Friday, November 09, 2018


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — The Middle Tennessee State University Board of Trustees announces the following committee meetings for Tuesday, Nov 13. 

All meetings will be held in the Miller Education Center, Second Floor Training Room, 503 E. Bell St.

Academic Affairs, Student Life, and Athletics Committee: 9:30 a.m. Agenda items include approval of minutes; recommendations concerning approval of new academic degree program and academic degree under consideration, approval of appointment of a Chair of Excellence, and Petition to Appeal.

Audit and Compliance Committee: 10:30 a.m. Agenda items include approval of minutes; recommendation concerning rule promulgation and policy revision; and, information concerning policy update, results of external review, and quarterly report on results of internal audits.

Finance and Personnel Committee: 11:30 a.m. Agenda items include approval of minutes; recommendations concerning the 2018-19 October revised budget, the Regional Scholars Program and factors considered when developing recommendations to increase tuition and mandatory fees (Tuition Transparency and Accountability Act); and, information concerning the 2019-20 capital outlay and capital maintenance requests, THEC 2019-20 operating recommendations, and compensation update.

Executive and Governance Committee:  1 p.m.  Agenda items include approval of minutes; recommendations concerning Board Self-Evaluation and President’s contract; and, information concerning the Board of Trustees Sunset Hearing.

Committee meeting start times are approximate; if one meeting or lunch finishes early, the following committee meeting may begin earlier than noted.

All committee meetings are open to the public.  For parking details, go to

For agenda details, to view the meetings livestreamed or for other information, go to and locate the appropriate meeting under the “Meetings” dropdown.
 All meetings are open to the public. For parking details, go to

For agenda details, to view the meetings livestreamed or for other information, go to and locate the appropriate meeting under the “Meetings” dropdown.

[202] MTSU employees pledge record $132K-plus for 2018 Charitable Giving Campaign

The numbers are in and Middle Tennessee State University employees again promised to give back to the community in a big way with a record $132,503.04 pledged during this year’s Charitable Giving Campaign.

The $132,000-plus in pledges represented 106 percent of the $125,000 goal, with883 participants (39.4 percent of the university’s faculty and staff), also a new record for the campaign.

“I am very proud and pleased that our True Blue community showed its support for the communities we serve by donating and participating in our Charitable Giving Campaign in record numbers,” said MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee.

“I deeply appreciate the hard work of the volunteer team that organized this year’s effort, as well as the generosity of the many faculty and staff members who participated in this annual tradition.”

MTSU’s annual Charitable Giving Campaign is a monthlong effort by faculty and staff to support worthy causes. The campaign is fueled largely by monthly payroll deductions from employees over the next year, but also allows one-time, lump-sum gifts at the donor’s discretion. 

During the Oct. 1-Nov. 1 campaign, participants designated gifts to organizations from a list of 10 independent charities and three federated groups of charities, including Community Health Charities, Community Shares, and local United Way organizations.

Throughout the month participants’ names were entered into weekly drawings for a variety of “True Blue” swag and reserved parking spaces. All employees were eligible for the drawings, even those who choose not to give, as long as they registered at the campaign website.

Provost Mark Byrnes thanked the faculty and academic units for their tradition of participation in the campaign and presented the Provost Cup to Dr. David Urban, dean of the Jones College of Business, for the sixth straight year.

The college with the highest percentage of employee participation each year receives the cup. 

“The Provost Cup represents a friendly competition for an outstanding cause, and I’m extremely proud to see the level of participation from faculty and staff continue to rise and set new records,” Byrnes said. “Congratulations again to Dean Urban and his college for keeping the bar raised, and I look forward to next year’s competition."

“The Jones College is thrilled to again claim the Provost Cup for another year, but more importantly to be a part of this university-wide campaign to give back to the community,” said Urban, before adding a bit of friendly ribbing to his fellow academic colleges: “We look forward to keeping our streak intact next year."

Last year’s MTSU campaign resulted in pledges totaling $128,593.04 — a new record for the campaign and 107 percent of its goal.

“This campaign is yet another example of the tremendous role our university plays in our city, region and state,” McPhee said.

[201] MTSU’s Keel earns Women in Music City Award for fifth straight year; gives keynote

Nashville Business Journal recognizes female movers and shakers in music industry

Keel told the crowd inside the Omni Hotel on Oct. 23 that “when you’re the only female voice in a room, speak up loudly, don’t put up with being interrupted and demand attention,” according to a story by Nashville Business Journal senior reporter Eleanor Kennedy. 

Read the full story at view a pdf version of the story here.

