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MT Engage celebrates student participation with inaugural reception

MT Engage, MTSU’s most recent Quality Enhancement Plan, or QEP, is igniting interest in students across academic disciplines wanting to further their education beyond the classroom.

The program honored students who completed at least one 2016-17 MT Engage course with the first MT Engage Student Reception, held Thursday, April 20, in the Tom H. Jackson Building. Students received refreshments, complimentary professional photos for the early arrivers and tokens of appreciation, including water bottles and T-shirts.

Students taking MT Engage courses were treated to T-shirts, refreshments and complimentary professional headshots at the inaugural MT Engage Student Reception held Thursday, April 20, in the Tom H. Jackson Building. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

An MTSU student displays one of the T-shirts that MT Engage program participants received at the inaugural MT Engage Student Reception held Thursday, April 20, in the Tom H. Jackson Building. Student participants also received water bottles, refreshments and complimentary professional photos. (MTSU photos by Jimmy Hart)

The event also allowed the 80-plus students who attended to ask questions about what to expect if they continue with MT Engage, which has a motto of “engage academically, learn exponentially, showcase yourself.”

MT Engage logo-webUniversity Studies professor Scott McDaniel, assessment coordinator for MT Engage, noted that students who enroll in MT Engage-based classes receive hands-on experience that allows them to apply the knowledge they already have.

“My colleague who teaches statistics had her students go to ‘Scholars Week’ and report on some of the posters and statistics that were used there, and they had to reflect on it,” McDaniel said.

Program officials expect students in these courses to learn and/or develop skills in self-assessment and reflection and connect their new knowledge to their experience.

“Other things we want professors to try to instill in students (are) making connections between disciplines, from statistics to biology or from history to English and even history to statistics,” he said.

McDaniel shared one exciting aspect of MT Engage called the e-Portfolio, an electronic record created by students throughout their academic journey to serve as an important tool in marketing themselves toward a career or graduate degree.

University Studies professor Scott McDaniel, right, assessment coordinator for MT Engage, checks in a student at the inaugural MT Engage Student Reception held Thursday, April 20, in the Tom H. Jackson Building. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

University Studies professor Scott McDaniel, right, assessment coordinator for MT Engage, checks in a student at the inaugural MT Engage Student Reception held Thursday, April 20, in the Tom H. Jackson Building.

“It’s hard to assess someone’s knowledge from just one snapshot,” he said. “Now we enter the e-Portfolio.”

As McDaniel explained, the e-Portfolio digitally adds completed works through a student’s time at MTSU, allowing them to create presentations for different audiences or future employers.

“Say they want to apply for a job and send not only their resume but also their e-Portfolio — it’s like the next best thing to meeting me.”

Current and future students will be able to learn more about the benefits of the latest QEP and the future of MT Engage during MT Engage Week, which will be held in September, and during through CUSTOMS new student orientations.

The QEP is a requirement by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, or SACSCOC, the regional accreditation body for higher education institutions in the South.

Also joining McDaniel at the reception were MT Engage Director Mary Hoffschwelle, who also is an MTSU history professor, and assistant director Lexy Denton.

Hoffschwelle said the student reception will become an annual event.

For more information about MT Engage, visit http://mtsu.edu/mtengage, email mtengage@mtsu.edu or call 615-904-8281.

— Jayla Jackson (news@mtsu.edu)

Students enjoy refreshments at the inaugural MT Engage Student Reception held Thursday, April 20, in the Tom H. Jackson Building. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Students enjoy refreshments at the inaugural MT Engage Student Reception April 20 in the Tom H. Jackson Building.

MTSU Creative and Visual Services photographer Andy Heidt photographs an MT Engage student during the inaugural MT Engage Student Reception held Thursday, April 20, in the Tom H. Jackson Building. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

MTSU Creative and Visual Services photographer Andy Heidt photographs an MT Engage student during the inaugural MT Engage Student Reception April 20 in the Tom H. Jackson Building.

Students enjoy refreshments at the inaugural MT Engage Student Reception held Thursday, April 20, in the Tom H. Jackson Building. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Students enjoy refreshments at the inaugural MT Engage Student Reception held Thursday, April 20, in the Tom H. Jackson Building.

