Logo

Young geniuses learn collaboration at 25th annual Invention Convention

They spent the last few months brainstorming, collaborating and implementing their ideas, so the 630-plus young Midstate inventors were ready to burst when they crammed into MTSU’s Student Union Thursday, Feb. 23, for the 25th annual Invention Convention.

“They are thoroughly enjoying this day. They look forward to it every year,” said Diane Vantrease, the “learning leader” at Coles Ferry Elementary School in Lebanon, Tennessee, as several excited students scurried past, relieved that their inventions had passed the judges’ inspections and ready to check out other students’ ideas around the room.

“By Christmas break, they have to at least have the name of their invention and the general idea, and when we come back to school the first of January, we jump headfirst in and are working every class period until this past week.”

Young inventors, parents, teachers and supporters crowd into MTSU’s Student Union ballroom to await the judges at the 2017 Invention Convention Thursday, Feb. 23. The event, now in its 25th year, welcomed 637 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders from 49 schools across the Midstate with their 340 gadgets, contraptions and devices designed as games or to “make life easier.” (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

Young inventors, parents, teachers and supporters crowd into MTSU’s Student Union ballroom to await the judges at the 2017 Invention Convention Thursday, Feb. 23. The event, now in its 25th year, welcomed 637 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders from 49 schools across the Midstate with their 340 gadgets, contraptions and devices designed as games or to “make life easier.” (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Asked to invent games and items to “make life easier,” the fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders responded with more than 320 unique gadgets, contraptions and devices for this year’s event. Elementary education professor Tracey Huddleston established MTSU’s Invention Convention in 1993 in tribute to her mother, True Radcliff, a longtime fifth-grade teacher who conducted “Invention Convention”-type events at her school.

The Invention Convention participants are public- and private-school students in Coffee, Davidson, DeKalb, Franklin, Grundy, Rutherford, Sumner, Warren, Wilson and Williamson counties. More than 110 received ribbons or trophies for their 2017 creations, and several of those winners are headed next to the national Invention Convention set for June in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Tracey Huddleston

Dr. Tracey Huddleston

By comparison, Huddleston recalled, the inaugural Invention Convention in 1993 at MTSU welcomed 56 young inventors and their 42 inventions to the James Union Building, enjoying plenty of presentation space in a cordoned-off half of the cavernous Tennessee Room.

You can see a list of the 2017 MTSU Invention Convention winners here. This year’s convention program, which includes the names of all the young inventors, is here. State Farm Insurance is the longtime local sponsor of MTSU’s annual Invention Convention.

Each Invention Convention also features a guest speaker who focuses on encouraging the youngsters to embrace their creativity and their imaginations to solve problems. Guests over the years have included astronauts, artists, athletes, musicians, scientists, historians and more; the 2017 guests were a trio of musicians — Victoria and Stephen Carey and Ian Christian — who explained the importance of collaboration when bringing inventions alive. The three cited examples of songs that need help from many people to reach an audience.

“The avenues of a song are very different, but they all come together in one way or another, whether you’re writing it and recording it and producing it or performing it on tour or hearing it on the radio,” Stephen Carey explained after the trio danced and sang with the youngsters to the strains of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Up,” George Strait’s “Check Yes or No” and their own wedding song, “Forever All Mine.”

MTSU Invention Convention guest speakers Victoria Carey, left, Ian Christian and Stephen Carey sing, dance and laugh while playing a snippet of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” for the young inventors Thursday, Feb. 23, inside MTSU’s Student Union ballroom to demonstrate how collaborating on ideas can improve them. The trio are musicians and friends, and Victoria Carey also is a graduate student in MTSU’s College of Education. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

MTSU Invention Convention guest speakers Victoria Carey, left, Ian Christian and Stephen Carey sing, dance and laugh while playing a snippet of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” for the young inventors Thursday, Feb. 23, inside MTSU’s Student Union ballroom to demonstrate how collaborating on ideas can improve them. The trio are musicians and friends, and Victoria Carey also is a graduate student in MTSU’s College of Education. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

“It’s very exciting how these inventions, these songs that you create with other people, become all these different things. It’s an exciting process from the beginning to wherever they end up, just like your inventions.”

The convention also showcases an everyday object and explains its history as an invention, such as a tape measure, golf ball, USB charger, Frisbee, dice and pair of sunglasses; this year conventioneers learned about headphones, invented in 1910 to help naval radio operators hear better, and received a tiny pair of customized “Invention Convention 2017” earbuds to take home.

