MURFREESBORO — With the fall 2013 semester set to begin, Middle Tennessee State University welcomed 70 new faculty members to campus this week.
The university held midweek orientation sessions featuring speakers from throughout the campus to formally introduce new faculty to the Blue Raider community. Of the university’s nine colleges, the College of Liberal Arts had the most new faculty with 20, followed by the College of Basic and Applied Sciences with 17.
“You have made an excellent decision to be a part of this family,” MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee told the group inside the James E. Walker Library. “We have made an excellent decision. This is a two-way street. We have invested in you and I feel like you have invested in us. We see this as a long-term investment.”
From human resources to classroom technical support, from student affairs to athletics, new faculty members were provided information about the many aspects of campus culture in hopes of getting them acclimated smoothly. They also met with their respective deans.
New faculty member Tammy Donham, an assistant professor in the College of Mass Communication’s recording industry department, was glad that such an orientation was available. A 17-year veteran of the music industry, Donham previously worked as vice president of marketing at the Country Music Association and will be teaching digital marketing and marketing of recordings.
“Being from the (music) industry and coming into an academic environment, I think it’s very important to have this type of event,” she said. “For me, it’s a great learning opportunity. I’m excited to transition into the education environment and to teach the new students coming into the fold.”
In separate remarks to the group, McPhee and Provost Brad Bartel emphasized the student-centric focus of the campus and the critical role of faculty in not only teaching students, but also in staying engaged with them to help them reach their ultimate goal — getting a college degree.
Bartel noted that the Complete College Tennessee Act of 2010 passed by the legislature puts much more emphasis on higher education outcomes rather than enrollment, therefore making strong connections with students from the moment they step on campus is a must for the state’s largest undergraduate university.
“It’s the freshman year that can be make it or break it,” Bartel told the group during a gathering inside the Business and Aerospace Building. “Not only in the classroom, but outside of the classroom, get them engaged in clubs and organizations.
“So the bargain is you give them the most wonderful course ever in whatever you are teaching, and their part of the bargain is to roll up their sleeves and learn.”
Fall semester officially begins Saturday, Aug. 24, although most students won’t begin classes until Monday, Aug. 26.