Investigate campaign news coverage on next ‘MTSU On the Record’

An examination of journalists’ performance during the presidential campaign and a preview of media relations with the incoming administration are the topics of the next “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Dr. Larry Burriss

Dr. Larry Burriss

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Larry Burriss, a professor in MTSU’s School of Journalism, will air from 6 to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, on WMOT-FM/Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org.

WMOT-new web logoBurriss asserts that, with charges and countercharges flying virtually every day during the 2016 presidential campaign and the impact of social media and “fake news” websites, it was easy for the U.S. electorate to become confused.

“There was a lot of what I call first-level investigation, but going beyond that, there just wasn’t very much digging,” said Burriss. “There just wasn’t very much getting into the minutiae.

“The details are what count. The reporters should have gone after those details. I don’t know if they had enough time to do that, though.”

Burriss has served as director of the School of Journalism, dean of the College of Mass Communication (now the College of Media and Entertainment), president of the MTSU Faculty Senate and as a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents. As a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, he served on active duty in Somalia, Bosnia, Central America, Europe and at the Pentagon.

The professor also has a law degree from Concord Law School. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Ohio State University, another master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma and a doctorate from Ohio University.

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.

‘MTSU On the Record’ visits Center for Chinese Music and Culture

MTSU has one of the area’s most unique cultural attractions, and it’s the topic of a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Dr. Mei Han

Dr. Mei Han

WMOT-new web logoHost Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Mei Han, director of the MTSU Center for Chinese Music and Culture, first aired Nov. 28 on WMOT-FM/Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org. You can listen to their conversation below.

Han, who also is an associate professor of music at MTSU, explained some of the various Chinese musical instruments on display at the center and what makes Chinese music so fascinating.

“In olden times, Chinese music notations only notated the main notes,” said Han, “so basically, it’s a framework. The musicians, through oral tradition, carried the nuance of each individual piece.”

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.

MTSU names student-success leader Sluder as University College dean

The administrator leading MTSU’s Quest for Student Success will now also serve as dean of the University College and will oversee work with students undecided on majors, as well as adult degree completion, online learning and academic outreach to high school students.

Dr. Richard Sluder

Dr. Richard Sluder

Dr. Richard “Rick” Sluder, who joined MTSU as vice provost for student success in September 2014, succeeds Dr. David Gotcher. Gotcher returns to his role as associate dean of the college after serving as interim dean since August 2015.

Interim Provost Mark Byrnes, who announced the appointment to campus Nov. 23, said the University College’s work with undecided students, as well as its efforts to support and attract older students through flexible courses, online offerings and customized degree programs, complements the work by Sluder and his Office of Student Success.

“Rick Sluder has emerged as a national leader in the area of student success,” Byrnes said. “I look forward to his continued work in that area and to the strong leadership he will undoubtedly provide to our University College.”

The University College is home to some of MTSU’s most successful outreach efforts, including new academic programs tailored to the needs of business and industry, a substantial increase in dual-enrollment college courses taught at area high schools and the Adult Degree Completion Program, which leads the state in enrollment and degree production.

Sluder said he’s excited to serve the university in an expanded role.

University College logo web“I look forward to an incredible opportunity to build upon the great work that is already occurring across campus,” Sluder said. “MTSU is an exceptional institution, and the alignment of these two units will allow us to better serve even more of the university’s constituents.”

Dr. Mark Byrnes

Dr. Mark Byrnes

MTSU launched its Quest for Student Success initiative in October 2013, creating extensive reforms aimed at helping its students stay on track academically and complete their degrees.

The MTSU effort works in conjunction with Gov. Bill Haslam’s “Drive to 55” goal to extend the reach of higher education in the state.

Under Sluder’s leadership, MTSU saw record increases this fall in its retention rates and other key student success measures. Freshman retention has increased almost 12 percent since the success program launch, going from 68 percent in 2013 to about 76 percent this fall.

“This means that the MTSU freshman retention rate is at the highest level and increased at the fastest rate in the history of the institution, based on an analysis of available data,” Byrnes said.

Sluder said the university also attained strong increases in retention for transfer and sophomore students. A significantly larger proportion of freshmen — up more than 12 percent from last year — are completing at least 30 hours in their first year of classes, he added.