Students were eligible for door prizes at the inaugural MT Engage Student Reception held Thursday, April 20, in the Tom H. Jackson Building. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

This photo shows some of the door prizes students were eligible to receive at the inaugural MT Engage Student Reception in the Tom H. Jackson Building.

MTSU adviser Hibdon earns regional award for service excellence to students

MTSU academic advisers play a big role in students’ success while enrolled at the college, routinely checking emails and answering phone calls, even after hours, to make sure students succeed.

College of Liberal Arts adviser Matthew Hibdon is the latest to be recognized nationally for his efforts with an award from the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). Hibdon will receive the 2017 Region III Excellence in Advising-New Advisor Award later this month.

Matthew Hibdon

Matthew Hibdon

Hibdon, who has worked at MTSU over a course of nine years and has also earned two degrees from the university, said the award was “a validation of our approach to advising within the College of Liberal Arts.”

NACADA-new logo“I enjoy helping my assigned students, but I cannot do it alone,” he said. “I help students navigate the logistical parts of their degree programs, while faculty advisers serve as the curricular and career experts for students. Great teamwork between us has made all the difference.”

Hibdon’s award follows last year’s honor for fellow College of Liberal Arts adviser Brad Baumgardner, who advises music majors. He received the 2016 Region III Outstanding New Adviser Award. Baumgardner has worked at MTSU for a little over two years, a time during which the university has increased the number of advisers as part of its Quest for Student Success initiative to improve graduation and retention.

“I was honored to receive the award, mostly because I feel that it reflects the commitment to student success that I see daily in my department, college and across the university,” he said. “I applied for the award in hopes of drawing attention to the changes we’ve been making in the advising model here at MTSU and the results we’ve been able to achieve.”

College of Liberal Arts adviser Brad Baumgardner, who advises music majors, holds the 2016 Region III Outstanding New Adviser Award he received last year from the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). (Submitted photo)

College of Liberal Arts adviser Brad Baumgardner, who advises music majors, holds the 2016 Region III Outstanding New Adviser Award he received last year from the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). (Submitted photo)

NACADA is a professional association for individuals in the work of academic advising. The organization has annual conferences that have large impact on adviser professional development. NACADA is composed of 10 regions throughout the United States and Canada. Region III covers Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.

College of Liberal Arts logo webSeveral MTSU advisers have been given NACADA awards over the years. Members who meet certain criteria have to be nominated and apply for the award. Applications also include letters of support from supervisors, colleagues and students. Winners receive their awards at NACADA conferences.

“To receive a NACADA award means two things to me,” said Lucy Langworthy, who manages the liberal arts advisers. “First of all, it means that the adviser is committed to making himself/herself a better adviser by taking advantage of this very resourceful professional organization. Second of all, getting a NACADA award reflects well on Middle Tennessee State University and recognizes the work that our young leaders are doing on our campus to help students be successful.”

The Region III conference where Hibdon will receive his award will be held in Raleigh, North Carolina, on April 19-21. The 2017 state NACADA conference will be held at MTSU on May 8.

— Faith Few (news@mtsu.edu)

Guest playwright performs, shares career insights with students

A group of MTSU liberal arts students got a firsthand look — and perhaps a glimpse at a future career path — when award-winning playwright John Morogiello recently visited campus for a special guest artist performance.

The MTSU College of Liberal Arts’ Department of English and the Virginia Peck Trust Fund sponsored the free public event, held Tuesday, April 11, in the Tom H. Jackson Building. Morogiello performed select scenes from several of his plays with assistance from MTSU senior theatre major Delaney Keith.

Award-winning playwright John Morogiello, right, and MTSU senior theatre major Delaney Keith perform select scenes from his works during a special performance Tuesday, April 11, in Cantrell Hall of the Tom H. Jackson Building. (MTSU photo by Jayla Jackson)

Award-winning playwright John Morogiello, right, and MTSU senior theatre major Delaney Keith perform select scenes from his works during a special performance Tuesday, April 11, in Cantrell Hall of the Tom H. Jackson Building. (MTSU photos by Jayla Jackson)

English professor Claudia Barnett said she usually hosts performances with theater professionals like this to give students an alternative look if they choose to continue their journey on the road to acting or producing plays.