Now in her fifth year of leading the highly regarded Department of Recording Industry within the College of Media and Entertainment, Keel is also a co-founder of Change the Conversation, a coalition created with Leslie Fram and Tracy Gershon four years ago to help women in the country music industry.

The Women in Music City Awards stem from The NBJ soliciting nominations of women working in the music business “who are making a creative and economic impact on the industry.” According to the publication, “the program honors women from all walks of the music industry — from agents to songwriters, and from entertainment lawyers to music venue executives.”

An MTSU alumna and former music industry executive, Keel continues working with MTSU faculty and staff in her current role to build partnerships between MTSU and music industry leaders to bring in accomplished guest lecturers and instructors as well as provide students with hands-on learning and career opportunities.

Keel is also an award-winning music journalist and pop culture commentator who has covered the music industry for more than 25 years. She writes for Parade magazine and The Tennessean and has served as a music industry management/publicity consultant for artists including Jamey Johnson, Lionel Richie, Scotty McCreery and others.  

[200] MTSU students walk in police shoes during use-of-force simulations on campus

Campus police, Criminal Justice program partner as part of outreach, research

“It’s a lot more difficult than people think. … This job takes serious experience and serious training,” Hall said. “It’s a lot more complicated than people think.”

The MTSU Department of Criminal Justice Administration partnered with the MTSU Police Department to host the Oct. 26 activity for students, faculty and staff at the Bell Street parking garage just east of the Miller Education Center. In one scenario, the officer is conducting a traffic stop in which the driver is a bit uncooperative. In the other, an officer is responding to a possible auto burglary in progress.

Hall, a junior criminal justice major from Ashland City, Tennessee, said it was a tad unnerving walking into the burglary scenario with so many unknowns to be answered — and armed with a bright blue simulation pistol that fired very real sounding blanks.

“When I walked up on the car, I really didn’t know what to expect,” said Hall, who learned the importance of firm verbal commands in such scenarios. “You get in that situation, there’s no set rules for how to act or what to say.”

Criminal justice professor Lee Wade, who coordinated the simulation, said such insights are the purpose of these events, where students see “just how quickly a scenario can either de-escalate or escalate into a use-of-force situation where they have to use a gun or not use a gun.”

Wade conducts pre- and post-surveys of students during such simulations as part of his ongoing research into use-of-force practices.

“Most of the (survey) results show that it changes their mind about how police officers have to deal with use-of-force scenarios,” he said. “They get to make split-second decisions like a police officer does. The perspective may change. … We’ve gotten nothing but positive compliments from the students.”

MTSU Police Officer Patrick Fajardo, the department’s spokesman, said such events gives officers a chance to show the students “that when we go to these kind of calls, where it’s not an obvious crime being committed, we just don’t know what’s going on … we run into these calls almost every day.”

That uncertainty dictates how officers interact with citizens, such as instructing them to remove their hands from their pockets. Fajardo noted that MTSU police officers undergo a minimum 40 hours of training each year, as well as firearms training, de-escalation training and recently an “I Am Your Neighbor” training to more deeply connect officers to the community.

“When we respond to (calls), we always have to be on our guard for that very low chance (that something goes wrong),” Fajardo said. “We gotta be ready for it 100 percent of the time. … The situations are very tense, rapidly evolving and they change in a moment. And if you don’t control it from the get-go, you’re not going home and that’s a very big deal.”

MTSU sophomore Austin Smith, a criminal justice major from Chattanooga hoping to work for the Secret Service one day, has never even been pulled over by police. So the simulation was a new experience for him on multiple levels. 

“I learned a lot of things,” he said, particularly the safety precautions officers need to take in these situations such as making sure a motorist’s hands are always visible. “I learned that the subject isn’t always willing to cooperate.”

Alesia Kahrs, a senior criminal justice major from Knoxville, Tennessee, also went through the simulations last year at a time when public scrutiny of police practices was heightened. A second trip through the simulations this time gave her an even greater understanding of what officers face on a daily basis. 

“I think this really helps me,” she said. “I can see where (citizens) are coming from, but I definitely can see where cops are coming from too.”

Scheduled to graduate next December, Kahrs plans to go to law school. She wants to eventually work with programs that help released prisoners get reintegrated into society by assisting them with job placement and housing.

Wade said last year a student who was very “anti-police” participated in the simulations. When she finished, “she was crying” and said the simulations completely changed her perspective on how police do their jobs, he said.

In the burglary scenario, Officer Ricky Morales played the role of the suspect, dressed in a hoodie with pockets, constantly on the move around the vehicle with hands in his pockets, even adding a slim-jim to his wardrobe to see if the student-officers were paying attention.

