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MTSU, city utility invite public to Sept. 23 stormwater meeting

Middle Tennessee State University and the Murfreesboro Water and Sewer Department will hold a public meeting Sept. 23 to highlight the annual report and outcomes of the campus stormwater program.

The meeting will be held at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 23, at the Murfreesboro Water and Sewer Department Operations and Maintenance Facility, located at 1725 S. Church St.stormwater logo

MTSU is co-permitting with the city of Murfreesboro for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, or NPDES, MS4 Permit. The permit is required by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation as mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Water Act of 1972.

This is the third year of the program for MTSU and is also the third year of the co-permit between the city and the university.

MTSU and the city are required by TDEC and the permit to hold a public meeting to gather public participation and community involvement with the programs, according to Shelia Knight, environmental engineer with MTSU Environmental Health and Safety Services.

The primary goal of this permit is to improve the quality of surface waters by reducing the amount of pollutants in the runoff water.

Polluted stormwater runoff is commonly transported through municipal storm sewer systems, from which it is often discharged untreated into local bodies of water. To prevent harmful pollutants from being washed or dumped into such a system, operators must obtain a permit and develop a stormwater management program.

For more information about MTSU’s stormwater program, visit www.mtsu.edu/stormwater.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

WGNS radio features MTSU food course, alumni events, sexual assault awareness

MTSU faculty and staff shared information about a new course, Homecoming 2014, sexual assault awareness and more with listeners of WGNS radio during the Sept. 15 “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.

Clockwise, from top left, Tony Johnston, professor of food science and agribusiness in MTSU’s School of Agribusiness and Agriscience; top right, Rhonda King, assistant director, MTSU Office of Alumni Relations; bottom, left to right, Barbara Scales, director, June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students; Jonell Hinsey, interim director, Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs; and Kim Reynolds, a victim’s advocate with the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program in Rutherford County. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

Clockwise, from top left, Tony Johnston, professor of food science and agribusiness in MTSU’s School of Agribusiness and Agriscience; top right, Rhonda King, assistant director, MTSU Office of Alumni Relations; bottom, left to right, Barbara Scales, director, June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students; Jonell Hinsey, interim director, Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs; and Kim Reynolds, a victim’s advocate with the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program in Rutherford County. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

Guests included:

  • Dr. Tony Johnston, professor of food science and agribusiness in MTSU’s School of Agribusiness and Agriscience, who discussed “World Food and Society,” a new University Honors College course he created and begins teaching this fall. Students will explore economic, political, social and cultural issues related to food and hunger in the world, including malnutrition, food production, biotechnology, ecological destruction and food aid.
  • Rhonda King, assistant director, MTSU Office of Alumni Relations, who discussed a whole host of upcoming alumni-related events as well as Homecoming Week 2014, which is just month away. Among Homecoming Week activities is the Oct. 17 Golden Raiders Reunion and Induction Ceremony honoring the Class of 1964. For more information, visit www.mtalumni.com.
  • Barbara Scales, director, June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students; Jonell Hinsey, interim director, Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs; and Kim Reynolds, a victim’s advocate with the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program in Rutherford County. They discussed the university’s ongoing efforts to combat sexual violence on campus, including the Oct. 21 public event featuring educator, activist and international lecturer Tony Porter who will share his “A Call to Men” initiative aimed at stopping violence against women.

Students, faculty and staff interested in being a guest 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 issues ‘timely warning’ after reported campus incidents

MTSU Alert graphicMiddle Tennessee State University has issued a “timely warning”  after reports of two incidents late Tuesday night, Sept. 16, on the university campus.

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.

11 A.M., SEPT. 17, 2014, MTSU TIMELY WARNING: On Sept. 16, 2014, at 8:34 p.m., Middle Tennessee State University Police received a robbery complaint from a female student. A timely warning concerning an attempted armed robbery was issued. Subsequently, based on information obtained from the victim, this incident is now being investigated as a sexual battery, and this warning is being distributed to better inform the campus community of the seriousness of the incident.

The suspect was described as a light-skinned black male with freckles on his face. He was possibly 18 to 25 years old and was wearing a dark gray hoodie.