“I often try to bring in someone who is different from me in terms of how we write, how we approach writing,” Barnett said. “I love John’s work. It’s extremely clever.”

Dr. Claudia Barnett

Dr. Claudia Barnett

Barnett, who teaches courses in playwriting, said holding events like this may spark interest in the many students who are thinking about writing and producing plays.

With the semester winding down and students declaring, dropping and changing majors, Barnett said she believes bringing in a professional such as Morogiello provides a hands-on example for her students.

Among Morogiello’s works are “Engaging Shaw,” “Blame It on Beckett” and “The Consul, The Tramp, and America’s Sweetheart.” He and Keith performed brief pieces from four of his works ranging from comedy to drama; each scene had a distinct tone that reeled the audience in as the afternoon progressed.

For Keith, performing with a playwright like Morogiello “is always a valuable experience to me,” she said.College of Liberal Arts logo web

“John has written several successful plays, which made me slightly nervous to work with him, but he was great to work with,” Keith added. “He had specific ideas about the characters and what he wanted from them, which was nice.”

As her time at MTSU comes to a close, Keith said her passion for and devotion to acting will not.

A crowd of mostly students look on during a special performance Tuesday, April 11, in Cantrell Hall of the Tom H. Jackson Building where award-winning playwright John Morogiello and MTSU senior theatre major Delaney Keith perform select scenes from Morogiello’s works. (MTSU photo by Jayla Jackson)

A crowd of mostly students look on during a special performance Tuesday, April 11, in Cantrell Hall of the Tom H. Jackson Building where award-winning playwright John Morogiello and MTSU senior theatre major Delaney Keith perform select scenes from Morogiello’s works.

“My future plans are to stay in the Nashville area for about a year doing theater and film, and then move to a bigger city like Chicago or Los Angeles,” she said.

“As long as I am doing theater and acting, I know I will be happy.”

Morogiello noted that his favorite scene performed for the intimate audience of around 50 spectators came from his play “Civilizing Lusby,” which hasn’t yet been produced.

The play revolves around a tragedy with jokes, and playing a 21-year-old character was really fun for the veteran writer.

Morogiello and Barnett, an award-winning playwright in her own right, met years ago at a theater conference and reconnected in hopes of spreading wisdom at the university about what it takes to be a professional wordsmith and/or performer.

“Find someone who could support you … and it’s just not emotionally, but financially as well,” Morogiello advised, listing a handful of cities around the country — New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. — that he feels actors can realistically make a living solely on their craft. Having a “go-to” job or funding source also is important while chasing the dream, he added, because becoming a successful actor or playwright isn’t cheap.

For more information about the MTSU Department of English, visit www.mtsu.edu/english. For more information about the Department of Theatre and Dance, visit http://mtsu.edu/theatreanddance.

— Jayla Jackson (news@mtsu.edu)

MTSU Stormwater spring volunteer events improve environment

The MTSU community has been busy throughout the spring semester helping clean up the city of Murfreesboro, protecting the local water supply and improving the environment in a series of volunteer efforts from MTSU students, faculty and staff.

MTSU’s Stormwater Program has implemented multiple cleanup events this spring to increase environmental awareness. Some of these events consisted of garbage clean up, enhancement of riparian zones to improve waterways and even a tree giveaway.

MTSU students admire their cleanup work along Garrison Creek in East Murfreesboro during the Alternative Spring Break event coordinated by the MTSU Stormwater Program. (Courtesy of the MTSU Stormwater Program)

MTSU students admire their cleanup work along Garrison Creek in East Murfreesboro during the Alternative Spring Break event coordinated by the MTSU Stormwater Program. (Photo courtesy of MTSU Stormwater Program)

One of the more recent events was the April 1 “Parks Day” at Old Fort Park where volunteers gathered to cut and spray invasive plant species and to remove trash from the area.

“Nearly 170 volunteers and partners helped with Parks Day,” said Cynthia Allen, stormwater environmental coordinator.

“Together we cut and treated 9,375 invasive exotic plants and removed more than 70 bags of trash and recyclables from Fortress Rosecrans, Old Fort Park and the Murfreesboro Greenway.”

