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MTSU professor launches ‘self-reliance’ column for Washington Times

The newest columnist in the Washington Times has an MTSU pedigree.

Alongside widely read conservative commentators like Monica Crowley and Cal Thomas, Dr. Colby Jubenville will now contribute his views on self-reliance in both column and blog formats for the national publication.

Dr. Colby Jubenville

Dr. Colby Jubenville

Jubenville’s first writing in the conservative-leaning newspaper was posted at www.washingtontimes.com June 17. Future online postings are slated for two to three times a week and occasionally in hard-copy editions.

In his initial offering, which is available here, the sports management professor in MTSU’s Department of Health and Human Performance advises readers to “go your own way.”

“While you should always surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, nobody can help you like you can help yourself,” Jubenville writes.

“And when you develop a firm enough sense of self-reliance, at that point, you’ll have found your own lane and be able to stay there.”

Jubenville said he realizes that his philosophy is at variance with much of corporate America’s practices, but he insisted that there’s increasing momentum for change toward a culture that empowers employees and respects their autonomy.

Click on the Washington Times front page above to read Dr. Colby Jubenville's inaugural column for the paper.

Click on the Washington Times front page above to read Dr. Colby Jubenville’s inaugural column.

“I do think that if you hire the right people and build the right culture that you can, in fact, run a business that way,” he said. “We live in this world where people are taught to go by way of the herd, and I’ve never done that.”

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce will present Jubenville with the YP Nashville Impact Award at the Nashville Emerging Leader Awards ceremony July 30 at Lipscomb University.

The award honors an individual dedicated to community leadership and professional development. Jubenville said the award represents what should be at the core of education.

“My whole focus at MTSU over the last 15 years is really about helping kids find their voice, and voice is the intersection of talent, passion, conscience and need in the world,” he said.

In his role as special assistant to the dean for student success and strategic partnerships, Jubenville will have even more opportunities to put his philosophy into practice. He said he will help Dr. Harold “Terry” Whiteside, dean of the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences, with “collecting intellectual capital and unleashing it to industry.”

Jubenville said he sees himself as a mentor who works to instill confidence in students so they will be able to achieve their goals.

“If I look back on my life, the greatest time period when I saw myself develop as an adult was from 20 to 30,” Jubenville said.

“Well, we’re taught that, from 20 to 30, you’ve got all the time in the world. You know as well as I do you’re going to blink and be 40.”

The professor can be contacted at Colby.Jubenville@mtsu.edu or at his business, Red Herring Innovation and Design, at 615-498-6802.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

‘MTSU On the Record’ examines horse supplement industry

A recent edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program focused on the questions surrounding nutritional supplements that horse lovers feed their animals.

Dr. Holly Spooner, left, and graduate student Nicole Swirsley discuss nutritional supplements for horses on the June 22 edition of "MTSU On the Record." Spooner holds the Miller Chair of Equine Health at MTSU. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

Dr. Holly Spooner, left, and graduate student Nicole Swirsley discuss nutritional supplements for horses on the June 22 edition of “MTSU On the Record.” Spooner holds the Miller Chair of Equine Health at MTSU. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Holly Spooner and Nicole Swirsley first aired June 22 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to the conversation here.

Spooner, who holds the Miller Chair of Equine Health at MTSU, mentored Swirsley, a graduate student from Villa Rosa, California, in a study of how horse owners obtain information about their horses’ nutritional supplements.

“There’s a huge number of supplements, all in the equine market, probably somewhere in the number of thousands,” Spooner said.

“The claims are anywhere from helping with hoof growth … up to improving performance or solving behavioral problems.”

The professor noted, however, that since these supplements are not regulated as drugs are, there is little proof of their efficacy.

“In 2009, horse owners spent over $49 million on supplements purchased just through veterinarians alone, and supplements purchased through veterinarians is the smallest part of the market,” Swirsley said.

“More people buy them from feed stores or online through online producers than they do from their veterinarians. It’s a huge industry.”

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.

A video clip of the interview can be viewed below.

https://youtu.be/ycEnsX57gu4

‘MTSU On the Record’ examines horse supplement industry

The next edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program will focus on the questions surrounding nutritional supplements that horse lovers feed their animals.

Dr. Holly Spooner, left, and graduate student Nicole Swirsley discuss nutritional supplements for horses on the June 22 edition of "MTSU On the Record." Spooner holds the Miller Chair of Equine Health at MTSU. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

Dr. Holly Spooner, left, and graduate student Nicole Swirsley discuss nutritional supplements for horses on the June 22 edition of “MTSU On the Record.” Spooner holds the Miller Chair of Equine Health at MTSU. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Holly Spooner and Nicole Swirsley will air from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, June 28, on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ).

