Friday, January 11, 2019

[270] Global studies professor combines photography, geography on ‘MTSU On the Record’

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. —A professor who combines her love of travel and her love of photography will be the guest on the next “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Christabel Devadoss, a lecturer in the Department of Global Studies and Human Geography, will air from 9:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15, and from 6 to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and

Devadoss teaches Geography of Asia/Pacific Rim, Introduction to Regional Geography and Cultural Geography. She earned her bachelor’s degree in visual journalism from Kent State University in 2009, her master’s degree in geography from Kent State in 2014 and her doctorate in geography from West Virginia University in 2018.

A member of the Professional Photographers of America, Devadoss has displayed her photos and prints of national and international landscapes at galleries throughout northeast Ohio and on her website at

Devadoss, whose grandfathers were photographers, said she uses photos she has taken in India, Spain and all over the world in her classes to spark interest and conversation.

“Textbook photographs are good sometimes, but I like to bring in a little bit more exciting images that I think students can relate to or find more interesting,” Devadoss said.

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. 

[269] MTSU’s Baum sworn in to General Assembly’s House District 37 seat

MURFREESBORO — A Middle Tennessee State University business professor was among legislators sworn in this week for the 111th Tennessee General Assembly.

Charles Baum, an economics and finance professor in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business, was sworn in Tuesday as a Republican state representative for Murfreesboro's 37th District in the state House of Representatives. 

“I am honored to have been elected to represent District 37 in the Tennessee State House,” Baum said. “I am excited to serve, as we work to find innovative ways to provide education and improve health care while budgeting responsibly.  

“Thank you to the district residents for your support. I really appreciate it."

Baum takes the seat previously held by Dawn White, an MTSU alumna who gave up the seat for a successful run for state Senate. Baum’s district covers parts of north central Rutherford County, stretching from Murfreesboro north to the county line.

Baum previously served from 2010-2018 on the Rutherford County Commission, where he chaired the commission’s Audit Committee and served on the commission’s Budget, Finance, and Investment Committee.

Baum and wife Kelly have three children, Elizabeth, Anna Jane, and Charles, who attend the Siegel schools in Murfreesboro, and they are active members of First United Methodist Church in Murfreesboro.

Other MTSU alumni and supporters in the Rutherford County legislative delegation were also in the spotlight with Tuesday’s opening of the Tennessee General Assembly, including White and fellow state Sen. Shane Reeves; state Rep. Tim Rudd; state Rep. Mike Sparks; and Rep. Bryan Terry.

[268] MTSU study estimates alumni generated $8B in business revenue in Tenn.

Many of those alumni start families, build careers and businesses, buy homes, goods and services, all while expanding the tax base. MTSU’s Business and Economic Research Center, also known as BERC, recently released a study that sought to better quantify the economic impact Blue Raider alums have across the state.

Key findings from BERC’s study include: MTSU alumni and their employees generated over $8 billion in business revenue within Tennessee in 2017; and over $3 billion in total business revenue was generated within Tennessee that year by the added value of MTSU degrees earned.

The full study can be viewed at

Murat Arik, director of BERC and study author, said the value of an MTSU degree is sizable, particularly for the many first-generation college students who come to the university "to unlock their futures," he said. 

With more than 300 combined undergraduate and graduate programs, MTSU offers degrees across the arts and sciences, from theatre to teaching, mechatronics to music, aerospace to audio engineering, language to logistics, and much more.

“More and more of these businesses are requiring advanced skill sets," said Arik, noting that MTSU’s presence in the Midstate factored into Amazon’s recent decision to locate an operations center in Nashville. “More businesses out there are looking for employees with a college-level education."

Not surprisingly, MTSU alums have an outsized presence in the university’s home county of Rutherford, but also in adjacent counties such as Bedford and Cannon where “for every two degree-holders you meet on the street, one will be an MTSU alumnus,” Arik said.

MTSU continues to be the No. 1 choice for Tennessee transfer students, as well as the top provider of graduates to the Greater Nashville economy and the top choice of Tennessee adults (ages 25 and up) seeking a four-year degree. 

Alumnus Darrell Freeman Sr. isn’t shy about being a proud Middle Tennessee State University alum and challenged the 1,700-plus new alumni to make their own impact during welcoming remarks inside Hale Arena at the recent fall commencement at Murphy Center.