Cleanup efforts took place over the month of March in a series of events called March Madness. Over spring break, 10 volunteers got together and picked up 365 pounds of trash. The trash cleanup began at Kroger on Lascassas Pike and ran along Garrison Creek and Lascassas Pike beside the road.

On March 9, the city of Murfreesboro’s Stormwater Department and MTSU’s Stormwater Program worked together on the Jordan Farm Project to enhance the riparian zones to improve waterways. The riparian zone is the interface between the land and a river or stream.

There were 21 volunteers from Dr. Kim Sadler’s EXL class for experiential learning and from instructors Becca Seul and Cassie Higginbotham’s health class. Both classes partner with MTSU’s Stormwater program each year.

Together the groups planted 125 bare root seedlings to help develop a riparian area to create a canopy and shade for the creek in the future.MT Stormwater logo-new

March 18 began the Free Tree Giveaway, when 35 citizens helped distribute 622 bare root seedlings for planting. The annual event, which also is a partnership with the city of Murfreesboro, was publicized via 176 invitations and educational letters to property owners and shared with three different schools as a conduit to parents.

“The goal of this event is to hand out free bare root seedlings to the public, especially homeowners that live beside or near a stream to help encourage stream bank plantings for a healthy riparian area, stream canopy, reduced erosion and protection against flooding,” Allen said .

For more information on MTSU’s Stormwater Program and to find out about opportunities to volunteer, visit www.mtsu.edu/stormwater, or contact Cynthia Allen at Cynthia.Allen@mtsu.edu.

— Faith Few (news@mtsu.edu)

MTSU Stormwater Program staff chat with area residents participating in the mid-March tree giveaway in partnership with the city of Murfreesboro. (Photo courtesy of Ron Crabtree)

MTSU Stormwater Program staff chat with area residents participating in the mid-March tree giveaway in partnership with the city of Murfreesboro. (Photo courtesy of Ron Crabtree)

Robert Haley, left, coordinator of the city of Murfreesboro Stormwater Program, instructs MTSU student volunteers at the March 9 tree planting event at Jordan Farm in partnership with the MTSU Stormwater Program. (Courtesy of the MTSU Stormwater Program)

Robert Haley, left, coordinator of the city of Murfreesboro Stormwater Program, instructs MTSU student volunteers at the March 9 tree planting event at Jordan Farm in partnership with the MTSU Stormwater Program. (Photo courtesy of MTSU Stormwater Program)

MTSU debate team hosts Irish champions for special public exhibition

MTSU’s Blue Raider Debate team again hosted the Irish Times National Champions for a friendly rhetorical exhibition as the team continues an impressive season that has led to top finishes around the region.

Debating the topic of whether university education should be free, this year’s public exhibition with the three-member Irish team from University College Dublin’s Literary and Historical Society took place March 21 in the State Farm Lecture Hall of the Business and Aerospace Building.

Dr. Pat Richey, MTSU Debate coach, right, welcomes members of the Irish Times National Debate Champions Dara Kennan, seated left, Asling Tully, and Leah Morgan prior to their debate against members of the MTSU Debate team. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Dr. Pat Richey, MTSU debate coach, right, welcomes members of the Irish Times National Debate Champions Dara Kennan, seated left, Aisling Tully, and Leah Morgan before their debate against members of the MTSU Debate Team. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

MTSU debaters Skye Irish, a junior from Rockwood, Tennessee; Christopher Cowherd, a freshman from Marietta, Georgia; and Tristan Horn, a freshman from Pleasant View, Tennessee, debated the Irish team of Aisling Tully, Dara Keenan and Leah Morgan.

The Irish team’s MTSU visit is part of its U.S. tour that includes stops at several other universities.

MTSU also hosted the Irish Times champions in 2015. This year’s visit comes after the Blue Raider debate team’s stretch of successes since November 2016. The MTSU team has competed in five tournaments, including a win in the Southeast Debate Tournament against the best team in the region.

“They have become the No. 1 debate team in Tennessee since the 1980s,” said debate team coach Patrick Richey, director of forensics at MTSU.

Dr. Patrick Richey

Dr. Patrick Richey

“Tennessee is the most competitive state in the nation,” Richey added. “They compete in individual as well as team events and also public speaking events. They’re even breaking into forensics and have done really, really well.”

