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Aug. 26 MTSU engineering golf event aids student projects

Participate in MTSU’s third annual Engineering Technology Golf Classic … and you will be helping fund nationally recognized student projects including the solar boat and lunar rover.

The event will be held starting at noon Friday, Aug. 26, at Champions Run Golf Course, 14262 Mount Pleasant Road, in Rockvale, Tennessee, near Eagleville.

In this April file photo, MTSU engineering technology student Kelly Maynard is shown with wheels she helped design for the 2016 lunar rover competition in Huntsville, Ala. Funds raised from the golf classic will benefit student projects. (MTSU file photo by Randy Weiler)

In this April file photo, MTSU engineering technology student Kelly Maynard is shown with wheels she helped design for the 2016 lunar rover competition in Huntsville, Ala. Funds raised from the golf classic will benefit student projects. (MTSU file photo by Randy Weiler)

A light lunch will kick off the activities at noon, followed by a 1 p.m. shotgun start. A silent auction will be held during the day. Following the end of play, awards will be presented and hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Sponsorship levels will include platinum ($2,000 for two teams/8 golfers), gold ($1,000) and silver ($500). Hole sponsorships are $250 and the fee for individual golfers will be $125.

Dr. Walter Boles

Dr. Walter Boles

Prizes will be awarded to the first-, second- and third-place teams.

RSVP by calling Jennifer Tweedie at 615-898-5009 or email Jennifer.Tweedie@mtsu.edu.

Walter Boles, Engineering Technology chair, said thousands of dollars are needed annually to defray expenses incurred by the various team projects, which gain the department and university considerable recognition when competing against other colleges and universities.

The Davis Groupe of Murfreesboro is a primary sponsor. Engineering Technology is one of 11 departments in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences.

To learn more about Engineering Technology’s offerings, including mechatronics engineering, visit the department website above and http://www.mtsu.edu/programs/engineering/.

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

Free MTSU rape-defense classes begin Sept. 7 with new safety training

MTSU’s in-demand Rape Aggression Defense classes have a new element of security for safety-conscious women on and around the MTSU campus this fall: free training in aerosol defense.

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 fall RAD course beginning Wednesday, Sept. 7. (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 fall RAD course beginning Wednesday, Sept. 7. (Photo courtesy of R.A.D. Systems)

The MTSU Police Department’s newest five-week session of free RAD classes begins Wednesday, Sept. 7, and runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. through Wednesday, Oct. 5. It’s open to all female MTSU students, faculty and staff, along with the general public.

Organizers say that participants must attend all five Wednesday sessions to ensure that their training is complete.

The 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.

MTSU’s nationally certified RAD instructors have recently been certified to teach RAD System Aerosol Defense Options, which means class participants also will learn about:

  • carrying pepper spray and other aerosol self-defense variants;
  • what to look for when purchasing a self-defense spray; and
  • how to use it for protection.

“This is another great facet of personal safety training for our RAD class members to have at their disposal,” said MTSU Police Detective Kyle Thompson, one of the department’s RAD course instructors.

RAD color logo web“Even if they choose not to use self-defense spray, it’s another tool in their arsenal and they’ll know how to keep themselves safer around it.”

The Rape Aggression Defense program is designed for women age 13 and older with no previous experience or background in physical skills training. Instructors will help accommodate any physical impairment a participant may have.

Class size is very limited for this new fall course, so the MTSU Police Department is encouraging interested parties to enroll as soon as possible.

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, email rad@mtsu.edu.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Celebrate 1st day of classes by registering to vote at MTSU Honors College

Ticking off the back-to-campus checklist will be even easier Monday, Aug. 22, when MTSU offers eligible voters an opportunity to register on campus.

voter registration button squareThe American Association of University Women’s Murfreesboro chapter will sponsor voter registration for students, faculty, staff and others from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 22 at MTSU’s Paul W. Martin Honors College Building.

The Honors Building is located across from the Student Union on the east side of campus. A printable campus map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap.