“Today, we celebrate your many accomplishments,” Freeman said. “Tomorrow you will change the world. Do it with integrity, with truth and do it with honor.”

A first-generation college student himself, Freeman earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from MTSU before founding Zycron Inc., a multimillion-dollar information technology services and solutions firm based in Nashville that he sold in 2017 for more than $20 million.

Freeman, now executive chairman at Zycron, also currently serves as vice chairman of the MTSU Board of Trustees. He’s an example of the many successful MTSU alumni — such as fellow trustees J.B. Baker, CEO and owner of Spring Logistics, and Andy Adams, former Chairman and CEO of National Healthcare Corp., to name a few — who remain in the Midstate to launch successful professional careers. 

“I came to MTSU in 1983, the first person in my family to go to college,” Freeman said. “… Without MTSU I don’t know where I would be. I’ve got some guesses. But there is a student on this campus waiting for us to change their lives.”

For more information about the BERC economic impact study, contact Arik 615-898-5424 or email


Alumni by state 
■ A total of 99,530 MTSU alumni live and work in Tennessee. 

■ Georgia (3,679), Florida (3,009), Texas (2,191), and Alabama (2,175) have the largest MTSU alumni populations after Tennessee. 

Tennessee alumni

■ MTSU alumni accounted for 71 percent of human capital growth in Rutherford County, 16 percent in the Nashville MSA, and 13 percent in Tennessee for 2016. 

■ Cannon, Bedford, Rutherford, Coffee, and Moore counties have the highest percentage of alumni among degree-holders at 62 percent, 51 percent, 46 percent, 41.5 percent, and 39.5 percent, respectively. 

MTSU alumni 

■ Rutherford (26,610), Davidson (17,078), Williamson (8,986), Wilson (5,596), and Sumner (4,363) counties have the highest number of alumni. 

Core impact 

■ Over $3 billion in total business revenue was generated within Tennessee by the added value of MTSU degrees earned. 
■ The Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville MSAs had additional total business revenue of $2.3 billion, $168.7 million, and $116.5 million, respectively. 
■ Among counties, Davidson benefited the most with $613.7 million in total additional business revenue. 

Economic contributions 

■ Over $8.3 billion in business revenue resulted from activities of MTSU alumni within Tennessee. 
■ The Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville MSAs had total business revenue of $6.3 billion, $276 million, and $263 million, respectively. 
■ Rutherford County had the highest total business revenue among counties at $2.1 billion. 

Extended economic contributions

■ MTSU alumni and their employees generated over $9 billion in business revenue within Tennessee. 
■ The Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville MSAs had total business revenue of $6.8 billion, $296 million, and $282 million, respectively. 
■ Davidson County had the highest total business revenue, over $1.7 billion. 

[267] MTSU’s John Hood to be honored by Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Former state Rep. John Hood, MTSU’s director of government and community affairs, was named Thursday by the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce as recipient of its 2018 Doug Young Lifetime Achievement Award for his service to the university and community.
Hood, whose career spans six decades with posts in radio, banking, human resources, higher education and government service at the city, county and state levels, will be honored at the chamber’s annual Business at its Best event on Jan. 31 at the Embassy Suites Murfreesboro Hotel & Conference Center.
The chamber also will recognize Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital President and CEO Gordon Ferguson as 2018 Business Legend of the Year; real estate executive John Harney as the 2018 Business Person of the Year; and Smyrna Police Chief and MTSU alumnus Kevin Arnold as recipient of the Leadership Rutherford 2018 Pinnacle Award.
“A Rutherford County native, Hood’s blood runs True Blue,” the chamber noted in its press release.
Prior to Hood’s current position at MTSU, he represented the 48th District in the Tennessee General Assembly’s House of Representatives from 1996 to 2008. Preceding his political service, he spent 20 years as vice president of marketing for SunTrust Bank; 10 years at MTSU as the first director of development, followed by assistant to the president; six years as personnel manager for Samsonite Corporation; and 10 years in radio with WGNS-AM and WMTS-FM.
Hood was a member of the Rutherford County Quarterly Court, now the County Commission, from 1968 to 1978 and the Murfreesboro City School Board from 1967 to 1983.
In 1954, Hood received a bachelor’s degree from MTSU followed by his master’s degree in education in 1974. He is a military veteran, having served in the U.S. Army from 1954 to 1956.
Hood’s history of community service is one that spans decades. Affiliations include the Exchange Club of Murfreesboro, United Way of Rutherford & Cannon counties, Read to Succeed and the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, where he has served as a diplomat for the past 18 years.
Previous leadership roles include national president of the Exchange Clubs of America; chairman of the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce; president of the Tennessee School Boards Association; chairman of the Tennessee Advisory Board for the AAA Auto Club Group; president of the MTSU National Alumni Association; and treasurer of the Rutherford County Emergency Communications District.
He was the 2012 recipient of the Murfreesboro City Schools Foundation’s Excellence in Education Award. In 2014, the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce named Hood Business Legend of the Year.
Hood was inducted in to the Tennessee Journalism Hall of fame in 2016, and in 2017 he was honored with the American Red Cross “Hero” Award.
John and his late wife, Marilyn, have three children, Garry W. Hood, Rebecca Hagan and Mark R. Hood; and four grandchildren, Christin H. Waters, twins Grady and Cooper Hood and John Robin Hood.
Reservations for the 11:30 a.m. Jan. 31 event are $50 for Chamber members and $65 for non-members. To reserve a seat, contact the Chamber at 615-893-6565 or visit

