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Community can ‘Saddle Up’ July 30 for MTSU’s ACE Learning Center

Tickets are still available for the community to “Saddle Up for the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center” and have fun Thursday, July 30, while helping little ones learn in the MTSU program.

Click on the logo for more information about the July 30 event.

Click on the logo for more information about the July 30 event.

The 2015 “Saddle Up” event will move off-campus for the first time this year to 1546 Georgetown Lane in Murfreesboro. Hosts Gabriel and Christy Fancher, longtime supporters of the ACE Learning Center — formerly known as Project Help — have opened their home for the fundraiser.

“Our family has supported Saddle Up in the past because we believe in the work being done at ACE,” said Christy Fancher, “and we were thrilled to be able to help in this way. This night is always a great way for old friends to catch up and hopefully make some new friends, too.”

Tickets are still only $50 per person and include a meal and drinks. Event sponsorships for individuals and businesses also are available. Attire, as always, is jeans, boots and cowboy hats.

Students at MTSU's Ann Campbell Early Learning Center have their water bottles ready to cool down tired two-steppers at the July 30 "Saddle Up" fundraising dinner-dance. (Photos courtesy of the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center)

Students at MTSU’s Ann Campbell Early Learning Center have their water bottles ready to cool down tired two-steppers at the July 30 “Saddle Up” fundraising dinner-dance. (Photos courtesy of the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center)

The fun begins at 5 p.m. July 30 with a Saddle Up sponsors’ reception featuring appetizers and cocktails at the nearby Georgetown home of supporter John Floyd. At 6:30 p.m., the Fanchers’ home will be headquarters for a delicious outdoor dinner and silent auction of wonderful gifts of all kinds donated from around the community.

This year’s event will feature a food truck and complimentary valet service for the first time, too. Christie-Q Catering is providing a traditional barbecue meal plus new twists, and beverages will be available thanks to Stones River Total Beverage and Mayday Brewery.

Dr. Ann Campbell, a faculty member in the Department of Elementary and Special Education, established what was then known as Project Help in 1983, creating what would become one of Tennessee’s first inclusive early childhood programs for children ages 15 months until kindergarten.

Campbell died in 2011, and the center, now expanded from its main MTSU facility on North Baird Lane into additional space in the university’s Fairview Building, was renamed for her in 2014.

Dr. Ann Campbell

Dr. Ann Campbell

Ann Campbell Early Learning Center logo webThe ACE Learning Center’s four classrooms provide learning environments for children with and without developmental delays to play together and learn from each other. Teachers at the center plan activities that help children develop communication, social, cognitive and motor skills.

MTSU students are integral to the ACE Learning Center and its young charges. They work and volunteer in the classrooms throughout the academic year, interact with and play alongside the children and support the teachers by assisting with daily activities.

The Saddle Up event supports ACE Learning Center projects alongside funds from tuition, MTSU, the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties, the Charity Circle of Murfreesboro and private donations.

To learn more about 2015’s Saddle Up, purchase tickets or become a sponsor for the event, contact Lucie Burchfield, development director for MTSU’s College of Education, at lucie.burchfield@mtsu.edu or follow the Saddle Up event link at www.facebook.com/projecthelp. You also can purchase tickets directly at www.mtalumni.com/saddleup.

For more information about the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center and its work, visit www.mtsu.edu/acelearningcenter or call 615-898-2458.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Some of the smallest students at MTSU's Ann Campbell Early Learning Center rummage in a toy box to find more fun. The July 30 "Saddle Up" fundraising dinner-dance helps provide services for these little ones and their fellow students.

Some of the smallest students at MTSU’s Ann Campbell Early Learning Center rummage in a toy box to find more fun. The July 30 “Saddle Up” fundraising dinner-dance helps provide services for these little ones and their fellow students.

MTSU Police probe gunshots incident; no injuries reported

MTSU Police continue to investigate a report of gunshots being fired on the university campus late Wednesday, July 22.

No one was injured, no damages were reported, and there are currently no suspects in the incident.