Less than 80 days remain before Election Day across America, set for Tuesday, Nov. 8.

AAUW Mboro logo webOrganizers for the MTSU American Democracy Project note that only 44 percent of MTSU students were registered to vote in 2012. Only 62 percent of those registered students cast votes in that year’s elections.

Those statistics come from MTSU’s participation in the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement, which is supported by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. MTSU was one of 600 institutions nationwide to take part in the study.

Additionally, Tennessee ranks dead last among all 50 states in voter turnout, according to the most recent report by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

For more information, contact Nancy James, director of the MTSU Child Care Lab and public policy chair of AAUW Murfreesboro, at 615-898-2970 or nancy.james@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

McPhee stresses retention, faculty salaries at Fall Faculty event [+VIDEO]

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee stressed the challenges of increasing student retention and faculty salaries in the face of limited funding resources during his traditional State of the University address Thursday, Aug. 18, inside Tucker Theatre.

Entering his 16th year leading the largest Tennessee Board of Regents campus, McPhee kicked off the newest academic year by reminding the hundreds of faculty and staff in attendance of the many accomplishments over the past year, both academic — such as the first graduates of the popular new mechatronics program — as well as athletic, including the men’s basketball team’s historic upset of Michigan State during the NCAA tournament.

A video recap of his remarks is below.

http://youtu.be/HT8kzSYtbGA

The full text of the president’s address is available here.

McPhee pointed to the university’s ongoing Quest for Student Success initiative to improve retention and graduation rates and noted the completion this past spring of a reaccreditation review by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

But the president also reminded the near-capacity crowd of the ongoing funding challenges facing Tennessee higher education. Whereas 35 years ago the state of Tennessee provided nearly 70 percent of higher ed funding, with tuition dollars providing almost all of the rest, today those percentages “have essentially flipped,” he said.

“You don’t need an advanced degree to understand that the burden has shifted” to students and their families, he said. “What is most troubling with this situation is that, while state support for higher education has declined, the state Legislature and our own Board of Regents have also stressed the need to limit tuition increases in an effort to control costs.”

The TBR increased MTSU’s tuition by only 2.6 percent this fall as higher education officials seek to stem the trend of significant tuition increases each year over the last decade.

McPhee said he was pleased the most recent state budget gave an additional $3.7 million to MTSU, but he pointed out that budget did not include dedicated funds for salary increases for university faculty and staff. That means MTSU has to address salaries using the same funds needed for repairs, new technology and increased fixed costs such as ongoing maintenance, he said.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee makes a point during his 2016 “State of the University” speech Thursday, Aug. 18, inside the university’s Tucker Theatre. The address, which covered MTSU’s recent accomplishments and upcoming challenges, was the focus of the Fall Faculty Meeting, which convenes each year before the new academic year begins. MTSU’s 2016-17 classes begin Monday, Aug. 22. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee makes a point during his 2016 “State of the University” speech Thursday, Aug. 18, inside the university’s Tucker Theatre. The address, which covered MTSU’s recent accomplishments and upcoming challenges, was the focus of the Fall Faculty Meeting, which convenes each year before the new academic year begins. MTSU’s 2016-17 classes begin Monday, Aug. 22. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

In addressing the issue of faculty salaries, McPhee noted that a recent salary survey, completed internally, showed that MTSU faculty salaries “are below market when compared to similar public institutions.”

“Despite these challenges, I remain committed, as I have been throughout my tenure, to enhancing the salaries of our faculty and staff, while maintaining the integrity of our academic programs,” he said.

The president said he will seek approval from the Board of Regents in September to raise pay for faculty identified in the salary survey as below established minimum pay ranges.

Remaining funds would go toward a proposed 1 percent raise for eligible employees, although the final percentage increase will not be determined until after fall enrollment figures are known in the coming weeks. If approved, all increases will be effective Oct. 1.

McPhee touched briefly on the coming transition from TBR oversight to governance by a local Board of Trustees as part of Gov. Bill Haslam’s FOCUS Act reforms. He said he hopes the state will revisit its funding formula to better support MTSU’s ability to produce thousands of graduates each year, many of whom remain in the region to enhance the Midstate workforce and attract business and industry.

