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WPC Healthcare names MTSU data director as visiting scholar

The director of MTSU’s Data Science Institute has been named WPC Healthcare’s first visiting scholar.

Dr. Todd Gary’s appointment to the Visiting Scholars Program was announced May 10. His time with the program, which began April 1, will take place at the Brentwood, Tennessee, headquarters of WPC Healthcare, a provider of professional services and predictive analytics solutions for health care.

MTSU's Todd Gary, left, visits with Damian Mingle, chief data scientist with WPC Healthcare, during the Nashville Technology Council conference after Mingle was named 2015 Data Scientist of the Year earlier this year. Gary, director of the MTSU Data Science Institute, is WPC Healthcare's first Visiting Scholar. (Submitted photo)

MTSU’s Todd Gary, left, visits with Damian Mingle, chief data scientist with WPC Healthcare, during the Nashville Technology Council conference after Mingle was named 2015 Data Scientist of the Year in January. Gary, director of the MTSU Data Science Institute, is WPC Healthcare’s first visiting scholar. (Submitted photo)

Dr. Todd Gary

Dr. Todd Gary

The program hopes to better prepare interested students for the data science workforce and help industry experts and academics share and learn from each other’s research.

“MTSU is honored to have been selected as the first university to participate in this program and we agree that Dr. Gary is an excellent choice for the first scholar,” said Dr. Jackie Eller, interim vice provost for research and dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

“MTSU is building a strong technical capacity in data science and analytics that supports faculty research and graduate degree programs in computational sciences, health care informatics, biostatistics, quantitative psychology and computer information systems with a business intelligence and analytics concentration,” Eller added. “We have great confidence in the value and future success of this collaborative relationship.”

The Data Science Institute falls under the Office of Research and College of Graduate Studies.

Gary is working with Damian Mingle, chief data scientist for WPC Healthcare, and his team, providing research support on groundbreaking projects that leverage data science to deliver practical solutions addressing the major clinical, financial and operational concerns of health care organizations.

Gary said he’s honored to be a part of the Visiting Scholars Program, in both “representing MTSU and to work with WPC Healthcare and Damian Mingle.”

WPC Healthcare logo“I enjoy working on the kinds of complex problems they strive to solve: saving lives and reducing healthcare costs,” Gary added. “I hope to use this experience to help students become successful data scientists and to demonstrate the mutual value of this unique university/industry data science collaborative program.”

Gary holds a doctorate in molecular biology from Vanderbilt University and has extensive expertise in data science and deep ties to the data science community in the Middle Tennessee region. He completed a research fellowship in the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt and a NASA sabbatical in astrobiology at UCLA, working with bioinformatics pioneer Jim Lake.

The program began out of interactions between the company and Gary at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center in fall 2015 where Mingle presented to faculty from MTSU, Tennessee State University and other local universities interested in data science.

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

Using X-rays for better IDs of remains is topic of ‘MTSU On the Record’

New science-based standards for identifying human remains based on X-rays are the subject of the next “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Alicja Lanfear, a lecturer in the MTSU Department of Biology, will air from 5:30 to 6 p.m. Monday, May 23, and from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, May 29, on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org).

Dr. Alicja Lanfear

Dr. Alicja Lanfear

With Ann Ross, an anthropologist at North Carolina State University, Lanfear established a standard system of assessing X-rays taken both before and after death for helping to establish the identities of human remains.

Forensic Journal logoThe standards will allow experts to determine the probabilities for correct identification. The researchers used evaluations of the side of the skull, the spine and the upper leg, since these skeletal regions are among the most frequently X-rayed in a clinical setting.

“One of the long end-term goals of this project is to have a well-defined set of point-by-point comparisons that can be made by any practitioner regardless of skill set and availability of real expertise in the matter,” Lanfear said.

Lanfear and Ross’ study was published in the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology.

To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.

For more information, contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

— Gina Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Professor puts ‘Mad Men’ in academic context on ‘MTSU On the Record’

An academic examination of the television series “Mad Men” was the focus of a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Dr. David Lavery

Dr. David Lavery

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. David Lavery, a professor of English and one of the coordinators of “Mad Men: The Conference,” first aired May 16 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their conversation below.

The gathering, planned May 26-28, will bring scholars from around the world together to discuss the sociological, historical and literary impact of the program, which aired on the AMC cable channel from 2007 to 2015.

Mad Men conference logo web“Mad Men” focused on a Madison Avenue advertising agency in the 1960s, displaying not only the styles of the period but also putting the racism, misogyny and rapacious greed of its characters under a microscope.

“I have taught both undergraduate and graduate classes on ‘Mad Men,’ and, in both of them, what we have tried to do is to set the show in the context of all the other art, literature, film, television of the period,” said Lavery, “and ‘Mad Men’ is especially rich in that regard.”