The following text comes from the university’s “Alert Updates” page, located at www.mtsu.edu/alertupdates, which is part of the network of campuswide information sources linked to MTSU’s Rave Mobile Safety emergency notification system.

12:25 P.M., JULY 23, 2015: MTSU ALERT UPDATE: MTSU Police are investigating reports of shots fired late Wednesday night, July 22, outside of Murphy Center.

No injuries or damage were reported, and there are no suspects at this time.

Police responded to the scene just after 11 p.m. Wednesday when an employee working in the area reported seeing a male suspect fire a handgun into the air in the area between Murphy Center and the Kennon Sports Hall of Fame. The suspect was last seen running north toward Greenland Drive.

The employee reported that there was a group of people playing basketball in one of the auxiliary gymnasiums at the time. Police questioned multiple people, but none were able to give a detailed description of the suspect.

MTSU Police sent out emergency alerts to the campus community to stay away from the area as officers secured the scene. Investigators recovered multiple shell casings, and police issued an “all-clear” message to campus around 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call MTSU Police at 615-898-2424.

____________________

1:25 P.M., JULY 23, 2015: ALL CLEAR: The university is all clear from the earlier shots-fired incident. Please report any suspicious activity to MTSU Police at 615-898-2424.

____________________

11:57 P.M., JULY 22, 2015: Shots have been reported fired on campus near the Murphy Center. If you are in that location, leave immediately if possible. Otherwise, shelter in place by finding a secure area and wait for further announcements. If you are not in that location, stay alert and away from the location. Report suspicious activity to MTSU Police at 615-898-2424.

MTSU Alert graphic
The overnight notification went automatically to all current MTSU students, faculty and staff via email alerts from the Rave Mobile Safety system. When necessary, the campuswide alerts also include weather-related university scheduling changes, building closures and more.

MTSU students, faculty and staff who also want to receive text and/or voice alerts can click here, log in with a PipelineMT username and password to update their contact information. (Rave Alert FAQs, including adding or changing contact information, are available here.)

When there is not a situation on or near campus warranting emergency alerts, the “Alert Updates” page displays a generic message advising visitors to check back when necessary and to contact the MTSU Police Department if any suspicious activity is observed.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Pigskin Pre-Game, Business Barometer, girls rock on WGNS

MTSU faculty, alumni and staff shared the latest campus happenings during the July 20 “Action Line” program with veteran host Bart Walker.

The live program was broadcast on FM 100.5, 101.9 and AM 1450 from the WGNS studio in downtown Murfreesboro. If you missed it, you can listen to a podcast of the show here.

Guests included:

Paul Wydra, assistant director of the Office of Alumni Relations, discussed the upcoming annual Pigskin Pre-Game to kickoff the MTSU football season.

Set for 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 8, this year’s event will be a fundraiser for the Alumni Legacy Scholarship and also will help serve as the grand opening for The Grove at Williamson Place. The site is located at 3250 Wilkinson Pike in Murfreesboro, just off Medical Center Parkway across from Embassy Suites Hilton and near Interstate 24 adjacent to the strawberry picking patch.

MTSU guests on the July 20 WGNS "Action Line" program included: top, left to right: Paul Wydra, assistant director in the Office of Alumni Relations, and Dr. Tim Graeff, director of the MTSU Office of Consumer Research; bottom, Jason Manley, alumnus and volunteer at the 13th annual Souther Girls Rock & Roll Camp. (MTSU photo illustration)

MTSU guests on the July 20 WGNS “Action Line” program included: top, left to right: Paul Wydra, assistant director in the Office of Alumni Relations, and Dr. Tim Graeff, director of the MTSU Office of Consumer Research; bottom, Jason Manley, alumnus and volunteer at the 13th annual Souther Girls Rock & Roll Camp. (MTSU photo illustration)

Tickets for the event are $35 each. Attendees must prepay and make reservations by 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5, to secure tickets.

Read the full story and find contact information at www.mtsunews.com/2015-pigskin-pregame.