If anyone has any information about this individual or have knowledge of this incident, they are urged to contact MTSU Police at 615-898-2424. If you have knowledge about this or any other crime, you may also contact CrimeStoppers at 615-893-STOP (7867).

All students are encouraged to remain aware of their surroundings, walk in well-lit areas and consider other personal safety tips found at the MTSU Police Department website, http://police.mtsu.edu. The website also has information about services offered by MTSU Police, including the Student Escort Program and the free MTSU Rave Guardian app, which turns a mobile phone into a “virtual escort” that connects directly to MTSU Police in case of emergency.

This timely warning notification is made in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Act and the Higher Education Opportunity Act.

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12:02 A.M., SEPT. 17, 2014: MTSU Police have issued the ALL CLEAR alert. The suspect has not been apprehended, but he is not believed to be on campus. Resume normal activities, and please report suspicious activity to MTSU Police at 615-898-2424.

11:14 P.M., SEPT. 16, 2014: Armed robbery reported at Scarlett Commons, located at the intersection of MTSU Boulevard and Blue Raider Drive on the MTSU campus. Leave that area immediately and stay away. The suspect was described as wearing all black clothing and black ski mask, and he was armed with a black handgun. Please report suspicious activity to MTSU Police at 615-898-2424.

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10:35 P.M., SEPT. 16, 2014: MTSU Police have issued the ALL CLEAR alert. The suspect has not been apprehended, but he is not believed to be on campus. Resume normal activities, and please report suspicious activity to MTSU Police at 615-898-2424.

9:01 P.M., SEPT. 16, 2014: Attempted armed robbery reported at the MTSU Lot at the intersection of MTSU Boulevard and South Rutherford Boulevard. Leave that area immediately and stay away. The suspect was described as a tall, light-skinned black male with a lot of freckles on his face. He was wearing a gray hoodie and carrying a knife and was last seen on foot running south toward Greek Row. Please report suspicious activity to MTSU Police at 615-898-2424.

Tonight’s notifications 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’s 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)

MTSU tops fall enrollment among TBR despite challenges

Middle Tennessee State University remains the largest institution in the Tennessee Board of Regents system, despite a decline in enrollment from last year, figures released Sept. 12 show.

MTSU also welcomed TBR’s largest class of freshmen and transfer students for the 2014 fall semester and set a new record for international enrollment.

In addition, the class of 2018 had an average ACT of 22.3, a slight increase over the record mark of 22 put forward by last year’s freshmen.MTSU Wordmark

MTSU’s Fall 2014 head count is 22,729, which includes 20,262 undergraduates and 2,467 graduate students. The university’s enrollment is down 4.82 percent over last year.

The university welcomed 2,932 freshmen and 1,809 transfer students this fall. Also, MTSU has 768 international students — a 20 percent increase over last year and 33 percent over three years.

“MTSU, like many other institutions, is grappling with several enrollment challenges, including rising tuition costs and a declining population of high school seniors in Tennessee,” said Deb Sells, vice president for student affairs and vice provost for enrollment services.

“Nevertheless, in a marketplace where students have ever-increasing options, we are pleased that the majority of students in the TBR system chose MTSU for their higher education,” she said.

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee

Dr. Debra Sells

Dr. Debra Sells

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee pointed to the university’s Quest for Student Success initiative, which fully deployed this fall, as a way to improve student retention and graduation rates.

“I want our university to focus not only on bringing in new students, but also keeping and graduating those who have invested with us,” McPhee said. “These efforts underway this fall will have a direct impact upon our future enrollment.”

McPhee also said MTSU will be announcing other new initiatives shortly that will reinforce the Student Success push and help with recruitment of high school seniors and transfers. McPhee and other top university leaders are again hitting the road beginning this week for the six-city True Blue Tour to recruit top prospective students across the state.

Earlier this year, MTSU announced that it will guarantee five of its major scholarships next fall to prospective students who meet the application requirements and deadlines.

And the university’s Transfer Academic Scholarships have switched from competitive-based to guaranteed next fall for qualifying students transferring from any of the state’s community colleges.

