Friday, May 31, 2013

[518] Bedford County Farm joins Ranks of State's Century Farms Program


S and S Livestock Farm Recognized for Agricultural Contributions
MURFREESBORO — The S and S Livestock Farm in Bedford 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 at MTSU.
The Century Farms Program recognizes the contributions of Tennessee residents who have owned and kept family land in continuous agricultural production for at least 100 years. 

Peter Paul “P.P.” Smith founded a 57-acre farm 14 miles northwest of Shelbyville, just south of the Bedford County line, in 1903. The deed records that a school for African-Americans was on the property at the time of the purchase, but it was reserved from the sale as it ceased to be used as a school. The school property would then become part of Smith’s holdings. The Smith family, which included two children, Dorsey and Cecil, grew corn, fruit and vegetables and raised cows, horses and mules, which P.P. Smith bred and sold to area farmers. During the harvest months, P. P. would load a buggy and travel to Shelbyville to sell and trade farm products. These trips usually began before daylight on Saturdays and ended after dark. P.P. and his first and second wives, Arpie W. Smith and Annie Ralston Smith, are all buried on the farm.
The next family member to own the farm was P. P.’s grandson, Henry E. Smith, who acquired 35 acres in 1950. With his wife, Ethel Ruth, and their three children, Ronald, Kenneth, and Michael, the family continued to raise livestock and produce row crops. They grew corn and beans while raising cows.
In 2004, Michael Smith became the farm’s owner. Michael and his wife, Dayna, live in the original farmhouse with their son, Michael Henry. They raise Black Angus cattle and grow garden produce. The S and S Livestock Farm is the 26th Century Farm to be certified in Bedford County.
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 Farms Program.
For more information about the Century Farms Program, please visit The Center for Historic Preservation also may be contacted at Box 80, MTSU, Murfreesboro, Tenn., 37132 or 615-898-2947.

ATTENTION, MEDIA: To interview the farm’s owner or request jpegs of the farm for editorial use, please contact the CHP at 615-898-2947.

[517] Sullivan County Farm Joins Ranks of State's Century Farms Program



Akard-Smalling Farm Recognized for Agricultural Contributions

MURFREESBORO — The Akard-Smalling Farm in Sullivan 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 at MTSU.

The Century Farms Program recognizes the contributions of Tennessee residents who have owned and kept family land in continuous agricultural production for at least 100 years. 

