Tuesday, September 30, 2014

[115] Sept. 30 Grad Fair at MTSU offers insights on pursuing advanced degrees

MURFREESBORO — MTSU students, staff, alumni and members of the local community looking to pursue advanced degrees are encouraged to stop by the Student Union Tuesday, Sept. 30, for this year’s Grad Fair.

Hosted by the College of Graduate Studies, the annual event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday in the second floor ballroom of the Student Union. No registration is required for this free event. A printable campus map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap14-15.

Faculty members from across the university will be on hand to discuss opportunities to pursue an advanced degree — online or on campus — and boost careers.

MTSU offers 100 graduate programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, education and business, including the Accelerated Bachelor’s-to-Master’s program, which allows eligible undergraduates in certain disciplines to earn both degrees in five years.

Dr. Jackie Eller, interim vice provost for research and dean of the College of Graduate Studies, pointed to the benefits of some of the interdisciplinary programs within graduate studies, such as the Master of Professional Science program.

“This program is designed for working adults and offers the flexibility of both on campus and online studies,” Eller said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by the year 2018, one in every seven new jobs will require a graduate degree. And U.S. Census figures show that adults with advanced degrees earn an average of 44 percent more than those with undergraduate degrees.

Monday, September 29, 2014

[114] MTSU alumni, faculty highlight October lectures at Murfreesboro Heritage Center

MURFREESBORO — MTSU alumni and faculty will share their research and insights on significant people and events from Rutherford County’s 200-plus-year history each Tuesday in October at the Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County.

To celebrate October as “Heritage Month” in Rutherford County, the Heritage Center is hosting free weekly lunchtime lectures beginning Tuesday, Oct. 7, at 11:30 a.m. at its location off the Public Square in Murfreesboro, 225 W. College St.

The Oct. 7 lecture, “Rutherford County Cemetery Project,” will be presented by MTSU alumni John Lodl, Rutherford County archivist; Michael Fletcher, a graduate research assistant in MTSU’s Center for Historic Preservation; and Catherine Hawkins of the Rutherford County GIS Lab.

They’ll highlight some of the findings of a countywide cemetery survey currently underway by Rutherford County government with the assistance of the Center for Historic Preservation and the Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center. The goal of the project is to digitally map and record all the cemeteries in the county.

Alex Collins, a student in MTSU’s public history program and the director of collections and education at the Historic Sam Davis Home and Plantation in Smyrna, will discuss “Davis Women in Mourning: Customs and Practices of the Victorian Age” Tuesday, Oct. 14.

Collins’ 11:30 a.m. talk will discuss the Victorian mourning rituals prevalent at the time Sam Davis, a Confederate Army scout, was hanged and how the women in his family would have observed the practices.

MTSU alumnus Patrick “Pat” Cummins, president of the Native History Association, and
association vice president Toye E. Heape will discuss the organization’s research into the Trail of Tears during their Tuesday, Oct. 21, lecture at the Heritage Center.

Their 11:30 a.m. talk, “Forgotten Footsteps: Exploring the Cherokee Trail of Tears Alternate Route in Rutherford County, Tennessee,” tracks a little-known route of the forced relocation of the Cherokee people that travels from Readyville, Tennessee, along the east fork of the Stones River to the site of the former Old Jefferson community near Smyrna and on to Nashville.

Tennessee state historian Dr. Carroll Van West, an MTSU alumnus who also serves as director of the Center for Historic Preservation, will speak Tuesday, Oct. 28, on “Murfreesboro’s Historic Architecture.”

His 11:30 a.m. talk will address how the city's historic buildings and places add to a sense of identity and community and remind us of landmarks lost.
“MTSU always gives back so much to the community,” West said. “We are proud to share our research with everyone in Rutherford County to emphasize how much significant history has happened here over the decades."

The Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County is a partnership between Main Street Murfreesboro, the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation, the city of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County Government. The facility is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays.

For more information on Heritage Month activities at the Heritage Center, please call 615-217-8013 or visit http://www.hcmrc.org. For more information on Heritage Month events in Rutherford County, visit http://www.nps.gov/stri/planyourvisit/sharingprograms.htm.

[113] MTSU digs ‘Tunnel of Love’ for students’ enlightenment Oct. 1

MURFREESBORO — The annual “Tunnel of Love” is returning to MTSU, but contrary to its title, the emphasis will not be on romance.

Sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Performance, the event will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, in the Tennessee Room of the James Union Building.

Casie Higginbotham, a lecturer in the department, said students, faculty and staff will be able to walk through the event in about 20 minutes to learn how sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are transmitted, treated and prevented.