Dr. Tim Graeff, marketing professor and director of the MTSU Office of Consumer Research, discussed the statewide Tennessee Business Barometer recently launched by MTSU and the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

The Tennessee Business Barometer is a new quarterly index capturing the mood and outlook of business leaders statewide through online surveys.

Conducted July 1-8, the inaugural survey indicates Tennessee business leaders are optimistic about the future growth of their businesses. And the current survey highlights some of the top challenges shared among business leaders, what Graeff describes as a “big five” — staffing, health care costs, regulation, political uncertainty and economic uncertainty.

Read more at www.mtsunews.com/tennessee-business-barometer-launch.

• MTSU alumnus Jason Manley, a volunteer at the upcoming Southern Girls Rock & Roll Camp at MTSU, discussed what campers will be doing at the 13th annual event on campus.

Manley, now an eighth grade English teacher at Siegel Middle School, is a music lover who has volunteered at the camp the past six years

Registration remains open and scholarships are still available for a fun-filled week of rock, rhythm and recording information at the camp, set July 27-31 at MTSU. The camp is open to girls ages 10 to 17.

Read the full story and find contact information at www.mtsunews.com/sgrrc-2015-registration.

Students, faculty and staff who are interested in guesting on WGNS to promote their MTSU-related activities should contact Jimmy Hart, director of news and media relations, at 615-898-5131 or via email at jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu.

MTSU Innovation J-Camp inspires aspiring journalists [+VIDEOS]

Murfreesboro’s Haley Perkins called it “a real-life experience.”

Eric Goodwin enjoyed the “freedoms that encouraged creativity.”

Perkins, a rising Blackman High School sophomore, and Goodwin, a rising Central Magnet senior, were two of 21 students enrolled in the first MTSU Innovation J-Camp July 13-17 at the Center for Innovation in Media in the John Bragg Mass Communication Building.

In groups of three, Midstate high school students attending the MTSU Innovation J-Camp edit their video projects July 16 in the Center for Innovation in Media in the John Bragg Mass Communication Building. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

In groups of three, Midstate high school students attending the MTSU Innovation J-Camp edit their video projects July 16 in the Center for Innovation in Media in the John Bragg Mass Communication Building. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

Center Director Val Hoeppner, lead instructor for the camp, guided the aspiring journalists through numerous aspects of the profession that has gone high-tech and digital. She had plenty of assistance from Journalist in Residence Whitney Matheson, College of Mass Communication Dean Ken Paulson and student mentors.

“One of the best parts of the camp is that it lets kids experience things in multimedia that a lot of them do not experience elsewhere,” said Goodwin, 16, who will be graduating early and is considering attending MTSU after graduating from Central in 2016.

Hoeppner kept the students, primarily sophomores, hopping from topic to topic in teaching them how to tell stories for mobile, social, digital and video audiences.

They learned interview techniques and “what’s news” from Hoeppner and Matheson; free expression and First Amendment knowledge from Paulson, who also serves as president of the First Amendment Center; story structure and writing profiles. And that was just July 13, the first day of the camp, which is open to rising sophomores through seniors.

Later, they delved into music and the media with Greg Reish, director of the MTSU Center for Popular Music; photography and photo editing software; shooting and editing for a 60- to 90-second video — capping the week by building websites and sending their videos to YouTube.

“They will have a ready-made portfolio,” Hoeppner said. “They’ll have an online website with content on it they can manage.”

Sophia Chen, 15, a rising sophomore at Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet School at Pearl High in Nashville, said she “learned a lot of new things, especially video editing.”

As MTSU junior mentor and Sidelines 2015-16 Editor in Chief Meagan White, right, observes, sophomore Sophia Chen of Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet School at Pearl High in Nashville records “B-roll” for a video project at the Campus Recreation Center outdoor pool during the Innovation J-Camp July 16.

As MTSU junior mentor and Sidelines 2015-16 Editor-in-Chief Meagan White, right, observes, sophomore Sophia Chen of Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet School at Pearl High in Nashville records “B-roll” for a video project at the Campus Recreation Center outdoor pool during the Innovation J-Camp July 16.