Adam Akard and the Rev. James King exchanged parcels of land in 1832, and Adam and his wife, Elizabeth Wassom Akard, built a home on the farm. He and Elizabeth had eight children – John, Jacob, James, Moses, Sara (also  called Sally), Samuel, William and David. Elizabeth died, and Adam married Charlotte Hampton in 1840. They had one daughter, Margaret. The Akards raised sheep and row crops. Soon after Margaret’s birth, Adam died and was buried at the Beeler Cemetery in Bristol, Tenn., which is within two miles of the farm.
The farm was then divided among Adam’s seven surviving children. William Akard and his brother John spent the next 10 years purchasing their siblings’ interest in the farm and then divided the land. By 1853, William was the sole owner of 127 acres of the original property, and he also owned an additional 108 acres. William’s wife of 24 years, Rebecca Giesler Akard died, and he married Phebe Elizabeth Wassom, a widow, in 1872. With Rebecca, William had five children: Mary, David, Amanda, Rebecca and Eliza. With Phebe, he had Dorothy Jane, who hated her first name and called herself “Jennie D.” At 39, William joined the Confederate Army and served as a private in the 63rd Tennessee Infantry, Company E. The family raised sheep, cattle and chickens while growing wheat. Phebe died in 1899, and William died in 1906. Both were buried near Adam Akard at the Beeler Cemetery.
Jennie D. Akard married Andrew T. Smalling on March 1, 1898, in “the house of her father’s”, according to the family bible. In 1903, Andrew contracted Will Hendrix to build a house and springhouse that Andrew had helped design; it still stands on the property. After William Akard’s death, the Smallings’ inherited/purchased the 235-acre farm. The couple had five children – Andrew Jr., William Cody (who died in infancy), Elizabeth Harriet, Hazel Nell and Jenny Akard--and used their farm to produce extensive crops and livestock. They grew wheat, beans, corn, oats, tomatoes, cabbage, cucumbers, lettuce, onions and rhubarb and cultivated pear trees while also raising cattle, dairy cows and chickens.
While Jennie managed their home operations, Andrew was recognized as a leading businessman in Bristol as well as in the region, and across the South. Not only did he have the contract for the Morton, Lewis and Willey Lumber Company’s properties, he purchased much of the acreage after logging it. Because of this, he became a major landholder and ran several farms.
Outside the state, Andrew Smallings owned the Washington Springs Hotel in Glade Springs, Va. 30 miles away and a 10,000-acre plantation on the coast of Georgia near Savannah. Andrew died in 1926, leaving Jennie, with the aid of her son Andy Jr., to manage the estate. After Andy Jr. died in an automobile accident four years later, family tradition holds that various business partners took advantage of Jennie and her daughters’ lack of financial knowledge during the Great Depression and, as a result, the family lost everything except the original 235-acre farm leaving them in debt.
When Jennie Smalling passed away in 1942, she left 200 acres of the farm and the Smalling house to her daughter Hazel Nell and Hazel Nell’s husband, Lewis Francis. Nell was educated at Sullins College and Marion College, while Lewis attended school in Roanoke, Va. In addition to managing the farm, which produced cattle, dairy cows, hogs, chickens, wheat, hay, tobacco, pears, tomatoes and various household crops, Lewis worked in the Bristol Harold Courier’s pressroom. He paid off the Smalling family debt and successfully managed the original family acreage until his death in 1973. The Francises had one son, Andrew A., who inherited the farm in 1987 after his mother passed away. He leased the farm for cattle and tobacco.
Today, Andy A. Francis and his wife, Mary, live in Knoxville while their son, James and his wife, Sarah who were married on the farm in 2010, live on the farm in the 1903 Victorian farmhouse. Through six generations, the original farm has shrunk to 76 acres, but James has plans to expand the farm’s acreage. The farm has produced beef and dairy cattle, chickens, hogs, wheat, hay, corn and various vegetables. James recently planted an acre of chestnut trees and continues to lease pastureland for cattle.
The Akard-Smalling Farm is the 26th Century Farm to be certified in Sullivan County and is the county’s 8th oldest farm.
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 Farms Program.

For more information about the Century Farms Program, please visit The Center for Historic Preservation also may be contacted at Box 80, MTSU, Murfreesboro, Tenn., 37132 or 615-898-2947.

ATTENTION, MEDIA: To interview the farm’s owner or request jpegs of the farm for editorial use, please contact the CHP at 615-898-2947.

[516] ‘MTSU On the Record’ explores crisis communication

MURFREESBORO — A new MTSU course focused on techniques for dispensing information in times of crisis will be the topic on the next “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Cary Greenwood, assistant professor of journalism, will air from 5 to 5:30 p.m. Monday, June 3, and from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, June 9, on WMOT-FM (89.5 and
Beginning this fall, Greenwood will teach a course in crisis communication from 12:40 to 2:05 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays.
The course will help students learn how to deal with a crisis as a manager and a public relations practitioner.
Greenwood’s first experience in this area occurred shortly after she graduated from the University of Oklahoma in the 1970s. She was reading news at KOMA-AM in Moore, Okla., when tornadoes struck. The basement of the radio station was the tornado shelter for the entire community.
“My job became, as the tornado approached, really, to warn residents and broadcast ‘take cover,’ and they did,” Greenwood said. “They were coming into the station while the engineer and I monitored the news.”
A tornado swept through the area on May 30, 2013, damaging nearly 2,400 homes in both Moore and Oklahoma City, according to the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.
To listen to previous 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.

[515] MTSU admissions plans June 1 Summer Preview Day on campus

MURFREESBORO — High school students from across Tennessee are invited to attend the Summer Preview Day, which will be held Saturday, June 1, on the Middle Tennessee State University campus.

At least 400 students and their parents are expected to attend the preview day, said Melinda Thomas, director of undergraduate recruitment.

It will be the last prospective student event MTSU will host until the fall semester begins. To register, visit online and click on “Special Events.” To find parking, a printable campus map is available online at

Our goal for the summer preview is to begin to target rising seniors and underclassmen so that they can begin to think about the next stage in their academic careers,” Thomas said. “Students and their parents can get a head start on their college search process by participating in MTSU’s Summer Preview Day. “

Thomas said it will be similar to the preview day held earlier in the spring.

