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Music colloquium draws 2 top scholars to MTSU for free public lectures

The MTSU School of Music is sponsoring a Music Colloquium that will bring two top scholars to campus for free public presentations on Tuesday, March 28, and Thursday, April 20.

Dr. Joy H. Calico, the Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Musicology at Vanderbilt University, will speak at 1 p.m. March 28 in Room 207 of MTSU’s Saunders Fine Arts Building. Dr. Helena Simonett, senior research associate at Switzerland’s Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, will speak at 2:40 p.m. April 20 in Room 101 of the Saunders Building.

Dr. Joy Calico

Dr. Joy Calico

A searchable campus parking map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap. Off-campus visitors attending the lectures should obtain a special one-day permit for each at www.mtsu.edu/parking/visit.php.

School of Music new logo webCalico will discuss her research on “Noise and Arnold Schoenberg’s 1913 Scandal Concert.” March 28. The Austrian-American composer, known for creating new musical composition methods involving atonality, conducted a concert in the Great Hall of Vienna’s Musikverein that was broken up by a melee and led to legal proceedings.

The professor said her research “analyzes the ways in which both the scandal and Schoenberg’s response to it sit at the nexus of fin-de-siecle anxieties about Central European concert life, the anti-noise movement and emerging copyright law.”

Calico is the author of two monographs, “Brecht at the Opera” and “Arnold Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw in Postwar Europe,” and she is writing a book about opera since Salome. She’s also the co-founder of the Music and Sound Studies Network of the German Studies Association and editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Musicological Society.

Dr. Helena Simonett

Dr. Helena Simonett

Simonett’s April 20 presentation, “Yoreme Cocoon Leg Rattles: An Eco-organological Study of a Unique ‘Sound Maker,’” stems from her research among the indigenous peoples of northwestern Mexico.

She received her doctorate in ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and has conducted extensive research on Mexican popular music and its transnational diffusion, as well as exploring the role of indigenous ceremonial music and dance in northwestern Mexico.

Simonett’s publications include “Banda: Mexican Musical Life Across Borders” and “En Sinaloa Nací: Historia de la Música de Banda,” and she edited “The Accordion in the Americas: Klezmer, Polka, Tango, Zydeco, and More!” and co-edited “A Latin American Music Reader: Views from the South.” She also produced the children’s book “Ca’anáriam — Hombre Que No Hizo Fuego” with Bernardo Esquer López in both Yoreme and Spanish with an English translation.

The MTSU Music Colloquium is a public series that presents scholarship on music and music-related issues concerning the world’s many music traditions. More details on both events are available at www.mtsu.edu/music/colloquium2017.php.

For information on MTSU School of Music events and musical performances, please visit www.mtsumusic.com or call 615-898-2493.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

MTSU renews pact with Tennessee Wing of Civil Air Patrol [+VIDEO]

Middle Tennessee State University renewed Friday its partnership with the Tennessee Wing of Civil Air Patrol, a relationship launched three years ago to benefit aerospace education for state high school students.

Interim Provost Mark Byrnes, the university’s chief academic officer, met with commanders of the U.S. Air Force’s volunteer civilian auxiliary, then signed a three-year extension of the pact that links CAP with MTSU’s Department of Aerospace in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences.

“This relationship has been described as a win-win for Civil Air Patrol and MTSU, and I most certainly concur with that assessment,” Byrnes said. “It allows our Aerospace Department to engage CAP’s cadets and provide these youths with opportunities to connect with our faculty and facilities.”

Col. Barry Melton, commander of CAP’s Southeast Region, and Col. Arlinda Bailey, commander of the 1,000-member Tennessee Wing, signed the pact along with Byrnes. Friday’s ceremony marked the opening of the Tennessee Wing’s annual conference, which MTSU will host on campus this weekend.

Melton, an MTSU graduate who oversees CAP wings in five states, including Tennessee, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, said he was pleased the partnership with his alma mater continues to grow.

“The relationship we’ve forged with MTSU has become a model for other wings throughout the nation hoping to connect with major universities in their states,” Melton said. “It reinforces the value and opportunities we provide our cadets and it underscores our commitment to aerospace education.”

The university will host Tennessee Wing’s weeklong cadet encampment for the second consecutive year this summer, which attracts about 100 youth between the ages of 12 to 21 and provides leadership training, orientation in MTSU’s Aerospace Department and other campus activities.

From left, MTSU Interim Provost Mark Byrnes joins Col. Barry Melton, commander of the Civil Air Patrol’s Southeast Region, and Col. Arlinda Bailey, commander of CAP’s 1,000-member Tennessee Wing, in signing a three-year extension of the pact that links CAP with MTSU’s Department of Aerospace in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences. The signing ceremony was held Friday, March 17, in the MTSU Student Union Building. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

From left, MTSU Interim Provost Mark Byrnes joins Col. Barry Melton, commander of the Civil Air Patrol’s Southeast Region, and Col. Arlinda Bailey, commander of CAP’s 1,000-member Tennessee Wing, in signing a three-year extension of the pact that links CAP with MTSU’s Department of Aerospace in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences. The signing ceremony was held Friday, March 17, in the MTSU Student Union Building. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Also, new this year, MTSU’s Aerospace and Engineering Technology departments will host the 2017 CAP National Engineering Technology Academy, which will draw cadets from across the nation to the campus.

