Thursday, November 29, 2012

[178] MTSU's EXL Scholars Program touted as 'excellent model' for universities

FOR RELEASE: Nov. 28, 2012
EDITORIAL CONTACT: Jimmy Hart, 615-898-5131 or

MTSU’s EXL Scholars Program touted as ‘excellent model’ for universities

MURFREESBORO Service learning.

MTSU is positioning itself as a model university in this area with its Experiential Learning Scholars Program, or EXL, which was recently commended by a regional accrediting organization for its impact and effectiveness after five years of existence.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee spoke to a proud group of faculty and staff at a recent campus reception honoring those involved with the birth of the program, which started in spring 2006 as a pilot project in conjunction with MTSU’s Quality Enhancement Plan.

The EXL program formalizes and organizes several existing experiential learning activities into a comprehensive program of study for students. At the end of the five-year review period, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools rewarded MTSU with the following commendation:

“The institution adequately addressed all required elements of the QEP Impact Report, and its assessment efforts are to be applauded. The ‘Experiential Learning Scholars Program’ would serve as an excellent model for institutions considering a similar project.”

“What’s most impressive is the sustainability of that excellence,” McPhee told the group at the Nov. 15 reception at the James Union Building.

In recent weeks, McPhee added, he received an email from SACS President Dr. Belle Wheelan, again asking to showcase MTSU’s program during an upcoming membership meeting “as a model program for institutions to look at and see how to do it.”

McPhee pointed to the growing interest in EXL courses on campus, noting that more than 5,000 students enrolled in EXL classes during the 2011-12 academic year. About 150 students graduated as EXL Scholars that year, too.

The president noted that in 2011-12:

§  4,144 EXL students participated in community projects;
§  197,828 student hours were spent on community activities;
§  3,512 EXL projects were completed; and
§  the program’s work contributed $1,582,624 value to the community.

“What is so neat about this program is that it shows how you can merge academic and service learning in a way that is not only beneficial to the community, but is substantive and it is something that students see a value you in and respond to,” McPhee said.

Dr. Jill Austin, who served as chair of the committee that launched the EXL program, emphasized that “it took everyone’s involvement to make this project happen” — the collective cooperation of faculty, staff, students and community members.”

The initial idea of “experiential learning” was one that drew consensus from the start.

“We had no idea what that meant at that time, but from the beginning, we were all moving in the same direction,” said Austin, who is a professor of management and marketing at MTSU. “We thought that we could change the culture of learning at MTSU and get students more engaged in the learning process.”

Students were deeply involved in the program development from the outset, even developing the logo and “Make it happen!” motto still in use today. Throughout the reception, a slideshow displayed numerous EXL community service projects involving students, ranging from Habitat for Humanity builds to ecological restoration at the Stones River Battlefield to a family wellness fair at Hobgood Elementary School.

“Students feel like they’re more confident in all kinds of ways because of EXL,” Austin said. “They feel like their leadership skills are better than if they hadn’t had an EXL experience — their planning skills, their organizational skills, their ability to work with lots of people and people who are different from them. The list could go on and on.”

Austin recalled the Alternative Spring Break in spring 2006, when 23 MTSU students traveled to Pass Christian, Miss., to assist with cleanup efforts after Hurricane Katrina.

“Students really do learn by doing. Their lives can be changed. They really see possibilities that they didn’t see before,” she said.

MTSU had 54 EXL faculty members at end of its first year. That number had more than tripled to 173 by the end of the 2011-12 academic year, but Austin said she wants more participation because of the positive impact the program can have on faculty members.

“I would like to have 700,” Austin said, drawing supportive laughter from those in attendance.

“It changes the way you think about teaching,” she continued. “It changes how you think about student learning. It creates an excitement in the classroom.”

EXL Director Carol Swayze said she expects the program to continue its growth and sees the SACS commendation as confirmation that MTSU is on the right track.

“We are fortunate to have such an exceptional team of faculty, staff and community partners who are providing a top quality educational experience for our students,” she said.

“This honor is truly a reflection on the quality of work performed by the founding committee and speaks to the dedication of MTSU to student success. The program continues to grow each semester as more students discover the value of experiential learning and the EXL Scholar Designation.”

Dr. Janet McCormick, an associate professor of organizational communication, recalled how she immediately embraced the EXL concept.

