Logo

Pleas Award winner Turnage hailed as ‘perfect faculty member’ [+VIDEO]

The 21st recipient of MTSU’s highest honor for black faculty is being praised as a credit to her profession and a caring mentor to future members of her profession.

Dr. Barbara Turnage, a professor of social work, was presented with the John Pleas Faculty Award at a ceremony Tuesday, Feb. 21, in the Hazlewood Dining Room of MTSU’s James Union Building.

The award is presented annually during Black History Month to a black faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in teaching, research and service.

“The award is not about me,” Dr. John Pleas, the retired psychology professor for whom the honor is named, said to Turnage. “It’s about you. It’s about all these individuals who are named on the back of the program that have made contributions to the university.”

As a roomful of colleagues and admirers looked on, Turnage was hailed by her colleagues for her research, teaching and community service. Social work professor John Sanborn called her “fantastically collegial.”

A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Turnage has built a social work career that has included providing social services for those with impaired and/or aging parents, new mothers and families with physical and mental health needs.

She also has counseled methadone clients and individuals who were at risk of harming themselves or others. This practical experience has informed her teaching, mentoring and research.

“Her communication abilities are quite amazing, and her bubbly personality is nothing short of infectious,” said Justin Bucchio, an associate professor of social work.

In addition to her academic achievements, Turnage is vice chair of the Board of Directors for Journeys in Community Living, a program that supports adults with intellectual disabilities. She will assume the chair in fall 2017.

“Dr. Turnage exemplifies a passion for helping social work students become self-driven, knowledgeable practitioners,” said Laura R. James, a master’s degree candidate in social work from Murfreesboro. “She cares about our academic performance and supports field opportunities commensurate with our career interests.”

MTSU social work professor Barbara Turnage thanks her family, colleagues and supporters after receiving the 2017 John Pleas Faculty Award at a Feb. 21 ceremony in the James Union Building. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU social work professor Barbara Turnage thanks her family, colleagues and supporters after receiving the 2017 John Pleas Faculty Award at a Feb. 21 ceremony in the James Union Building. (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

At MTSU, Turnage has served on MTSU’s Faculty Senate, the Forrest Hall Review Committee, the Africana Studies Program Development Committee and the International Education and Exchange Committee. She continues to serve on multiple faculty, search, admissions and qualifying exam committees.

In accepting the award, Turnage called her family and colleagues to the podium to share the moment with her.

“Everything we do is based on our foundation, based on people that support us,” said Turnage. “I just wanted you to know my support system. These are people that I know love me no matter what, no matter what I do or say. … I can’t thank them enough for loving me.”

“From the college perspective, you’re the perfect faculty member,” said Dr. Harold Whiteside, dean of the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences.

For more information about the John Pleas Faculty Award, go to www.mtsu.edu/aahm/john-pleas-award.php.

Previous winners of the Pleas Faculty Recognition Award since its inception are:

  • Dr. Bichaka Fayissa, economics professor, 1998.
  • Dr. Laura Jarmon, English professor, 1999.
  • Dr. Gloria Bonner, dean of the College of Education, 2000.
  • Dr. Sharon Shaw-McEwen, social work professor, 2001.
  • Dr. Alphonse Carter, engineering technology professor, 2002.
  • Dr. Bertha Clark, professor of communication disorders, 2003.
  • Dr. Anantha Babbili, 2004, dean of the College of Mass Communication.
  • Dr. Pat Patterson, professor of chemistry, 2005.
  • Dr. Rosemary Owens, dean of continuing studies and public service, 2006.
  • Dr. Connie Wade, chair of the Department of Elementary and Special Education, 2007.
  • Dr. Marva Lucas, chair of the Department of University Studies, 2008.
  • Dr. Adonijah Bakari, history professor, 2009.
  • Dr. Dwight Patterson, 2010, chemistry professor.
  • Dr. Raphael Bundage, 2011, music professor.
  • Dr. Cheryl Slaughter Ellis, professor of community and public health, 2012.
  • Dr. Newtona “Tina” Johnson, professor of English and director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, 2013.
  • Dr. Sekou Franklin, political science professor, 2014.
  • Dr. Michaele Chappell, professor of mathematics education and coordinator for the Masters of Science in Teaching program, 2015.
  • Dr. Linda Clark, professor of mathematics in the Department of University Studies, 2016.

— Gina Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

MTSU social work professor Barbara Turnage, left, receives the 2017 John Pleas Faculty Award from Professor Emeritus John Pleas at a Feb. 21 ceremony in the James Union Building. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU social work professor Barbara Turnage, left, receives the 2017 John Pleas Faculty Award from Professor Emeritus John Pleas at a Feb. 21 ceremony in the James Union Building.

