July 11, 2011
Contact: Tom Tozer, 615-898-2919
New conference welcomes 400+ educators to MTSU
MURFREESBORO—The Create 2011: Creativity in Education Conference, hosted by MTSU and sponsored by the Tennessee Arts Commission, welcomed more than 400 K-12 educators Sunday evening in the University’s Tucker Theatre.
With greater emphasis on student outcomes through Race to the Top, teachers are being asked to produce more success in the classroom. This week’s three-day conference, the first of its kind in the state, will provide professional-development opportunities and teaching examples for educators to strengthen their practice and improve their students’ performance.
MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee offered greetings at the opening celebration for the July 10-13 event, noting that MTSU will be 100 years old in September and that its mission has remained constant.
“We started out as a teacher-training institution,” McPhee said. “Even though we have grown and added programs, we have not forgotten our primary mission, and that is educating and training teachers for this state and this nation. It is a high priority for us. As a major university, we place a very high value on celebrating the creativity and innovation that the arts bring to teaching and learning. I would like to thank the Tennessee Arts Commission for allowing us to serve as host for this wonderful creativity activity.”
Before the president’s welcome, members of the Covington (Tenn.) Integrated Arts Academy performed, followed by opening remarks from Rich Boyd, executive director of TAC.
Country singer/songwriter Jimmy Wayne was Sunday evening’s featured speaker. In January 2010, Wayne began a cross-country walk from Nashville to Phoenix to gain attention and support for foster children across America. Called the “Meet Me Halfway” campaign, Wayne walked 25 miles every day, punctuated by concert performances en route, and arrived in Phoenix on Aug. 1, 2010.
Wayne shared his personal story of childhood abuse and abandonment, explaining that he spent much of his young life in and out of foster homes or living on the streets. Today, Wayne is the national spokesman for Foster Club, a national network for children in foster care.
This week’s conference is the result of the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Value Plus Schools Initiative, an arts-integrated model funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The initiative spawned Create 2011, a program jointly sponsored by TAC and the DOE to provide professional development for Tennessee K-12 educators and administrators.
Founded in 1911, Middle Tennessee State University is a Tennessee Board of Regents institution located in Murfreesboro and is the state’s largest public undergraduate institution. In September 2011, MTSU will celebrate its 100th year anniversary with special events and activities throughout the year—kicked off by a Blue-Tie Centennial Gala on Friday, Sept. 9.