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‘MTSU On the Record’ focuses on finding funds for study-abroad trips

A new means of financing study-abroad classes in tight financial times is the topic of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Mark Byrnes, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, will air from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 21, on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ).

Dr. Mark Byrnes

Dr. Mark Byrnes

study-abroad scholarships graphicThe College of Liberal Arts next month will begin offering five scholarships of up to $500 each for experiential learning activities to liberal arts majors.

Applicants must have completed 30 credit hours before the semester in which the award will be made. At least 15 of those credit hours must have been earned at MTSU. A GPA of 2.5 or higher is required.

The stipends can apply to either faculty-led study-abroad programs or credit-bearing unpaid internships. The deadline for meeting the criteria and filing the paperwork is Feb. 6, 2015.

More information is available from the College of Liberal Arts at 615-898-2534 or www.mtsu.edu/liberalarts.

“Clearly, we believe in the importance of classroom instruction, homework, lectures, discussions and everything we do here on campus,” said Byrnes, “but an extremely important complement to that is real-life experience. I think it’s really vital to a complete college education.”

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

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

CNBC, PBS reports feature MTSU’s air traffic control program

The MTSU Department of Aerospace’s air traffic control program was featured on both CNBC and PBS Dec. 5.

MTSU and Dowling College in Shirley, New York, were highlighted in the CNBC piece reported by Mary Thompson. The story also was part of the “Nightly Business Report,” which airs locally on Nashville Public Television’s second digital channel, NPT2.

The CNBC story, part of the network’s “Where the Jobs Are” series, is available at www.cnbc.com/id/102239898, or you can watch the story directly at “Nightly Business Report”‘s YouTube channel below.

http://youtu.be/wirSlrirekw

Both the CNBC and “Nightly Business Report” features explored job prospects for students studying to become air traffic controllers around the nation. The story is headlined “Look to the sky for this job opportunity.”

Thompson interviewed MTSU professor Gail Zlotky, manager of the air traffic control program. Some of her comments were used in the CNBC piece.

Zlotky told Thompson the ATC “job market will keep going” because air traffic controllers must be hired before their 31st birthdays and must retire at age 56.

The FAA will need to hire new controllers because thousands of the approximately 14,100 current jobholders are approaching mandatory retirement.

Thompson also interviewed MTSU senior De’Angelo Blair, 23, of Memphis, Tennessee. He switched to air traffic control from his first choice, professional pilot, because of the high cost for flight instruction.

Blair told Thompson he would maintain his “passion about air traffic control” even if the FAA does not accept him.

Accompanied by audio specialist David Rogers of Nashville, video journalist Rodney King of Nashville featured the 360-degree air traffic control simulator located on the first floor of the Business and Aerospace Building in his footage.

MTSU and Dowling are among 36 colleges, which are part of the FAA collegiate initiative. The military is the FAA’s other option in hiring air traffic controllers.

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

CNBC freelance video journalist Rodney King, right, films MTSU students training inside the aerospace department's 360-degree air traffic control simulator during a November visit to campus. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

CNBC freelance video journalist Rodney King, right, films MTSU students training inside the aerospace department’s 360-degree air traffic control simulator during a November visit to campus. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

CNBC interviews MTSU senior De'Angelo Blair, left, as part of a two-network story related to job prospects for future air traffic controllers. Nashville freelance audio engineer David Rogers listens.

CNBC interviews MTSU senior De’Angelo Blair, left, as part of a two-network story related to job prospects for future air traffic controllers. Nashville freelance audio engineer David Rogers listens.

CNBC freelance personnel David Rogers, seated, and Rodney King adjust their equipment before filming and recording MTSU aerospace faculty member Gail Zlotky.

CNBC freelance personnel David Rogers, seated, and Rodney King adjust their equipment before filming and recording MTSU aerospace faculty member Gail Zlotky.

MTSU professional science masters students juggle families, education

For more than five years, MTSU graduate student Dianna Prince has juggled family and her college education.

