Tuesday, April 25, 2017

[390] MTSU research leader envisions growth in Scholars Week

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — David Butler wants MTSU’s research, scholarly efforts and creative activity with Scholars Week to continue to flourish — and reach beyond university borders to industry leaders, government officials and the public.

Led by MTSU students, a four-man team with a year-old designer concrete business appears to be one of those groups and individuals hitting the target for what Butler, the first-year vice provost for research and dean of the College of Graduate Studies, envisions as avenues of growth.

The annual Scholars Week, a full week of scholarly efforts, activities and performances, concluded with the universitywide Scholars Day March 31 in the Student Union Ballroom and “The Garden Party,” the annual Textiles, Merchandising and Design Runway Show April 1 in the Miller Education Center.

To view video about MTSU Scholars Week, visit https://youtu.be/sygjcHI8-qA.

Scholars Week recognizes the research, scholarly efforts, creativity and performance talents of undergraduate, graduate and high school students and faculty.

“Scholars Week is a great idea. It’s something we should have, and it needs to be built bigger and better each year,” Butler said. “It is an ideal avenue to showcase all the research and creative activity within MTSU. We can invite people outside the university to see all the exciting research and creative activity going on at MTSU.”

The public, elected officials and business leaders in the region — who will be targeted invitees in 2018 — are atop Butler’s list.

“MTSU’s a large employer — a large financial engine — and often people don’t know the exciting and cutting edge research happening (on campus),” added Butler, just completing his first three months on the job. “We’re moving forward and inviting key constituents. We’re going to bring more visibility to Scholars Week and see it improve each year.”

MTSU alumnus and graduate student Thomas Harris, sophomore Kirkland Atkins, senior Kendall Bacchus and Darian Robinson started Accoa LLC, a designer concrete business, in March 2016. Their Scholars Week poster presentation has made the finals of the Jones College of Business spring 2017 Business Plan Competition.

“Scholars Week is a great week to exhibit talent that’s inherent at MTSU,” said Harris, 26, of South Fulton, Tennessee, who is earning his executive MBA in Concrete Industry Management. “Every student has worked hard with their individual endeavors and exhibit what MTSU is producing into the workforce.”

Approximately 225 posters were showcased at the universitywide Scholars Day.

Three short plays, two dance performances and one theatre performance were included in the universitywide Scholars Day activities in the area outside the ballroom.

Destiny Donald (“God’s Weapon”), Alex Irwin (“World’s Best Mom”) and Laura Pickard (“Her Daughter Angelo”) presented short plays under the guidance of faculty mentor Claudia Barnett.

Dance performances featured “Ceremonial Figure,” a re-imagining of a Mary Wigman choreography, an Honors College thesis by Ginny Whaley; and “Suite from Orpheus ed Eurydice,” a preview of MTSU Dance Theatre’s spring concert, with choreography by Isadora Duncan and staged by faculty member Meg Brooker.

The “Hear My Voice” theatre performance featured musical theatre performers Beth Ann Stripling, Brianna Smart and Paul Gary. The performance was a selection of empowering pieces including the work of Dolly Parton, Jason Robert Brown, Maltby and Shire and others. The theatre faculty member is assistant professor Kristi Schamburger.

For a complete list of universitywide Scholars Day undergraduate and graduate poster winners by college, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/scholarsweek/docs/SWwinners2017.pdf. Winning posters will be displayed through April 14 in the James E. Walker Library

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