Dr. John Pleas, emeritus professor of psychology, gives remarks Tuesday, Feb. 21, before presenting the 2017 John Pleas Faculty Award to Dr. Barbara F. Turnage, professor in the Department of Social Work. The ceremony was held in the Hazlewood Dining Room of the James Union Building. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Dr. John Pleas, emeritus professor of psychology, speaks Tuesday, Feb. 21, before presenting the 2017 John Pleas Faculty Award to Dr. Barbara F. Turnage, professor in the Department of Social Work.


Social work professor to receive MTSU top minority faculty honor Feb. 21

Feb. 15, 2017

An MTSU professor whose dedication to others has been the hallmark of her career is the 2017 John Pleas Faculty Recognition Award honoree.

Dr. Barbara Turnage

Dr. Barbara Turnage

Social work professor Barbara Turnage will receive the award in a 4 p.m. ceremony Tuesday, Feb. 21, in the Hazlewood Dining Room of the James Union Building.

The ceremony is free and open to the public. A campus parking map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap. Off-campus visitors attending the ceremony should obtain a special one-day permit from MTSU’s Office of Parking and Transportation at www.mtsu.edu/parking/visit.php.

MTSU presents the John Pleas Faculty Award each year during Black History Month to a minority faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in teaching, research and service. The honor, established in 1997, is named for Dr. John Pleas, an MTSU professor emeritus of psychology.

Turnage, a native of Omaha, Nebraska, has built a social work career that has included providing social services for families with impaired and/or aging parents, new mothers and families with physical and mental health needs.

She also has counseled methadone clients and individuals who were at risk of harming themselves or others. This practical experience has informed her teaching, mentoring and research.

Dr John Pleas web

Dr. John Pleas

At MTSU, Turnage has served on MTSU’s Faculty Senate, the Forrest Hall Review Committee, the Africana Studies Program Development Committee and the International Education and Exchange Committee. She continues to serve on multiple faculty, search, admissions and qualifying exam committees.

Click on the poster to see a larger PDF version.

Click on the 2017 poster to see a larger PDF version.

In addition to her academic achievements, Turnage serves as vice chair of the board of directors for Murfreesboro’s Journeys in Community Living, a program formerly known as the Rutherford Adult Activity Center that supports adults with intellectual disabilities. She will assume the board’s chair in fall 2017.

Turnage, a first-generation high school graduate, earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She earned her doctorate in social work from Tulane University and earned a four-year regents’ fellowship there.

Pleas Award nominees must have completed at least five years of service at MTSU and have a record of outstanding service. Each nominee must have three letters to support his or her nomination.

For more information about the John Pleas Faculty Recognition Award at MTSU, contact Dr. Linda Clark, professor of mathematics in the Department of University Studies and the 2016 Pleas Award winner, at 615-904-8234 or linda.clark@mtsu.edu.

Along with Clark, previous winners of the Pleas Faculty Recognition Award since its inception are:

  • Dr. Bichaka Fayissa, economics professor, 1998.
  • Dr. Laura Jarmon, English professor, 1999.
  • Dr. Gloria Bonner, dean of the College of Education, 2000.
  • Dr. Sharon Shaw-McEwen, social work professor, 2001.
  • Dr. Alphonse Carter, engineering technology professor, 2002.
  • Dr. Bertha Clark, professor of communication disorders, 2003.
  • Dr. Anantha Babbili, 2004, dean of the College of Mass Communication.
  • Dr. Pat Patterson, professor of chemistry, 2005.
  • Dr. Rosemary Owens, dean of continuing studies and public service, 2006.
  • Dr. Connie Wade, chair of the Department of Elementary and Special Education, 2007.
  • Dr. Marva Lucas, chair of the Department of University Studies, 2008.
  • Dr. Adonijah Bakari, history professor, 2009.
  • Dr. Dwight Patterson, 2010, chemistry professor.
  • Dr. Raphael Bundage, 2011, music professor.
  • Dr. Cheryl Slaughter Ellis, professor of community and public health, 2012.
  • Dr. Newtona “Tina” Johnson, professor of English and director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, 2013.
  • Dr. Sekou Franklin, political science professor, 2014.
  • Dr. Michaele Chappell, professor of mathematics education and coordinator for the Masters of Science in Teaching program, 2015.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

MTSU on WGNS: MTSU Arts, political polling and social work

MTSU faculty and staff took to WGNS Radio recently to share information about an upcoming theatrical production at Tucker Theatre, the future of political polling and growth in the field of social work.

The details were shared during the Nov. 21 “Action Line” program with host Bart Walker. The live program was broadcast on FM 100.5, 101.9 and AM 1450 from the WGNS studio in downtown Murfreesboro. If you missed it, you can listen to a podcast of the show here.

Guests and their topics included:WGNS new logo 2015_web crop

• Meredith Kerr, development director for the College of Liberal Arts, Justin Reed, production manager at Tucker Theatre, and theatre student Skylar Grieco, one of the performance directors, discussed the recent “Joys of the Season” showcase held Dec. 1 at Tucker Theatre.