“MTSU has been a terrific partner and supporter of Tennessee Wing,” Bailey said. “They have helped elevate the volunteer service that we provide to our state and nation.”

Aerospace Department Chair Wendy Beckman singled out four CAP cadets, who were present at Friday’s ceremony, as reinforcement to the value of the partnership.aerospace logo web

Two of them, Jack Higdon of Bruceton, Tennessee, and Jonah Torp-Pedersen of Spring Hill, Tennessee, have enrolled at MTSU this fall to study aerospace. The other two, freshman and Buchanan scholar Joshua Brinegar of Columbia, Tennessee, and junior and Army ROTC cadet Joshua Williams of Smyrna, are already enrolled.

“We’re proud to affiliate with an organization that allows us to reach students of this caliber, and we’re happy when they decide to attend our university,” Beckman said.

MTSU Aerospace, one of the nation’s largest collegiate aviation programs, has 14 full-time faculty members, 35 flight instructors and an enrollment of about 750 students.

Civil Air Patrol, founded just days before the start of World War II in 1941, has more than 60,000 volunteer members. The organization was chartered by Congress to support the Air Force and is best known for its aerial search and rescue missions, cadet program and commitment to aerospace education.

MTSU’s close ties with CAP stretch back to July 1948, the year CAP’s Middle Tennessee State College Squadron was organized (MTSU’s Aerospace Department was six years old at the time). Based at the old College Airport, the squadron was comprised of pilots trained on campus and was recognized for its search-and-rescue work. It operated on campus until 1953.

— Andrew Oppmann (andrew.oppmann@mtsu.edu)

MTSU and the Tennessee Wing of Civil Air Patrol signed Friday a three-year extension of the pact that links CAP with MTSU’s Department of Aerospace in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences. Attending the signing ceremony held Friday, March 17, in the MTSU Student Union Building are, from left: Keith M. Huber, senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives; Col. Barry Melton, commander of the Civil Air Patrol’s Southeast Region; MTSU Interim Provost Mark Byrnes; Col. Arlinda Bailey, commander of CAP’s 1,000-member Tennessee Wing; MTSU Aerospace Department Chair Wendy Beckman; Saeed Foroudastan, associate dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences; and MTSU Engineering Technology Chair Walter Boles. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU and the Tennessee Wing of Civil Air Patrol signed Friday a three-year extension of the pact that links CAP with MTSU’s Department of Aerospace in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences. Attending the signing ceremony held Friday, March 17, in the MTSU Student Union Building are, from left: Keith M. Huber, senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives; Col. Barry Melton, commander of the Civil Air Patrol’s Southeast Region; MTSU Interim Provost Mark Byrnes; Col. Arlinda Bailey, commander of CAP’s 1,000-member Tennessee Wing; MTSU Aerospace Department Chair Wendy Beckman; Saeed Foroudastan, associate dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences; and MTSU Engineering Technology Chair Walter Boles. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

From left, MTSU Interim Provost Mark Byrnes shakes hands with Col. Barry Melton, commander of the Civil Air Patrol’s Southeast Region, and Col. Arlinda Bailey, commander of CAP’s 1,000-member Tennessee Wing, after signing a three-year extension of the pact that links CAP with MTSU’s Department of Aerospace in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences. The signing ceremony was held Friday, March 17, in the MTSU Student Union Building. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

From left, MTSU Interim Provost Mark Byrnes shakes hands with Col. Barry Melton, commander of the Civil Air Patrol’s Southeast Region, and Col. Arlinda Bailey, commander of CAP’s 1,000-member Tennessee Wing, after signing a three-year extension of the pact that links CAP with MTSU’s Department of Aerospace in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU survey: Tennessee consumer optimism continues to rise

The most recent Tennessee Consumer Outlook Survey shows that consumers across the state continue to feel better about the economy, future job market as well as their personal financial situations.

The Tennessee Consumer Outlook Index rose to 134 this month, up from 113 in December, according to the latest statewide snapshot of consumers by Middle Tennessee State University’s Office of Consumer Research.

The quarterly survey consists of a series of questions that measure areas such as how consumers feel about the local, state and national economies as well as their personal financial situations and the job market.

“Although Tennessee consumers continue to have concerns about the current state of the labor market and the ease with which jobs can be found, consumers have become more optimistic regarding the future job market,” said Tim Graeff, director of the Office of Consumer Research in MTSU’s Jones College of Business. “This pattern of optimism regarding the future job market is shared among the three regions of the state.”