“Right away, I made all of my classes EXL, because they were EXL in the first place,” she said. “Then I went to each of my colleagues and said, ‘Please get on board with this. We can do something with this.’”

McCormick shared an example of EXL’s application in which one of her classes recently used an upcoming job fair on campus to practice experiential learning.

“I said, ‘We can either read about recruiting, or we can do recruiting in preparation for the recruiting fair,’” she said.

McCormick had her students set up mock companies in the classroom so classmates could visit and practice doing interviews. All the students visited each tab le to polish their interviewing skills.

Aimee Hawtrey Sipe, an EXL Scholars alumna and now a community partner through her work with the nonprofit Both Hands Foundation, told the crowd about how, through her EXL coursework, she basically created a full-time job for herself at a pizza parlor because the owners were so impressed with her work.

She later navigated an extensive interview process with Both Hands, a Nashville-based organization that assists orphans, widows and adoptive families.

“They were really impressed with the education I had gotten at MTSU,” said Hawtrey Sipe, a 2010 cum laude graduate who majored in organizational communication.

She got the job and credits the multitasking skills she learned during her EXL courses as critical in enhancing her effectiveness and efficiency at a nonprofit with limited staff. Both Hands now makes use of interns through the EXL program.

“I am so excited to say that I am a child of (EXL),” she said. “It’s meant the world to me … and it’s given me two jobs!”

Dr. Brad Bartel, university provost, recognized Austin and the following founding committee members in attendance: Valerie Avent, Joe Bales, Bill Black, Sharon Boyce, Dr. Mark Byrnes, Dr. Judith Iriarte-Gross, Dr. Faye Johnson, Dr. Jan Leone, Dr. Sheila Otto, Dr. Sandra Poirier, Dr. Don Roy, Dr. Connie Schmidt, retired professor Dr. Lorraine Singer, Kippy Todd, Jackie Victory, Dr. Phil Waldrop, Dr. Laurie Witherow and Dr. Jennifer Woodard.


MTSU is committed to developing a community devoted to learning, growth and service. We hold these values dear, and there’s a simple phrase that conveys them:  “I am True Blue.” Learn more at For MTSU news anytime, visit

[177] Dec. 6 MTSU Accounting CPE Day features tax, auditing, ethics topics

For release:  Nov. 28, 2012

News and Media Relations contact: Jimmy Hart, 615-898-5131 or
MTSU Department of Accounting contact: Pat Wall, 615-898-2039, 615-898-5306 or

MURFREESBORO — The fourth annual Department of Accounting CPE Day at Middle Tennessee State University will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 4:55 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, in the Business and Aerospace Building’s State Farm Lecture Hall.

The conference’s continuing professional education seminars will include presentations on accounting and financial reporting, auditing, taxation and ethics. Participants can earn up to eight hours of CPE credit. The cost is $150, which includes all seminars, materials and lunch.

To register or obtain more information, visit the Department of Accounting website at or call the department at 615-898-5306.

The sessions and presenters include:

• “Working at Your Best,” Angie Grissom, chief operating officer and executive vice president, The Rainmaker Companies;

• “Financial Accounting Standards Board Update,” Dr. Paula Thomas, MTSU accounting professor;

• “Tax Update,” Dr. Tim Koski, MTSU accounting professor;

“Corporate Sustainability Reporting,” Dr. Jeannie Harrington, MTSU associate professor of accounting;

“Fraud and Liability Update,” Dr. Sandy Benson, MTSU assistant professor of business law;

• “Governmental Accounting Standards Board Update,” Dr. G. Robert “Smitty” Smith Jr., accounting department chair;

• “General Ethics,” Dr. Stan Clark, accounting associate professor;

• “Audit Update,” Dr. Anne Wilkins, accounting assistant professor;

“Pharmaceutical Industry Data Mining Shielded by Supreme Court Ruling …  for Now,” Dr. Lara W. Daniel, professor of business law, and Dr. Katie Kemp, assistant professor of marketing; and

• “Tennessee State Specific Ethics,” Mark Crocker, executive director, Tennessee State Board of Accountancy.

Also, the 22nd annual Department of Accounting Alumni CPE Day at MTSU will held Thursday, May 2, 2013.