Like inventor Nathaniel Baldwin working at his kitchen table on that first pair of headphones, Huddleston urged each of the conventioneers to continue inventing.

“Remember: You’ve created something today that wasn’t here before. Regardless of who walks away with a special award, all of you are walking away with an invention, and I want you to keep inventing,” she said as the students, teachers and parents celebrated.

“Come back here next year, and the next year. I want you to believe in yourself. That’s part of the collaboration — if we didn’t have other people to believe in us, where would we be? Keep inventing, keep thinking, keep problem-solving. There are tons of problems that need to be solved.”

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

MTSU Invention Convention judges Will Clouse, center left, and Terry Goodin, right, listen carefully as a Coles Ferry Elementary School student explains her group’s invention inside MTSU’s Student Union ballroom Thursday, Feb. 23. Clouse and Goodin are also professors in the Department of Elementary and Special Education in MTSU’s College of Education. The event, now in its 25th year, welcomed 637 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders from 49 schools across the Midstate with their 340 gadgets, contraptions and devices designed as games or to “make life easier.” (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU Invention Convention judges Will Clouse, center left, and Terry Goodin, right, listen carefully as a Coles Ferry Elementary School student explains her group’s invention inside MTSU’s Student Union ballroom Thursday, Feb. 23. Clouse and Goodin are also professors in the Department of Elementary and Special Education in MTSU’s College of Education. The Invention Convention, now in its 25th year, welcomed 637 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders from 49 schools across the Midstate with their 340 gadgets, contraptions and devices designed as games or to “make life easier.” (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU Invention Convention judge Marrie Lasater, center, points out an interesting portion of “World War Fun,” a game by Northfield Elementary fifth-graders Haylee Campbell, left, and Jacob Wells inside MTSU’s Student Union ballroom Thursday, Feb. 23. Not pictured is co-inventor Lucian Begley. Lasater is a member of the graduate faculty in the Department of Elementary and Special Education in MTSU’s College of Education. The Invention Convention, now in its 25th year, welcomed 637 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders from 49 schools across the Midstate with their 340 gadgets, contraptions and devices designed as games or to “make life easier.” (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU Invention Convention judge Marrie Lasater, center, points out an interesting portion of “World War Fun,” a game by Northfield Elementary fifth-graders Haylee Campbell, left, and Jacob Wells inside MTSU’s Student Union ballroom Thursday, Feb. 23. Not pictured is co-inventor Lucian Begley. Lasater is a member of the graduate faculty in the Department of Elementary and Special Education in MTSU’s College of Education. The Invention Convention, now in its 25th year, welcomed 637 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders from 49 schools across the Midstate with their 340 gadgets, contraptions and devices designed as games or to “make life easier.” (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MT Engage moves to new office space in James Union Building

As MTSU moves forward with its latest Quality Enhancement Plan, MT Engage, administrative staff for the program now have a new office location where students can stop by to get questions answered and access support services.

MT Engage recently held an open house at this new office space inside the James Union Building, Room 306, where it will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Lexy Denton, assistant director of MT Engage, is shown inside her new office on the third floor of the James Union Building. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Lexy Denton, assistant director of MT Engage, is shown inside her new office on the third floor of the James Union Building. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Dr. Mary Hoffschwelle, a professor of history and faculty fellow director of MT Engage, said the new space is important for moving the QEP forward. With a motto of “engage academically, learn exponentially, showcase yourself,” MT Engage encourages students to not only think in a more integrative way about their academics but to reflect on their experiences inside and outside of the classroom from the time they set foot on campus.

“It not only provides workspace for our MT Engage staff … but it also provides a place where faculty and students can come to talk with us about MT Engage courses, what they’re learning in these courses and what they need to do with what they’re learning,” Hoffschwelle said.

Staffing the office will be Lexy Denton, assistant director of MT Engage with responsibilities for MT Engage experiences initiatives, student outreach and recognitions, and marketing and communications for the program; and secretary Jayme Brunson.

Denton says students should stop by the office to learn more about scholarship applications and upcoming workshops, such as an “MT Engage Basics” e-Portfolio workshop for students that will be held at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, in the James E. Walker Library, Room 364-A. The workshop is being hosted by the University Writing Center.

A key aspect of MT Engage is an e-Portfolio created by students throughout their academic careers. These electronic documents could be critical for students in marketing themselves as they prepare to pursue a career or graduate degree.

