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Music-led enhanced campus tour awaits MTSU visitors [+VIDEO]

Prospective Middle Tennessee State University students and their families will enjoy an enhanced campus tour experience — featuring live acoustic music by current students — following upgrades unveiled this week for weekday campus visits.

The upgrades — live music, a walk through MTSU history, a “selfie spot,” a new video in cinemascope and surround sound featuring current students and “True Blue Bag Campaign” — are just part of the heightened tour experience that includes a recording by the Band of Blue performing the MTSU fight song.

Excluding holidays, MTSU conducts daily campus tours, at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. during the fall and spring semesters and once a day during the summer starting at the Student Services and Admissions Center, 1860 Blue Raider Drive.

For more on the guided campus tours, visit www.mtsu.edu/schedule-a-visit/daily-campus-visits.php.

University President Sidney A. McPhee said he knows prospective students feel welcome when they visit.

“In an effort to expand this sense of belonging, the admissions department launched the True Blue Bag Campaign,” said McPhee, noting that every visitor will receive a distinctive blue bag when she or he checks in for a tour. It will contain an MTSU Viewbook, Visitors Guide and information for parents.

“With these bags, our campus visitors will be very visible, not only in tour groups but also as they explore campus on their own,” he added.

As MTSU visitors await the start of the campus tour, musicians Kenny Arnold, left, and Cooper Gilliam entertain from the stage. Gilliam is a freshman from Martin, Tenn., while Arnold is a sophomore from Baltimore, Md. Both are commercial songwriting majors. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

As MTSU visitors await the start of the campus tour, musicians Kenny Arnold, left, and Cooper Gilliam entertain from the stage. Gilliam is a freshman from Martin, Tenn., while Arnold is a sophomore from Baltimore, Md. Both are commercial songwriting majors. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

In anticipation of more visitors, MTSU officials put plans in motion for the additional amenities on the first floor of the admissions tour area. The second floor houses the MT One Stop, which provides an array of services in financial aid, course registration, tuition and billing and transcripts.

“This revamped tour offers prospective students an opportunity to become immersed into the environment and culture of MTSU,” said Nathan Haynes, associate director of marketing and technical support for undergraduate recruitment.

“We have taken advantage of the architectural and technological assets of the student services facility and utilized them to their fullest extent to create an innovative and unique experience that also includes a chance to see our on-campus housing,” Haynes added.

Linda Olsen, director of undergraduate recruitment, said the campus tour is “one of the key steps in the decision-making process for prospective students.”

“We have dedicated many resources to assure our tour stands out as students explore their university options,” Olsen added.

True Blue Bags will be available to all visitors on weekday campus tours.

True Blue Bags will be available to all visitors on weekday campus tours.

Rob Janson, strategic communications manager in the Office of Marketing and Communications, suggested and developed the idea to add acoustic music, featuring students from the university’s popular Commercial Songwriting program within the internationally recognized Department of Recording Industry.

Five MTSU songwriting students have been hired to perform original songs, giving them exposure and experience, 45 minutes before each tour begins.

“The revamped MTSU tour experience is really designed to be just that: an experience,” Janson said. “We’ve essentially taken what was a fairly standard presentation and infused it with MTSU-centric programming that quickly immerses prospective students and their families in the True Blue culture.

“We believe the music is the first of its kind on a college campus,” added Janson, referring to the first-floor stage in the visitor’s lobby area.

Students can meet with their admissions counselors following the tour, Haynes said.

Donna Baker, archivist with the Albert Gore Research Center, developed the plan for the history walk through and contributed Gore Center memorabilia. Copies of MTSU Magazine and MTSU Visitors Guide are available for guests.

For questions about events and tours, email tours@mtsu.edu or call 615-898-5670.

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

Pieces of history from the Gore Research Center greet visitors as they walk through to enter the 75-seat tour room in the Student Services and Admissions Center. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

Pieces of history from the Gore Research Center greet visitors as they walk through to enter the 75-seat tour room in the Student Services and Admissions Center. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

Nearly 40 MTSU visitors watch a new 20-minute video featuring a number of university students sharing the campus story for prospective students and their families Feb. 24 in the Student Services and Admissions Center.

