4 new sports greats will join Blue Raider Hall of Fame Oct. 17

The 2015 class of the Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raider Athletic Hall of Fame features four stars from the past, each rightfully earning the label “champion” during his playing days on campus.

Four new members of the Blue Raider Hall of Fame will be inducted Oct. 17 during a special ceremony at MTSU's Kennon Sports Hall of Fame building. The 2015 inductees are, clockwise from top left, golfer Brett Alexander, baseball player Josh Renick, track star Mardy Scales and football tailback KIppy Bayless. (Graphic courtesy of GoBlueRaiders.com)

Four new members of the Blue Raider Hall of Fame will be inducted Oct. 17 during a special ceremony at MTSU’s Kennon Sports Hall of Fame building. The 2015 inductees are, clockwise from top left, golfer Brett Alexander, baseball player Josh Renick, track star Mardy Scales and football tailback KIppy Bayless. (Graphic courtesy of GoBlueRaiders.com)

Standout tailback Kippy Bayless, stellar infielder/slugger Josh Renick, nationally ranked track star Mardy Scales and top golfer Brett Alexander comprise the 2015 class of Blue Raider athletes announced July 26.

Their induction ceremony is set for Saturday, Oct. 17, at the Kennon Sports Hall of Fame building on the MTSU campus, before the Blue Raiders’ football game with Florida International University.

This year’s group of honorees brings to 131 the number of former MTSU athletes, coaches, administrators and contributors in the Blue Raider Hall of Fame.

Kippy Bayless

Kippy Bayless

Bayless, one of former football head coach Boots Donnelly’s bevy of highly gifted running backs, proved to be an elite multi-purpose threat as he caught and carried the ball and returned kickoffs, amassing more than 4,000 total yards in his career from 1991 to 1994.

With this total, he ended his career ranked fifth all-time in total yards gained. On 16 occasions in his career, the Knoxville, Tennessee, native darted and dashed his way past the 100-yard mark.

Overall, Bayless helped the Blue Raiders win 32 games, earn an OVC title and three NCAA 1-AA playoff appearances in four seasons.

Josh Renick

Josh Renick

Renick spent two years with the Blue Raiders at the turn of the 21st century (2000-01) and quickly made his mark on the baseball diamond, helping MT to Ohio Valley and Sun Belt conference championships and two NCAA regional appearances.

An outstanding second baseman, batsman and base-stealer, the Sarasota, Florida, native was the Sun Belt Conference’s player of the year in 2001 as well as a third-team All-American that year.

He ended his career with a .381 batting average, ranking him third all-time in the Blue Raider record book. In that 2001 season, Renick batted a stunning .420, third highest in school history.

Scales has the distinction as the only Blue Raider trackman to win an NCAA sprints championship. In 2003, he sprinted to the 100-meter dash title in a blistering time of 10.25, earning one of his seven career All-American honors.

Brett Alexander

Brett Alexander

Mardy Scales

Mardy Scales

In that same 2003 NCAA championship meet, Scales earned a second All-America honor as a member of the third-place 4 x 100 relay team, which also set a school record.

The Franklin, Tennessee, native was honored as the SBC Athlete of the Year in 2003. During his Blue Raider career, Scales helped MT win three Sun Belt Conference indoor titles and one outdoor title.

During a three-year span in golfing (1998-2000), Alexander not only was named all-conference but also was named OVC golfer of the year after winning the individual low-medalist title in each conference championship tournament. He is the only conference golfer to ever be named the golfer of the year three times.

The Blue Raiders rallied around their top golfer each year and captured OVC team titles in 1998 and 2000 and a third-place finish in 1999. The 2000 Blue Raiders also earned an invitation to the NCAA East Regional and finished 18th.

In 2000, Alexander became the first Blue Raider golfer to be nationally ranked in NCAA Division 1 competition. He won six tournament titles for the Blue Raiders, a career total that ranks second in the school’s record book.

You can read a more detailed version of this story here.

— MTSU Athletics (goblueraiders.com)

Technology helps dance professor enhance classes [+VIDEO]

Technology may not be the first thing to come to mind when thinking of dancing and choreography, but Marsha Barsky is changing that perception.

“I integrate technology into all of my classes and have found exciting and novel approaches to using computer and video technology for studio classes,” she said.

MTSU Dance Program Director Marsha Barsky poses for a photo in the observation area above one of the dance studios inside Murphy Center. Barsky has incorporated technology into her teaching with a unique video platform that lets her provide detailed feedback on her students' performances. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU Dance Program Director Marsha Barsky poses for a photo in the observation area above one of the dance studios inside Murphy Center. Barsky has incorporated technology into her teaching with a unique video platform that lets her provide detailed feedback on her students’ performances. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

“For example, in the annual senior seminar, I work with my students to create an individualized online dance portfolio that integrates a wide range of applications, including social media, and, most recently, I have integrated cutting-edge technology into my studio-based choreography classes.”