Dr. Dianna Rust, left, QEP Committee chair, and Dr. Mary Hoffschwelle, a professor of history and faculty fellow director of MT Engage, are shown at the Feb. 15 open house at the new MT Engage office inside the James Union Building, Room 3016. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Dr. Dianna Rust, left, QEP Committee chair, and Dr. Mary Hoffschwelle, a professor of history and faculty fellow director of MT Engage, are shown at the Feb. 15 open house at the new MT Engage office inside the James Union Building, Room 3016. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

The mission of MT Engage is to create opportunities for students “to become physically and psychologically involved in productive learning activities.”MT Engage logo-web

Like others in attendance at the Feb. 15 open house, Dr. Dianna Rust, QEP Committee chair, was all smiles as she reflected on the campuswide planning process to get the QEP launched and the progress already being made. Almost 1,900 students were enrolled during fall semester in MT Engage courses.

The QEP is a requirement by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, or SACSCOC, the regional accreditation body for higher education institutions in the South.

“This dedicated space will help us as we really begin to work more one-on-one with students as they develop their e-Portfolios,” Rust said. “But also for faculty, who are thinking about putting MT Engage into their classes and connecting our learning outcome of integrative and reflective thinking, (they) now have a place they can come and meet with the staff and talk about aligning their courses.”

For more information about MT Engage, visit mtsu.edu/mtengage. Email mtengage@mtsu.edu or call 615-904-8281.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Public’s help needed with African-American history at Bradley Academy

MTSU students are trying to preserve the history of African-American education in Rutherford County, and they need help from the public.

The Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center on South Academy Street in Murfreesboro, the first school for black students in Rutherford County, needs help preserving African-American history at the school. (Photo Courtesy of the city of Murfreesboro)

The Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center on South Academy Street in Murfreesboro, the first school for black students in Rutherford County, needs help preserving African-American history at the school. (Photo Courtesy of the city of Murfreesboro)

Graduate students in Dr. Brenden Martin’s “Essentials of Museum Management” class, in cooperation with the Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center and Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation, need citizens throughout the community to provide artifacts and identify people in photographs as they revamp the museums’ exhibit area.

Dr. Brenden Martin

Dr. Brenden Martin

The exhibit space was developed 16 years ago, but Martin said museum and municipal officials want to broaden the scope of the exhibit.

“As Bradley Academy moves into a new administrative structure, I think they are very interested in expanding their collections,” said Martin.

Student project director Lindsey Fisher, a doctoral candidate from New Castle, Pennsylvania, said the effort focuses on African-American education and history “as a way to do activism and preservation.”

A presentation method for the artifacts is still being discussed, but Martin and Fisher said plans include using some existing oral histories from MTSU’s Albert Gore Research Center and the Rutherford County archives to create short films for a multimedia experience.

Eleven students who are working on their master’s and doctoral degrees are contributing to the project.

“Each person is assigned a specific task,” said Fisher. “We have some people who are doing research, some people who are coordinating all of the oral histories, some people who are doing just the digital histories, and then we’re all sort of working together on the exhibit text to make sure it all makes sense.”

The 1924 11th-grade class at Bradley Academy poses in their scholarly finest for a group photo. Standing from left to right are Richinell King, Nevada Crenshaw, Calvin Johnson and Geneva Buford; seated from left to right are Fruzzie Burrus, George Francis, Lillian Murray and Marie Bright. (Photo courtesy of Ernestine Tucker)

The 1924 11th-grade class at Bradley Academy poses in their scholarly finest for a group photo. Standing from left to right are Richinell King, Nevada Crenshaw, Calvin Johnson and Geneva Buford; seated from left to right are Fruzzie Burrus, George Francis, Lillian Murray and Marie Bright. MTSU museum management students are seeking artifacts and photos like these and help identifying them to preserve more of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County’s history. c(Photo courtesy of Ernestine Tucker)

Martin said Bradley Academy, Holloway High School and other educational venues were “places of empowerment” to lift up the African-American community in the wake of slavery and the subsequent Jim Crow laws that hampered the citizens’ education.

“We are excited for the new additions and changes to highlight the accomplishments of more African-Americans in the community that have not been told or shown to the public,” said Katie Wilson of the Friends of Bradley Academy Museum.

Some existing aspects of the exhibit, such as the arch representing the academy entrance and murals painted by artist Steve Matthews, will remain part of the display.