Spooner, who holds the Miller Chair of Equine Health at MTSU, mentored Swirsley, a graduate student from Villa Rosa, California, in a study of how horse owners obtain information about their horses’ nutritional supplements.

“There’s a huge number of supplements, all in the equine market, probably somewhere in the number of thousands,” Spooner said.

“The claims are anywhere from helping with hoof growth … up to improving performance or solving behavioral problems.”

The professor noted, however, that since these supplements are not regulated as drugs are, there is little proof of their efficacy.

“In 2009, horse owners spent over $49 million on supplements purchased just through veterinarians alone, and supplements purchased through veterinarians is the smallest part of the market,” Swirsley said.

“More people buy them from feed stores or online through online producers than they do from their veterinarians. It’s a huge industry.”

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.

WGNS features dual enrollment, Camp STEM, entrepreneurs [LISTEN]

MTSU faculty and staff hit the airwaves recently to discuss expanding the university’s dual-enrollment offerings, a STEM-focused summer camp and a new book on

Listeners of WGNS radio heard details on these efforts during the June 15 “Action Line” program with host Bart Walker.

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

Guests included:

The June 15 WGNS "Action Line" program featured MTSU happenings. Guests included: top, left to right, David Lockett, teacher at Campus School; Gabriel Peebles-Ross, camp participant; Nora Peebles-Ross, camp participant; Racquel Peebles, parent; bottom left, Dr. Mike Boyle, dean of University College; bottom right, Dr. Wayne Rollins, professor of Business Communication and Entrepreneurship. (MTSU photo illustration by Jimmy Hart)

The June 15 WGNS “Action Line” program features MTSU happenings with guests that included, from left to right in the top photo, David Lockett, teacher at Campus School; Gabriel Peebles-Ross, camp participant; Nora Peebles-Ross, camp participant; and Racquel Peebles, parent; Dr. Mike Boyle, shown below left, dean of the University College; and Dr. Wayne Rollins, below right, professor of business communication and entrepreneurship. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

  • Dr. Mike Boyle, dean of the University College, who discussed MTSU’s expansion of its dual-enrollment offerings. Qualified high school juniors and seniors statewide will be able to take tuition-free online courses for college credit through the university’s recently expanded program. The move follows a new emphasis by the university on its dual-enrollment outreach, which includes MTSU courses to be taught this fall on high school campuses in Rutherford, Williamson and Bradley counties. Read the full story here.
  • David Lockett, a fourth-grade teacher at Homer Pittard Campus School, who talked about Camp STEM at MTSU, a series of four one-week camps for K-5 students focusing on the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. An average of 25 to 50 children attend each week. Joining Lockett on the program was camp participant Nora Peebles-Ross, an 11-year-old homeschooled student from Smyrna. Read the full story and watch a video about the camp here.
  • Dr. Wayne Rollins, a professor of business communication and entrepreneurship in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business, who discussed a new book he co-authored with entrepreneur Gary Bentley, “Million Dollar Turtles.” The book is a quick read that shares “life principles for financial success” and consists of a compilation of anecdotes from the authors’ experiences. The entrepreneurial spirit is emphasized throughout the book.

Students, faculty and staff who are interested in a guest appearance 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.

Bonnaroo partnership a pride point for MTSU’s media dean

MANCHESTER, Tenn. — Ken Paulson pushed his sunglasses against the bridge of his nose Friday afternoon, then started to climb the ladder leading to the roof of MTSU’s $1.7 million Mobile Production Lab.

From that perch, Paulson, dean of the College of Mass Communication, got a bird’s-eye view of the Who Stage at the 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, where his students would soon work an array of cameras at a concert.

Ken Paulson, dean of Middle Tennessee State UniversityÕs College of Mass Communication, stands on top of the collegeÕs Mobile Production Lab backstage of the Who Stage at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival on Friday. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

Ken Paulson, dean of MTSU’s College of Mass Communication, stands atop the college’s Mobile Production Lab backstage of the Who Stage at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival June 12. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

“Bringing MTSU students to work at Bonnaroo reflects the full range of media and entertainment you’ll find in our college,” he said.

“They are getting their first taste of what’s it’s like to cover a world-class music festival.”

