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Creative options abound as MTSU shows off ‘Makerspace’ [+VIDEO]

Today’s university library is not just literary but also digital and kinetic, and MTSU’s latest contribution to the trend is getting positive reviews.

Bonnie J. Allen

Bonnie J. Allen

The James E. Walker Library celebrated the success of its new “Makerspace” area with an official grand opening and dedication ceremony Wednesday, Feb. 1, in the second-floor Digital Media Studio. You can watch a video from the event below.

The area provides equipment that enables students to design and work on projects, as well as write computer code or other specifications with which they can replicate those projects.

“The idea is that you don’t have to be a whiz coming in,” said Bonnie Allen, dean of the Walker Library. “You’re just going to be one leaving.

“We will show you. We will train you. This is way cool stuff, new toys, and it crosses every discipline on campus.”

Students and faculty crowded into the area to watch student workers demonstrate 3-D printers, a resin printer, a laser cutter/etcher, a vinyl cutter, virtual reality and kits full of parts that can be used to build just about anything one can imagine.

The kits contain plates, brackets, beams with holes in them for screws, sensors, joysticks, Wi-Fi modules, Bluetooth modules, temperature and humidity sensors, compasses, drive motors and belts.

Library student worker Michael Dailey, a computer science major from Lascassas, Tennessee, demonstrated a mechanical arm that manipulated a Sharpie. The arm was created with one of the Makerspace MakeBots kits.

“They’re kind of little Erector Sets for adults,” Dailey said as the arm moved the Sharpie over a blank surface.

Dailey also demonstrated a Raspberry Pi, a $35 collection of sensors and electronic parts that can be used to build larger digital items. By speaking in the direction of the colored light-emitting diodes attached to the motherboard, Dailey made the LEDs light up.

“It’s basically just a minicomputer that you can hook up all kinds … of peripherals to,” said Dailey.

Neal McClain, center, director of library technology at MTSU’s Walker Library, demonstrates how a mechanical arm created with one of the MakeBots kits manipulates a Sharpie during the grand opening of the Makerspace area. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

Neal McClain, center, director of library technology at MTSU’s Walker Library, demonstrates how a mechanical arm created with one of the MakeBots kits manipulates a Sharpie during the grand opening of the Makerspace area. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

Ben Becker, a computer technician with Linebaugh Public Library in Murfreesboro, said his employer might follow suit.

“We’re working on it,” said Becker. “We’ve got a couple of 3-D printers in house now, and we’re hoping to open our new community technology center in the next year or year-and-a-half.”

Dr. Saeed Foroudastan, associate dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, was impressed. He said students definitely can use Makerspace for numerous class projects.

“They’re going to get more interested in this technology,” said Foroudastan. “If you can imagine something and come and make it, they will study more.”

Allen also put in an appeal for students to work in the Makerspace area to be trained to help students become accustomed to the equipment.

“It’s super cool,” said Spencer Butler, a biology major from Lebanon, Tennessee. “The university has gone above and beyond.”

For more information about Makerspace, contact Neal McClain, director of library technology, at 615-898-2572 or neal.mcclain@mtsu.edu, or coordinator Valerie Hackworth at 615-904-8545 or valerie.hackworth@mtsu.edu.

— Gina Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Library student worker Michael Dailey, a computer science major from Lascassas, Tennessee, demonstrates some of the creative kits and materials available to students during the Feb. 1 grand opening and dedication of the new Makerspace area located in the second-floor Digital Media Studio of the James E. Walker Library. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

Library student worker Michael Dailey, a computer science major from Lascassas, Tennessee, demonstrates some of the creative kits and materials available to students during the Feb. 1 grand opening and dedication of the new “Makerspace” area, located in the second-floor Digital Media Studio of the James E. Walker Library. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

Virtual reality technology is among the equipment available to MTSU students in the new Makerspace inside the James E. Walker Library. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

Virtual reality technology is among the equipment available to MTSU students in the new “Makerspace” inside the James E. Walker Library. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

Valerie Hackworth, assistant manager of library public technology, holds a miniature coffee table made with a 3D filament printer available to students in the Walker Library’s new Makerspace. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

Valerie Hackworth, assistant manager of library public technology, holds a miniature coffee table made with a 3-D filament printer available to students in the Walker Library’s new “Makerspace.” (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

 


Library unveils 3D printing, more at Feb. 1 ‘Makerspace’ grand opening

Jan. 26, 2017

Today’s libraries are places of construction as well as concentration, and MTSU is right in step with the changes.

Computer science major Kristin Denny of Tullahoma, Tennessee, uses the 3-D resin printer in the Makerspace area of MTSU’s James E. Walker Library’s Digital Media Studio. (MTSU photo by James Brummett)

Computer science major Kristin Denny of Tullahoma, Tennessee, uses the 3-D resin printer in the Makerspace area of MTSU’s James E. Walker Library’s Digital Media Studio. (MTSU photo by James Brummett)

The James E. Walker Library will celebrate the success of its new “Makerspace” area with an official grand opening and dedication ceremony at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1, in the second-floor Digital Media Studio. Light refreshments will be available.

The area’s equipment lets students design and work on projects as well as write computer code or other specifications to replicate those projects.

Makerspace is equipped with 3-D printers, a resin printer, a laser cutter/etcher, a vinyl cutter, virtual reality and kits full of parts that can be used to build just about anything one can imagine.

The kits contain plates, brackets, beams, sensors, joysticks, Wi-Fi modules, Bluetooth modules, temperature and humidity sensors, compasses, drive motors and belts.

“It’s to give students a place to challenge themselves, to come in and try to take an idea and prototype it and get it to fruition,” said Neal McClain, director of library technology. “It’s a place where they can work together with students from other disciplines.”

Art majors, for example, can make kinetic sculptures that move via built-in motorized systems. Education majors can familiarize themselves with LittleBits kits, which are being used by children in grades three through eight. With virtual-reality equipment called Oculus Rift, electronic media communication students can envision and create their own animation videos.

Walker Library logo

Neal McClain

Neal McClain

McClain, who holds a master’s degree in computer science, said he sees the library as a totally appropriate place for this hands-on approach to satisfying intellectual curiosity.

“An academic library, once upon a time, was just a place to go do research and study in the dead quiet,” said McClain. “That game’s changed in the last 10 to 12 years.”

