20 participants from Mexico’s Proyecta program to study the English language over the course of four weeks during Fall 2014. The Proyecta 100,000 Program is an effort by the Mexican government to provide opportunities for its citizens, both students and teachers, to study at institutions of higher education in the United States. The group arrived on November 13 and will depart on Dec. 13.

Dillard is one of the 157 U.S. English as a Second Language (ESL) programs that will host over 7,500 Mexican learners. "The goal of the Mexican Government is to send 100,000 college students and teachers to the U.S.," said Aurea Diab, interim director of the CIEL Program. "We hope this group is the first of many others who will come to Dillard throughout next year".

Over the past two years, Dillard has trained 106 learners in its CIEL program: 48 teachers and 55 students from Brazil and three students from Pakistan.

Dillard Choir to Host 78th Annual Holiday Concert on Friday, Dec. 5 PDF Print E-mail
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The New Orleans Chinese Choir and The Zion Harmonizers

 are among guest performers

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(New Orleans) – Usually held on the first Sunday in December, the Dillard University Choir will perform its 78th annual Holiday Concert on Friday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. The concert will be held in Lawless Memorial Chapel on the Dillard University campus. Though the concert is free and open to the public, seating is limited and is on a first come basis. Doors open at 6:45 p.m.

The 65 voices of the Dillard University Concert Choir, under the direction of S. Carver Davenport, will be accompanied by a 25-piece orchestra and will perform many holiday favorites. Selections include Christmas favorites will be performed such as “O Holy Night” as well as popular selections such as Richard Smallwood's “Anthem of Praise,” and the ever-popular gospel selection “For Every Mountain.”

This year the New Orleans Chinese Choir (NOCC) will join the Dillard Choir in the singing a holiday classic, the “Hallelujah Chorus” from “The Messiah” by G. F. Handel.  The NOCC is under the direction of Dr. Wen Zhang, assistant professor of Vocal Music at Dillard.  Dr. Hong Dai, professor of Math at Dillard, also sings with the NOCC and serves as vice president of the group.

One of New Orleans’ favorite quartets, The Zion Harmonizers, is among the featured guests performing at the event. Also featured is the wonderfully talented Bridget Bazile, soprano, who will perform with the choir the rendition of its signature selection,  "How Great Thou Art” as well as “Mary Did You Know?” Other guest performers include Professor Wen Zhang, mezzo-soprano, Ebonee Davis, soprano, adjunct professor and Professor Hezekiah Brinson, pianist/organist. Rev. Earnest Salsberry,’06, interim chaplain, and Renee Miller Dolliole,’06, will serve as narrators for the concert and the Dillard University dance team, the DU Diamonds, will also perform under the direction of Dr. Jana Smith, assistant professor of physical education and choreographer.

Attendees are encouraged to arrive early to secure seating, as this is a standing-room-only event.  Doors open at 6:45 p.m. S. Carver Davenport director for the past 40 years, will lead the choir, which performed at the White House during the 2011 holiday season and performs in various states across the U.S. during their annual Spring Tour. For more information call 504.816.4800 or go to

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