This is the second year of a partnership Paulson brokered between MTSU and the organizers of the annual festival. But 2015 is the Bonnaroo debut of “The Truck,” as the students call it, which brings some of the most modern video production and editing facilities in the industry to the festival site.

It’s a win-win relationship for the university and Bonnaroo as both partners gain experience and expertise and benefit from the energy of about 40 mass communication students who are producing multimedia content from the four-day event.

“Our friends at Bonnaroo visited us on campus last fall to tell us how this ‘instant city’ is built and operated,” Paulson said, “and now our students are seeing it all firsthand. They are here as emerging professionals.”

Paulson joined MTSU in July 2013, receiving what he said was a directive from President Sidney A. McPhee: Make the College of Mass Communication contemporary, innovative and prominent. The new dean boiled it down to this: Make the college famous.

“We’re embracing that challenge,” Paulson said.

Paulson, whose media career included a stint as editor-in-chief of USA Today, said he immediately saw “unprecedented potential” in the college.

“This is truly a college of media and entertainment, encompassing every form of content that informs, engages or entertains audiences,” he said. “I believe we can position ourselves as the most multifaceted and innovative program in the country, and for a variety of reasons.”

Those reasons include:Bonnaroo 2015 logo-web

Paulson said he is particularly proud of the Bonnaroo partnership that began last year. Bonnaroo founders Ashley Capps and Rick Farman visited the university in April 2014 and returned in October with fellow co-founder Jonathan Mayers and a contingent of Bonnaroo directors and organizers to talk about the mechanics of the event.

“It’s simply unprecedented for the management team of a world-class music festival to take a full day to engage and educate the next generation of music and media professionals,” Paulson said.

Since 1989, the College of Mass Communication, the nation’s fifth largest, has been the only one offering fully functional journalism, electronic media and recording industry academic units. Now, “with the walls crumbling everywhere” in academia and in the industry, Paulson said that arrangement seems prescient.

“We are doing what a nationally prominent program would do, and that means going well beyond the borders of Murfreesboro or Tennessee,” he said.

But has he made the college famous? McPhee, whose words launched Paulson’s plan, said he thinks the dean has charted the right course.

“Dean Paulson’s energy, vision and influence in new and traditional media has certainly raised the profile of the college and the university,” McPhee said.

“When I see our students wearing their ‘True Blue’ shirts, working the cameras at one of the world’s biggest and best music festivals or interviewing rock stars before they go on stage, that’s pretty ‘famous’ in my book.”

You can read about the students’ first day working at Bonnaroo, plus watch a video of their experience, here.

— Andrew Oppmann and Allison Gorman (news@mtsu.edu)

MTSU professor continues civility push through EXL business course

Bring up “civility” and you have MTSU management professor Jackie Gilbert’s undivided attention.

When spring commencement speaker Evan Cope, chairman of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, encouraged graduates to do their part to create a more civil society, Gilbert took immediate note and felt some level of confirmation for her work in an area she’s been passionate about for years.

MTSU senior Dara Aziz, a computer information systems major, was part of the winning student team chosen to make a presentation on campus civility for Dr. Jackie Gilbert's Principles in Management 3610 Experiential Learning (EXL) course. The presentation was given inside the Business and Aerospace Building in late April. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU senior Dara Aziz, a computer information systems major, gestures during his winning student team’s presentation on campus civility for Dr. Jackie Gilbert’s Principles in Management 3610 Experiential Learning course. The presentation was given inside the Business and Aerospace Building in late April. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

A longtime advocate for more civil workplaces and educational spaces, Gilbert again brought that passion to the classroom during the spring semester for her Principles in Management 3610 Experiential Learning, or EXL, course in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business.

Since she began teaching EXL courses in 2011, Gilbert has tried to incorporate the topic into her teaching through course work that takes students outside of the classroom.

“I think it’s critical students know the impact they can have on the community,” she said. “Learning about civility also helps students develop essential employment skills that will help them be better team players and valued colleagues. As bosses, this knowledge will help them set a great example for others.”

Dividing her class into teams, Gilbert charged students this spring with researching the state of civility on the MTSU campus and developing professional presentations on how to develop and promote a more civil campus. Their presentations then were judged by a panel of experts, including some MTSU faculty and staff, at the end of the semester to determine the best projects.

Gilbert met occasionally with the teams to provide feedback on their progress and offer suggestions to improve their projects. She was pleased with the level of commitment she found as students polished their communication, analytical and teamwork skills.

Dr. Jackie Gilbert

Dr. Jackie Gilbert

“They were very competitive and they wanted to win, which I think made the end product even better,” said Gilbert.