The juggling act includes single parenthood to 5-year-old son Brody, graduating from MTSU in 2013 with her bachelor’s degree in biology, living with parents Bobby and Vicki Prince and commuting about two hours a day round-trip from home in Estill Springs, Tennessee.

The Dec. 4 presenters for MTSU’s Master of Science in Professional Science internship program included (front row, from left) Rosiski Kansakar, Christina Johns, Chasity McClinton, Fatmah Hani and Dianna Prince; (second row, from left) Zahra Sultan, program director Saeed Foroudastan, Olivia Akinpelu and Scarlett Murphy; (third row, from left) Brent Carpenetti, Brad Wires and Shannon Smith; and (fourth row, from left) Shayan Rouhanifard, Justin Reilly and Imtiyazuddin Mohammed. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

The Dec. 4 presenters for MTSU’s Master of Science in Professional Science internship program included, from left on the front row, from left Rosiski Kansakar, Christina Johns, Chasity McClinton, Fatmah Hani and Dianna Prince; second row, Zahra Sultan, program director Saeed Foroudastan, Olivia Akinpelu and Scarlett Murphy; third row,  Brent Carpenetti, Brad Wires and Shannon Smith; and fourth row, Shayan Rouhanifard, Justin Reilly and Imtiyazuddin Mohammed. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

Dianna Prince, 25, who will graduate Dec. 13 from MTSU, will have earned her MTSU Master of Science in Professional Science in biology degree from the Department of Biology.

On Thursday, Dec. 4, Prince and 12 peers made end-of-the-semester presentations from their internships with corporate and collegiate entities. One student, Chasity McClinton, is a Master of Business Education degree candidate in the Jones College of Business.

The program, commonly called professional science masters or PSM, is an award-winning two-year master’s degree in the STEM disciplines — sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics — aimed at equipping students for work in public and private business and academia.

“It’s not tough any more. I make it work and my family helps tremendously,” said Prince, whose biology internship was under the guidance of Dr. Elliot Altman, an MTSU researcher and director of the Doctoral Interdisciplinary Molecular Biosciences Ph.D. Program.

The internship involved assisting Ashley Cole, a doctoral student, as they worked with protein folding, Prince said.

Dianna Prince

Dianna Prince

“They (protein molecules) are tiny,” Prince said. “They have to fold into 3-dimensional structures to become functional.”

Calling her internship a “great” experience, Prince said it to her acceptance into the MTSU doctoral program starting in January for the spring 2015 semester.

“My internship opened a lot of doors for me,” she said. “I got to add a lot of techniques to my skills list.”

The skills list included PCR, or polymerase chain reaction, and DNA sequencing.

Scarlett Murphy, now 28, earned her undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering technology from MTSU in 2008.

Since then, she married former Blue Raider football player Jeff Murphy, began working at the Murfreesboro plant for Dayton, Ohio-based Standard Register, began graduate school and learned in the latter stage of the internship she was pregnant with the couple’s first child.

Scarlett Murphy

Scarlett Murphy

Murphy’s internship, with her own company, included overseeing the integration of a company acquired by Standard Register in Livermore, California.

“You just have to learn how to adapt,” Murphy said of the integration process. “Part of being a good project manager is being able to overcome obstacles.”

In addition to Prince and Murphy, the presenters included:

  • Brent Carpenetti, actuarial science, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.
  • Justin Reilly, engineering management, Feintool.
  • Christina Johns, health care informatics, Tennessee Valley Healthcare System/Veterans Affairs.
  • Rosiski Kansakar, health care informatics, Community Health Systems.
  • Zahra Sultan, health care informatics, TennCare.
  • Brad Wires, health care informatics, Community Health Systems.
  • Chasity McClinton, College of Business, MTSU Learning, Teaching and Innovative Technologies Center.
  • Olivia Akinpelu, Fatmah Hani and Imtiyazuddin Mohammed, biotechnology, Encapsula Nanosciences.
  • Shayan Rouhanifard, biotechnology, Virtual Drug Development Inc.
  • Shannon Smith, biotechnology, MTSU Center for Environmental Education and Studies.