“More students are on track to finish their degrees in four years, an accomplishment in sync with both national and state initiatives,” Sluder said.

Byrnes said MTSU’s Quest for Student Success received several national higher-education awards this year and will be featured in a forthcoming training course and a national case study.

“All of this is the product of the hard work of our faculty and campus to facilitate the success of our students,” Sluder said, “and these are important milestones as we work to continue to improve every aspect of the learning experience at MTSU.”

Sluder, who served as vice provost for recruitment and outreach at the University of Central Missouri before joining MTSU, 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.

At Central Missouri, 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. He also served as dean of UCM’s College of Health and Human Services as well as a professor of criminal justice.

Before moving into academia, Sluder 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.

For more information about MTSU’S University College, visit its website at www.mtsu.edu/university-college. The Office of Student Success at MTSU also has more information at its website, http://mtsu.edu/studentsuccess.

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

MTSU turns to Butler for research, College of Graduate Studies leadership

Middle Tennessee State University’s future academic growth and challenges in its College of Graduate Studies and research efforts will rest in the hands of Dr. David Butler.

Dr. David Butler

Dr. David Butler

Following a national search, Butler, 46, was named vice provost for research and dean of the College of Graduate Studies, said Dr. Mark Byrnes, interim provost.

Butler, who officially begins at MTSU, Jan. 1, 2017, comes from the University of Southern Mississippi, where he has served as chair in the Department of Political Science and director of the doctoral program in international development.

A native of Houston, Texas, Butler will fill the dual position previously held by Dr. Jackie Eller, who served in an interim capacity for more than two years. Eller will return to the Department of Sociology as a professor in January.

College of Graduate Studies logo web“Dr. Butler has a wide range of experience in research, grant work, teaching and service,” said Byrnes, who recently announced the appointment to faculty and the rest of the university community.

“He will bring great enthusiasm and energy to his new role. I have no doubt he will help make our graduate and research efforts even more successful.”

The MTSU College of Graduate Studies, considered a leader in graduate education in Tennessee, provides academic, financial and other support services for graduate students while upholding academic standards. More than 100 programs of study are offered to students.

Dr. Mark Byrnes

Dr. Mark Byrnes

Butler will provide visionary leadership to advance MTSU’s research and graduate education mission, develop and implement strategies for achieving the university’s research goals, and formulate and promote scholarship and creative work at the highest levels.

His responsibilities also include developing recruitment, strategy and marketing of the graduate programs; providing quality graduate programs and develop policies and procedures governing the recruitment, admission, support and education of graduate students; working with the other colleges to increase external research funding; and providing oversight for the Office of Research Services.

Butler said he’s “excited about joining the MTSU family” as vice provost for research and dean of graduate studies.

“MTSU has succeeded very well in undergraduate student enrollment and retention,” he added. “I hope to help the university achieve similar success in grant funding and graduate student enrollment.”

Despite the political science career background, Butler’s three degrees have a heavy concentration in geography.

Butler earned his bachelor’s (1994) and master’s (’96) degrees from Texas A&M University. He majored in history and minored in geography for his undergraduate degree, then majored in geography and minored in history for his graduate degree. His doctorate, in 2001, came from the University of Cincinnati, where he majored in geography and minored in political science and economics.

Butler’s research interests include disaster recovery, call centers, heritage and tourism development, nature-technology relationships and issues of national sovereignty.

Butler has led or been involved in 14 projects since 2002 that received nearly $2.8 million in funding. He has authored and co-authored numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and reports.

“My success in grant writing is because I failed over and over again and did not give up until I learned how to succeed,” Butler said. “I bring that experience to help other MTSU faculty succeed in obtaining grant dollars to fund their exciting research whether that is in the sciences, social science, humanities, business or art.”

“I am excited that I have been able to obtain research grant funding from two of the three leading federal granting agencies: the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. I hope one day to also obtain grant funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.”

Butler said his career goal was to become a successful researcher with grant funding supporting his efforts.

“I have met and exceeded that goal, and now I am interested in helping others achieve the same success, or ideally more success, than I have to date,” he said. “Equally, I enjoy building graduate programs and seeing students succeed, so I am thrilled to be able to work with faculty and directors of graduate programs and department chairs to help them succeed to their fullest potential.”