MTSU is collaborating with Great Britain’s University of Salford in presenting the conference. For more information on the conference, read this story, contact Lavery at david.lavery@mtsu.edu or visit http://madmentheconference.com.

To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.

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

https://youtu.be/ZMnACBB_NDE

Professor’s extra focus on students earns award from MTSU organization

MTSU’s student chapter of the National Federation of the Blind has recognized an MTSU criminal justice professor’s student-focused teaching with a special award.

Dr. Elizabeth Quinn, right, an assistant professor of criminal justice at MTSU , displays her Educator of the Year Award from the MTSU Student Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind. At left is Quinn Howard, the student who nominated her.

Dr. Elizabeth Quinn, right, an assistant professor of criminal justice at MTSU , displays her Educator of the Year Award from the MTSU Student Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind. At left is Quinn Howard, the student who nominated her. (Photos submitted)

Dr. Elizabeth Quinn, an assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice Administration, is the recipient of this year’s Educator of the Year Award from the organization.

The student who nominated her was Quinn Howard, a psychology major from Nashville, Tennessee, and president of the student organization. NFB TN logo web

Howard described Quinn as “a phenomenal professor with unbelievable patience. Whenever I needed help with a class assignment, or when I had questions after lectures, Dr. Quinn explained the various concepts in multiple ways until I understood them.”

Quinn, who taught Howard in her “Women in Crime” class, counts victimology and victim studies, females and criminal justice, police/community relations, stress management and disaster response and criminal justice among her research interests.

Howard recalled that his professor explained on the first day of class that it was her “first year at MTSU [and] I have very little experience accommodating students with disabilities, but I will do my absolute best to make sure you have all material in an accessible format.”

Quinn received a certificate of recognition and a personalized white cane at an April 21 ceremony.

Danielle Baghernejad, left, a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, displays her Honorable Mention Award from the MTSU Student Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind. At right is Kira McCall, the student who nominated her.

Danielle Baghernejad, left, a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, displays her Honorable Mention Award from the MTSU Student Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind. At right is Kira McCall, the student who nominated her.

The Honorable Mention Award went to Danielle Baghernejad, a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. Kira McCall, a journalism major from Nashville, Tennessee, and the student group’s vice president, nominated Baghernejad.

“After I showed the professor how my computer was handling the math problems,” said McCall, who took an algebra class from Baghernejad, “she proactively arranged a meeting with the adaptive tech coordinator to figure out if there was any way that I could do my homework using MyMathLab (an online math resource).”

Although McCall still encountered accessibility issues, she said Baghernejad “made the necessary changes to make the homework assignments as accessible as possible, even if the process is not perfect yet.”

The Educator of the Year Award is presented to an individual who:

ensures that blind students have equal access to every aspect of the course.

  • is willing to grant requested accommodations.
  • sends course materials in the requested format in enough time for them to be made accessible.
  • recognizes the unique learning style of each disabled student who enters his or her classroom.
  • works closely with students to address and overcome any unexpected challenges that may arise.
  • treats each student with dignity, equality and respect.

“You have to be persistent in getting accessibility, but you also have to be patient,” said John Harris, former director of the MTSU Office of Disabled Student Services, now the Disability and Access Center.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

MTSU recognizes 4 top staffers as ‘Employees of the Year’

Four of MTSU’s finest staff members celebrated their recognition as the “Employees of the Year” during a special ceremony and reception in the university’s James Union Building.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, center, joins employees Dennis McBee, left, Barbara Sensing, Dana Potter and Ronald “Tiny” Gilley for a photo with their engraved crystal Employee of the Year awards. The hard-working four were honored as MTSU 2015-16 Employees of the Year at the university’s recent Employee Recognition Awards ceremony at the James Union Building. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, center, joins employees Dennis McBee, left, Barbara Sensing, Dana Potter and Ronald “Tiny” Gilley for a photo with their engraved crystal Employee of the Year awards. The four were honored as MTSU 2015-16 Employees of the Year at the recent Employee Recognition Awards ceremony at the James Union Building. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

The 2015-16 winners are:

  • Administrative Employee of the Year Dennis McBee.
  • Classified Employee of the Year Barbara Sensing.
  • Secretarial/Clerical Employee of the Year Dana Potter.
  • Technical/Service Employee of the Year Ronald “Tiny” Gilley.

McBee is assistant manager of the university’s post office, and Sensing recently retired from MTSU’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships after 40 years of service. Potter is the coordinator for the Department of Recording Industry, and Gilley is an electronic equipment technician for MTSU’s Audio-Visual Services Department.