       MTSU is committed to developing a community devoted to learning, growth and service. We hold these values dear, and there’s a simple phrase that conveys them:  “I am True Blue.” Learn more at For MTSU news any time, visit


[176] MTSU students 'take a stand' against bullying at work, school, online

For release:  Nov. 28, 2012

News and Media Relations contact: Jimmy Hart, 615-898-5131 or
MTSU Management and Marketing contact: Dr. Jackie Gilbert, 615-898-5418 or

MTSU students ‘take a stand’ against bullying at work, school, online

MURFREESBORO — Students in Dr. Jackie Gilbert’s Principles of Management class at MTSU are taking a stand against bullying, whether in social settings on campus, in the free-for-all interactions of cyberspace or inside corporate offices.

They want to educate other students about the issue, including what they can do to stop it.

“Take a Stand to Stop Bullying” will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. today, Nov. 28, in the State Farm Lecture Hall inside the Business and Aerospace Building.

Hosted by the MTSU Leadership and Service Office, the event will feature presentations by students in Gilbert’s undergraduate Experiential Learning, or EXL, management class on the topics of cyberbullying, corporate bullying and stalking.

“Their overall goal is to educate their peers,” Gilbert said. “What are the consequences of bullying, and more importantly, what can they do about it?”

During today’s event, three student groups made up of juniors and seniors will each present a topic for 25 minutes, followed by a five-minute period for the audience to ask questions.

“This is a student event to educate peers; namely, to provide information on the content, cause, and remedies of bullying both within school systems and within organizations,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert’s research and teaching interests for the past two years have been focused on workplace bullying.

In 2011, Gilbert applied for Distinguished Lecture Series funds to bring Gary Namie to campus. Namie is co-director of the Workplace Bullying Institute and a nationally recognized expert on bullying.

In spring 2011, a non-EXL Principles of Management class explored five different aspects of bad behavior: mobbing, hazing, cyberbullying, stalking and corporate bullying. Students then created an instructional video to raise awareness.

The goal of the project, according to that video, was to “groom a generation who will make a difference, one that will engender transparency, accountability, empowerment, and shared governance within their sphere of influence.

“They will infiltrate companies to promote good management and to change their firm’s culture,” the video continued. “They are the freedom fighters of a new era, trained to be rabble-rousers in the best possible way.”

The video can be seen at


Photo captions

Jackie Gilbert.jpg (head shot)

Jackie Gilbert (Photo by MTSU Creative and Visual Services)

Anti-bullying flyer.jpg

“Take a Stand/STOP Bullying will be a Principles of Management class participation event , starting at 6 p.m. today in the State Farm Lecture Hall in the Business and Aerospace Building. (Graphic provided by MTSU)

       MTSU is committed to developing a community devoted to learning, growth and service. We hold these values dear, and there’s a simple phrase that conveys them:  “I am True Blue.” Learn more at For MTSU news any time, visit


[175] Cooperatives' scholarship aids MTSU ag student, lifeguard Haege

For release: Nov. 27, 2012

News and Media Relations contact: Randy Weiler, 615-898-5616 or
MTSU School of Agribusiness and Agriscience contact: Dr. Warren Gill, 615-898-2523 or

MURFREESBORO — MTSU junior Tori Haege works as a lifeguard at Campus Recreation Center. She wants to pursue a career in soil conservation science and management or biofuels once she earns her bachelor’s degree in plant and soil science.

Earlier this year, the Tennessee Council of Cooperatives made things financially easier for her to attend college by awarding the Murfreesboro resident a $750 scholarship for the fall semester.

Haege (pronounced HAY-GEE) said the scholarship “helps pay for my classes. Without scholarships, I would not be in college.”

The 2010 Riverdale High School graduate transferred from the University of Tennessee-Martin this semester. She also has Tennessee Hope Lottery, work- study and other scholarships that help her pay for her education.

Haege said the work-study is a “volunteer community service” in which she helps grade papers and perform office work in the MTSU Department of Health and Human Performance.

When Haege would return home to Murfreesboro for weekends and semester breaks from her UT-Martin classes, she has worked as an MTSU campus rec lifeguard. Four months ago, after transferring to MTSU, she was promoted to head lifeguard. She said it is her only job.

Haege maintains about a 3.5 grade-point average in the classroom.

