Thursday, May 29, 2014

[614] MTSU Police offers free rape defense classes in June

The Rape Aggression Defense Class is a program of realistic defense tactics and techniques. It is a comprehensive course for women with awareness, prevention, risk reduction and avoidance and progresses to the basics of hands-on defense training. The course is taught by certified RAD instructors.

The classes will be held on Wednesdays, June 4, 11 and 18, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Attendance for all three classes is mandatory.

To enroll, interested parties can visit our webpage at or contact Sgt. David Smith at 615-898-2424 for more information.

A printable campus map is available at

[612] MTSU institute attracts budding leaders across disciplines

For MTSU rising junior Joshua Pentecost, attending the Institute of Leadership Excellence on campus recently added another level of useful knowledge he’ll carry into his eventual career.

An undeclared major from Kitchener, Ontario, in Canada, Pentecost was nominated by his English professor to attend the weeklong program of the University Honors College, started in 2006 and held each spring in the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building on the MTSU campus.

“I’d heard really good things about it from people who had attended before,” Pentecost said. “It’s very diverse in the backgrounds that people bring into it, the different perspectives. I’ve enjoyed all those times of getting to talk to my fellow students.”

Dr. David Foote, institute director and associate dean for the Jones College of Business, said students earn three credit hours for attending the institute, with some colleges allowing the course to substitute for an upper level course within a particular major.

Students study leadership theory and practice through a combination of lecture, discussion, activities, speakers and interaction with classmates. Pentecost’s experience during the May 12-16 course this year prompted him to think about leadership issues that he hadn’t thought of previously.

“One of the things we talked about on the first day was the idea of managing versus leading,” he said. “Is there a difference and if so, what are the differences?”

During one session, the topic was how leaders can motivate others, and after students watched a short clip from the 1991 comedy “Office Space” in a classroom just down the hall, the lively group returned to the Honors College amphitheater for an interesting discussion on what motivates employees to perform their best.

Leading the discussion was Dr. Earl Thomas, faculty coordinator for the institute and a professor of management in the Jones College. Thomas served as one of the lecturers throughout the week, and after showing a number of slides highlighting research and theories surrounding employee motivation, he opened the floor.

What followed was a rapid-fire discussion, with some students pointing to money as an important motivator, while others pointed to personal satisfaction and fulfillment and still others to challenging work and/or some combination of these and other factors. The point was to help students tap into their own leadership potential and understand the factors at play when they assume leadership roles.

But as much as anything, the program “is about life,” said Foote, who facilitated this year’s course with Thomas and Dr. Deana Raffo, an assistant professor of management and marketing in the Jones College.

Pentecost said he has an internship this summer with an international business, which is the career field he eventually wants to enter upon graduation.

While his grandparents live in Murfreesboro, his father’s work as an international educator took the family to locales around the world over the years. Pentecost wants to work for a company that goes into war-torn areas to help those communities rebuild and recover.

“I grew up in Central Asia and several countries that were having to rebuild after war, and there’s a lot of rebuilding that has to go on,” he said. “I want to go in and be a part of building up and helping stabilize.”

Faculty nominate students during the fall semester, with roughly 140 nominees submitted for this year’s class. That number was narrowed to the 33 students who were selected for the latest course — upper level students with majors ranging from biology to psychology and from history to political science to aerospace.

“They always talk about how exciting it is and how interesting it is to be sitting next to someone from an entirely different college who has a very different view on life … but they’re all talking about leadership,” Foote said. “One of the really cool things is you have a chemistry major sitting next to an art major sitting next to a marketing major, talking about leadership from completely different perspectives.”

Foote noted that some colleges across the university have increased support for the program by providing scholarships, either partial or full, to allow students to attend.

Cheyenne Platt, a rising senior foreign language major from Lewisburg, Tennessee, said the institute provided practical knowledge that she plans to use immediately in her job as manager of a local coffee shop.

“I’ve been put in positions of leadership recently at work and with organizations on campus,” Platt said. “I really wanted an opportunity to learn more and synthesize my real life experiences at the moment. I want to learn how I can improve my own leadership abilities in those positions.”