To spark interest in Makerspace, McClain has placed colorful little figurines created with the 3-D and resin printers at the Digital Media Studio’s front desk.

Dogs, cats, unicorns, Pokémon characters and Darth Vader, among others, greet incoming students as Makerspace mascots. They were mere threads of plastic before the printers turned their creators’ computer code into physical entities.Makerspace logo web

Student programmer and mechatronics engineering major Aldair Nieto said Makerspace is especially important to students with projects they must complete for classes.

“The equipment looks complicated because it may be unfamiliar to them,” said Nieto.

“Once they give it a try, they will realize it is actually somewhat simple to use. All they need is a good imagination and to be willing to take a chance at trying something new.”

For more information, contact McClain at 615-898-2572 or neal.mcclain@mtsu.edu, or visit the Walker Library’s Makerspace information page at http://library.mtsu.edu/makerspace.php.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

These objects, which were created with equipment in the Makerspace area of MTSU’s James E. Walker Library, are on display at the front desk of the library’s Digital Media Studio. (MTSU photo by Darby Campbell)

These objects, which were created with equipment in the Makerspace area of MTSU’s James E. Walker Library, are on display at the front desk of the library’s Digital Media Studio. (MTSU photo by Darby Campbell)

MTSU crews help craft new NPT-NaSHOF series, ‘The Songwriters’

MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment is pulling all hands into a new project with Nashville Public Television and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, bringing faculty, students and the college’s dean together to create a weekly TV show that premiered Jan. 28.

“The Songwriters” will air at 8:30 p.m. Central on WNPT’s second digital channel, WNPT2, and on Comcast Digital Cable channel 241 and Charter Digital Cable channel 176. WNPT2 is available over the air on channel 8.2.

The program will re-air Sundays for Nashville viewers only at 9:30 a.m. CST and again statewide at 4:30 p.m. You can see a preview below.

Hosted by media and entertainment dean Ken Paulson, the first season comprises 18 episodes of conversations with Hall of Fame members discussing their creative processes and what inspired some of their greatest songs, as well as behind-the-scenes stories and rare performances.

Guests for the first season of “The Songwriters” include Hall of Fame members Bill Anderson, Gary Burr, Steve Cropper, Sonny Curtis, Tom Douglas and Ray Stevens. The crew also was able to sit down with songwriting icon Guy Clark before his untimely death last year.

Ken Paulson

Ken Paulson

“We’re honored to partner with the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, bringing together some of the world’s greatest songwriters with a new generation of media professionals,” Paulson said. “The songwriters’ insights about their art and inspiration make for truly compelling television.”

Students in MTSU’s Department of Electronic Media Communication, who produce live and taped performance broadcasts for national entertainment, athletic and documentary projects, are handling the lion’s share of “The Songwriters” episodes, lighting, filming and editing the shows alongside Department of Recording Industry students providing their audio production expertise.

Dr. Bob Gordon

Dr. Bob Gordon

EMC professor Bob Gordon is directing the MTSU-led episodes of “The Songwriters.” Gordon, who teaches multicamera TV production classes at MTSU, has coordinated the university’s live coverage of the annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival since 2014 and has independently produced network entertainment specials such as “The Chieftains: ‘Down The Old Plank Road’ for PBS, “Cinemax Sessions: Chet Atkins and Friends” for Cinemax, “Alabama: Christmas In Dixie” for TNN and several GMA Dove Awards for GMC and the Family Channel.

“The Songwriter series had three video recording sessions,” Gordon explained. “The first was recorded at the historic Columbia Records Studio A, known as the ‘Quonset Hut,’ with a full MTSU student crew. The most recent session was recorded by MTSU students in the College of Media and Entertainment’s Studio 1 (in the Bragg Media and Entertainment Building on campus).

“All of the sessions were edited at MTSU by EMC students. We are discussing a new session of new episodes on campus.”

Up to a dozen students were involved in each of the MTSU sessions, Gordon added.

Isaac Shaw

Isaac Shaw

One of those students, junior EMC major Isaac Shaw of Lebanon, Tennessee, edited the shows with Gordon. In addition to this project and his studies on campus, Shaw runs instant replay for EMC Productions’ MTSU basketball games for ESPN3 and is an editor for the MTV Live series “American Supergroup.”

“Simply put, I was responsible for making sure all of the different video and audio elements came together to form one cohesive story, and I think we have done that,” Shaw said of “The Songwriters.”

CME-logo-web“This project has been a little different than other multicamera-based productions that I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of. The majority of the shoots, whether … doing ESPN sports or in the studio developing shows, have been strictly live. This project has been a much longer process, where the above-the-line team has been refining the story of these episodes to chronicle the history of these songwriters in a short format — giving them a voice, so to speak.”

Songwriters Hall of Fame logo webPat Alger, chairman of the Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame Foundation, said the shows have captured the personalities and the stories behind the music that’s streamed from car radios and stereo speakers for decades.

“Just as these conversations have inspired professional songwriters like me, they will have a tremendous impact on anyone interested in how great songs were written and the people who wrote them,” Alger said. “The show is as entertaining as it is informative. The intimate performances and the witty dialogue will stick with you for a long time.”

Shaw said he’s excited that viewers will now hear and be inspired by the tales he and his fellow students heard during production.

NPT-logo-web“The public will get to hear the stories of not necessarily the stars that perform the songs they know and love, but the creators of music classics that have been loved for many years,” Shaw said.

“People who aren’t songwriters will still get something out of this series, too. Creative types in general will find a gold mine of nuggets of wisdom interlaced with real life stories. One of the main themes in the show is how these songwriters stayed true to themselves and persevered through life.”