“We have another outstanding group of students,” said Saeed Foroudastan, director of the program.

Program coordinators include Lisa Bloomer-Green, biostatistics; Clay Harris, geosciences; Don Hong, actuarial sciences; Greg Sedrick, engineering management; Rebecca Seipelt-Thiemann, biotechnology; and Vincent Smith, business core coordinator. The health care informatics coordinator position is vacant.

The program has an outstanding retention rate and has an outstanding graduation rate. In 2010, the Tennessee Board of Regents recognized the program with the Academic Excellence Award.

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

MSPS logo

MTSU students, city teachers unite to brighten kids’ future (+VIDEO)

Why wait until middle school or high school to make clear to young people the connection between education and life after school?

MTSU and the Murfreesboro City Schools say that point cannot be made early enough.

Dr. Linda Gilbert

Dr. Linda Gilbert

That’s the mission of the Collaborative Learning and Leadership Institute, a partnership between MTSU and Murfreesboro City Schools designed to help young children make a connection between what they are learning in school and what that education will mean to their adult lives.

“By the time children are 8, they already have an idea of what they want to do,” said Dr. Linda Gilbert, Murfreesboro City Schools director and a former MTSU professor.

“By the time they leave us in sixth grade, it may be too late because, in their minds, they already have a concept of hope — or a concept of despair.”

Housed at Mitchell-Neilson Elementary School, the institute promotes interaction between college students and youngsters and helps the kids understand what life can be like when school is over.

Those older students come from the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences, which houses the “helping” disciplines of criminal justice, health and human performance, human sciences, nursing, psychology and social work.

You can watch a video about Mitchell-Neilson’s partnership with the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences below.

http://youtu.be/0U6RxN5NJp0

An example of the institute in action is the health literacy project guided by Drs. Catherine Crooks and Stuart Bernstein of the Department of Psychology.

Fueled by an $8,000 grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, Crooks, Bernstein and their students work with youngsters and their parents to help them understand various health issues, such as when to go to the doctor and when to go to the emergency room.

“We have examples of deaths here in Rutherford County because people have either taken medication incorrectly or couldn’t read the labels,” said Bea Perdue, the college’s development director.

Bea Perdue

Bea Perdue

Dr. Terry Whiteside

Dr. Terry Whiteside

The practical applications extend beyond health literacy. The institute also works with the Murfreesboro Housing Authority, Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital’s mobile health centers and the family learning centers in public housing complexes.

Through MTSU’s partnership with Mitchell-Neilson, organizers say that elementary students can find inspiration that can propel them into an academic life they — and maybe even their parents — never expected they could live.

“There are so many kids in the Murfreesboro city schools who don’t even know there’s a college in town,” said Dr. Harold “Terry” Whiteside, dean of the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences, “so the idea of going to college is a thought that has never crossed their minds.”

For now, the institute’s brick-and-mortar home is a nondescript outbuilding between two classroom buildings on the Mitchell-Neilson campus. Educators do their planning in one room; students do their learning in the other.

Whiteside and Gilbert’s vision for the institute lies far beyond that building, however. They see potential for future activities that can change a bleak reality for an at-risk population of students in a nation where a child drops out of school every nine to 16 seconds.

MTSU students benefit from interacting with people from different cultures and from seeing the effectiveness of their work and their research.

“I think it’ll change the way they look at their coursework, and I think it’ll change the way we look at what we need to be doing as practitioners,” Gilbert said.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Awards show academics rank high with military science (+VIDEO)

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Joel Miller made a special point of telling cadets attending the MTSU military science program’s fall awards event about one of their peers, Timothy Chitpanya, and his 3.8 grade-point average.

Chitpanya, an MTSU junior from Nashville, earned his high GPA in spring 2014. He topped all the cadets recognized during the military science fall awards ceremony Nov. 20 in Keathley University Center Theater.

http://youtu.be/coEE-QDAsoY

“The need to maintain a high GPA demonstrates that intellect is important if they want to be an Army officer,” Miller said.