Dr. Warren Gill, director of MTSU’s School of Agribusiness and Agriscience in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, said the partnership between the cooperatives and universities “shows the commitment to education that’s exemplified in the scholarship and I’m sure the students appreciate it, too.”

The Tennessee Council of Cooperatives sponsor six college scholarships for students from each of Tennessee’s four-year agricultural programs: Austin Peay State University, MTSU, Tennessee Technological University, the University of Tennessee- Knoxville, UT-Martin and Tennessee State University in Nashville.

The scholarship, established in 1984, is an effort to acknowledge and assist college-age students most likely to return to communities served by rural cooperatives. The Tennessee Council of Cooperatives considers the scholarships an investment in the future of cooperatives and their leadership.

Several past scholarship recipients now serve in one of Tennessee’s cooperatives or in one of the state’s agriculture-related agencies, which work with, support and help build cooperative businesses.

To be considered for the scholarship, the student must be a citizen of Tennessee, enrolled in a college of agriculture, maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher and be in his or her junior year of study.

For more information about the scholarship, Tennessee cooperatives or the Tennessee Council of Cooperatives, call Roberta Smith at 423-447-2121 or email or visit


Photo captions

Tori Haege.jpg

MTSU junior Victoria Haege, center, receives congratulations for the scholarship recognition she received from Tennessee Council of Cooperatives representative Frank Jennings, right, and Dr. Warren Gill, director of the School of Agribusiness and Agriscience. (Submitted photo by Todd Palmer/Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation)

       MTSU is committed to developing a community devoted to learning, growth and service. We hold these values dear, and there’s a simple phrase that conveys them:  “I am True Blue.” Learn more at For MTSU news any time, visit


[174] Blue Raider Debaters challenge Afghan student team in video debate

FOR RELEASE: Nov. 26, 2012
EDITORIAL CONTACT: Gina E. Fann, 615-898-5385 or

MURFREESBORO Late-night preparations are commonplace for MTSU’s debate team, but a midnight competition with an Afghan student team via Skype is taking “international debate” to a new level.

Two teams of MTSU’s Blue Raider Debaters will face off against university students from Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, beginning at 12:30 a.m. Central on Tuesday, Nov. 27.

Students will use webcams to communicate via Skype, the popular Internet calling application used internationally by government, business, military and educational institutions as well as the general public.

“The students from Afghanistan are literally risking their lives to participate in a debate!” said Dr. Patrick Richey, team coach and director of forensics.

“I think it’s a life-changing experience for our debaters. This gives them a chance to put their skills to the test on a global level. Plus, they realize the sacrifice the Afghanistan team is willing to make to debate.”

MTSU students Hailey Lawson, Dale Sikkema, William Griffen and Tevin Mason are set to participate. Lawson and Sikkema are on one MTSU team and Griffen and Mason are on the other.

All have been briefed on the cultural nuances to be observed during the debate as well as security concerns and practices, Richey said. Richey, a professor in MTSU’s Department of Speech and Theatre, also served as a civil affairs combat soldier in Iraq, and his academic research involves post-colonial rhetoric in the Middle East.

“This may be why they chose MTSU and me,” he said.

The unique opportunity arose following Richey’s communications with other members of the International Public Debate Association and debate colleagues.

A U.S. Department of State grant sent U.S. debaters and coaches to Afghanistan for live debates two years ago. After that initial success, additional grant money from the U.S. Agency for International Development allowed organizers to continue the project via Skype. Tuesday’s debate is the “test run” for this project, Richey said.

Working through various governmental and organizational channels, Afghanistan is establishing a vigorous debate program for university students. The International Foundation for Electoral Systems sponsored two debates this past spring via Skype between the IFES University Debate Club and students at Oregon’s Linfield College.

Mazar-i-Sharif is located in the northern province of Balkh and is Afghanistan’s fourth largest city. In addition to its reputation as a major tourist attraction because of its religious shrines and archaeological sites, Mazar-i-Sharif is home to five universities.

“I hope we can do more debates like this,” Richey said. “We are also trying to get a SOROS grant to take the team to Thailand, but it’s in the review phase right now.

“A long-term goal of mine is to make the MTSU team a global team, but it is very, very expensive, so we are starting small.”

MTSU’s debate team, founded with the university in 1911, was revamped in 2011. It immediately began recruiting members and hosting special debate events on campus and participated in 11 tournaments in five states during the 2011-12 academic year.