Nearly 40 MTSU visitors watch a new 20-minute video featuring a number of university students sharing the campus story for prospective students and their families Feb. 24 in the Student Services and Admissions Center.

Former reps bring bipartisan ‘Congress to Campus’ Feb. 27-28

As conflicts in Congress mirror divisions in the country at large, two former members of the U.S. House of Representatives will share their perspectives on the inner workings of Washington with MTSU students Feb. 27 and 28.

Republican Ronald A. Sarasin, a former congressman from Connecticut, and Democrat Glenn Nye, a former congressman from Virginia, will bring “Congress to Campus” Monday, Feb. 27, and Tuesday, March 28.

Ronald A. Sarasin

Ronald A. Sarasin

Glenn Nye

Glenn Nye

The “Congress to Campus” program, a creation of the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress, enlists ex-congress members to donate their time to help improve civic literacy and participation via candid conversations with college students.

“The Congress to Campus program’s message of bipartisanship has never been more important,” said Kent Syler, an assistant professor of political science at MTSU.

“At a time when American politics is so polarized, it’s good to be able to show students that Democrats and Republicans can work together.”

While at MTSU, Sarasin and Nye will address students in classes such as “American Public Policy,” “American Government and Politics,” “Public History,” “Tennessee History,” and “United States History.”

Sarasin is president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society, a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational resource chartered by Congress. He served voters in Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District from 1973 to 1979.

“It’s a lot more partisan and divided than when I served there,” Sarasin said of the current Congress, adding that strong conservative Democrats from the South and moderate-to-liberal Republicans from the Northeast balanced each other out and often found common ground during his tenure in the House.

Nye is a director at Datacoup, a personal data marketplace company, and an adviser at FiscalNote, a technology company that builds government relations management software. He served Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District from 2009 to 2011.

Gore Center logo“Part of our goal is to dispel misconceptions and clarify for the audience how things work in real practice,” said Nye.

He said the two key drivers of the sharp partisanship in American politics are gerrymandering, which he said enables politicians to pick the voters instead of voters selecting politicians, and changes in the way the public obtains news.

The “Congress to Campus” activities are sponsored by MTSU’s Albert Gore Research Center, the Department of Political Science and International Relations, the American Democracy Project for Civic Learning and the College of Liberal Arts.

For more information, contact Syler at 615-898-5708 or kent.syler@mtsu.edu or Louis Kyriakoudes, director of the Albert Gore Research Center, at 615-898-2632 or louis.kyriakoudes@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

MTSU partners with Stones River Battlefield for veterans’ stories

Join MTSU in paying tribute to our nation’s veterans by listening to them tell about their personal military experiences on the day after Veterans Day.

“They Fought for Us: Stories of Service” is slated for 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at Stones River National Battlefield, 3501 Old Nashville Highway in Murfreesboro.

The main entrance to the park is at 1563 N. Thompson Lane. The event is free and open to the public.

Staff and students of MTSU’s Albert Gore Research Center will enable the public to hear the oral histories they have recorded for the center’s Veterans History Project. Interested veterans may add their individual histories to the collection at the ceremony.

Louis Kyriakoudes

Louis Kyriakoudes

“Tennesseans have a long and distinguished history of serving in our nation’s military,” said center director Louis Kyriakoudes. “Veterans Day is an opportunity for all of us to remember and honor that service.”

Area vets will bring their sacrifices to life with uniforms, equipment, photographs and other items, and veteran Ernest Newsome will provide musical performances. A member of the 13th United States Colored Infantry living history unit will illuminate the contributions of black soldiers during the Civil War.

MT Veterans Salute logoMembers of MTSU’s Writers Corps will share their original creative writing. The Writers Corps is an informal group of student veterans who express themselves through both poetry and prose and publish an annual literary journal, “DMZ.”

“They Fought for Us: Stories of Service” is being presented by MTSU, the National Park Service, the African-American Heritage Society of Rutherford County and the Friends of Stones River National Battlefield.

