Monday, September 23, 2013

[131] Midstate consumers slowly feeling better about economy

MURFREESBORO — Midstate consumers continue to gain a more positive outlook on the economy continues, albeit slowly, according to the latest three-county survey by MTSU.

The overall consumer outlook index edged up to 199 in September from 193 in April, according to the latest Middle Tennessee Consumer Outlook Index released by MTSU’s Office of Consumer Research. That compares to an index of 144 in February and 106 in November 2012.

“While significant gains in consumers’ outlook on the economy were observed from November 2012 through April 2013, the current survey reveals only a slight improvement in outlook from April to September of this year,” stated Tim Graeff, director of MTSU’s Office of Consumer Research. 

The current poll of 310 randomly selected adult residents of Davidson, Rutherford and Williamson County was conducted Sept. 10-12.  The index is computed by adding the percentage of favorable responses to each of a series of questions and subtracting the percentage of negative responses.

Consumers feel more positive about the current economy, even though they are feeling a bit less optimistic about the future of the economy, the survey revealed. 

“Middle Tennessee consumers continue to view the local economy more positively than they view the overall U.S. economy. However, the largest drag on perceptions of the current economy is concerns about the job market. Less than 10 percent of local consumers reported that jobs in Middle Tennessee are ‘easy to find.’ Conversely, 29 percent reported that jobs in Middle Tennessee are ‘hard to find,’” stated Graeff.

While the purchasing situation index was unchanged, the percentage of consumers who expect to increase spending rose to 35 percent from 31 percent. In addition, the percentage of consumers who expect to decrease spending dropped to 20 percent from 28 percent. 

“This is good news for local businesses and retailers, especially as we look ahead to the ever important Christmas and holiday shopping season,” Graeff stated.

[130] Greenbrook Ensemble recital set Monday night at MTSU

MURFREESBORO The Greenbrook Ensemble, featuring MTSU faculty saxophonist Paula Van Goes and pianist Lillian Pearson and former MTSU flutist Jessica Dunnavant, will present a special free recital at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23, in Hinton Hall inside MTSU's Wright Music Building.

Van Goes said their performance will showcase three compositions created specifically for the ensemble, including the world premiere of Tom Dempster's "To Correspond with Sparrows."

Dempster’s piece “features rhythmic Morse-code-like sections interspersed with bird song imitations and more traditional melodies," Van Goes explained, adding that his music showcases the instruments’ modern techniques, “but never in an arbitrary way.”

The ensemble, which Van Goes and Dunnavant founded in 2007 to specialize in woodwind music from around the world, also will perform works they commissioned by composers Phillippe Geiss and Ingrid Stolzel and a final piece by Paul Hayden.

Van Goes teaches saxophone and other classes in MTSU’s School of Music, and her colleague Pearson teaches piano and harpsichord courses. Formerly an adjunct music faculty member, Dunnavant is now teaching flute privately in Nashville.    

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

[129] Visiting scholar to offer insights on 21st century Cuba at MTSU Monday

MURFREESBORO Visiting scholar Rodrigo González will return to MTSU on Monday, Sept. 23, for a special public lecture and discussion on “Revolution and Progress in 21st Century Cuba.”

González, a resident of Cuba, is director of the academic and cultural partnership of Cuba Girasol and Estévez Travel, a nonprofit research and education center that works to promote cross-cultural understanding and education among the people of the United States, Canada, Central and South America.

His free lecture is set for 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday in Room 164 of MTSU’s College of Education Building, and a catered reception is scheduled after the discussion. A campus map with parking notes is available at

González has 20 years’ experience in research, consulting and U.S./Cuba exchange programs, including a number of years as director of the Global Exchange Cuba program. Since 2000, his work has concentrated on researching U.S.-Cuba relations, social and environmental development in Cuba and coordinating academic and cultural programs for universities and colleges, including MTSU and the Kentucky Institute for International Studies.

During an MTSU visit in fall 2010, González helped kick off campus meetings on educational exchanges between MTSU and the University of Havana. The following summer, after a six-year hiatus forced by strict U.S. controls on American travel to Cuba, MTSU revived its successful study-abroad program to the Caribbean island nation for undergraduate, graduate and faculty participants.

González’s visit is sponsored by MTSU’s Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, the College of Liberal Arts and the Department of Political Science.

For more information about González’s lecture, email Dr. Richard Morris at

[128] MTSU dean examines journalism, academia on ‘MTSU On the Record’

MURFREESBORO — The next edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program will delve into the topics of journalism, the recording industry and electronic media communication.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Ken Paulson, new dean of MTSU’s College of Mass Communication and president of the First Amendment Center in Nashville, will air from 5:30 to 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23, and from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, on WMOT-FM (89.5 and

“I think what we’ve lost sight of in this rush to technology and cutting-edge concepts,” Paulson said of mass communication education, “is … to teach ethics with the same passion we may have had at one point.”

Paulson, who was on the team of journalists who founded USA Today in 1982, served as editor-in-chief of USA Today from 2004 to 2009. He previously managed newsrooms in Westchester County, N.Y.; Green Bay, Wis.; Bridgewater, N.J.; and at Florida Today in Brevard County, Fla. He is now a columnist on USA Today’s board of contributors and writes about First Amendment issues and the news media.

A member of The Recording Academy and a former music journalist, Paulson is active in the Nashville music community, serving as vice chair of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, a member of the Music City Music Council convened by Mayor Karl Dean and a Leadership Music board and executive committee member.

To listen to previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to the “Audio Clips” archives at

For more information, contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

[127] Employer slots available for MTSU Fall Career Fair for students, alumni

MURFREESBORO — Employers looking for good talent can still sign up for an upcoming career fair hosted by the Career Development Center of Middle Tennessee State University.

Reserved for MTSU students and alumni, the Fall Career Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, at MTSU’s Murphy Center on the track level.

The Fall Career Fair is the university’s largest on-campus fair of the year, and more than 120 employers and 1,000 students are expected to attend. Only current MTSU students or alumni may participate.

Students and alumni should wear professional business attire while at the Career Fair and bring multiple copies of their resumes for employers, said Dusty Doddridge, assistant director of the Career Development Center. Admission is free for MTSU students and alumni.

A variety of businesses, industries and nonprofits will be hiring for internship and entry-level positions, Doddridge said, adding that the fair is an opportunity for students to meet and network with potential employers in their fields. Graduate and professional schools also will be recruiting for their programs.

Sixty-five employers are currently registered for the fair, and more than 120 organizations are expected to attend. Employers may register through Lightning JobSource at the Career Center’s website at A list of currently registered employers is updated weekly at the Career Center’s blog, which is linked on the homepage.

MTSU’s Career Development Center is a comprehensive center that serves all students in each of the university’s eight colleges. Ingram Content Group and EFC Systems sponsor the Fall Career Fair.