Exhibit on emancipation, Reconstruction expands, heads to Clarksville

The MTSU-based Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area has expanded its traveling exhibition on emancipation and Reconstruction, which will be on display in Clarksville, Tennessee, from Jan. 6 to Feb. 26.

“Free at Last!” will be on view at the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center, located at 200 S. Second St. in Clarksville, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sundays. Public admission ranges from $7 for adults to $3 for children ages six to 18.

New portions of an MTSU-based exhibit on emancipation and Reconstruction in Tennessee feature information on East and Middle Tennessee. The Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area is bringing the exhibit to Clarksville's Customs House Museum and Cultural Center Jan. 6- Feb. 26. (photo courtesy of the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area)

New portions of an MTSU-based exhibit on emancipation and Reconstruction in Tennessee feature information on East and Middle Tennessee. The Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area is bringing the exhibit to Clarksville’s Customs House Museum and Cultural Center Jan. 6- Feb. 26. (photo courtesy of the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area)

“Free at Last!” tells the momentous story of the transition from slavery to freedom and the development of citizenship among formerly enslaved African-Americans. In this final year of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the exhibit now has panels focused on each of Tennessee’s three grand divisions.

“Our goal was to provide sites with a concise, well-illustrated introduction to the significance of emancipation and the agency of slaves in bringing about their freedom,” said Antoinette van Zelm, programs manager at the Center for Historic Preservation at MTSU, which administers the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area.

The exhibit debuted in February 2007 with two displays providing an overview of emancipation and Reconstruction in Tennessee.

At the beginning of the Civil War Sesquicentennial in 2011, the Heritage Area added two panels on West Tennessee that emphasized the connection between the Union army’s advance along the Mississippi River, the escape of thousands of slaves to Union lines, and the systematic establishment of contraband camps under Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.

The West Tennessee panels were based on the master’s thesis research of Center for Historic Preservation graduate research assistant Cheri LaFlamme Szcodronski.

New panels on East Tennessee look at that region’s legacy of emancipation before the Civil War and consider how emancipation has been remembered in the region since the war. The Middle Tennessee panels highlight the development of Unionism among enslaved Tennesseans and underscore the significance of education and citizenship during Reconstruction.

Tenn Civil War Natl Heritage Area logo webMore than 40 venues across Tennessee have hosted “Free at Last!” so far. Organizers said the expanded display, now consisting of eight panels, will give sites the opportunity to share even more of the story with visitors.

Later in 2015, the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area will publish a driving tour of Reconstruction sites across the state.

“When completed, the driving tour will go hand in hand with the expanded exhibition to provide Tennessee residents and visitors with in-depth knowledge about this significant and often misunderstood period in Tennessee’s history,” said Leigh Ann Gardner, interpretive specialist for the Heritage Area.

The Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area receives funding from the National Park Service and is administered by the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University. For more information about the exhibition, please contact van Zelm at 615-494-8869.

Don’t miss new fall programs on ERC@MT, MTSU’s Channel 9

Check the schedule and mark your calendar now for the best in educational programming this fall on The Education Resource Channel @ Middle Tennessee, also known as ERC@MT!

Click on the Sept. 7-13 mini-schedule above for a printable version.

Bookmark this page, www.mtsunews.com/erc-mt, and you’ll stay on top of all the MTSU education access channel’s new offerings, including programming for the week of Sept. 7-13, shown at right.

The ERC@MT channel serves Rutherford and Cannon counties and portions of DeKalb, Smith and Wilson counties.

 It airs on Comcast Channel 9 in Rutherford County and DTC Communications’ Channel 195 in Cannon and DeKalb counties and some areas in Rutherford, Smith and Wilson counties. It also airs on AT&T U-verse Channel 99 across Middle Tennessee.