“Guests will have an opportunity to tour campus, interact with advisers and faculty from all of our academic colleges, and obtain additional information on admissions, financial aid, and student involvement,” she said.


[514] MTSU Campus Recreation offers camp activities for youth, children

MURFREESBORO — MTSU Campus Recreation is offering a number of opportunities to keep your children active this summer.

Campus Recreation is located in the Student Health, Wellness and Recreation Center on the east side of campus. To find the facility, a printable campus map can be found at

The camp activities include:

• Junior Adventure Camp, June 10-14, introduces participants ages 10 to 13 to skills used in a variety of adventurous activities while exploring the great outdoors. Hike, treasure hunt, cave, canoe, kayak, stand-up paddleboard and rock climb at some of the area’s great outdoor recreation locations. Don’t miss out on the fun and adventure! The cost of $180 includes transportation, gear, guides and permit fees. Lunch is not provided;

• Youth Sport Camp will be held weekly beginning June 3 for children ages 6 to 13. The cost is $155 and includes lunch. This camp introduces participants to multiple sports and games and also helps them learn the importance of a healthy lifestyle, develop good character and sportsmanship and have fun;

• Learn-to-Swim classes also are offered in two-week sessions beginning June 10 for ages 6 months and older and beginning levels through Level 6. The two-week, 50-minute sessions are $80;

• Go Swim sessions for competitive swimmers and divers ages 10 to 17 begin June 10, June 24, July 8 and July 15. They run 90 minutes each day. The cost is $12 for a one-week session;

• Go Dive sessions, for swimmers ages 8 to 16, are two weeks each, one hour each day and begin June 10, June 24 and July 8. The cost is $34 for the two-week session;

• a Junior Lifeguarding Course also will be offered from 9 a.m. to noon June 10-21 for ages 11-14. The cost is $80 and introduces participants to basic lifeguarding skills; and

• Adventure Camp offers new adventures for your teens June 24-28. Participants ages 14 to 17 learn, develop and practice skills they can use to discover the great outdoors Explore caves, canoe, stand-up paddleboard, kayak, climb and mountain bike at some of Tennessee’s most desired outdoor adventure recreation locations. The cost is $180 and includes transportation, gear, guides and permit fees. Lunch is not provided.

For more information about any of these camps, call Campus Recreation at 615-898-2014 or view the website at or

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

[512] Power outage set Saturday for some MTSU buildings

MURFREESBORO — A scheduled June 1 power outage for some campus buildings at MTSU won’t affect Saturday summer classes, but university visitors should be aware that some buildings will be without electricity for the day.

Twenty MTSU buildings and/or sites will have no electricity from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, while utility crews complete connections on the university’s underground electrical project.

Similar brief outages have occurred this year while the electrical project moved into its final phases.

Those who have business in the affected buildings on Saturday should call or email in advance for schedule information or temporary locations, university officials said.

Power for each of the affected buildings will be turned off at 8 a.m. each day and turned back on at 5 p.m. Buildings included in the June 1 power outage are:

·       the Bayer-Travis, Hastings and Haynes-Turner Complexes, along with Maintenance Building F, the Warehouse and Storage Warehouse;
·       the Holmes Building, Holmes Modular Addition, Holmes Parking Garage and the Telecommunications Building;
·       the Tennessee Livestock Center, Sheds A, B and C and the RV Parking Area;
·       the Vocational Agriculture and Horticulture Buildings and the university greenhouse;
·       the Printing Services Building;
·       Scarlett Commons;
·       the Messer job trailer and the COGENeration Plant.

For more information about the scheduled power outage, contact MTSU’s Construction Administration Office at 615-898-2967.

[511] MTSU’s Murphy earns national Goldwater Scholarship

MURFREESBORO — MTSU junior Daniel Murphy wants to pursue a doctorate in atomic physics some day.

Winning a Goldwater Scholarship hopefully will assist the Murfreesboro resident in reaching his dream.

Murphy, a University Honors College student who is majoring in both physics and philosophy, is a 2013 recipient of a Goldwater award from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. He is among 272 recipients nationally for the 2013-14 academic year.

