FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 26, 2008
EDITORIAL CONTACT: Gina Logue, 615-898-5081
MIDDLE EAST EXPERT TO RETURN TO MTSU AS GLOBAL CONSULTANT
Dr. Ron Messier to Guide and Promote International Education and Exchange
(MURFREESBORO) – In order to enhance MTSU’s burgeoning integration of international education into its academic life, Dr. Ron Messier, senior lecturer in history at Vanderbilt University and former history professor at MTSU, will return to the Murfreesboro campus in his new role as Director of International Outreach starting July 1. Messier will report to Dr. Kaylene Gebert, Executive Vice President and Provost. However, his duties will include advising President Sidney A. McPhee on international endeavors, hosting international dignitaries who visit the campus and traveling outside the country with McPhee at the president’s request. “The Provost and I are very happy to have Dr. Messier back on campus and working with us,” says Dr. Anne Sloan, Special Assistant to the Provost for International Education. “He has a tremendous amount of expertise as the earliest director of any formal study abroad program at MTSU dating back to the 1970s and extensive experience working in the field internationally, especially in North Africa and the Middle East. We value his knowledge of the university’s history and his perspective on improving the international aspects of curriculum.” Messier will work closely with Sloan on curriculum internationalization and curriculum integration, recruiting international students and promoting student and faculty exchange. Communication with the broader university community, including the development of an international education newsletter, also will be part of Messier’s focus. “What I hope to be able to do is work with every segment of campus to try to identify things that MTSU does particularly well that will be marketable overseas and then identify target groups overseas and then connect the two,” Messier says. Additionally, Messier will advise the Office of International Programs and Services and the Middle East Center. “Ron's expertise and contacts in the Middle East and North Africa are wide-ranging and extensive,” says Dr. Allen Hibbard, director of the Middle East Center. “I saw this firsthand when he visited me while I was teaching in Damascus and when the two of us recently traveled together in Morocco. He was a key moving force behind plans to create a Middle East Center on campus and has remained a strong, steadfast supporter of our work and activities. I have always relied on his counsel and will lean on him more heavily once he assumes his official position here.”
“A logical place for me to start because of my own background and experience will be in areas like public history (and) historic preservation,” Messier says. “I know there’s a market for that in the Middle East and North Africa, and I’ve already started unofficially to look at ways of making those connections.” In fact, over a six-week period between the conclusion of his time at Vanderbilt and the start of his new job at MTSU, Messier will travel to Morocco to continue an excavation that began in 2004 of a medieval Islamic city just south of Marrakech. Messier will remain at Vanderbilt until April. His new MTSU position is a part-time job for which he anticipates working 20 hours a week three or four days a week. This schedule will enable him to travel and conduct research. A professor of Middle East history and historical archaeology at MTSU from 1972 to 2004, Messier won the university’s Outstanding Teacher Award in 1976, Outstanding Honors Faculty Award in 1978, and Outstanding Research Award in 1997, as well as the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education award as Tennessee Teacher of the Year in 1993. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1966 and his master’s and doctorate from the University of Michigan in 1968 and 1972, respectively.
ATTENTION, MEDIA: For a color jpeg of Dr. Ron Messier at an historic site in Morocco, contact Gina Logue in the MTSU Office of News and Public Affairs at 615-898-5081.