The students recorded interviews and shot “B-roll” video clips July 16 at a number of campus venues including a coding camp in Kirksey Old Main, Ben Speer’s Stamps-Baxter School of Music in the Wright Music Building and at the Campus Recreation Center.

“It has given me an opportunity to test the waters and see if this is something I might pursue later on, especially in interviewing because I never had the experience with that and this really exposes us to that,” said Goodwin, a track and field and cross-country runner for Central.

“I enjoyed the camp because there was a lot of hands-on activities,” he added. “It’s not just taking notes. … We were doing what professionals do. I joined the camp so I could turn photography, which I have been doing for a few years, into a more professional hobby.”

Perkins, 14, said the camp has given her “insight (into) what journalism is about.”

Sidney Starling, 15, a rising Central sophomore, always has been interested in filmmaking and photography.

“I really like the technology,” she said. “This has taught me much more than I could’ve ever taught myself.”

Hoeppner said she is considering making the second Innovation J-Camp in 2016 a two-week experience. The camp was a partnership between the Center for Innovation and Media and Mass Comm.

For more information, visit http://innovationjcamp.org/2015-innovation-j-camp/, call Hoeppner at 615-898-2337 or email Val.Hoeppner@mtsu.edu.

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

Final videos for the 2015 Innovation J-Camp participants

1. Sports Camp I: It’s all about fun, numerous activities

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyxx9YwkC5E

2. Stamps-Baxter Music Camp: Group, individual attention emits beautiful sounds

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXVWOiyVGgs

3. Sports Camp II: Table tennis, soccer take center stage

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIfc1GRIEL8

4. Martin Fisher: Restoration, digitization and the ‘wet play’ of old-time music

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bw2yQ7EjBoA

5. MTSU STEM Coding Camp: Creating websites, games and more

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z02LKXq_Ivw

6. Sports Camp III: Dodgeball, kickball help keep youngsters active

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuMzhfzX_Ic

7. Sports Camp IV: It’s a way to make friends, have a good time

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PY0bQFbnGs

MTSU, city partnership serves up Adams Tennis Complex [+VIDEO]

The city of Murfreesboro and MTSU officials unveiled Wednesday, July 15, the long-anticipated Adams Indoor Tennis Complex, an eight-court facility that greatly enhances the Blue Raider tennis program while also expanding playing and tournament opportunities for area residents.

The new $5.8 million complex covers a footprint of 70,000 square feet at 925 Golf Lane and represents the latest partnership between the city of Murfreesboro, MTSU and the nonprofit Christy-Houston Foundation.

Among the amenities:

  • Eight state-of-the-art courts and support facilities.
  • Two electronic scoreboards, locker rooms, lounge area and pro shop with tennis equipment and apparel.
  • Two floors with a mezzanine for spectator viewing that includes bleachers, TV lounge with tables and chairs.
  • An awning extending toward the outdoor tennis courts to provide shading for special events.

http://youtu.be/TdcVc3zRmT0

“This new complex is something the entire community can be proud of for years to come,” said Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Department Director Lanny Goodwin. “This certainly fulfills the vision that the City and MTSU had when we embarked on a bold endeavor to build a permanent home for Blue Raider tennis and superb recreational opportunities for the Murfreesboro community.”MT Athletics official_web

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee

Since 2008, MTSU tennis teams have practiced and played at an indoor facility at Nashboro Village in Nashville, nearly 30 miles from the campus. The agreement with the City gives MTSU priority access to the complex from 1 to 4 p.m. from November until March, allowing Blue Raider tennis practices and matches to take place. During those months, the Murfreesboro community will have access during morning and evening hours.

“This is another in a series of partnerships that benefit both MTSU and the city of Murfreesboro,” said MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee. “The new indoor home for Blue Raider tennis will not only enhance the men’s and women’s programs but showcase these excellent programs by affording the community the opportunity to watch these players in action without having to travel to Nashville.”Logo_of_Murfreesboro

MTSU provided $1.8 million from the university’s Centennial Campaign to help fund the project, while the Christy-Houston Foundation provided $500,000 to the city toward the effort.