“We know that some of the most common infections, like chlamydia and gonorrhea, can be asymptomatic and therefore persist in the body for years because an individual does not seek treatment,” Higginbotham said. “For women, this is especially damaging as it may compromise fertility later in life.”

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that young people age 15-24 make up about a quarter of the sexually active population, but account for about half of new STI cases.

“We in (the Department of) Health and Human Performance want the students on our campus to understand risk and prevention when it comes to their sexual health,” said Higginbotham. “We believe that being informed about STIs will lead students to responsible choices.”

Nashville CARES, a nonprofit organization with a mission “to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Middle Tennessee,” according to www.nashvillecares.org, will be on hand to provide free HIV testing. Higginbotham said students will receive results within minutes.

Some professors may offer extra credit for attendance. Students are asked to complete a worksheet provided at the event entrance and return it to faculty as proof of attendance.

For more information, contact Higginbotham at 615-904-8274 or casie.higginbotham@mtsu.edu.


[112] MTSU students to premiere Paris documentaries Sept. 30 in Nashville Free screening set for Belcourt Theatre

The students traveled to France in May as part of the MTSU Signature Documentary Program Abroad to create stories about artists who live and work in Paris. The three short films that resulted will premiere at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 30, at Nashville’s Belcourt Theatre, 2102 Belcourt Ave. Admission is free to this special screening.

Led by Documentary Channel founder and MTSU associate professor Tom Neff, the program resulted in films centered on up-and-coming fashion designers and musicians. The films — “Fighter,” “A Designer’s Canvas” and “Le Debut” — were directed, produced and edited entirely by the students.

“I have judged many festivals for documentaries, and the excellence of the work of these MTSU students rivals anything being produced in the country today,” said Neff, an instructor in the university’s video and film production program. “The audience will be very impressed with the quality and professionalism of the documentaries the students have created, and the films showcase the ability and talent of the students at MTSU.”

The students, who will be present at the screening, represent a mix of film, electronic media communication and journalism majors. They include Richard Adams, Amber Bradford, Justin Carroll, Mayra Cervantes, Lucas Fleming, Samantha Hearn, Bing Li, Will Messerschmidt, Tiffany Murray, Kelsey Price and Kelly Rozell.

About the films

• “Fighter” is about an Afro-French singer named Jara Ezo and her first big solo, “Dangerous Fighter.” With immigrant parents from Togo, Africa, Ezo grew up in the south of France. As a child she was beaten and bullied for being the only black girl in town, an experience that haunted her until her father taught her to fight back. He died when she was 17, and Ezo was left to continue fighting for her dreams without him. She leaned on the women in her life who taught her dance, music and courage. In “Fighter,” viewers will meet the three women who help shape her destiny.

• “A Designer’s Canvas” is about a young fashion designer named Pierre-Henry Bor, who has been an artist since he was a kid. The spark for fashion design came to him when he came across the fashion institute, Instituto Marangoni. He has interned for famous designers such as Eric Charles Donatien and Iris Van Herpen. His designs are heavily influenced by these designers and reflect the classic architectural style of Paris.

• “Le Debut” is about Alice Elia, the latest winner of Suzy Amis Cameron’s Red Carpet Green Dress Competition. Growing up in Bordeaux, France, Elia’s growing heart for fashion began to bloom at the early age of 7. Being chosen as the winning designer for the Red Carpet Green Dress Competition, her design was worn by Hollywood actress Olga Kurylenko at the Oscars in March. Le Debut follows Elia as her time at design school is coming to an end, and her debut into the real world of fashion is beginning.

According to Neff, the MTSU Signature Documentary Program Abroad provides a unique opportunity for film students to travel abroad to gain valuable experience under the direction of faculty and staff.

“These students went to a foreign city, worked with a new artist for only three weeks, produced three documentaries of the highest caliber, comparable to any films coming out of any film school, bar none,” Neff said.

“They faced and overcame obstacles that would be challenging for the most experienced professionals, much less student filmmakers. The films are highly visual, inspiring, and engaging and will be a treat to the audience. We should all support the incredible talent we have in Tennessee.”

For more information about MTSU College of Mass Communication’s video and film program, visit http://mtsu.edu/programs/video-production/.

[111] MTSU Jones College hosting ‘Digging Deeper’ networking event Sept. 30; Nashville-based marketing expert to share job search, career tips

MURFREESBORO — The power of networking in job market success will be the topic of an upcoming annual career event hosted by the Department of Management and Marketing in the Jones College of Business.

Entitled “Digging Deeper,” this year’s event will be held from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 30, in Room S102 (State Farm Room) of the Business and Aerospace Building. It is free and open to the public. A printable campus map with parking instructions is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap14-15.

“The purpose of ‘Digging Deeper’ is to expose students to career preparedness issues,” said Dr. Don Roy, a professor of marketing.