For more information, contact the Albert Gore Research Center at 615-898-2632 or the Stones River National Battlefield at 615-893-9501. To listen to the Veterans History Project oral histories, go to https://soundcloud.com/albertgoreresearchcenter.

— Gina Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

‘MTSU On the Record’ guest denounces tobacco suit ‘malpractice’

An historian who takes members of his own discipline to task for “historical malpractice” was the guest on a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Louis Kyriakoudes

Louis Kyriakoudes

Host Gina Logue’s interview with historian Louis Kyriakoudes first aired Aug. 22 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their conversation below.

Kyriakoudes, the director of the Albert Gore Research Center, also is an expert in the history of the cigarette industry worldwide. He is one of only a handful of historians who have been called to testify on behalf of plaintiffs who sued the tobacco industry over the impact the product has on their health.

Using the industry’s own documents, Kyriakoudes has shown that tobacco manufacturers knew their product was addictive and hazardous to human health decades before the 1964 U.S. Surgeon General’s report that drew a direct connection between smoking and cancer.

Condemning what he calls “historical malpractice,” Kyriakoudes asserted that law firms representing the industry have practically told historians testifying for the industry what sort of evidence to provide for the trials.

“The tobacco industry’s efforts to buy expertise and to create a body of knowledge is a form of scientific denialism not unlike the climate change science denialism,” said Kyriakoudes, “but, because it deals with these legal issues of informed assumption of the risk, of knowledge, what people knew and when they knew it, it has a significant public policy and legal impact.”

This fall, Kyriakoudes will teach a class examining the history of the cigarette industry from pre-colonial times to the present day.

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

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

Political Jingles

Producer/Writer/Announcer: Gina Logue

Can you sing your way into elective office? There was a time when candidates thought it was possible, and two MTSU centers of excellence are taking “note” of it.

Listen to: Political Jingles

(Update from Nov. 2012)

WGNS spotlights Gore Center, Walker Library, alumni activities

Jim Havron, Albert Gore Research Center oral history coordinator and archivist, is part of the June 16 WGNS “Action Line” program, where he discussed the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

MTSU faculty and staff again shared their expertise with listeners of WGNS Radio during the June 16 “Action Line” program with veteran host Bart Walker.

The live program was broadcast on FM 100.5, 101.9 and AM 1450 from the WGNS studio in downtown Murfreesboro. Don’t worry if you missed it; you can listen to a podcast of the show here.

Guests included:

• Jim Havron, oral history coordinator and archivist at the Albert Gore Research Center at MTSU, who discussed the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. The Albert Gore Center is asking the public to help continue honoring the military veterans still with us.The center is an official partner in the Library of Congress Veterans History Project and wants to continue adding veterans’ stories to its extensive archives.

For more information, visit http://gorecenter.mtsu.edu/AdoptVeteran.pdf.

Veterans and those who know a veteran who would like to be interviewed should contact Havron at Jim.Havron@mtsu.edu.

• Dr. Alan Boehm, director of special collections for the James E. Walker Library,who discussed the library’s special exhibit, “The American Body: Medicine, Malady, and Morality in 19th Century Print.” It will be on display from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday through the summer and into early fall.

Dr. Alan Boehm, director of the special collections for the James E. Walker Library, is a part of the June 16 WGNS “Action Line” interview, discussing the library’s special exhibit, “The American Body: Medicine, Malady, and Morality in 19th Century Print.”

The books on display range from those that espouse the philosophy of New Hampshire farmer Samuel Thompson, who advocated using herbs to promote healing, to eclectic medicine, a practice combining herbs with professional training and a rudimentary knowledge of anatomy and physiology.

Catherine Beecher, the sister of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” author Harriet Beecher Stowe, has two books included in the MTSU exhibit. You can read the full story at http://mtsunews.com/walker-library-american-body-exhibit.