Several dozen cadets were recognized not only for their academic prowess, but also their physical fitness, leadership and service.

Chitpanya received a ribbon and firm handshake from Miller for earning the Professor of Military Science Academic Award. The cadet is majoring in chemistry, admittedly not the easiest subject to master.

“It takes a lot of time, but it’s really easy for me because I have a passion for chemistry,” Chitpanya said. “I love problem-solving, and chemistry is all problem-solving.”

MTSU junior Timothy Chitpanya, left, displays the ribbon awarded to him by MTSU military science professor Joel Miller Nov. 20 during the fall 2014 awards ceremony in the Keathley University Center Theater. Chitpayna, who is from Nashville, earned a 3.8 GPA in the spring 2014 semester. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

MTSU junior Timothy Chitpanya, left, displays the ribbon awarded to him by MTSU military science professor Joel Miller Nov. 20 during the fall 2014 awards ceremony in the Keathley University Center Theater. Chitpayna, who is from Nashville, earned a 3.8 GPA in the spring 2014 semester. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

Ten cadets recorded GPAs of 3.5 or higher last spring.

Along with Chitpanya, those cadets were Curtis Crossman, Reed Honken, Nicholas Hruschak, Allison Judkins, Jimmy Norvell, Bryan Roy, Kyle Wix, Jon Wright and Andrew Brown.

MTSU’s Ranger Challenge team participated in the Bold Warrior Challenge, performing well in all physical events. Master Sgt. John Bright coached the team.

Bold Warrior Challenge awardees included Curtis Corazao, Thomas Duncan, Somalia Ford, Samuel Howell, Paul Moret, Judkins, Roy, Kyle Wolfenbarger and Wright.

Sophomore Jake West and junior Ethan Hester each received the Warrior Spirit Award, a one-time $1,000 gift to one basic course cadet and one advanced course cadet without regard for either GPA or Army physical fitness test.

Retired U.S. Army Maj. Steve Daugherty, a military science faculty member, funded the awards, Miller said.

Their peers chose West and Hester for their selflessness, responsibility, volunteerism, initiative, confidence, pride in self and organization and ability to lead by example.

Four senior cadets also learned they will become active-duty members of various branches of the Army after commissioning and graduation.

Thirteen cadets will go into various branches of the Army National Guard or reserves following commissioning and graduation.

Military science is one of 11 departments in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences. For more information, call 615-898-2470 or visit www.mtsu.edu/arotc1.

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

A group of MTSU military science cadets receive recognition during the annual fall 2014 awards program Nov. 20 in the Keathley University Center Theater.

A group of MTSU military science cadets receive recognition during the annual fall 2014 awards program Nov. 20 in the Keathley University Center Theater.

MTSU military science cadets Shade Manning, left, Seth Williams, Paul Moret and Michael Thomas share a laugh from behind the podium Nov. 20 in the Keathley University Center Theater following the fall 2014 awards.

MTSU military science cadets Shade Manning, left, Seth Williams, Paul Moret and Michael Thomas joke behind the podium Nov. 20 in the Keathley University Center Theater following the fall 2014 awards.

MTSU pushes applying by Dec. 1 to enhance scholarship chances

Middle Tennessee State University officials urge prospective high school seniors and their parents or guardians to apply by Monday, Dec. 1, if they plan to start at MTSU in fall 2015.

Meeting this deadline will allow seniors with at least a 3.5 GPA and an ACT score of 25 or higher — equivalent to an 1130 or higher SAT score — the opportunity to be considered in the initial awarding of guaranteed freshman academic scholarships and the highly competitive Buchanan Fellowships.

Dr. Laurie Witherow

Dr. Laurie Witherow

To apply, visit www.mtsu.edu/how-to-apply. To view academic requirements for scholarships, visit www.mtsu.edu/financial-aid/scholarships and click on “First-Time Incoming Freshmen.”