This sign from the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities denotes the historic significance of Bradley Academy, opened in 1917 as Rutherford County's first school for African-American students.

This sign from the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities denotes the historic significance of Bradley Academy, opened in 1917 as Rutherford County’s first school for African-American students.

“We take pride in the historical value of this building and want to give everyone who visits a wonderful and educational experience,” said Vonchelle Stembridge, program coordinator of the Bradley Academy Museum & Cultural Center.

“The community is going to be able to view our museum in a new and innovative way.”

The project represents a major addition to the students’ professional portfolios as they prepare for careers in historical fields.

“The benefit of this for the students is that they get some real world, hands-on experience in museum exhibits, installation and collections management,” said Martin.

“I think it’s a really unique training opportunity for their future careers.”

Anyone who can help with information or artifacts can contact Martin at 615-898-2643 or brenden.martin@mtsu.edu or Fisher at lmf3z@mtmail.mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

$1M gift launches Center for Student Coaching and Success [+VIDEO]

A seven-figure financial gift from local real estate developer John Floyd promises to boost the professional prospects of students preparing to graduate from MTSU.

Floyd has pledged $1 million to help launch the Center for Student Coaching and Success, or CSCS, at MTSU, which was officially opened during a Tuesday, Feb. 21, ribbon cutting ceremony at its new home inside the Andrew Woodfin Miller Sr. Education Center on Bell Street.

Facilitated by Dr. Colby Jubenville, a health and human performance professor and CSCS director, Floyd’s gift focuses on helping soon-to-be graduates make a successful transition from college classes to gainful employment.

“Students make a commitment to higher education by investing their time, money and energy with the belief that we have the people and resources to help them become gainfully employed,” Jubenville said. “This center was built to do just that.”

Floyd, founder and owner of Ole South Properties, the state’s largest independent homebuilder, said his gift represents the organic relationship between the university as an economic driver for the region and the success his company has enjoyed as a provider of affordable housing throughout Middle Tennessee.

“It comes around,” he said. “I’m just reinvesting in the community. I’ve done extremely well in this community and MTSU in many ways represents a lot of my success.”

Floyd started his career in real estate in 1983 at the age of 23. His Murfreesboro company recently completed construction of its 10,000th home and averages building 650 to 825 homes annually.

His professional accolades include recognition as the Tennessee Home Builder of the Year by the Home Builders Association of Tennessee in 2007 and induction into the HBAT Hall of Fame in 2015. He was recognized by the Tennessee Housing and Development Agency as the “Builder of the Year” for 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. The Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce honored him as the Business Legend of the Year in 2015.

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee has said he wants to raise additional funds for the center to enable Jubenville to extend the size and scope of his student mentorship.

“Mr. Floyd’s investment into our university with this very generous gift will undoubtedly advance our ongoing reforms to help our students succeed in and beyond the classroom,” McPhee said. “The addition of this center will be truly transformational for our campus and build on our aspirations to be one of the most innovative universities in the nation.”

Through individual, peer, group and online coaching sessions, the center will help students make the leap from college to career by developing their knowledge, skills, desire, confidence, likeability and networks, allowing them, in Jubenville’s words, to “win in the marketplace of ideas.”

Jubenville’s approach reflects McPhee’s vision to help develop a new model for higher education. The center aligns perfectly with the MTSU Quest for Student Success — a plan McPhee launched in 2013 that emphasizes student retention and graduation in line with Gov. Bill Haslam’s Drive for 55 initiative. That initiative’s goal is to increase the number of Tennesseans with degrees or advanced certifications to 55 percent to meet the workforce demands of the coming decades.

Floyd said he strongly believes in work the CSCS will accomplish.

“With this new center, the vision is that students will become gainfully employed even before walking across the graduation stage,” he said.

MTSU professor Colby Jubenville, left, is shown with philanthropist and Midstate homebuilder John Floyd of Ole South Properties in this fall 2016 photo inside Ole South offices. Floyd pledged $1 million to help launch the new MTSU Center for Student Coaching and Success, which will be directed by Jubenville. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU professor Colby Jubenville, left, is shown with philanthropist and Midstate homebuilder John Floyd of Ole South Properties in this fall 2016 photo inside Ole South offices. Floyd pledged $1 million to help launch the new MTSU Center for Student Coaching and Success, which will be directed by Jubenville. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Jubenville said traditional higher education focuses too much on imparting information and not enough on building the critical thinking skills through which students find their voice, gain confidence and become self-directed.

