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New MTSU vice provost has eye on students’ success

MTSU will welcome a new vice provost in September in a job with a singular focus: ensuring the academic success of the university’s students.

Dr. Richard “Rick” Sluder, who currently serves as vice provost for recruitment and outreach at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, will join MTSU’s family Sept. 15 after helping UCM increase its enrollment and leading its initiative to improve student retention and graduation rates.

Dr. Richard Sluder

Dr. Richard Sluder

“Working collaboratively with faculty, staff and students, I am fully committed to doing everything possible to facilitate the success of MTSU students,” Sluder said this week.

“MTSU is an exceptional institution with strong faculty, committed staff and a vibrant campus environment. I look forward to beginning my work, knowing that we can further enhance student persistence and completion rates.”

MTSU launched its “Quest for Student Success” initiative in October 2013, creating extensive reforms aimed at helping its almost 24,000-plus students stay on track academically and complete their degrees. The university’s ultimate goal is to boost the current 52 percent graduation rate to at least 62 percent by 2020.

The MTSU effort works in conjunction with Gov. Bill Haslam’s “Drive to 55” goal to extend the reach of higher education and includes a top-to-bottom review of university operations as well as campuswide town hall meetings to gather even more ideas for student success.

Dr. Brad Bartel

Part of MTSU’s plan includes establishing the new vice provost’s post to provide leadership, vision and strategic planning for student retention and success. The job “will be particularly focused on creating a learning environment where high expectations for student learning are linked to a[n] … effective system of academic support initiatives.”

“We are excited about Dr. Sluder joining the MTSU family,” said University Provost Brad Bartel. “He brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge about student success issues and a proven track record of accomplishments.”

MTSU’s student success initiative concentrates on:

  • stepping up recruitment of students with greater potential to succeed at a four-year comprehensive university.
  • enhancing students’ academic experience to better ensure their success, including on-campus and online tutoring, more advising and an emphasis on more “high-tech and high-touch” approaches.
  • using more innovative, proven techniques, to help students flourish.

While in the vice provost’s office at UCM, Sluder also was part of a campus effort to establish the Office of Military and Veterans Services to accommodate student veterans and worked to strengthen its partnerships with community colleges, both of which have been high-priority efforts at MTSU. He also served as dean of UCM’s College of Health and Human Services as well as a professor of criminal justice there since 1992.

Sluder earned his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in criminal justice from Truman State University and Sam Houston State University, respectively, and a master’s degree in human resources management from Truman State. He also worked his way through the ranks of the Adams County, Colorado, Sheriff’s Department, rising to captain and administrator of the adult detention facility there before moving into academia.

“It’s important to note Rick’s strong leadership in building enrollment at UCM, which has climbed to nearly 13,000 students,” said Jeff Murphy, assistant director of university relations at UCM. “Rick is a great problem solver and a versatile educator. MTSU has made an outstanding choice in hiring Rick Sluder, and he will be greatly missed at UCM.”

For more information about MTSU’s Quest for Student Success, go to www.mtsu.edu/studentsuccessYou can watch a video report on last spring’s town hall meetings on student success below.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

 

Professor reviews recent Supreme Court rulings on ‘MTSU On the Record’

A review of the most recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions was the focus of a recent edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Dr. John Vile

Dr. John Vile

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. John Vile first aired July 14 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their conversation here.

Vile is dean of the University Honors College, a constitutional law scholar and author of “Essential Supreme Court Decisions: Summaries of Leading Cases in U.S. Constitutional Law.”

“A lot of times you really cannot understand a modern decision unless you know what it’s reacting against or what it’s overturning,” said Vile.

To listen to previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to the searchable “Audio Clips” archives here and here.

For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

Educator joins Confucius Institute to connect schools with China

MTSU’s Confucius Institute has hired a Midstate educator to help promote Chinese language and culture in area K-12 schools.

Mike Novak, most recently principal of Liberty Elementary School in Shelbyville, Tennessee, became the institute’s new assistant director July 1.

Mike Novak

Mike Novak

“I am very excited to be part of the team at the Confucius Institute,” said Novak. “I look forward to expanding educational opportunities for Tennessee and China.

“I look forward to the new chances to learn. In my life, I’ve always enjoyed learning. So to me this is just a continuation on that path of learning while strengthening the bridge to two cultures.”