The university remains the No. 1 producer of graduates in the TBR and for the Greater Nashville region and economy; it is also the No. 1 choice of Tennessee’s transfer students and of students 25 years and older.

“All of these are crucial elements to our state’s goal to have 55 percent of Tennesseans earn a post-secondary educational credential,” he said.

“As we move into a new era of governance and accountability, I would like to see us rewarded in the funding formula for the sheer volume of graduates we produce, so that we could have resources to address critical needs.”

Faculty awards

Another tradition at the Fall Faculty Meeting is the annual presentation of the MTSU Foundation Awards, which recognize faculty members for accomplishments inside and outside the classroom.

This year’s recipient of the Career Achievement Award, considered the pinnacle of recognition for MTSU professors, was Dr. Michael Hein, a professor of psychology at MTSU since 1990 and the director of MTSU’s Center for Organizational and Human Resource Effectiveness.

MTSU WordmarkNineteen other faculty members also received individual awards. You can read the story, including the full list of recipients and their honors, here.

McPhee also announced his President’s Student Success Award, which is given to a university department “to recognize innovation and proven results in helping our students succeed.”

This year’s winner is the Department of Computer Science, which receives a $20,000 recurring award. McPhee also presented a runner-up honor to the Department of Theatre and Dance, which will receive a $10,000 award.

MTSU students will begin moving into campus housing beginning Friday, Aug. 19, with campus and community volunteers on hand Friday and Saturday, Aug. 20, to help students move in during the traditional “We-Haul” event.

University Convocation, a public ceremony welcoming new freshmen into the MTSU family, is set for Sunday, Aug. 21, at 2 p.m. in Murphy Center, immediately followed by the President’s Picnic. The university’s 2016-17 academic year begins Monday, Aug. 22, the first official day of fall 2016 semester classes.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Tennessee Insurance Hall of Fame at MTSU inducts 3 into 2016 class

Three longtime insurance professionals are the latest inductees into the Robert E. Musto Tennessee Insurance Hall of Fame at Middle Tennessee State University.

This year’s inductees included John Dewald of Memphis, John Milam of Knoxville and Dennis Stephen of Columbia. The induction ceremony was held July 26 at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Murfreesboro.

The Insurance Hall of Fame has now inducted 65 members since its inception. The hall is coordinated through the Tommy T. Martin Chair of Insurance in MTSU’s Jennings A. Jones College of Business.

The Robert E. Musto Tennessee Insurance Hall of Fame at Middle Tennessee State University inducted the 2016 class during a July 26 ceremony at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Pictured, from left, are John Dewald of Memphis, John Milam of Knoxville and Dennis Stephen of Columbia. (Submitted photo)

The Robert E. Musto Tennessee Insurance Hall of Fame at Middle Tennessee State University inducted the 2016 class during a July 26 ceremony at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Pictured, from left, are inductees John Dewald of Memphis, John Milam of Knoxville and Dennis Stephen of Columbia. (Submitted photo)

John Dewald

A Texas A&M University graduate, John Dewald served a stint in the U.S. Air Force before becoming an early pioneer in the insurance brokerage industry firm. He started his career with Aetna Life Insurance Co. in 1962, forming his own firm, Dewald & Associates, in 1964.

John Dewald

John Dewald

Along with wife Sue, who worked in the business with him, Dewald later changed the name to Agency Services Inc. (ASI) in 1977. Throughout his career, Dewald was active in professional organizations such as the National Association of Life Underwriters and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisers. In 1982, Dewald’s son, Jack, joined his father in the business, and in 1994, Dewald retired at age 60, selling the firm to his son.

Dewald has been very involved civically, holding leadership positions on a variety of community service organizations, including the Memphis Salvation Army Advisory Board. In late 2013, Dewald was honored by the Memphis Salvation Army as the only “Emeritus” Board Member ever recognized.