The purpose of the Goldwater Foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields. The scholarship program was established in 1986 by Congress to honor the late senator, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate.

“It definitely took a few moments to process,” Murphy said of learning about the prestigious award from Laura Clippard, director of the Honors College’s Undergraduate Fellowships Office.

“I told Ms. Clippard, ‘Are you serious?’” the Siegel High School alumnus added. “It felt good. I had that sense of, ‘I guess I’m good in science,’ but it is especially nice when others validate this.”

The one-year financial award covers the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. Murphy is an Honors College Buchanan Fellow, which is the highest academic award provided by the university annually to 20 incoming freshmen and is good for four years as long as he remains in good academic standing.

Murphy, one of five Tennessee residents to receive the distinction, said the research he has conducted is in optics.

“What I’m hoping to get into is atomic physics,” he said. “That’s what I’m excited about and what I hope to try.”

Murphy said the Goldwater Scholarship gives him “more motivation to do more. It helps me to think about the future more. It makes me want to go for bigger challenges.”

Those “bigger challenges” include pursuing Marshall and Rhodes scholarships. Both would be opportunities in the United Kingdom.

Marshall Scholarships finance young Americans of high ability to study for a degree in the U.K. Up to 40 scholars are selected each year to study at graduate level at a U.K. institution in any field of study. For more, visit

The Rhodes Scholarship is an international postgraduate award for selected foreign students to study at the University of Oxford. It is considered the oldest and most celebrated international fellowship award in the world. For more information, visit,

Murphy praised the Honors College staff, particularly Clippard, for helping “polish” his recommendation submission.
At MTSU, Murphy has held membership in the Society of Physics Students, serving as president in 2012-13. He was inducted into Sigma Pi Sigma, a physics honor society, on May 2.

Physics major Jonathan W. Herlan of Limestone, Tenn., was named a Goldwater honorable mention. Herlan hopes to earn his doctorate in physical acoustics at the University of Mississippi or doctorate in physics at Duke University. He has a career goal to conduct acoustic research and teach at a university level. Herlan is a Society of Physics Students member.

This marks the third consecutive year that one or more MTSU students have received Goldwater awards. Current MTSU students who are interested in applying should email


[510] MTSU center releases Q1 stats for TN on housing, jobs

MURFREESBORO — MTSU’s Business and Economic Research Center has released a report regarding the state’s housing and employment sectors during first quarter of 2013.
David Penn, director of the center, notes that job growth accelerated during the first quarter of 2013, with employers adding 20,000 nonfarm jobs from the previous quarter, expanding at a 3 percent annual rate.

Meanwhile, initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to a monthly average of 5,146 during the quarter, the lowest since prerecession levels. Initial claims fall when employers lay off fewer workers. The number of unemployed rose 3,000, most likely due to an increase in the number of job seekers. The unemployment rate rose slightly because the number of job seekers increased more rapidly than the number of jobs available.
In the housing sector, single-family home construction for Tennessee was out of step with the South and the United States in the first quarter. Seasonally adjusted single-family construction fell to an annual rate of 14,900 units from 15,500 in the previous quarter, a 4.1 percent decline. By contrast, the South gained 4.8 percent and the United States 4.4 percent.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Other findings available from the center to generate your own reports include:

— Housing Price Index

The Housing Price Index through the first quarter for Tennessee and 10 metropolitan areas can be found at: .

— Updated Economic Indicators

Find graphs at Among the findings:

       Seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment for Tennessee increased 4,500 in April due to gains in education and health services and professional and business services. Over the year, nonfarm employment is up 47,900, but the rate of growth has slowed since January. 
       Tennessee’s unemployment rate increased again in April, rising to 8 percent in contrast with a falling unemployment rate for the U.S.
       State sales tax collections show little change in April compared with the previous month after seasonal adjustments. Collections are 0.8 percent lower compared with April 2012.

Graphs: Search by MSA at 

— Employment Growth by Industry

Tables for the state and 10 Metropolitan Statistical Areas through April can be found at .

[509] Unveiling set May 31 for Gateway Island sculpture by MTSU professor

MURFREESBORO — A community arts partnership between the City of Murfreesboro, local schools and the MTSU Department of Art will culminate at noon Friday, May 31, with the unveiling of a new sculpture by MTSU art professor Michael Baggarly.

