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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 will then 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. Airfare will cost $1,600 to $1,800 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)

Check out new public-access programs on MTSU’s ERC@MT

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

Click on the Aug. 24-30 mini-schedule above for a printable version.

Click on the Aug. 17-23 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 weeks of Aug. 17-23 and Aug. 24-30, 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.

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

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)

Make your appointment now to donate blood for MTSU Sept. 8-10

MTSU and Western Kentucky University and their supporters have helped save thousands of lives since 2010 with a friendly “blood battle” competition, and the rivalry is back for 2014!

An MTSU student checks his “I donated!” badge while preparing to give blood at the 2013 “True Blue Blood Drive” in the Student Health, Wellness and Recreation Center. The rivalry returns Sept. 8-10 in the “MTSU vs. WKU Blood Battle 2014.” (MTSU file photo)

MTSU students, staff members, alumni and community supporters can make an appointment today at www.redcrossblood.org to donate life-saving blood on campus Sept. 8-10 and once again help MTSU “Bleed Blue, Beat WKU.”

The annual blood-drive competition is resuming for a fourth year now that the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers are in Conference USA alongside the Blue Raiders. The teams meet on the gridiron at 6 p.m. Sept. 13 at MTSU’s Floyd Stadium, where the blood-drive winner will be announced at halftime.

Donors can make an appointment to give blood at MTSU’s Student Health, Wellness and Recreation Center on Blue Raider Drive between noon and 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9; or 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 10.

Supporters should enter “MTSU” in the “Find a Blood Drive” box at the website to quickly schedule an appointment. All MTSU donors will have free reserved parking at the Rec Center and will receive a T-shirt while supplies last.

MTSU won the blood drive competition in 2010 and 2011, while WKU took the win in 2012 and MTSU conducted its own successful drive in 2013.

You can watch a video from MTSU’s successful 2013 “Bleed Blue” blood drive below.

“This is an incredible opportunity for both universities and their communities to give back at a time when there’s such a desperate need for blood,” said Diane Turnham, associate athletic director for MTSU and one of the blood-drive planning committee’s leaders.

“For the Blue Raiders this year, the drive is especially important, because we have been informed that this summer alone, the Red Cross is short 80,000 units of blood nationwide from previous summers. With road construction surrounding our own Murfreesboro Red Cross headquarters, donations have been down there as well. We need every staff member, student, alumnus and community member to come out to this most important drive.”

MTSU and WKU supporters have rolled up their sleeves and donated more than 3,800 units of lifesaving blood since 2010, when the universities started their “blood battle” to help their communities and build up blood supplies for the American Red Cross.

MTSU’s efforts have provided more than half that total — 2,276 units of blood — in the last four years.

Diane Turnham

Click on the graphic above to make an appointment to donate blood at MTSU Sept. 8-10.

Click on the graphic to make an appointment to donate blood at MTSU Sept. 8-10.

Because each unit of blood can save up to three lives, MTSU’s donors alone have affected more than 6,800 lives since 2010. The combined MTSU-WKU totals have helped as many as 11,500 people in the region.

“We have arranged free parking for donors, and you can make your appointment for any of the three days by going to www.redcrossblood.org and typing in ‘MTSU,’” Turnham added. “We’ll also need student and staff volunteers from our campus to help with the drive to make sure everyone kind enough to donate is able to get through in a timely manner.”

Turnham and fellow MTSU blood-drive organizers Dr. Gloria Bonner and Ray Wiley, along with the Red Cross’ Robert Wagner and Mike Cowles, appeared on WGNS Radio’s “Action Line” program Aug. 18 to discuss the community’s need for blood donors. You can listen to an archived copy of their appearance here.

Donors also can find some helpful tips to make their blood donations successful at http://ow.ly/AiN07.

Walk-in donors will still be welcome Sept. 8-10 but organizers are encouraging MTSU donors to make appointments now to get the most convenient times and speedier processing on donation day.

For directions to the Rec Center, visit www.mtsu.edu/camprec/directions.php. For updates and more information about the blood drive, bookmark this page and follow @MTSUNews on Twitter with the hashtag #BleedBlueMTSU.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Veteran Nashville journalist leads MTSU’s Seigenthaler Chair

Longtime Midstate journalist Pat Embry has been selected as the new director of MTSU’s John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies, bringing decades of experience with Nashville newspapers to help the College of Mass Communication expand national awareness of First Amendment issues.