This chart shows results of the overall Tennessee Consumer Outlook Index and sub-indices since September 2015. The index is measured quarterly. (Courtesy of the MTSU Office of Consumer Research)

This chart shows results of the overall Tennessee Consumer Outlook Index and sub-indices since September 2015. The index is measured quarterly. (Courtesy of the MTSU Office of Consumer Research)

The current survey of 615 Tennessee consumers was conducted March 1-8, with a margin of error of 4 percent. A copy of the full report and previous report are available at www.mtsu.edu/consumer/tnoutlookreports.php.

Dr. Tim Graeff

Dr. Tim Graeff

In addition to tracking an overall index, the survey includes sub-indices that measure consumers’ views on their current financial situations, future expectations and purchasing plans. The latest survey shows consumers are more optimistic about personal finances, and personal saving appears to be rising.

“There was a large net increase in the percent of consumers who are saving more than they did last year,” Graeff noted. “Having both the desire and the ability to save for the future is a sign of increasing health in terms of personal finances.”

Other survey highlights include:

• The largest gain in overall consumer confidence is in East Tennessee, with confidence among Middle Tennessee consumers falling back slightly.

• The largest net increase in optimism regarding the future job market is in Middle Tennessee. Such increases in optimism are reflected in the most recent jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing that domestic employers added 235,000 new jobs in February.

• The Purchasing Index declined slightly to 46 from 49 in December. This suggests recent gains in optimism might not translate into immediate spending increases as consumers look to save more.

• However, delayed spending is not always a bad thing, the report noted. Increased saving allows consumers to get their financial footing and set the stage for even more future spending.

“Taken together, these results are good news for businesses and retailers,” Graeff said. “The outlook for future consumer spending is brightened as consumers become more optimistic about the future of the economy, are able to save more money, and continue to feel more confident in the availability of jobs should they need to find one.”

For more information, contact Graeff at 615-898-5124 or Tim.Graeff@mtsu.edu. Or visit www.mtsu.edu/consumer.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

TN Consumer Outlook Index-cloud-March 2017-web

MTSU Women’s History Month celebrates trailblazers [+VIDEO]

Science, entrepreneurship, academia and gender identity are among the topics to be explored in MTSU’s 2017 celebration of National Women’s History Month.

“Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business” is the theme of this year’s observance. In conjunction with the theme, buttons will be distributed across campus bearing the likeness of Madam C.J. Walker, the hair products magnate who was hailed as the first self-made African-American millionaire in the country in the early 20th century.

Walker’s great-great-granddaughter, author and journalist A’Lelia Bundles, delivered an address at the official opening ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 15, in the Keathley University Center Theater.

Bundles, who has written biographies of Madam C.J. Walker, is a former producer for NBC News and a former producer and executive for ABC News. She maintains the Madam Walker Family Archives and serves as a consultant and historical adviser for Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture, a line of hair care products developed by Sunline Brands.

During the March 15 ceremony, six women received awards from the MTSU National Women’s History Month Committee for their trailblazing work. They were:

  • Dr. Gloria Bonner, recently retired assistant to the president in MTSU’s Office of University Community Relations and a former dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Science.
  • Dr. Heather Brown, director of MTSU’s Concrete Industry Management Program.
  • Nancy James, director of MTSU’s Child Care Lab.
  • Dr. Karen Petersen, interim dean of the MTSU College of Liberal Arts.
  • Mary Esther Reed, mayor of Smyrna and an MTSU alumna.
  • MTSU alumna Agnes Porter, who was honored as a Future Trailblazer.

Porter’s mother, Ikeko Bass, accepted the award on her behalf. Porter is a government affairs specialist with Chambliss, Bahner and Stophel P.C. in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She graduated from MTSU in 2016 with bachelor’s degrees in political science and mass communication.

Another pioneering woman, chemist Dorothy Phillips, shared her story in a question-and-answer session with students and in a public address March 1 in the Tom H. Jackson Building.

Phillips, the first African-American woman to earn a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Vanderbilt University, was reelected to the board of the American Chemical Society in 2016.

Dr. Dorothy Phillips

Dr. Dorothy Phillips

Women interested in science will be able to quiz professionals in various technology fields at the “Women-Powered Tech Roundtable Discussion” from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, March 17, in the Tom H. Jackson Building. The event is hosted by Nashville Geek Girl Dinners, a group that encourages women in the information technology industry.

The biennial Women and Gender Studies Conference, with the theme of “Creating Global Change,” will unite scholars from around the world on the second floor of the Student Union Wednesday, March 22, through Saturday, March 25.

Through workshops, art, poetry, dance, film, invited speakers, panel discussions and the presentation of academic research, the interdisciplinary gathering will shed light on numerous issues. For more information or to register, visit www.mtsu.edu/womenstu/conference.