Cropper was the guest songwriter for the Jan. 28 premiere episode. The inaugural season’s guests also include:

For more information about the Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, visit www.nashvillesongwritersfoundation.com. For more information about MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment, visit www.mtsu.edu/media. You can learn more about Shaw’s work at his website, www.shaw-studios.com.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

MTSU media students and faculty pose with songwriting great Steve Cropper, center, after taping his episode of the new Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and Nashville Public Television series “The Songwriters.” From left are students Logan Day, Kaelin Michelle Bastin, Stephen Hart, Robert Bagwell and Bria Kilcrease, Cropper, MTSU College of Media and Entertainment Dean Ken Paulson, Department of Electronic Media Communication professor Bob Gordon and students Jared Moore and Ryan Adams. Paulson serves as host for the series, which premieres Jan. 28 on WNPT, and Gordon is director. (Photo submitted)

MTSU media students and faculty pose with songwriting great Steve Cropper, center, after taping his episode of the new Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and Nashville Public Television series “The Songwriters.” From left are students Logan Day, Kaelin Michelle Bastin, Stephen Hart, Robert Bagwell and Bria Kilcrease, Cropper, MTSU College of Media and Entertainment Dean Ken Paulson, Department of Electronic Media Communication professor Bob Gordon and students Jared Moore and Ryan Adams. Paulson serves as host for the series, which premiered Jan. 28 on WNPT, and Gordon is director. (Photo submitted)

MTSU College of Media and Entertainment Dean Ken Paulson, left, listens as songwriting great Steve Cropper starts to play “Dock of the Bay,” one of his hits, on an upcoming episode of the new Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and Nashville Public Television series “The Songwriters,” which premieres Jan. 28 on WNPT. (Photo by Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame/MTSU)

MTSU College of Media and Entertainment Dean Ken Paulson, left, listens as songwriting great Steve Cropper starts to play “Dock of the Bay,” one of his hits, on an upcoming episode of the new Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and Nashville Public Television series “The Songwriters,” which premiered Jan. 28 on WNPT. (Photo by Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame/MTSU)

MTSU professor Bob Gordon, right, of the Department of Electronic Media Communication studies video from the new Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and Nashville Public Television series “The Songwriters” in the control room as an MTSU EMC student works alongside him. The show premieres Jan. 28 on WNPT. (Photo courtesy of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame)

MTSU professor Bob Gordon, right, of the Department of Electronic Media Communication studies video from the new Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and Nashville Public Television series “The Songwriters” in the control room as an MTSU EMC student works alongside him. The show premiered Jan. 28 on WNPT. (Photo courtesy of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame)

MLK 2017 speaker tells MTSU crowd ‘to BUILD a legacy’ [+VIDEO]

In a show of unity to cap a night of celebration, a diverse crowd made up of hundreds of MTSU students along with several members of the faculty, staff and wider community formed a circle around the Student Union Ballroom Monday night, Jan. 16.

Holding their blue-lit candles and silently reflecting on a man whose dream continues to inspire so many, participants in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration and Candlelight Vigil had just enjoyed an evening filled with encouraging words and musical and theatrical tributes to the slain civil rights leader as well as a reminder that they all have a part to play in the march toward equality and justice.

Guest speaker Derrick Hayes of Columbus, Georgia, exhorts the crowd with a “Word of Encouragement” at MTSU’s 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight Vigil and Celebration, held Jan. 16 inside the Student Union. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

Guest speaker Derrick Hayes of Columbus, Georgia, exhorts the crowd with a “Word of Encouragement” at MTSU’s 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight Vigil and Celebration, held Jan. 16 inside the Student Union. (MTSU photos by Eric Sutton)

Derrick Hayes of Columbus, Georgia, a motivational speaker and author of “1 WORD is All It Takes,” delivered the keynote address for this year’s campus observance of the federal holiday, which was sponsored by the Office of Intercultural & Diversity Affairs and the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership and hosted by the Kappa Xi chapter of King’s fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha.

“I’m starting to see things in words that I never saw before,” Hayes said. “Inside of the word ‘life’ is the word ‘if.’

“If you don’t try, who’s to say you will succeed? Because life will take you through something, only to make you do something … Inside the word ‘destiny’ is the word ‘tiny,’ the tiny steps … that lead to the big things.”

Hayes, who developed a scholarship fund at his alma mater Tennessee State University, used the acronym BUILD to urge students to build their own legacies by: Becoming their true selves, including having a written bio; Understanding their uniqueness; Investing in networking; Learning from relationships; and Developing themselves to the fullest.

Wearing a blue T-shirt with the word “W.O.E.” across the front in big white letters, Hayes asked the crowd to follow one instruction: “Before you leave here tonight or before you go to sleep, give someone a WOE. That means give somebody a Word of Encouragement.”

An audience member listens thoughtfully during MTSU’s 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight Vigil and Celebration, held Monday, Jan. 16, inside the Student Union. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

An audience member listens thoughtfully during MTSU’s 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight Vigil and Celebration, held Monday, Jan. 16, inside the Student Union.

Hayes also reminded students how much King valued the power of education to transform lives, an outlook not lost on MTSU alumna De’Janel Henry, emcee of the celebration.

“This institution not only made my reality a dream, but my dream my reality,” said Henry, a member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority who earned her master’s degree in education from MTSU in fall 2015.

While Henry reminded the crowd of the “timeless values” that King exhibited — courage, truth, faith, justice and compassion —Brian Owen, college pastor for New Vision Baptist Church in Murfreesboro and the Point Campus Ministry, led a recitation of MTSU’s True Blue Pledge, which outlines the university’s values, including a commitment to reason, not violence.

Owen also led a prayer in honor of King, a Baptist minister who “had a relentless dedication to seeing all people created in your image being recognized and honored as such. His love of the gospel message drove him to seek the eradication of social injustice. He was compelled to deliver the gospel of freedom beyond his hometown. God, will you please give us this same courage and willingness.”

In between were special presentations by Alpha Phi Alpha and spoken word duo “Soulfool.” MTSU’s Generation of Purpose Gospel Choir sang a stirring a cappella rendition of “What If God Is Unhappy?” while violinist Chandler Custer, an Austin Peay State University student from Chattanooga, Tennessee, and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, played a tribute to King’s wife, Coretta Scott King. Don Aliquo, MTSU professor of saxophone and jazz studies, was joined by MTSU senior student Devante Buford ofAntioch, Tennessee, for a saxophone duet of “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” by jazz great Charles Mingus.

Daniel Green, director of the MTSU Office of Intercultural & Diversity Affairs, also made special presentations to four area middle school students who participated in an MLK oratorical and art contest. The youngsters could submit an original poem, speech, essay or work of art that honored King’s message of nonviolence and service through leadership.

After the students shared their winning entries with the audience, Green presented them with a special medallion and framed certificate. Among the MTSU administrators in attendance were President Sidney A. McPhee; Dr. Deb Sells, vice president for student affairs and vice provost for enrollment and academic services; and Sarah Sudak, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students.