Collaborative course, competition

The seven-member winning team was made up of Dara Aziz, Keundrea Eason, Xavier Harris, Sheki Hollis, Jacob Moore, Shevan Murat and Daniel Stiles. Their presentation included a PowerPoint, YouTube video and a “Civil Raiders” brochure that defined civility and offered tips for practicing it daily.

The brochure also included a copy of MTSU’s “True Blue Pledge,” which is a statement of the university’s core values that incoming classes recite each year during convocation and represents a universitywide effort to promote a more civil, respectful atmosphere throughout the campus community.

In their required 15-minute team presentation at the Business and Aerospace Building, students were expected to demonstrate:

  • Why civility is an important component of campus interactions (and what can occur when the opposite — bullying — is present).
  • Specific initiatives to promote civility at MTSU.
  • How some of those initiatives can be applied to the wider business community.

To select a winner, Gilbert recruited a small panel of judges that included Dr. Mary Evins, coordinator of the MTSU American Democracy Project, Dr. Dianna Rust, chair of the MT Engage curriculum improvement plan; Carol Swayze, director of MTSU’s EXL Scholars Program; and Lisa Reed, director of human resources with the Tennessee Board of Regents.

For Evins, the topic of civility resonates deeply, since one of the primary goals of the American Democracy Project, which has existed on campus for more than a decade, is to help graduates become more engaged citizens.

“Every student in every class should find a way to address some of these civic learning and civic responsibility issues. Civility is really the backbone of how a democracy ought to work,” Evins said.

“I was very impressed with the work of the students, and I appreciate that they took on such an important, meaningful project.”

Gilbert has taken her passion for civility beyond the classroom: She was part of a group of advocates who helped shape the Healthy Workplace Act, which was signed into law in June 2014 by Gov. Bill Haslam.

The legislation grants legal protection to those government agencies that adopt a model policy to combat abusive behavior in the workplace or craft comparable guidelines of their own.

Last year, Gilbert was named a founding fellow to the U.S. Academy on Workplace Bullying, Mobbing, and Abuse.

Producing tangible results and resources clearly is a constant for Gilbert’s course. One previous class created anti-bullying public service announcements for Oakland High School, and another proposed workplace civility guidelines for executives at Nissan North America in Franklin, Tennessee.

“It’s a win-win,” Gilbert said of her students’ work. “The community gains something of value without having to go to an external consultant, and the students gain valuable experience in that they have to polish their presentations, take it to an outside entity and deliver a product.”

Students learn, practice valuable skills

To obtain an edge on the competition, some teams practiced before Gilbert outside of scheduled class time to gain additional tips and to further polish their presentation, she said.

Others created videos in which they interviewed peers on campus about civility and introduced innovative and attention-grabbing presentation techniques such as skits, online tools such as Poll Anywhere, and presentation software such as Prezi.

MTSU senior Sheki Hollis, an integrated studies major, was part of the winning student team chosen to make a presentation on campus civility for Dr. Jackie Gilbert's Principles in Management 3610 Experiential Learning (EXL) course. The presentation was given inside the Business and Aerospace Building in late April. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU senior Sheki Hollis, an integrated studies major, makes a point as part of the winning student team chosen to make a presentation on campus civility for Dr. Jackie Gilbert’s Principles in Management 3610 Experiential Learning course. 

“Friendly competition helped spur student teams to be innovative and to craft their best work,” Gilbert said.

Sophomore Jacob Moore, an economics major from Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, said the team members of his winning group “learned how to not micromanage each other” as they embraced their roles of being either a researcher or a presenter for the project.

The group gathered periodically outside of class in the Business and Aerospace Building to assess progress and plan next steps, a process similar to what happens in many workplaces.

“We would pool our resources and assemble all of what we knew,” Moore said.

A computer information systems major from La Vergne, Tennessee, senior Dara Aziz was chosen as “president” of the group and assigned tasks to the various members to work on independently.

“One of the challenges was to keep moving,” said Aziz, who jokingly referred to his selection as president as “being punished.”

“I was fortunate enough to have good team members to where they were always available and willing to participate, which made a big difference,” he said. “It was a good experience. … We learned a lot about how to work as a team.”

Sheki Hollis, a senior integrated studies major from El Paso, Texas, said the relationships within the team grew even deeper.

“We didn’t know each other at the beginning of the class, and now we’re like good friends,” she said. “We took the project not as homework, but as just something we did … being together and working together.”

“That’s a great point,” Aziz chimed in. “It wasn’t just homework or an assignment. It was something that everyone was excited about. … Everyone was working really hard. We were really trying to win this.”