[266] ‘MTSU On the Record’ focuses on department’s growing relationship with TBI State Academy

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — MTSU’s relationships with law enforcement officersfrom across the state will be the focus of the next “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Ben Stickle, an assistant professor of criminal justice administration at MTSU, will air from 9:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8, and from 6 to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 13, on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5and

MTSU’s Department of Criminal Justice Administrationpresented the new Nov. 1 graduates of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation State Academywith digital cameras for taking photos of crime scenes.

“We are hoping to forge a partnership not only with TBI, but with each of these agencies,” Stickle said. “These were officers from across the state, from an investigative background, and they were coming to a central location to receive some advanced training.”

The TBI established the State Academy to give Tennessee law enforcement officers an opportunity to continue and enhance their professional development. Attendees must have a minimum of five years’ experience as a full-time commissioned officer of a Tennessee law enforcement agency to attend the six-week course. 

Those who complete the academy curriculum and enroll at MTSU also can earn nine undergraduate college credits in criminal justice administration for three senior-level courses: Criminal Investigation, Crime Scene Investigation and Special Issues in Criminal Justice.

The university offers a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration with concentrations in law enforcement and homeland security and a master’s degree in criminal justice. 

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. 

[265] MTSU BioTAP Scholar Reid’s research examines roles of biology grad students’ social networks

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. —MTSU graduate student Joshua Reidfinds himself in select company this academic year.

Reid, 26, of Murfreesboro, is one of 18 people from across the U.S. to be named a BioTAP Scholarfor 2018-19 by collecting and analyzing data as a group for one year.

The Biology Teaching Assistant Project, or BioTAP, is a research coordination network funded by the National Science Foundation to empower universities to use research to improve the quality of graduate student teaching.

Reid is pursuing a mathematics and science education doctorate degree at MTSU, specializing in biology education. The Cullman, Alabama, native earned his master’s degree from Alabama A&M in Huntsville following his bachelor’s and associate degrees from Athens State University and Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, Alabama, respectively.

Following a selective application process, he and the others, which included only about four grad students and the rest faculty members, began to enact research projects that identify biology graduate teaching assistant teaching professional development.

Reid said biology graduate students enter graduate school under two developing roles: researcher and teacher. 

“I am looking at the social networks of biology graduate students to see how they may reinforce these roles, produce conflicts between these roles or promote positive relationships between these roles,” he said.

To date, the BioTAP project is on track, timing-wise, Reid added. 

“The project is one smaller study of my dissertation, which includes three studies,” he said. “I am planning to defend my dissertation proposal in January and begin collecting this data in the spring.” 

The group met online early on, then groups working on similar projects get together every two to three months.

“We have made collaborations that will last forever,” Reid said.

Bud Fischer, dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, told Reid he had done “a great job” in completing the process and being selected a BioTAP Scholar. 

“We are thrilled that Josh is representing math and science education and MTSU as he continues to develop his expertise as a biology education scholar,” Fischer added.

Reid told Fischer he is “truly grateful to have a supportive college, faculty and mentors to support me in my endeavors.”

Provost Mark Byrnessaid this is great for Reid and the university.