The winners received engraved crystal awards and monetary gifts for their work excellence and commitment to making MTSU and its students successful. They were nominated by their fellow university employees during the 2015-16 academic year and chosen by the university’s Employee Recognition Committee.

For more information about MTSU’s Employee Recognition Programs, visit www.mtsu.edu/hrs/relations/recog.php.

— Gina Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

In the News: Faculty, staff share expertise on cell phone use, retention

MTSU faculty and staff experts contributed their knowledge to various national media outlets recently, sounding off on cell phones, online media, flesh-eating bacteria and keeping students enrolled in college.

Dr. Mary Farone

Dr. Mary Farone

Dr Stoney Brooks web

Dr. Stoney Brooks

Dr. Mary Farone, a professor of biology, defined and explained flesh-eating bacteria for www.livescience.com. Her comments can be read here.

MTSU WordmarkDr. Stoney Brooks, an assistant professor of computer information systems, commented on the distraction that cell phones present to college students for Campus News. His views are available by clicking here and then clicking on the headline “Students: Put Away That Smart Phone!”

 

 

Campus News story-Stoney Brooks

 

Dr. Richard Sluder

Dr. Richard Sluder

Dr. Larry Burriss

Dr. Larry Burriss

Ken Paulson

Ken Paulson

Dr. Rick Sluder, vice provost for student success, explained MTSU’s strategy for improving retention rates for www.insidehighered.com. The story may be accessed here.

Dr. Larry Burriss, a professor of journalism, and Ken Paulson, dean of the College of Media and Entertainment, expressed their opinions on media law and ethics in online publishing for mediablog.prnewswire.com. His perspectives can be obtained here.

Reporters seeking expertise from MTSU personnel, as well as members of the campus community with expertise for media, may contact Gina Logue in the Office of News and Media Relations at 615-898-5081 or via email at gina.logue@mtsu.edu.

Provost recalls 6 years of academic leadership on ‘MTSU On the Record’

MTSU’s outgoing provost revisited his six years as the university’s top academic officer on a recent edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Dr. Brad Bartel, shown here speaking to the crowd at MTSU's fall 2015 commencement ceremonies, is stepping down from the university provost's post to return to teaching in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. (MTSU file photo by GradImages.com)

Dr. Brad Bartel, shown here speaking to the crowd at MTSU’s fall 2015 commencement ceremonies, is stepping down from the university provost’s office to return to teaching in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. (MTSU file photo by GradImages.com)

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Brad Bartel first aired May 2 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their complete conversation via the Soundcloud audio link below and watch an excerpt from the discussion in the video.

Bartel, an archaeologist whose career includes stints at San Diego State University, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Florida Gulf Coast University and Fort Lewis College, specializes in studies of colonialism, mortuary practice and early human symbolism.

After a noninstructional assignment, Bartel will return to the Department of Sociology and Anthropology as a professor in spring 2017.

As an administrator, Bartel said his proudest achievement is the university’s Quest for Student Success, a comprehensive effort to improve retention and graduation rates.

“We have totally turned over the way in which we do business with students,” said Bartel. “The satisfaction rates of students with advising is through the roof now.”

To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.

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

https://youtu.be/GBtJzQ-sNMQ

President appoints liberal arts dean Byrnes as interim provost

Dr. Mark Byrnes, dean of MTSU’s College of Liberal Arts since June 2010, will become the university’s interim provost on May 9, President Sidney A. McPhee announced Friday.

Dr. Mark Byrnes

Dr. Mark Byrnes

Byrnes will replace Dr. Brad Bartel, who is stepping down as chief academic officer after spring commencement ceremonies conclude on May 7.

“I wish to express my deep appreciation and thanks for Brad’s many contributions to our university,” McPhee said. “Our Quest for Student Success was developed under his watch as provost, which has garnered national praise and recognition.”

Bartel, who has served as provost since July 2010, will continue at MTSU as a professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

In a note to the university’s faculty, Bartel said it was “an honor and a privilege” to serve as provost.

“I am truly thankful for the opportunity I have had to work with such a great group of dedicated administrators, educators and staff,” he wrote.

An archaeologist specializing in studies of colonialism, mortuary practice and early human symbolism, Bartel has conducted field research in Yugoslavia, Turkey, Ireland and the United States. His research has appeared in numerous anthropological journals.

College of Liberal Arts logo webByrnes, a nationally recognized expert on the American presidency and Tennessee politics, has taught political science at MTSU since 1991 and was associate dean of liberal arts from 2006 to 2009.

“I am grateful to President McPhee for this opportunity,” Byrnes said. “I see being interim provost as another way to serve the university I love. My job will be to support the faculty and staff in the outstanding work they do with our students.”