MTSU NWHM 2017 button webThe Academy Award-nominated film “Hidden Figures” was shown March 13-15 in the Keathley University Center Theater.

The movie is based on the true story of three African-American women mathematicians whose work made astronaut John Glenn’s 1962 history-making orbit of the earth possible. Check for show times at www.mtsu.edu/events/films.php.

All events, including the Women and Gender Studies Conference, are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Barbara Scales, co-chair of the National Women’s History Month Committee, at 615-898-2193 or barbara.scales@mtsu.edu or the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at 615-898-5910.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu

Click on the poster to see a larger PDF version.

Click on the poster to see a larger PDF version.

Murfreesboro music legacy display opens at Heritage Center March 21

Rutherford County’s contribution to musical culture will be on display in a new exhibit at the Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County.

Panels displaying information about Rutherford County’s musical heritage adorn a new display at the Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County. (Photos submitted)

Panels displaying information about Rutherford County’s musical heritage adorn a new display at the Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County. (Photos submitted)

The public opening of “Home Grown to Nationally Known: The Artistic Legacies of Murfreesboro” is scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, at the center, located at 225 West College St.

MTSU graduate students majoring in history researched and constructed the exhibit under the guidance of Dr. Carroll Van West, who serves as director of MTSU’s Center for Historic Preservation as well as Tennessee state historian.

The exhibit covers artists from country legend Uncle Dave Macon to MTSU student Julien Baker, an indie music sensation. It includes objects and photos from famous artists who have performed or recorded in Murfreesboro over the years, as well as artifacts from the Young’Un Sound Studio that operated near Rockvale in the 1970s.

“With Nashville being so close, it’s kind of eclipsed by the big Nashville country sound,” Lane Tillner, a doctoral student from Collierville, Tennessee, said of Rutherford County’s musical heritage, “but Murfreesboro really has a lot of interesting music.”

Tillner’s primary focus was on Spongebath Records, an independent record label based in Murfreesboro during the 1990s. She said one of her sources was a Facebook group called “Murfreesboro Music Documentary.”

CHP logo web“There were a lot of images there, and I was able to get more background information about Spongebath and the bands that were under that label,” said Tillner.

Sherry Teal, a master’s degree candidate from Murfreesboro, focused on early music and gospel acts. Fellow graduate student Annabeth Hayes of Jackson, Tennessee, investigated Young’Un Sound Studio, which session guitarist Chip Young founded by on his farm in 1969.

Heritage Center logo webAlso featured in the exhibit are acts that played Murphy Center and the Southern Girls Rock & Roll Camp, a weeklong day camp that allows girls to express themselves musically. It was founded in July 2003 by MTSU alumna Kelley Anderson and takes place on the university campus during the summer.

Tillner said West, who is quite a music aficionado, indicated that he wants the display to remain active for at least a few years. She said the experience of working on the display has been beneficial for the student team that created it.

“It’s very hands-on practical experience,” Tillner said. “It shows that we can take just one little aspect and design this whole exhibit.”

For more information, contact the Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County at 615-217-8013 or Tillner at olt2c@mtmail.mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Murfreesboro and MTSU are on the front cover of music industry magazine Billboard in an article written by Nashville Bureau Chief Chet Flippo in 1997. The artifact is part of a new exhibit chronicling Rutherford County’s musical history at the Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County.

Murfreesboro and MTSU are on the front cover of music industry magazine Billboard in an article written by Nashville Bureau Chief Chet Flippo in 1997. The artifact is part of a new exhibit chronicling Rutherford County’s musical history at the Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County.

MTSU notes parking, traffic changes for TSSAA tourney March 15-18

The TSSAA high school basketball tournaments continue this week on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University, and the university is making temporary parking and traffic changes to accommodate its guests.

traffic advisory graphicThe boys’ TSSAA Division I High School Basketball Tournaments is set Wednesday-Saturday, March 15-18, inside Murphy Center’s Hale Arena on the northwest side of the MTSU campus. The girls’ high school tournaments concluded March 11.

Once again, motorists should be aware of several factors affecting campus roads and parking as a result of the tournament and its visitors.

  • MTSU’s East Main Street and Rutherford Boulevard entrances will be the most convenient campus entry points during the tournament, university officials said.
  • The Greenland Drive parking lot will be reserved for TSSAA ticketholders during the tournament, and vehicles must pay $5 to park there. Students and faculty who use the Greenland Drive lot should prepare now to find alternative parking on campus, including the Tennessee Livestock Pavilion lot off Greenland Drive and the Rutherford Boulevard parking lots.
  • The university will reserve parking during the tournament in the Middle Tennessee Boulevard (Woodfin), Cason-Kennedy Nursing Building, Holmes and Smith Field lots for vehicles displaying appropriate campus permits. Visitors with appropriate permits also will be allowed to park in those lots.
  • The Champion Way entrance at Greenland Drive will be closed March 15-18, and eastbound Greenland Drive traffic will be directed to Rutherford Boulevard. Campus traffic can still exit via Champion Way onto Greenland.
  • Faulkinberry Drive and Normal Way will be closed to accommodate TSSAA team buses. No parking or street access will be available.