A former college football coach turned professor, author, international speaker, blogger and consultant, Jubenville offers an innovative approach to teaching that has led to remarkable success stories. Graduates of his program now occupy front-office positions in top-tier franchises like the Houston Astros, Tennessee Titans, and Talladega Motor Speedway, as well as local organizations such as the Nashville Sports Council.

“My focus at MTSU over the last 15 years is about helping students find their voice. And voice is the intersection of talent, passion, conscience and need in the world,” Jubenville said. “There’s an old saying that ‘You can’t give away what you don’t have.’ These kids are starved for somebody to show them the way. And so I teach them.”

Dr. Colby Jubenville is the director of the new MTSU Center for Student Coaching and Success, an innovative program that focuses on helping students discover career success through peer, group and online coaching sessions. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Dr. Colby Jubenville is the director of the new MTSU Center for Student Coaching and Success, an innovative program that focuses on helping students discover career success through peer, group and online coaching sessions. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

The new center he leads as a result of Floyd’s gift will focus on five areas to help students understand how to systematically bridge the gap from graduation to gainful employment:

  • academic skills and critical thinking.
  • emotional intelligence.
  • personal branding.
  • persuasion.
  • career development.

The close relationship between Floyd and Jubenville played a crucial role in the development of the gift. Floyd said the professor helped him think differently to work through the 2008 recession that devastated many homebuilders.

“We all have challenges, and when you work through those challenges together, it forms a bond,” Floyd explained.

Joe Bales

Joe Bales

Dr. Terry Whiteside

Dr. Terry Whiteside

Floyd later attended some of Jubenville’s on-campus classes where he was able to witness the professor’s decidedly out-of-the-box approach to inspiring and developing his students. Once Floyd saw Jubenville had a formula that worked and a proven track record of student success, he said he “got on board.”

Joe Bales, MTSU’s vice president for advancement, said the university greatly appreciates both Floyd’s generosity and his foresight in supporting this unique project.

“As a successful businessman, he fully understands the importance of being well prepared to begin your career,” Bales said. “His support for this innovative program will assure that our students will be ready to hit the ground running when they enter the workforce.”

Harold Whiteside, Behavioral and Health Sciences dean, said Floyd’s gift “enables us to take students beyond traditional college education, to make them more impressive in job interviews, teach them how to market themselves, how to understand themselves and others, and to be more influential and persuasive.

“This takes student success beyond graduation,” he said.

Visit the Center for Student Coaching and Success website at www.mtsu.edu/cbhssuccess for more information.

— Drew Ruble (drew.ruble@mtsu.edu) and Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

MTSU officials help cut the ribbon at the Feb. 21 opening ceremony and luncheon for the new Center for Student Coaching and Success on the second floor of the Miller Education Center on Bell Street. From left are Dr. Harold Whiteside, dean of the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences; retired MTSU faculty member Jon MacBeth; MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee; donors Gina Floyd and John Floyd; and Dr. Colby Jubenville, director of the new center. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

MTSU officials help cut the ribbon at the Feb. 21 opening ceremony and luncheon for the new Center for Student Coaching and Success on the second floor of the Miller Education Center on Bell Street. From left are Dr. Harold Whiteside, dean of the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences; retired MTSU faculty member Jon MacBeth; MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee; donors Gina Floyd and John Floyd; and Dr. Colby Jubenville, director of the new center. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

Philanthropist and homebuilder John Floyd, left, smiles after receiving a plaque for his recent induction into the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences Hall of Fame and a replica of Kirksey Old Main at the Tuesday, Feb. 21, opening ceremony and luncheon for the new Center for Student Coaching and Success inside the Miller Education Center on Bell Street. Floyd pledged $1 million to help launch the new center. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Philanthropist and homebuilder John Floyd, left, smiles after receiving a plaque for his recent induction into the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences Hall of Fame and a replica of Kirksey Old Main at the Tuesday, Feb. 21, opening ceremony and luncheon for the new Center for Student Coaching and Success inside the Miller Education Center on Bell Street. Floyd pledged $1 million to help launch the new center. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU plans RAVE safety alert test Wednesday for campus community

MTSU will briefly test its emergency alert system Wednesday, Feb. 22, with a special message for the university’s 25,300-plus registered users via email, text and automated phone calls.