The facility’s name stems from the generosity of the Adams Family Foundation, a Murfreesboro-based foundation established by family members of the late Dr. Carl and Jeanie Mae Adams. The foundation has been supportive of educational, religious and health-related organizations throughout the Middle Tennessee area. The love for tennis has been passed down through several generations of the Adams family and the strength of the local tennis community is due in large part to the support of the Adams family, officials said.

The Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Department will operate the complex, including outdoor court usage and reservations. Adams Tennis Complex members will enjoy special rates for court usage, clinics and other benefits. Fees for community usage are available at http://www.murfreesborotn.gov/tennisfees.

A youngster attending the ribbon cutting for the Adams Indoor Tennis Complex breaks in one of the eight courts inside the new facility at Old Fort Park. The joint project between MTSU and the city of Murfreesboro will be the new home for the Blue Raider tennis program. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

A youngster attending the ribbon cutting for the Adams Indoor Tennis Complex breaks in one of the eight courts inside the new facility at Old Fort Park. The joint project between MTSU and the city of Murfreesboro will be the new home for the Blue Raider tennis program. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

The new complex will include dedicated lockers for MTSU and comes as the men’s tennis program is surging under coach Jimmy Borendame. The Blue Raiders’ 2015 recruiting class was rated 25th best class nationally, according to www.tennisrecruiting.com. Meanwhile, the women’s team recently finished 75th nationally with an impressive overall 19-5 record.

“This greatly enhances MTSU tennis,” said MTSU Director of Athletics Chris Massaro, who also serves as a member of the Tennis Committee. “The new complex will arguably be the best in Conference USA and one of the best in the nation.”

According to Massaro, the complex will be the site for the Conference USA Women’s Tennis Championships in April 2016 and the men’s tennis championships in 2017.

Chris Massaro

Chris Massaro

“Conference USA competition and tournaments will be a major attraction,” added Goodwin. “We would not have been able to move forward on this community endeavor without MTSU’s support.”

The complex connects to Old Fort Park’s 24 outdoor courts, 16 of which are lighted. The outdoor courts are spaced for convenience, allowing easy access and viewing with a courtyard

in the middle, officials said. Energy efficiency and environmentally-friendly practices also were incorporated in the complex, including new pervious pavers in the parking lot, plaza, sidewalks and service road as well as and other stormwater management features that dovetail with stream restoration and conservation efforts in the park.

Construction was provided by Hardcastle Construction Inc. while Lose & Associates Inc. provided architecture and site planning.

To run the complex, the city recently promoted Murfreesboro native and MTSU graduate Gary Arbit to operations coordinator while also hiring two assistant operations coordinators: Pam Owen, who has two decades of tennis industry experience, and Cayce Neal, a Murfreesboro native and 2011 MTSU graduate who is an avid tennis player.

The City is also in the process of hiring a new head tennis professional who will be responsible for overseeing group tennis lessons, tennis leagues and tournaments, and managing staff responsible for assisting with tennis activities.

The new Adams Tennis Complex will be open to the public beginning July 15. Hours of operation will be Mon.-Thurs. 7 a.m-10 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

For more information about the Adams Tennis Complex, contact Cayce Neal at cneal@murfreesborotn.gov or visit http://www.murfreesborotn.gov/adamstenniscomplex.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, center holding scissors, was joined by other university officials, city of Murfreesboro officials, private donors and supporters for the ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday, July 15, for the Adams Indoor Tennis Complex at Old Fort Park. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, center holding scissors, was joined by other university officials, city of Murfreesboro officials, private donors and supporters for the ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday, July 15, for the Adams Indoor Tennis Complex at Old Fort Park. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU Athletics Director Chris Massaro gives remarks Wednesday, July 15, during the dedication of the Adams Indoor Tennis Complex at Old Fort Park. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU Athletics Director Chris Massaro gives remarks Wednesday, July 15, during the dedication of the Adams Indoor Tennis Complex at Old Fort Park. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