A free public reception is set for noon May 31 on the Murfreesboro Greenway System’s Gateway Island when the sculpture, comprising interlocking infinite rings reading "Imagine," "Home," "Progress," "Unite," "Community" and "Hope," will be formally presented to the community.

The idea for the design, submitted by then-Siegel High School student Lauren O. Hughes, was chosen from proposals submitted from Murfreesboro City and Rutherford County Schools students and displayed in the rotunda of Murfreesboro's City Hall.

Hughes is now an MTSU pre-med student, earning her second degree, with a minor in art.

Baggarly, an associate professor of art at MTSU who has exhibited works at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville as well as in New Zealand and Mexico, was chosen to translate the design into an artistic and technical reality.

Gateway Island can be reached by traveling Medical Center Parkway west to Gateway Boulevard, then taking a right onto Kennedy Drive and another right onto Williams Drive. More parking will be available at the Greenway's West College Street Trailhead at 1902 W. College just past the railroad overpass.

To finalize the design for the Gateway Island sculpture, the City Hall Art Committee "worked closely with city administration, the parks department and Baggarly to incorporate elements of the student design while also addressing safety and aesthetic issues," said MTSU's Eric Snyder, chair of the art committee and director of the university's Todd Art Gallery.

“It’s been an arduous but thorough process to get this accomplished. The support and guidance provided by Mayor Bragg, the city manager’s office and by the park’s department has been invaluable to the art committee.”

Plans are now underway for a new process to place other works of public art along more sections of the Murfreesboro Greenway System, Snyder said.

In addition to Snyder and Baggarly, the City Hall Art Committee members include MTSU faculty members Lee Anne Carmack and Charles Clary and former faculty member Patricia Tenpenny and community leaders Ashley Stearns and Lee Ann Walker.

For more information about the event, contact Greenway Program Coordinator Melinda Tate at 615-893-2141 or Snyder at 615-542-6368.

[508] MTSU students are finalists in national natural-gas advertising contest

Editors: Please note that “Talor Burns” and “Kaela Dalecke” in fourth graf are cq.

MURFREESBORO — A team of MTSU students will be in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, May 29, as finalists for the America’s Natural Gas Alliance Scholastics Achievement Award in the ANGA Collegiate Energy Challenge.

Eighteen students in a spring advertising and public relations campaigns course in the School of Journalism, taught by Dr. Tricia Farwell, formed an ad agency called “Natural Solutions” to create a special message to tout natural gas as a clean, domestic energy source.

Their ad campaign, “I am a natural,” was one of three announced May 16 as finalists from university entries across the country. The other finalists are from Texas A&M University and the University of Houston.

Five MTSU students will represent “Natural Solutions” in Washington: Lauren Foley, Talor Burns, Lauren Nelson, Kaela Dalecke and Brittany Moyers.

As part of the competition, student teams had to research, create and implement an integrated marketing campaign to educate the identified target market of the benefits of natural gas. Student teams each received a $3,000 budget to implement their campaigns.

The “I am a natural” tagline turned up on campaign posters around campus, culminating in an outdoor music event, the “Naturally Bright Music Festival,” that featured performers from Match Records, MTSU’s Recording Industry Program student-run record label.

At the conclusion of the campaign, students created a final campaign book that detailed their research, events and outcomes. ANGA officials judged each team’s campaign book before choosing the finalists.

“First place is $5,000, second place is $3,000 and third place is $1,000,” said Dr. Dwight Brooks, director of the MTSU School of Journalism, “so our students will be winning some cash award in addition to the trip.”

[507] Acclaimed alumnus headlines 12th annual Tennessee Guitar Festival at MTSU

MURFREESBORO — The 12th annual Tennessee Guitar Festival and Competition will take place at MTSU May 30-June 1 featuring a headlining Friday night performance from School of Music alumnus Silviu Ciulei, an internationally acclaimed guitarist.

“This is a unique opportunity to hear some of the finest young guitarists in America compete for prestige and prize money," said Dr. William Yelverton, festival director and a professor of music at MTSU.

"This competition brings in world-class guitarists. The Saturday night finals will be an awesome display of solo guitar playing."