MTSU debate team member Skye Irish said that being on the team will help her with her future endeavors, which include law school.

“It doesn’t matter what views you have,” she said. “Debate is unique and welcoming, and we do as much as we can to help anyone out.”

“Debate team has been the most stable part of my college career,” said MTSU senior Alex Lempin, who serves as the team’s captain of individual events. “I have become a better public speaker, and it has helped me with my interview skills and to really think critically.”

“We have done really well in our team events and our individual event,” Lempin added. “We made our presence known regionally and statewide and have placed at both levels.”

MTSU’s Blue Raider Debate team has about 15 to 20 active members who represent a variety of majors from political science to communications to religious studies. Team members say they hope to continue their success throughout the 2017 season.

For more information about the debate team, visit www.mtsu.edu/debate, or contact Richey at Patrick.Richey@mtsu.edu.

— Faith Few (news@mtsu.edu)

Dara Keenan, left, of the Irish Times National Debate Champions, asks a question during the first rebuttal speech as his teammates Aisling Tully, center, and Leah Morgan watch during a debate against members of the MTSU Debate Team. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Dara Keenan, left, of the Irish Times National Debate Champions, asks a question during the first rebuttal speech as his teammates Aisling Tully, center, and Leah Morgan watch during an exhibition with members of the MTSU Debate Team.

Christopher Cowherd, a freshman member of the MTSU Debate team, delivers his address as teammates Tristan Horn, freshman, seated left, and Skye Irish, a junior, watch. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Christopher Cowherd, a freshman member of the MTSU Debate Team, delivers his address as teammates Tristan Horn, center, and Skye Irish listen. Horn also is a freshman, and Irish is a junior at MTSU.

Leah Morgan of the Irish Times National Debate Champions speaks during the March 21 exhibition debate against MTSU Debate regarding the topic of whether university education should be free. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Leah Morgan of the Irish Times National Debate Champions speaks during the March 21 exhibition with MTSU Debate regarding the topic of whether university education should be free.

New fitness room at Rec Center gives more focus to intense workouts

The new functional fitness room has recently opened in the Student Health, Wellness and Recreation Center on campus to give students, faculty and staff a more private and concentrated focus during their workout.

The new room at the Rec is open from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday–Friday, and it features a more private and updated environment so students can concentrate on body-focused workouts.

Lindsay Joyce, fitness coordinator in the new Functional Fitness Room inside the MTSU Student Health, Wellness and Recreation Center, demonstrates how to use the TRX equipment for suspension training. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Lindsay Joyce, fitness coordinator in the new Functional Fitness Room inside the MTSU Student Health, Wellness and Recreation Center, demonstrates how to use the TRX equipment for suspension training. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

The room has a turf and weightlifting section, squat racks, bumper plates, kettlebells, TRX equipment used for suspension training and box platforms.

Lindsay Joyce, the fitness coordinator, wants to encourage participants to get out of their comfort zone and branch into different styles of training.

“TRX is a suspension training bodyweight exercise where the participant uses his/her own bodyweight to develop strength, balance, flexibility and core strength all at the same time,” Joyce said. “Since it uses your bodyweight and gravity, it can be modified for all fitness levels. We want members to have a fun and safe environment, but also have the ability to train hard and be healthy.”

The functional fitness room allows members to perform a variety of Olympic-style lifts of use their body weight with a variety of equipment much different from the original weight room.

“The fitness room is something new that I like,” MTSU senior Darius Gallaher said. “It gives me the freedom to do the workouts I want to do without feeling restricted by outdated equipment.”

With a high energy and welcoming environment, the functional fitness room has more flexibility to create more short circuit, interval, and agility training sessions that allow students to maximize their fitness potential.

In order to use the room, you must be a member of the Rec or have some affiliation with MTSU. All students have memberships that are included with their tuition. Faculty and staff also have free memberships and can purchase membership access for family, Alumni are also able to purchase memberships.

For more information about the functional fitness room, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/camprec/fitness/Functionalfitness.php, or contact Lindsay Joyce at Lindsay.Joyce@mtsu.edu.