John Milam

MTSU alumnus John Milam is executive vice president, human capital and benefits, for Willis Towers Watson in Knoxville, a firm at which he’s worked since age 22. A native of Tupelo, Mississippi, Milam moved to Nashville with his family when he was 11. He attended Nashville schools and later earned his business degree from MTSU.

John Milam

John Milam

Milam is a member of the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) and the Top of the Table, two of the most elite professional organizations for financial service professionals. He was named Tennessee Association of Insurance and Financial Advisers Professional of the Year in 2003.

Among his civic contributions, Milam served six years on the United Way Board of Directors. He has also served as president of several professional associations, including The Dream Connection, a wish-granting organization for seriously ill children. Last year, MDRT awarded a $50,000 grant to The Dream Connection in Milam’s honor for his work with the organization. It was the largest grant ever given by the 43,000-member MDRT on behalf of one of its members.

Dennis Stephen

Dennis Stephen is the retired chief operating officer, life insurance operations, for Tennessee Farmers Insurance Companies in Columbia. Stephen graduated from Nashville’s Lipscomb University with a bachelor’s degree in business and started his insurance career in 1971 at Confederation Life Insurance Company in Toronto, Canada.

Dennis Stephen

Dennis Stephen

He joined Tennessee Farmers Life Insurance Company as its first Home Office employee in May 1973, was later promoted to a director and then a vice president in March 1987. He became COO in July 1994 before retiring at the end 2015. He continues to serve as management consultant for Tennessee Farmers Insurance Companies.

His civic involvement includes serving four years as board chairman for Columbia Academy, a private Christian school that serves pre-school through 12th grade. He served as a member of the school’s board of directors for 15 years and on its executive committee eight years.

About the Insurance Hall of Fame

The Robert E. Musto Tennessee Insurance Hall of Fame, created on the MTSU campus in 1999, honors entrepreneurs who created insurance companies and the agents and company employees who have made a difference in their companies and their communities, significantly affected the lives of many people and advanced the role of insurance in society.

The Hall of Fame is named for the late Robert E. Musto, longtime vice president of the National Life and Accident Insurance Company. The hall, which is under the auspices of the Tommy T. Martin Chair of Insurance in MTSU’s Jennings A. Jones College of Business, is located on the west wall of the first-floor south lobby of the Business and Aerospace Building at MTSU.

MTSU offers an insurance concentration through the Department of Economics and Finance within the Jones College. For more information about the department, go to www.mtsu.edu/econfin.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Two MTSU cadets commissioned into U.S. Army Reserves

Two MTSU graduating seniors received their commissions as second lieutenants into the U.S. Army Reserve aviation branch during the Blue Raider Detachment Summer Commissioning Ceremony Friday, Aug. 5.

Following university tradition, the summer 2016 commissioning ceremony was held on the eve of MTSU’s graduation to celebrate the students’ completion of academic and physical training and their readiness to serve in various branches of the military.

Summer 2016 Military Science ROTC Commissioning Ceremony Future mother-in-law Debra Rodriguez taking a photo of Brandon Rodriguez and newly commissioned Kelly Slocum.

Future mother-in-law Debra Rodriguez takes a photo of Brandon Rodriguez and newly commissioned Lt. Kelly Slocum. (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

The commissionees are:

  • Nicholas A. Hruschak of La Vergne, Tennessee.
  • Kelly R. Slocum of Shady Springs, Maryland.

Both students will graduate Saturday, Aug. 6, with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from the Department of Health and Human Performance in the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences.

Retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. David Ogg, an MTSU alumnus, served as guest speaker Friday.

Ogg, a member of the Classes of ’78 and ’87, stressed “integrity, high standards and humor” in his talk.

“Don’t give your integrity away. Never lie. People must trust you,” Ogg told the new officers.

“Hold yourself to the highest standard. Keep a positive approach and attitude. Be able to have the courage to laugh at yourself.”

Lt. Col. Jackie McDowell, who is completing his first year of leading the MTSU military science program, commended both cadets for completing their physical training and keeping their grades up.

