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The Delta Development Institute


The Delta Development Institute will give Millsaps students the opportunity to apply their critical thinking ability to critical needs in the Mississippi Delta through classroom integrated projects and interdisciplinary dialogue.

The Mississippi Delta is saturated with failed government policies and research led initiatives which have done nothing to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of the Mississippi Delta. Millsaps, however, has something different to offer to this historic problem- a new paradigm.  Known as the center for creative thinking in Mississippi, historically Millsaps has been at the forefront of social change within the state of Mississippi and across the nation. Despite this reputation Millsaps has never institutionalized a process for promoting change and development in the Mississippi Delta- one of the poorest and most under served regions of the United States. The Delta Development Institute at Millsaps College would connect the critical thinking skills of Millsaps students with the real life needs of citizens, businesses, and institutions in the Mississippi Delta through an institutionalized process of classroom integrated projects, student synthesis and problem solving, and interdisciplinary dialogue through student expositions and small group discussion.

The institute at Millsaps will partner with the Harvard Law School Delta Initiative and Delta Directions, a non-profit consortium of business and educational institutions in the Delta. These organizations often receive an overwhelming amount of specific requests for assistance (requests for startup business plans,   political guidance, or assistance on health related issues) many of which are often turned away due to a lack of resources. As a partner with these organizations, the Delta Development Institute will take some of these requests, those that are suitable for classroom analysis, and work with professors from a wide variety of disciplines in order to integrate them into classroom projects or examples.  The overall goal is to provide Millsaps students with the tactical skills needed to address critical problems in the real world while at the same time fulfilling the Millsaps mission of "shaping the social, economic, and cultural progress of our region."  While in recent years Millsaps has been committed to the development of the immediate local community and to the development of an impressive study abroad program, it is time for Millsaps to face a problem that it has ignored for almost 20 years- a problem that needs the best and the brightest- a critical problem that needs critical thinking. 

Contact person:  Zach Davis

For a PDF of the proposal, click here.


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