At least a few weren’t … that is until Morales suddenly drew the blue simulation weapon from his pocket and the staccato of blanks echoed through the parking garage.

Hall said afterward that he hadn’t really thought about the fact that regardless of the situation, there’s always a firearm involved in such calls and traffic stops — because the officer has one.

Officer Fajardo heard similar responses from other students.

“A lot of them are saying, ‘we had no idea that it was this stressful, and can get this stressful that quickly,’” he said. “It’s a great way to get a look into what we do.”

Led by Police Chief Buddy Peaster, University Police is a fully functioning law enforcement agency with 36 commissioned officers, six dispatchers, 20 part-time student workers as well as additional administrative staff.

Learn more at

[195] ‘MTSU On the Record’ previews Nov. 15 on-campus lecture by WWI expert

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. —The influence of World War I on the current-day formation and struggles of Middle Eastern nations will be the topic of the next “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Sean Foley, an associate professor of history, will air from 9:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, and from 6 to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and

Foley, who has traveled and written extensively about the Middle East, will discuss the upcoming appearance by Eugene Rogan, a professor of modern Middle Eastern history at the University of Oxford and director of the Middle East Center at St. Antony’s College at Oxford. 

Rogan, who is this year’s Strickland Visiting Scholar at MTSU, will speak at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, in the Tennessee Room of the James Union Building. The subject will be “World War I and the Making of the Modern Middle East.” A searchable campus parking map is available at

This year marks the 100thanniversary of the end of the so-called “war to end all wars.” Foley said World War I marked beginning of the world’s dependence on oil after Winston Churchill, as Britain’s First Lord of the Admiralty, ordered all British Navy vessels retrofitted to run on oil instead of coal.

“One of the things that the war does with oil is transform oil into the most important strategic commodity in the world,” Foley said. “And that means, the Middle East, already a crossroads with the Bosporus Straits, as well as with the Suez Canal, takes on even greater strategic importance because everybody is interested in getting a piece of that oil.” 

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

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

[194] What a way to make a living! MTSU Theatre jumps into ‘9 to 5: The Musical’ Nov. 8-11

MURFREESBORO, Tenn.— If you’ve had enough of elections for a millennium or two, why not relax with a little Broadway and a lot of office politics with the MTSU Theatreproduction of the multi-award-nominated “9 to 5: The Musical” Nov. 8-11

The cast and crew are turning Tucker Theatre into “Consolidated Industries” headquarters for the duration, bursting into song and dance accompanied by an office symphony of clacking keyboards and ringing phones. And of course, it’s all from the mind of one of Tennessee’s gifts to the universe, Dolly Parton

Curtain times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 8-10, and there’s a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, Nov. 11. Tickets, available now at http://www.mtsuarts.comand at the box office, are $15 general admission and $10 for K-12 students and senior citizens. MTSU students will be admitted free with a current ID. 

Director and MTSU theatre professor Kristi Shamburger, who’s been guiding the university’s recent superstar musicals like "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,”“Peter Pan,” "West Side Story” and"Les Misérables" with musical director Raphael Bundage, a professor of vocal performance in MTSU's School of Music, says this semester’s big show is one of the best opportunities they’ve had to entertain audiences.

“It's a ride down memory lane for those of us who lived through the late '70s and early '80s, and it's a joyful way to celebrate what was such an entertaining and poignant film,” Shamburger says. “It contains all of the iconic moments and characters you know and love — or love to hate — from the movie and adds more music from the incredibly talented Dolly Parton! 

“This is a huge and fast-paced show, so once we're rolling, it goes by quickly. … It’s not just funny; it is sentimental, and it is empowering. The three leads each have a dream sequence or a fantasy of how they would like to get back at (their boss) Mr. Hart for poor treatment, and those have been a LOT of fun to imagine and put together.”

Senior theatre majorDallas Boudreaux of Knoxville portrays the leader of the trio of “9 to 5” workplace avengers, Violet Newstead, the efficient senior office manager who mostly seethes silently in interactions with their horrible boss Franklin Hart, played by fellow senior Donovan Hughesof Memphis. The two worked together in last year’s MTSU production of “How I Learned to Drive,” where Boudreaux’s character survived even worse #MeToo experiences with Hughes’ character.

“I usually stick to more dramatic pieces of theatre, but ‘9 to 5’ is fun and kitschy,” Boudreaux explains. “I’ve loved getting to know the cast and getting to do such a fun, girl-powered show. … I feel like it’s a pretty underrated piece of feminist theater. This show has such empowering messages, and getting to work in a space that’s completely run by women is really exciting.”

Castmate Mileah Milstead, a junior from McMinnville, Tennessee, who plays Judy Bernly, a bashful woman forced into her first job by her husband’s adultery, says she’s modeled her portrayal on the strong women in her own life.