Rising senior Carly Davis of Murfreesboro said she’s using the class credits to fulfill an upper division honors requirement. But the biology major, who is minoring in secondary education also, expects to benefit beyond graduation.

“I really want to take this into the classroom of high school students,” Davis said. “Leadership skills are an important part of personal development and finding out what you stand for.”

Anna Neal, also a rising senior, is studying biology with a concentration in zoology and a minor in agriculture. The Rockvale, Tennessee, resident also attended the institute to satisfy a class credit, but she wanted to learn more about leadership and how to motivate and inspire others as well.

She and her classmates were impressed with the interdisciplinary approach to the institute, including the use of leadership examples and speakers that went beyond well-known models such as the late Steve Jobs of Apple fame. Now organizations are moving away from more authoritarian structures and toward servant leadership models that place more value on developing relationships.

“The best way to motivate or inspire someone is to come alongside them and help them achieve their potential,” she said, adding that she plans to use the knowledge gained at the institute to support interns and help students interested in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

The institute typically features a diversity of accomplished guest speakers from a cross section of professions. Among this year’s speakers were founders of the Rutherford CABLE women’s professional networking group; a former Bridgestone corporate executive; a diversity advocate and entrepreneur; and a music industry attorney.

“We did not want it to be the standard sort of lecture course,” Foote said. “There’s a lot of give and take between the presenters and the students. That’s a big part of it. And because of that, we learn a lot from the students.”

For more information about the institute, visit

[611] MTSU China delegation wraps up with fifth partnership

Trip concludes with preparations for visit by Rutherford schoolchildren in July

XI’AN, China — Middle Tennessee State University’s delegation to China headed home Wednesday after gaining a fifth new academic partner and setting plans for a group of Rutherford County schoolchildren and parents to visit Xi’an cultural sites in July.

MTSU signed a pact with with Shaanxi Normal University in Xi’an, solidifying a relationship that President Sidney A. McPhee broached in December with SNU leaders at a Beijing ceremony honoring him a “Person of the Year” by the global Confucius Institutes.

It gives MTSU a presence in China’s Shaanxi province in the northwestern region of the country. Xi’an is home to some of China’s top cultural sites, including the archeological dig of Terra Cotta Warriors at the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor.

McPhee noted SNU and MTSU share “normal school roots” and both remain major institutions for training teachers and school administrators. Also, like MTSU, Shaanxi has grown into a major comprehensive university with expertise in sciences and the arts.

“SNU is a top-tier university in China, directly administered by the Ministry of Education here, and known for its quality programs and excellent faculty,” McPhee said. “We are pleased to begin this partnership with our new friends.”

SNU will also be one of three hosts to a group of Rutherford schoolchildren and parents visiting China in July as part of MTSU’s Confucius Institute’s cultural exchange efforts, McPhee said. The delegation on Tuesday set the group’s plans to see the Terra Cotta Warriors, as well as the ancient Xi’an City Walls, Bell Tower and Drum Tower.

The schoolchildren will also visit Hangzhou and Shanghai during the exchange, the third such activity organized under the auspices of MTSU. It follows last year’s visit by Chinese schoolchildren to Murfreesboro and the initial 2012 trip to China by Rutherford students.

Co-hosts Dongcheng Education Group and Hangzhou Normal University, along with private donors, will also provide financial and logistical support for the July trip and parents will pay for the children’s flights to and from China. Hanban, the headquarters for Confucius Institute, is covering the costs of the Xi’an portion of the trip.

“SNU, along our partners at Dongcheng, Hangzhou Normal and Hanban, have allowed us to extend this exchange effort for a third year,” McPhee said. “This is yet another tangible result from the relationships we have created and fostered over the past decade plus.”

The pact signed by MTSU and SNU will allow the two universities to set up student exchanges and develop faculty collaboration, said SNU Vice President Xuqun You.