Meeting both the deadline and qualifications gives outstanding students the chance to receive a Chancellor’s, Presidential, Provost or other major scholarship from the MTSU Scholarship and Financial Aid offices.

Failing to meet the Dec. 1 deadline may be a missed opportunity for a major scholarship. Applications received after Dec. 1 will risk scholarship money being unavailable. Applications mailed to MTSU must be postmarked Dec. 1.

“MTSU has expanded its scholarships to the best and brightest in Tennessee, but the deadline for priority consideration is fast approaching,” said Laurie Witherow, associate vice provost for admissions and enrollment services.

“Dec. 1 is only days away, so please take a few minutes today to apply,” Witherow added.

“Don’t miss an opportunity to allow MTSU to invest in your future. We believe in you, your potential and your success.”

To learn more about the University Honors College and Buchanan Fellowship, the highest award given to an entering MTSU freshman, visit www.mtsu.edu/honors.

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

MTSU scholarship deadline72

Winning essay earns MTSU nursing student ‘True Blue’ scrubs

An MTSU nursing student will be dressed for success thanks to her essay-writing skills and the School of Nursing and Phillips Bookstore.

Haley Davis, a 22-year-old sophomore and native of Pekin, Illinois, received two scrub tops and a lab coat Monday, Nov. 17, at MTSU’s Cason-Kennedy Nursing Building.

MTSU nursing student Haley Davis, second from right holds up the MTSU scrub top presented to her Nov. 17 at Cason-Kennedy Nursing Building. The presenters are, from left, Melissa Warner of MTSU’s Phillips Bookstore, holding Davis’ new lab coat; and Yvonne Creighton and Leigh Ann Krabousonos, School of Nursing lecturers. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

Phillips Bookstore donated a scrub top and a lab coat, and the school’s alumni committee contributed an additional scrub top.

Davis won the professional attire for writing a 250-word essay on what nursing means to her and what she can do for the field of nursing.

The essay reads, in part,

What nursing means to me goes beyond just a simple definition of caring for the sick. It is who you are and who you are meant to be. It is to take care of anybody regardless of their circumstances and who they are and not just their physical being, but also their mind and soul.

Davis, who lives in Lascassas, Tennessee, balances her education with her work as a clinical nurse assistant at Adams Place, a residential facility for senior citizens in Murfreesboro. She has worked there for nearly three years.

Davis also is the single mother of a 4-year-old daughter and a 10-month-old son.

“I basically just get through, but it is a constant struggle,” Davis said. “I’m getting the hang of it, though. It’s getting better. I’m starting to get things down.”

Alumni committee representatives Yvonne Creighton and Leigh Anne Krabousonos, both lecturers in the School of Nursing, selected Davis’ essay from among more than 60 entries.

“All of you exemplified what nursing is, and I think that, if you can take that out into the world and workforce, we’ve got a good group going into nursing,” Creighton told the applicants.

Creighton said the entrants were all first-semester students with grade-point averages of 3.0 or higher. Financial need also was taken into consideration.

“We are changing from the traditional white scrub uniforms to this beautiful MT blue which has the logo on it, and the white lab coat has the logo on it, too,” said Creighton.

For more information about the MTSU School of Nursing’s traditional bachelor’s degree program, call 615-898-2437. To learn more about the master’s degree and registered nurse programs, call 615-898-5950. The School of Nursing’s website is www.mtsu.edu/nursing.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Business student’s design named winner of MT Engage logo contest

MTSU business student Justin Johnson created the winning logo design that will now represent the MT Engage curriculum enhancement plan for the entire university.

Student Justin Johnson, right, stands with MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee next to Johnson's winning logo design during the Nov. 6 kickoff for MT Engage, the university's next Quality Enhancement Plan, on the Student Union Commons. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Student Justin Johnson, right, stands with MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee next to Johnson’s winning logo design during the Nov. 6 kickoff for MT Engage, the university’s next Quality Enhancement Plan, on the Student Union Commons. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

A logo contest was part of the Nov. 6 kickoff for MT Engage, which is the theme for the university’s newest Quality Enhancement Plan, or QEP.