The Educational Resource Channel @ Middle Tennessee broadcasts educational programming suitable for all ages 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including:

  • nationally recognized documentaries and short films;
  • instructional K-12 series on varied topics;
  • the renowned “Classic Arts Showcase” and NASA Television;
  • MTSU’s monthly video magazine, “Out of the Blue”; and
  • special “MTSU Presents:” shows on unique university events and topics.

New programs for the week of Sept. 7-13 and links for information include:

ERC@MT continues to expand its programming and has also rearranged its schedule appearance to better accommodate viewer needs by beginning each broadcast day at 6 a.m.

For more information about The Education Resource Channel @ Middle Tennessee, email Gail Fedak at gail.fedak@mtsu.edu.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

MTSU students plan for new WWII study-abroad adventure to Italy

MTSU students interested in World War II are making plans now for staging their own Italian campaign next year as part of a new study-abroad course.

Dr. Derek Frisby, an associate professor of global studies and cultural geography in MTSU’s Department of History, will lead a group of up to 30 individuals on a 15-day trek through Sicily and Italy in July 2015.

Dr. Derek Frisby

Dr. Derek Frisby

Frisby said “the soft underbelly of Europe,” as British Prime Minister Winston Churchill described Italy, is an often underappreciated theater of operations in the war.

The itinerary will take the group to the beaches where British, Canadian and American forces invaded Sicily in July 1943 and trace the route Gen. George S. Patton’s forces took to Palermo.

“Italy controlled the Mediterranean, and that was crucial to European supply routes and logistical efforts,” said Frisby. “The Italian campaign was part of an effort to relieve pressure on the Russian front.”

The students then will visit the active volcano Mt. Etna and the dormant volcano Mt. Vesuvius. They’ll also tour the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii, which was destroyed when Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D.

Italy and Sicily WW2 map webThe critical World War II battle sites of Anzio and Salerno are on the group’s agenda, along with tours of the Vatican, the Coliseum, the Forum and some wine tasting and craft sampling in the cities of Naples and Florence.

“This trip is really about warfare and culture and the memory of warfare,” said Frisby, who noted that he welcomes the opportunity to include some ancient and cultural history, too.

Dr. Louis Haas, Frisby’s history-department colleague who specializes in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, will be part of the group to provide his expertise in these areas. Haas has conducted extensive historical research in Florence.

Frisby said the cost will run at least 20 percent less than an average commercial tour’s price. Group airfare will cost $1,885 per student, he said, and each student’s total trip cost should be $4,200 to $4,500.

The true benefit of the trip is its origin as a faculty-created, faculty-led course. Frisby said this plan enables the professor to improvise and alter the schedule if students find something else of interest along the way.

“It allows faculty members to customize the experience for the students,” Frisby said. “The professors get to know the students before they leave. They get to talk to the students and discuss what their research interests are.”

Frisby, who has led World War II-focused study-abroad excursions to Pacific islands and western Europe, will require a deposit of $500 from each student in the next 30 days to reserve a place on the trip.

To learn more about the class, contact Frisby at 615-494-8620 or derek.frisby@mtsu.edu.

Financial aid for students is available through the Office of Education Abroad. For more information about financial aid, call 615-898-5179 or email educationabroad@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

New course provides food for thought on ‘MTSU On the Record’ (+VIDEO)

A new MTSU course that takes a wide-ranging look at the production and processing of food was the topic of a recent edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Dr. Tony Johnston

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Tony Johnston first aired Aug. 18 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their conversation here.

Johnston, a professor of food science and agribusiness in MTSU’s School of Agribusiness and Agriscience, will explain “World Food and Society,” a new University Honors College course he created and will begin teaching this fall.

Students will explore economic, political, social and cultural issues related to food and hunger in the world, including malnutrition, food production, biotechnology, ecological destruction and food aid.

“We, as a society, really don’t have any idea of where our food comes from, how much it really costs to produce it, how much area it takes to produce food to make it so inexpensive in the United States versus the cost of production in any other country,” Johnston said.

To listen to previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com/ontherecord/.

For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

A video clip of the interview may be seen below.