The new Adams Tennis Complex at Old Fort Park opened Wednesday and will be home to the Blue Raider tennis program. At a June 30 open house, visitors toured the upper level to get a bird's eye view of the indoor courts. (Photo courtesy of Jim Davis, Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation)

The new Adams Tennis Complex at Old Fort Park opened Wednesday and will be home to the Blue Raider tennis program. At a June 30 open house, visitors toured the upper level to get a bird’s eye view of the indoor courts. (Photo courtesy of Jim Davis, Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation)

MTSU, state Chamber launch ‘Tennessee Business Barometer’

Middle Tennessee State University and the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry have partnered to launch the Tennessee Business Barometer, a new quarterly index capturing the mood and outlook of business leaders statewide through online surveys.

The index consists of a core set of 17 questions, with the overall index score computed by adding the percentage of favorable responses to each question and subtracting the percentage of negative responses.MTSU logo web

The Tennessee Chamber is helping MTSU researchers generate a sampling of responses among the chamber’s member base and through the dozens of regional chambers of commerce and the businesses they serve.

The first index, released Wednesday, July 15, measured at 325, setting the benchmark for future indices.

Conducted July 1-8, the inaugural survey indicates “Tennessee business leaders are optimistic about the future growth of their businesses,” said Dr. Tim Graeff, professor of marketing in MTSU’s Jennings A. Jones College of Business, who is coordinating the index.

However, Graeff said state business leaders are more upbeat about state and local economic conditions than the national picture. And the current survey highlights some of the top challenges shared among business leaders, what Graeff describes as a “big five” — staffing, health care costs, regulation, political uncertainty and economic uncertainty.

Dr. Tim Graeff

Dr. Tim Graeff

Catherine Glover

Catherine Glover

By partnering with MTSU on the index, the Tennessee Chamber will have access to useful information to help fulfill its mission of advocating for a business-friendly environment in Tennessee.

“The Tennessee Business Barometer will be an invaluable tool for job creators and policy leaders who are at the forefront of making sure our business climate is one of the most favorable in the nation,” said Catherine Glover, president of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“We’re excited to work with Dr. Graeff and MTSU to further the understanding of what makes Tennessee work best.”

A key concern expressed by business leaders is finding qualified employees to fill positions. Staffing was by far the most often top-ranked issue, Graeff said, with almost half of survey respondents (46 percent) saying that qualified employees are “hard to find,” and only 1 percent of respondents saying that qualified employees are “easy to find.”TN Chamber logo-web

“This is significant,” said Graeff, who has conducted surveys to gauge the outlook of Middle Tennessee consumers for several years.

“For most businesses — especially those in the service sector which makes up approximately three-fourths of our nation’s GDP, the people component of their business is perhaps the most important in terms of attracting and maintaining customers and ensuring future business and marketing success. And that people component requires being able to find qualified employees.”

Other key findings:

This "word cloud" shows the 20 words that were most often given when Tennessee Business Barometer respondents were asked ÒWhat one word comes to mind when you think about the future of the economy in Tennessee?Ó The size of each word reflects the relative frequency with which it was mentioned. (MTSU Office of Consumer Research)

This “word cloud” shows the 20 words that were most often given when Tennessee Business Barometer respondents were asked “What one word comes to mind when you think about the future of the economy in Tennessee?” The size of each word reflects the relative frequency with which it was mentioned. (MTSU Office of Consumer Research)

  • On the U.S. economy — Two out of three respondents (65 percent) said that current economic conditions were neither good nor bad (“in between”). Only 25 percent said current economic conditions in the U.S. are “good.”
  • Tennessee business leaders feel much more positive about the economic conditions in the state of Tennessee (64 percent rating it as “good”), their industry (54 percent “good”) and their specific firm (63 percent “good”).
  • Employment outlook is mixed, with 42 percent expecting to increase employment at their firm and only 9 percent expecting to decrease.

The Tennessee Business Barometer will also provide an opportunity for researchers for the Tennessee Chamber and MTSU’s Jones College to add customized questions about timely topics such as:

  • Hiring plans for the Christmas and holiday seasons.
  • Effects of proposed legislation on business decisions.
  • Effects of recent events — such as energy prices, cybercrime, interest rates, etc. — on the business outlook.