For more information about this year’s event, contact Green at 615-898-5812 or daniel.green@mtsu.edu.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

MTSU students respond to a speaker's remarks at the university's 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight Vigil and Celebration, held Jan. 16 inside the Student Union. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

MTSU students respond to a speaker’s remarks at the university’s 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight Vigil and Celebration, held Jan. 16 inside the Student Union.

Members of the Generation of Purpose Gospel Choir let their voices ring in the Student Union Ballroom Monday, Jan. 16, during MTSU’s 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight Vigil and Celebration. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

Members of the Generation of Purpose Gospel Choir let their voices ring in the Student Union Ballroom Monday, Jan. 16, during MTSU’s 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight Vigil and Celebration.

Chandler Custer of Chattanooga, Tennessee, an Austin Peay State University student and member of event sponsor Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, performs on his violin during MTSU’s 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight Vigil and Celebration, held Monday, Jan. 16, inside the MTSU Student Union. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

Chandler Custer of Chattanooga, Tennessee, an Austin Peay State University student and member of event sponsor Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, performs on his violin during MTSU’s 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight Vigil and Celebration, held Monday, Jan. 16, inside the MTSU Student Union.

MTSU senior music major Devante Buford of Antioch, Tennessee, left, performs jazz legend Charles Mingus’ “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” with MTSU jazz studies professor Don Aliquot, right, Jan. 16 during the university’s 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight Vigil and Celebration inside the Student Union. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

MTSU senior music major Devante Buford of Antioch, Tennessee, left, performs jazz legend Charles Mingus’ “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” with MTSU jazz studies professor Don Aliquo, right, Jan. 16 during the university’s 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight Vigil and Celebration inside the Student Union.

MTSU students, staff and guests line and light the Student Union Ballroom Monday, Jan. 16, during the university’s 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight Vigil and Celebration. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

MTSU students, staff and guests line and light the Student Union Ballroom Monday, Jan. 16, during the university’s 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight Vigil and Celebration.

Insurors of Tennessee group gives $10K to MTSU program

A state insurance advocacy group has given a boost to the insurance program within MTSU’s Jennings A. Jones College of Business.

The Insurors of Tennessee, a professional association of independent insurance agents, has given $10,000 to the Jones College’s Martin Chair of Insurance. The gift was presented during the inaugural Martin Chair Advisory Board meeting in December.

Chuck Bidek, left, CEO of Insurors of Tennessee, presented the MTSU Martin Chair of Insurance with a $10,000 check during the inaugural Martin Chair Advisory Board meeting held at Embassy Suites Murfreesboro in December. Pictured with Bidek, from left to right, are Dave Wood, new holder of the Martin Chair; Christy Reeves, 2016 president of Insurors of Tennessee and area senior vice president and director of client operations with Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.; and Carolyn Tumbleson, development director for the Jennings A. Jones College of Business. Bidek and Reeves are members of the advisory board. (Submitted photo)

Chuck Bidek, left, CEO of Insurors of Tennessee, presented the MTSU Martin Chair of Insurance with a $10,000 check during the inaugural Martin Chair Advisory Board meeting held at Embassy Suites Murfreesboro in December. Pictured with Bidek, from left to right, are Dave Wood, new holder of the Martin Chair; Christy Reeves, 2016 president of Insurors of Tennessee and area senior vice president and director of client operations with Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.; and Carolyn Tumbleson, development director for the Jennings A. Jones College of Business. Bidek and Reeves are members of the advisory board. (Submitted photo)

Professor Dave Wood, the new holder of the Martin Chair of Insurance, said the funds will help further the objective of establishing a nationally recognized risk management and insurance program in the Jones College.

“That may be in the form of scholarships, funding student and faculty travel to workshops, seminars and conventions, instructional materials, students’ pursuit of professional designations, and similar activities,” he said.

Before coming to MTSU in the fall, Wood served as Joseph F. Freeman Distinguished Professor of Risk Management and Insurance at the Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University. He was previously a visiting professor in the Risk Management and Insurance program at the University of Colorado–Denver and has taught international risk management and finance courses in France and Austria.

Dr. David Wood

Dr. David Wood

Wood earned his doctorate in business administration from Louisiana Tech University after earning a master’s from the University of Mississippi and his bachelor’s from Delta State University. Before his career in education, he worked as an independent insurance agent.

Jones College of Business logo-updatedThe advisory board was created “to establish, enhance and reinforce relationships” between the Martin Chair and the insurance community while also helping set and accomplish the chair’s goals and objectives, he said. The board currently has 14 members with a nominating committee that may add additional members.

The board will assist the chair in gaining national and international prominence through members’ actions and expertise, and through the member connections with business, government and community leaders both within and outside Middle Tennessee, Wood added.

The Martin Chair of Insurance was founded by a group of alumni and friends to upgrade and enhance the insurance curriculum at MTSU. It was named in honor of Thomas T. Martin, a Murfreesboro insurance agent and underwriter for almost 60 years.

For more information about the Martin Chair of Insurance within the Department of Economics and Finance, contact Wood at dave.wood@mtsu.edu or visit www.mtsu.edu/martinchair.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

MTSU wins more preservation funds for Trail of Tears work

MTSU’s Center for Historic Preservation is bringing in a new year by documenting key historic properties along the Trail of Tears.

CHP logo webFor the fourth consecutive year, The National Park Service’s National Trails Intermountain Region has awarded a grant to the center for the completion of a number of projects along this historic route.

Between 1830 and 1850, various Native American tribes were removed forcibly from their homes in the Southeast and relocated in the Southwest. Along the way, more than 4,000 of the 15,000 relocated Cherokees died from starvation, disease and exhaustion.

Brown’s Ferry Tavern, located along the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, is one of the sites MTSU’s Center for Historic Preservation has surveyed to help the National Park Service study, restore and preserve the historic buildings. The tavern was built in 1803 in Hamilton County, Tennessee by proprietor John Brown, the son of a white trader and a Native American woman. He was elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation West in 1839. (Photo courtesy of the National Park Service)

Brown’s Ferry Tavern, located along the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, is one of the sites MTSU’s Center for Historic Preservation has surveyed to help the National Park Service study, restore and preserve the historic buildings. The tavern was built in 1803 in Hamilton County, Tennessee by proprietor John Brown, the son of a white trader and a Native American woman. He was elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation West in 1839. (Photo courtesy of the National Park Service)

Cherokees referred to this tragedy as the “trail of tears.” The “Trail of Tears National Historic Trail,” which was authorized by Congress in 1987, covers more than 2,200 miles over nine states.