The event included the administering of the oath of office, swearing-in and pinning of the commissionees, first salute ceremony and the singing of the Army song.

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

Parents Paul Hruschak, left, and Fran Thorpe, right, watch as significant other Kayla Stacey, second from left, and friend, Maj. Shiloh Harless, pin the second lieutenant bars onto Nicholas A. Hruschak's dress uniform during the summer commissioning ceremony Aug. 5 in the KUC Theater. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Parents Paul Hruschak, left, and Fran Thorpe, right, watch as significant other Kayla Stacey, second from left, and friend Maj. Shiloh Harless pin the second lieutenant bars onto MTSU cadet Nicholas A. Hruschak’s dress uniform during the summer commissioning ceremony Aug. 5 in the KUC Theater. 

Parents Kenny and Jane Slocum, left, and best friend Colleen Carmichael pin newly commissioned MTSU cadet Kelly Slocum during the Blue Raider Detachment Summer 2016 Commissioning Ceremony Aug. 5 in KUC Theater.

Parents Kenny and Jane Slocum, left, and best friend Colleen Carmichael pin newly commissioned MTSU cadet Kelly Slocum during the Blue Raider Detachment Summer 2016 Commissioning Ceremony Aug. 5 in the KUC Theater.

Recent donations strengthen student ‘ties’ at Raiders’ Closet

Two generous donations of men’s ties and women’s business suits are replenishing the inventory at MTSU’s Raiders’ Closet as fall semester approaches.

The nonprofit service for students searching for the right outfit to wear on job interviews recently received about 120 ties from St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Murfreesboro.Raiders Closet logo web

“For Father’s Day, the family ministries team of St. Mark’s UMC sponsored a tie collection called ‘Tie One On’ where we invited folks to bring ties to lay on the altar in honor of their dads with the intent that the ties would be donated to Raiders’ Closet,” wrote the Rev. Martha Hicks Touchton, the church’s minister of education, in an email.

In addition, Office Professionals of Tennessee, a new office workers’ organization, contributed a trunk full of women’s clothes to the closet at its April 23 educational seminar and adopted the closet as its official charity.

Virginia Hemby-Grubb, a professor in the MTSU Department of Marketing and founder of Raiders’ Closet, shows some of the professional clothing available to students at the closet, which is located in Room 327 of the Keathley University Center. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Virginia Hemby-Grubb, a professor in the MTSU Department of Marketing and founder of Raiders’ Closet, shows some of the professional clothing available to students at the closet, which is located in Room 327 of the Keathley University Center. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Virginia Hemby-Grubb, a professor in the Department of Marketing in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business, created Raiders’ Closet to provide free suits to students with a limit of one per person. She had noticed that not even business majors understood what sort of apparel is appropriate to wear in professional environments.

Hemby-Grubb said members of the Office of Professionals of Tennessee, including clerks, receptionists and secretaries, are constantly stunned to see job applicants enter their offices in casual clothing.

“They said, ‘We’ve seen some of these folks come for interviews, and we thought my goodness, do they not have a class where somebody tells them to wear a suit or where somebody tells them you need to wear a shirt that doesn’t look like you slept in it?’” said Hemby-Grubb.

Some of the inventory of shoes and ties available for free to students at the Raiders' Closet inside Keathley University Center. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Some of the inventory of shoes and ties available for free to students at the Raiders’ Closet inside Keathley University Center. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Skip Grubb, Virginia’s husband and an MTSU student majoring in business education, was a student worker at the closet for one year. The former police officer came away with some amazing anecdotes.

“I did have a little girl who came in and got a dark suit, and it fit,” Grubb said. “But the skirt came down below her knee. And she looked at me and said, ‘Do you think this is too, I don’t know, Mormonish?”

Grubb expressed astonishment at some students’ lack of experience and sophistication in selecting clothing.

“A lot of young men come in here and have no idea what size they wear, no idea what size shirt, no idea what size jacket,” said Grubb. “Generally, what they do is get small, medium or large. You ask them what size their inseam is, they have no clue.”