— Faith Few (news@mtsu.edu)

MTSU business major Darius Gallaher works out in the new Functional Fitness Room inside the MTSU Student Health, Wellness and Recreation Center. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU business major Darius Gallaher works out in the new Functional Fitness Room inside the MTSU Student Health, Wellness and Recreation Center. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Students urged to complete survey about campus life before March 13 deadline

MTSU administrators are urging students to take advantage of the opportunity to share their thoughts about the overall campus environment by participating in an online survey seeking to capture their opinions.

The “Campus Climate Survey” can be accessed through a student’s university email account and can be completed up until the Monday, March 13, deadline.MTSU Wordmark

The university has partnered with outside vendor Campus Answers to conduct the survey in order to ensure the anonymity and validity of the responses.

Students have been invited to complete the survey via multiple email notifications in recent weeks that include a link to the online survey.

Questions include how welcome students feel on campus, if they feel that the campus is inclusive in both on-campus social settings, such as clubs, organizations and other extracurricular activities, as well as in academic settings.

MTSU will use the survey results to promote awareness, provide education and training and improve policies and opportunities to enhance our community.

Students pass between the buildings on the east side of the MTSU campus, including the Business and Aerospace Building, the College of Education building, the new Student Union, the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building and the John Bragg Mass Communication Building. In the distance construction continues on the new Student Services Building and parking garage next to the Health, Wellness, and Recreation Center. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

Students pass between the buildings on the east side of the MTSU campus, including the Business and Aerospace Building, the College of Education building, the new Student Union, the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building and the John Bragg Mass Communication Building. In the distance construction continues on the new Student Services Building and parking garage next to the Health, Wellness, and Recreation Center. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

Horse expo at Miller Coliseum gives MTSU grad student hands-on work

The Southern Equine Expo returned to the Tennessee Miller Coliseum for the fifth year last weekend, continuing its mission to improve the care of horses through the education of their owners.

According to its website, the expo has built its reputation by bringing high quality clinics, educational seminars and hands-on demonstrations all taught by nationally and internationally known horse enthusiasts.

Robyn Stewart

Robyn Stewart

The event not only brings educational opportunities to the Murfreesboro area, but it also gives MTSU students like Robyn Stewart the chance to become immersed into the horse industry through paid experience.

“I enjoy working at the expo because if you come in with an open mind, everyone has the opportunity to learn something new,” said Stewart, who is pursuing her graduate studies degree in horse science. She helped with ring set-up, and she announced clinicians to the audiences in the lower level arenas during the Feb. 24-26 expo.

Michael Gascon, a competitor in the colt starting challenge, is shown at the Southern Equine Expo held Feb. 24-26 at Tennessee Miller Coliseum. (MTSU photo by Faith Few)

Michael Gascon, a competitor in the colt starting challenge, is shown at the Southern Equine Expo held Feb. 24-26 at Tennessee Miller Coliseum. (MTSU photo by Faith Few)

“Whether you ride English horses or Western horses, you are still able to come to the expo and leave with some new information,” Stewart said.

From trail riding to trick riding, there are several competitions along with the seminars that take place over the three-day event. For example, there’s the “colt starting challenge” in which the rider will train an un-broken horse over the three-day period. There’s also the familiar 4D barrel race where horse and rider teams compete for the fastest time around a cloverleaf pattern.

Patrick Keyser, CEO and manager of the expo, has brought the event to life the past five years, aiming to make each year bigger, better and more educational than the last.

“I want people to take away an appreciation. By hearing from clinicians in every discipline of the horse industry, there are lots of techniques that you can learn from to become a better horseman,” said Keyser, who also worked for MTSU as a clinical specialist of equine reproduction.

Dr. Holly Spooner

Dr. Holly Spooner

Located off West Thompson Lane in north Murfreesboro, the Tennessee Miller Coliseum is a public event facility owned by MTSU and booked by various vendors to host events such as the Southern Equine Expo throughout the year.

At MTSU, the horse science program is taught within the School of Agribusiness and Agriscience. Although MTSU wasn’t involved in putting on the expo, Dr. Holly Spooner, director of the horse science graduate program, said the expo “provides a unique opportunity for our students to experience a diverse, industry-wide event.”