The QEP is an accreditation review requirement every 10 years by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the regional accreditation body for higher education institutions in the South.

MT Engage encourages students to “engage academically, learn exponentially (and) showcase yourself.” Logo contest entries had to incorporate that tagline into the design.

The top three entries were displayed at the Nov. 6 kickoff at the Student Union Commons, and votes were collected from the campus community that day.

“I decided to enter the contest because it was a great opportunity to exhibit creativity and for students to get involved on our campus,” said Johnson, a Jones College of Business computer information systems major from Memphis.

“After reading the description of the program, I was even more enthused by its values. Engaging academically, learning at an exponential rate and showcasing yourself is exactly what it takes to have a healthy start to a career path after college.

“I utilized my vision to portray these aspects, and I’m truly honored to be the winner.”

The contest and kickoff were planned and executed by a student team from professor Tricia Farwell’s fall advertising campaigns class in the College of Mass Communication.

Johnson’s logo competed against designs by students Grace Mueller and Brian Scocchio; the finalists received gift cards for their efforts.

Johnson’s design features a silhouette of a group of students linked arm-in-arm, surrounded by a laurel wreath with the blue MT logo in the center.

He said the students symbolize the engagement as they learn and grow with each another, while the wreath symbolizes victory, “which is not only the student’s achievement of a college degree, but also truly achieving the college experience utilizing the values under ‘Engage.’”

MT Engage logo-webMT Engage will emphasize “active learning and critical reflection” as a part of students’ learning beginning with the freshman year.

The initiative will focus on general education engagement as well as students using an e-portfolio to demonstrate knowledge, skills and abilities gained over the college experience.

The QEP, which is still being developed by a committee and subcommittees representing a cross-section of faculty, staff and students, is chaired by Dr. Dianna Rust, an associate professor in university studies. The plan will need to be implemented in time for the SACS on-campus review in spring 2016.

MT Engage follows the university’s previous reaffirmation initiative, the Experiential Learning, or EXL, program, which emphasized hands-on activities and public service as an integral part of a student’s learning experience during their junior and senior years.

MT Engage seeks to expand on the EXL concept by engaging students earlier during their freshman and sophomore years.

For more information about MTSU’s QEP, visit www.mtsu.edu/QEP or contact Rust at 615-898-5325.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Find your place in the world at MTSU Study Abroad Fair Nov. 19 (+VIDEO)

MTSU will put the world at its students’ fingertips at its annual Study Abroad Fair Wednesday, Nov. 19, in the Student Union’s first-floor lobby.

2014 Study Abroad Fair flier webThe event, which provides students with information about studying in other countries, is slated for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 19.

Tiffany Bickers, director of MTSU’s Office of Education Abroad, said students can obtain information from about 30 tables staffed by study-abroad personnel.

About 20 of those tables will provide information on faculty-led programs, she said, while other tables will have information about organizations and consortia that also offer educational excursions.

Tiffany Bickers

Tiffany Bickers

Bickers said 415 MTSU students took advantage of study-abroad trips during the 2013-14 academic year.

“Out of that 415, definitely over 50 percent participated in faculty-led programs,” she said.

The Office of Education Abroad reported that global studies majors led the number of students taking study-abroad courses during the last academic year.

Mass communication, foreign language, art, recording industry, international relations, speech and theatre, organizational communication, animal science, biology, English and psychology majors also participated in study-abroad courses in 2013-14.

While the Study Abroad Fair is in progress on the first floor of the Student Union, workshops on scholarships to help pay for the educational trips will be underway on the second floor in Room 201.

Workshops are slated for 10:30 to 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 1:30 p.m. These workshops will offer information on Fulbright grants, Gilman scholarships, Boren scholarships and fellowships and Critical Language Scholarships.

Critical Language Scholarships, also known as CLS, provide overseas language training in Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Indonesian, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish and Urdu.