University officials are encouraging motorists to avoid Middle Tennessee Boulevard if possible, or at least allow extra time to reach their destinations, because of ongoing road construction and the additional tournament traffic congestion around campus. They also can use the university’s perimeter parking lots, including the Tennessee Livestock Pavilion and Rutherford lots, during the tournament.

TSSAA logoThe Raider Xpress shuttle service will operate on its normal schedule during the boys’ TSSAA tournament with the exception of the “Green Route,” which will not serve the Greenland Drive parking lot.

All other events scheduled on campus during the tournament will be allowed first-come, first-served parking in any of MTSU’s free lots, based on availability.

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

For more information about MTSU traffic, parking and road closures, call MTSU Parking and Transportation Services at 615-898-2850 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Central time or visit www.mtsu.edu/parking. For more information about the TSSAA state tournaments, visit www.tssaa.org or call 615-889-6740.


MTSU has parking, traffic tweaks for TSSAA tourneys March 8-18

TSSAA high school basketball tournaments are returning like robins this spring to the campus of Middle Tennessee State University, and the university is making temporary parking and traffic changes to accommodate its guests.

traffic advisory graphicThe TSSAA Division I High School Basketball Tournaments are set March 8-11 for the girls and March 15-18 for the boys inside Murphy Center’s Hale Arena on the northwest side of the MTSU campus.

As a result, motorists should be aware of several factors affecting campus roads and parking.

  • MTSU’s East Main Street and Rutherford Boulevard entrances will be the most convenient campus entry points during the tournament, university officials said.
  • The Greenland Drive parking lot will be reserved for TSSAA ticketholders during the tournament, and vehicles must pay $5 to park there. Students and faculty who use the Greenland Drive lot should prepare now to find alternative parking on campus, including the Tennessee Livestock Pavilion lot off Greenland Drive and the Rutherford Boulevard parking lots.
  • The university will reserve parking during the tournament in the Middle Tennessee Boulevard (Woodfin), Cason-Kennedy Nursing Building, Holmes and Smith Field lots for vehicles displaying appropriate campus permits. Visitors with appropriate permits also will be allowed to park in those lots.
  • The Champion Way entrance at Greenland Drive will be closed March 8-11 and March 15-18, and eastbound Greenland Drive traffic will be directed to Rutherford Boulevard. Campus traffic can still exit via Champion Way onto Greenland.
  • Faulkinberry Drive and Normal Way will be closed to accommodate TSSAA team buses. No parking or street access will be available.

University officials are encouraging motorists to avoid Middle Tennessee Boulevard if possible, or at least allow extra time to reach their destinations, because of ongoing road construction and the additional tournament traffic congestion around campus. They also can use the university’s perimeter parking lots, including the Tennessee Livestock Pavilion and Rutherford lots, during the tournaments.

TSSAA logoMTSU will be on spring break March 6-11, during the first TSSAA tournament. No classes will be held, but university offices will be open regular hours.

The Raider Xpress shuttle service will not run while the university is on spring break. It will operate on its normal schedule during the boys’ TSSAA tournament, however, with the exception of the “Green Route,” which will not serve the Greenland Drive parking lot.

All other events scheduled on campus during the tournaments will be allowed first-come, first-served parking in any of MTSU’s free lots, based on availability.

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

For more information about MTSU traffic, parking and road closures, call MTSU Parking and Transportation Services at 615-898-2850 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Central time or visit www.mtsu.edu/parking. For more information about the TSSAA state tournaments, visit www.tssaa.org or call 615-889-6740.

Future teachers get in-depth view of potential career during MTSU visit

High school students with a serious interest in education visited Tennessee’s first public teacher-training university Tuesday, March 7, to learn more about becoming educators with the help of a degree from MTSU.

Bobbi Lussier, executive director of the Office of Professional Laboratory Experience and Teacher Licensure in MTSU’s College of Education, welcomes a group of Tennessee high school students, all members of Future Teachers of America, to an MTSU campus tour Tuesday, March 7. Students from Cocke County High School, Franklin County High School, Siegel High School and the University School of Nashville visited as part of the Tennessee Education Association’s annual “Civication” event for prospective teachers. (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

Bobbi Lussier, executive director of the Office of Professional Laboratory Experience and Teacher Licensure in MTSU’s College of Education, welcomes a group of Tennessee high school students, all members of Future Teachers of America, to an MTSU campus tour Tuesday, March 7. Students from Cocke County High School, Franklin County High School, Siegel High School and the University School of Nashville visited as part of the Tennessee Education Association’s annual “Civication” event for prospective teachers. (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

Fifty-plus young members of Future Teachers of America chapters at Cocke County High School, Franklin County High School, Siegel High School and the University School of Nashville toured the rain-soaked Murfreesboro campus to learn about enrolling in a degree program with MTSU’s College of Education, getting scholarships, staying healthy and active while they’re earning their degrees and what to expect as college students.