Gently used household goods needed for Aug. 23 ‘Great Giveaway’

When international students come to MTSU for the fall 2014 semester, they’ll be able to get what they need to make their homes more comfortable.

Raiders for Christ is accepting donations of gently used household items for its annual “Great Giveaway” from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 23, at the group’s headquarters, 1105 E. Bell Road in Murfreesboro.

Raiders for Christ logo web“Anything that would help an international student set up an apartment or a dorm room is welcome,” said Sarah Johnson, director of women’s outreach.

The most sought-after items include china, silverware, mattresses, sheets, comforters, sofas, chairs, toaster ovens, shower curtain liners and umbrellas.

“Bicycles go over really well, because most of the time they don’t have any way to get around,” Johnson said.

About 20 volunteers, including five truck drivers, will be on hand to help load and transport items to students’ residences. Each international student may take one large item and as many small items as he or she wants.

Johnson said Raiders for Christ, an MTSU student organization that describes itself as “a community of disciples on a journey with Jesus,” has conducted the “Great Giveaway” for some 15 years.

“We’ll have about 100 students come in during the day,” she said.

To donate items or for more information, contact Raiders for Christ at 615-896-1529 or send an email to Johnson at sarahfjohnson@yahoo.com.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

MTSU hosting Aug. 16 reading conference for area educators

MTSU is hosting an annual conference Saturday, Aug. 16, to help area educators improve the reading skills of their students.

Click flier to view readable version.

Click flier to view readable version.

Sponsored by the Tennessee Center for the Study and Treatment of Dyslexia, the second annual Reading Conference will run from 8:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at the MTSU Business and Aerospace Building inside the State Farm Lecture Hall (S102). Registration and breakfast runs 7:30 to 8:15 a.m.

The keynote address entitled “Beyond What Works: When Research Meets Reality” will be given by Dr. Deborah Simmons, an MTSU alumna and nationally known reading expert and researcher. She is currently a professor in the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University where she conducts research in reading acquisition and development for preschool through secondary grades.

Simmons received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from MTSU and her doctorate from Purdue University. She was an educator in Rutherford County for eight years and also served on the faculties of Bowling Green University, Vanderbilt University and the University of Oregon.

The daylong conference also includes breakout sessions for elementary school, middle school and high school educators on the topics of content area reading, writing and vocabulary.

Register online and find speaker and session details at http://www.mtsu.edu/dyslexia. The $50 registration fee includes continental breakfast and lunch.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

MTSU Pigskin Pre-Game moves to new Rockvale site for Aug. 9 event

The annual MTSU Pigskin Pre-Game preseason social event will offer another new venue and will be held earlier this year.

Pigskin Pre-Game 2014 graphic webThe event, sponsored by the Office of Alumni Relations and the MT Alumni Association, will start at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9, at Annalee Acres, 11000 state Route 99, in Rockvale, Tennessee.

For directions, visit www.annaleeacres.com and click on the “Contact” link or call 615-274-3376.

The Pigskin Pre-Game serves as the kickoff for the MTSU Blue Raiders football season each year and a fundraiser for the Alumni Legacy Scholarship.

“All proceeds of this event benefit the Alumni Legacy Scholarship, which is awarded to children or grandchildren of MTSU alumni,” said Paul Wydra, Alumni Relations assistant director.

“We love this event every year because it is a great chance for everyone to get together for a good cause and get ready for some Blue Raider football.”

Wydra added that the alumni association has been “very fortunate with the support Pigskin Pre-Game has garnered through the years and looks forward to having another successful event.”

Ticket prices are $30 for adults. Children 12 and under will be admitted free.

Attendees must pay in advance and RSVP by Wednesday, Aug. 7, to secure their tickets. Admission will include food, beverages, entertainment by the Nashville-based O’Donnells, door prizes and more.

For more information about the event and sponsorship opportunities, or to reserve tickets, call 800-533-6878 or 615-898-2922, or visit www.mtalumni.com.