“My process was different for this show, because I was able to heavily draw from personal experience, which is quite unlike the other roles I have played in the past,” Milstead says. “I love being able to tell Judy's story so very much. I just hope everyone feels the camaraderie and empowerment that I feel every time I perform with this special, talented cast!”

Newcomer Erin Burrowof Lafayette, Tennessee, a sophomore theatre teaching major making her MTSU Theatre debut, rounds out the leads as Doralee Rhodes, the sweet-sounding, tough-talking executive secretary role Parton made her own in the film version of “9 to 5.” 

You can see a complete cast and crew listing for the MTSU Arts production of “9 to 5: The Musical” at, and a preview video is available at

“This is a fantastic and fun cast with a lot of energy,” says director Shamburger. “We’ve been working diligently to put together a show that will make you laugh, surprise you, entertain you and hopefully inspire you with perhaps a sentimental tear from time to time as well!”

Tucker Theatre is fully accessible for people with disabilities, including those with hearing, vision and mobility impairments, and the show features closed-captioning.

Tickets also will be available at the Tucker Theatre box office one hour before curtain times. For more information about the show, visit

[193] MTSU professor honored for bringing innovation to oral history education

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. —An MTSU professor is the recipient of one of her academic discipline’s top honors.

The Oral History Association bestowed its 2018 Postsecondary Teaching Award on history professor Martha Norkunas at its annual conference in Montreal in October.

The award, which is presented every two years, “recognizes a distinguished postsecondary educator involved in undergraduate, graduate, continuing or professional education who has incorporated the practice of oral history in the classroom in an exemplary way,” according to

Former students from both MTSU and the University of Texas at Austin, Norkunas’ former employer, nominated her for the award. They wrote letters to OHA explaining Norkunas’ impact on their educational and professional lives.

“She opened to me the power of oral history methodology and practice, the power of listening, storytelling and empathy,” wrote Lindsay Hager, archival and project assistant at the Tennessee State Library and Archives. 

“She left me with a lasting sense of the larger importance of oral history as a means of addressing our past and our memory of the past for greater understanding, reconciliation and social justice.”

Brian Odom, historian at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, wrote about how what he learned from Norkunas at MTSU informed his currentwork interviewing current and former employees on the role of race and gender in space exploration.

“I rely heavily on the skills and concepts taught by Dr. Norkunas, particularly on collective memory, the relationship between memory and history, generational memory, trauma and memory, soundscapes and on the challenges and possibilities of co-creating oral narrative as history,” Odom wrote.
“I was honored to receive this national teaching award for my work in oral history, especially because it came from my graduate students at MTSU and the University of Texas at Austin and my oral history colleagues across the country,” Norkunas said.

Norkunas invented a new approach to teaching oral history based on listening exercises, which are being adopted by oral historians around the world. She said her field work as an oral historian informs her belief that nuanced, empathetic listening can create levels of understanding between people who differ from each other.

“I hope to continue to teach new generations of oral historians how to co-create beautiful, in-depth oral history interviews with women, people of color, immigrants and other minority communities,” Norkunas said.

Norkunas directs the graduate oral history concentration in the public history program at MTSU.The executive office of the Oral History Association is housed in Room 217 of Peck Hall on the MTSU campus. Louis Kyriakoudes, director of the Albert Gore Research Center, and Kris McKusker, history professor, are co-executive directors.

For more information about oral history education at MTSU, contact Norkunas at 615-494-7701 or To learn more about the Oral History Association, call 615-898-2544, send an email to oha@oralhistory.orgor visit

[192] Eudora Welty collection finds permanent home at MTSU’s Walker Library

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. —A cherished collection that was loaned to the James E. Walker Library for an exhibit is now a permanent part of its heritage.

Dr. J. Lee Owen, a retired pediatrician, and his wife, Sophia, have presented their priceless assemblage of Eudora Welty literature to the library’s Special Collections office for students to study for generations to come.

The collection was on display at the library from April 4 to May 4, 2017, in an exhibit titled “Eudora Welty: Her Life and Legacy.” 

Welty, a Jackson, Mississippi native, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1973 for her novel “The Optimist’s Daughter,” but was better known for her short stories. Her other honors include the O. Henry Prize, the National Book Award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She died in 2001. 

“This is a major addition to our special collections,” said Philip Phillips, assistant dean of the University Honors College and a professor of English. “It includes all first-edition books, a lot of autographed first editions and magazine items.”

After Susan Lyons, the Honors College’s event coordinator, befriended the Owenses, she told Phillips about Dr. Owen’s remarkable compilation of Welty literature.

