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MTSU student group offers sweet treats for Valentine’s Day

Searching for that perfect Valentine’s Day present is now a little bit easier.

MT chocolate strawberry graphicThe MTSU Nutrition and Dietetic Association is selling chocolate-covered strawberries through Friday, Feb. 12, to raise funds for its activities.

You can order strawberries in advance here. The berries will be available for pickup from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 12 in the Ellington Human Sciences Building, 2623 Middle Tennessee Blvd. in Murfreesboro.

A package of berries is $10 per half dozen. On-campus deliveries are available for a one-time fee of $3.

For more information, contact Ginny Bogle, an instructor in the MTSU Department of Human Sciences, at 615-898-5173 or ginny.bogle@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Monthly campus tornado siren test set Feb. 9 has been canceled

MTSU has canceled plans to test its tornado sirens on campus and at the Miller Coliseum Complex Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 12:20 p.m. because of inclement weather.

The safety testing will resume in March as scheduled.

MTSU notifies the campus and surrounding neighborhoods before these tests each month. Tests are conducted on alternating Tuesdays and Wednesdays to minimize distractions for classes and neighbors.

Members of the campus community can prepare for emergency weather situations anytime by checking MTSU’s list of “safe places” at http://bit.ly/MTSUSafePlaces. You also can make note of the siren-testing schedule by visiting http://mtsunews.com/tornado-siren-testing. Bookmark both sites!

Remember that, in the event of a weather emergency, all students, faculty and staff automatically receive a Rave alert at their MTSU email addresses. If you’re not already receiving text and/or voice alerts too, visit http://mtsunews.com/weather and use the “click here and log in” link to make those notification changes.

MTSU Wear Red Day event raises awareness about heart health

The normally True Blue MTSU campus added a dash of red to the color scheme Friday, Feb. 5, to celebrate National Wear Red Day.

The campus community gathered in the Liz and Creighton Rhea Atrium in the Science Building for MTSU Health Services and Health Promotion festivities to raise awareness for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign.

Including 17 youngsters from the MTSU Child Care Lab, more than 100 campus employees showed their support for the American Heart Association's National Wear Red Day by wearing red and posing for a heart-shaped photo Feb. 5 in the Liz and Creighton Rhea Atrium of the Science Building. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

Seventeen youngsters from the MTSU Child Care Lab join more than 100 campus employees to show their support for the American Heart Association’s National Wear Red Day by wearing red and posing for a heart-shaped photo Feb. 5 in the Science Building’s Liz and Creighton Rhea Atrium. (MTSU photos by Randy Weiler)

And it was OK to wear red.

Those who attended learned more about the risks and symptoms of heart disease in women. They also took part in brief games and activities, with an opportunity to win prizes.

Heart disease affects millions of Americans each year. Heart disease and stroke kill one out of every three women, but it is nearly 80 percent preventable.

Many on campus have been affected. One example is Diane Turnham, associate athletic director and senior women’s administrator.

Turnham was appointed acting athletic director March 1, 2004, when then-AD Boots Donnelly underwent heart surgery. She became interim AD in January 2005 and began working long hours and experiencing a great deal of stress.

Anxiety, feeling uncomfortable while walking short distances and having a family history of heart disease led Turnham to share this with her doctor. The problems persisted. She felt tightness in her chest.

Two minutes into a nuclear stress test, her physician removed her from the machine and asked her to visit a heart specialist the next day.

Diane Turnham, MTSU associate athletic director and senior women’s administrator, addresses those gathered for the Wear Red Day event in the Science Building Feb. 5. She shared about her heart surgery and urged them to "follow the signs" of a heart attack and to talk to your physician. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

Diane Turnham, MTSU associate athletic director and senior women’s administrator, addresses those gathered for the Wear Red Day event in the Science Building Feb. 5. She discussed her heart surgery and urged them to “follow the signs” of a heart attack and to talk to your physician.

“I was admitted to the hospital for an arteriogram,” she said. “They found three blockages in my heart and explained that I would need to go to Nashville for the procedure that would insert three stents into my heart.