On the other hand, the experience was an education for Grubb, as well. He said a young woman told him that her size was 6P. Grubb said he had no idea that the “P” stood for “petite” because men don’t have petite sizes.

Hemby-Grubb pointed out that Raiders’ Closet is a totally separate endeavor from the Clothing Our Educators Boutique sponsored by the College of Education, which offers business casual clothing for student teachers only.

For more information about Raiders’ Closet or to make a donation, contact Hemby-Grubb at 615-898-2369 or virginia.hemby-grubb@mtsu.edu or Jaye Kiblinger, executive aide in the Department of Marketing, at 615-898-2902 or jaye.kiblinger@mtsu.edu.

— Gina Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

MTSU named a ‘Model of Excellence’ by University Business magazine

Middle Tennessee State University is one of nine colleges and universities nationwide being honored by University Business magazine in its Summer 2016 Models of Excellence recognition program.

The Models of Excellence program recognizes innovative approaches to encouraging and nurturing student success on campus. It is sponsored by payment technology provider CASHNet.

Vincent Windrow

Vincent Windrow

“Middle Tennessee State University finds success in offering students applicable strategies to improve their academic standing, ” said University Business senior editor Tim Goral. “Informative workshops, along with the option to reroute course schedules with a clearer goal in mind, help students actualize a more personalized approach to learning.”

University Business mag logoFederal regulations prevent MTSU from writing to parents of at-risk students to let them know their kids are having trouble. The regulations say nothing about writing to the students themselves, which the university does in hopes of catching a parent’s eye and sparking a conversation in the process.

“It’s a strategic move to send the letter,” said Vincent Windrow, assistant vice provost for student success. “Hopefully it creates a moment where the parents and the student can have dialogue about the student’s progress.”

That strategy aims to entice students to participate in REBOUND, a program that takes place between the fall and spring semesters for freshmen who post a GPA below 2.0 in the fall. At the two-day REBOUND event, students attend workshops covering financial aid, study skills, time management, tutoring, attitude and personal accountability. They also meet with their academic advisers to review their spring schedules and, in many cases, change them.

“We believe these students want to succeed,” Windrow said. “They had a bad semester, but a bad semester doesn’t mean they’re going to have a bad future or that they’re bad students.”

A variety of campus units partner with the MTSU Office of Student Success in presenting REBOUND. Financial aid, residential life, food services, the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students, and parking and transportation are among them. The football team’s defensive coordinator participates. Even university President Sidney A. McPhee and provost facilitate sessions on student success. Seeing such senior leaders helps freshmen realize how serious the program is, according to Windrow.

“Their eyes are like saucers, and some of their mouths gape open,” he said.

In addition to Middle Tennessee State University, Summer 2016 Models of Excellence honorees include: Indiana University Southeast (New Albany, Indiana); University of Wisconsin-Parkside (Kenosha, Wisconsin); LDS Business College (Salt Lake City, Utah); Christopher Newport University (Newport News, Virginia); Franklin University (Columbus, Ohio); Cleveland State University (Cleveland, Ohio); University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Lincoln, Nebraska); and California State University, San Bernardino (San Bernardino, California).MTSU Wordmark

“The Summer 2016 Models of Excellence honorees demonstrate how inclusivity and personalized attention for all students benefits higher education holistically,” said Edward Worrilow, head of marketing and communications at CASHNet. “We are pleased to recognize their efforts alongside University Business.”

Launched in 2015, Models of Excellence is a national recognition program honoring colleges and universities that have implemented innovative, effective and inter-departmental initiatives that are bolstering student success. The program is sponsored by CASHNet, a leading payment technology provider in higher education that allows institutions to simplify electronic billing, accept payments all over campus, offer flexible payments plans, create online storefronts, and more all on one secure platform.

About University Business

University Business is the leading publication for senior managers at colleges and universities throughout the United States, reaching 75,000 leaders who manage enrollment, technology, business, finance, facilities and academic affairs. More information is available at www.universitybusiness.com.