MTSU students take advantage of the springlike late-winter weather outside the Student Union and Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors College Building. The university will test its Critical Notification System Wednesday, Feb. 24, with a simple email, text and voice message to more than 26,000 users to ensure that students, faculty and staff properly receive urgent communications. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU students take advantage of the spring-like late-winter weather outside the Student Union and Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors College Building. The university will test its Critical Notification System Wednesday, Feb. 22, with a simple email, text and voice message to more than 25,000 users to ensure that students, faculty and staff properly receive urgent communications. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

The test of MTSU’s Critical Notification System, conducted each semester by the University Police Department, is set for 1:15 p.m. Wednesday.

Students, faculty and staff will automatically receive a test email to ensure the emergency system is working properly. Those who’ve added phone numbers to their notification preferences will also receive a text message and/or recorded phone call.

“We encourage our community members to be connected by the various means available for receiving the alerts,” said MTSU Police Lt. Broede Stucky, who serves as the department’s emergency operations and public information officer.

“Doing so increases the likelihood they’ll receive important and timely information that could assist in their personal safety.”

The university’s website, www.mtsu.edu, its MTSUNews.com news site, and all digital signage around the Murfreesboro campus will display the test message just as they do during a real emergency, along with the university’s primary social media channels.

Click on the MTSU Police Department's logo to visit the university's FAQ page for its critical notifications system and "Alert4U" tips.

Click on the MTSU Police Department’s logo to visit the university’s FAQ page for its critical notifications system and “Alert4U” tips.

The university’s Twitter account, @MTSUNews, will tweet the test alert, and the alert also will post to the MTSU and university police Facebook pages.

MTSU evaluates its Critical Notification System each semester during and after each test to pinpoint and fix any potential problems.

Rave Mobile Safety logo webPrevious tests continue to show a near-100 percent message success rate, and digital signage in campus buildings displayed the test alerts within 30 seconds of transmission.

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.

You can learn more about MTSU’s Critical Notification System at www.mtsu.edu/alert4u and at its FAQ page, www.mtsu.edu/alert4u/faqs.php. Information about the alert system is also always available on the university’s weather information page, www.mtsunews.com/weather.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Country music’s Atkins learns about MTSU veterans center

When MTSU’s Keith M. Huber met country music entertainer Rodney Atkins for the first time Thursday (Feb. 16), they discovered they had much in common.

Keith M. Huber, left, senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives at MTSU, visits with country music signer Rodney Atkins following the entertainer's visit to campus Feb. 16 to learn more about and visit the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center. Atkins, who has performed with the USO in Iraq and Afghanistan, to Huber Daniels had been his mentor since 2006. (MTSU photo by Pat Thomas)

Keith M. Huber, left, senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives at MTSU, visits with country music signer Rodney Atkins during the entertainer’s visit to campus Feb. 16 to learn more about the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center and Daniels Transitioning Home office. Atkins, who has performed with the USO in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been mentored by Daniels since 2006. (MTSU photo by Pat Thomas)

Huber, senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives at MTSU, served nearly 40 years in the military, retiring as a lieutenant general. Atkins has entertained for troops with the USO in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Daniels Veterans Center logo webThey both know legendary entertainer Charlie Daniels: Huber through Daniels’ gifts totaling $125,000 for the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center and Atkins through Daniels’ mentoring that began in 2006.

Atkins’ scheduled visit to meet Huber included a visit to the Daniels Veterans Center on the first floor of Keathley University Center and just-opened Daniels Center Transitioning Home office on the third floor of KUC. The Curb Records singer wound up staying two hours.

“He came here to see what we do for our veterans and is receptive to getting involved with our veterans,” Huber said of Atkins’ visit.

Some of the songs by the singer/songwriter, a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, include “If You’re Going Through Hell,” “It’s America,” “Watching You,” “Honesty” and more.

Including family members, MTSU has a student veteran population of about 1,000.

Unity Luncheon honors 11 local heroes for ‘doing the right thing’ [+VIDEO]

Eleven humanitarian leaders were acknowledged Thursday, Feb. 16, for their good works at MTSU’s 21st annual Unity Luncheon in the Student Union Ballroom.

The Black History Month Committee and the Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs hosted the annual event, which honors unsung heroes for their contributions in the areas of education, black arts, community service, excellence in sports and civility.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee made welcoming remarks and presented the statuettes to each honoree.

In his luncheon address before a crowd of more than 300 attendees, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn struck a theme of “doing the right thing.”

The MTSU alumnus credited his family, some of whom were in attendance, in helping him become a productive citizen, starting with his career in law enforcement with the McMinnville Police Department.

