This ‘Doc’ uses guidance as a cure

March 24th, 2013 by speech

From the Clarion Ledger:


“To be Young, Gifted and Black” “Oh what a lovely and precious gift.”

Many know these words as lyrics from Nina Simone’s song that served as an anthem during the civil rights era.  But, in the Jackson community, Dr. Mark Henderson uses it to empower others. It also serves as the motto of MADDRAMA, the performance troupe he founded.

Henderson is the current director of the Theatre department at Jackson State University.

“Doc” is how most JSU students refer to Henderson. When I think about this title, I compare him to an actual physician. The way he deals with each individual based on their “symptoms” further exemplifies his dedication to building them up rather than giving them generic medicine they’ve probably been getting their entire lives.

The people Doc comes in contact with come from many walks of life with various expectations of life and different ways of dealing with their personal issues.

“One of the first questions I ask students who come to me for guidance is “What do you need from me; How can I help you?” It is from there that I begin to see what their needs are and I attend to that,” said Doc.

Click here for the full article at the Clarion Ledger: Full Article

As posted on the Blue&White Flash:

Jackson State University alumna Erica Singleton, better known as Erica Michelle, nabbed the role “Daphne” in the new horror film “The Last Exorcism Part II” that just premiered in theaters Mar. 1. The El Dorado, Ark. native has gone from the theater department at JSU to the big screen inside your local movie theater.

“My agency sent me an email about “The Last Exorcism Part II” saying they were casting and the director wanted to see me. I didn’t want to do it because it was “The Last Exorcism.” It’s kind of sensitive to my faith and that was just something I did not want to do,” said Michelle. “I remember my agent emailing me saying the director has not yet received your tape yet. You need to have it in tomorrow by a certain time or they were going to drop me.”

Click here to view the full story at the Blue & White Flash: Full Story…

Mrs. Candace Brown and Mrs. Laura McDavitt were selected to participate in Jackson State University’s Course Redesign with Blackboard 9 Project in July conducted by The Center for Distance Learning and Instructional Technology.

The project is designed to redesign selected classes allowing them to be offered to students online in the fall of 2012. The redesign will strive to improved student outcomes through effective online course design and the utilization of various instructional technologies to deliver learning experiences.

Visiting Assistant Professor and Interim Technical Director Patrick Benton spent most of June brushing up his scenic painting skills at Cobalt Studios in White Lake, NY. Cobalt Studios is known throughout the entertainment industry for sending productive and skillful graduates into the workforce as professional scenic artists. Some of the topics covered in the intensive three-week session included color mixing and theory, large scale drawing, perspective, creating marble and wood for theatre, trompe l’oiel effects, painting draperies and landscapes on flat surfaces, as well as painting scenery on unusual surfaces and translucent backdrops. Benton looks forward to using many of these techniques for JSU Theatre productions and sharing them with his students.

Theatre faculty Yolanda Williams was selected to participate in the Young Leaders of Color program to attend the Theatre Communications Group (TCG) National Conference in Boston from June 20-24, 2012. “An independent selection panel comprised of theatre professionals from across the country carefully reviewed each nomination and application and spent a great deal of time deliberating before making their difficult decisions.”

Ms. Williams is eager to begin sharing the wealth of knowlege she has gained from participating in the panel. “This is a great honor and I wanted to share this with our Department as well as the University.”

Adjunct instructor and resident scenic and lighting designer Patrick Benton recently joined the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT).

Mr. Benton says “I’m very happy to be a member of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology. USITT has served design, production and technology professionals in the performing arts and entertainment industry since 1960. Many USITT standards have been adopted industry-wide. USITT also publishes Theatre Design & Technology, a quarterly journal which covers theatre architecture, costume design and technology, education, engineering, health and safety, lighting, management, scene design, sound design, and technical production. Additionally, USITT hosts an annual conference for students, professionals, equipment manufacturers and other vendors. Its website is”

JSU Student Saint Ranson is featured in a JSU advertising banner at Jackson-Evers International Airport.

Congratulations, Saint!

Dave Ramsey Financial Program for Students

March 22nd, 2012 by admin

Financing our lives is a challenge, financing our lives while going to college is even more of a challenge. As a Speech Communication instructor at Jackson State University I have an opportunity to listen too many of my student’s challenges, hopes and dreams. Some of the best speeches come from the fabric of their daily lives and often it is impossible to miss the struggles that many students have when it comes to their own personal finances.

There are many factors that make an individual an effective communicator and one that is rarely discussed or acknowledged is that if one’s personal finances and ability to manage money does affect our ability to communicate effectively. The stress and pressure from constant money problems will affect our intrapersonal, interpersonal and organizational communication styles throughout our lives.

This semester many of my students have an opportunity to complete Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance, College Edition that can empower them and start them on a solid financial foundation. There is more to finances than adding and subtracting and this five section program does an excellent job addressing savings, budgets, and debt, job-searches and personal relationships as they pertain to their finances.

My hope is that Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance, College Edition will provide additional life skills that will help students pursue their dream career, make them a better steward of their gifts and expand their possibilities and at the same time giving them a stronger voice in the world of personal finance.

If you would like to hear more about the program just contact me at or 662-312-7149.

Mrs. Nadia Bodie-Smith has been named as the Department of Speech and Theatre’s Outstanding Faculty Member for 2012.

Mrs. Bodie-Smith’s Bio:

Nadia Bodie-Smith holds a B.A. in Music/Vocal Performance from Florida Memorial University and a M.A. in Theatre Arts from Bowling Green State University. She is currently completing a Ph.D. in Fine arts with emphasis in Acting/Directing and Arts Administration from Texas Tech University. Her main fields of interest are Acting, Directing, Advocacy for the Arts, Black Feminist Theory, Identity and Gender roles in America, and the African Diaspora, and Theatre for social change. She hopes that her role as a teacher will provide an environment to motivate and inspire great leaders, open-minded, creative thinkers and free spirits who laugh a little too loud.

The National Association of Dramatic and Speech Arts convened in Dallas, TX March 14-17, 2012 for its annual conference. Represenetatives from over 20 HBCU’s were in attendance. Dr. Mark G. Henderson, Interim Chair in the Department of Speech Communication and Theatre at Jackson State University, took the helm as the organization’s 32nd president. At JSU, Dr. Henderson has served NADSA during some of its most turbulent times and through his tenacity and commitment to the organization’s 76-year tradition, NADSA still stands tall as an institution dedicated to the professional development of theatre and speech practitioners.

Dr. Henderson will serve a 2-year term.  Henderson says that his goal as president is to move NADSA to a higher level of national visibility and work very hard to provide its student members with professional opportunities that will help them transition more smoothly from undergraduate to either graudate programs to professional companies.

For more information about NADSA, visit the website: