Thursday, October 19, 2006


EDITORIAL CONTACT: Gina Logue, 615-898-5081

Special Week Acknowledges Hard Work of Students with Adult Responsibilities

(MURFREESBORO) – The Adult Services Center, the Older Wiser Learners (OWLs) student organization and the Pinnacle Honor Society will pay tribute to adult learners with several events during National Nontraditional Student Week Nov. 6-10.
The Association of Nontraditional Students in Higher Education joined with five other organizations serving adult learners approximately 10 years ago in creating the observance. The purpose is to “draw attention to the number of nontraditional students and to their needs to be successful in their college pursuits,” Dr. Carol Ann Baily, director of the Adult Services Center, says.
Baily quotes national statistics showing that 38 percent of all college students are individuals who have adult responsibilities in addition to their college careers.
“At MTSU, we figure approximately 10,000 of the 22,800 students are nontraditional students—married, with families, working full-time and attending classes as well,” Baily says.
Events on tap include a Night Owls Open House from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Nov. 6, 7, and 8 at the Adult Services Center in Room 320 of the Keathley University Center (KUC). All evening students are welcome to stop by for hot cider, treats and a gift.
From 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 8, Nontraditional Student Day, informational tables will be set up in front of the grill in the KUC to enable students to learn more about the Adult Services Center, the OWLs, and Pinnacle Honor Society. Each student will receive a gift.
All nontraditional students are invited to attend and bring their families to the Nontraditional Student Week Potluck Holiday Dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, in Room 320 of the KUC. The fall 2006 Pinnacle Award of Achievement will be awarded, and the winner of the Nontraditional Student Week Essay Contest will be announced.
Each attendee is requested to bring a dish to serve 8 to 10 people and their group’s nonalcoholic beverage of choice. OWLs will provide turkey and ham. Attendees also are asked to phone the Adult Services Center in advance at 615-898-5989 with the total number in their groups.



CONTACT: Tim Musselman, 615-898-2493

(MURFREESBORO)—Jennifer Rhodes, principal bassoonist of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, will present a free and open concert at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 23 in the Hinton Music Hall of the Wright Music Building on the MTSU campus.
Rhodes will perform Maurice Ravel’s Piece en Forme de Habañera, Paul Hindemith’s Sonata for Bassoon and Piano, George Perle’s Three Inventions for Solo Bassoon, and Marcel Bitsch’s Concertino.
“Jennifer Rhodes is a fantastic musician," said Maya Stone, instructor of bassoon at MTSU. "She makes playing the bassoon look and sound effortless."
Based in New York City and a doctoral candidate at Juilliard, Rhodes also is an active chamber musician. She has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players and the North Country Chamber Players. She is a member of the esteemed Opera Orchestra of New York with whom she performs at Carnegie Hall. She also plays regularly with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, American Composers’ Orchestra, and Westchester Philharmonic.
“It is an honor to have her play at the MTSU’s Hinton Hall,” Stone said.
The concert is free and open to the public.
•For more information on the Oct. 23 concert or other concerts in the McLean School of Music, please call 615-898-2493 or visit the "calendar of events" link at


ATTENTION, MEDIA—To obtain a jpeg of Jennifer Rhodes for editorial use, please contact Tim Musselman@ or by calling 615-898-2493.


EDITORIAL CONTACT: Office of News and Public Affairs, 615-898-2919

Community, Music Lovers Encouraged to Attend Nov. 11 Concert

(MURFREESBORO)—Local music artists Seth Moore, Bo Daddy Bo, Bent Fur and Cuttlefish will join forces 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at The Boro Bar and Grill, 1211 Greenland Drive, to help raise money for the University Writing Center at MTSU.
Officially dubbed The Writing Center Rock Show, the upcoming music event is a fundraiser for the campus-based resource center, which is open to writers across the curriculum, from MTSU students to faculty and staff.
Regarding the four-act performance, Sarah Hildenbrand, a graduate writing assistant in the English department and member of the center’s staff, said, “We hold one every year as a benefit concert to raise money for the center … (and) all proceeds benefit the
University Writing Center.”
Under the direction of Dr. Jimmie Cain, English professor and author, the center offers free writing instruction and support for those who seek their help, including online services such as a Grammar Hotline for quick questions and an e-mail drop box and chat room.
According to the center’s mission statement, the center’s staff strive to “cultivate the importance of writing as a process,” in addition to providing “a relaxed, yet professional atmosphere in which writers … can become more comfortable with the writing process.”
Located in Room 325 of Peck Hall, the center is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Fridays. Appointments are 50 minutes per session and scheduled on the hour. Although walk-in appointments are available when center staff members are free, appointments are recommended and available by calling the center at 615-904-8237.
For more information about the center, including a comprehensive overview of its free services for both students and faculty, please access the center’s Web site at
Admission to the Nov. 11 benefit is $5 per person at the door and any additional donations will be accepted inside the venue on the evening of the show, Hildenbrand said.
For more information regarding the benefit show, please contact Hildenbrand
via e-mail at or by calling 615-268-7011.



Date: Oct. 17, 2006 Editorial contact: Randy Weiler, 615-898-2919
Admissions contact: Tracy Prater, 615-898-5280

(MURFREESBORO) — MTSU Office of Admissions officials said today (Oct. 17) the scheduled Nov. 11 Fall Visit Day campus tour has surpassed its 250-person limit and that they could not accept more people or reservations for that day.
However, daily tours will be available on the following dates this fall: Oct. 23-27; Oct. 30-31; Nov. 1-3; Nov. 6-10; Nov. 13-17; Nov. 20-21; Nov. 27-30; Dec. 1; and Dec. 4-6. Prospective students and their parents or guardians can contact admissions by calling 615-898-5670 or 1-800-331-6878, or by going online to to register for a daily tour or get the.
For people attending the Saturday, Nov. 11 Fall Visit Day, they should gather before 10 a.m. CST in the Cope Administration Building lobby; prepare to ask questions about admissions, financial aid, housing, etc.; and dress appropriately for that day’s weather, including wearing comfortable shoes for the walking portion of the tour.



EDITORIAL CONTACT: Caneta Hankins, 615-898-2947

Robert McKenry and Sons Farm Recognized for Agricultural Contributions

(MURFREESBORO)—The Robert McKenry and Sons Farm in Blount County has been designated as a Tennessee Century Farm, reports Caneta S. Hankins, director of the Century Farms program at the Center for Historic Preservation (CHP), which is located on the MTSU campus.
In 1845, Samuel McMurray McKenry founded a 166-acre farm east of Maryville. According to the family’s records, a “team of horses ran away with Samuel” and he died of injuries. After his death, Darcus Vineyard McKenry and his five children received the farm.
In 1915, the founder’s son, Samuel Edward “Ed” McKenry, acquired the land. While owning the farm, Ed moved to Knoxville to run his brother-in-law’s store. The store was known as “S. E. and Son” and sold items such as eggs, poultry and barrels of butter to bakeries and residents of the community. During this time, the farm was rented out and at harvest time the yield was divided among the owner, the renter, and for the upkeep of the horses. Ed married Lennie McKenry and they had five children.
Ed’s son, Guy McKenry, became the third-generation owner of the farm. Ed diversified to produce dairy cattle (milking anywhere from 40 to 155 cows), tobacco, chickens, pigs, goats, sheep, beef cattle, corn, hay, horses and vegetables. Ed and wife Minnie Knight McKenry had four children—Robert Russell, Joe Leonard, Mabel Carolyn and Raymond Eugene McKenry.
In 1951, Robert McKenry, the great-grandson of the founder, acquired the land. In 1970 and 1981, Bob received soil conservation awards and his wife Louise, was a part of the Prospect Home Demonstration Club in the 1960s and 1970s. Their sons, Bobby, Phillip and Rusty, were active in Future Farmers of America.
Today, Robert and sons Robert “Bobby” R. McKenry Jr. and Phillip Edward McKenry manage the farm. One of a dwindling number of Tennessee dairy farms, the McKenry’s milk up to 115 cows each day. They also raise beef cattle, tobacco, corn, hay, grains, horses, molasses, chickens, goats and sheep on the farm.
In addition to the farmhouse, which the owner lives in, a calf barn, corncrib, dairy barn, cattle barn and shed continue to be used. Three generations work on the farm, though family members live on their own land.
Robin McKenry Adams, granddaughter of the owner, prepared the Century Farm nomination on the McKenry Farm that their ancestors—many of whom are buried in the cemetery at Eusebia Presbyterian Church—founded more than 160 years ago.
Hankins said the McKenry Farm joins 29 other certified Century Farms in Blount County.
The Century Farm Program recognizes the contributions of Tennessee residents who have continuously owned, and kept in production, family land for at least 100 years. Since 1984, the Center for Historic Preservation at MTSU has been a leader in the important work of documenting Tennessee’s agricultural heritage and history through the Tennessee Century Farm Program, and continues to administer this program.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) began the Tennessee Century Farm Program in 1976 as part of the nation’s bicentennial. Today the TDA provides a metal outdoor sign, noting either 100, 150 or 200 years of “continuous agricultural production” to Century Farm families.
To be considered for eligibility, a farm must be owned by the same family for at least 100 years; must produce $1,000 revenue annually; must have at least 10 acres of the original farm; and one owner must be a resident of Tennessee. Currently, more than 1,000 Century Farms across the state and all 95 counties are represented.
“The Century Farmers represent all the farm families of Tennessee,” Hankins said, “and their contributions to the economy, and to the social, cultural, and agrarian vitality of the state, both past and present, is immeasurable. Each farm is a Tennessee treasure.”
For more information about the Century Farms Program, please visit its Web site at The Center for Historic Preservation also may be contacted via mail at Box 80, MTSU, Murfreesboro, Tenn., 37132, or by telephone at 615-898-2947.



EDITORIAL CONTACT: Office of News and Public Affairs, 615-898-2919

Choreographer Ivan Pulinkala Offers Weeklong Dance Workshops, Lecture

(MURFREESBORO)—Ivan Pulinkala, director of dance at Kennesaw State University, will begin a weeklong visit at MTSU on Oct. 22 to work with members of the MTSU Dance Theatre to produce a show at the end of his stay.
Also during his stay, Pulinkala will lecture on “The Sensuality of Indian Movement” and teach a modern-dance class. All classes will be open for participation, and rehearsals are open for observation.
According to his online biography, Pulinkala is originally from New Delhi, India, and has worked professionally in the field of dance and musical theater both in India and the United States. He served as the choreographer-in-residence for Delhi Music Theatre and was named among the 25 Indian artists of the Millennium by the India Today Magazine in its December 1999 issue.
“This is a great opportunity for our students and for the campus community,” said Jeff Gibson, assistant professor of speech and theatre.

Pulinkala’s residency schedule includes the following (all in Room 140 of the Fairview Building):

• Monday, Oct. 23—Modern Dance I (12:40-2:05 p.m.), rehearsal (6-9 p.m.);
• Tuesday, Oct. 24—Modern Dance III (8-9:25 a.m.), rehearsal (7:30-10 p.m.);
• Wednesday, Oct. 25—Ballet II as Modern Dance (4:10-5:35 p.m.), rehearsal (6-9 p.m.); and
• Thursday, Oct. 26— Modern Dance II (4:20-5:45 p.m.), rehearsal (7:30-10 p.m.).
• On Friday, Oct. 27, Pulinkala will present a lecture in the University Honors College Amphitheatre on “The Sensuality of Indian Movement.” The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is set from 9:10 a.m. until 10:05 a.m.
• On Saturday, Oct. 28, Pulinkala will conduct an MTSU Dance Theatre Class from 9 to 10:15 a.m. in Fairview 140, and then show the work staged for the MTSU Dance Theatre at 10:15 a.m..
For more information about the guest artist or dance residency, please contact Kim Neal Nofsinger, director of MTSU’s dance program, at 615-904-8392.

ATTENTION, MEDIA—To request interviews with MTSU dance faculty or guest artist Ivan Pulinkala, please contact the Office of News and Public Affairs at 615-898-2919.


CONTACT: Tim Musselman, 615-898-2493

(MURFREESBORO)—Ninety faculty, student and guest musicians will perform 30 new works by visiting composers during five free public concerts and two paper sessions at the Society of Composers Inc. (SCI) Region IV Conference on Oct. 26-28 in the McLean School of Music at the Wright Music Building on the MTSU campus.
The free and open concerts will be held at 8 p.m. Oct. 26; at 1:30, 4 and 8 p.m. Oct. 27; and at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 28 in the Hinton Hall of the Wright Music Building. In addition to the performances, five composer-theorists also will present scholarly papers at two sessions; namely, 10 a.m. Oct. 26 and at 10 a.m. Oct. 28.
“This is the first time that MTSU has hosted a large composition conference with national exposure,” said George T. Riordan, the school’s director.
"The fact that McLean School of Music faculty and students can quickly organize, prepare and perform such a large number of new complex and varied works is a testament to the maturity of the music-making at MTSU,” he added.
For the SCI conference, Riordan said 35 participating composers will travel to middle Tennessee from 13 different Eastern states—from Connecticut to Minnesota and from Texas to Florida. Also, representatives from different nations are also involved, including composers from Korea, Taiwan, Argentina and Turkey, all of whom will attend performances of their works.
“We’re looking forward to the opportunity to meet so many composers from throughout the nation, and to have them work with our musicians,” Riordan added.
Dr. Paul Osterfield, associate professor of composition and music theory at MTSU, organized the conference.
"I am very pleased to have many composers at MTSU for a festival celebrating new music," Osterfield remarked. "I am also very grateful to the many performance faculty and students who have put much time into selecting, rehearsing, and performing the compositions," he added.
Riordan said Osterfield performed a “yeoman’s work” in regard to his efforts to solicit submissions for the conference.
"His first task was to solicit new music scores from throughout the country," Riordan said. "Composers responded by submitted more than 150 scores for possible conference performance, and we can only perform about one fifth of those sent in.
"Next, a selection committee sifted through the scores, and then Dr. Osterfield located the performers, recruited student volunteers, helped out with housing, travel and parking issues and in general he has run the whole show.”
Riordan said that of the 30 works to be performed, only two are by MTSU composers—specifically, Osterfield and undergraduate student Travis Clem. “The whole point to hosting the conference is to be able to bring in works from the outside, to make direct contact with and get to know a wide variety of composers,” Riordan noted. “However, we also need to show a sampling of what’s happening at MTSU, and especially important to offer up a work by the fellow hosting the event, Dr. Osterfield.”
Although MTSU musicians make up the bulk of the performing forces, the Cumberland Wind Quintet from Tennessee Technological University are invited guests and will perform two works on the opening concert.
A schedule of events, dates, times and locations of the festival events may be found at the 'SCI Conference' link on the 'Calendar of Events' page at
For more information, please call the music school at 615-898-2493.



EDITORIAL CONTACT: Lisa L. Rollins, 615-898-2919

Free & Open Symposium Will Focus on Student Research, Resiliency After Disaster

(MURFREESBORO)—“Resiliency and Change in the Wake of Disaster” is the theme for the 15th annual Tennessee Undergraduate Social Science Symposium, a free and open event that will be held Nov. 15-16 in the James Union Building’s Tennessee Room at MTSU.
Sponsored by MTSU since 1993, this year’s the symposium is expected to attract between 500-800 students and educators, said Dr. Vicky MacLean, associate professor of sociology and anthropology at MTSU.
The symposium will open Wednesday, Nov. 15, with student research presentations on a variety of topics, organizers reported.
“Paper topics will include social problems, crime and deviance, sociological theory, Appalachian studies, industrial organization, environmental issues and response to disasters,” MacLean said.
The event also will include a “highly engaging” panel discussion with First Responders, meaning those Emergency Management Service workers who help in disaster relief and crisis situations.
“One of the questions we will be asking,” MacLean said, “is could Katrina happen here? What types of community emergency response plans do we have in place in the middle Tennessee region?”
Following the panel discussion and student research presentations, there will be a screening of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” a video about global warming.
MacLean said among the highlights of the symposium will be a keynote address titled “Loss and Resiliency: Lessons from Katrina” delivered at 7 p.m. Nov. 15 by Dr. Pamela Jenkins, a professor of sociology and director from the women’s studies program at the University of New Orleans. Jenkins also is a founding and associate member of the University of New Orleans’ Center for Hazard Assessment, Response and Technology.
“Post-Katrina, (Jenkins) has been documenting local communities’ response to Katrina, including a study of First Responders, interviews with survivors throughout the community, and assessment of several nonprofit organizations,” said Dr. Tanya Peres, associate professor, sociology and anthropology.
“Jenkins’ lecture … is informed by her own ground-level observations and interviews with community members and First Responders,” MacLean added.
Sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, the Middle Tennessee Anthropology Society and the Undergraduate Sociology Club, the symposium is modeled after a typical professional conference, according to the Department of Sociology and Anthropology Web site.
For more information about the upcoming annual symposium, please access or contact the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at 615-898-2508.

ATTENTION, MEDIA: To schedule an interview with Drs. Peres or MacLean, please contact Lisa L. Rollins in the Office of News and Public Affairs at 615-898-2919. A jpeg of MacLean is available for editorial use upon request.
*PLEASE NOTE: If the above story is used for publication, please provide byline credit to MTSU journalism student Brittany Witt.


EDITORIAL CONTACT: Lisa L. Rollins, 615-898-2919

“Outstanding Cast” Eases Burden of Recreating an Important Theater Icon, Director Says

(MURFREESBORO)—More than 60 years after its first presentation, “Oklahoma!” remains a favorite musical among young and old alike, making it a natural choice for inclusion in this year’s MTSU CenterStage Series, according to series organizers.
“This musical is such an important icon in the history of musical theater, (and) that’s why I wanted to direct it at MTSU,” said Dale E. McGilliard, professor of speech and theatre, who will oversee the timeless production when it comes to the stage of MTSU’s Tucker Theatre at 7:30 nightly Nov. 10-11 and Nov. 15-18.
Regarding the classic musical, McGilliard, remarked, “It’s energetic entertainment perfect for the family, but most of all it is important that our students are introduced to a show that has greatly impacted the theater industry.”
In their first full collaboration, Rogers and Hammerstein set the standards and changed the face of stage musicals when “Oklahoma!” first opened on Broadway in 1943. In 1944, the musical was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize in drama for its impact on the modern American musical.
Based on the original play, “Green Grow the Lilacs” by Lynn Riggs, the work’s storyline is set at the turn of the century when the rivalry between cowboys and farmers was rampant throughout the American West. Curly, the handsome cowboy, and Jud, the hired farmhand, compete for the affection of the beautiful but hard-to-get Laurey. As the tale progresses, the love story between Curly and Laurey continues to unfold; thus, leaving Jud in the dust. However, the temperamental farmhand isn’t ready to give up so easily, making the road to true love as bumpy as a surrey ride down a country road.
Regarding the challenges involved in recreating a classic such as “Oklahoma!,” McGilliard said, “I am extremely blessed to have an outstanding cast of 43 talented students, so much of the challenge lies in coordinating all the elements into a unified vision and keeping it all in the same world.
“There is the story, the visual elements, the singing, the dancing, and the fighting,” he continued, “and it is my job to make sure they blend seamlessly into one another.”
The upcoming MTSU production, like the original, will showcase familiar songs such as “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin,” “People Will Say We’re in Love” and the rousing self-titled finale. Additionally, Kim Neal Nofsinger, director of dance, said he will work diligently to recreate the breakthrough choreography created by Agnes de Mille from the original Broadway production
“It’s going to be a test for our dancers, but I am confident that they have the aptitude to conquer the extremely complex choreography,” Nofsinger said. “Being able to re-stage the exquisite original choreography will definitely be a sight to see.”
• TICKET INFO: Tickets for “Oklahoma!,” which range from $4 to $8, may be purchased at the door on the evening of the desired performance. MTSU students are admitted free of charge with a valid university ID. For more information, please call (615) 494-8810 or visit the Department of Speech and Theatre’s Web site at
In addition to the Nov. 10-11 and Nov. 15-18 public performances, there will be a fund-raising, preview presentation of “Oklahoma!” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, in Tucker Theatre. Elizabeth “Liz” McPhee, MTSU’s first lady, and David Winton of Bellwood Discovery School, will make an appearance in this preview event, which will be followed by light refreshments in the theater lobby with members of the cast and crew.
“Liz and David will be making a cameo appearance in the (Nov. 9) show and will be
featured in the song, ‘The Farmer and the Cowman,’” confirmed Jeff Gibson, associate professor, speech and theatre. “And Murray Martin, MTSU speech and theatre alumnus, is serving as chair and host of this special event.”
• Tickets to this special Nov. 9 event are $25 each and reservations are required. All proceeds from this individual performance will benefit the MTSU Dance & Theatre Enrichment Fund. For more information about the Nov. 9 preview or to secure reservations, please call 615-898-5916.


ATTENTION, MEDIA—For editorial needs, including interview requests with performers or faculty, photo requests or to obtain review tickets, please contact Lisa L. Rollins in the Office of News and Public Affairs at MTSU at 615-898-2919.


CONTACT: Tim Musselman, 615-898-2493

(MURFREESBORO)—The MTSU Symphony Orchestra and the MTSU Chamber Orchestra will present the opening concert of the 2006-2007 season at 8 p.m. Oct. 22 in the T. Earl Hinton Music Hall of the Wright Music Building on the MTSU campus.
The concert is free and open to the public.
"The Symphony Orchestra will present the finale of Dvorak’s New World Symphony, Puccini’s breathtakingly beautiful Intermezzo from Manon Lescaut," said Dr. Carol Nies, MTSU professor and conductor of the groups.
Nies also said the orchestra will perform Verdi’s Overture from I Vespri Siciliani and Gustav Holst’s orchestral tour de force, Mars from The Planets.
Nies said a smaller group, the MTSU Chamber Orchestra, will perform selections from Purcell’s Incidental Music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
"(The group) will also perform Prélude and Sicilienne from Fauré’s delicate and shimmering Pélleas et Mélisande Suite," Nies noted.
•For more information on the Oct. 22 concert or other concerts in the McLean School of Music, please call 615-898-2493 or visit the "calendar of events" link at


Friday, October 13, 2006


EDITORIAL CONTACT: Gina Logue, 615-898-5081

Bangladeshi Humanitarian Uplifted His Poverty-Stricken Nation

(MURFREESBORO) – The Norwegian Nobel Committee today announced that the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize will go to a former MTSU professor, Dr. Muhammad Yunus, and his brainchild, Grameen Bank.
Yunus was an assistant professor of economics at MTSU from 1969 to 1972. He was hired by Dr. Hans Mueller, department chair from 1969-1973, immediately upon his graduation with a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1969.
“I needed somebody around to ask questions on economic theory, and Yunus was always on the cutting edge,” Mueller recalls.
A colleague of Yunus, Dr. Kiyoshi Kawahito, says Yunus was “scholarly and a global thinker. He also had a good sense of humor.” Kawahito, an associate professor of economics and finance and director of MTSU’s Japan-U.S. Program, says he had to swap classes with Yunus on his first day of teaching with only one hour’s notice.
Yunus, a pioneer in the field of microcredit in his native Bangladesh, were lauded by the Nobel committee “for their efforts to create social and economic development from below,” according to “Loans to poor people without any financial security had appeared to be an impossible idea. From modest beginnings three decades ago, Yunus has, first and foremost through Grameen Bank, developed micro-credit into an ever more important instrument in the struggle against poverty.”
Yunus started by lending $27 to a group of 42 people in 1976 to help them purchase weaving stools. By using the weaving stools to improve their economic status, the borrowers repaid Yunus in short order. From this humble start, Grameen Bank was created. According to, the institution offers credit to “the poorest of the poor” without demanding collateral.
Mueller notes that this was a revolutionary concept when it was introduced because the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were bankrolling huge projects which never really seemed to do much for poverty-stricken areas of the world.
“This was the opposite approach, beginning with very small incentives,” Mueller says. “These people really wanted to work. They just needed to get started.”


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Mueller, who regularly lunched with Yunus, remembers him as being a very warm person.
“He was very serious when he talked about serious things. He was well-read and could talk well about many different things,” Mueller says.
As a teacher at MTSU, Yunus specialized in both macroeconomic theory and microeconomic theory, a combination which is rare in today’s economics professors, Mueller says.
Dr. Billy Balch, professor emeritus, economics and finance from 1964 to 1998, says Yunus was “a very likable person” and “a very professional person, very intelligent. Although he wasn’t the type of person who socialized very much with other faculty, he was very studious and a very hard worker. I’m not surprised that he has succeeded.”
While at MTSU, Yunus also engaged in some on-campus activism, Mueller notes. Outraged by the actions of the ruling dictatorship in Pakistan, Yunus posted political cartoons around campus calling for support for the creation of an independent Bangladesh, perhaps foreshadowing his future work.
“I do remember I had a great respect for him and was not surprised when I learned later that he was very successful in his home country,” Balch adds. “I thought very well of the fact that he had returned to his home country to help in its economic and social conditions. I was pleased to have known him, and I think he represents MTSU very well.”
Yunus is the second professor associated with MTSU to win the prestigious Nobel Prize. James M. Buchanan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1986 “for his development of the contractual and constitutional bases for the theory of economic and political decision-making,” according to Buchanan, a Murfreesboro native who earned his bachelor’s degree from what was then known as Middle Tennessee State College in 1940, is General Director of the Center for the Study of Public Choice at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.


ATTENTION, MEDIA: To arrange interviews with former MTSU colleagues of Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, call the Office of News and Public Affairs at 615-898-2919.


Date: Oct. 13, 2006 Editorial contact: Randy Weiler, 615-898-2919
Admissions contact: Lynn Palmer, 615-898-2239

(MURFREESBORO) — MTSU Office of Admissions recruiters and personnel will log thousands of miles and meet and greet hundreds of prospective students, their parents or guardians in an ambitious effort that should help MTSU enrollment surpass 23,000 next fall.
“We always want a more qualified class to come in,” Lynn Palmer, admissions director, said recently, talking about department goals. “We want to find better students. We’ve got to compete to get them. Higher-ability students get nice scholarships (from colleges and universities). It’s always nice to get them.”
Alumni Travis Tipton (B.S. ’06), Matt Hannah (B.S. ’01) and Steven Mizell (B.S. ’06) were hired earlier this year to recruit East, Middle and West Tennessee, respectively, she said.
“We want them on the road, come back in to reload the vans and head back out (to recruit),” said Palmer, who jokingly said they will be on the road until Thanksgiving.
The recruiters and admissions personnel will “travel a predominantly college fair circuit, from September to November, all across the state, at high schools and community colleges.
“We will log a lot of miles,” she said. “We’ll know how many miles by December. This is the first time we’ve had people out on the road as much. All they’re doing is visiting high schools and traveling.”
As for the schedule of fairs across Tennessee, Palmer said, “There is a rhyme and a reason. There is a state-coordinated calendar so all colleges and universities can attend at the same time.”
Palmer added she’s “very grateful to have the recruiting positions filled. It allows us to better plan these (college and high school fairs) events. It makes this fall, from a management standpoint, more manageable. It has changed a lot of the way our office functions and operates.”
The veteran admissions leader said she considers the entire staff university recruiters.
“Our five assistant directors are responsible for Rutherford County because Rutherford County needs lots of attention,” Palmer said of the various high schools in Murfreesboro, Smyrna, La Vergne and Eagleville that all are within 20 miles of MTSU.
MTSU will have the second Fall Visit Day Saturday, Nov. 11. Prospective students can go online to or by calling 1-800-331-6878 or 615-898-5670.
MTSU admissions, academic and marketing personnel will conduct separate prospective student and guidance counselor receptions in Memphis (Oct. 17-18), Jackson (Oct. 18), Nashville (Oct. 30), Chattanooga (Nov. 14) and Knoxville (Nov. 15).
“These are not a substitute for a campus visit,” added Christopher Fleming, associate director, admissions. “If the students or parents can’t come (for a campus visit), it’s designed to take a piece of MTSU them.”



Date: Oct. 12, 2006 Editorial contacts: Gina E. Fann, 615-898-5385
Professor Dan Pfeifer, 615-898-5944


A production schedule change has forced music producer/engineer Dave Aron to adjust the times of his planned visit to MTSU Oct. 20-22. For those using the Oct. 4 release, the fourth paragraph currently reads:

Aron, who’s making his fifth visit to MTSU, is scheduled for a discussion of his education, career and recording/touring experiences, followed by an open Q&A session, on Friday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m. in the State Farm Room of the university’s Business and Aerospace Building. A tracking session will follow at noon on Saturday, Oct. 21, in Studio B of the Bragg Mass Communication Building, capped off by a mixing session at noon on Sunday, Oct. 22, in Studio C in the James Union Building.

That revised fourth paragraph should now read:

Aron, who’s making his fifth visit to MTSU, is scheduled for a discussion of his education, career and recording/touring experiences, followed by an open Q&A session, on Friday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m. in the State Farm Room of the university’s Business and Aerospace Building. A tracking session will follow at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21, in Studio B of the Bragg Mass Communication Building, capped off by a mixing session at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 22, in Studio C in the James Union Building.

Please revise your coverage plans and/or event listings accordingly, if possible.

Any media needing another copy of the full release should e-mail Gina E. Fann at


Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Date: Oct. 11, 2006 Editorial contact: Randy Weiler, 615-898-2919

(MURFREESBORO) — Middle Tennessee State University representatives have extended an invitation to guidance counselors and prospective students from Memphis and Jackson to special events Oct. 17-18 in their home areas.
Prospective students and their parents or guardians are invited to the MTSU President’s Reception from 5 until 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17, at the Hilton Memphis, 939 Ridge Lake Blvd. MTSU admissions, faculty, staff and students will answer questions about the university. Complete the online reservation form at in order to attend.
MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and the admissions office invite Memphis-area high school guidance counselors to the President’s Breakfast starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, at the Hilton.
At 11:30 a.m. Oct. 18 at the Outback Steakhouse, 194 Stonebrook Place in Jackson, MTSU representatives will hold a President’s Luncheon for guidance counselors in Jackson and surrounding counties.
Please call 615-898-2111 to make a reservation for the respective Memphis- or Jackson-area guidance counselor events.
From 5 until 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Carnegie Center, 305 E. College St. in Jackson, prospective students and their parents or guardians are invited to the President’s Reception, where they can learn more about MTSU and have their questions answered. Complete the online reservation form at in order to attend.


Media welcomed.


Date: Oct. 11, 2006 Editorial contact: Randy Weiler, 615-898-2919

(MURFREESBORO) — MTSU undergraduate and graduate students and faculty will observe fall break Oct. 14-17. No classes will be held Saturday, Oct. 14. through Tuesday, Oct. 17. Classes will resume Wednesday, Oct. 18.
Mid-term exams will be administered at the faculty member’s discretion through Saturday, Oct. 21. Some midterms may have been administered this week (Oct. 9-13).
All MTSU offices will be open their normal operating hours, 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Oct. 16-17.
No campus tours will be given Oct. 16-17, but will resume Oct. 18. An Office of Admissions representative said tours also would be given Friday, Oct. 13, because of increased interest from prospective students and their parents or guardians. Please call 615-898-5670 or 1-800-333-6878, or visit for more information or to register for a campus tour this fall.



Date: Oct. 11, 2006

Editorial contact: Randy Weiler, 615-898-2919
Chemistry seminar contact: Dr. Martin Stewart, 615-898-2073

(MURFREESBORO) — Albert C. Whittenberg, assistant director of MTSU Academic and Instructional Technology Services, will discuss “Turning Point: Student Response Systems Demonstration and Case Studies” at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, during the weekly chemistry seminar series in Davis Science Building Room 100.
Whittenberg has been part of “a committee testing a number of student response systems with the hopes of establishing a standard for MTSU,” he said. These response systems are called “clickers.”
“Of the many varieties of ‘clickers’ available, we tested Turning Technologies (TurningPoint), eInstruction, iClicker and HITT,” Whittenberg wrote in his abstract.
He added that each system was evaluated on a number of criteria, including: cost of clicker/receiver; ease of use; clicker size/weight/layout of keys; durability; battery use/life; license or registration process (fees); receiver (RF vs. IR); cross-platform connectivity (Mac and Windows); network capable (remote sites); and software features (and clicker feature).
“Although the committee initially only eliminated two of the clickers (eInstruction and HITT), this demonstration will focus only on the TurningPoint Clickers (iClicker is still considered a valid option on campus primarily for its use with the Macintosh),” he wrote. “The various steps to creating a presentation using TurningPoint will be shown along with the case studies given from other institutions that have used this product effectively.”
The case studies include Ohio State University, University of Maryland and University of Hawaii-Leeward Community College’s Educational Media Center.
Some MTSU faculty have begun implementing “clicker” technology into the classroom. The seminar is open to MTSU faculty, students and anyone interested in technology.

Media welcomed.


CONTACT: Tim Musselman, 615-898-2493

Free & Open Concert on Oct. 23 Serves as Tennessee Debut of ‘Short Stories’

(MURFREESBORO)—The Stones River Chamber Players, an ensemble in residence at Middle Tennessee State University, will open the group’s 2006-2007 season with a program titled “Story Time” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23 in the Hinton Music Hall of the Wright Music Building on the MTSU campus.
“All of the works have literary connections,” said Dr. Lynn Rice-See, professor of piano and co-director of the group.
The ensemble will perform Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast and The Empress of the Pagodas from the Mother Goose Suite by Maurice Ravel; Three Petrarch Sonnets by Franz Liszt and Short Stories by Andrew Zohn in the opening half of the recital. The second half of the program will feature Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns.
Dr. William Yelverton, MTSU professor of guitar, commissioned Short Stories by Zohn through an MTSU Faculty Development Grant. Yelverton will perform the piece, along with faculty members Todd Waldecker (clarinet) and Deanna Hahn-Little (flute), during the Oct. 23 concert, which will mark the Tennessee premiere of the work.
“(These) 10 short pieces are full of good humor and run the gamut of moods,” Yelverton said. “Some are comical, others austere, and some... just plain odd,” he added.
Other faculty performers for this concert will include pianists Jerry Perkins and Raymond Bills performing the Ravel suite (which is for one piano, four hands) and Stephen Smith (tenor) and Lynn Rice-See (piano) performing the Liszt work. John McDaniel, dean of MTSU’s College of Liberal Arts, will narrate the text by poet Ogden Nash in the Saint-Saëns work.
“The Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals is a perennial favorite of children and adults, particularly when the Ogden Nash poetry is included,” remarked Rice-See. “The chamber version to be performed is the first version of the work, followed later by its full orchestral version.”
In addition to their concert series at MTSU, the group’s members tour regularly throughout the southeastern United States and have received enthusiastic reviews for its two recent European tours. They also perform frequently on Live from Studio C, which is produced by Nashville Public Radio.
Subsequent concerts for the 2006-2007 season include “Two, Four, Six, Eight” at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 29 and “Brass, Beezer, Beethoven: Not the Usual Three B’s” at 7:30 p.m. March 26.
The Oct. 23 concert is free and open to the public.
For more information, call the Robert W. McLean School of Music at (615) 898-2469.


EDITORIAL CONTACT: Lisa L. Rollins, 615-898-2919

Founding Member of Peter, Paul and Mary Fame Speaks Out Against Bullying

(MURFREESBORO)—Peter Yarrow of the renowned folk group known as Peter, Paul and Mary will deliver the keynote address during Fit for the Future, a two-day conference at MTSU dedicated to enhancing and promoting children’s health via an eight-step model called Coordinated School Health, or CSH.
Although the conference, which is slated for Oct. 16-17 and sponsored by the Tennessee School Health Coalition, is open only to registered participants, ***Yarrow’s 8:30-10 a.m. talk on Tuesday, Oct. 17, is free and open to the public.
With folk classics such as “If I Had A Hammer” and “Puff the Magic Dragon,” among many, to his credit, Yarrow’s upcoming anti-bullying/anti-violence presentation at MTSU is sure to be a big draw, reported Dr. Doug Winborn, conference organizer and associate professor, health and human performance.
In addition to being an internationally known performer, Yarrow is the founder of Operation Respect, a nonprofit organization whose representatives actively work to transform schools, camps and organizations focused on youth into compassionate, safe and respectful environments.
“Peter Yarrow coming for this (Fit for Life) conference is a big attraction,” Winborn said. “The message that he brings through Operation Respect, along with his bullying- and violence-prevention program, is constructed and arranged in such a way that it touches children’s hearts rather than just teaching their heads.”
Yarrow’s open-to-the-community talk will be a music-infused, memorable occasion, Winborn predicted, and local fifth-graders will participate in the talk.
“Peter sing and speaks,” observed Winborn, who was present at one of Yarrow’s past anti-bully appearances. … His presentation is very interactive … and humorous as well as entertaining.”
For more information on Fit for Life, including registration information, please contact Winborn at 615-898-5110.


• ATTENTION, MEDIA: To obtain a jpeg of Dr. Winborn for editorial use, or to schedule an interview with him, please contact Lisa L. Rollins in the Office of News and Public Affairs at MTSU at 615-898-2919.

Monday, October 09, 2006


Oct. 9, 2006

CONTACT: Tom Tozer, 615-898-5131

MURFREESBORO—Bob McLean, local philanthropist and Middle Tennessee State University graduate (’72 B.S.), has committed $1 million to the MTSU Foundation to enhance both academics and athletics at the state’s largest undergraduate university. McLean presented the check to MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee during Friday evening’s football game between the MTSU Blue Raiders and the Louisville Cardinals in Nashville’s LP Field.
McLean said he made this commitment to show the importance of both athletics and academics.
“I know that this fine university has the talent and vision to pursue excellence in both these areas of college life,” McLean noted. “Well-rounded graduates and future employees need a well-rounded, educational foundation. I have been impressed with the direction and significant achievements of MTSU, and I am convinced that even more remarkable achievements in athletics and academics lie ahead.”
“Bob McLean’s extremely generous gift that emphasizes both academics and athletics represents the totality of what a university should be,” McPhee said. “We are grateful beyond measure to Bob for his commitment to Middle Tennessee State University. This will affect the lives of thousands of students and many faculty for generations to come.”
McLean, principal of McLean & Company Investments and longtime friend and supporter of his alma mater, established MTSU’s School of Music as part of the national and international landscape in 2002 when his $1.5 million donation provided for the purchase of 54 Steinway pianos. Earning the designation as an “All Steinway School,” MTSU joined a select company that included The Juilliard School, Oberlin College Conservatory, Vassar College, the University of Melbourne Faculty of Music and Beijing’s China Conservatory of Music.
A year later, McPhee announced the newly named MTSU Robert W. McLean School of Music. “We are delighted and honored to put Bob McLean’s name on our School of Music,” the president said at that time.

“I believe that MTSU is the single most important asset in this community,” McLean responded. “If you look at all of the things it adds to this region—the economic impact, the cultural benefits, the access to education—you see the impact it makes on the quality of people’s lives.
“I sincerely hope that others will follow my lead and support this great university that has contributed so much to so many,” he added.
Chairman of the board of the McLean Family Charitable Fund, McLean also is an avid supporter of the Blue Raider Athletic Association, the KA Memorial Scholarship, the Chuck Taylor Golf Tournament, the John T. Bragg Sr. Scholarship and the Presidential Scholarship program. He is the namesake of the Robert W. McLean Distinguished Assistant Professor Award in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business and is a member of the Jones College Advisory Board. In addition, he serves as an MTSU Foundation trustee and is a member of the Board of Officers of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Recently, McLean produced the feature film “Our Very Own,” a story about his hometown of Shelbyville, Tenn.


Friday, October 06, 2006


Toys and Games Show Cultures of Japan, China, Indonesia to Kids

EDITORIAL CONTACT: Gina Logue, 615-898-5081

(MURFREESBORO) – High above the children, an open-mouthed white carp with green and gold scales and a bright purple butterfly share the ceiling. A flaming red dragon with a flowing tail and sunburst mane seems to be crawling up the wall to join them.
These are only some of the creatures awaiting young visitors to the new Asian exhibit at the Discovery Center in Murfreesboro. With generous donations from Toshiba, Nissan, the Foreign Ministry of Japan and the Japan-U.S. Program of MTSU, curators have formed an environment that transports the imagination to Japan, China and Indonesia.
“We’re trying to help kids understand the different parts of these cultures that they’ll be experiencing,” Steve Hoskins, Discovery Center exhibits director and Ph.D. candidate in public history at MTSU, says. “This is the kind of thing that we feel good about being able to do because it really does give the kids a chance to … stop and realize just how big their world is.”
Of course, a large dose of fun makes learning more appealing. The 20-inch LCDTV with DVD player donated by Toshiba America Consumer Products not only plays kabuki theatre and changes of seasons. It also introduces the American children to Astro Boy, whose jet-propelled feet and wide, engaging eyes make him one of Asian television’s most popular animated superheroes.
The interactivity of the Foreign Ministry’s Kids Web Japan site has been captured on DVD so that kids can access numerous Japanese folk tales complete with music and animation. These include “Nezumi No Yomeiri (The Mouse’s Marriage)” and “Sannen Nataro (The Young Man Who Slept for Three Years).”
“Why don’t we use tools of civilization, especially since Japan is famous for electronics?” Dr. Kiyoshi Kawahito, director of the Japan-U.S. Program, says.
If any of the kids fail to be mesmerized by the sights and sounds of technology, they can play dress-up by donning hand-made sarongs from Indonesia and kimonos from Japan. They can practice the ancient art of chanoyu and stage their own tea parties. A hand puppet theatre with a complete Asian family and their animal friends is available for impromptu plays.
A pen-pal e-mail program will enable children to exchange photos and information about their lives with Japanese children. Dominating one wall of the exhibit is a nine-feet-tall, 10-feet-long map of the world so teachers and parents can show the youngsters where their pen pals live.
With brightly colored paper, markers, scissors, tape, plastic stirrers and helpful picture outlines, kids will be able to make their very own Asian kites. On a kid-sized table below the map of the world are papers and instructions for practicing origami, the art of folding paper into everything from butterflies to frogs.
Plastic Chinese tangram puzzles invite children to test their appreciation of spatial relationships. All seven puzzle pieces must be positioned so that they touch and lay flat, but none may overlap.
“You’re given different scenarios on cards, different looks, different pictures, and you have to take the puzzle pieces out and arrange them in this one little setting,” Hoskins says. “And it’s actually pretty challenging stuff to get all those shapes in the right order.”
A pagoda made of Keva planks, wooden pieces that resemble more elegant versions of Lincoln Logs, is on display to entice children to make their own Keva creations on the second floor. Hoskins says eventually the kids will use the thousands of planks available upstairs to build part of their very own “Great Wall of China.”
And, as if all this was not spellbinding enough, a walk-through exhibit explaining the Chinese legend of “The Monkey King” is slated to arrive in February 2007. “The Monkey King” is based on a centuries-old legend about a powerful flying monkey who accompanies a monk to India to retrieve Buddhist scriptures.
“Most of (the Discovery Center’s) school groups that come in are grades K-4,” Hoskins says. “Our mission statement (specifies children) 12 and under, but most of our visitors are nine and under.”
Hoskins says the center benefits from a 20-year relationship with the schools. The center welcomes an estimated 18,000 youngsters each year.
The Discovery Center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 for anyone age 2 and up. Special rates are available for groups. For more information, contact the center at 615-890-2300.


ATTENTION, MEDIA: Photos of the exhibit and the Kids Web Japan site are available by contacting Gina Logue of the Office of News and Public Affairs at 615-898-5081 or

Thursday, October 05, 2006



2006EDITORIAL CONTACTS: Dr. Ken Blake, 615-210-6187 ( Dr. Robert O. Wyatt, 615-477-8389 (

(MURFREESBORO)—State findings in the Fall 2006 MTSU Poll, now available at, show that Tennesseans’ attitudes toward immigrants don’t change simply by using politically correct terminology. In a survey experiment, fully 60 percent of those responding said they think “illegal” immigrants make life worse, while another 58 percent say “undocumented” immigrants make life worse. Tennesseans also have mixed feelings on the issue of growth: They like the jobs and the improved standard of living that growth is bringing to the state, but they don’t care for the traffic. The poll also indicates Tennesseans’ views on education, their state Legislature, health care and the state’s economy. A summary of the state findings is included below; more details and appendices are available at the Web site. For Tennessee public opinion data from 1998 to present, visit, home of the twice-annual MTSU Poll, a project of the MTSU Office of Communication Research. The OCR is a division of MTSU’s College of Mass Communication.


Summary of State Findings, Fall 2006 Growth’s impact on jobs, living standard appealing. But, oh, the traffic! Improvements in job availability and the standard of living are the most commonly named benefits of growth in the state’s population and economy. But growth-induced traffic woes draw loud complaints, especially in the Midstate. (Contact: Ken Blake)

Attitudes towards immigrants not improved by politically correct terminology. A majority (52%) think immigration is a good thing, but 53 percent also want to reduce levels. In an experiment, fully 60 percent think “illegal” immigrants make life worse, while another 58 percent say “undocumented” immigrants make life worse. (Contact Bob Wyatt) Nashvillians among the least pleased with their local schools. Tennesseans give their local school a C average. Compared to people elsewhere in the state, metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County residents give their schools a C-minus. (Contact: Ken Blake) Legislature approval up, but still low. Forty percent of Tennesseans approve of the job the Legislature is doing. Although under a majority, the figure represents an upward climb from last spring. (Contact Ken Blake) Health care No. 1 state problem again. Health care continues to be Tennessee’s No. 1 problem, named by 19 percent. Health care emerged as the No. 1 problem in spring 2004. Education, crime, and the economy follow. (Contact Bob Wyatt) Tennessee mood brightens; national mood sour. The Tennessee barometer stands at a high of 61. The national barometer stands is 35. Each barometer is an index of chief-executive approval, economic perception, and the direction of the nation or state. (Contact Bob Wyatt) Bredesen’s rating shades upward. Gov. Phil Bredesen’s approval stands at 57 percent, up insignificantly from 54 percent last spring but down from 61 percent in spring 2005. Bredesen is approved equally by Democrats and Republicans. (Contact Bob Wyatt) Perception of state economy and direction looking up. A full 42 percent rate Tennessee’s economy good, but 41 percent rate it fair. Republicans and independents (52%) rate the economy as good, compared to 22 percent of Democrats and others. (Contact Bob Wyatt) For detailed findings and sampling breakdowns of the Fall 2006 MTSU Poll, visit —30—


EDITORIAL CONTACT: Gina Logue, 615-898-5081

Dynamic Screenprints, Sensitive Tempera Paintings to be Displayed

(MURFREESBORO) – Masaaki and Chikako Tanaka, two distinguished Japanese artists, will display their work from Monday, Oct. 16 through Friday, Nov. 3 in the Todd Gallery at MTSU.
Receptions for the Tanakas are slated for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 16 and from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, in the gallery. The receptions are free and open to the public.
In addition, the Tanakas will participate in interactive seminars and workshops with MTSU students and faculty during their stay in America.
Dr. Kiyoshi Kawahito, director of the Japan-U.S. Program at MTSU, introduced Masaaki Tanaka to Thurston Moore of Nashville several years ago.
“Thurston became Tanaka’s U.S. agent almost instantaneously, as he was impressed by Tanaka arts,” Kawahito recalls.
“(Masaaki Tanaka) is a master in the use of the paper stencil technique of screenprinting, the process by which colors and shapes are layered onto paper and coalesce, after many applications, into the finished image,” Dr. Lon Nuell, professor of art, says. “Tanaka’s imagery ranges from the great tradition of the Japanese celebratory festival to landscapes,” Nuell observes. “His festival images are bold and full of energy—a result of his technical mastery of the paper stencil process, his strong understanding of the power of composition and use of color.”
By contrast, Chikako Tanaka’s tempera paintings display a more delicate technique, Nuell says.
“Her work is fanciful, ethereal in some instances, suggesting the dream-like imagery of the surrealists,” Nuell says. “Other images reflect the people and objects which she knows from everyday life in a way that reflects the quietness found more in the past than the present, but that is an essential part of life.”
The exhibition is made possible by The Tennessee Players, Inc., which represents the Tanakas in the U.S., the Japan Foundation of New York, the MTSU Foundation, the Japan-U.S. Program of MTSU, the MTSU College of Liberal Arts and the MTSU Department of Art.
The Todd Gallery is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. Admission is free. Guest parking permits are available at the MTSU Parking Services building just off East Main Street in Murfreesboro.
For more information, call Nuell at 615-898-5653 or 615-898-2505.

About the Artists

Masaaki Tanaka was born in Tokyo in 1947. He graduated from Musashino Art University in 1971, majoring in oil painting. He educated himself in silkscreen after learning wood-block printmaking and stone lithography while making repeated visits to Europe and the United States. His solo exhibition at the Matsuri Festival in Tokyo in 1974 included 38 silkscreen artworks.
For ten years, Tanaka presented a series of his work on the cover page of the “Shukan Shincho,” one of the most famous weekly magazines in Japan. In the U.S., Tanaka exhibited his prints in such venues as New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas/Fort Worth, Nashville, Hawaii and Memphis. Tanaka’s work can be found in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Albrecht Fine Art Museum, the Japan Foundation of New York and others.
When then-President Reagan visited Japan in 1983, the Japanese government presented him with a Masaaki Tanaka print. His artwork covers the entire long wall of the Asakusa Station of the recently opened Tsukuba Express railway in Tokyo. Tanaka’s Web sites are and

Chikako Tanaka graduated from Musashino Art University, majoring in oil painting. She married Masaaki immediately upon graduating, working for the next 20 years as mother and homemaker. In 1994, she presented her art at the Ichiyo Exhibition. The Tanakas offered joint exhibitions at Ando Gallery in 2000 and in Nashville in 2002 and 2004. In 2003 and 2004, Chikako hosted a solo display at North Carolina Gallery. Her Web site is


ATTENTION, MEDIA: For color jpegs of the Tanakas’ art, please contact Gina Logue in the Office of News and Public Affairs at 615-898-5081 or


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 4, 2006EDITORIAL CONTACT: Professor Dan Pfeifer, 615-898-5944

Man Behind the Music of Prince, Snoop Dogg and Tupac Sets Oct. 20-22 Visit

(MURFREESBORO)—Middle Tennessee State University’s Audio Engineering Society and Urban Music Society will host the return to campus of renowned music producer/engineer Dave Aron Oct. 20-22 with a series of informational sessions featuring plenty of advice and hands-on experience for recording industry students.
Aron, whose career kicked off at Memphis’ Sun Studio as an assistant engineer for U2’s 1988 Rattle and Hum, has worked with musicians ranging from Prince to Jane’s Addiction to Sean Combs to Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead.
His long affiliation with Death Row Records led to work on award-winning albums with Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg. Aron works as a live sound engineer with Snoop’s touring band and also operates a production company and project studio in Hollywood.
Aron, who’s making his fifth visit to MTSU, is scheduled for a discussion of his education, career and recording/touring experiences, followed by an open Q&A session, on Friday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m. in the State Farm Room of the university’s Business and Aerospace Building. A tracking session will follow at noon on Saturday, Oct. 21, in Studio B of the Bragg Mass Communication Building, capped off by a mixing session at noon on Sunday, Oct. 22, in Studio C in the James Union Building.
During the tracking and mixing sessions, Aron is set to produce a track from an MTSU student chosen from demos submitted earlier this semester. Students will be the songwriters, performers, audio engineers and production assistants.
”Dave brings meaningful real-world experience to the table and always finds ways to include as many students as possible during the lecture, sessions and social events,” said Dan Pfeifer, the recording industry professor who arranged Aron’s visits. “His wealth of knowledge, uncompromised skill and desire to see the students succeed makes for a learning experience that cannot be duplicated otherwise!”
The Oct. 20 lecture is free and open to the public, but studio size will limit attendance in the tracking and mixing sessions to 50 to 75 students, Pfeifer said.
The MTSU Distinguished Lecture Series, College of Mass Communication and Department of Recording Industry are supporting the event. For more information, call 615-898-5944 or e-mail
Considered the largest program in mass communications in the nation, the MTSU College of Mass Communication offers degree concentrations in 14 major areas—ranging from journalism to digital media and media management to recording industry management.
The Department of Recording Industry is one of the largest and best equipped in the country. Undergraduate recording industry students choose between two concentrations: music business or production and technology. The department also offers a unique graduate program in recording arts and technologies.

ATTENTION, MEDIA: For a color JPEG of Dave Aron with MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee during a previous visit to the university, contact Gina E. Fann in the Office of News and Public Affairs via e-mail at Thanks!


EDITORIAL CONTACT: Professor Beverly Keel, 615-898-5150

Renowned MTSU Scholar’s Article, Obituary Included in ‘2006 Music Issue’

(MURFREESBORO)—Once again, MTSU music scholar Charles Wolfe gets the last word.
The Grammy-nominated professor emeritus of English and folklore, who succumbed to diabetes in February 2006, has one of his final scholarly works, "’I'll Blow those Cats into the Cumberland River': Louis Armstrong, Nashville, and Country Music," featured in the Oxford American magazine’s highly anticipated 2006 Music Issue.
Headlined “Country Music in Black and White” by the OA, the article traces jazzman Armstrong’s career-long connections with country music and his role in helping galvanize Nashville into the civil rights sit-ins.
In an online exclusive, the OA’s Web site ( also features the grainy videotape of Johnny Cash and Louis Armstrong, joyously recreating Jimmie Rodgers' "Blue Yodel No. 9" at the Ryman Auditorium in 1970, that serves as the electronic accompaniment to Wolfe’s article.
In it, Wolfe reveals the little-known fact that Armstrong played on Rodgers’ original recording of that song in 1930. The renowned trumpeter’s appearance on Cash’s TV show culminated a whirlwind trip to Nashville to tout what would turn out to be his final album, “Louis ‘Country and Western’ Armstrong.”
“Absolutely fascinating,” Wolfe said with a grin while viewing the tape in February 2005 while reading his article at the “Perspectives on Popular Music” lecture series by the Center for Popular Music.
OA Editor and Publisher Marc Smirnoff had the same reaction to Wolfe’s article. So much so, in fact, that it’s one of the highlights of the new Music Issue, the latest annual compendium (complete with CD!) of sometimes obscure nuggets of Southern music past and present, boasting writers like Chet Flippo and Peter Guralnick and artists like Eartha Kitt and Uncle Dave Macon.
"That article demonstrates so many of his strengths: his scholarship, his interest and the breadth of his knowledge,” says Smirnoff with reverence. “The story may be known to some, but Dr. Wolfe brings it out so more people can share it.
“It affected people, and that’s part of his legacy. He spread such good news: the more art that’s out there, the more triumphs we’ll see.”
Alongside Wolfe’s article, MTSU recording industry professor Beverly Keel recounts the final chapter of the story: Wolfe’s fascinating obituary.
“It was an honor to write about Dr. Wolfe for Oxford American, but also a bit daunting because he was the dean of the country music scholars,” says Keel, who also serves as director of the Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies. “He was universally adored and respected and inspired several generations of students, scholars and writers.”
The magazine is available by subscription, online purchase and at Davis-Kidd Booksellers, Hastings, Barnes & Noble and Borders.
“If you believe in the power of writing and of music,” Smirnoff says, “that’s what counts. The fact that all these people in this article—Louis Armstrong, Jimmie Rodgers, Johnny Cash, Dr. Wolfe—have died doesn’t mean that all their work isn’t still alive. Once again, art triumphs.”

ATTENTION, MEDIA: For a color file JPEG of Dr. Wolfe viewing the video, a color TIFF of the cover of the Oxford American 2006 Music Issue and/or a headshot of Professor Keel, contact Gina E. Fann in the Office of News and Public Affairs via e-mail at Thanks!


EDITORIAL CONTACT: Lisa L. Rollins, 615-898-2919

Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary Fame Will Deliver Oct. 17 Keynote Address

(MURFREESBORO)—Peter Yarrow of the renowned folk group known as Peter, Paul and Mary will deliver the keynote address during Fit for the Future, a two-day conference at MTSU dedicated to enhancing and promoting children’s health via an eight-step model called Coordinated School Health, or CSH.
Slated for Oct. 16-17, the conference is sponsored by the Tennessee School Health Coalition (TSHC) and registration is open to K-12 school personnel, including food support services, counseling personnel and parent-teacher representatives, throughout the state, said Dr. Doug Winborn, associate professor for MTSU’s Department of Health and Human Performance (HHP).
Winborn said a primary goal of the conference is the establishment of a thorough understanding of what CSH is, as well as instilling an understanding of a recent expansion of the School Health Improvement Act of 2000 that requires school children to participate in 90 minutes of physical education each week.
“Many of the problems that kids in school have are health-related,” Winborn observed. “Through CSH, we hope to remove some of their barriers (to school success).”
Indeed, agreed Dr. Janet Colson, a registered dietician and professor of human sciences, CHS education is key to bolstering the overall performance of the nation’s young people. And it is ignorance, she added, that is the greatest obstacle to improving our children’s overall health and well-being, including ignorance on the part of well-meaning educators and school administrators.
“We’re concerned about obesity, suicide, nutrition, sexually transmitted diseases and so forth. Any facet of health, we’re concerned about,” she said. “(But) we have to educate the professionals and the parents … and give them resources to develop programs that will make a difference.”
During a recent visit to one Tennessee school, for example, Colson said both she and her MTSU students “were appalled” to see a teacher line up her students for snacks at a vending machine to purchase snacks and soft drinks.
“That was two hours before lunch,” Colson said. “Whose fault was it? Everyone’s. Parents gave (the children) the money, teachers took them down the halls (to get the snacks), vendors made it available and administrators allowed it.”
In turn, tending to the coordinated health of our children requires a team effort among all who work with or interface with a child in any way, from P.E. and classroom teachers to principals and parents, said Colson, who noted that Tennessee is ranked No. 5 in obesity nationally.
Nonetheless, the greatest resistance to CSH will likely come from school administrators, Winborn said, and “not because they are not interested in the health and well-being of children, but because they are so overburdened and overworked with so many things to comply with.”

However, the conference organizers’ push for complete implementation of CSH—a model that has been adopted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—is, in a real sense, in keeping with the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandate that public schools must comply with.
“On one head, Coordinated School Health is all about NCLB,” Winborn explained. “It’s about academic performance, reaching out to every child, and that’s what CSH does.
“Unfortunately,” he continued, “the NCLB Act can be problematic as far as the relationship that is formed between children and teachers. Teachers rely on children to perform on a certain level in standardized testing. The expectation of the administrator is that the children perform that way, because (the administrator’s) performance is tied to children’s performance on tests. And some fear this creates an adversarial relationship between all three entities—students, teachers and administrators—because they are dependent on one another in such a way.”
Aside from traditional academic performance concerns, the Fit for Life conference also will address other health-related issues, including bullying and school violence that may prevent some students from doing well academically.
Folk singer-turned-advocate Yarrow, the CSH event’s featured speaker, is an ideal conference guest whose own bullying experiences bring a real relevance to his message, Winborn remarked. Aside from having a successful singing career, Yarrow is the founder of Operation Respect, a nonprofit organization whose representatives actively work to transform schools, camps and organizations focused on youth into compassionate, safe and respectful environments.
“Peter Yarrow coming for this (Fit for Life) conference is a big attraction,” Winborn said. “The message that he brings through Operation Respect, along with his bullying- and violence-prevention program, is constructed and arranged in such a way that it touches children’s hearts rather than just teaching their heads.”
In addition to Yarrow’s Oct. 17 talk, the conference will feature a variety of breakout sessions for the professional educators in attendance as well as a presentation by Dr. Bill Cecil of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Tennessee who will give a “State of the Health of the Children of Tennessee” address.
“Sessions will be delivered by presenters from Tennessee schools and communities who have successfully developed one or more components of Coordinated School Health,” Winborn said.
The components of CHS, which was developed by Diane Allensworth and Lloyd Kolbe, are school health and safety policies and environment; health education; physical education and other physical activity programs; nutrition services; school health services; school counseling; psychological and social services; health promotion for staff; and family and community involvement.
Colson and Winborn also hope the Fit for Life event will encourage school leaders to apply for money—some $15 million, in fact—that recently was made available for CSH programs in the state.
“Who will it take to make this work? It really takes the administration to be interested,” Colson remarked. “The administration will have to apply for this money, and a match will be required to get it.”
For more information on Fit for Life, including registration information, please contact Winborn at 615-898-5110.
• ATTENTION, MEDIA: To obtain a jpeg of Drs. Winborn or Colson for editorial use, or to schedule an interview with them, please contact Lisa L. Rollins in the Office of News and Public Affairs at MTSU at 615-


CONTACT: Tim Musselman, 615-898-2493
(MURFREESBORO)—Flute specialist Dr. Karl Barton will present a free concert at 8 p.m. Oct. 9 in the Hinton Music Hall of the Wright Music Building on the MTSU campus.
Western Classical, Irish, Asian, South American and jazz music will be performed at the concert.
“It is a very diverse program of different world music,” said Deanna Hahn-Little, assistant professor of flute studio at MTSU.
Barton is chairman of the music department at Thomas University and associate professor of music. He directs the jazz ensemble, in addition to teaching courses in music history and technology.
As a flute specialist, Barton has given presentations and recitals throughout the United States and is a member of the salsa-jazz ensemble and recording group known as Latin Attitude.
He has performed in the master classes of Marcel Moyse, Geoffrey Gilbert, William Bennett, Bernard Goldberg, Ransom Wilson, Andras Adorjan and Samuel Sanders.
The Oct. 9 concert is free and open to the public.
For more information on this and other events in the McLean School of Music, please call (615) 898-2493 or visit the calendar of events at


• ATTENTION, MEDIA: To obtain a jpeg of Barton for editorial use, please direct your request to Lisa L. Rollins in the Office of News and Public Affairs at or by calling 615-898-2919.


Anti-Domestic Violence Activist Targets Men with Message

EDITORIAL CONTACT: Gina Logue, 615-898-5081

(MURFREESBORO) – Rus Funk (spelling is correct), author, educator and advocate for domestic violence awareness, will deliver an address on “What’s a Guy to Do?” from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10, in the Keathley University Center (KUC) Theatre.
Funk will talk about the effects of domestic violence, prevention strategies and educating men to be allies in this Domestic Violence Awareness Month event sponsored by the June Anderson Women’s Center and the student organization Women 4 Women.
In addition, Funk will provide specific training for various groups in the campus community in a workshop from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, in the KUC Theatre. He will highlight prevention and education strategies with a specific focus on how to establish organizations for men who want to help combat violence against women.
Funk is the author of Reaching Men: Strategies for Preventing Sexist Attitudes, Behaviors and Violence (JistLife Publishers, 2006). He is on the faculty of the Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville and the Spalding University School of Social Work.
In addition, Funk serves on the boards of the National Center on Sexual and Domestic Violence and the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Some of the grass roots organizations he has helped to found include the Baltimore Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse, Mobilizing to End violeNce (M.E.N.), and D.C. Men Against Rape (now Men Can Stop Rape, Inc.).
“What’s a Guy to Do?” is free and open to the public and the media. For more information, contact the Women’s Center at 615-898-2193 or



Features Tennesseans’ latest views on national, international, local issues

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 3, 2006EDITORIAL CONTACTS: Dr. Ken Blake, 615-210-6187 ( Dr. Robert O. Wyatt, 615-477-8389 (

(MURFREESBORO)—The Fall 2006 MTSU Poll, featuring Tennesseans’ views on the state’s U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races as well as national issues including the situation in Iraq, the war on terror, immigration, U.S. involvement in Middle Eastern conflicts, disaster preparedness and gay marriage, is now available at the poll’s Web site,
In just three of the poll’s hottest topics, Tennessee’s U.S. Senate race may be a dead heat among voters, war in Iraq and Afghanistan remains the top national problem, and the perception of the national economy and direction is still sour.
Details and appendices are available at the Web site as well as in the text of the poll summary included below.
For Tennessee public opinion data from 1998 to present, visit, home of the twice-annual MTSU Poll, a project of the MTSU Office of Communication Research. The OCR is a division of MTSU’s College of Mass Communication.
Summary of Political Findings, Fall 2006 Tennessee’s U.S. Senate race a dead heat among likeliest voters. The state is in for a squeaker of a race if current patterns continue. Forty-two percent of likeliest voters favor Harold Ford Jr., but a statistically even 43 percent support Bob Corker. (Contact: Ken Blake) Bredesen well ahead of Bryson in governor’s race. Gov. Phil Bredesen leads Republican challenger Jim Bryson 59 percent to 21 percent among the state’s likeliest voters. A fifth are undecided. Among all Tennesseans, 52 percent favor Bredesen, and 19 percent favor Bryson. (Contact: Ken Blake) Frist looking a tad more presidential to Tennesseans, but many unsure. Thirty percent of Tennesseans say they would choose U.S. Sen. Bill Frist over a Democratic rival if Frist ran for president. Last fall, 24 percent said they would support Frist. (Contact: Ken Blake)

Gay marriage support tanks as state constitutional ban nears. Support for gay marriage appears to have weakened to 21 percent, while support for gay civil unions, which carry many of the rights of marriage, appears unchanged at 33 percent. (Contact Bob Wyatt) Could a new car, $1 million cause the “wrong people” to vote? Only a third support using a lottery or new car as a voting incentive; most fear this would bring out the wrong kind of people. Majorities support voter holidays, time off from work, and child care. (Contact Bob Wyatt) Most hawkish on Iran, but half say Iraq war was a mistake. Over half (56%) say the U.S. should take military action against Iran if that country continues nuclear development, but about half (51%) say sending troops to Iraq was a mistake. (Contact: Ken Blake) Grim national mood still a party matter. Though the national barometer averages 35, Republicans perceive the mood at a rosy 71. By contrast, Democrats and those who gave no party identification rate the mood at 12. (Contact Bob Wyatt) Perception of national economy and direction still sour. Fully 47 percent of Tennesseans rate the national economy as fair and 18 percent poor. One-fourth (25%) are satisfied with the country’s direction, down from 31 percent last spring. Political polarization again rules. (Contact Bob Wyatt) Bush’s approval remains low. The President’s approval is stuck at 40 percent, shading down insignificantly from 42 percent last spring and 40 percent last fall. But fully 77 percent of Republicans express approval, compared with 31 percent of independents and 10 percent of Democrats. (Contact Bob Wyatt) War in Iraq/Afghanistan remains top national problem. More than one-fifth (22%) still name the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan the top national problem, down non-significantly from 25 percent last spring. Terrorism scored second; the President is ranked third. (Contact Bob Wyatt)

Details of Political Findings, Fall 2006 Tennessee’s U.S. Senate race a dead heat among likeliest voters Tennessee is in for one squeaker of a U.S. Senate race if current public opinion patterns continue. With a little over a month remaining until Election Day, 42 percent of the state’s likeliest voters favor Democratic candidate Harold Ford Jr., but a statistically even 43 percent of them support Republican candidate Bob Corker. Sixteen percent are undecided. Among all Tennessee adults – both those likely to vote and those less so – 40 percent favor Ford, 35 percent favor Corker, nearly a quarter (24%) don’t know, and the rest declined to answer. There are interesting regional differences in the race. Among the likeliest voters in East Tennessee, Corker leads Ford 53 percent to 32 percent, with 15 percent undecided. But among the likeliest voters in both West and Middle Tennessee, Ford leads Corker 48 percent to 36 percent with 16 percent undecided. Because the same regional patterns are evident among all possible voters and not just the most likely voters, regional differences in voter turnout could substantially influence the election’s outcome. “Likeliest voters” are those who reported being registered to vote, having voted in the last statewide election, and being “very likely” to vote in next month’s election. The measure is a rough prediction at best of who will make it to the polls. Fully 64 percent of the sample met the criteria for being included in the category, a figure far higher than the typical voter turnout rate. Odds are that many of even these individuals will end up not voting. Party affiliation is, of course, a strong predictor here, with Republicans generally favoring Corker and Democrats generally favoring Ford. Behind measures of party identification, though, race is the top predictor, with 77 percent of minorities favoring Ford compared to 33 percent of whites. Among whites, Corker has an edge among male likely voters, while he and Ford run evenly among female likely voters.
Attitudes toward the Iraq war may play a role, too. Among Tennesseans who think sending troops to Iraq was a mistake, more favor Ford (63%) than Corker (15%) with the rest undecided. Among those who think sending troops to Iraq was not a mistake, however, 60 percent favor Corker, 16 percent favor Ford, and the remaining quarter or so are undecided. Attitudes toward immigration appear unrelated to preferences for one candidate or the other. A plurality of Tennesseans (42%) say they have no idea who is leading whom in the Senate race. A quarter (24%) think Ford is ahead, and about as many (25%) think Corker is ahead. Forty-three percent of Tennesseans perceive Ford’s TV campaign advertising as either “entirely” or “mostly” truthful, while somewhat fewer (36%) say the same thing about Corker’s TV ads. Over half (53%) think truthful TV ads help politicians gain “a lot” of votes, but only about a quarter (26%) think untruthful ads do so. Despite this relatively low belief that candidates can gain votes with untruthful ads, nearly three-fourths (74%) say the law should forbid such ads. Bredesen well ahead of Bryson in governor’s race Gov. Phil Bredesen leads Republican challenger Jim Bryson 59 percent to 21 percent among the state’s likeliest voters. A fifth (20%) of the state’s likeliest voters remain undecided. Bredesen holds a similar lead among Tennesseans in general – that is, both the likeliest to vote and those less likely to vote – where 52 percent favor Bredesen, 19 percent favor Bryson, and 29 percent are undecided. Bredesen has the support of a strong majority of Democrats (79%) and a plurality of independents and the politically unaffiliated (49%). Among Republicans, 34 percent favor Bredesen, 37 percent favor Bryson, and about a quarter (28%) are undecided. Frist looking a tad more presidential to Tennesseans, but many unsure Thirty percent of Tennesseans say they would choose Sen. Bill Frist over a Democratic rival if Frist were to run for president. The figure has inched up since last fall, when 24 percent said they would support a presidential bid by Frist. Under a quarter (22%) said they would choose a Democratic rival instead of Frist, a figure identical to the proportion from last fall. The findings suggest that attitudinal shifts among undecideds may account for most of the uptick in Frist’s support. But as was the case last fall, a plurality of Tennesseans (39%) say they don’t know which they would vote for.
Behind the obvious predictor of party affiliation, race and religion play key roles in attitudes toward a presidential run by Frist. Far more whites (35%) than minorities (5%) say they would back Frist. And among whites, support for Frist runs higher among self-described evangelical Christians (42%) than among nonevangelicals (29%). Gay marriage support tanks as state constitutional ban nears As Tennessee nears a probable constitutional ban on gay marriage, support for gay marriage appears to have weakened, while support for gay civil unions, which carry many of the rights of marriage, appears unchanged. In our current poll, nearly three-quarters (74%) say that the law should not recognize gay marriage, while 21 percent disagree. Before the recent flurry of political activity, support for gay marriage had remained virtually unchanged. In last spring’s poll, 69 percent did not support legal gay marriage. In our spring 2005 poll, the figure was 70 percent, while in spring 2004, it was 69 percent. In the current poll, political rather than religious orientation best predicts opposing legal gay marriage. Fully 92 percent of those identifying themselves as conservatives or on the far right oppose legalization, compared to 61 percent of all others. However, support for gay civil unions has not eroded. Nearly one-third (33%) of Tennesseans would support gay civil unions, although, again, an overwhelming 59 percent oppose unions. Political orientation again proved the strongest predictor, with nearly one half (48%) of liberals and middle-of-the-roaders supporting civil unions, compared with only 21 percent of all others. In spring 2004, the last time we measured support for civil unions, 32 percent were in favor and 61 percent opposed. In both our 2006 and 2004 polls, respondents were randomly assigned either to a question about gay marriage or to a question about gay unions. Could a new car, $1 million cause the “wrong people” to vote? An Arizona politician recently introduced a whole new possibility for stimulating voter turnout when he proposed that each voter be given a chance at a $1 million lottery. The issue raised was why economic incentives – long a staple of product marketing – should not be used to increase Americans’ dismal voter turnout. We wanted to know what Tennesseans thought about a variety of incentives, ranging from fines to car-giveaways.

A full 86 percent of Tennesseans initially told us that they thought more people should vote. In fact, 90 percent of those very likely to vote in the upcoming Senate race wished more people would vote, compared to 74 percent of those less likely to vote. But when fines or giveaways were introduced as negative and positive incentives, support was weak. For example, only 10 percent supported a $100 fine, though blacks (30%) were more likely to support a fine than whites and others (7%). A $1,000 fine dropped overall support to 5 percent (17 percent among blacks and 2 percent among whites). Offering each voter a $1 million lottery fared better, with nearly one-third (32%) supporting. However, here, the fear that incentives might cause the “wrong kind of people to vote” took hold. Among those who though the wrong people might vote, support dropped to 24 percent. But, for those who did not fear the lottery as a stimulus, 44 percent were supportive. A drawing for a new car gained support from just 31 percent, a number similar to the lottery. And the fear of stimulating the wrong kind of people also proved predictive, with 22 percent support among the fearful and 43 percent among those with no concern about the wrong people voting. However, making each election-day a holiday raised no such fears. Fully 55 percent proved supportive of the move, with two-thirds (69%) of those age 18-34 and 53 percent of those age 35-64 expressing approval. Even those age 65 and older almost gave majority support (47%). Free childcare was even more popular, with 64 percent overall support. Support was very strong (72%) among Democrats, independents, and all others. And a majority (51%) of Republicans joined them. And time off from work pulled 81 percent support, with no political or age divisions. Internet voting was opposed by 61 percent of our respondents, but a majority (58%) of those 18-35 proved supportive, while 40 percent opposed the move. For other age groups, 58 percent of those age 35-49 were opposed, followed by 70 percent of those age 50-64 and 71 percent of those 65 or older. A clear majority (56%) say these incentives would not influence their own decision about whether to vote. But, when race is considered, blacks overwhelmingly (70%) believe incentives would encourage them to vote, while fewer than a third (30%) of whites concur.

In summary, Tennesseans favor work- and family-related incentives such as holidays, child care, and time off from work. These incentives, interestingly enough, do not raise the specter of the “wrong kind of people” voting, as do financial incentives such as a lottery or a new car. Fines were generally very unpopular, but less so among blacks than whites. Thus, financial incentives, whether positive (a car, a lottery) or negative (fines) – though universal in the marketplace and the legal world – are in disfavor where the vote is concerned. And this despite the profusion of marketing and financial incentives involved in election campaigns and political favoritism. Most hawkish on Iran, but half say Iraq war was a mistake. Over half (56%) of Tennesseans say the U.S. should take military action against Iran if that country continues to develop nuclear capability. But at the same time, about half (51%) say sending troops to Iraq was a mistake, a figure similar to the proportion found last spring (48%). More Republicans (72%) than Democrats, independents and others (46%) would favor military action against Iran over Iran’s nuclear program. Behind party identification, evangelical Christian identity is the strongest predictor, with 59 percent of evangelicals favoring military action compared to 46 percent of others. As for the wisdom of sending troops to Iraq, sharp divisions are of course evident along party lines. Fully 83 percent of Democrats say the war was a mistake compared to 62 percent of independents and just 21 percent of Republicans. But beneath party affiliation, attitudes break across race, age, and religion. Specifically, 49 percent of whites call the war a mistake compared to 88 percent of minorities. And among whites, older Tennesseans in general are more critical of the war’s initiation than are younger ones, particularly those who describe themselves as evangelical Christians. Meanwhile, in the wake of this summer’s war in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah, over two-thirds (69%) of Tennesseans doubt Israel and Arab nations will ever get along, and half say striving for peace in the region is none of the United States’ business. Grim national mood still a party matter Though the national barometer averages a grim 35 out of 100 compared to a state mood of 61, Tennessee’s Republicans perceive the national mood at a rosy 71. By contrast, Democrats and those who gave no party identification rate the mood at a dismal 12, while independents and others rate the mood at 25. Polarization here is extreme.
About 31 percent of our sample here identified themselves as Republicans, 37 percent as Democrats or those with no affiliation, and 31 percent as independents. Perception of national economy and direction still sour Fully 47 percent of Tennesseans rate the national economy as only fair and 18 percent poor. Again, political party comes to the fore, with 52 percent of Republicans rating the economy good and only 5 percent poor. Only 32 percent of independents and others rate the economy good, and only 19 percent of Democrats agree. Only one-fourth (25%) are satisfied with the direction the country is going, down from 31 percent last spring. Here, the gap between identification is particularly obvious, with a majority (53%) of Republicans satisfied, compared to a mere 12 percent among Democrats, independents, and the rest. Bush’s approval remains low President Bush’s is stuck at 40 percent in a state that once supported him strongly, shading down insignificantly from 42 percent last spring and 40 percent last fall. Again, Republicans seem to inhabit a different world from Democrats, independents, and those with no affiliation. Fully 77 percent of Tennessee’s Republicans and those who refused identification approved of Bush’s handling of the presidency, compared with 31 percent of independents and those with other affiliations and 10 percent of Democrats and those listing no affiliation. Polarization clearly indicates that Republicans reflect a different reality than Democrats and independents. The polarization extends to the president’s handling of the U.S. campaign against terrorism and the war in Iraq. For example, over three-fourths (79%) of Republicans like how Bush is dealing with terrorism. Only 37 percent of independents and those with no affiliation agree, and just 12 percent of Democrats agree. Similarly, 67 percent of Republicans approve of how Bush is handling the situation in Iraq compared to 27 percent of independents and the unaffiliated and just 8 percent of Democrats. Overall, 43 percent approve of how Bush is handling terrorism, and 35 percent approve of how he is handling Iraq.
War in Iraq/Afghanistan remains top national problem More than one-fifth (22%) of Tennesseans still name the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as the top national problem, down slightly but non-significantly from 25 percent last spring. Terrorism scored second, at 17 percent, replacing last spring’s economy in second place. In third place is the President himself, named by 12 percent. Despite the prominence of immigration as a political issue, only 2 percent volunteered immigrants or immigration issues.

Appendix A: Measuring attitudes in pollsAttitudes toward many issues – such as taxes, military actions, or immigrants – are complex. The same person may hold several contradictory notions and balance them off against each other to determine an overall attitude.For example, in forming an attitude toward abortion, the same person may believe that abortion should not be used as a method of birth control. When asked bluntly whether he or she is in favor of abortion, that person might reply either “No” or “Yes.” This is because the same person could also believe that abortion is acceptable in cases of incest, rape, or serious defects in the fetus. To learn the person’s attitude, a survey researcher must therefore ask more than one question, then report the results in all their complexity.
Appendix B: Evangelicalism in TennesseeThe label “Evangelical” is claimed by subgroups within a wide array of Christian types including Southern Baptists, Pentecostals, Catholics, Lutherans, and more. To complicate matters, many self-described Evangelicals attend non-denominational churches, and still others hold Evangelical beliefs and exhibit Evangelical behaviors without identifying with or even recognizing the term “Evangelical.” In short, Evangelicalism is an abstraction, and there is no perfect way to measure it. But whatever it is, Evangelicalism is a strong force in Tennessee politics, and an interpretation of Tennessee attitudes would be incomplete without some attempt to account for it.
The MTSU Poll assesses Evangelicalism by asking individuals whether they consider themselves an “Evangelical or born-again” Christian and also by measuring three themes often found in Evangelical belief and practice: Belief that the Bible is the “actual word of God” and should be “taken literally, word for word,” belief that “Jesus will return to earth and take all true Christians to heaven, leaving non-Christians here to face tribulation and the Antichrist,” and a personal history of having “tried to encourage someone to believe in Jesus Christ or to accept Jesus Christ as his or her savior.” In Tennessee, all three measures correlate positively and strongly – although not perfectly – with self-identification as an Evangelical, and when one or more of these measures emerges as a significant predictor, the predictor is assumed to accurately characterize the attitudes of Evangelicals.

Appendix C: Sample and methodThe poll was conducted by telephone Sept. 19-30, 2006 by students in the College of Mass Communication at Middle Tennessee State University. Students interviewed 549 people age 18 or older chosen at random from the state population. The poll has an estimated error margin of ± about 4 percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence. Theoretically, this means that a sample of this size should produce a statistical portrait of the population within 4 percentage points 95 out of 100 times. Other factors, such as question wording, also affect the outcome of a survey. Error margins are greater for sample subgroups.The sample varied somewhat from the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest available projections for age, race and gender proportions within the state. Such variation commonly occurs because certain demographic groups are more difficult to contact. The data were thus weighted to more closely match Census projections for these demographics.

For detailed sampling breakdowns of the Fall 2006 MTSU Poll, visit