Sophomore Daniel Stiles, a marketing major from Rockvale, Tennessee, said the experiential nature of the class meant that students weren’t just learning and “regurgitating” information onto a piece of paper that they’d soon forget.

Instead, students researched and compiled information, then reached a consensus as a group to develop a presentation “that ended up being pretty good.”

“It’s easier to retain information when you’re putting it toward real life use,” he said.

Sophomore Daniel Stiles, left, a marketing major, was part of the winning student team chosen to make a presentation on campus civility for Dr. Jackie Gilbert's Principles in Management 3610 Experiential Learning (EXL) course. The presentation was given inside the Business and Aerospace Building in late April. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Sophomore Daniel Stiles, left, a marketing major, speaks to another student during his part of the winning student team’s presentation on campus civility for Dr. Jackie Gilbert’s Principles in Management 3610 EXL course. 

Senior Xavier Harris said he also felt the business class taught him useful skills as an aerospace major. Helping create a more civil workplace and “treating people right” will help him “go further in life” as well as in his career as a pilot, the Atlanta native said.

“In aerospace, you’re working with somebody else a lot. There’s always two pilots in the cockpit, so you’re always having someone beside you.”

Harris recently obtained his certified flight instructor rating and will “be teaching students how to fly.” Helping those students deal with the anxiety that can come with flying is important, he said, and doing so civilly can help put them at ease.

“This project will help me with that,” he said.

Senior Shevan Murat, a computer science major from Kurdistan, plans to pursue a tech career building apps. He recalled a class lesson taught by Gilbert where she stressed the importance of creating goals and timelines for projects. It caused him to rethink his approach to an app he wants to create.

“I’ve learned a lot in this class, and I didn’t expect to learn this much,” he said. “The way (Gilbert) taught the class made it pretty easy.”

Impact beyond the classroom

For Hollis, participation in Gilbert’s class has opened other doors on campus.

Hollis said she plans to join the American Democracy Project in the fall and support the group’s efforts to help raise civility awareness at MTSU and other campuses. While her class research revealed that MTSU’s campus encourages civility, issues such as cyberbullying and sexual violence will require ongoing vigilance.

“What if the cure to cancer is in one of our bright students who is being bullied, and we never get to find the cure because the student got bullied and quit pursuing his/her degree?” she said.

“I believe that by raising awareness, educating ourselves, and coming together as a community, we are more likely to potentially decrease the lack of civility, not only on campus but also in workplaces and in our communities.”

Hollis described Gilbert’s class as an “an eye-opener” as she plans her career because it allowed students to look at management from different perspectives. One such perspective was the implicit civility expected among management professionals in general and within the EXL class itself.

“Management is not only about having the power to manage a project or a group of people, but also about being a true leader while being civil,” Hollis said of the lessons she’s learned. “Students will one day find themselves in a position where management skills will come into play, and we can count on referring to the skills learned in this class to help us solve different issues.”

After taking Gilbert’s class, Hollis said she now has “a very strong foundation” to know how to handle different situations in the workplace and better understand different points of view and different cultural perspectives.

Larry Spratlin, chief financial officer for Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital, makes a presentation on workplace civility for students Dr. Jackie Gilbert's Principles in Management 3610 Experiential Learning (EXL) course. Spatlin's presentation was given inside the Business and Aerospace Building in late April. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Larry Spratlin, chief financial officer for Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital, makes a presentation on workplace civility for students Dr. Jackie Gilbert’s Principles in Management 3610 EXL course in the Business and Aerospace Building.

Those are important skills, said Larry Spratlin, chief financial officer for Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital, who spoke to Gilbert’s class about the cultural transformation to value civility at the hospital. The winning student team made a final presentation before Spratlin.

“I was very impressed with the engagement of the students. Their presentation indicated that they have been encouraged to reflect on civility and its impact on relationships,” Spratlin said.

“The students demonstrated that they are very sensitive to the importance of behaviors in the workplace. Dr. Gilbert and the faculty are doing a great job presenting the perspective and impact of civility in the workplace.”

Spratlin said that workplace civility is a rising priority within top companies.

“The importance of individual behaviors in the workplace in driving cultures of excellence is becoming more and more recognized in the business world,” he said. “Organizations that are focused on excellence are equally focused on aligning their teams and associates toward behaviors that support and promote positive work environments.

“I believe that it is very relevant and important that students are given exposure to the concepts of civility in the workplace.”