Their visit was part of the Tennessee Education Association’s annual two-day “Civication” event, which invites FTA members to visit the state Capitol during spring break and learn about education legislation.

With MTSU on the way for several groups attending “Civication,” it made sense to arrange an informational visit before a scheduled trip to Legislative Plaza.

FTA logo webDr. Jim Rost, manager of student success and advising services for MTSU’s College of Education, was among several campus leaders who spoke with the visitors. He told the aspiring young educators that each will find a different, but best-suited, path of teaching.

“I found my own calling, and I committed to serving a different population (than a K-12 teacher): as an administrator and in teaching higher education,” Rost said. “The best thing about my job is not the paycheck. It’s the fact that I get to talk with people like you guys and somehow have a positive impact on someone at the end of each day.”

Future Teachers of America helps prepare future educators for the classroom as they become involved at the local, state and national levels of the TEA to advocate on behalf of children and public education. The National Education Association chartered the first high school chapter in Wyoming in 1936, and in only 15 years, the organization expanded nationwide to include more than 1,200 high school and college chapters and 40,000-plus young members.

You can learn more about MTSU’s College of Education anytime at www.mtsu.edu/education.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

MTSU senior Alex Fingeroot, center, a political science major from Nashville, explains campus recreation options in front of the climbing wall at the Student Recreation, Wellness and Health Center Tuesday, March, 7, to a group of Tennessee high school students and their teachers during an MTSU campus tour. Students from Cocke County High School, Franklin County High School, Siegel High School and the University School of Nashville visited as part of the Tennessee Education Association’s annual “Civication” event for prospective teachers.

MTSU senior Alex Fingeroot, center, a political science major from Nashville, explains campus recreation options in front of the climbing wall at the Student Recreation, Wellness and Health Center Tuesday, March, 7, to a group of Tennessee high school students and their teachers during an MTSU campus tour. Students from Cocke County High School, Franklin County High School, Siegel High School and the University School of Nashville visited as part of the Tennessee Education Association’s annual “Civication” event for prospective teachers.

Visitors bring gifts of reading, play to grateful ACE Center youngsters

The youngsters of the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center at MTSU spent much of Thursday, March 2, happily greeting visitors with gifts intended to expand their minds and bodies.

Two-time MTSU alumna Lashan Mathews Dixon, former Miss MTSU and current National Miss Unite, reads to children at the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center Thursday, March 2, as part of "Read Across America Day." (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Two-time MTSU alumna Lashan Mathews Dixon, former Miss MTSU and current National Miss Unite, reads to children at the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center Thursday, March 2, as part of “Read Across America Day.” (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

First, in observance of “Read Across America Day,” the little ones at the North Baird Lane facility listened excitedly to storybooks read by two-time MTSU alumna LaShan Mathews Dixon, a health educator with the Rutherford County Health Department and a former Miss MTSU and Miss Black Tennessee and current National Ms. Unite.

Then, friends from Nissan North America in Smyrna delivered four new “Cozy Coupe” riding toys for the ACE Center’s playground, which is being revamped into a natural playscape that’s fully wheelchair-accessible.

“What an exciting day! We’re beyond grateful to people in the community coming to read and bringing us donations,” said center director Christy Davis.

“The children love to have company here, and the parents love it too, because the more people we have coming in to the center, the more excitement and fun and more new friends and relationships that we’re building in the community.”

MTSU’s ACE Learning Center provides learning environments for children with and without developmental delays from age 13 months to kindergarten, allowing them to play together and learn from each other. Teachers at the center plan activities that help each child develop good communication, social, cognitive and motor skills, and students majoring in early childhood education work with and monitor the children for class credit.

Dixon and her husband, Lamar, have an almost-2-year-old daughter, Londyn, so she easily joked, answered questions, showed off her sparkling pageant crown and shared hugs with the children in the ACE Center’s Green Room, which serves 13- to 24-month-old toddlers; the Red Room, where 2- and 3-year-olds learn; and the Blue Room, which serves 3- and 4-year-olds. The center teaches 4- to 5-year-olds in its Yellow Room in the Fairview Building across campus.