In October, MTSU's Blue Raider Debaters hosted their first tournament on campus in nearly a decade, welcoming teams from around the country in a "double debate-till-you-drop" competition.

You can learn more about the team at


MTSU is committed to developing a community devoted to learning, growth and service. We hold these values dear, and there’s a simple phrase that conveys them:  “I am True Blue.” Learn more at For MTSU news anytime, visit

[173] Handel's 'Messiah' marks 28th year at MTSU School of Music

FOR RELEASE: Nov. 21, 2012
EDITORIAL CONTACT: Tim Musselman, 615-898-2493 or

MURFREESBORO The MTSU Concert Chorale and Middle Tennessee Choral Society will present one of the greatest works associated with the holiday season, Handel’s “Messiah,” to the community on Dec. 2 and 3.

Concerts are scheduled at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, and at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3, in Hinton Music Hall inside MTSU’s Wright Music Building.

About 140 choristers, along with harpsichord and chamber orchestra, will perform the Christmas portion of the work, which includes some of its most popular recitatives, arias and choruses.

The choruses to be performed include “And the glory of the Lord,” “And He shall purify,” “For unto us a child is born,” “Glory to God” and the ever-popular “Hallelujah” chorus.

"We are pleased to once again present this most beloved oratorio to our Murfreesboro and Middle Tennessee community," said Dr. Raphael Bundage, director of choral studies at MTSU and conductor for the Middle Tennessee Choral Society.

Soloists for the Dec. 2 performance include Stephen White, Drew Jenkins, Corbin Phillips, Emily Dennis, Garrett Doo, Bill Hennings, Elizabeth Bumpas, Kristine Phillips, Elizabeth Elliott, Kayla Allsop, Sarah Wofford, Beth Ann Stripling, Bethany Landers and Morgan Myers.

Bumpus, Phillips, Elliott, Allsop, Stripling and Landers will return as soloists for the Dec. 3 performance, joined by soloists Jonathan Thibado, Sam Hagler, Will Duke, Virginia Daugherty, Caleb Imboden, Spencer Miller, Sarah Upchurch and Kayla Holt.

Tickets for each performance are $10 at the door. MTSU faculty, staff and students will be admitted free with valid IDs.

For more MTSU School of Music concert information, call 615-898-2493 or visit and click on the "Concert Calendar" link.


MTSU is committed to developing a community devoted to learning, growth and service. We hold these values dear, and there’s a simple phrase that conveys them:  “I am True Blue.” Learn more at For MTSU news anytime, visit

[172] 'MTSU On the Record' spreads tidings of comfort and joy to armed forces

FOR RELEASE: Nov. 21, 2012
EDITORIAL CONTACT: Gina Logue, 615-898-5081,

MURFREESBORO — Sending holiday cheer to American military personnel is the focus of the next “MTSU On the Record” on WMOT-FM (89.5 and

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Lee Ann Newton, executive aide of MTSU’s STEM Education Center and creator of “Operation Christmas Care,” will air at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26, and 8 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 2.

Now in its sixth year, Newton’s charity has sent more than 60,000 holiday greeting cards to U.S. service members recovering from wartime injuries.

This year’s goal is 200,000 cards. The deadline to contribute is Pearl Harbor Day, Friday, Dec. 7.

Collection boxes are located around the MTSU campus and in Murfreesboro at Linebaugh Public Library, Bob Parks Realty, the DoubleTree Hotel and WGNS Radio. For a complete list and more information, go to

To listen to previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to the “Audio Clips” archives at
For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

MTSU is committed to developing a community devoted to learning, growth, and service. We hold these values dear, and there’s a simple phrase that conveys them:  “I am True Blue.” Learn more at For MTSU news anytime, visit

[171] Moroccan commission to honor MTSU scholar for promoting friendship with U.S.

FOR RELEASE: Nov. 21, 2012
EDITORIAL CONTACT: Gina Logue, 615-898-5081,

MURFREESBORO—The Moroccan-American Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange will bestow a high honor on an MTSU professor Thursday, Nov. 29, in Morocco.

Dr. Ron Messier, a professor emeritus of Middle East history and historical archaeology and former director of MTSU’s University Honors Program, will be one of only two Americans to receive an award from the binational commission that administers the Fulbright Program in Morocco.