As director of the MTSU dance program, Barsky has taught a variety of classes including all levels of modern dance technique, choreography, dance history, dance studies, dance pedagogy, and the Alexander Technique, a somatic movement practice inspired by the teachings of actor Frederick Matthias Alexander.

Since Barsky’s choreography class is studio-based, most class time is allotted to movement studies and presentations.

Her class adheres to a well-honed method that traces its roots to the early days of choreography, and the intricacy and technical nature of Barsky’s instruction requires students time to absorb it. As a result, Barsky turned to technology for help.

Like any educator, Barsky recognizes the challenges of integrating technology in the classroom and also understands the importance of technology in modern academia. She evaluates which form of technology is most effective and then reevaluates and rethinks her teaching methods on these bases.

“The work that I do happens in a physical space, with the moving body, and as such, my appeal to technology has only been to enhance my teaching,” she said. “The crucial concern for educators is to find an appropriate role in higher education and to tailor it to the task at hand.

Fall Dance Concert dancers web

MTSU dancers Fernando Ramos Cintron, left, and Amy Huffines perform “Plume” at the 2013 Fall Dance Concert in Tucker Theatre. (File photo courtesy of Martin O’Connor)

“Through appropriate technologies, educators can have the opportunity to remodel their pedagogical approach, and when it’s done well, it’s possible to create a diverse learning environment suited to a host of different students.”

Barsky, who directed the Vanderbilt dance program from 2003 to 2007 and joined the MTSU dance faculty in 2006, recognized that technology could be used to advance what she considers the most vital component for her class—the ability to offer meaningful, constructive feedback.

“It can be difficult to recreate the precise movement at issue for the discussion, and this need for precision––and the time limitations seemed to offer ideal platforms for the integration of media-based technology,” she said.

While researching several dance education journals, Barsky discovered a Web-based video platform called Acclaim, which is a video organizing and discussion website that allows instructors to offer real-time movement, assessment, and feedback in ways similar to the instant replay seen in sports broadcasts.

“Since Acclaim is an online platform that allows for students and professors to embed, record, or upload videos, I was able to capture and then comment upon students’ movement practices in the classroom in real time,” she said.

“At the same time, since this is a video platform, once videos are available, my comments can be directly applied at specific locations in the video. These comments can then be downloaded into an Excel file for further referencing.”

The Acclaim platform allows Barsky to critique specific portions of student work such as recorded choreographic studies. Each comment is clickable, and once clicked, the video will jump to the appropriate moment being discussed. Students can also view and respond to comments from their peers.

“It allows students to closely analyze their work in their own free time and offers them the possibility to make appropriate revisions to their choreographic assignments before the next class,” Barsky said. “Many responded very well and used it as a tool for learning. There can be a steep learning curve for technology like this, but all-in-all, everyone comes to appreciate the ability to record, upload, and receive feedback on their assignments.”

Although she plans to continue using Acclaim to enhance instructional approaches in her classes, Barsky acknowledges that technology can never replace the physical aspect of dance education. Instead, she uses technology as a tool rather than a proxy for the classroom itself.

“Carefully selected technology is enhancing my teaching and has made the teaching and learning process more meaningful to both me and my students,” she said. “I know that there are many other ways to incorporate technology into my teaching, and I am looking forward to experimenting with those unknown terrains.”


You can watch a video of “Moments of Awakening,” a dance performance choreographed by Barsky and performed by members of the MTSU Dance Theatre, above. It also features Barsky’s commentary on the origins of the performance. You can learn more about Barsky at her website.

(originally published in the Summer 2015 edition of Communicator, the MTSU Information Technology Division Newsletter)

— Dan Copp (daniel.copp@mtsu.edu)

Get discount tickets for 'True Blue Night' at Nashville Sounds July 1

Nashville Sounds WordmarkStart your Fourth of July celebrating early by coming to “True Blue Night” at the Nashville Sounds!

Middle Tennessee State University invites the community to bring family and friends to see the Nashville Sounds play the Colorado Springs Sky Sox on Wednesday, July 1, at First Tennessee Park in downtown Nashville.

The game starts at 7:05 p.m. and the doors open at 6:05 that evening.

MTSU WordmarkThe first 1,000 fans to visit the MTSU tables, located near the guitar scoreboard, will receive a free MTSU #TRUE T-shirt brought to you by the university and MTSU Athletics.

Special discount ticket pricing is available at http://ra.ide.rs/sounds using the promo code TRUEBLUE.

The first pitch of the game will be thrown by retired Lt. Gen. Keith Huber, the MTSU senior adviser for veteran and leadership initiatives.

MTSU’s mascot, Lightning, will also be on hand for this family-friendly evening.

Spend an evening with your MTSU family and friends enjoying America’s favorite pastime.

The first 1,000 fans through the gates for the July 1 Nashville Sounds game will receive one of these MTSU #TRUE T-shirt.

The first 1,000 fans through the gates for the July 1 Nashville Sounds game will receive one of these MTSU #TRUE T-shirts.

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, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.

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.