For professor Evins, workplace civility represents a necessary ingredient in creating a more civil society in general.

“We can’t have a participatory democracy that’s meant to engage our society in a meaningful way of self-governance without the understanding that there is respect for our fellow citizens,” she said.

“As Benjamin Franklin said, ‘It’s a republic if we can keep it,’ and the way in which we keep it is through civil discourse. Civility is one of those cornerstones for how we can make this kind of system work.”

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

MTSU student Keundrea Eason gives her part of the winning team presentation on campus civility for Dr. Jackie Gilbert's Principles in Management 3610 Experiential Learning (EXL) course. The presentation was given inside the Business and Aerospace Building in late April. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU student Keundrea Eason gives her part of the winning team presentation on campus civility for Dr. Jackie Gilbert’s Principles in Management 3610 EXL course.

MTSU wins 28 awards for its marketing, communications efforts

GATLINBURG — MTSU received 28 awards in the Tennessee College Public Relations Association’s annual competition recognizing excellence in marketing and communications among the state’s public and private higher education entities.

The association, at its annual conference in Gatlinburg on May 29, presented MTSU with eight Gold, 11 Silver and nine Bronze awards in 24 different categories. It was the fifth consecutive year that MTSU was tops in total awards.

In this 2014 file photo, Chris Massaro, director of athletics for MTSU, stands inside Floyd Stadium with the new #TRUE Athletic Marketing campaign posters for the upcoming 2014-2015 Athletics schedule. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

In this 2014 file photo, Chris Massaro, director of athletics for MTSU, stands inside Floyd Stadium with the new #TRUE Athletic Marketing campaign posters for the upcoming 2014-2015 Athletics schedule. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

“These honors, and the work behind them, spotlight the tremendous quality and diversity of MTSU’s programs, as well as the excellence of our faculty,” said Andrew Oppmann, vice president for marketing and communications.

MTSU’s #TRUE advertising and branding campaign for athletics received four honors, including a Gold for best print advertising series, a Silver for best video advertisement and two Bronze Awards for best billboard and posters.

TCPRA logoThe university swept all three awards for best feature photography — Gold, Silver and Bronze — and received two additional Silver Awards for best spot news photography and best sports photography.

Two stories that yielded national attention for MTSU — the cross-country trip by professor Cliff Ricketts on alternative fuels and the launch of a new unmanned aerial systems degree — were honored with Gold and Silver awards, respectively, for best media relations campaigns.

Efforts with last October’s opening of the $147-million Science Building received a Gold Award for a special magazine and a Silver Award for best special event.

Other Gold Awards for MTSU included best radio advertising (“Middle in a Minute: The Writer’s Loft”); best news writing (MTSU’s obituary on legendary journalist John Seigenthaler); best electronic magazine for MTSU Magazine; and best low-budget publication (on adult degree-completion efforts).

A large crowd of supporters turned out Oct. 15, 2014, for the grand opening ceremony for the new MTSU Science Building. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

A large crowd of supporters turned out Oct. 15, 2014, for the grand opening ceremony for the new MTSU Science Building. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

The honors follow MTSU’s six regional awards earlier this year from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. Those awards recognized the #TRUE campaign; articles in MTSU Magazine; the True Blue Tour for prospective students; True Blue Preview videos; and MTSU’s outreach at the Grammy Awards.

Here is a complete list of MTSU’s 28 awards in the Tennessee College Public Relations Association’s contest:

Gold (eight awards)

Silver (11 awards)

In this December 2014 file photo, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee is doused with a cooler of ice water for his ALS Ice Bucket Challenge by MTSU Student Body President Andrew George, left, during the home football opener against Savannah State. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

In this December 2014 file photo, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee is doused with a cooler of ice water for his ALS Ice Bucket Challenge by MTSU Student Body President Andrew George, left, during the home football opener against Savannah State. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

Bronze (nine awards)

MTSU professor Cliff Ricketts, left, and "Southern Fried Fuel" team members Terry Young, Mike Sims, MTSU student Ben Black and Paul Ricketts celebrate the 3,500-mile completion of the journey in mid-March. (MTSU file photo by News and Media Relations)

MTSU professor Cliff Ricketts, left, and “Southern Fried Fuel” team members Terry Young, Mike Sims, MTSU student Ben Black and Paul Ricketts celebrate the 3,500-mile completion of the journey in mid-March. (MTSU file photo by News and Media Relations)

MTSU’s Confucius Institute sponsors educators’ China trip

Some Tennessee school administrators will devote a small part of their summer to learning more about education in China.