Butler emphasized that he will “have a team of folks in both the graduate college, and also the Office of Research, who will assist me in making the vision a reality. I am looking forward to leading the people on my team to assist university faculty to succeed.”

Soon after Butler starts in January, MTSU will reopen the renovated Wiser-Patten Science Hall and Davis Science Building to join the $147 million Science Building, which opened in 2014. The reopenings will further enhance student and faculty research capabilities on campus.

Butler has an MTSU-Southern Mississippi connection in USM President Rodney D. Bennett. Bennett is an MTSU alumnus who earned three degrees — education specialist, master’s in educational administration and bachelor’s in mass communication — from the university.

An avid college football fan, Butler said he will be a part of Blue Raider games in the fall. He also has become a runner and plans to compete in his first marathon in 2017.

An 18-member search committee, chaired by Dr. Carroll Van West, director of MTSU’s Center for Historic Preservation, chose Butler ahead of two other finalists.

Byrnes thanked Eller “for her commitment to MTSU and her dedicated work as interim vice provost for research and dean.”

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

‘MTSU On the Record’ has advice for parents of LGBT foster children

The plight of foster children grappling with their sexual identity and how their caregivers can help was the topic of a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Dr. Justin Bucchio

Dr. Justin Bucchio

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Justin Bucchio, an assistant professor of social work at MTSU, first aired Nov. 14 on WMOT-FM/Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org. You can listen to their complete conversation below.WMOT-new web logo

Bucchio, who also was a foster child, and his colleague, social work professor Barbara Turnage, presented a paper on what potential caretakers of LGBT foster and adopted children need to know in March 2016 at the National Youth-at-Risk Conference in Savannah, Georgia.

“A lot of the work that I am taking part in is being able to work with foster parents in training endeavors to provide them with a solid set of skills and education so that, when youth are coming out to them, they know how to react appropriately,” said Bucchio.

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.

‘MTSU On the Record’ flips over new classroom approach to math

A different style of teaching math to K-12 students will be the focus of the next “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Drs. Jeremy Strayer and James Hart, associate professors of mathematical science, will air from 6 to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, on WMOT-FM/Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org.

Dr. James B. Hart

Dr. James B. Hart

Dr. Jeremy Strayer

Dr. Jeremy Strayer

With assistant professor Sarah Bleiler-Baxter, Strayer and Hart wrote “Kick-Starting Discussions with the Flipped Classroom,” which was published in the May 2016 edition of “Mathematics Teacher” magazine.

The four-phase process propels young math students to the forefront in driving classroom discussions and presentations.

WMOT-new web logo“We were seeking a model that was going to give us a level playing field for all of the students and also to help us teach mathematics the way we do mathematics,” Strayer said.

“It isn’t that the teacher … steps into the background,” said Hart. “It’s that the work of the teacher changes so that the teacher now becomes someone who asks questions that will try to draw out student thinking.”

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.

MTSU professor’s ready to prepare students for hospitality careers

An MTSU marketing professor has earned credentials to teach college students about the burgeoning hospitality industry.

Dr. Virginia Hemby-Grubb, an MTSU marketing professor, displays her certification as a hospitality educator from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute. (Photo submitted)

Dr. Virginia Hemby-Grubb, an MTSU marketing professor, displays her certification as a hospitality educator from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute. (Photo submitted)

The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute has designated Dr. Virginia Hemby-Grubb, a marketing professor in the Jones College of Business, as a certified hospitality educator.

The certification criteria included knowledge of learning theory, establishing a positive classroom culture, classroom presentation methods, general classroom communications, interactive teaching methods and analysis of a case study.

The type of professional meeting, event, exhibition and convention management courses that Hemby-Grubb teaches at MTSU are affiliated with hospitality management programs at most universities.

“Having a Certified Hospitality Educator designation is important when teaching courses that relate directly to that industry,” said Hemby-Grubb.

The professor said she undertook the professional development course because occupational trends reveal that the hospitality business is one of the fastest growing in both Tennessee and the United States as a whole.

Statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics project a 41 percent increase in the number of meeting, convention and event management jobs in Tennessee in 2022 and a 33 percent increase in those same jobs in the country at large.

In fact, the bureau last year moved hospitality out of its “tourism” category and into its “business and finance” category because the industry has become so lucrative.