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. The next index is planned for October.

Dr. David Urban

Dr. David Urban

“Today’s collegiate business schools must demonstrate their positive impact,” said Dr. David Urban, dean of MTSU’s Jones College of Business.

“The Tennessee Business Barometer will prove to be an excellent example of how faculty in the Jones College of Business can leverage their considerable research skills to benefit the broader community by influencing policy and practice.”

For more information about the Tennessee Business Barometer, contact Dr. Tim Graeff at 615-898-5124 or tim.graeff@mtsu.edu. The pdf version of the full report is available here or at the MTSU Office of Consumer Research’s website, www.mtsu.edu/consumer.

For more information about the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, visit www.tnchamber.org call 615-256-5141.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Jones College offers course on creating, analyzing online surveys

Companies, managers, entrepreneurs and others looking to gain greater insights about external and internal customers can enhance their knowledge of online marketing research by taking an upcoming course at Middle Tennessee State University.

The course, “Online Marketing Research Methods: Developing Online Surveys and Analyzing Respondent Data,” will be taught during a pair of two-hour sessions July 21 and July 28 on the MTSU campus. Registration deadline is July 16.

Dr. Tim Graeff

Dr. Tim Graeff

The purpose of the course is to teach participants to create, administer, manage and analyze results from online marketing research surveys. Dr. Tim Graeff, marketing professor and director of the Office of Consumer Research in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business, will teach the course.

“In today’s economy, it is increasingly important that businesses — large and small — get to know their customers,” Graeff said. “The key to marketing is being able to develop relationships that result in loyal customers who eventually become brand advocates. And, getting to know your customers is key to establishing those relationships.

“Online surveys are a quick and effective means of connecting with, obtaining information from, and learning about your current and potential customers.”

WordmarkJonesCollegeIn the first session, participants will learn the fundamentals of effective survey research techniques and the basics of using Qualtrics.com online survey tools. Participants will also develop an online survey to be sent out to either customers or employees at their organization.

In the second session, participants will learn the basics of analyzing data from online surveys and will also be shown how to analyze the data generated from their own online survey created during the first session.

Anyone working at an organization looking to develop its own online marketing research program is encouraged to enroll. Cost is $200. To register, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/business/execed.php.

For more information, contact Chrissy Koepfgen at 615 898-2964 or email Chrissy.Koepfgen@mtsu.edu.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

MTSU College of Liberal Arts offers new flexible master’s degree

MTSU’s College of Liberal Arts is now offering an advanced degree that allows students to develop skills and expand knowledge in subjects they’re most passionate about pursuing.

The new Master of Arts in Liberal Arts is an innovative program allowing anyone with a bachelor’s degree to earn a graduate degree through a course of study built around subjects they find most captivating.

“The MALA program is unique in that it gives students the flexibility to create their own paths, focusing on those subjects that are most interesting and valuable in achieving their personal or professional goals,” said Dr. Dawn McCormack, program director.

Dr. Dawn McCormack

Dr. Dawn McCormack

Dr. Mark Byrnes

Dr. Mark Byrnes

Students will attend engaging courses taught by top professors and have opportunities to participate in projects in the region or even enroll in education-abroad courses around the world. University officials say the degree would be valuable to lifelong learners, professionals, students returning to school after a break, and even recent graduates.

“The idea is to personalize the experience for each student and to provide students with the content and skills they need to achieve that first job, work toward a promotion, change career directions, or look for ways to deepen their experiences as lifetime learners,” McCormack added.

The program provides students with opportunities to refine practical skills, research methods, and the ability to effectively work with people from diverse backgrounds.

MTSU Wordmark“MALA is an exciting initiative for the College of Liberal Arts,” said Dr. Mark Byrnes, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “The program is deeply rooted in the tradition of a classical liberal arts education, which exposes students to many facets of our world while helping them develop the highly practical skills of critical thinking, adaptability and effective reading, writing and speaking.”