“I went through the process and started rehabilitation to strengthen my heart. That was 10 years ago and I am doing great, but visit my doctor every six months to monitor my condition.”

Turnham told the crowd it was “a great day to wear red,” adding that “Dr. (Sidney A.) McPhee will give us permission, especially since the two big basketball wins against Western Kentucky last weekend.”

“You know your body better than anybody else,” she said. “You always need to take it serious. Most women don’t survive their first heart attack because they don’t follow the signs. Exercise is great. And you need to see your doctor.”

For anyone unable to attend the event, Lisa Schrader, director of Health Promotion, said they can still GO RED.

  • Get your numbers: Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose.
  • Own your lifestyle: Stop smoking, lose weight, be physically active and eat healthily.
  • Raise your voice: Advocate for more female-related research and education.
  • Educate your family: Make healthy food choices for you and your family. Teach your children the importance of staying active.
  • Donate: Show your support with a donation of time or money.

To learn more about the national movement, visit www.goredforwomen.org/wearredday.

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

MTSU Child Care Lab attendees Zachary Wang, left, and Sophia McConnell, both 4, enjoy cookies given to those who attended the American Heart Association Wear Red Day event Feb. 5 in the Science Building. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

MTSU Child Care Lab attendees Zachary Wang, left, and Sophia McConnell, both 4, enjoy cookies at the American Heart Association Wear Red Day event Feb. 5 in the Science Building.

 

 

MTSU Poll: Voters weigh in on standard of living, leader approvals

Tennessee voters are less satisfied with their standard of living and are more likely to say that it is getting worse than the nation as a whole, according to the latest statewide poll by Middle Tennessee State University.

At the same time, voters approve of state leaders overall, but disapprove of the executive and legislative branches of the federal government.

“These seeming contrasts raise interesting questions about how Tennesseans perceive the relationship between their quality of life and performance of government leaders,” said Dr. Ken Blake, director of the poll at MTSU.

The poll of 600 registered Tennessee voters was conducted Jan. 15-20 and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Standard of living good, not great … and in jeopardy

More Tennessee voters did say they are satisfied with their standard of living (67 percent) than say they are dissatisfied (30 percent). Standard of living was defined as “…all the things you can buy and do.”

However, more say they feel their standard of living is getting worse (42 percent) than getting better (34 percent). About 1 in 5 voters voluntarily answer that they feel their standard of living is staying the same (about 20 percent).

A December 2015 Gallup Poll found that nationwide 79 percent of respondents were satisfied with their standard of living and 62 percent said their standard of living was getting better.

Governor Haslam continues to be popular

Gov. Bill Haslam had the strongest support of any elected official asked about as part of the poll, with 58 percent of voters approving of the job he is doing and only 22 percent disapproving.MTSU POLL S2016-Haslam approval_web

Gov. Bill Haslam

Gov. Bill Haslam

These numbers are statistically indistinguishable from the 64 percent and 18 percent who said that they approved and disapproved, respectively, of the job Haslam was doing in response to an MTSU Poll conducted at about the same time in 2015.

Even 50 percent of self-identified Democrats say that they approve of the job Haslam is doing. Majorities of Republicans (68 percent) and independents (54 percent) also say that they approve.

“Governor Haslam’s popularity across party lines stands out as an exception to the usual deeply divisive and disagreeable politics,” said Dr. Jason Reineke, associate director of the poll.

Half think State Legislature doing good job

Nearly half of Tennessee voters — 48 percent — say that they approve of the job the Tennessee General Assembly is doing, while only 26 percent disapprove. These percentages are statistically the same as they were a year ago.

Political party identification makes a difference, with 60 percent of self-identified Republicans saying they approve (16 percent disapprove) and 50 percent of self-identified Democrats saying that they disapprove (30 percent approve).

Among self-identified independents, 44 percent say they approve, 24 percent disapprove.

Pluralities approve of Senators Alexander, Corker

More Tennessee voters approve of the jobs that their United States senators are doing than disapprove.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker

A 42 percent plurality say they approve of the job that Sen. Lamar Alexander is doing, while 35 percent disapprove. Meanwhile, Sen. Bob Corker fared slightly better, with 47 percent approving and 31 percent disapproving. For each senator, though, about 1 in 5 voters say they don’t know whether they approve or disapprove.

More disapproval for President Obama

Fully 61 percent of Tennessee voters say that they disapprove of the job that President Barack Obama is doing, up from 52 percent who said the same in an early 2015 MTSU poll. Only 31 percent say that they approve, compared to 37 percent who said the same a year ago.

A FOX News poll of registered voters nationwide conducted at about the same time as this year’s MTSU Poll found that 45 percent approve of the job Obama is doing while 48 percent disapprove.

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

U.S. Congress is again the worst

Despite the relatively positive evaluations that Tennessee voters give their own U.S. senators, their views of the U.S. Congress as a whole are nothing short of abysmal.

A remarkable 80 percent say that they disapprove of Congress. Only 12 percent approve. These numbers are even worse for Congress than those found in a previous MTSU Poll about a year ago, when 70 percent disapproved and 15 percent approved.

A national CBS/New York Times poll conducted in early January 2016 found that 75 percent of Americans disapproved of Congress while 15 percent approved.

“The United States Congress received far and away the worst overall evaluation of any elected official or government institution that we asked Tennessee voters about,” Reineke said.

Previously released results from the latest poll included voter opinions about the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates; abortion regulations; gun rights; gasoline tax; and the admission of Syrian refugees to the country. Those results are available at mtsupoll.org.

MTSU POLL S2016-Leaders approval_web

Click the image for interactive version of the graphic that shows approval by party affiliation.


 

MTSU Poll: Voters weigh in on standard of living, leader approvals

Feb. 3, 2016

Tennessee voters continue to disagree on how strictly abortion should be regulated, but both sides in the debate agree that stricter regulation alone isn’t the best way to reduce the number of abortions performed, according to the latest MTSU Poll.

The statewide telephone poll of 600 randomly selected registered voters also found that the biggest segments of state voters want laws on selling and carrying guns left as they are now, don’t want an increase in the state’s gasoline tax, and oppose accepting Syrian refugees into the U.S.

Abortion

Asked whether they thought abortion should be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most cases, or illegal in all cases:MTSU POLL S2016-Abortion regs-web

  • 36 percent said abortion should be legal either in most cases (25.6 percent) or all cases (10.1 percent)
  • 56 percent said abortion should be illegal either in most cases (33.3 percent) or all cases (22.2 percent).
  • The rest (about 8 percent) didn’t know or declined to answer.

“Those figures are essentially unchanged from late October,” said Dr. Ken Blake, director of the poll at Middle Tennessee State University. “And opposition to legal abortion in most or all cases remains highest among self-described evangelical Christians, especially those who are also Republicans.”

But in a follow-up question asking what would be most likely to reduce the number of abortions performed: stricter abortion regulations, more access to birth control and sex education, both, or neither:

  • 8 percent chose stricter abortion regulations (3 percent among opponents of abortion regulation vs. 12 percent among supporters of abortion regulation).
  • 37 percent chose “More access to birth control and sex education” (61 percent among opponents of abortion regulation vs. 23 percent among supporters of abortion regulation).
  • 39 percent chose “Both” (26 percent among opponents of abortion regulation vs. 49 percent among supporters of abortion regulation).
  • 11 percent chose “Neither” (7 percent among opponents of abortion regulation vs. 14 percent among supporters of abortion regulation).
Dr. Ken Blake

Dr. Ken Blake

“The findings may point out a thin strip of common ground between Tennessee voters on opposite sides of the abortion issue,” Blake said.

“Both sides think stricter abortion regulations alone would not be the most effective way to cut the number of abortions performed, and both sides think the most effective way would at least include, if not rely mainly on, more access to birth control and sex education. Obviously, though, considerable disagreement remains over whether the best approach includes or excludes stricter abortion regulations.”

Gun laws

Meanwhile, 44 percent of Tennessee voters think laws covering the sale of guns should be left alone, while 34 percent think they should be made more strict, and 17 percent think they should be made less strict. The rest don’t know or decline to answer.

Nearly identical percentages think laws covering carrying guns should be kept as they are (43 percent), made more strict (34 percent) or made less strict (18 percent), with the rest saying they don’t know or giving no answer.

Support for tightening laws on both selling and carrying firearms is significantly higher among Democrats than among independents, and lowest among Republicans. Female voters are also more likely than male voters to favor increased regulation of selling and carrying firearms.

Gasoline tax

Despite plummeting gasoline prices, 50 percent of Tennessee voters oppose “raising the state’s tax on gasoline in order to fund better roads and bridges.” Only 33 percent support an increase, and 16 percent don’t know. The rest give no answer.

Opposition to a gas tax increase is highest among voters with only an associate’s degree or less, while support and opposition is more evenly split among better-educated voters. The figures are comparable to those in the October 2015 MTSU Poll.

Syrian refugees

A solid 66 percent majority of Tennessee voters oppose “accepting Syrian refugees into the U.S.,” a figure significantly higher than the 51 percent found in a Quinnipiac University poll in December of registered voters nationwide. Only 22 percent of Tennesseans support accepting Syrian refugees, and the rest don’t know or give no answer.

Find previous MTSU Poll results here.


MTSU Poll: Trump leads Cruz among state GOP voters; many undecided

Jan. 28, 2016

Tennessee’s Republican primary is down to a race between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, with Trump holding an advantage but with many party voters still undecided, the latest MTSU Poll shows.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders, but her statewide disapproval ratings are the highest of any top candidate on either ticket.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

“We asked two types of questions about the presidential race to get a sense of where potential voters stand,” said Dr. Jason Reineke, associate director of the poll at Middle Tennessee State University.

“First, we asked registered voters to name, off the tops of their heads, the one candidate they would most like to see win the election and the one candidate they would least like to see win the election. Second, we asked whether they would favor or oppose each of several specific, current candidates running. We then broke the results down for the self-described Democrats, independents, and Republicans who responded to our poll.”

The poll of 600 registered Tennessee voters was conducted Jan. 15-20 and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points. Voters in Tennessee and 10 other states will go to the polls March 1 in the so-called “SEC primary.”

Trump leads among Republicans, independents

When asked to name the one person they would most like to win the 2016 presidential election, 33 percent of self-described Republican voters named Trump. Cruz came in second, chosen by a significantly smaller 17 percent of Republicans.

But 28 percent of GOP voters said they did not know who they would like to see win.

Click to visit the MTSU Poll website.

Click to visit the MTSU Poll website.

Ben Carson, who led the presidential field among Tennessee voters in the October 2015 MTSU Poll, drew just 7 percent of Republican voters in the latest sample. The remaining Republican candidates also registered in the single digits at best.

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders

Sen. Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz

Trump also posted the best numbers among self-described independent voters, with 26 percent naming Trump as the candidate they’d most like to see win. Democrat Sanders, the next-most-popular candidate, came it at a significantly lower 10 percent.

But 30 percent of independents were undecided, and the rest chose candidates who pulled in only single-digit percentages.

The news wasn’t all good for Trump, though. About a quarter of Tennessee voters – the biggest chunk of them Democrats – singled him out as the candidate they’d least like to see win the presidency, far more opposition than any other Republican candidate attracted.

Click the image for an interactive graphic that shows choice preferences by party affiliation.

Click the image for an interactive graphic that shows choice preferences by party affiliation.

Clinton solid among Democrats but least-liked candidate statewide

Statewide opposition to Trump, though notable, was only half as strong as statewide opposition to Clinton. Fifty percent of Tennessee voters – most of them Republicans – named her as the candidate they’d least like to see win the presidency.

But 47 percent of self-described Democratic voters in the sample picked Clinton as the candidate they’d most like to see win the presidency. A significantly smaller 15 percent named Sanders, and 26 percent said they did not know. All other percentages were in the single digits.

‘Favorability’ and the Republicans’ ‘deep bench’

Despite favoring Trump, Tennessee Republican voters seemed open to backing either Cruz or Carson as alternatives — 65 percent said they “strongly favor” or “favor” Trump’s becoming president, but 60 percent said the same of Cruz, and 60 percent said the same of Carson.

Dr. Ken Blake

Dr. Ken Blake

Dr. Jason Reineke

Dr. Jason Reineke

Dr. Ken Blake, director of the MTSU Poll, said that even with the subsample’s larger error margin taken into consideration, the findings suggest a majority of state Republican voters would favor either Trump, Carson or Cruz.

“The Republicans have what you might call a ‘deep bench’ of presidential candidates in Tennessee,” Blake said. “If the current favorite, Trump, were to fade, it appears majorities of GOP voters would be willing to back Cruz or Carson, perhaps especially if Clinton turned out to be the Democratic nominee.”

Among Democratic voters, only 42 percent would strongly favor, or favor, Sanders becoming president, statistically much less than the 77 percent who would support Clinton as president.

For previous MTSU Poll results, go to www.mtsupoll.org.

MTSU Poll S2016-Presidential Approval_web

Methodology

Telephone interviews for the poll were completed by Issues & Answers Network Inc. from among a random sample of registered Tennessee voters age 18 and over. Data were collected using Tennessee statewide voter registration sample of 60 percent landline and 40 percent cell phones. The average interview length was 12 minutes. Quotas by gender and Grand Region were implemented. Data were weighted based on respondent age to ensure the data represent Tennessee registered voters. The survey’s error margin of 4 percentage points indicates one can be 95 percent confident that the actual population figure lies within 4 percentage points (in either direction) of the poll result. Error margins for subgroups can be larger, depending on the subgroup’s size.

 

Star Parties kick off for spring Feb. 5 with ‘Another Ninth Planet?’

Move over Pluto, and make way for what could be the newest — and ninth — planet.

“Another Ninth Planet?” will be the subject of Dr. Chuck Higgins’ talk as MTSU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy’s First Friday Star Parties resume for the spring semester.

Star Parties spring 2016

Click on this flier to see a larger, printable version.

For the next three months, star parties will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 5, March 4, April 1 and April 22 in Room 1006 of the Science Building, located at 440 Friendship St.

A searchable campus parking and building map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap.

The public and campus community are invited to the free 45-minute lectures, which are followed by telescope observations at the MTSU Observatory, weather permitting.

First Friday Star Parties are a way for the department to bring MTSU and its surrounding communities together to view and discuss the stars, planets and more.

Higgins, an associate professor, said a Jan. 16 paper published in The Astronomical Journal by California Institute of Technology researchers Konstantin Batygin and Michael E. “Mike” Brown highlights evidence for a large planet-sized object — larger than 10 Earth masses — in the distant solar system.

“The evidence is based on numerical simulations to try to explain observed data that show an unexpected clustering of distant objects in the Kuiper belt,” Higgins said.

Dr. Chuck Higgins

Dr. Chuck Higgins

“In more simple terms, astronomers have noticed that some small bodies well beyond Neptune have some strange orbits,” he added. “One possible explanation causing these strange orbits is gravitational influence from a large planet — at least 10 Earth masses — that is 700 astronomical units from the sun.”

Earth is 1 astronomical unit, or approximately 93 million miles, from the sun.)

During the Feb. 5 star party, Higgins will explain the disturbed orbits and highlight the evidence for this possible “ninth” planet.

Astronomers downgraded Pluto to dwarf planet status in 2006, leaving eight planets in the solar system.

The other scheduled First Friday Star Party dates, topics and presenters for spring 2016 include:

  • March 4 — “Not So Dark Dark Matter” with Dr. Irina Perevalova, assistant professor of chemistry.
  • April 1 — “Symmetry, the Big Bang and You” with Dr. Rob Mahurin, physics and astronomy lecturer.
  • April 22 — “Buying and Using a Telescope” with Dr. John Wallin, physics and astronomy professor. This star party also is a special Alumni Weekend event.

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

MTSU's First Friday Star Parties resume Feb. 5 for the spring 2016 semester. Weather permitting, each event includes telescope observations at the MTSU Observatory after the lecture. (MTSU file photo)

MTSU’s First Friday Star Parties resume Feb. 5 for the spring 2016 semester. Weather permitting, each event includes telescope observations at the MTSU Observatory, located between the Wiser-Patten Science Hall and Smith Hall, after the lecture. (MTSU file photo)

African-American journalists are focus of free Feb. 4 screenings at MTSU

MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment joins the university’s Black History Month celebration on Thursday, Feb. 4, with a pair of free public screenings of “The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords,” an award-winning PBS documentary on African-American journalists.

Black Press film poster webScreenings are set at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Feb. 4 in Room 104 of the Bragg Media and Entertainment Building on the east side of campus.

A searchable, printable campus parking map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap. Off-campus visitors attending the event should obtain a special one-day permit from MTSU’s Office of Parking and Transportation at www.mtsu.edu/parking/visit.php.

“The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords” was the first documentary to examine the history and national contributions of African-American newspapers and journalists. Newspapers focused on and run by African-Americans have been publishing in major U.S. cities since the early 1800s, providing detailed records of the lives of black Americans not found anywhere else.

Filmmaker Stanley Nelson discovered the wealth of information in the community newspapers while researching other documentaries on African-American businesswoman Madame C. J. Walker and domestic workers who migrated north after the Civil War.

“I was both excited and overwhelmed by the volume of research materials that laid before me,” Nelson recalled. “I realized then that black newspapers were fascinating in themselves and told their own story.”

Along with the College of Media and Entertainment, these special screenings are sponsored by MTSU’s School of Journalism and the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies at MTSU.

The event is part of a yearlong series of special programs celebrating the launch of the renamed College of Media and Entertainment at MTSU. For more information about the college and its programs, visit www.mtsu.edu/media.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

American journalist Ethel L. Payne, right, speaks with a soldier in Vietnam, circa 1966. Payne, known as "First Lady of the Black Press," was a columnist, lecturer and freelance writer who reported on the civil rights movement during the 1950s and 1960s. Serving as a reporter and Washington, D.C., bureau chief for the Chicago Defender, a nationally circulated African-American newspaper, she became the first female African-American commentator employed by a national network when CBS hired her in 1972. Payne's story is part of the documentary "The Black Press: Soldiers without Swords" set for two screenings Feb. 4 at MTSU. (Photo courtesy of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University)

American journalist Ethel L. Payne, right, speaks with a soldier in Vietnam, circa 1966. Payne, known as “First Lady of the Black Press,” was a columnist, lecturer and freelance writer who reported on the civil rights movement during the 1950s and 1960s. Serving as a reporter and Washington, D.C., bureau chief for the Chicago Defender, a nationally circulated African-American newspaper, she became the first female African-American commentator employed by a national network when CBS hired her in 1972. Payne’s story is part of the documentary “The Black Press: Soldiers without Swords” set for two screenings Feb. 4 at MTSU. (Photo courtesy of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University)

Will inclement weather affect MTSU’s schedule? Find out here!

If inclement weather forecasts have you wondering if MTSU classes and events will be delayed or canceled, bookmark this page, mtsunews.com/weather, to keep track of the latest updates!

When inclement weather affects university operations, MTSU will always inform the campus and surrounding community via:

  • direct communication with students, faculty and staff through alerts from MTSU’s Critical Notification System;
  • local radio and television stations (see list below);
  • the “Alert Updates” web page at www.mtsu.edu/alertupdates;
  • a note on the MTSU home page at www.mtsu.edu;
  • the university’s Twitter feed, @mtsunewsand
  • the MTSU hotline (615-898-2000).

 

All current  MTSU students, faculty and staff automatically receive email alerts from the university about weather-related emergencies, delays and cancellations.
MTSU students, faculty and staff who also want to receive text and/or voice alerts may add those preferences by clicking here and logging in with a PipelineMT username and password.

(Campus Alert FAQs, including adding or changing contact information, are available here .)

If MTSU classes are canceled or delayed, the announcement applies to all classes, credit and noncredit. All university offices will be open unless the weather announcement specifically says they’ll be closed. Overnight decisions will be announced by 6 a.m. the following day.

Radio Stations
TV Stations

Student class attendance during inclement weather when the university remains open is addressed in MTSU’s 2015-16 “Blue Raider Planner and Handbook .” It explains that

… students will be allowed to use their own discretion when snow and icy conditions exist — they will be given the opportunity to make up missed classes should they decide not to attend. (page 24)

The Ann Campbell Early Learning Center, MTSU’s early intervention preschool, also has updated its inclement-weather closing policy and now follows the university’s closure decisions. You can read the policy here and also check the ACE Learning Center’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ProjectHelp for more information.

MTSU tests its tornado sirens monthly to ensure proper operation during tornado warnings and other emergency alerts. A schedule of the monthly tests is available at mtsunews.com/tornado-siren-testing. That page also includes a link to locations of the safest places on campus.

The MTSU Alert4U emergency weather information page at http://mtsu.edu/alert4u/tornado.php also includes tips on preparing for tornado weather and a “Frequently Asked Questions” link to MTSU-specific information for tornado warnings.

Interfaith luncheon provides chance to learn about religions, cultures

MTSU educators are preparing to infuse their spring 2016 courses with fresh perspectives after joining an interfaith community luncheon co-hosted by the university.

The American Democracy Project and the Center for Historic Preservation joined forces with the Family of Abraham and Wat Amphawan of America for a day of workshops and civil dialogue at one of Murfreesboro’s Buddhist temples.

Dr. Amy Sayward, left, an MTSU history professor, chats with Pat Halser, member of the Family of Abraham and Circle of Friends interfaith groups. The women were among the participants in a multireligious, multiethnic luncheon co-hosted by MTSU Jan. 15 at Wat Amphawan Buddhist Temple in Murfreesboro. (Photos by MTSU News and Media Relations)

Dr. Amy Sayward, left, an MTSU history professor, chats with Pat Halser, member of the Family of Abraham and Circle of Friends interfaith groups, during a multireligious, multiethnic luncheon co-hosted by MTSU Jan. 15 at Wat Amphawan Buddhist Temple in Murfreesboro. (Photos by MTSU News and Media Relations)

Dr. Mary A. Evins

Dr. Mary A. Evins

“Being intimate with our fellow man, being able to sit and talk and be real and human and kind, warms my heart at its very base,” said Dr. Mary Evins, coordinator of MTSU’s American Democracy Project and a CHP professor.

Evins’ grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities is funding the “Bridging Cultures at Community Colleges” program in partnership with Jackson State and Cleveland State community colleges.

Academics from all three institutions and around the country gathered at MTSU in July 2015 for five days to collaborate on ways to give community college students more exposure to religious and cultural plurality.

The Jan. 15 community luncheon allowed scholars and community leaders of various faiths to communicate in a less formal, more social atmosphere.

American Democracy Project logo webCHP logo webAfter blessings in Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist and Sikh faiths, participants dined on a Thai buffet meal under the gaze of a golden Buddha statue.

“Things like this make me more aware of culture and make me more aware that I need to put more emphasis on people from different backgrounds,” said Nigel Bradley, an adjunct professor of literature at both Jackson State and the University of Tennessee-Martin.

Pat Halser, a member of the Nashville-based Family of Abraham interfaith group, spoke of her work with an organization created to promote better relations between Jews and Muslims.

The Rev. Joe Pat Breen, a retired Catholic priest, delivers the Christian blessing prior to an interfaith luncheon at Wat Amphawan Buddhist Temple in Murfreesboro Jan. 15. The temple, the American Democracy Project, the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation and the Family of Abraham groups co-hosted the special luncheon.

The Rev. Joe Pat Breen, a retired Catholic priest, delivers the Christian blessing prior to an interfaith luncheon at Wat Amphawan Buddhist Temple in Murfreesboro Jan. 15. The temple, the American Democracy Project, the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation and the Family of Abraham groups co-hosted the special luncheon.

“It just makes it easier to understand another person’s perspective when you’ve actually talked to that person instead of just reading something about them in a book or watching something on television,” Halser said.