McPhee said he was pleased about the significant increase in MTSU’s international population, which reflects the strategic priority placed upon outreach to those students.

“We anticipate to see these numbers grow even further as our most recent efforts in China and elsewhere come to fruition,” he said.

For more information on MTSU’s student success efforts, visit www.mtsu.edu/studentsuccess.

The Tennessee Board of Regents system consists of 46 institutions with a combined annual enrollment of over 200,000 students, making it among the nation’s largest systems of public higher education. The TBR’s six state universities, 13 community colleges, and 27 colleges of applied technology offer classes in 90 of Tennessee’s 95 counties.

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

MTSU president part of Sept. 24 state higher education panel

NASHVILLE — MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee will be among a group of academic leaders from across the state gathering to discuss the state of higher education and the push to produce career-ready graduates.

The Nashville Business Journal is hosting the luncheon panel discussion entitled “Nashville Ahead: A discussion on higher education and workforce readiness.” It will be held from 11:50 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, at the Omni Nashville Hotel, 250 Fifth Ave. S.MTSU Wordmark

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee

Joining him will be Joe DiPietro, president of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville; Kimberly Estep, chancellor of Western Governors University Tennessee; and Jerry L. Faulkner, president of Volunteer State Community College.

McPhee has increasingly emphasized the changes within higher education to university faculty and staff, particularly the state of Tennessee’s emphasis on degree completion rather than student enrollment as the primary metric to determine funding.

MTSU launched its Quest for Student Success initiative last fall, with a goal of raising the graduation rate from 52 percent to at least 62 percent by 2020.

MTSU has hired more advisers and employed new software to better monitor student progress and assist at-risk students earlier in their academic careers. The university has also hired a new vice provost for student success to manage this effort.

These efforts are in support Gov. Bill Haslam’s “Drive to 55” initiative to get 55 percent of Tennesseans equipped with a college degree or certificate by 2025.

For cost and registration details about the upcoming panel discussion, visit www.nashvillebusinessjournal.com.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Click the poster for a printable pdf.

Click the poster for a printable pdf.

State House Education Committee chair tours MTSU Science Building

As state Rep Harry Brooks, left, R-Knoxville, MTSU College of Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Bud Fischer and MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee listen, MTSU junior Ryan Wayne Tilluck explains the research he is performing in the recently opened $147 million Science Building Sept. 9. (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

State Rep. Harry Brooks, R-Knoxville, a major force behind the legislature’s decision to fund the recently opened MTSU Science Building, visited campus and toured the $147 million facility Sept. 9.

College of Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Bud Fisher provided Brooks with the tour of the building, which opened six months early and features 257,000 gross square feet of space that includes six classroom lecture halls, 32 classroom laboratories and 13 research labs.

Brooks serves as chair of the House Education Committee. He was joined by MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and John Hood, director of the university’s Office of Government and Community Affairs.

Brooks has been a House member of the 103rd through 108th General Assemblies and represents District 19, which is part of Knox County. Hood is a former state representative.

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

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, second from left, tells students in a Sept. 9 biology class being taught by graduate student Caleb Sutton, left, that state Rep. Harry Brooks, right, helped pave the way for the $147 million Science Building that opened six months ahead of schedule. Brooks, R-Knoxville, serves as chair of the House Education Committee. 

MTSU College of Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Bud Fischer, left, is joined by John Hood, director of MTSU’s Office of Government and Community Affairs; state Rep. Harry Brooks, R-Knoxville; and MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee to check out the view from the deck outside the new Science Building, which opened about six months ahead of schedule. Brooks’ leadership as chair of the House Education Committee helped push the building forward until it became a reality.