• Rhonda King, assistant director, MTSU Alumni Relations, who discussed the remaining MTSU Alumni Summer of Fun and other activities, including the Wednesday through Friday, June 25-27, Alumni Summer College and Saturday, Oct. 18, Homecoming 2014.

Rhonda King, MTSU Alumni Relations assistant director, talks about Summer of Fun activities, Alumni Summer College and Homecoming 2014 during the June 16 WGNS “Action Line” show.

Activities also include the Friday, July 11, Alumni and Friends Night with the Jackson Generals at The Ballpark at Jackson just off Interstate 40 in Jackson, Tennessee; the Friday, July 25, MTSU Alumni and Friends Day at Nashville Shores in Hermitage, Tennessee; and the July 1-31 MTSU Alumni and Friends Month at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

You can get more details about Alumni Summer of Fun events here.

Alumni Summer College is an opportunity for alumni and friends to return to campus and become reacquainted with the university and each other through a series of interesting classes and fun tours.

The theme for the seventh annual Alumni Summer College is “A Time that Changed Everything: Stories from the American Civil War.” This year’s event will feature a variety of Civil War-related lectures as well as visits to local sites such as Stones River National Battlefield, the Oaklands Historic House Museum, Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville and others. You can get more details here.

MTSU students, alumni and friends of the university also will be preparing for the mid-October homecoming events, which will bring thousands of alumni from across the country to reconnect with their True Blue roots. The Golden Raiders class of 1964 will be featured; additional details will be announced later.

Call 615-898-2922 or visit http://mtalumni.com for information about alumni events.

— Jimmy Hart (Jimmy.Hart@mtsu.edu)

‘Adopt’ a veteran, support Veterans History Project at MTSU

The Albert Gore Research Center at MTSU is asking the public to help honor the nation’s military veterans by continuing to add those veterans’ stories to its extensive archives.

Dr. Jim Williams

Dr. Jim Williams

The Gore Research Center is an official partner in the Library of Congress Veterans History Project, which collects, preserves and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.

Gore Center logo“The Veterans History Project is a public service as part of the mission of the Gore Research Center, but we depend on donations from the public to keep the project going,” said Jim Williams, director of the Albert Gore Research Center. “Costs include supplies, travel and transcription fees.”

The center is asking the public to consider a $50 donation to “adopt, symbolically,” an interview with a veteran, Williams said. The tax-deductible donation of $50 or more can be made by mail or online:

  • Checks can be made payable to the MTSU Foundation and mailed to Director, Albert Gore Research Center, MTSU Box 193, 1301 E. Main St., Murfreesboro TN  37132. Donors should note “Veterans History Project” on their checks.
  • Donors can contribute online via the secure MTSU Foundation website at http://bit.ly/1pgOWdk. Just click the button for “Adopt a Veteran.”

Click on the flier above to see a printable version.

For more information, visit http://gorecenter.mtsu.edu/AdoptVeteran.pdf.

Veterans and those who know a veteran who would like to be interviewed should contact oral history project coordinator Jim Havron at jim.havron@mtsu.edu.

To date, the Gore Research Center has conducted and registered more than 250 interviews with the Library of Congress as part of the Middle Tennessee Oral History Project. For information and to listen to the recordings, visit http://gorecenter.mtsu.edu/research/MTOralHistory.shtml.

The center has also archived 139 interviews of veterans completed by MTSU students for class assignments. For information about these interviews, or to listen to the recordings, visit http://gorecenter.mtsu.edu/research/VeteransOralHistories.shtml.

Any veteran of any branch of service is now eligible to be included in the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/vets.

Located in Todd Hall Suite 128, the Gore Research Center is open for research 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday during the fall and spring semesters. Summer hours vary, so call 615-898-2632 for details or visit http://gorecenter.mtsu.edu.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Gore Center unveils new research materials for ‘Congress Week’

MTSU’s Albert Gore Research Center is joining national commemorations of “Congress Week” from April 1-7 by opening several new groups of research materials for scholars and the public.

“As we celebrate the 225th anniversary of Congress this year, we are pleased to highlight the work of several local members of Congress who devoted decades of their lives to the service of Tennessee,” said Dr. Jim Williams, director of the Gore Research Center.