Phillips and his research student, doctoral candidate Megan Donaldson, fashioned a book with photos of the items in the Owen collection and explanatory text after taking a tour of Welty’s home led by the author’s niece.

For Owen, who came to know Welty personally, the journey through Welty’s rich prose began when he read the short story “Why I Lived at the P.O.” as a student at Vanderbilt University. 

“Her writing style encompasses those things that I remember as a child growing up in the Mississippi Delta and being associated with those things that people do not recognize now as a beautiful part of life in Mississippi,” Owen said. 

Decades later, Owen received a Welty book as a birthday present. With his initial fascination with Welty reignited, Owen found an autographed copy of her first collection of short stories, “A Curtain of Green,” at a library sale. Owen paid $2 for it. A friend assessed its value at $3,500.

Over the course of his life, Owen collected books, magazines, photographs taken by Welty herself and other memorabilia. He wondered what to do with his collection, but he wanted to keep it intact. 

He said MTSU’s personnel made such an impression on him that he decided to give the collection to the university in perpetuity, a transaction that became official Aug. 2.

The curators in the Walker Library’s special collections area will maintain the Welty collection by storing it in a climate-controlled rate-book vault. 

“Everything that comes into this collection we try to treat with a sort of temporal respect so it will last,” said Alan Boehm, head of the library’s special collections unit.

While there might be some digitization later, Boehm said scholars will want to experience the actual items themselves.

“You pretty much want to see the literary text in the context in which it was originally presented to the reader,” Boehm said. “I’m a firm believer that that’s valuable.”  

Owen said Welty’s great lasting gift was the ability to tell the truth about the South, both good and bad.

“She was able to elucidate all these things in a very succinct, conversational way without embellishment,” Owen said.

For more information, contact the James E. Walker Library’s Special Collections unit at 615-904-8501 or 

[191] Election Day to become ‘Party at the Polls’ with help from MTSU groups

MURFREESBORO — MTSU is turning the midterm elections into a full-fledged celebration of democracy.

Food and music will be part of Tuesday’s “Party at the Polls,” a #VoteTogether election-day event from 3 to 7 p.m. at Central Magnet School, 701 E. Main St. in Murfreesboro. 

Groups will gather for walks from the MTSU campus to Central Magnet, a voting location. They will head out at 3 p.m. from the John Bragg Media and Entertainment Building and at 4 p.m. from the blue horseshoe near Peck Hall. The forecast calls for partly sunny skies and highs in the upper 60s.

Free Uber rides to Central Magnet are available by choosing “payment” on the app menu on a touchtone cell phone. Scroll down to “promotions.” Tap “Add Promo Code/Gift Code.” Enter the code “EARLYVOTE2018” and tap “ADD.” 

Free popcorn will be available and Daniel Green, director of MTSU’s Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs, will serve as deejay for the music. Several food trucks will offer tasty treats for sale, including Smyrna’s own Cousins Maine Lobster. 

The event is sponsored by the MTSU American Democracy Project in partnership with CivicTN, the Campus Election Engagement Project, Civic Nation and Students Learn Students Vote. 

At the conclusion of the voter registration period in Tennessee, assisted by the Rutherford County Election Commission, the American Democracy Project for Civic Engagement at MTSU reported that the university’s tentative student voter registration count for 2018 superseded 1,070 newly registered voters.

“Working with our community partners and not-for-profit partners at the local, state and national levels, we have observed a level of enthusiasm and engagement we trust will prove to be unsurpassed at MTSU for an interim election,” said Mary Evins, ADP campus coordinator and an associate professor of history.

For more information, contact Evins at 615-904-8241,, #VoteTogether or #MTSUVotes!

[190] Acclaimed historian from Oxford visits MTSU Nov. 15 to put ‘making of modern Middle East’ in perspective

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — An acclaimed American historianteaching at the University of Oxford, with a thorough knowledge of the Middle Eastfrom the 14th century to the present day, will visit MTSU Thursday, Nov. 15, to present this fall's free Strickland Visiting Scholar Lecture.

Eugene Rogan will speak on "World War I and the Making of the Modern Middle East"Nov. 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the James Union Building's Tennessee Room on the MTSU campus. 

A 5:30 p.m. reception in the JUB lobby will precede Rogan's talk, and a book-signing opportunity with the author will follow the lecture.

MTSU's Department of History, the Strickland Lecture series sponsor, is encouraging visitors to park in the Ingram Lot across Middle Tennessee Boulevard from the James Union Building and use a guest shuttle to avoid the area's construction hazards. The shuttle will run from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and again after the lecture until 8:30 p.m. 