The Seigenthaler Chair supports a variety of activities related to free speech, free press rights and other topics of concern for contemporary journalism, including distinguished visiting professors and visiting lecturers at MTSU, research related to free expression, seminars and meetings dedicated to expressive freedom and hands-on training for student journalists through the Seigenthaler News Service.

“Pat Embry brings a wealth of experience in journalism and a strong commitment to the First Amendment as he takes on this new role,” said Ken Paulson, dean of the College of Mass Communication.

Pat Embry

“He’ll be a great mentor for our student journalists and help us build national visibility for our national First Amendment education efforts.”

 “I’ve long admired John Seigenthaler’s relentless commitment to First Amendment awareness and education, and working with college interns always has been one of my favorite roles as a newspaper editor,” said Embry, a Nashville resident and former editor at the Nashville Banner and The Tennessean.

“Directing the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies at MTSU combines the two. It’s a wonderful opportunity and a perfect fit for this stage in my career.”

Embry rose from sports writer to executive editor in a nearly 20-year career at the Nashville Banner and joined The Tennessean after the Banner closed in 1998. During his seven-year tenure with The Tennessean, Embry served as entertainment editor, oversaw editorial operations for six Middle Tennessee community newspapers and developed and launched “The Rage,” a free weekly entertainment printed guide and website.

Before coming to MTSU, Embry worked as editorial director for Magellan Press in Brentwood, leading operations and managing content for iTunes’ top paid mobile dining app, LocalEats, and its companion website since 2008. He also wrote, marketed and managed distribution for Magellan’s successful dining guidebook “Where the Locals Eat-Nashville” from 2005 to 2008.

John Seigenthaler

Embry’s extensive civic and community work includes service as deputy chair of the Freedom of Information committee of the Tennessee Press Association; membership in Leadership Nashville and Leadership Music, including a stint as Leadership Music’s board president; and participation in the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Tourism Task Force. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

MTSU established the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies in 1986 to honor the iconic journalist’s lifelong commitment to free expression.

Seigenthaler, who passed away July 11 at age 86, was a reporter, editor, publisher and CEO of The Tennessean as well as an administrative assistant for then-U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. After serving as founding editorial director for USA Today, he established the First Amendment Center in Nashville in 1991.

Mass Comm logoThe list of people who’ve served as chairholder for the Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence at MTSU reads like a Who’s Who of media and includes Wallace Westfeldt, former producer for NBC and ABC News; Bill Kovach, former editor of The New York Times and curator of the Nieman Fellowships at Harvard; Tom Wicker, former columnist for The New York Times; John Henry Faulk, humorist and popular CBS radio personality blacklisted during the Red Scare and a hero of free expression rights; Jim Squires, former editor of The Chicago Tribune; author and journalist Wallace Terry; television journalist Sander Vanocur; former U.S. News & World Report Washington bureau chief John Mashek; and Seigenthaler himself.

Embry joins three current MTSU professors who also have helmed the Seigenthaler Chair: Chris Clark, one of the longest-tenured TV anchors in American history with 41 years at WTVF-TV, whose advocacy for public information access led the Tennessee Supreme Court to allow TV cameras in the state’s courtrooms; Beverly Keel, entertainment journalist and music industry executive who now leads MTSU’s Department of Recording Industry; and Wendell “Sonny” Rawls, Pulitzer Prize winner for investigative reporting at the Philadelphia Inquirer and a former director of the Center for Public Integrity’s International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

“My only regret is that I arrive too late to work with John directly,” Embry said. “I can’t help but think he’ll be here in spirit, though. It’s a challenging but enviable job to spend each day helping to continue John Seigenthaler’s legacy of relentless passion for, and commitment to, our First Amendment freedoms and for journalistic fairness, justice and truth-telling.”

Learn more about MTSU’s John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies at www.mtsu.edu/masscomm/chair_mc.php.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

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)

New course provides food for thought on ‘MTSU On the Record’

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

Dr. Tony Johnston

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Tony Johnston will air from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 24, on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ).

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.

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.