“I’ve always been a firm believer that there’s a lot more good people in this world than there are bad,” said Gwyn. “It’s just that my calling is to protect those good people.”

Gwyn is on his third term as TBI director. For the past 13 years, he has been the only African-American director of a state bureau of investigation in the nation.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn, an MTSU alumnus, delivers the address at the 21st annual Unity Luncheon Feb. 16 in the Student Union.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn, an MTSU alumnus, delivers the address at the 21st annual Unity Luncheon Feb. 16 in the Student Union.

“For me, it’s a sense of pride, but it’s a sense of obligation,” said Gwyn. “I’ve got to represent a little better, and I’m OK with that … I don’t do it because I’m African-American. I do it because it’s the right thing to do.”

A fellow law enforcement veteran, former Smyrna, Tennessee, Assistant Police Chief Vernal Young, was one of the Unity Luncheon honorees.

“We started the first drug program here in Rutherford County,” said Young, an honoree as an advocate of civility. “We went from primary schools to high schools … I really enjoy working with people.”

One of the community service honorees, Navita Gunter of Guthrie, Kentucky, has triumphed over both domestic violence and cancer. She was chosen for founding the Cervical Cancer Coalition of Tennessee.

“Really, it’s not for me,” Gunter said of her award. “It’s for the people that I’m really trying to help by sharing my story of survival. … That’s why I do it.”

Each year, MTSU’s Unity Luncheon honors dedicated leaders who haven’t been recognized for their outstanding contributions to education, community service, civility advocacy, sports and black arts.

Along with Young and Gunter, this year’s honorees and their areas of recognition include:

  • Dr. Bichaka Fayissa, a native of Ethiopia and a professor in MTSU’s Department of Economics and Finance; education.
  • Dr. Jacqueline Jackson of Lexington, Kentucky, a retired MTSU Department of English professor; education. Jackson was unable to attend the ceremony, and MTSU English professor Frances Henderson accepted the award on her behalf.
  • Evelyn James of Murfreesboro, a retired nursery school teacher and member of Ardent Workers of First Baptist Church, Murfreesboro; education.
  • Carl Marable of Murfreesboro, the director of Second Chance Outreach Ministries; community service.
  • Ernest Newsom of Murfreesboro, a clarinetist and psychologist; contributions to black arts.
  • Albert Richardson Jr. of Murfreesboro, a community volunteer and humanitarian; community service.
  • Revonda J. Rucker of Murfreesboro, a registered nurse and funeral director; community service.
  • James Douglas Watkins of Murfreesboro, a former community school director and athletic mentor in Flint, Michigan; excellence in sports.
  • Martha Womack of Murfreesboro, a community volunteer and humanitarian; community service.

For more information about the Unity Luncheon and how to recognize an unsung community hero, contact the MTSU Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs at 615-898-5812 or ida@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, far left, poses with the 2017 Unity Luncheon honorees following the Feb. 16 awards presentation at the Student Union. Standing from left to right, are McPhee, Bichaka Fayissa, Carl Marable, Albert Richardson Jr., Ernest Newsom, James Douglas Watkins and Vernal Young. Seated, from left, are Navita Gunter, Evelyn James, Revonda J. Rucker and Martha Womack. Not pictured is honoree Jacqueline Jackson, who was unable to attend. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, far left, poses with the 2017 Unity Luncheon honorees following the Feb. 16 awards presentation at the Student Union. Standing from left to right, are McPhee, Bichaka Fayissa, Carl Marable, Albert Richardson Jr., Ernest Newsom, James Douglas Watkins and Vernal Young. Seated, from left, are Navita Gunter, Evelyn James, Revonda J. Rucker and Martha Womack. Not pictured is honoree Jacqueline Jackson, who was unable to attend. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

Martha Womack of Murfreesboro, left, chats with fellow honoree Evelyn James at the 21st annual MTSU Unity Luncheon Feb. 16 in the Student Union as other honorees, friends and guests talk in the background.

Martha Womack of Murfreesboro, left, chats with fellow honoree Evelyn James at the 21st annual MTSU Unity Luncheon Feb. 16 in the Student Union as other honorees, friends and guests talk in the background.

Click on the poster to see a larger PDF version.

Click on the poster to see a larger PDF version of MTSU’s 2017 Black History Month events.

March 15 is application deadline for Community Foundation scholarships

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee is offering three scholarships specifically for MTSU students and prospective students, all with deadlines of March 15.