The late Albert Gore Sr. Undated photo.

The late Albert Gore Sr. Undated photo.

Among the historical materials recently made accessible to the public for the first time are the typewritten radio addresses that then Congressman Albert Gore Sr. delivered weekly on WSM radio leading up to and during World War II. Those interested can see Gore’s own handwritten changes on the typescripts of the speeches on the research center’s website (http://gorecenter.mtsu.edu).

“Through the support of former Congressman Bart Gordon,” Williams continued, “we have been able to process his papers faster than is usual — and the first batch of legislative files is now available for research.”

Bart Gordon

Bart Gordon

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper

Gordon represented the Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1985 until 2011. The MTSU alumnus, now a partner in a Washington, D.C., law firm, received an honorary doctorate from his alma mater last May.

Similarly, the first segment of Congressman Jim Cooper’s correspondence from his time as the representative in Congress for the 4th District from 1982 to 1994 is open. Cooper, D-Nashville, currently represents the 5th District, a post he’s held since 2003. Finding aids for these collections are available on the center’s website.

Gore Center logo“Congress Week” is a program of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress, to which the Gore Research Center belongs. More information on events taking place around the nation may be found at www.congressweek.org.

The Gore Research Center is a nonpartisan public service of the College of Liberal Arts at MTSU and is the premier repository for the personal papers of members of Congress and the Tennessee General Assembly in Middle Tennessee. Its collections are open to anyone with research needs without charge. The center is located on the MTSU campus in Todd Hall.

For more information, contact the director at jim.williams@mtsu.edu or (615) 898-2633.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Expert Addresses Political Attack Ads in 2012 Campaign

Dr. John Geer, chairman of the Department of Political Science at Vanderbilt University and an expert on negative political advertisements, delivered a presentation at MTSU on Oct. 23 on “Advertising and the 2012 Presidential Campaign: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” You can learn more about the event that brought him to campus at mtsunews.com/symposium-attack-ads and watch an excerpt of his talk below.

MTSU symposium focuses on political attack ads

Despite heavy public criticism, there’s a reason negative campaign ads still flood the airwaves: They work, some experts say.

As the 2012 presidential campaign between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney hit the home stretch, a panel of experts visited MTSU on Oct. 23 to discuss these negative ads.

The MTSU Department of Political Science, the Albert Gore Research Center and the College of Liberal Arts sponsored “Attack Ads In American Politics: How Much Is Too Much,” a symposium on negative campaign advertising. The event was held in the Student Union Building, Ballroom 250-C.

Dr. John Geer, chairman of the Department of Political Science at Vanderbilt University and an expert on negative political advertisements, was on campus along with former longtime Democratic Congressman Bart Gordon, Republican state Sen. Jim Tracy of Shelbyville, former 4th District congressional nominee Jeff Whorley and media consultant Bill Fletcher.

Geer made a presentation on “Advertising and the 2012 Presidential Campaign: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly,” followed by a panel discussion with the other experts. You can watch an excerpt from Geer’s talk below.

“This is set up to talk about the impact of campaign advertising, particularly negative advertising, on American politics and American government,” said Kent Syler, an assistant professor of political science at MTSU and moderator of the panel discussion. “This election cycle has seen more spending on negative advertising than any in American history.”

Syler, the former chief of staff for Gordon, said the symposium brought together some experts on negative advertising, as well as some people who have been the subject of negative advertising.

“No one likes negative ads, but they’re effective,” he said. “That’s why you see so many of them.”

Syler, who uses one of Geer’s books to teach one of his courses, said the Vanderbilt professor makes the case that those ads play a critical role in making our democracy work.

“His contention is that negative ads give voters more useful information than positive ads do,” Syler said, “and that negative ads actually add to the information environment in a campaign … and give voters information that they really need to know.”

The counterpoint is that too many negative ads make governing difficult for the winner, as well as making it hard for government in general to do its job.

— Jimmy Hart (Jimmy.Hart@mtsu.edu)

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