Ciulei, a classical and flamenco guitarist who began studying music at age 6, will perform at 8 p.m. Friday, May 31, in Hinton Music Hall inside MTSU’s Wright Music Building. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree in guitar performance in 2008 from MTSU as the university’s first full International Music Scholar.

Ciulei, a native of Romania, also was MTSU’s first four-time Undergraduate Research and Creativity Scholar and Grant recipient.

In addition to his impressive collection of international and U.S. music prizes, he also holds a master’s degree from Florida State University and is working toward a doctorate in guitar performance at Florida State.

Guitarists Ben Bolt, Carlos Castilla and Richard Todd will present the opening night concert at 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 30, in Hinton Hall.

The guitar competition, with $2,750 in prize money, is expected to attract some of America's best young guitarists to compete for the $1,200 first prize. A special concert featuring the guitar competition finalists is set for 8 p.m. Saturday, June 1, in Hinton Hall.

In addition to the concerts and competition, the festival will feature guitar master classes and special workshops in Hinton Hall. Participants can walk in and register before the concerts, any festival event  or during regular registration on Wednesday, May 29, from 3 to 6 p.m.

All events are open to the public. Admission to an individual concert is $10, and students 16 and under will be admitted free. A registration fee of $30 will admit the guest to all concerts, lectures, workshops and master classes.

[506] MTSU forges ties with Chinese industrial design institute First American university to establish relations with Shunde innovation center

FOSHAN CITY, China — Middle Tennessee State University signed a pact to become the first American university to establish formal ties with an institute in China’s leading design center for household appliances and technology.

The agreement with the Research Institute of Industrial Design was secured during a two-day visit by an MTSU delegation to the Shunde District in China’s Guangdong Province. MTSU’s visit to Guangdong concluded Monday.

The pact signed by MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Xu Xuyan, deputy director of the Education Bureau of Shunde District, allows the university to develop an exchange program for students to work with the institute. It also allows joint research, giving MTSU a potential outlet to participate in Shunde-based projects.

Shunde, once a traditional agricultural county, has been transformed into a modern industrial complex. Dubbed the “Capital of Home Appliances of the World,” it is a leader in the production of electric fans, cookers, microwave ovens and other household appliances. It is also one of the world’s largest producers of furniture.

“We will look at our resources and expertise at MTSU, then identify the areas where we can help you,” McPhee told Xu. “We would like to partner with the Industrial Design City, with our students having a experience similar to internships.

“Our students can relate to you what our market wants and needs and how to capture consumer attention,” he said. “And you can help them understand the market forces outside of the United States.”

The agreement was forged at one of the stops of a seven-city tour by the MTSU delegation to create or strengthen relationships with Chinese institutions. McPhee and state Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, a 1976 graduate of MTSU, are leading the delegation.

The agreement was reached after a round of final negotiations at the office of Totin Worldwide Commercial Co. in the Guangdong Base of Industrial Design.

Ketron, who represents District 13 in the state Senate, said the relationship could help innovations developed by MTSU faculty and students reach a global audience.

“In Tennessee, we often miss the link between having the idea and getting to market,” he said. “We must get good ideas to market faster and start putting things on the shelf for sale. That’s how we generate money for our economy.”

Xu described the deal as “very important for our area.”

“Your students can do projects and bring ideas to our industries,” he said. “I think it’s a win-win choice.”

McPhee and the delegation toured innovations on display at the offices of Totin and an exhibition at the Base of Industrial Design – including a prototype apartment for the elderly with specially geared kitchen, bathroom and living room appliances.

The delegation’s trip to Guangdong Province also included meetings with officials of the CIBT International College at Guangzhou University, where MTSU hopes to establish formal ties later this year. McPhee also lectured to Guangzhou students about study-abroad opportunities at MTSU.

[504] MTSU expands relationship with Hangzhou Normal University Presidents agree in principle to further expansion of strong ties between institutions

HANGZHOU, China — The presidents of Middle Tennessee State University and Hangzhou Normal University have agreed in principle to a three-point expansion of the strong relationship enjoyed between the two institutions.

During a two-day visit to the Hangzhou campus that concluded Saturday, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and HNU President Ye Gaoxiang outlined ideas to further expand faculty and student exchanges and joint research projects.

“We deeply value our partnership with HNU and we will gladly accept these ideas from President Ye on ways to expand it further,” McPhee said.