The $35,000 grant will be used to:

  • prepare a historic structure report for the Newsom-Dunning House on the northern route in Kentucky.
  • prepare a report to document the history and resources of Rockdale Plantation, the home of Cherokee leader George Adair, in Georgia.
  • survey road segments and cultural landscapes related to the Trail of Tears in Alabama and Tennessee.
  • continue maintenance on and development of a public interface of the Trail of Tears Historic Building Survey database.

“We also have the opportunity to take the survey model developed for the Trail of Tears and apply it to historic resources associated with the Santa Fe Trail, starting in Missouri,” said Dr. Carroll Van West, CHP director and Tennessee state historian.

In fact, the first major field work of the year is planned for Jan. 19-24 to document buildings along the Santa Fe Trail.

Dr. Carroll Van West

Dr. Carroll Van West

Dr. Amy Kostine

Dr. Amy Kostine

“Throughout the year, we will also be out in the field in Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee working on other projects,” said Amy Kostine, Trail of Tears project coordinator and historian for the CHP.

Trail of Tears NPS sign webKostine said the group will draft two National Register of Historic Places nominations for segments of the national trail in Kentucky and Tennessee and create a preservation plan for the James Brown Cherokee Plantation in Tennessee, a certified site on the national trail.

“Our graduate research assistants will join staff members on field visits to sites,” said Kostine. “Students will gain essential experience in their field of study and learn to work successfully with property owners and local communities, all while strengthening their resumes by working on these projects.”

For more information, contact Kostine at amy.kostine@mtsu.edu or the Center for Historic Preservation at 615-898-2947 or www.mtsuhistpres.org.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Grammy-winner Mattea gives guest lecture on music history [+VIDEO]

MTSU student and aspiring country music artist Hunter Wolkonowski of Winchester, Tennessee, knew that singer-songwriter Kathy Mattea was coming to give a guest lecture earlier this semester. But the real thing — which even included a few songs by the Grammy-winning country music artist — was still surreal.

“I’ve been a fan of country music since I was a young girl, and I’d come in the house and I’d hear my Nana playing records on the record machine, and she’d play Kathy Mattea,” said Wolkonowski, who’s majoring in recording industry management in the College of Media and Entertainment.

Grammy-winning country music artist Kathy Mattea makes a point during her guest lecture to MTSU professor Kris McCusker’s “American Music in the Modern Age” class inside Peck Hall in late November. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Grammy-winning country music artist Kathy Mattea makes a point during her guest lecture to MTSU professor Kris McCusker’s “American Music in the Modern Age” class inside Peck Hall in late November. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

“I’ve always looked up to (Mattea), so when I walked in, I couldn’t believe it was her. She was super nice, super grounded … I guess she is something I’d want to be when I grow up, because I’m wanting to be in country music.”

Wolkonowski was among the 20 or so students in MTSU professor Kris McCusker’s popular music studies class, “American Music in the Modern Age,” who were treated to more than an hour of insights and wisdom from the Nashville singer-songwriter earlier this semester.

McCusker, a professionally trained ethnomusicologist and historian, said her MTSU Department of History course looks at how historical events have shaped music, such as producing certain kinds of “sounds” and/or musicians.

“What we do is see the ways that history produces music, how music is the outcome of political, cultural and social changes at various points in the past,” she said.

Mattea’s visit stemmed from an interview she did with a graduate student last spring. McCusker assisted the student with the phone interview, which was done from MTSU’s Center for Popular Music in the Bragg Media and Entertainment Building, and an invitation was extended, which Mattea graciously accepted.

Dr. Greg Reish, director of the Center for Popular Music, assisted McCusker with the logistics to bring Mattea to campus.

“She’s a real educator at heart,” said McCusker, who noted that her class was studying music the 1980s and 90s, a period when Mattea was hitting it big on the country music charts. Mattea rose to prominence in the 1980s with hits such as “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses,” “Goin’ Gone” and “Love at the Five and Dime.”

Mattea’s been nominated for multiple Grammys and other industry awards. She won the 1991 best country vocal performance Grammy for her classic “Where’ve You Been” and the 1994
best Southern, country or bluegrass gospel album for “Good News,” which includes the Christmas standard “Mary Did You Know?”

Here’s a short video of McCusker discussing the visit and a few clips of Mattea performing “Seeds” for the class:

Mattea shared with students how she got started in her music career and also discussed her social activism around issues such as HIV/AIDS and the environment. Mattea’s AIDS activism was sparked by friends who died from AIDS, but “nobody was talking about it,” McCusker said.

A native of West Virginia coal country, Mattea would later turn her attention to the environment.

Grammy-winning country music artist Kathy Mattea, top right, gives a guest lecture to MTSU professor Kris McCusker’s “American Music in the Modern Age” class inside Peck Hall in late November. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Grammy-winning country music artist Kathy Mattea, top right, gives a guest lecture to MTSU professor Kris McCusker’s “American Music in the Modern Age” class inside Peck Hall in late November. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Using McCusker’s class guitar, Mattea even performed a few songs, including Pat Alger and Ralph Murphy’s “Seeds,” which includes this verse:

“In the end, we’re all just seeds in God’s hands, we start the same, but where we land, it’s sometimes fertile soil, it’s sometimes sand, we’re all just seeds in God’s hands.”

In the wake of a bitterly divisive presidential election, Mattea discussed with students “the beginnings of the ways she started seeing music differently, from simply being an entertainment medium, to a medium that builds relationships among people, that crosses political barriers around certain environmental and social issues,” McCusker said.

Wolkonowski, who performs under the name “Hunter Girl a few times each week at various venues in Nashville, said she was inspired by Mattea’s socially conscious perspective.

“I really liked how she had the ability to write songs that pertain to what’s going on in the world right now,” she said.

“All of her songs have a story … she really puts social and economic things that are going on in our life today and puts them into words for people who can’t really speak up about things.”

McCusker said Mattea plans to return to MTSU in the spring to work with Reish in the Center for Popular Music.

For more information about the MTSU Department of History, visit www.mtsu.edu/history.