Christy Davis, center, director of MTSU’s Ann Campbell Early Learning Center, joins JaMichael Smith, left and Magen Clayton of Nissan North America’s Multicultural Business Synergy Team Thursday, March 2, to admire four new “Cozy Coupe” riding toys at the center’s playground, which is currently being renovated as a natural, wheelchair-accessible playscape. The Nissan visitors, who regularly help the ACE Center with supply donations, delivered the toys for the youngsters at the center to use. (Photo submitted)

Christy Davis, center, director of MTSU’s Ann Campbell Early Learning Center, joins JaMichael Smith, left and Magen Clayton of Nissan North America’s Multicultural Business Synergy Team Thursday, March 2, to admire four new “Cozy Coupe” riding toys at the center’s playground, which is currently being renovated as a natural, wheelchair-accessible playscape. The Nissan visitors, who regularly help the ACE Center with supply donations, delivered the toys for the youngsters at the center to use. (Photo submitted)

A farm animals book got a good response from the youngest children, but pulling out “Llama Llama Red Pajama” wound them up like little alarm clocks, yelling “HEYYYY!” with the frantic title character, imitating telephones and begging “Read it again, please!” while their fish-filled aquariums burbled in the background.

“I love storytime so much,” Dixon told the kids. “I read to my baby girl all the time, and she acts like y’all do about her books.”

Nissan representatives, working through the company’s Multicultural Business Synergy Team, contacted Davis to see what items the center might need this spring.

The company, like others in the community, works through the ACE “Wishing Tree” program to bring in napkins, paper towels, wet wipes, paper cups, cleaning supplies and other similar items donated by its employees.

Magen Clayton, an engineer in Nissan’s New Model Trim and Chassis Engineering department, and JaMichael Smith, an inventory control analyst for Nissan Supply Chain Management, returned to North Baird this time with new smiling-faced Little Tikes cars, which are favorites among the center’s children.

ACE Learning Center + MT logo web“About every couple of months I’ll get a call from someone in the community, asking, ‘Can we help you?’ and of course we say, with open arms, ‘Absolutely! And thank you!’” said Davis. “There are times when someone will say that they have something for us, or ask whether this is a need, and there’s times they’ll say, ‘Will you send me a wish list? What are you needing at the present?’”

Obviously, with 45 busy children, supplies run out and even well-maintained equipment gets worn, so the ACE Center appreciates donations of all kinds to serve its students.

Individuals and businesses wanting to help can contact the center at acelearningcenter@mtsu.edu or 615-898-2458. Financial donations, such as those intended to help fund the playground project, can be made by contacting Lucie Burchfield, development director for MTSU’s College of Education, at 615-898-5032 or lucie.burchfield@mtsu.edu.

The ACE Center children conducted their own fundraiser for the playground last fall, creating four special pieces of art for an “art ransom” event, then inviting the community to their Fairview Building “gallery” to view the artwork, enjoy snacks and purchase each piece.

“Right now we have a temporary playground,” Davis said. “The children call it the ‘new playground,’ but I can’t wait to see their faces when it actually is the new playground, especially since it’ll be wheelchair-accessible.

“We’ve had babies in the past, and I’m know we’ll have more in the future, who use wheelchairs, and this will be a great asset for them.”

For more information about the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center and its work, visit www.mtsu.edu/acelearningcenter or check its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/AnnCampbellEarlyLearningCenter.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

MTSU’s EXL Program recognizes three outstanding community partners

The Experiential Learning Program at Middle Tennessee State University has once again presented a group of local organizations with its 2016 EXL Outstanding Community Partner Awards.

MTSU’s EXL Program, which provides students with hands-on learning in a specific work or service, presents these awards to organizations who help make “learning-by-doing” possible through their exceptional work with the students.

Since its establishment in 2006, the EXL program has engaged students directly in service, with more than 200 courses now approved as EXL courses universitywide. In addition to taking EXL courses, students can sign up to be EXL scholars, which requires them to complete assessment activities, including an e-portfolio, and perform an MTSU service component to receive the designation as an EXL scholar upon graduation.

Presented with the 2016 Outstanding Community Partner Awards are Murfreesboro Islamic Center’s Ossama Bahloul, Nissan North America and Stones River Manor Assisted Living.

Dr. Ossama Bahloul, center, former imam for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, is presented the 2016 MTSU Experiential Learning Program’s Outstanding Community Partner Award in this undated photo. Pictured with him are assistant professors Jenna Gray-Hildenbrand, left, and Rebekka King. (Submitted photo)

Dr. Ossama Bahloul, center, former imam for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, is presented the 2016 MTSU Experiential Learning Program’s Outstanding Community Partner Award in this undated photo. Pictured with him are assistant professors Jenna Gray-Hildenbrand, left, and Rebekka King. (Submitted photo)

Ossama Bahloul, former imam of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, has served as a partner to the EXL Program’s Religion and Society course since fall of 2014. Bahloul welcomed MTSU students to the center and answered their questions concerning the practice of Islam and its role in current events. Assistant professors Rebekka King and Jenna Gray-Hildenbrand noted in their nomination letter for Bahloul that students reported this learning opportunity as one of their favorites.

“His knowledge, compassion, and warmth make him especially approachable to our students, many of whom have had limited exposure to traditions outside of their own religious communities. At the heart of experiential learning is the type of transformation our students experience at the Islamic Center. This process of critically examining this experience sets them on the path towards being fully engaged scholars and citizens.”