Robin Abudiah, a Thompson’s Station resident who worships at the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, dined with Halser.

“What I came to realize is how little I did know, and what I did know was a lot of false information, even though I had gotten it from reputable sources,” Abudiah said.

Evins said the next step is to continue faculty collaboration to increase ways of broadening students’ religious and cultural knowledge.

For more information on the “Bridging Cultures at Community Colleges Program,” contact Evins at 615-904-8241 or mary.evins@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Tennessee Business Barometer: Anxiety growing in new year

Tennessee business leaders have grown increasingly anxious about the current economy and their ability to find qualified workers, according to the latest online survey by MTSU’s Jones College of Business.

The statewide Tennessee Business Barometer index declined significantly to 146 from 243 in October 2015. The quarterly index is a collaboration between Middle Tennessee State University and the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry to capture the mood and outlook of business leaders through online surveys.

Dr. Tim Graeff

Dr. Tim Graeff

The latest survey shows growing pessimism about the future of the overall U.S. and Tennessee economies, according to Dr. Tim Graeff, MTSU professor of marketing and coordinator of the index.

“Economic unease is beginning to hit even closer to home as business leaders have also become more anxious about the economic conditions for their industry and their individual firm,” Graeff said. “This is coupled with continued pessimism regarding the employment outlook.”

The latest results are based on a 17-question online survey submitted by 115 business leaders throughout the state Jan. 12-19. The margin of error is 9.1 percent.

The index score is computed by adding the percentage of positive responses to each question and subtracting the percentage of negative responses. Respondents included business owners, vice presidents, senior managers and managers at firms of various sizes.

This chart shows the latest results from the Tennessee Business Barometer online survey. (Source: Office of Consumer Research, MTSU)

This chart shows the latest results from the Tennessee Business Barometer online survey. (Source: Office of Consumer Research, MTSU)

A PDF copy of the full report is available here. Previous reports are available through the MTSU Office of Consumer Research’s website at www.mtsu.edu/consumer.

The barometer was launched in the summer of 2015. MTSU and the Tennessee Chamber will track the index over time to identify patterns in the assessments of Tennessee business leaders about the business climate, similar to national consumer confidence surveys.

For more information, contact Graeff at 615-898-5124 or tim.graeff@mtsu.edu. For more information about the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, visit www.tnchamber.org or call 615-256-5141.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Make your spring a safer one with MTSU’s free rape-defense classes

Women on and around the MTSU campus can help make their spring a safer one by joining the MTSU University Police Department’s new five-week session of free Rape Aggression Defense classes.

A Rape Aggression Defense Systems instructor, wearing the red protective gear, tangles with a student during a RAD course after she knocks another instructor to the ground. The MTSU University Police Department has set a new five-week RAD course beginning Monday, Feb. 1. (Photo courtesy of R.A.D. Systems)

A Rape Aggression Defense Systems instructor, wearing the red protective gear, tangles with a student during a RAD course after she knocks another instructor to the ground. The MTSU University Police Department has set a new five-week RAD course beginning Monday, Feb. 1. (Photo courtesy of R.A.D. Systems)

This new spring 2015 course is set each Monday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. beginning Feb. 1 and is open to all female MTSU students, faculty and staff, along with the general public.

The course concludes Feb. 29. Organizers say that participants must attend all five sessions to ensure that they receive proper training.

Class size is limited for this semester’s safety course, so the University Police Department is encouraging interested parties to enroll as soon as possible.

RAD color logo webThe Rape Aggression Defense System is a comprehensive program of realistic defense tactics and techniques for women that emphasizes awareness, prevention, risk reduction and avoidance and progresses to the basics of hands-on defense training.

Nationally certified RAD instructors teach MTSU’s free course.

The program is designed for females age 13 and older with no previous experience or background in physical skills training. Instructors will work to accommodate any physical impairment a participant may have.

Participants should email their names and contact information to rad@mtsu.edu. Instructors will call or email participants with more details about enrollment and the class location.

For more information about MTSU’s RAD classes, send an email to rad@mtsu.edu.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)