Novak has worked in the Bedford County school system for the past 11 years, including three years as an art teacher at Eakin Primary School, two years as the part-time assistant principal at Eakin and part-time intervention teacher at Thomas Intermediate School, one year as full-time assistant principal at Eakin and five years as Liberty’s principal.

In fact, Thomas School, which is now a magnet school and was named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education in 2013, already has a Chinese language teacher, Dongmei Wang, in place and a Chinese Club for students.

Confucius Institute logoNovak also was one of 10 people chosen from across the country to serve on the National Assessment of Educational Progress principals’ panel.

The veteran educator comes to the new position with a wealth of contacts from his career and from his experience on the Common Core Leadership Council for the Tennessee Department of Education.

“I think the biggest help there (communicating with area educators) will be that human element,” Novak said. “I’m going in to talk to people that I know. They know that I’ve been a principal in the trenches for years.”

Dr. Guanping Zheng, director of the Confucius Institute and a professor in the MTSU Department of Electronic Media Communication, said Novak is a welcome addition to the team.

“This shows the university’s continuing commitment to broaden the institute’s outreach to the Middle Tennessee area,” said Zheng.

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

For more information about the Confucius Institute and its work, call 615-494-8696 or go to www.mtsu.edu/cimtsu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

MTSU’s Tang named Fellow of international psychology association

Dr. Thomas Tang, a professor in the Department of Management and Marketing in the MTSU Jones College of Business, was recently named a Fellow of the International Association of Applied Psychology.

“This is quite a prestigious award and is in recognition of his professional accomplishments and the high regard in which he is held by colleagues around the world,” said Dr. Peter Cunningham in the Office of the University Provost at MTSU.

Dr. Thomas Tang

Dr. Thomas Tang

Founded in 1920, the International Association of Applied Psychology is the oldest of its kind and includes scholars and researchers from more than 80 countries around the world. Tang, who has a doctorate in industrial/organizational psychology, has been a member of the IAAP since 1981 and currently serves as an associate editor of “Applied Psychology: An International Review,” the official flagship publication of the IAAP.

Tang will receive his Fellow’s Award at the closing ceremony of the quadrennial meeting of International Congress of Applied Psychology on July 13 in Paris, France.IAAP logo-web

“This is the highest honor I have received in my career,” said Tang, who holds both master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and has taught at MTSU since 1983.

While in Paris, Tang will also participate with other editors of top psychology journals in a special panel on “How to Get Published,” chair two symposia on money intelligence, and present several papers during the symposia.

According to the Journal of Business Ethics, Tang is being honored for his work in economic psychology and is best known for his research on the meaning of money, love of money and monetary intelligence.

At MTSU, Tang received Outstanding Research Awards twice — in 1991 for his work in psychology and in 1999 for his research in management, Distinguished International Service Award (1999), Outstanding Faculty Member in the Jones College of Business (2008), and Outstanding Career Achievement Award (2008).

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Eller named to interim graduate studies leadership post

A longtime MTSU sociology professor and campus leader will step in to help serve graduate students beginning Aug. 1, university officials have announced.

Dr. Jackie Eller

Dr. Jackie Eller

Dr. Jackie Eller, chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and a professor at MTSU for 29 years, will serve as interim associate dean for the College of Graduate Studies.

Dr. Michael Allen, vice provost for research and dean of the college, announced the change, thanking Eller “for agreeing to serve in this very important role.”

Graduate Studies-logoIn addition to her teaching duties, Eller directed graduate studies for her department for five years and has served as the department chair since 2008.

Her course topics have included deviant behavior, social disorganization, sex and gender, and emotions, and she is a former director of women’s studies at MTSU.

Eller, a past president of the Mid-South Sociological Association and member of the MTSU President’s Administrative Council, is replacing Dr. Amy Sayward, former chair of MTSU’s Department of History, in the interim graduate studies position.

Sayward, and now Eller, filled the interim post after former associate dean Dr. Peter Cunningham stepped over into the Office of the University Provost to serve as an academic affairs administrative fellow and special assistant to Dr. Brad Bartel.

For more information about the MTSU College of Graduate Studies, call 615-898-2840, email graduate@mtsu.edu or visit www.mtsu.edu/graduate.

MTSU’s Tang named Fellow of international psychology association

Dr. Thomas Tang, a professor in the Department of Management and Marketing in the MTSU Jones College of Business, was recently named a Fellow of the International Association of Applied Psychology.