Payments can be mailed to the Office of Alumni Relations, MTSU Box 104, Murfreesboro, TN, 37132.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

MTSU Pigskin Pre-Game attendees enjoy food and fellowship in this file photo from the 2013 celebration. The 2014 event will be held Aug. 9 at Annalee Acres in Rockvale, Tennessee. (MTSU file photo)

MTSU Pigskin Pre-Game attendees enjoy food and fellowship at the 2013 celebration. The 2014 event will be held Aug. 9 at Annalee Acres in Rockvale, Tennessee. (MTSU file photo)

Alumna, now a Buddhist nun, outlines her life on ‘MTSU On the Record’

MTSU alumna Dolma Johanison, whose personal path has led her from toting a gun to becoming a nun, was the guest on a recent edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Dolma Johanison

Dolma Johanison

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Johanison originally aired July 28 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their conversation here.

Johanison graduated from MTSU in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Her career includes a stint with the Army National Guard, a job as a criminal analyst at the Pentagon and her current profession as an acupuncturist in Poolesville, Maryland.

She considers her conversion to Buddhism, however, to be the defining moment of her life. In 2008, she took more than 200 vows at Poolesville’s Kunyang Padyul Choling temple to become a nun, dedicating her life to alleviating suffering wherever she finds it.

“We all possess what is referred to as ‘the Buddha seed,’” Johanison said. “And ‘the Buddha seed,’ upon watering and nourishment, will grow and flourish internally, reaching our spiritual attainment, ascending to a higher level of being.”

To listen to previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to the searchable “Audio Clips” archives here and here.

For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

‘Passport to Happiness’ exhibit unlocks Scandinavia’s rosy outlook (VIDEO)

MTSU students learned firsthand why the people of Scandinavia’s cozy countries continually top the United Nations’ “World Happiness Report,” and their own report is “Passport to Happiness,” a new art exhibit open through Aug. 15 in MTSU’s Todd Art Gallery. Check out this short video about the exhibit:


Read more about the exhibit here.

Chinese professors absorb language, culture in MTSU program

Chinese professors are immersing themselves in American culture at MTSU in order to teach the English language more proficiently.

For the fourth year, the university’s Center for East and South Asian Studies is sponsoring the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages program, also known as TESOL.

A total of 17 English instructors from three institutions have taken in everything from seminars on grammar and teaching methodology to American culture.

Participants in the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages program pose with MTSU personnel in front of Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House and Restaurant in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Dr. David Schmidt, vice provost for international affairs, is standing third from left, next to the door, on the back row, while Yuiping Cui, associate director of MTSU’s Confucius Institute, kneels at far right in the front row. Mike Novak, Confucius Institute assistant director, stands at far right. (Photo submitted)

“Most of them have been teaching for many years in China,” said Dr. Guanping Zheng, director of the MTSU Center for East and South Asian Studies, “so this gives them an opportunity to see how we approach teaching foreign languages.”

The visitors’ itinerary has included participation in the Summer Language Institute, where Dr. Shelley Thomas of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures teaches the Total Physical Response, or TPR, method.

TPR engages the learner in the process through storytelling and physical movement, enabling the rapid acquisition of vocabulary.

Zheng said that large class sizes prevent the Total Physical Response method from being copied for use in Chinese institutions, but the ideology still can be applied.

While visiting MTSU, the Chinese group also has ventured to several nearby locations for a taste of Southern hospitality, including the Stones River National Battlefield northwest of Murfreesboro, the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee, and a local church.

“I think it is a very good cooperation between China’s universities and MTSU,” said Lynn Zhang of Inner Mongolia University of Nationalities, one of the visitors. “I appreciate this program, and we learned a lot from our respective professors.”

One group of instructors will leave Aug. 1, but the rest will remain on campus until Oct. 1.

For more information about the program, contact Zheng at 615-494-8696 or guanping.zheng@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)