He said SNU has almost 18,000 undergraduates and almost 8,000 graduate students, along with more than 40,000 enrolled in continuous education and long-distance learning programs. It is located on two large urban campuses in Xi’an and boasts almost 3,000 faculty and staff members.

The university contains 16 colleges and departments, 58 majors, 26 doctoral programs and 95 master programs.

The agreement with Shaanxi was the fifth agreement signed during the MTSU delegation’s visit to China. It follows new pacts with Xiangnan University in Chenzhou; Communication University of China in Beijing; Shanghai Second Polytechnic University; and a renewal of MTSU’s partnership with Hangzhou Normal University.

Under McPhee’s watch, MTSU’s international student enrollment has increased from 396 to 789 in five years, and the university has 335 students in its education abroad programs this summer. It has more than 40 exchange agreements with institutions around the world.

[610] MTSU president’s Chinese radio interview to be aired on ‘MTSU On the Record’

MURFREESBORO — The fruits of MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee’s excursions to China will be explored on the next edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

The podcast of an interview McPhee gave to China Radio International while he was in China in mid-May will air from 5:30 to 6 p.m. Monday, June 2, and from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, June 8, on WMOT-FM (89.5 and

In addition to questioning McPhee, the CRI program “Voices from Other Lands” captured audio of him giving a workshop on leadership at Confucius Institute headquarters in Beijing.

“Part of my goal going into the workshop was to be successful in getting them to actually participate, to question me, to give me their thoughts and to be actively engaged,” said McPhee.

During his two-week visit to China, McPhee signed cooperative agreements for student and faculty exchanges with Xiangnan University, Communication University of China, Shanghai Second Polytechnic University and Shaanxi Normal University. He also renewed MTSU’s ongoing partnership with Hangzhou Normal University.

To listen to previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to

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

[609] MTSU student team nabs national award for TV sports coverage

MURFREESBORO MTSU’s student production team has taken a top national award for their live broadcast coverage of a January men’s basketball matchup inside Murphy Center.

Members of EMC Productions, all top students in the university’s Department of Electronic Media Communication, won the “Outstanding Live Game and Event Production” collegiate category at the 2014 College Sports Media Awards, which were announced Wednesday in Atlanta.

“Our students, faculty and staff have poured their hearts into this, and I could not be more proud of this accomplishment,” said Billy Pittard, EMC chair in the College of Mass Communication.

EMC Productions submitted footage from the Jan. 30 men’s 84-67 win over East Carolina, which aired live on Sinclair Broadcasting’s WUXP Channel 30 in Nashville, in the competition. You can watch the entry in high definition at

MTSU’s College Sports Media Award win came over six challengers: student production teams from Indiana’s Ball State University, Minnesota’s Bethany Lutheran College and St. Cloud State University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Virginia’s Liberty University.

“On the faculty side, major congratulations go to Dr. Dennis Oneal, who has done an outstanding job of managing our ‘varsity team,’ EMC Productions,” Pittard said. “Major congratulations and thanks go to our technical team of Marc Parrish and Mike Forbes.

“And congratulations to all of the EMC faculty who have helped build, educate and train this outstanding group of students, with (assistant professor) Bob Gordon at the top of that list.”

MTSU signed a pact in 2013 with Sinclair for EMC students to produce and direct 11 athletic events for live broadcasts on the company’s channels. MTSU crews produce content regularly for national sports channels, including ESPN and Comcast Sports South, and continue building a strong reputation for their work on projects with PBS affiliates.

EMC students work inside MTSU’s 40-foot, $1.7 million HD mobile production laboratory, also known simply as “The Truck,” to cover sports, concerts and other events for local broadcast, cable stations and national cable networks.

Members of the EMC Productions team compete for positions on the crew to get real-world experience producing live television events, along with material for their portfolios and résumés.

Sponsored by Ross Video and PROMISE Technology and presented by the Sports Video Group and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, the College Sports Media Awards celebrate the best in video production at all levels of college sports, from students and university athletic departments to regional and national networks.

For more information about the EMC department at MTSU, visit and