“This is quite a prestigious award and is in recognition of his professional accomplishments and the high regard in which he is held by colleagues around the world,” said Dr. Peter Cunningham in the Office of the University Provost at MTSU.

Dr. Thomas Tang

Dr. Thomas Tang

Founded in 1920, the International Association of Applied Psychology is the oldest of its kind and includes scholars and researchers from more than 80 countries around the world. Tang, who has a doctorate in industrial/organizational psychology, has been a member of the IAAP since 1981 and currently serves as an associate editor of “Applied Psychology: An International Review,” the official flagship publication of the IAAP.

Tang will receive his Fellow’s Award at the closing ceremony of the quadrennial meeting of International Congress of Applied Psychology on July 13 in Paris, France.IAAP logo-web

“This is the highest honor I have received in my career,” said Tang, who holds both master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and has taught at MTSU since 1983.

While in Paris, Tang will also participate with other editors of top psychology journals in a special panel on “How to Get Published,” chair two symposia on money intelligence, and present several papers during the symposia.

According to the Journal of Business Ethics, Tang is being honored for his work in economic psychology and is best known for his research on the meaning of money, love of money and monetary intelligence.

At MTSU, Tang received Outstanding Research Awards twice — in 1991 for his work in psychology and in 1999 for his research in management, Distinguished International Service Award (1999), Outstanding Faculty Member in the Jones College of Business (2008), and Outstanding Career Achievement Award (2008).

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

‘Making Progress Against Prejudice’: Listen to June 16 ‘MTSU On the Record’

Producer/Host: Gina Logue
Guest: Dr. Mark Frame

Synopsis: The associate professor of psychology conducted research which shows that contact with gays and lesbians on mutual projects for a compressed period of time helps to alleviate the unease some heterosexuals have about homosexuals.

Listen to: Making Progress against Prejudice

Murphy named assistant director of annual giving at MTSU

Trisha Murphy has been named assistant director of annual giving at Middle Tennessee State University.

Trisha Murphy

Trisha Murphy

Murphy, who assumed her new position earlier this month after serving in an interim role, began working in the MTSU Development and Foundation Office several years ago as a student intern. She went on to serve as a graduate assistant for two years, working mainly with the office’s telephone fundraising campaigns, and has served as interim assistant director for the past year.

“During this time she repeatedly demonstrated her hard work and her commitment to her alma mater,” said Nick Perlick, director of development. “We have great hopes to elevate annual giving further during the final 18 months of the Centennial Campaign and beyond, and I could not be more pleased that Trisha will be leading those efforts.”

Murphy, a native of Murfreesboro, graduated from MTSU with a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in education administration and supervision.

To learn more about university giving, visit www.mtsu.edu/development.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Professor helps put Middle East in perspective on ‘MTSU On the Record’

A fresh look at the Middle East is in store on the next edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Dr. Sean Foley

Dr. Sean Foley

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Sean Foley will air from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, June 29, on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org).

Foley, an associate professor of history, will offer his views on the arrest of a suspect in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya, and the escalation of violence in Iraq by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS.

In addition, he will discuss his past year’s work in Saudi Arabia, conducting research all over the kingdom to assess its politics and cultures with the help of MTSU’s Saudi alumni.

“There are many Saudi students who come to campus,” said Foley. “It’s been a tremendously rewarding exchange, not only for them but for us.”

To listen to previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to the searchable “Audio Clips” archives here and here.

For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

‘MTSU On the Record’ examines nature of prejudice

An experiment that revealed some fascinating insights into human nature was the focus of a recent edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Mark Frame, associate professor of psychology, originally aired June 16 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their conversation here.

Dr. Mark Frame

Dr. Mark Frame

Frame’s research subjects had to work in teams to solve a problem within an hour after learning through casual conversation that at least one of their colleagues was homosexual.

Some of the participants played the roles of gays and heterosexuals regardless of their real sexual orientations. A control group including role-playing “straights” was also part of the study.

After analyzing the results, Frame and fellow researchers Heather Graham and Jared Kenworthy found that even one hour of interpersonal contact lessened the unease felt by people with negative views of gays and lesbians.

“We actually had an age range that was up to 53 in this particular study,” Frame said, “so we had undergraduates who ran the gamut in terms of age and experience, and most of them were working.”

To listen to previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to the “Audio Clips” archives here and here.

For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

A video snippet of the interview is available below.