MTSU is key player in state’s new emergency communication center (+VIDEO)

NASHVILLE — Middle Tennessee State University has provided its expertise and resources to aid the creation of an emergency communications center that the state of Tennessee could use to inform the public and media during a state or local disaster or crisis.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency unveiled the Multi-Agency Joint Information Center, or MAJIC, during a news conference Monday, Sept. 8, to kickoff National Preparedness Month at the Tennessee Department of Military-TEMA headquarters on Sidco Drive in Nashville.

http://youtu.be/ZcGx6dbZbBA

TEMA partnered with the Tennessee Department of Health and MTSU to develop the center, which will provide live, high-definition satellite video uplinks that government agencies and TV stations can use to broadcast information to the public during incidents such as tornadoes, floods and other public health emergencies.

Andrew Oppmann, left, MTSU vice president of marketing and communications, chats with Billy Pittard, chair of MTSU’s Department of Electronic Media Communication, and Maj. Gen. Max Haston, Tennessee’s adjutant general and an MTSU alumnus, after a Sept. 8 news conference inside the Multi-Agency Joint Information Center at TEMA headquarters in Nashville.

Staff from the MTSU College of Education’s Center for Educational Media and the College of Mass Communication’s Department of Electronic Media Communication shared technical expertise to properly equip the studio inside the joint information center, which has been two years in the making and was funded primarily through federal grants.

With a $100,000 investment from a variety of university departments, MTSU upgraded its own satellite uplink capabilities from standard definition to high definition earlier this year. The upgrade enhances the university’s ability to provide live video for educational training, athletic events and media requests.

David Purkey

As part of its partnership with TEMA, MTSU has agreed to make its HD uplink and staff available to TEMA on a fee-based, on-call basis.

TEMA Director David Purkey and other TEMA officials noted that the partnership could lead to valuable experience for MTSU student interns at TEMA. The equipment inside MAJIC is similar to that already used by MTSU students at the university’s Center for Innovation in Media.

“I think one thing we don’t do enough of in state government is work with our colleges,” Purkey said. “We’re seeking opportunities to allow (MTSU) students to get some hands-on experience. We’re seeking opportunities to bring some expertise to government.”

Maj. Gen. Max Haston, Tennessee’s adjutant general and an MTSU alumnus, also praised the collaboration. As adjutant general, Haston is responsible for supervision of the Tennessee Department of Military that includes the Army National Guard, the Air National Guard, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and the Tennessee State Guard.

Partnering with MTSU ensures that the state can distribute emergency information efficiently and accurately, he said. Information could be shared with other TEMA offices, public and private television stations and the public at large.

TEMA seal web“Seeing the capabilities that they have in their Mass Comm department … they are a nationwide leader in this,” Haston said of MTSU. “Why not reach out and touch those organizations.”

MTSU WordmarkMTSU brought its mobile production lab, known as “The Truck,” to Monday’s event and parked it outside. The vehicle was connected to the televised kickoff news conference to demonstrate how TV stations could bring their own satellite trucks to TEMA headquarters and tap into the live feed or broadcast their own footage.

Andrew Oppmann, MTSU vice president of marketing and communications, said the university’s uplink access plus its technical expertise “gives (TEMA) the power to reach a statewide audience on a quick, emergency basis.”

Joining Oppmann at Monday’s kickoff was Billy Pittard, chair of MTSU’s Department of Electronic Media Communication, Dr. Tracey Huddleston, director of the Center for Educational Media, and Jeff Nokes, director of engineering for MTSU Audio Visual Services.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Maj. Gen. Max Haston, Tennessee’s adjutant general and an MTSU alumnus, talks at the Sept. 8 news conference. At far right is Andrew Oppmann, MTSU vice president for marketing and communications. Beside him is MTSU alumnus Elliott Webb of Walgreen’s.

As a News Channel 2 videographer looks on, Mike Forbes, assistant director of technologies in the MTSU Department of Electronic Media Communication, works the control board inside the Multi-Agency Joint Information Center during a news conference Monday, Sept. 8, to kickoff National Preparedness Month. The event was held at the Tennessee Department of Military-TEMA headquarters on Sidco Drive in Nashville. (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

The MTSU Department of Electronic Media Communication brought its mobile production lab, known as “The Truck,” to Monday’s news conference at the Tennessee Department of Military-TEMA headquarters on Sidco Drive in Nashville. The vehicle was connected to the Multi-Agency Joint Information Center to demonstrate how TV stations could bring their own satellite trucks to the site and connect to the live feed or broadcast themselves.