“Students learn what it takes to put on this great event, from personnel management to working with world-renowned clinics, and of course interacting with the general public,” she said. “One of our program goals is always to bring more people into the horse industry, and this expo helps in that.”

For more information about the MTSU horse science program, visit www.mtsu.edu/programs/horse-science/.

For more information about the Southern Equine Expo, visit www.southernequineexpo.com. For information about the Tennessee Miller Coliseum visit www.mtsu.edu/tmc/index.php.

— Faith Few (news@mtsu.edu)

MTSU graduate student Robyn Stewart is shown at the Southern Equine Expo held Feb. 24-26 at Tennessee Miller Coliseum. Stewart worked the event helping with ring set-up and announcements. (MTSU photo by Faith Few)

MTSU graduate student Robyn Stewart is shown at the Southern Equine Expo held Feb. 24-26 at Tennessee Miller Coliseum. Stewart worked the event helping with ring set-up and announcements. (MTSU photo by Faith Few)

Vendors display their goods at the Southern Equine Expo held Feb. 24-26 at Tennessee Miller Coliseum. (MTSU photo by Faith Few)

Vendors display their goods at the Southern Equine Expo held Feb. 24-26 at Tennessee Miller Coliseum. (MTSU photo by Faith Few)

The Southern Equine Expo was held Feb. 24-26 at Tennessee Miller Coliseum. (MTSU photo by Faith Few)

The Southern Equine Expo was held Feb. 24-26 at Tennessee Miller Coliseum. (MTSU photo by Faith Few)

MTSU business students offer ‘BEST’ selves at spring career fair [WATCH]

This year’s BEST Career and Internship Fair at MTSU again drew employers from throughout the region on hunt for talented students looking to jumpstart their careers.

Dozens of students took advantage of the opportunity to sell themselves to potential future employers at the Business Exchange for Student Talent, or BEST, event held Wednesday in the Student Union Ballroom. Here’s a recap:

Sponsored by faculty in the management and marketing departments in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business, BEST takes on a “speed networking” format in which groups of students meet with employment recruiters stationed at tables throughout the ballroom. After a 15-minute exchange, students move to another table.

“It’s important for our students to connect with their next stage in life, whether it’s graduate studies or whether it’s the start their career,” said Laura Buckner, internship coordinator in the Department of Marketing. “They’re here at MTSU for a reason, and that’s to move forward in life. … Every business is looking for good talent.”

The primary purpose of BEST is to help students get full-time jobs. The three-hour fair is geared toward students majoring in marketing, business administration, management and entrepreneurship within the Jones College, although other students can also attend. Faculty encouraged students to dress professionally, bring copies of their resumes and do a bit of research in advance to become familiar with the employers.

Participating companies were hiring for positions such as entry-level marketing, sales, logistics, retail and management professionals. Internships were also available.

For more information about the Jones College of Business and its programs, visit www.mtsu.edu/business.

— Video by Sarah Mustian (sarah.mustian@mtsu.edu)

MTSU’s EXL Program recognizes three outstanding community partners

The Experiential Learning Program at Middle Tennessee State University has once again presented a group of local organizations with its 2016 EXL Outstanding Community Partner Awards.

MTSU’s EXL Program, which provides students with hands-on learning in a specific work or service, presents these awards to organizations who help make “learning-by-doing” possible through their exceptional work with the students.

Since its establishment in 2006, the EXL program has engaged students directly in service, with more than 200 courses now approved as EXL courses universitywide. In addition to taking EXL courses, students can sign up to be EXL scholars, which requires them to complete assessment activities, including an e-portfolio, and perform an MTSU service component to receive the designation as an EXL scholar upon graduation.

Presented with the 2016 Outstanding Community Partner Awards are Murfreesboro Islamic Center’s Ossama Bahloul, Nissan North America and Stones River Manor Assisted Living.