For more information about the Center for Popular Music, visit www.mtsu.edu/popmusic.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Grammy-winning country music artist Kathy Mattea, center, is pictured with MTSU professor Kris McCusker (kneeling at right of Mattea) and students in McCusker’s “American Music in the Modern Age” class inside Peck Hall. Mattea gave a guest lecture to the class in late November. (Photo courtesy of Kris McCusker)

Grammy-winning country music artist Kathy Mattea, center, is pictured with MTSU professor Kris McCusker (kneeling at right of Mattea) and students in McCusker’s “American Music in the Modern Age” class inside Peck Hall. Mattea gave a guest lecture to the class in late November. (Photo courtesy of Kris McCusker)

Grammy-winning country music artist Kathy Mattea, right, takes a photo with MTSU students Hunter Wolkonowski, left, and Terri Harris following Mattea’s guest lecture to a music history class in late November. (Photo courtesy of Kris McCusker)

Grammy-winning country music artist Kathy Mattea, right, takes a photo with MTSU students Hunter Wolkonowski, left, and Terri Harris following Mattea’s guest lecture to a music history class in late November. (Photo courtesy of Kris McCusker)

Retirement ends Ricketts’ alternative fuels era at MTSU

The Cliff Ricketts era of alternative fuels research at MTSU ended recently with one final attempt to successfully drive U.S. 231 in Tennessee between the Kentucky and Alabama state lines using a wood gasification process.

Recently retired after a 40-year career as an MTSU School of Agribusiness and Agriscience professor and agriculture education teacher, Ricketts completed the approximately 131-mile trip Dec. 13 from near Scottsville, Kentucky, to near Hazel Green, Alabama.

Recently retired professor and alternative fuels researcher Cliff Ricketts takes a break from his recent research drive using a combination of a wood gasification unit and gasoline. (Submitted photo)

Recently retired professor and alternative fuels researcher Cliff Ricketts takes a break from his recent research drive using a combination of a wood gasification unit and gasoline. (Submitted photos)

However, he and his team — which included MTSU senior Colton Huckabee of Columbia, Tennessee — needed to use part wood and part gasoline to make it work.

Ricketts, 68, has crisscrossed the U.S. for five decades, researching ways to use fuel other than gas to make vehicles go. His alternative methods have included waste animal (chicken) fat or “southern fried fuel” as it was called; hydrogen from water separated by the sun (solar); corn, methane from cow manure, soybean oil and others.

“This is part of the research process and we ran out of time before we could make it (wood gasification) work,” said Ricketts, who overcame a number of failed attempts in the past. “We did our research on wood gasification. The attempt did not meet our expectations. It didn’t work as well as we had hoped. I know we could have made it work if we had had more time.”

Ricketts said his biggest accomplishment was “coming up with the process to make America energy independent in a time of a national crisis.” He added that his primary duty, teaching agriculture students to educate others, impacted “350 to 400 certified teachers, so my work will end up affecting thousands of lives.”

MTSU will replace Ricketts by fall of 2017, but he does not anticipate any colleague or a new hire to follow his path with alternative fuels.

“It was something I invented — a side passion,” he said. “There is little or none (alternative fuel research) in agriculture. It’s in engineering.”

Ricketts, who will oversee his 200-acre farm in Wilson County, added he anticipates being invited to speak on the subject of alternative fuels if gas prices reach $5.

In addition to Huckabee, Ricketts’ team included MTSU alumnus Terry Young of Woodbury, Tennessee, and Mike Sims of Michigan.

Ricketts earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and a doctorate from Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

He has earned numerous MTSU and other accolades including the Career Achievement Award and a Silver Column Award presented by university President Sidney A. McPhee.

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

Cliff Ricketts drives through Murfreesboro during his research with wood gasification. He wound up using a combination of wood and gas.

Cliff Ricketts drives through Murfreesboro during his research with wood gasification. He wound up using a combination of wood and gas.

MTSU senior Colton Huckabee, front, observes as Terry Young makes adjustments to the wood gasification unit during the 131-mile research run made by retiring professor Cliff Ricketts.

MTSU senior Colton Huckabee, front, observes as Terry Young makes adjustments to the wood gasification unit during the 131-mile research run made by retiring professor Cliff Ricketts.

Shown with the wood gasification unit used in the research project, Cliff Ricketts, left, stands with crew members Terry Young, MTSU senior Colton Huckabee and Mike Sims. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

Shown with the wood gasification unit used in the research project, Cliff Ricketts, left, stands with crew members Terry Young, MTSU senior Colton Huckabee and Mike Sims. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

 

 

 

 

MTSU enhances security with active shooter guides, more cameras

Middle Tennessee State University has created and distributed an active shooter guide as well as increasing video surveillance and planning to reintroduce emergency call stations to the campus.

With the recent Ohio State University attack as the latest example of the security concerns facing campuses throughout the nation, MTSU’s Division of Student Affairs and University Police Department have been working throughout the semester to update emergency response information located on the university’s “Alert4U” page at http://mtsu.edu/alert4u and share more specific guidelines for active shooter responses.

Chief Buddy Peaster

Chief Buddy Peaster

Dr. Debra Sells

Dr. Debra Sells

Recently ranked among the Top 50 safest large universities in the nation by the website collegechoice.net, MTSU has developed pocket-sized active shooter cards that summarize the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s “Run-Hide-Fight” guidelines that have been increasingly embraced by universities around the country, including Ohio State.

MTSU Alert graphic“It helps us provide some really important information to people before an incident so that hopefully in the throes of something serious happening, they will think about what they’ve (seen) and they will have foundational knowledge to make good decisions and keep them safer,” University Police Chief Buddy Peaster said in announcing the effort Dec. 1.

The active shooter cards provide brief summaries of basic steps to take under each phase of the “Run-Hide-Fight” protocol, such as having an escape route in mind when preparing to “run,” blocking entry and locking doors when you “hide” and only “fight” as a last resort and when your life is imminent danger.

Dr. Deb Sells, vice president for student affairs and vice provost for enrollment and academic services, said the cards will be available while supplies last at key locations around campus such as the MT One Stop, Student Union, University Police Department and others for students, faculty and staff. The guidelines and an instructional video are also always available on the university’s website at www.mtsu.edu/alert4u/active-shooter.php.