Dr. Karen Petersen

Dr. Karen Petersen

A 1983 graduate of MTSU who earned his master’s and doctoral degrees at Vanderbilt University, Byrnes also was the recipient of one of the MTSU Foundation’s 2010 Public Service Awards.

Byrnes, a native of Murfreesboro and a graduate of Riverdale High School, also has served as chairman and vice chairman of the Rutherford County School Board.

McPhee said he also accepted Byrnes’ recommendation to appoint Dr. Karen Petersen as interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

Petersen, a professor of political science specializing in international relations, served as the college’s assistant dean from 2010 to 2013 and has been associate dean since January 2014.

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

MTSU’s Hemmerly remembered at Cedar Glade Wildflower Festival

A year ago, longtime MTSU biology faculty member Tom Hemmerly led the celebration in remembering the late Elsie Quarterman at the 38th annual Elsie Quarterman Cedar Glade Wildflower Festival.

This year, others will be paying tribute to the late Hemmerly during the 39th annual festival at Cedars of Lebanon State Park near Lebanon, Tennessee, Friday and Saturday, April 29-30.

A Tennessee purple coneflower grows among the rocks in the cedar glades at Cedars of Lebanon State Park near Lebanon, Tennessee. (File photo by the State of Tennessee)

A Tennessee purple coneflower grows among the rocks in the cedar glades at Cedars of Lebanon State Park near Lebanon, Tennessee. (File photo by the State of Tennessee)

The event is free and open to the public. The park is located just off U.S. Highway 231, about 25 miles north of Murfreesboro and 6 miles south of Lebanon, Tennessee.

Dr. Tom Hemmerly

Dr. Tom Hemmerly

A number of years ago, event organizers renamed the Cedar Glade Wildflower Festival to honor longtime Vanderbilt professor Elsie Quarterman. The plant ecologist, whose legacy includes 60 years of dedicated research of cedar glades and conservation, died June 9, 2014, at age 103.

Hemmerly, who spent 51 years as an MTSU faculty member, died Feb. 14. He taught from September 1964 until retiring July 31, 2007, and returned to part-time teaching as both a post-retiree and as an adjunct until Dec. 31, 2015.

Dr. Kim Cleary Sadler, a biology professor and MTSU Center for Cedar Glade Studies co-director, characterized Hemmerly as a quiet person.

Noting that he was the author of four books, she said his specialty and dissertation was on the life history of the Tennessee coneflower, which was thought to have been extinct.

“Tom, Dr. Quarterman and a student found the plant,” Sadler said. “In 2015, Tom led the conversation about Dr. Quarterman at the festival, and it’s kind of sad that now we’re remembering him.”

Dr. Kim Sadler

Dr. Kim Sadler

That remembrance will occur Friday during the 7 p.m. program, which also will include presentations by members of the American Legacy Tree Project and the Tennessee Nature Conservancy.

Saturday’s full schedule includes various cedar glade and bird hikes and family events, photography, beekeeping, glade geology and an owl prowl.

Along with Sadler, a number of MTSU alumni — Buddy Ingram, Nia Davis, Roy and Melissa Turrentine, and Sharen Bracy — will lead sessions. Ingram is the park ranger.

For more information about the event and schedule, visit www.mtsu.edu/glade-center or call or email Sadler at 615-904-8283 or Kim.Sadler@mtsu.edu. The park phone number is 615-444-4565.

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

‘MTSU On the Record’ keeps pace with the rhythm of language

The relationship between musical rhythm and speech rhythm was the topic of a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

MTSU psychology professor Dr. Cyrille Magne adjusts monitoring equipment on then-graduate student and test subject Riley Finch to prepare for an electroencephalography, or EEG, experiment in the university's EEG lab in this 2013 file photo. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU psychology professor Dr. Cyrille Magne adjusts monitoring equipment on then-graduate student and test subject Riley Finch to prepare for an electroencephalography, or EEG, experiment in the university’s EEG lab in this 2013 file photo. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Cyrille Magne, an associate professor of psychology, first aired April 25 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their conversation below.

Magne and two academic colleagues authored research into the impact of music rhythm abilities on speech rhythm sensitivity. The research, which was funded with a National Science Foundation grant, was published in the academic journal “Brain and Language.”

Their study supports the idea that music training might enhance speech processing skills, which would benefit students in honing their overall literacy skills.

“All languages in the world have their own rhythm,” said Magne. “And, especially in English, what we think about rhythm are those little emphases you put on some syllables that we call stresses. The pattern of stress and stress syllables is really something that is unique to the English language.”

You can find more information about MTSU research into the connection between the brain and language at https://sites.google.com/site/brainlanguagelab.

To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.

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

https://youtu.be/iMrZnAjRjTU