Community Foundation logo web

Click on the logo for scholarship information.

The Archie Hartwell Nash Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in 1997 to honor the late owner of Overton Produce Company and several related companies.

Eligible applicants for the Nash scholarships must be MTSU sophomores or above, including graduate students, who are working a minimum of 20 hours per week and maintaining a 2.0 or higher grade-point average.

Ken Shipp, an MTSU alumnus who coached football for several teams at the collegiate and professional level, established a scholarship in his name in 2009 for graduating seniors from Rutherford County public high schools who plan to attend MTSU. Shipp died in 2012.

Cameron Blake Parnell

Cameron Blake Parnell

Ken Shipp

Ken Shipp

Applicants for the Shipp scholarship must have a minimum GPA of 2.75 and/or meet the eligibility criteria for the Tennessee Lottery scholarship. In addition, they must have financial need and be persons of good moral character.

Family and friends established the Cameron Blake Parnell Scholarship Fund in 2015 to honor the professional pilot and MTSU alumnus, who earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace administration in 2006. Parnell died in 2014 in a hiking accident in Crater Lake, Oregon.

Applicants for the Parnell scholarship must be rising juniors or seniors at MTSU who major in aerospace and plan to become pilots. They also must maintain a 3.0 GPA or above.

For more information, contact Pat Embry of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee at 615-321-4929, extension 114, or at pembry@cfmt.org, or visit www.cfmt.org/request/scholarships.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Terrence J. cancels Feb. 23 Black History Month appearance at MTSU

Terrence J., set as the featured speaker for MTSU’s 2017 Black History Month celebration, will not be able to visit the campus as planned.

Terrence J.

Terrence J.

The Black History Month Committee said the television personality, whose real name is Terrence Jenkins, is canceling his scheduled 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, address in the Student Union because of “an unavoidable scheduling conflict with a movie project that is currently filming on location.”

MTSU’s Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs is working with the MTSU Women’s History Month Committee to book a high-profile replacement speaker for Women’s History Month in March. More details are expected soon.

For more information, contact the Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs at 615-898-5812 or ida@mtsu.edu. You can find information on the remaining Black History Month activities at MTSU, along with an events calendar, at www.mtsunews.com/black-history-month-2017.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Honors lectures on ‘rhetoric in contemporary culture’ open to the public

The general public is once again welcome to join an MTSU Honors College class for the spring 2017 Honors Lecture Series each week for topics on “Rhetoric in Contemporary Culture.”

Honors Lecture Series poster

Click on the poster to see a larger PDF version.

The series continues at 3 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20, when MTSU alumnus Keel Hunt, a public affairs consultant, author and former journalist, will discuss “Political Speech: How Candidates Win and Leaders Lead.”

Honors College logoThe spring lecture series takes place from 3 to 3:55 p.m. every Monday with the exception of March 6, when MTSU students and faculty will begin spring break.

The lecture series ends April 10.

MTSU’s Honors Lecture Series, which is always free and open to the public, has been a staple in the fall and spring semesters for two decades. It features focused topics and presenters from multiple disciplines on and off campus and is a required course for upper-division Honors College students.

Lectures are held in the Simmons Amphitheatre, Room 106, in the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building. A searchable campus map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap. Off-campus visitors attending the lectures can obtain a special one-day parking permit at www.mtsu.edu/parking/visit.php.

Dr. Kaylene Gebert

Dr. Kaylene Gebert

Politics, social issues, climate change are among the upcoming lectures. To view the full schedule, visit http://mtsu.edu/honors/lecture-series/2017-spring.php.

“Rhetoric in Contemporary Culture” explores arguments that people use for various contemporary — and often controversial — topics, said Dr. Kaylene Gebert, an Honors College faculty member and a former university provost.

“While rhetoric is an ancient art, rhetoric or persuasion is clearly evident in our daily world, including a newer form: social media,” said Gebert, who collaborated with Associate Honors Dean Philip Phillips to develop the theme and to schedule presenters.

“The series provides a diverse, yet powerful, set of exemplars, pictures, arguments and studies that pervade our culture and attempt to persuade us,” Gebert said. “The goal of the series is to promote informed reflection and constructive dialogue on rhetoric and the pervasive role it plays in how we perceive the world around us.”

For more information about the Honors Lecture Series or MTSU’s University Honors College, call 615-898-2152.

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

Secured By miniOrange