“Joshua’s been tremendous in his role as a graduate teaching assistant and this certainly is outstanding recognition,” Byrnes said. “We look forward to seeing his progress and results next year.”

Reid, who is being mentored by biology assistant professor Grant Gardner, said his time at MTSU has “been pleasant” since arriving in fall 2016. “I have been provided a lot of opportunities to grow and develop as a scholar,” he added.

MTSUhas more than 300 combined undergraduate and graduate programs. Biology, in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, one of the programs.

[264] MTSU commissions four as U.S. Army second lieutenants

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. —Four recent MTSUgraduates were commissioned as U.S. Army second lieutenants Friday (Dec. 21) during a formal ceremony in the Tom H. Jackson Building’s Cantrell Hall.

U.S. Army Col. John A. Gobel, commander of the Tennessee Army National Guard’s 230thSustainment Brigade, provided remarks, welcoming the new commissionees into the next phase of their military careers.

The ceremony is a tradition for the ROTC program, which has seen the student cadets prepare for service to their country.

Those commissioned as second lieutenants included:

• Joseph C. Decker, a business administration major from Lebanon, Tennessee.
• Ricardo Gonzalez, an integrated studies major from Philadelphia, Tennessee.
• Cody B. Magee, an aerospace flight dispatch major from Clarksville, Tennessee.
• Elizabeth N. Rhone, a psychology and political science double major from Knoxville, Tennessee.

Gobel shared with them similar words he told his son, John, who joined him at the MTSU commissioning and who is in the University of Alabama’s ROTC program and will be commissioned next spring. 

“The real first thing I told him was to learn the eight steps to the troop-leading procedures … you will use those eight steps time and time again throughout your career,” Gobel said.

“Next, I told him to be engaged, to show that you want to be there, to be part of the organization, that you want to contribute,” he added. 

“It will be the same at your first unit, ”Gobel said. “When they first meet the new lieutenant, they will be professional and welcoming, but it is not until you show them that you are listening to advice, learning the organization, asking good questions and being an active part of the unit, that you are engaged, that you want to be there that they will accept you as their leader. And once they know you are engaged, they will do everything they can to help you succeed.”

The Gobel-led 230thSustainment Brigade, which is about 1,800 members strong, is headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with battalions in Johnson City, Humboldt and Smyrna, Tennessee. He was appointed in August.

Gobel has served in various staff and leadership assignments with the Army National Guard and Army Reserves. He enlisted in the Army National Guard in September 1989, serving as an infantry rifleman. After completing the ROTC program at the University of Maine, he was commissioned as an infantry officer in May 1991.

Lt. Col. Carrick McCarthyoversaw his first commissioning ceremony as the leader of the Department of Military Science.

“I can attest … these cadets have met every challenge and have overcome every obstacle necessary to become successful officers,” McCarthy said. “They have demonstrated professional competency, character above reproach and a commitment to serve their country and their future soldiers as leaders.”

“For alumni and other veterans in the room, I can assure you that you can be proud of these young officers who will soon take the oath of officership and join the ranks of those of us who have worn the uniform in service to our nation,” McCarthy added. 

MTSUhas more than 300 combined undergraduate and graduate programs. Military science is one of 11 College of Basic and Applied Sciencesdepartments.

[263] MTSU physical education courses get good grades for veteran friendliness

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. —A data analysis website ranks MTSU among the top colleges in the nation for veterans studying physical education.

College Factual’s 2019 national and state rankings place MTSU’s physical education programs 61stin the country and third in the state of Tennessee for veteran friendliness. This puts MTSU in the top 15 percent of all colleges studied in both categories. The Troy, New York-based company studied a total of 456 schools nationwide, 15 of which are in Tennessee.

Courses on MTSU’s physical education degree track range from backpacking and hiking to applied kinesiology and biomechanics. Possible careers include strength trainer, veterans hospital recreation director, dance therapist, emergency services personnel instructor, stress management consultant and many more. 

MTSU also boasts the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center, which helps student-veterans with the transition from the military to civilian life and with educational and job-seeking resources.

College Factual touts itself as “the leading source of data analytics and insights on college outcomes,” according to The website provides information on more than 2,500 colleges and universities and more than 350 college majors.

For more information, contact Doug Winborn, chair of the MTSU Department of Health and Human Performance, at 615-898-5110 or Specific information on physical education degrees is available at