The ceremony will be held at the Centre d’Accueil Mohammed VI in Medinat al Irfan, the university and studies center located below Agdal, a suburb of Morocco’s capital city of Rabat.

The commission, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, is funded by the Kingdom of Morocco, the United States and private-sector donations. Its mission is to facilitate “academic and cultural exchanges between American and Moroccan citizens,” according to its website,

Messier’s invitation states that he will be honored because “you and your work in Morocco [over the last 40 years] exemplify … the spirit of traditional friendship uniting the people of the two countries.”

Vanessa Paloma, a Sephardic singer and researcher who specializes in Jewish women’s oral traditions, especially in Morocco, will be the only other American to receive the award. Two Moroccans also will be recipients.

“We’ve heard so many times people say, when they receive an award or honor, ‘I am deeply honored and humbled,’” said Messier. “Now I know why they say it. I can truly say that I am both.”

The professor first went to Morocco in fall 1969 to do research for his doctoral dissertation on the circulation of gold currency in the medieval Mediterranean world.

“When it came time for me to do field work, Morocco was an easy choice,” said Messier. “The program I was in already had a good working relationship with Morocco. The university even owned an apartment in Rabat available to graduate students.

“So, off to Morocco I was with my family. Then, it was clear that Morocco was such a great place to work, the question became, from then on, ‘Why go anywhere else?’”

Messier became interested in the city of Sijilmasa, a city mostly buried under the Saharan sand, because of its role in the gold trade. From 1988 through 1998, he directed an archaeological excavation of the city — work which will be detailed in “Sijilmasa: The Last Civilized Place,” a book to be released in 2013.

Messier also began excavating Aghmat, a 9th-century capital city in southern Morocco, which was replaced in the 11th century by construction of a new capital in Marrakech. In both endeavors, he has worked with Moroccan officials and archaeological professionals and trained dozens of Moroccan archaeological students, many of whom are working now in various Moroccan governmental agencies and academic institutions.

In recent years, Messier has worked in Morocco and elsewhere on issues of Christian-Muslim dialogue, culminating in his book “Jesus: One Man, Two Faiths—A Dialogue between Christians and Muslims.”

Messier, who taught at MTSU from 1972 to 2004, 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 doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan in 1968 and 1972, respectively.

For more information, contact Gina Logue in the MTSU Office of News and Media Relations at 615-898-5081 or

PHOTO ATTACHED: Dr. Ron Messier rests for a moment during an archaeological dig outside Marrakech, Morocco, in this 2008 photograph.

MTSU is committed to developing a community devoted to learning, growth, and service. We hold these values dear, and there’s a simple phrase that conveys them:  “I am True Blue.” Learn more at For MTSU news anytime, visit

[170] MTSU closing Nov. 22-23 for Thanksgiving holiday

For release:  Nov. 19, 2012

News and Media Relations contacts: Randy Weiler, 615-898-5616 or
       Jimmy Hart, 615-898-5131 or

MURFREESBORO — MTSU will be closed Thursday and Friday, Nov. 22-23, in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. No classes will be held and all offices will be closed as students, faculty, staff and administrators celebrate the holiday with families and friends. Also, no Saturday, Nov. 24, classes will be held.

Classes will resume at their regular times on Monday, Nov. 26. All offices will reopen at 8 a.m. that day.

Thanksgiving dinner for students will be served in the Scarlett Commons Clubhouse Thursday from 2 until 5 p.m. The MTSU Parents Association, MT Dining and Housing and Residential Life are sponsoring the meal that will be prepared by ARAMARK/MT Dining.

All MT Dining locations will be closed Thursday. Here are locations that will be open the rest of the long weekend:

• McCallie Dining Hall — 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday;

Student Union Building Provisions on Demand — noon to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday;

• Panda Express in Student Union Building — noon to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday;

• Cyber Café market and Subway — 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday;

• Starbucks in Walker Library — 3 p.m. Sunday to 1 a.m. Monday; and

• Popeye’s in Student Union Building — 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday.
The campus will be full of activity on Saturday as the Blue Raiders host Troy in a Sun Belt Conference football game (2:30 p.m. kickoff) in Floyd Stadium and MTSU hosts Texas Southern at 6 p.m. in Murphy Center in a nonconference men’s basketball game. Visit for details.