About CASHNet

CASHNet is a leading payment technology provider of secure transaction services to over 700 campuses in higher education, reaching millions of students nationwide. Whether it’s to simplify electronic billing, accept payments all over campus, offer flexible tuition payment plans, or create online storefronts, CASHNet fits everyday campus needs. As a leader in the industry for over 25 years, CASHNet has constantly evolved to create the secure and simplified experience students, payers, and administrators require. More information can be found at www.cashnet.com.

About MTSU

Founded in 1911 as one of three state normal schools for teacher training, Middle Tennessee State University is the oldest and largest undergraduate university in the Tennessee Board of Regents System. With a fall enrollment averaging more than 23,000 students for the past five years, MTSU remains committed to providing individualized service in an exciting and nurturing atmosphere where student success is the top priority. MTSU features eight undergraduate colleges and the College of Graduate Studies, and more than 150 programs and departments including accounting, aerospace, Concrete Industry Management, music and recording industry. Lear more at www.mtsu.edu.

Quick tornado-siren testing planned for MTSU campus Aug. 9

MTSU plans to test its tornado sirens on campus and at the Miller Coliseum Complex Tuesday, Aug. 9, at 12:20 p.m.

This will be a brief, routine test of the system, and no safety actions will be required.

If harsh weather is in the area around the time of the scheduled testing, the test will be canceled.

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

The university will be between semesters Aug. 9 and no classes are underway, but offices are operating on regular schedules. MTSU begins its 104th academic year Monday, Aug. 22, when classes kick off for the fall 2016 semester.

Members of the campus community can prepare for emergency weather situations anytime by checking MTSU’s list of recommended shelter locations at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUTornadoShelters. You also can make note of the siren-testing schedule by visiting www.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 www.mtsunews.com/weather and use the “click here and log in” link to make those notification changes.

Business Barometer: Better outlook now, pessimistic future

The latest Tennessee Business Barometer Index showed continued improvement in the overall outlook of Tennessee business leaders but growing concerns about the future of their firms, according to the latest online survey by MTSU’s Jones College of Business.

The index rose to 153 in July, up from 144 in April. The inaugural survey in July 2015 registered an index of 325.

This chart shows the indices measured by the Tennessee Business Barometer. (Source: MTSU Office of Consumer Research)

This chart shows the indices measured by the Tennessee Business Barometer. (Source: MTSU Office of Consumer Research)

The latest uptick in the index “was due to business leaders’ increasing optimism regarding their individual firm or business even though they have become more pessimistic about the future of the economy,” according to Dr. Tim Graeff, MTSU professor of marketing and coordinator of the index through the Jones College’s Office of Consumer Research.

Jones College of Business logo-updatedThe 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. The index is computed by adding the percentage of positive responses to each question and subtracting the percentage of negative responses.

Dr. Tim Graeff

Dr. Tim Graeff

Graeff noted that the latest survey showed optimism regarding individual firms and businesses, which can lead to increased investments, hiring and growth in the overall economy.

The overall index score is totaled from four sub-indices: current economic situation, future economic expectations, business/firm performance and employment outlook.

The latest survey showed that perceptions of the current economy have leveled off, while the Future Expectations Index dropped noticeably, he said. But business leaders “are much more upbeat” about their individual businesses and employment outlook remained relatively stable.

The current online survey of 59 business leaders from across Tennessee was conducted between July 6 and July 18. The margin of error is 12.7 percent. Respondents include business owners, vice presidents, senior managers, and managers at firms of various sizes.

The next survey is planned for October 2016.

A pdf copy of the full report is available at http://bit.ly/tbbjul16. Previous reports are available through the MTSU Office of Consumer Research’s website at www.mtsu.edu/consumer.

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.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

This fever chart shows the overall index and sub-indices measured by the Tennessee Business Barometer. (Source: MTSU Office of Consumer Research)

This fever chart shows the overall index and sub-indices measured by the Tennessee Business Barometer. (Source: MTSU Office of Consumer Research)