“This is obviously an area that we (in higher education) need to look at developing, and we need to do it in such a way that we bring in the right people to help us do this,” said Hemby-Grubb.

After meeting with Elisa Putman, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Music City Center in Nashville, Hemby-Grubb said she learned that Putnam went to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, for professional development.

Click on the logo to visit the AHLEI website.

Click on the logo to visit the AHLEI website.

Butch Spyridon, chief executive officer of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, told Hemby-Grubb that colleges and universities should consider adding a hospitality major with a marketing concentration or minor to their degree tracks.

“Secondary education has a hospitality module in its career and technical ed program,” she said.

“Students can take courses in hospitality, one of which is meeting, event, exhibition and convention management.”

Hemby-Grubb suggested that college students should engage in experiential learning in the business, which would enable them to take the certification test to become Certified Meeting Planners while still in college.

“Students would be able to sit for the exam after three years of work in the field, and … that CMP designation elevates them significantly in terms of job success and achievement,” said Hemby-Grubb.

For more information, contact Hemby-Grubb at 615-898-2369 or virginia.hemby-grubb@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

‘MTSU On the Record’ joins formation for marching band discussion

The art and the history of the marching band were in focus on a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Craig Cornish

Craig Cornish

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Craig Cornish, associate director of bands and a music professor, first aired Oct. 31 on WMOT-FM/Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org. You can listen to their conversation below.

WMOT-new web logoCornish organized the 2016 Contest of Champions, which took place at MTSU’s Floyd Stadium Oct. 22.

High school bands were judged on musical proficiency, marching proficiency and the effectiveness of the overall performance. Franklin High School won this year’s competition.

“You definitely want to convey a message or a story or something like that,” Cornish said of marching band performances.

“Sometimes a theme helps. Sometimes a theme does not help. But most bands nowadays use themes because it does help them kinda organize their thoughts and keep their show to where it’s going to make sense.”

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.

MTSU experts tackle debates, John Deere, disaster, coffee, NCAA

MTSU faculty and staff experts contributed their knowledge to various national media outlets recently, sounding off on presidential debates, competing heavy equipment firms, caffeine addiction and the challenge of explaining 9/11 to small children.

Dr. Justin Gardner

Dr. Justin Gardner

Dr. Larry Burriss

Dr. Larry Burriss

Dr. Larry Burriss, a journalism professor, stated his views on the town hall format in presidential debates for an article in Variety magazine. His commentary is available here.

Dr. Justin Gardner, an associate professor of agribusiness, compared farm equipment companies John Deere and Caterpillar for U.S. News and World Report. Gardner’s quotes can be accessed here.

MTSU WordmarkDr. Andrew Polk, a history professor and coordinator of history education, described how to explain the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on America to schoolchildren for Raycom Media. The story can be read here.

Lisa Schrader, director of health promotion, explained how college students can know when they’re addicted to caffeine for www.more.com. Her quotes are available here.

Chris Massaro

Chris Massaro

Lisa Schrader

Lisa Schrader

Dr. Andrew Polk

Dr. Andrew Polk

MTSU Director of Athletics Chris Massaro talked about college football conference realignment in this article by the New York Times. His quotes are available 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.

‘MTSU On the Record’ studies music transition from keys to discs

A company that recorded some of the most vital sounds of American music was the focus of a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Professor Charlie Dahan

Professor Charlie Dahan

Dahan Gennett Records webHost Gina Logue’s interview with Charlie Dahan, a professor of recording industry, first aired Oct. 24 on WMOT-FM/Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org. You can listen to their conversation below.

WMOT-new web logoDahan is co-author with Linda Gennett Irmscher of “Gennett Records and Starr Piano,” the story of a Richmond, Indiana-based piano manufacturer that expanded into the production of phonograph records in the early 20th century.

The Gennett label made the music of underrepresented groups in society more readily available to the masses. This included jazz, blues and country music. Jelly Roll Morton, Uncle Dave Macon, Louis Armstrong and Gene Autry were among the artists who recorded for Gennett.

“They had really the only recording studio in the Midwest,” said Dahan, “so they had this sort of vacuum where they were really the ones who could consistently record and were sort of in the right place at the right time to sort of hit upon that hot jazz sound of the 1920s.”

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.

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