The James E. Walker Library will be open Sunday, Nov. 25, from 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday.

Campus Recreation Center will be open from 2 to 10 p.m. Sunday.

In case of campus emergencies during the holiday weekend, call MTSU Police at 615-898-2424.


Media welcomed to cover Thanksgiving Day dinner, 2 to 5 p.m. Nov. 22 in Scarlet Commons Clubhouse, which is located on east side of campus. From Rutherford Boulevard, take MTSU Boulevard to Blue Raider Drive.

In athletics, Blue Raiders’ football team members will be enjoying a Thanksgiving Day meal starting at 4 p.m. in the Floyd Stadium club level. 

       MTSU is committed to developing a community devoted to learning, growth and service. We hold these values dear, and there’s a simple phrase that conveys them:  “I am True Blue.” Learn more at For MTSU news any time, visit


[169] Fox News Channel hopes to air MTSU prof's plug-in hybrid project

News and Media Relations contact: Randy Weiler, 615-898-5616 or

MURFREESBORO — MTSU’s Dr. Charles Perry and his student-driven project team continue to gain national and international acclaim.

On Nov. 17, Perry and his students were featured on the national Fox News Channel. Perry is an MTSU professor and Russell Chair of Manufacturing Excellence chair holder in the Department of Engineering Technology.

A story by Fox Southeast reporter Elizabeth Prann and videographer Cappy Cochran about the Perry team’s gas-saving, plug-in hybrid wheel-hub motor retrofit project aired twice on Fox News Channel’s “America’s News HQ.”

The piece was taped Oct. 9, but delayed for airing because of the presidential election coverage and Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy. Perry said he was pleased to know it finally would air, but has a forward-thinking approach concerning its contents.

“I just hope it creates some funding,” Perry said. “I hope it gets visibility and enthusiasm to get some funding.”

Perry said he and Tennessee Board of Regents university counsel Lou Svendsen have been working for months to try and secure major funding for the project, which has been shown to cut fuel usage by 50 to 100 percent in a 1994 Honda station wagon.

Prann said working on the story with Perry and MTSU graduate students Jay Perry (no relation) and Brent Brubaker “was a great experience.”

“The folks at MTSU are very accommodating,” Prann said. “Dr. Perry and his young team are a group of very bright individuals. It’s a story our audience will really enjoy.”

Prann said she anticipates public reaction once the story airs.

“We always get great reception on stories that involve entrepreneurs and new inventions,” she said. “Also, I think our viewers will enjoy seeing an American-made product.”

Charles Perry said he is apprehensive about the national and online exposure because it likely will lead to emails and phone calls by the general public wanting to purchase the kit. Presently, it is not available to the public and it appears to be several years away from mass production.

While Prann was here in October working on the story, Perry learned that she has a special affection for cars because her father, John R. Prann Jr., has a passion and working knowledge about automobiles that he passed down to her.

“I enjoy working on automobile-related stories because it reminds me of him,” said Elizabeth Prann, who is married to Baltimore Orioles’ relief pitcher Darren O’Day.


Photo captions:

Fox interviews Perry.jpg

Fox News Channel Southeast reporter Elizabeth Prann, left, listens as MTSU’s Charles Perry explains the battery process involved in the plug-in hybrid retrofit kit project. (File photo by MTSU News and Media Relations)

Prann checks camera.jpg

Fox News Channel Southeast reporter Elizabeth Prann checks the image on the video camera before interviewing MTSU graduate student Brent Brubaker. (File photo by MTSU News and Media Relations)

Jay Perry.jpg

Fox News Channel Southeast videographer Cappy Cochran films B-roll footage of  MTSU graduate student Jay Perry working with the wheel-hub motor retrofit kit. (File photo by MTSU News and Media Relations)

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[168] MTSU, Columbia State sign nursing transfer agreement

MTSU News and Media Relations contacts:
             Randy Weiler, 615-898-5616 or
Jimmy Hart, 615-898-5131 or
Columbia State Community College contact:
      Amy Green, 931-540-2516 or

MTSU, Columbia State sign nursing transfer agreement

MURFREESBORO — Middle Tennessee State University and Columbia State Community College administrators formally agreed today (Nov. 16) to facilitate the transfer of Columbia State nursing students seeking to upgrade their associate degree to a bachelor’s degree through MTSU’s program.