An accessible entrance for guests with disabilities is available at the back of the JUB. A campus map is available at

Rogan is professor of modern Middle Eastern history at the University of Oxford and director of the Middle East Centre at St. Antony's College, Oxford, in England. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in economics from Columbia College and his master's and doctoral degrees in Middle Eastern history from Harvard University. 

The professor taught at Boston College and Sarah Lawrence College before joining the St. Antony's faculty in 1991. In 2017, he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy, which is the United Kingdom's national academy for the humanities and social sciences.

The Economist and the Wall Street Journal named Rogan's recent book, "The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East," one of the best of 2015. The work also received the British Army Military Book of The Year award in 2016, and the Indonesian translation received the Islamic Book Award in the 2017 Jakarta Islamic Book Fair.

Rogan is also the author of "The Arabs: A History," named one of the best books of 2009 by The Economist, Financial Times, and The Atlantic Monthly. His works have been translated into 17 languages.

The Strickland Visiting Scholar program allows MTSU students to meet with renowned scholars whose expertise spans a variety of historical issues. The Strickland family established the program in memory of Roscoe Lee Strickland Jr., a longtime professor of European history at MTSU and the first president of the university’s Faculty Senate.

For more information about this Strickland Visiting Scholar Lecture, please contact MTSU’s Department of History at 615-898-5798 or visit


Tennessee Department of Tourist Development announces location on statewide initiative

Gov. Bill Haslam and the State Legislature approved funding for the development, roll out and execution of the initiative. The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development officially announced the MTSU center’s inclusion this week and presented university officials with the black and white marker to be prominently displayed inside the Bragg Media and Entertainment Building where the center is housed.

Watch a recap of the presentation at

The Music Pathways program is designed to guide visitors to destinations through an online travel-planning experience featuring hundreds of attractions, markers, statues, murals, resting places and experiences that showcase Tennessee’s music heritage. The pathways not only will feature an array of genres that include, but are not limited to, the seven musical genres — blues, bluegrass, country, gospel, soul, rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll — that call Tennessee home.

“Tennessee Music Pathways connects fans to the people, places and genres that make Tennessee the Soundtrack of America. From the largest cities to the smallest communities, this statewide program identifies, explains, and preserves the legacy of music in Tennessee,” said Commissioner Kevin Triplett, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “Our goal is to not only connect the fans to the music, but to inspire travel to a destination along the Pathways to potentially stay longer on their musical journey.” 

The Center for Popular Music, or CPM, a part of the College of Media and Entertainment, is located in Room 140 of the Bragg Media and Entertainment Building. It is one of the nation’s largest and richest repositories of research materials related to American vernacular music.

Greg Reish, director of the center, said the Music Pathways designation came about following a visit by Triplett months ago. He was seeking the center’s assistance in finding resources to document the history of the various sites that were going to be named. He was so impressed by the center’s wealth of historical resources that he added it to the list, Reish said.

“It’s very nice that a center that was established in 1985 in order to document the richness and the history of music-making in this region and nation at large, it’s very gratifying that it has grown now to be recognized as a site that’s an important part of that history in and of itself,” Reish added.

Ken Paulson, dean of the MTSU College of Media and Entertainment, said the center represents his college’s ongoing efforts to provide students with a comprehensive education that meets the challenge of providing “a glimpse of the future” while also providing the context of an art form that has transitioned from vinyl to digital and various phases in between.

“We’re always looking to the future, but what is so critical to our students also is to have a grounding in the past, and the state of Tennessee is so rich in musical past,” said Paulson, noting that he’d just discussed in one of his classes legendary Tennessee musical figures such as Sam Phillips, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. 

“There’s no state more steeped in the history of popular music, rock music and country music and the culture that makes the state special. We are grateful to be a part of the pathway.”

Phase I locations are designated as being important locations in telling Tennessee’s music story or promoting live music or both.

Barbara Wolke, senior vice president of the Convention and Visitors Bureau at the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, said that in addition to the Center for Popular Music (official location, research), other Rutherford County locations along the pathway include Miller’s Grocery in Christiana (official location, venue), the Uncle Dave Macon Days held at Cannonsburgh Village in Murfreesboro (festival) and the Uncle Dave Macon historical markers.

Wolke noted that the latest economic impact reports show that tourism pumps $350 million into the county annually and believes the pathway designations should help increase that number.

“We’re looking forward to working with Tennessee Music Pathways to bring more travelers … to Rutherford County,” Wolke said. “This initiative will enhance Tennessee.”

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development has worked with the state historian and a review board to identify more than 500 possible locations for markers, including birthplaces, resting places, hometowns, high schools and churches, locations of first-known recordings or performances of the musical pioneers and legends.