With guidance from McCormack, students will build a personal plan of study from within liberal arts departments and programs. Among the choices: art, communications studies and organizational communication, English, foreign languages and literatures, global studies and cultural geography, history, music, philosophy, political science and international relations, sociology and anthropology, and theatre and dance.

For more information for the new liberal arts master’s degree, contact McCormack at mala@mtsu.edu, 615-898-5986 or visit www.mtsu.edu/mala.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Tornado-siren test schedule announced for 2015-16 academic year

MTSU has finalized its tornado-siren testing schedule for the 2015-16 academic year.

MTSU tests its tornado sirens on campus and at the Miller Coliseum Complex each month to ensure proper operations. Each test lasts only a few moments, and no safety actions are required.

The MTSU Police Department conducts the monthly tests on alternating Tuesdays and Wednesdays to minimize distractions for classes and community neighbors. The university also notifies the campus and surrounding neighborhoods before these monthly tests.

The campus community can prepare for emergency weather situations anytime by checking MTSU’s list of “safe places” at bit.ly/MTSUSafePlaces

Remember that, in the event of a weather emergency, MTSU students, faculty automatically receive a Rave alert at their MTSU email addresses. They can receive text and/or voice alerts too by visiting http://mtsunews.com/weather and using the “click here and log in” link to make those notification changes.

2015-16 Academic Year Schedule for Tornado-Siren Testing

  • Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, 12:20 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, 11:15 a.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, 12:20 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015, 11:15 a.m.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, 12:20 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, 11:15 a.m.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, 12:20 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 9, 2016, 11:15 a.m.
  • Tuesday, April 12, 2016, 12:20 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 11, 2016, 11:15 a.m.
  • Tuesday, June 14, 2016, 12:20 p.m.
  • Wednesday, July 13, 2016, 11:15 a.m.

New brood of MTSU Honors ducklings earn their early ‘Independence Day’

A second brood of mallard ducklings raised in an ivy-covered nest outside MTSU’s Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building apparently gained their independence a day before the nation celebrated its most patriotic holiday.

This young flock’s mother was far less visible among the growing ivy outside the University Honors College facility than her predecessor, “Ivy,” who hatched 12 ducklings May 4. The newest resident, dubbed “Ivy II” by her admirers, rarely left her nest, which had appeared to contain five or six eggs.

Ivy II sits on her nest recently outside the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building on the east side of the MTSU campus. The ivy growing on the ground has become a secluded location for mother ducks to nest. (MTSU photo by Marsha Powers)

“Ivy II” sits on her nest outside the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building on the east side of the MTSU campus. The ivy on the ground outside the University Honors College facility has created a secluded location for nesting hens. (MTSU photo courtesy of Marsha Powers)

Although occupants and friends of the University Honors College had been observing the nest regularly and were eagerly awaiting their arrival, the ducklings apparently chose to fledge July 3, when the university was closed for the Independence Day holiday.

When observers checked the nest again July 4, they were nowhere to be found.

“The ducklings were eager for their independence and wanted to celebrate the holiday early,” Honors College Dean John Vile said, speculating with a smile on the latest flock’s departure.

Dr. John Vile

Dr. John Vile

Vile, a Constitutional law scholar, noted that President John Adams once anticipated the nation would celebrate its independence July 2, when Congress first adopted Richard Henry Lee’s resolution for independence, rather than July 4, when it approved the actual document.

The dean joked that the ducklings’ mother apparently chose to split the difference in the historic dates. By choosing a day when the university was closed, the brood not only eluded undue publicity, they also had less traffic to dodge on their way to a nearby retaining pond.

Although disappointed that he, fellow staff members, students and others weren’t able to observe this celebration of red, white and True Blue duck independence, Vile expressed pride in the ducklings’ patriotism, noting that they’re the second graduating class of ducklings to leave the Honors College for the larger world.

Vile added that since the mallards are migratory creatures, he hopes that they’ll help spread word of the college’s hospitality to their web-footed friends throughout the Southeast.

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

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