You can view the video below:

“We want to direct students to the cards that they can carry as a reminder, but more importantly to the website where they can view the videos and read (the guidelines) in more detail,” said Sells, noting that such guidelines are not only applicable for college campuses, but for many other public spaces such as malls and other venues.

Starting next year, the cards will be given to all new freshmen during the CUSTOMS student orientation sessions held in summer before the start of classes. All new students are required to attend a CUSTOMS session.

This photo shows the front and back of the MTSU active shooter guide. The pocket-sized guide contains general guidelines for what to do in the event of a shooting incident. The guides are now available at various campus locations and will be distributed to all incoming freshmen students. (MTSU photo)

This photo shows the front and back of the MTSU active shooter guide. The pocket-sized guide contains general guidelines for what to do in the event of a shooting incident. The guides are now available at various campus locations and will be distributed to all incoming freshmen students. (MTSU photo)

At MTSU, alerts for an active shooter situation and other emergencies are sent via the university’s Critical Notification System, which is operated by Rave Mobile Safety and has almost 27,000 registered users. Emergency messages are distributed via texts, emails and phone calls as well as posted to the university’s website and social media accounts.

While students, faculty and staff are automatically registered to receive Rave email alerts, only those who’ve added phone numbers to their notification preferences will also receive a text message and/or recorded phone call. All current MTSU students, faculty and staff can verify and update their Rave notification preferences by using their PipelineMT usernames and passwords at www.getrave.com/login/mtsu.

The campus community can also download the Rave Guardian app on their smartphones. The app includes a panic button feature that connects directly to police as well as a timer feature that allows users to designate police and/or family and friends as “guardians” who can remotely check on their status if traveling alone.

Full details are available at www.mtsu.edu/alert4u/guardian.php.

Sells said the university will continue to reminds students, particularly incoming freshmen, that life on a college campus is much different than high school. That means, among other things, that students should take time to familiarize themselves with emergency protocols found on the university’s website and check their Rave registrations and preferences to ensure they receive emergency messages quickly.

Increased video surveillance

Meanwhile, the University Police Department has partnered with the university’s Information Technology Division, Campus Planning and the Facilities Services Department to expand video surveillance throughout campus to assist police investigations.

So far primarily involving exterior cameras, the multi-year project represents a $1.1 million investment that will allow police to better investigate incidents captured on video as well as better respond to situations in real time.

“We tried to focus on areas where we’ve had serious incidents before or where our statistical information has shown we’ve had a number of incidents,” Peaster said, noting that exterior cameras will soon be installed around Murphy Center, Floyd Stadium and Womack Lane Apartments.

MTSU Police Lt. Kim Rednour, seated, explains the features of the university’s upgraded video surveillance system Thursday, Dec. 1, at the campus police department’s precinct inside the Miller Education Center on Bell Street. From top left are Andrew Oppmann, MTSU vice president of marketing and communications, University Police Chief Buddy Peaster and Bruce Petryshak, vice president for information technology. (MTSU photo by Kimi Conro)

MTSU Police Lt. Kim Rednour, seated, explains the features of the university’s upgraded video surveillance system Thursday, Dec. 1, at the campus police department’s precinct inside the Miller Education Center on Bell Street. From top left are Andrew Oppmann, MTSU vice president of marketing and communications, University Police Chief Buddy Peaster and Bruce Petryshak, vice president for information technology. (MTSU photo by Kimi Conro)

Tom Wallace, associate vice president for information technology, has overseen the camera project, which has already resulted in close to 400 camera installations around campus.

The next phase will add up to 100 exterior additional cameras, he said. Interior cameras are also planned for certain locations, such as the Science Building.

“This is just an extension of enhancing the security on campus,” said Bruce Petryshak, vice president for information technology and chief information officer at MTSU. His Information Technology Division manages the centralized surveillance system, which is accessible anytime by authorized University Police personnel. The long-term plan is to have all campus entrances and exits covered.

Bruce Petryshak

Bruce Petryshak

Installing emergency call stations will be an additional security measure, Petryshak said. Mounted on clearly marked poles, the call stations will not only allow people to make emergency calls directly to police, they will also have multiple cameras attached as well as speaker capabilities for emergency announcements.

The first such station will be installed at a bus stop near Womack Lane, with plans to install several other stations throughout campus.

The University Police Department is an independent law enforcement agency recognized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the state of Tennessee. The department currently consists of 44 commissioned police officers, six full-time dispatchers, approximately 25 part-time student workers, plus full-time administrative staff. MTSU’s police department operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is located at 1412 E. Main St.

Members of Raider Patrol, which is made up of part-time, student employees, provide safety escorts and check and secure doors and windows of university buildings. They also assist and support police personnel with parking for events and other special assignments as needed.

For more information, visit http://mtsu.edu/police. MTSU Police can be reached at 615-898-2424.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Security cameras such as this one mounted on MTSU’s Walker Library are among those that have been installed around campus to enhance security. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

Security cameras, such as this one mounted on MTSU’s Walker Library, are among those that have been installed around campus to enhance security. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

MTSU Secret Santas and real Santa support 43 ‘Little Raiders’

MTSU again spread holiday cheer to local families recently at its annual Little Raiders Christmas Party.

With the help of Santa (aka Rich Kershaw, director of MTSU Student Programming), the University supplied gifts to 43 “Little Raiders” and a great night of fun and fellowship for their families, which included MTSU students and some local residents who are being assisted by the local Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program.

This year, the University Police Department, MTSU Campus Recreation Center, MTSU Student Health Services, the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students, the Golden Key Honor Society, and MT Lambda jointly sponsored the campaign.

Members of the campus community adopted a Little Raider by picking a numbered paper ornament hanging on three Christmas trees across campus. The ornaments listed a needy child’s age, gender, clothing size and wish list.