Dr. Ossama Bahloul, center, former imam for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, is presented the 2016 MTSU Experiential Learning Program’s Outstanding Community Partner Award in this undated photo. Pictured with him are assistant professors Jenna Gray-Hildenbrand, left, and Rebekka King. (Submitted photo)

Dr. Ossama Bahloul, center, former imam for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, is presented the 2016 MTSU Experiential Learning Program’s Outstanding Community Partner Award in this undated photo. Pictured with him are assistant professors Jenna Gray-Hildenbrand, left, and Rebekka King. (Submitted photo)

Ossama Bahloul, former imam of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, has served as a partner to the EXL Program’s Religion and Society course since fall of 2014. Bahloul welcomed MTSU students to the center and answered their questions concerning the practice of Islam and its role in current events. Assistant professors Rebekka King and Jenna Gray-Hildenbrand noted in their nomination letter for Bahloul that students reported this learning opportunity as one of their favorites.

“His knowledge, compassion, and warmth make him especially approachable to our students, many of whom have had limited exposure to traditions outside of their own religious communities. At the heart of experiential learning is the type of transformation our students experience at the Islamic Center. This process of critically examining this experience sets them on the path towards being fully engaged scholars and citizens.”

“The partnership between MTSU and the Islamic Center elevated the educational process to a higher level,” Bahloul said. “It has been beneficial for myself to interact with the MTSU faculty as well as the students. It has assisted me in deepening my understanding of the faith community. The relationship has evolved into a friendship that I will always value and cherish.”

In this 2013 file photo, two teams of MTSU students prepare for their presentation on civility before a group of Nissan executives at the automakers Franklin, Tenn., headquarters. The student presentations were part of a semester project in an Experiential Learning (EXL) Principles of Management class taught by Dr. Jackie Gilbert. Nissan was presented a 2016 EXL Outstanding Community Partner Award for its work. (MTSU file photo by News and Media Relations)

In this 2013 file photo, two teams of MTSU students prepare for their presentation on civility before a group of Nissan executives at the automakers Franklin, Tenn., headquarters. The student presentations were part of a semester project in an Experiential Learning (EXL) Principles of Management class taught by Dr. Jackie Gilbert. Nissan was presented a 2016 EXL Outstanding Community Partner Award for its work. (MTSU file photo by News and Media Relations)

Nissan North America was nominated by Department of Management professor Jackie Gilbert due to the automaker’s continued collaboration with the EXL Principles of Management course. Students enrolled in Gilbert’s course receive the opportunity to create their own civility policies and pitch their ideas to a group of Nissan Associates at their headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee.

“Nissan graciously hosted my Principles of Management students, who presented on the topic of civility policy to a corporate audience,” Gilbert said. “This process involved several meetings with Rob Wilson, director of diversity and inclusion at the time, who recruited four corporate ‘judges,’ hosted a private luncheon for my students, and coordinated a monetary donation from Nissan to MTSU Jones College of Business.”

In addition to choosing a winner and making a donation of their behalf, Nissan also provided students with feedback and hoped to implement the students’ ideas in its own company policies.

In this undated photo, MTSU Aging Health and Development instructor Stephanie Bush, left, presents a 2016 EXL Outstanding Community Service Award to Stones River Manor, represented by CEO Kirkland Mason, center, and activity director Kandi Smith. (Submitted photo)

In this undated photo, MTSU Aging Health and Development instructor Stephanie Bush, left, presents a 2016 EXL Outstanding Community Service Award to Stones River Manor, represented by CEO Kirkland Mason, center, and activity director Kandi Smith. (Submitted photo)

Stones River Manor Assisted Living has served as a partner to MTSU’s Aging Health and Development students for the past seven years by providing learning opportunities on health, wellness and the aging process.

AHeAD instructor Stephanie Bush noted that “without the Manor’s support, the class would not be as successful as it currently is. A strong partnership is essential in order for the course to run successfully and remain in existence.”

Kandi Smith, activity director at Stones River Manor, along with her assistants Ashley Hurt and Cindy Crabtree, mentor students and provide weekly on-site trainings. This mentoring and training allows students to have a greater understanding of the aging process.

EXL color logo webIn addition, Stones River Manor also provides the class with a budget to complete planned activities for Manor residents. The organization has also partnered with other experiential learning classes by raising awareness on local hunger, hosting food drives, and by offering internship opportunities to students.

For more information about MTSU’s Experiential Learning Program, visit www.mtsu.edu/exl or contact EXL Director Carol Swayze at 615-898-5542 or email Carol.Swayze@mtsu.edu.

— Faith Few (news@mtsu.edu)

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