MTSU tornado-siren testing set for Wednesday morning

MTSU plans to conduct a routine monthly test of its tornado sirens on campus and at the Miller Coliseum Complex this Wednesday, Sept. 10, at 11:15 a.m.

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

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

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

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

Don’t miss new fall programs on ERC@MT, MTSU’s Channel 9

Check the schedule and mark your calendar now for the best in educational programming this fall on The Education Resource Channel @ Middle Tennessee, also known as ERC@MT!

Click on the Sept. 7-13 mini-schedule above for a printable version.

Bookmark this page, www.mtsunews.com/erc-mt, and you’ll stay on top of all the MTSU education access channel’s new offerings, including programming for the week of Sept. 7-13, shown at right.

The ERC@MT channel serves Rutherford and Cannon counties and portions of DeKalb, Smith and Wilson counties.

 It airs on Comcast Channel 9 in Rutherford County and DTC Communications’ Channel 195 in Cannon and DeKalb counties and some areas in Rutherford, Smith and Wilson counties. It also airs on AT&T U-verse Channel 99 across Middle Tennessee.

The Educational Resource Channel @ Middle Tennessee broadcasts educational programming suitable for all ages 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including:

  • nationally recognized documentaries and short films;
  • instructional K-12 series on varied topics;
  • the renowned “Classic Arts Showcase” and NASA Television;
  • MTSU’s monthly video magazine, “Out of the Blue”; and
  • special “MTSU Presents:” shows on unique university events and topics.

New programs for the week of Sept. 7-13 and links for information include:

ERC@MT continues to expand its programming and has also rearranged its schedule appearance to better accommodate viewer needs by beginning each broadcast day at 6 a.m.

For more information about The Education Resource Channel @ Middle Tennessee, email Gail Fedak at gail.fedak@mtsu.edu.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

MTSU’s Confucius Institute paddlers row boat for charity Sept. 6

The Confucius Institute at MTSU will participate in an ancient Chinese tradition that has become a modern Tennessee tradition.

Rowers will be propelling a dragon boat like this one Saturday, Sept. 6, in the eighth annual Cumberland River Dragon Boat Race in Nashville. (Photo submitted by Cumberland River Compact)

Rowers for the institute will compete against 38 other sponsored boats in the eighth annual Cumberland River Dragon Boat Race Saturday, Sept. 6, in Nashville.

“The MTSU Confucius Institute team will be comprised of visiting scholars from Mongolia as well as MTSU students,” said Mike Novak, the institute’s assistant director.

The purpose of the race is to raise $20,000 to support the Cumberland River Compact, a nonprofit organization dedicated to cleaning up the river.

Each paddler is being urged to raise $100 in donations, which compact officials say will clean up 20 linear feet of stream in the watershed.

 Dragon boat racing began in China more than 2,300 years ago, according to legend. Qu Yuan, a royal adviser ousted because he advocated political reform, became despondent after learning of the kingdom’s takeover by a rival.

Qu Yuan threw himself into the Mei Lo River, but people sped out to save him in fishing boats, beating drums and splashing oars to ward off evil spirits. They threw rice in the water to make sure his soul would not starve.

Each of the boats competing in the race has room for 20 paddlers and a drummer. At least 16 people are needed per boat.

They will row a 250-meter run in heats of four boats each from the pedestrian bridge at Shelby Street to the Woodland Street Bridge.

The first-place finisher will receive a trophy; second- and third-place finishers, along with division champions, will receive plaques. Awards also will be presented for the best-dressed drummer, best team T-shirt or costume design, best decorated team tent, best individual spirit, best team spirit and most improved race time.

“This event gives us a chance to highlight the Confucius Institute and open a platform for community outreach,” Novak said.

The Confucius Institute at MTSU works to enhance understanding of Chinese language and culture and create opportunities for exchange and collaboration between Tennessee communities and China.

For more information, call the institute at 615-494-8696 or visit www.nashvilledragonboat.org.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)