The Confucius Institute at MTSU is leading a delegation of educators on a 10-day excursion to China for a whirlwind sampling of Chinese elementary and secondary schools.

“It’s to get them over to China to look at the school systems, to see some cultural sites and to really make those partnerships and build those bridges,” said Mike Novak, assistant director of the institute.

A delegation of Tennessee educators heading to China for a Confucius Institute-sponosored informational trip may have a chance to see the Beijing National Stadium known as “the Bird’s Nest,” shown in this 2008 photo by MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, and other historical sites during their visit. (File photo courtesy of Dr. Sidney A. McPhee)

The Tennessee delegation will depart June 7 and will tour sites in Shanghai, Hangzhou and Beijing, returning to the United States on June 17.

Novak said one purpose of the mission is to enhance educators’ understanding of each other’s methods. For example, he said, the pupil-teacher ratio is considerably smaller in China because those schools hire 20 to 50 percent more faculty than Western schools.

Chinese teachers also spend only 16 to 20 direct contact hours with the students out of their 40-hour workweek.

Mike Novak

Mike Novak

They have the rest of the week to spend on planning their courses and providing students with meaningful feedback. American teachers have a comparative 2 ½ hours per week for those tasks.

Another difference, Novak noted, is in the parental involvement in their children’s education and maintenance of order in the schools. While disciplinary methods are similar, parental involvement is intense. A phone call from the school to the parents is a major event.

“If the school calls home, it’s a giant deal, and the parents get behind the school 100 percent,” Novak said. “In America, sometimes that’s not always the case.”

Confucius Institute logoThe Confucius Institute sponsored previous delegations in 2012 and 2013. The 2015 American participants are:

  • Susan Fanning, principal of Farrar Elementary School, Tullahoma City School District.
  • Debbie Edens, principal of East Middle School in the Tullahoma City School District.
  • Amanda Edens, first-grade teacher and multicultural programming committee chair of East Side Elementary School in the Hamilton County School District.
  • Robert Langford, principal of White House High School in the Sumner County School District.
  • Jane Langford, middle school teacher, Sumner County School District.
  • Melva Eileen Nwankwo, instructor of communication and representative of John Espy of the International Program Office, Volunteer State Community College, Gallatin, Tennessee.
  • Angela Elizabeth Rasnick, director of studies at The Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tennessee.

Novak, along with Confucius Institute Associate Director Yiping “Paul” Cui and MTSU International Education Outreach Officer Rachael Moore, will accompany the group on its China travels.

While the institute covers all expenses in China, airfare from and to the United States and visa fees are the responsibility of either the individuals or their schools.

The Confucius Institute at MTSU’s mission is to enhance understanding of Chinese language and culture, facilitate engagement with and create opportunities for exchange and collaboration between communities in Tennessee and China.

For more information, contact the institute at 615-494-8696 or cimtsu@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

MTSU wins 28 awards for its marketing, communications efforts

GATLINBURG — MTSU received 28 awards in the Tennessee College Public Relations Association’s annual competition recognizing excellence in marketing and communications among the state’s public and private higher education entities.

The association, at its annual conference in Gatlinburg on May 29, presented MTSU with eight Gold, 11 Silver and nine Bronze awards in 24 different categories. It was the fifth consecutive year that MTSU was tops in total awards.

In this 2014 file photo, Chris Massaro, director of athletics for MTSU, stands inside Floyd Stadium with the new #TRUE Athletic Marketing campaign posters for the upcoming 2014-2015 Athletics schedule. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

In this 2014 file photo, Chris Massaro, director of athletics for MTSU, stands inside Floyd Stadium with the new #TRUE Athletic Marketing campaign posters for the upcoming 2014-2015 Athletics schedule. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

“These honors, and the work behind them, spotlight the tremendous quality and diversity of MTSU’s programs, as well as the excellence of our faculty,” said Andrew Oppmann, vice president for marketing and communications.

MTSU’s #TRUE advertising and branding campaign for athletics received four honors, including a Gold for best print advertising series, a Silver for best video advertisement and two Bronze Awards for best billboard and posters.

TCPRA logoThe university swept all three awards for best feature photography — Gold, Silver and Bronze — and received two additional Silver Awards for best spot news photography and best sports photography.

Two stories that yielded national attention for MTSU — the cross-country trip by professor Cliff Ricketts on alternative fuels and the launch of a new unmanned aerial systems degree — were honored with Gold and Silver awards, respectively, for best media relations campaigns.