The document, signed by MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Columbia State President Janet F. Smith, will provide for specific advisement for Columbia State students who intend to transfer to MTSU and encourage academic and administrative coordination between the institutions. The signing was held in the President’s Executive Conference Room in the new Student Union Building.

“This will help students and provide a critical need,” McPhee said. “The Tennessee Board of Regents wants to increase the number of graduates in critical areas, and this program will help take out the hassle, allowing for an easier transition. This pact with Columbia State is a true win-win for the students and faculty at both of our institutions.”

“The signing of this innovative articulation agreement is a first and has occurred because of institutions joining together, partnering, to find the best way for associate degree RN’s to obtain their BSN,” Smith said. “It is an example of the commitment of MTSU and Columbia State to be a team in providing educational access for our citizens, workforce responsiveness for our agencies and industries and a stimulus for achievement of the higher education goals of our state.” 

Nursing and academic officials at both schools praised the agreement and how it also involves Maury Regional Medical Center in Columbia.

“There are so many of their graduates who wish to obtain their BSN and this agreement will provide for seamless progression from the associate degree to the BSN,” said Dr. Karen Ward, interim director for the MTSU School of Nursing, which has one of the leading programs in the Southeast. “We also are happy to have Maury Regional involved, thus assisting with clinical placement opportunities and, perhaps, additional faculty that will be needed. It’s a win-win-win-win situation: for the students, for Columbia State, for Maury Regional and for MTSU.”

Deborah Lumpkins, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer from Maury Regional, attended the signing.

Barbara Blum, director of the Columbia State nursing program, called the agreement “a significant milestone” that helps students at both schools because it presents opportunity for career advancement as well as promoting excellence in patient care.”

Dr. Kae Fleming, dean of the Health Sciences Division at Columbia State, said her college’s nursing program is a “centerpiece of the educational experiences available for students.”

Fleming said the associate degree RN is workforce ready and performs a critical role in meeting the care excellence expectations of patients and the medical community.

“Many associate degree RNs have obtaining a BS degree as a personal goal and the RN to BSN agreement between Columbia State and Middle Tennessee State, with Maury Regional Health Systems collaborating to provide advanced level nursing clinical experiences, offers a path to achieve this educational dream at in-state tuition rates with no commute,” Fleming said. 

Fleming said the BSN will be earned through a blend of courses at Columbia State, with the community college benefits of lower tuition, smaller class sizes and personal attention, followed by online classes through MTSU. 

“On-ground sessions will be incorporated throughout the enrollment to maintain a sense of community and deliver support services,” she said. 

“Degree advancement opens doors for career advancement for nurses,” Fleming added. “Additionally, many acute care providers have established goals for increasing the number of BSN level nurses providing bedside care in response to the IOM (Institute of Medicine) initiatives outlined in ‘The Future of Medicine: Nursing Education.’

“This articulation allows nurses in the service area to pursue lifelong learning, a habit directly aligned with the college’s mission.”

Connie Gellinger, a senior, nontraditional MTSU nursing student who commutes from Thompsons Station, called it a “fabulous” partnership.

“This is great,” Gellinger said. “It will allow for seamless transition from the associate degree into the bachelor’s program. The benefit is (being able to take) online courses, which is more flexible. You can still work and maintain a family life while you pursue advancement in your nursing career.” 

Included in the agreement is a “Program of Study” that includes the MTSU RN to BSN course requirements and outlines courses that must be taken at Columbia State for transfer to MTSU. Also provided is a listing of the MTSU upper division nursing courses that students will be required to complete in order to earn the Bachelor of Science degree in nursing through MTSU.
The agreement will be reviewed, amended, updated and/or expanded by mutual consent by representatives of each institution.

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MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, left, and Columbia State Community College President Janet Smith shake hands following a signing of a transfer agreement involving both schools’ nursing programs on Friday, Nov. 16, at MTSU. The signing took place in the President’s Executive Conference Room in the new Student Union Building. (Photo by Andy Heidt/MTSU Creative and Visual Services)

       MTSU is committed to developing a community devoted to learning, growth and service. We hold these values dear, and there’s a simple phrase that conveys them:  “I am True Blue.” Learn more at For MTSU news any time, visit