Also, more than 300 HNU students later attended a lecture by McPhee, at which he was asked by Ye to relate his experiences in China and provide advice for those wishing to study abroad.

The Hangzhou visit was the second stop in a seven-city tour by a MTSU delegation led by McPhee, to establish or extend partnerships with Chinese universities and review collaborative research efforts. The group also includes Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron  (R-13th District), a 1976 graduate of MTSU.

MTSU and Hangzhou partnered in 2009 to open MTSU’s Confucius Institute, which works enhance understanding of Chinese language and culture in Tennessee and create opportunities for collaboration between the two universities.

Ye asked McPhee to allow MTSU faculty to participate in a special project of HNU that brings scholars each year to Hangzhou to teach classes from May to August. HNU would also like to send selected faculty members to teach at MTSU, Ye said.

Ye also invited MTSU students to participate in the China-U.S. People to People Exchange Program. Students in the government-funded program would get a full-ride scholarship to HNU and earn credits accepted at both universities. HNU now offers more than 50 courses in English on Chinese philosophy, history and culture.

And Ye asked McPhee if the two universities could collaborate on the operation of honors colleges; research in new energy; music education; and teacher training.

The presidents agreed to task academic leaders at both institutions to work through the joint MTSU-HNU Confucius Institute to put Ye’s ideas into motion.

[503] Free memory screenings offered by MTSU professor

MURFREESBORO — The science fiction author William Gibson said, “Time moves in one direction, memory in another.”

Gibson may write science fiction, but his words are grounded in scientific fact. That’s why an MTSU professor is offering people a chance to find out where they stand.

Dr. Paul Foster, an associate professor of psychology and a clinical neuropsychologist, supervises graduate students as they provide free memory screenings at Murfreesboro Medical Clinic.

“Based on the results of this little screener, we can determine whether or not there is any cause of concern for something that might be affecting memory and cognitive functioning in these individuals,” Foster said.

In a visit lasting about 30 to 45 minutes, the screener administers a battery of memory and cognitive tests. For one example, the screener might recite some numbers or words and ask the client to recite them.

The tests measure attention and the speed with which the client processes information, among other qualities. Foster, who selected the tests, interprets the results.

There are no X-rays and no physical examination. The process and the results are kept strictly confidential.

The MTSU students who administer the tests, which are available by appointment between the clinic’s business hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., do so as part of their required 300 hours of practicum experience.

“For the students who are interested in doing neuropsychology-related work later on, this represents an opportunity for them to get their feet wet,” said Foster.

Not all memory problems are necessarily age-related. And not all memory problems are necessarily indicative of a serious illness. However, sometimes seemingly minor recurring issues could be warning signs of a severe problem.

Foster said the initial memory problems that come with Alzheimer’s disease, for example, are subtle.

“The pathology of Alzheimer’s disease affects the hippocampus, which is responsible for forming new memories,” said Foster. “As the disease progresses, it starts [affecting] more and more of the brain, including the frontal lobes, which are involved in planning and decision making.”

Parkinson’s disease affects the brain somewhat differently in that it hampers the connections that the frontal lobes have with the rest of the brain.

A less frequently occurring brain problem is Lewy body dementia, which is characterized by memory impairment, hallucinations and fluctuations in level of arousal and alertness in patients.

“You may be talking with them and they’re fine and very clear, but then, an hour later or the next day, they’re looking through you and not at you when you’re talking to them,” Foster explained.

Foster sees more patients who suffer from vascular dementia, which is caused by mini-strokes. The risk factors are high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. That’s why Foster urges people to have mentally and physically active lifestyles in their retirement years.

“Reading is good for you as you age, but it’s not just reading for the sake of reading,”
Foster said. “It’s reading for the sake of improving yourself and what you know about things and about life.”

Foster also says mnemonic devices are helpful. These are learning techniques such as associating what you want to commit to memory to other things.

For example, “if it’s a grocery list you want to remember, you create a story around the list,” said Foster.

In the meantime, learning more about the state of your memory and cognitive skills is a positive step. The present-day ability to remember the past can bode well for a healthy and happy future.

For more information about the free memory screenings at Murfreesboro Medical Clinic, 1272 Garrison Drive, contact Foster at, or call the clinic at 615-867-8090 or 1-800-842-6692.