Melanie Beauchamp, director of outreach and engagement at the Department of Tourist Development, noted that the CPM is one of the few places “not only in the state, but across the country, with the resources to study, research and learn about music and its history than the Center for Popular Music.”

Signage and markers for Phase 1 will be installed through December 2018. For more information on the initiative, visit

For more information on MTSU’s Center for Popular Music and its projects and special events, visit

[188] Travel guru Rick Steves treks to MTSU Nov. 8 to discuss ‘Travel as a Political Act’ in free public event

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Renowned world traveler Rick Steveshas a new adventure on his horizon: speaking at MTSU this Thursday, Nov. 8, on the importance of leaving home to learn more about yourself and others.

MTSU’s Department of Global Studies and Human Geography is bringing Steves, whose focus on personalizing travel and stepping off typical tourist routes has taken him on a nearly 40-year journey as an author and public TV and radio host, to the university’s Student Union Ballroom, Room 250, at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8. 

The lecture, "Travel as a Political Act,"is free and open to the public, and a book-signing opportunity will follow Steves’ talk.A campus map is available at

A travel writer, TV host and humanitarian who founded his own travel company, Steves has hosted the weekly “Rick Steves’ Europe” public television series since 1991 and his “Travel with Rick Steves” public radio program since 2005. He’s been writing since 1980, authoring more than 50 travel guides and books, and he also writes a syndicated newspaper column. Through his travel books and programs, Steves encourages Americans to become what he calls "temporary locals."

In his new book, "Travel as a Political Act," Steves makes the case that travel abroad both increases our awareness of other cultures and our understanding of our own culture. He encourages Americans to “connect with people, and try to understand them” when they travel by “mak[ing] itinerary decisions that put you in touch with locals. Embrace cultural differences with joy rather than with judgment.”

As a result of connecting with fellow humans around the world, Steves says, Americans can better understand their role in the world and how American solutions to problems might work — or not work — in other places.

Sponsors of Steves' visit include MTSU's College of Liberal Arts; the MTSU Distinguished Lecture Fund; the Office of International Affairs; College of Liberal Arts Lecture Series; University Provost's Office; College of Graduate Studies; Department of Political Science and International Relations; Department of Sociology and Anthropology; Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; and Department of History.

You can learn more about Steves at his website, For more information on his MTSU visit, contact the Department of Global Studies and Human Geography at 615-494-7744 or

[187] Website ranks MTSU online master’s in finance program among Top 50 nationally releases top-ranked programs across nation

The top-ranked programs were selected based on curriculum, program flexibility, affordability and graduate outcomes. MTSU’s online master’s program within the Jennings A. Jones College of Business was ranked No. 34 and was the only Tennessee university on the list. The top program was Georgetown University.

The website’s report cited MTSU’s program as “Best for Financial Analysts.” In applauding the recognition, Jones College of Business Dean David Urban noted that the Department of Economic and Finance program started just three years ago. 

“This is the seventh national ranking that Jones College or one of its programs has earned in recent years,” Urban noted. “Our faculty and staff continue developing program tracks that put our students on a path toward a high quality degree in some of the most in-demand business careers.” analyzed graduate schools across the country with only 50 making it to the final 2019 list, according to a news release. In addition to interviews and surveys from current students and alumni, they also leveraged insight gained from human resource professionals. 

The methodology incorporates the most recent data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and statistical data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Most importantly, only programs from accredited nonprofit institutions were eligible, the release states.

“Our research shows there is a growing demand for finance graduates to support our robust economy,” stated Barbara Montgomery, program recognition manager. “The latest study from the Graduate Management Admission Council shows that a majority of Fortune Global 100, 500, and publicly traded companies have plans to hire graduates by the end of 2018, with demands strongest among companies in the finance/accounting, manufacturing, and energy/utilities industries.” 

The report noted that MTSU “has an online master's in finance program for students who want a career in financial analysis. The coursework includes subjects such as market analysis and derivative valuation, helping students learn what they need to become successful financial analysts after graduation.”

For more information about MTSU's Master of Science in Finance program, go to

[186] ‘MTSU On the Record’ blows the whistle on personal fouls in women’s hoops

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. –Some interesting statistics about officiating at college basketball games will be the topic of the next “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Andrew Dix, an assistant professor of communication studies, will air from 9:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, and from 6 to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and

Dix’s study, which was published in the Howard Journal of Communications, found that women basketball players at historically black colleges and universities were called for personal fouls more often than women basketball players at predominantly white institutions from 2008 through 2017.