“The partnership between MTSU and the Islamic Center elevated the educational process to a higher level,” Bahloul said. “It has been beneficial for myself to interact with the MTSU faculty as well as the students. It has assisted me in deepening my understanding of the faith community. The relationship has evolved into a friendship that I will always value and cherish.”

In this 2013 file photo, two teams of MTSU students prepare for their presentation on civility before a group of Nissan executives at the automakers Franklin, Tenn., headquarters. The student presentations were part of a semester project in an Experiential Learning (EXL) Principles of Management class taught by Dr. Jackie Gilbert. Nissan was presented a 2016 EXL Outstanding Community Partner Award for its work. (MTSU file photo by News and Media Relations)

In this 2013 file photo, two teams of MTSU students prepare for their presentation on civility before a group of Nissan executives at the automakers Franklin, Tenn., headquarters. The student presentations were part of a semester project in an Experiential Learning (EXL) Principles of Management class taught by Dr. Jackie Gilbert. Nissan was presented a 2016 EXL Outstanding Community Partner Award for its work. (MTSU file photo by News and Media Relations)

Nissan North America was nominated by Department of Management professor Jackie Gilbert due to the automaker’s continued collaboration with the EXL Principles of Management course. Students enrolled in Gilbert’s course receive the opportunity to create their own civility policies and pitch their ideas to a group of Nissan Associates at their headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee.

“Nissan graciously hosted my Principles of Management students, who presented on the topic of civility policy to a corporate audience,” Gilbert said. “This process involved several meetings with Rob Wilson, director of diversity and inclusion at the time, who recruited four corporate ‘judges,’ hosted a private luncheon for my students, and coordinated a monetary donation from Nissan to MTSU Jones College of Business.”

In addition to choosing a winner and making a donation of their behalf, Nissan also provided students with feedback and hoped to implement the students’ ideas in its own company policies.

In this undated photo, MTSU Aging Health and Development instructor Stephanie Bush, left, presents a 2016 EXL Outstanding Community Service Award to Stones River Manor, represented by CEO Kirkland Mason, center, and activity director Kandi Smith. (Submitted photo)

In this undated photo, MTSU Aging Health and Development instructor Stephanie Bush, left, presents a 2016 EXL Outstanding Community Service Award to Stones River Manor, represented by CEO Kirkland Mason, center, and activity director Kandi Smith. (Submitted photo)

Stones River Manor Assisted Living has served as a partner to MTSU’s Aging Health and Development students for the past seven years by providing learning opportunities on health, wellness and the aging process.

AHeAD instructor Stephanie Bush noted that “without the Manor’s support, the class would not be as successful as it currently is. A strong partnership is essential in order for the course to run successfully and remain in existence.”

Kandi Smith, activity director at Stones River Manor, along with her assistants Ashley Hurt and Cindy Crabtree, mentor students and provide weekly on-site trainings. This mentoring and training allows students to have a greater understanding of the aging process.

EXL color logo webIn addition, Stones River Manor also provides the class with a budget to complete planned activities for Manor residents. The organization has also partnered with other experiential learning classes by raising awareness on local hunger, hosting food drives, and by offering internship opportunities to students.

For more information about MTSU’s Experiential Learning Program, visit www.mtsu.edu/exl or contact EXL Director Carol Swayze at 615-898-5542 or email Carol.Swayze@mtsu.edu.

— Faith Few (news@mtsu.edu)

ICYMI: Still time to register for accelerated Spanish course

MTSU is again offering a breakthrough learning experience during spring break with its accelerated language program that will get participants excited and confident about speaking Spanish.

Registration is open for the five-day program, which will run from 6 to 9 p.m. March 6-10 at the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building.

The course is offered by the Center for Accelerated Language Acquisition at MTSU. CALA Spanish instructor Brian Roberts said that the course structure is based on brain research to give learners a special interactive experience that results in accelerated knowledge of the language.

Click the image to see class offerings and to register for the 2016 Summer Language Institute.

Click the image to see class offerings and to register for the upcoming five-day accelerated Spanish class.

“The course aims to develop conversational abilities in a fun, low-stress classroom, and you will use movement, songs, games and stories to acquire the language naturally,” Roberts said.

“CALA courses develop participants’ abilities in some of the most commonly used communicative tools. At the end of the course, participants are able to recognize the rhythm of the language and are capable of producing enough language to compose basic communicative needs in Spanish.”

One student who took the course last semester shared this feedback with course organizers: “What I liked most was the laughter and high energy through storytelling. Everyone seemed to build off each other, and we were all excited about learning, which got me excited.”

Discounts are available for MTSU students, alumni, faculty and staff. To register or for more information, including course fees, visit www.mtsu.edu/cala or contact Roberts at brian.roberts@mtsu.edu.

— Faith Few, student writer (news@mtsu.edu)

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