Efforts with last October’s opening of the $147-million Science Building received a Gold Award for a special magazine and a Silver Award for best special event.

Other Gold Awards for MTSU included best radio advertising (“Middle in a Minute: The Writer’s Loft”); best news writing (MTSU’s obituary on legendary journalist John Seigenthaler); best electronic magazine for MTSU Magazine; and best low-budget publication (on adult degree-completion efforts).

A large crowd of supporters turned out Oct. 15, 2014, for the grand opening ceremony for the new MTSU Science Building. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

A large crowd of supporters turned out Oct. 15, 2014, for the grand opening ceremony for the new MTSU Science Building. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

The honors follow MTSU’s six regional awards earlier this year from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. Those awards recognized the #TRUE campaign; articles in MTSU Magazine; the True Blue Tour for prospective students; True Blue Preview videos; and MTSU’s outreach at the Grammy Awards.

Here is a complete list of MTSU’s 28 awards in the Tennessee College Public Relations Association’s contest:

Gold (eight awards)

Silver (11 awards)

In this December 2014 file photo, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee is doused with a cooler of ice water for his ALS Ice Bucket Challenge by MTSU Student Body President Andrew George, left, during the home football opener against Savannah State. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

In this December 2014 file photo, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee is doused with a cooler of ice water for his ALS Ice Bucket Challenge by MTSU Student Body President Andrew George, left, during the home football opener against Savannah State. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

Bronze (nine awards)

MTSU professor Cliff Ricketts, left, and "Southern Fried Fuel" team members Terry Young, Mike Sims, MTSU student Ben Black and Paul Ricketts celebrate the 3,500-mile completion of the journey in mid-March. (MTSU file photo by News and Media Relations)

MTSU professor Cliff Ricketts, left, and “Southern Fried Fuel” team members Terry Young, Mike Sims, MTSU student Ben Black and Paul Ricketts celebrate the 3,500-mile completion of the journey in mid-March. (MTSU file photo by News and Media Relations)

WGNS features MTSU CUSTOMS, journalism camp, language institute

MTSU faculty and staff hit the airwaves recently to discuss new student orientation and recruitment, a new summer journalism camp and a language institute still open to the campus and wider community.

Listeners of WGNS radio heard details on these efforts during the May 18 “Action Line” program with veteran host Bart Walker.

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

Guests included:

MTSU was featured on the WGNS-FM Radio program "Action Line" on May 18. Guests included: Top, left to right, Gina Poff, Vincent Windrow and Wendi Pelfrey. Bottom left, from left to right, Brian Roberts and Dr. Shelley Thomas. Bottom right, Val Hoeppner (MTSU News photo by Jimmy Hart)

MTSU was featured on the WGNS-FM Radio program “Action Line” on May 18. Guests included: Top, left to right, Gina Poff, Vincent Windrow and Wendi Pelfrey. Bottom left, from left to right, Brian Roberts and Dr. Shelley Thomas. Bottom right, Val Hoeppner (MTSU News photo by Jimmy Hart)

• Wendi Pelfrey, interim director of undergraduate recruitment; Gina Poff, director of New Student and Family Programs; and Vincent Windrow, interim vice provost for Student Success discussed the CUSTOMS new student orientation program and recruiting efforts.

Pelfrey also provided details about a May 31 event in partnership with Olive Branch Church in which the church will host an event that targets high school juniors and seniors and connects them with MTSU staff to gather information and be able to ask questions about admission to MTSU.

• Val Hoeppner, director of MTSU’s Center for Innovation in Media in the College of Mass Communication, discussed the inaugural “Innovation J-Camp,” which will be held on campus July 13-17.

The weeklong workshop will guide students who’ve completed the ninth grade to become digital storytellers who can produce content for video, Web, mobile, social media and print audiences. Only a few spots remain, Hoeppner said. Read the full story here.

• Dr. Shelley Thomas, founder of the MTSU Summer Language Institute and a professor of foreign language, and Brian Roberts, assistant director of the Summer Language Institute, discuss this year’s Summer Language Institute.

MTSU again is offering the community a chance to quickly learn a foreign language this summer through its Center for Accelerated Language Acquisition. Registration is open for classes at this year’s institute, which includes various levels of Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Latin and Spanish — all taught in a fun, interactive atmosphere. Classes for Chinese begin in mid-May, with the majority of classes scheduled for June, with some also offered in July and August.

Classes are for residents age 13 and older. For a full schedule, to register and to view a video, go to http://www.mtsu.edu/cala and click on the “See Our Classes” button. Read more here.

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