Using NCAA statistics, Dix revealed that the five most penalized Division I women’s teams during that period were all HBCUs, even though such schools represent less than 7 percent of the field. They are, from number one to number five, Alabama State, Alcorn State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Tennessee State and Southern University.

Dix’s report takes note of the dominance of white males among NCAA President Mark Emmert’s executive advisors.

“In contrast, the least represented demographic on his executive team is that of African-American females,” Dix said. “There is some literature out there that would suggest that those who are in the positions of power influence the way the game is played in terms of the micro-level rules structure that’s being enforced by the referees.”

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

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

[185] MTSU students suggest stress relief practices to General Mills employees

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — MTSU students on their way to careers in “helping” professions have enhanced portfolios thanks to the employees of Murfreesboro’s two General Mills plants.
Undergraduate and graduate students taking classes in the Department of Health and Human Performance and the Department of Social Work handed out research-based stress management advice at job fairs late last month at the Pillsbury factory at 200 Butler Drive and the Yoplait facility at 2695 Stevenson Drive. 
“It showed them … how to apply their coursework of planning programs (to) interacting with people,” said Chandra Russell Story, an associate professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance. 
Undergraduates and graduate students manned the booths after graduate students from the Health Education Research Organization, a graduate student group advised by HHP professor Andrew Owusu, did the planning and coordination with faculty guidance. 
Story said the students provided the employees with evidence-based stress management tips and referral sheets for mental health services available in Rutherford County.
“We also got to have fun with them because some of the tips on stress reduction were things like singing or dancing or taking deep breaths or taking a moment to think,” said Story.
In addition, Story said the students learned the value of tailoring their messages to individuals’ particular concerns and interacting with people who work in shifts on a timetable that accommodated the employees. Story said she believed the experience energized her students and enabled them to “see themselves beyond graduation.”
For more information, contact Story at 615-898-2812 or chandra.story@mtsu.eduor Dr. Cathy McElderry, chair of the Department of Social Work, at 615-898-5673 or

[183] Hundreds of MTSU students, alums network, seek jobs at Fall Career Fair

Event drew over 150 employers, plus graduate, professional schools to Murphy Center

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — With December graduation quickly approaching, MTSU senior Malcolm Dorsey of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, came to Murphy Center this week with his job face on as he made the rounds of employers on hand for the university’s Fall Career Fair.

“I was looking for an opportunity that would take me to the next step after graduation,” said Dorsey, a history major with a concentration in Africana studies and a minor in sociology and who’s looking to get into the field of education. “I came in with a mindset of ‘I’m not leaving without them knowing who I am.’”

The Career Development Centerof Middle Tennessee State University hosted the annual fair Wednesday, drawing a sold-out roster of more than 150 employers from throughout the region — from financial services to nonprofits to healthcare and more — as well as several graduate and professional schools for those looking for advanced degrees and certifications.

A video recap is available at

Free and open to MTSU students and alumni, the fair drew an estimated 800-plus students over the three-hour event, which is the only campuswide career fair of the academic year, said Dusty Doddridge, interim Career Development Center director.

“We had a really good steady student turnout throughout the day,” he said.

While all students are strongly encouraged to dress professionally, bring resumes and have their “elevator pitch” ready, Doddridge acknowledges that some more casually dressed students, particularly freshmen and sophomores, may stop by between classes “for the learning experience” of seeing what types of employers are on hand and how graduating seniors dress and carry themselves.

Dorsey admitted that he was somewhat reluctant to attend the fair because past career fairs he’s attended featured employers who “weren’t necessarily in my field,” but after exiting Murphy Center Wednesday he felt good about the contacts he had made.

Open to relocating to pursue his dreams, Dorsey said his ideal job would involve working with either youth or children, but he’s also looking for job security, a workplace where he can grow and a position that when he wakes up in the morning “it doesn’t feel like a job.” 

Samuel Liggett, a corporate recruiter with Nashville-based IT staffing firm Collabera, was pleased with his interactions as he sought candidates for entry-level sales positions with the company.

“I love getting this face-to-face interaction, with seniors especially, because we’re based over in Nashville and love recruiting local talent,” he said. “I’ve met some great candidates and hopefully we can set interviews in the future.”

Eric Dodson, a junior criminal justice major minoring in information systems, was heading to speak with FBI representatives about any potential entry-level positions. The Memphis, Tennessee, native attended last year’s fair as well and appreciated the opportunity the event provides students to be exposed to so many different employers in one place.

“It’s great to get out here and get to know names, get to know people and put a name with a face,” he said. 

The MTSU Career Development Center is a centralized comprehensive center that serves all students in each of MTSU’s nine colleges and also provides alumni services. For more information, go to