Santa Claus (aka Rich Kershaw, director of MTSU Student Programming) presents gifts to an excited Little Raider at this year’s annual Christmas Party. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Santa Claus (aka Rich Kershaw, director of MTSU Student Programming) presents gifts to an excited Little Raider at this year’s annual Christmas Party. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Dressed as one of Santa’s elves, MTSU Police Officer Sarah Blair, left, helps Old Saint Nick (aka Rich Kershaw of MTSU Student Programming) distribute gifts to one of the 43 children at the recent Little Raiders Christmas Party. (MTSU photos by Jimmy Hart)

Dressed as one of Santa’s elves, MTSU Police Officer Sarah Blair, left, helps Old Saint Nick (aka Rich Kershaw of MTSU Student Programming) distribute gifts to one of the 43 children at the recent Little Raiders Christmas Party. (MTSU photos by Jimmy Hart)

An MTSU Little Raider takes his gifts from Santa at the recent Christmas celebration for the annual gift-giving campaign. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

An MTSU Little Raider takes his gifts from Santa at the recent Christmas celebration for the annual gift-giving campaign. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

An elated MTSU Little Raider admires her doll from Santa at the recent Christmas celebration for the annual gift-giving campaign. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

An elated MTSU Little Raider admires her doll from Santa at the recent Christmas celebration for the annual gift-giving campaign. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Santa Claus (aka Rich Kershaw, director of MTSU Student Programming) makes his entrance at this year’s annual Little Raiders Christmas Party. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Santa Claus (aka Rich Kershaw, director of MTSU Student Programming) makes his entrance at this year’s annual Little Raiders Christmas Party. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

 


MTSU again seeks Secret Santas for ‘Little Raiders’ gift-giving drive

Nov. 16, 2016

Middle Tennessee State University is again calling out to all True Blue Secret Santas for this year’s Little Raiders gift-giving campaign.

A group of Little Raiders pose for a photo during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party held Dec. 11 at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

In this 2015 file photo, a group of Little Raiders pose for a photo during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program. (MTSU file photo by Jimmy Hart)

The annual event seeks to bring some holiday cheer to needy children and youth in the Blue Raider community.

Until Dec. 2, members of the campus community can “adopt” a Little Raider by picking a numbered paper ornament hanging on three Christmas trees across campus. The ornaments will list a needy child’s age, gender, clothing size and wish list.

This year, the University Police Department, MTSU Campus Recreation Center, MTSU Student Health Services, the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students, the Golden Key Honor Society, and MT Lambda are jointly sponsoring the campaign.

The effort targets the children of low-income MTSU students as well as the children of parents receiving assistance from the local Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program.

This Little Raiders ornament is among those hanging on three trees across campus supporting the Little Raiders gift-giving campaign. Secret Santas can pick an ornament to "adopt" a local child's Christmas wish list. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

These Little Raiders paper ornaments are available on three trees across campus. (MTSU file photo)

Secret Santa participants are asked to pick an ornament from a tree at one of the following three locations and to please register as a Secret Santa at that location.

  • MTSU University Police Department Lobby, 1412 E. Main St.
  • June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students on the third floor of the Student Union, 1768 MTSU Blvd.
  • MTSU Student Health Services lobby, 1848 Blue Raider Drive

Donated items should be dropped off to the University Police Department no later than Monday, Dec. 5.

For more information about the campaign, contact University Police Sgt. Vergena Forbes at 615 898-2424.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

In this 2015 file photo, plenty of gifts and stockings awaited eager "Little Raiders" during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program. (MTSU file photo by Jimmy Hart)

In this 2015 file photo, plenty of gifts and stockings awaited eager “Little Raiders” during the annual Little Raiders Christmas Party at MTSU. The event benefits area families needing a helping hand at Christmas, including families from the local domestic violence program. (MTSU file photo by Jimmy Hart)

MTSU ranked among top schools nationally for entrepreneurship offerings

Middle Tennessee State University is ranked among the nation’s top 50 schools for its support of aspiring entrepreneurs, according to a new report released by LendEDU, an online marketplace for student loans and student loan refinance.

lendedu-best-undergrad-entre-graphic

Click the image to see the complete rankings.

MTSU is ranked No. 17 in the “Top Colleges for Aspiring Entrepreneurs Report” by LendEDU.com, which crafted its rankings by looking at more than 100 colleges offering entrepreneurship courses and programs to undergraduates.

Joined by Belmont University (No. 30) as the only Tennessee universities on the list, MTSU also outranked schools such as Penn State, Duke, USC, Ohio State and Johns Hopkins.

Dr. David Urban

Dr. David Urban

To determine the rankings, colleges were assigned an overall score based on the number of entrepreneurship courses offered, average tuition and fees, and entrepreneurship resources available at the institutions. The complete ranking can be found here.

“This recognition is additional evidence of the excellent regional and national reputation that the Jones College continues to build,” said David Urban, dean of the Jennings A. Jones College of Business at MTSU. “Through the hard work of faculty, staff and students, Jones College programs are rightfully being recognized as among the very best, anywhere. Prospective students who want a world-class business education need look no farther than MTSU.”

Dr. Bill McDowell

Dr. Bill McDowell

The website noted MTSU’s 13 entrepreneurship course offerings, its entrepreneurship internship program, as well as its ongoing annual Business Plan Competition and support by the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, which is headquartered at MTSU.

Urban praised the work of entrepreneurship faculty, including Bill McDowell, Pat Geho, Ralph Williams, John Mullane, Josh Aaron and Kristen Shanine.

“We have invested a great deal of time and effort into developing our entrepreneurial program, and I believe that this ranking will help us as we strive to grow the reach and impact of the entrepreneurial culture on campus and in the community,” said McDowell, who holds the Pam Wright Chair of Entrepreneurship.Jones College of Business logo-updated

Launched by McDowell in 2014, the Business Plan Competition allows aspiring entrepreneurs from across the university as well as alumni to develop formal business plans and receive coaching on how to bring their innovative ideas to market. The competition contains a screening round, followed by a trade show/elevator pitch round, and ending with a final presentation round where top winners earn cash prizes to put toward their startups.

“Entrepreneurs are vital to the success of our country. They have the capability to alter the way we live and work. It is clear that Middle Tennessee State University has created an environment for future entrepreneurs to flourish,” said Nate Matherson, co-founder and CEO of LendEDU.com.

For more information about MTSU’s entrepreneurship program, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/programs/entrepreneurship/.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

In this April 2016 file photo, MTSU student Chris Crockett, founder of the roadside service app Hükd, begins his presentation before a panel of judges at the Jennings A. Jones College of Business’ 2016 Business Plan Competition Finals held inside the Student Union Ballroom. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

In this April 2016 file photo, MTSU student Chris Crockett, founder of the roadside service app Hükd, begins his presentation before a panel of judges at the Jennings A. Jones College of Business’ 2016 Business Plan Competition Finals held inside the Student Union Ballroom. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

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