“They’ll want to start six to 12 months in advance in order to access as many scholarships as possible, because the deadlines are so early,” Bickers said.

MTSU’S International Education and Exchange Committee also allocates about $250,000 in study-abroad scholarships each year.

Bickers said students who want to study in other countries next summer or in fall 2015 should seek assistance before winter break. Study-abroad students will be on hand at the fair to provide testimonials about their own experiences.

“We want it to, of course, be rigorous academically, but we also want it to be fun and full of learning, not just in the classroom but outside of the classroom,” Bickers said.

The Study Abroad Fair is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Office of Education Abroad at 615-898-5179 or Bickers at tiffany.bickers@mtsu.edu.

For information about Boren, Fulbright, Gilman and CLS scholarships, contact Laura Clippard in the University Honors College at 615-898-5464 or laura.clippard@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Here’s a recap of the fair and program:

http://youtu.be/ljY67zM5xEA

MTSU named 2015 ‘Best for Vets’ college by Military Times

Middle Tennessee State University has again been named among the best colleges nationally for supporting student veterans by the Military Times.

The publication announced its Best for Vets: Colleges 2015 rankings this week as the nation celebrates Veterans Day. In their fifth year, the rankings factor in a comprehensive school-by-school assessment of veteran and military students’ success rates. 2015_Best for Vets_COLLEGES-web

Of the top 100 schools ranked, MTSU was the only Tennessee four-year college to make this year’s list and was also named to the 2014 list. The Jennings A. Jones College of Business at MTSU was named a “Best for Vets” business school for 2014 earlier this year.

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee

“MTSU is thankful for the many veterans who’ve chosen to pursue their college degrees on our campus,” MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee said. “Our faculty and staff will continue to support them and their families by making resources available to help them successfully obtain their degrees. And of course, we honor their service to our country and community.”

“Best for Vets: Colleges 2015 is an editorially independent news project that evaluates the many factors that make an organization a good fit for service members, military veterans and their families,” according to a Military Times release.

MTSU currently has a veterans’ population of just over 1,000, which includes veterans and active duty service members and their dependents.

MTSU was the first school in Tennessee with an on-campus representative for VetSuccess, a collaboration between the university and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide a place where students with military service can gather to obtain assistance and peer support.

The university has a standing Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, which recently worked with the Information Technology Department to develop an analytical information system that can provide an on-demand snapshot of the campus veteran community. This will allow the committee to make data-informed decisions and create programs and policies tailored specifically for the veteran community on campus.

MT-Veterans-logo-300x174MTSU representatives are also deeply involved in the Tennessee Veteran Education Task Force that aims to help Tennessee become the No. 1 state in the country for veteran educational achievement and employment. Also active on campus is the student-led veterans group, Blue Raider American Veteran Organization (BRAVO).

The survey-based “Best for Vets: Colleges” doesn’t manipulate mainstream research to skew more “veteran,” according to the Military Times. Editors say the detailed survey requires schools to “meticulously document a tremendous array of services, special rules, accommodations and financial incentives” offered to military and veteran students and to describe many aspects of veteran culture on a campus.

“We factor in what is, to our knowledge, the most detailed school-by-school data on veteran students’ academic success anywhere, including graduation, retention, persistence and course completion rates,” said Amanda Miller, editor of Bets for Vets.

Two years ago, only 11 percent of the hundreds of schools surveyed could provide that level of detail. This year, that figure is up to 45 percent.

“By recognizing only the schools that do the most, we believe we’re helping to raise the bar in veteran student services,” Miller added.

For the full Best for Vets: Colleges 2015 rankings, go to: www.militarytimes.com/bestforvets-colleges2015.

The Military Times is made up of the Air Force Times, Army Times, Marine Corps Times and Navy Times. Military Times’ series of Best for Vets survey-based rankings includes: Colleges, Career & Technical Colleges, Business Schools, Franchises, Employers and Law Enforcement.

For more information about MTSU’s veteran services, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/vets/.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)