Photo provided by Dillard University -- The Rev. Earnest Salsberry, a Dillard alumnus, has been named as the university's chaplain.

Salsberry appointed chaplain at Dillard

Dillard University has appointed the Rev. Earnest Salsberry as university chaplain and director of the VisionQuest program.

Salsberry, a Dillard graduate, has served as interim chaplain and director of VisionQuest for several months and will begin his new role in January.

“We are so excited to have Rev. Salsberry as our chaplain,” said Dr. Toya Barnes-Teamer, vice president for student success. “In the short time he served as interim chaplain/director of VisionQuest, he has not only been able to mobilize the campus community but has invited several religious leaders of other denominations to campus to serve our students.”

She added: “He has brought a level of spirituality to the campus that engages all stakeholders, especially our students, in an unprecedented manner. The students love him.”

A native of Port Arthur, Texas, Salsberry received a master of divinity degree from Morehouse School of Religion in Atlanta with a concentration in psychology of religion and pastoral care with an emphasis in homiletics.

He also has completed post-graduate studies in clinical pastoral education. He received a bachelor of arts degree in vocal performance and music from Dillard in 2006.

He is an ordained minister and works in the music ministry at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans.

UNO production heads to regional festival

The University of New Orleans’ award-winning theater program is headed to a regional festival in February to perform a Pulitzer Prize-nominated play.

In the fall, Theatre UNO received recognition from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for its production of “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,” a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2011 written by Rajiv Joseph.

Now, the company will travel to Texas to perform the play at Angelo State University for the festival, a competition of university productions from all over the country.

UNO will compete against other schools from Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Missouri.

The play depicts the lives of two American Marines and an Iraqi translator after the Marines kill the zoo’s tiger. As the tiger navigates the afterlife, humans try to make sense of the war-torn Iraqi capital.

The theater company will perform for an audience of about 1,000 students and faculty from around the region.

Tulane center to study N.O. education reforms

Tulane University has launched a new center that will study the long-term impacts of sweeping education reforms enacted after Hurricane Katrina.

Called the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans, the center has received $3.5 million to study New Orleans public schools, which have undergone the most radical changes of any school district in the country, according to Tulane officials. Not only have traditional schools been turned into charter schools, but families have been given more choice about where to send their kids and schools either have been shut down or rewarded based on performance.

Although other districts are now following the New Orleans model, Tulane economics professor Douglas Harris said little is known about what effects the reforms truly have had. Advocates say the efforts have increased high school graduation rates and improved test scores, while critics say those effects are from post-Katrina population shifts and testing changes.

“The purpose of the center is to provide objective, rigorous and useful evidence about the effects of these reforms,” said Harris, the founder and director of the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans.

The center’s first findings will be released in January and will focus on how parents selected schools before and after the reforms. About a dozen other studies will be released leading up to the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina next summer.

Pelicans franchise supporting Delgado

The New Orleans Pelicans are offering discount tickets to games to support Delgado Community College. The school’s students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends and supporters are invited to enjoy the special promotion.

Participating members can use the promotion code “Delgado” to receive discounted tickets, and for every ticket sold through the promotion the Pelicans will donate $5 to support educational programs at the school.