This year, Dave Delaney, a Nashville-based digital marketing and business networking expert, will give a presentation entitled “Your Network is More Important than Your Résumé.”

Delaney is author of the book “New Business Networking” and host of the New Business Networking Radio podcast.

Among his professional recognitions, Delaney was selected by Billboard Magazine as a digital marketing expert to follow in July 2012 and that same year was featured by the Nashville Business Journal as a Power Leader of Technology in Nashville. In 2011, Delaney was awarded the Digital Media Champion AIM Award by the American Marketing Association in Nashville.

Delaney has appeared in technology stories in USA Today, Billboard Magazine, Globe & Mail, Nashville Business Journal, The Tennessean and Mashable. Learn more about him at daveadelaney.com.

Delaney’s presentation is made possible by the University Distinguished Lecture Fund, Jones College of Business and the Department of Management and Marketing.

For more information, contact Roy at 615-904-8564 or via email at Don.Roy@mtsu.edu.

[110] MTSU president stresses adaptability, funding at higher ed panel; McPhee joined other education leaders to discuss workforce readiness

NASHVILLE — From rising tuition to curriculum innovation to partnerships with business, Middle Tennessee State University President Sidney A. McPhee joined three other higher education leaders Wednesday (Sept. 24) in discussing these and other issues related to better preparing students for today’s workforce.

McPhee shared some of the Murfreesboro university’s ongoing efforts and recently launched initiatives during the Nashville Business Journal’s panel entitled “Nashville Ahead: A discussion on higher education and workforce readiness.”

Moderated by Nashville Business Journal Publisher Kate Herman, the luncheon panel at the Omni Nashville Hotel was attended by a variety of area business leaders. Joining McPhee on the panel was Joe DiPietro, president of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville; Kimberly Estep, chancellor of Western Governors University Tennessee; and Jerry L. Faulkner, president of Volunteer State Community College.

The panelists agreed that the state’s higher education institutions must develop strategies to combat rising tuition costs, must adapt curriculums to equip students with the “soft skills” needed to achieve lasting career success while also stressing to state lawmakers the need to make higher education funding a top priority.

McPhee highlighted MTSU’s recent efforts to address rising tuition with last week’s announcement of the MTSU Student Success Advantage, which goes into effect in fall 2015. Under this new incentive, MTSU will supplement by $1,000 the Hope Lottery Scholarships of incoming students who stay on track to graduate in four years – and pay a Finish Line Scholarship to graduating seniors that will return any tuition increases over that span.

“We think that this is doing something … to reduce the escalating costs,” McPhee said, pointing out that many of MTSU’s students are first-generation college students whose families can’t always absorb the annual tuition increases. “The increases in tuition is a model that will not sustain itself.”

Student Success Advantage is part of MTSU’s Quest for Student Success initiative, which was launched a year ago to improve the university’s retention and graduation rates through a top-to-bottom review of curriculum with an emphasis on innovative reforms.

Among such innovations is this week’s announcement by the MTSU Jones College that it has entered an exclusive partnership with Dale Carnegie Training to embed “soft skills” training for students within the university’s curriculum. This means all Jones College graduate and undergraduate students will have taken such a course for credit before obtaining their degree.

McPhee also challenged business leaders to lobby state lawmakers to make funding state higher education a top priority. Higher education officials have lamented state funding cuts the past several years that have reduced the percentage of university budgets funded by state dollars.

“I do think business leaders ought to take the same kind of political action when they lobby other issues, and lobby … making sure that higher education is not the first thing that’s cut, that priorities are funded, even in these tough times,” McPhee said.

He pointed to MTSU’s decision to hire 50 new advisers this fall to support its Student Success initiative even in the face of an enrollment decrease that will require budget adjustments and tough decisions.

Luncheon attendee and MTSU alumnus Jon Sturgeon asked the panel about the alarming rate of HOPE scholarship recipients who lose their scholarships at the end of their freshman year. To him, that’s an indication that more comprehensive mentoring programs are needed between high schools and higher education to properly prepare these students for the transition to college.

Now business development manager at Nashville-based Pathway Lending, a nonprofit economic development lender, Sturgeon has deep roots in the state’s higher education system. He earned his master’s degree in counseling psychology in the early 80s from MTSU, has a daughter that is also an MTSU alumnus, while his son is a University of Tennessee alumnus.

Afterward, Sturgeon said he was pleased to hear about MTSU’s efforts to make the necessary changes to improve student retention and graduation.

“Dr. McPhee is very forward-thinking,” Sturgeon said. “He’s implementing stuff that matters, which you don’t always see in higher ed because it moves so slowly.”