Meredith Kerr

Meredith Kerr

MTSU Arts proudly presented “Joys of the Season,” a collection of holiday performances and artwork from the MTSU performing and fine arts departments that will entertain and delight people and children of all ages.

First held last year, the event is a showcase of music, art, theater and dance. Presenting sponsor for this production was Ascend Federal Credit Union and the media sponsor was WGNS Radio.

Learn more at www.mtsuarts.com.

• Drs. Ken Blake and Jason Reineke, director and associate director of the MTSU Poll, discussed the MTSU Poll and the future polling in the wake of the surprising presidential election.

Dr. Ken Blake

Dr. Ken Blake

Dr. Jason Reineke

Dr. Jason Reineke

For over a decade, the MTSU Poll has been providing independent, non-partisan, unbiased, scientifically valid public opinion data regarding major social, political, and ethical issues affecting Tennessee. The poll began in 1998 as a measure of public opinion in the 39 counties comprising Middle Tennessee and began measuring public opinion statewide in 2001.

The future of polling has been under intense scrutiny following the surprise election of Republican Donald Trump, in spite of the fact that many polls gave the edge to Democratic contender Hillary Clinton. In recent months, Trump frequently lambasted the polls as inaccurate and not reflective of his overall support. Many professional pollsters have been analyzing the results to find out what went wrong.

Learn more at http://mtsupoll.org.

• Dr. Angela Pharris, assistant professor in the Department of Social Work and coordinator of the Master of Social Work program, discussed the growth of MTSU’s social work program.

Dr. Angela Pharris

Dr. Angela Pharris

With 330 plus students enrolled, the MTSU Department of Social Work boasts the largest undergraduate program in Tennessee and continues to build an innovative master’s program that shares resources with Austin Peay State and Tennessee State universities.

Social Work is a growing profession with a 19 percent faster than average growth rate in the United States. Social workers help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives. One group of social workers, clinical social workers, also diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues.

Learn more at http://mtsu.edu/socialwork/index.php.

Students, faculty and staff who are interested in guesting on WGNS to promote their MTSU-related activities should contact Jimmy Hart, director of news and media relations, at 615-898-5131 or via email at jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu.

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

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

Dr. Justin Bucchio

Dr. Justin Bucchio

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

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

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

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

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

Sept. 21 MTSU symposium focuses on reducing gang-related violence

MTSU is providing a forum on Wednesday, Sept. 21, for an in-depth discussion of one of the most pervasive social issues of our time: reducing gang violence.

MT Engage logo-webMT Engage, a program focused on enhancing student engagement, will sponsor a symposium on gang violence reduction hosted by the university’s Department of Criminal Justice Administration and Department of Social Work from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, in the Student Union’s Parliamentary Room.

A printable campus map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap.

Dr. Michael Sherr

Dr. Michael Sherr

“Making serious inroads to reduce gang violence requires multisystemic problem-solving and action,” said Dr. Michael Sherr, professor and chair of the Department of Social Work.

“The symposium brings students and community members together to raise awareness and discuss options for addressing such a devastating social problem.”

Dr. Carter Smith

Dr. Carter Smith

Dr. Carter F. Smith, a lecturer in the Department of Criminal Justice Administration, will moderate the panel discussion.

Smith is a three-time winner of the Frederick Milton Thrasher Award from the “Journal of Gang Research” for excellence in scholarship and service in public safety issues posed by gangs.

“Both our areas are putting Band-Aids on a problem,” said Smith. “Nobody’s doing radical surgery. If you would have criminal justice professionals talking to social work professionals on an ongoing basis, both of their jobs would be easier.”

The panel will include:

  • Neal Pinkston, district attorney general for Hamilton County, Tennessee, and an MTSU alumnus.
  • Dr. Barbara Turnage, a social work professor at MTSU.
  • Cornelius Carroll, a former gang member who is now a nationally recognized gang expert, counselor and author of “Black Gangs in America.”
  • Detective Sgt. Chris Haney of the Murfreesboro Police Department’s gang unit.
Dr. Barbara Turnage

Dr. Barbara Turnage

“Looking at gang membership through a variety of lenses — sense of belonging, support system, identity, etc. — I will be focusing on what gang membership gives to the youth, not just the harms of gang membership,” said Turnage.

Street gang membership increased in about 49 percent of law enforcement jurisdictions between 2012 and 2014, according to the 2015 National Gang Report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The same report states that 50 percent of jurisdictions had increased gang-related crime during that period. About a third of jurisdictions report an increase in gang threats to law enforcement.

The symposium is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be provided.

For more information, contact Sherr at 615-898-5673 or michael.sherr@mtsu.edu or Smith at 615-656-3505 or carter.smith@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

2016 gang violence symposium poster web

‘Childbirth and Culture’: Listen to Aug. 8 ‘MTSU On the Record’

Producer/Host: Gina Logue
Guest: Dr. Barbara Turnage

Synopsis: The social work professor explains her research into the impact of cultural differences and values on childbirth educators’ ability to ensure healthy deliveries.

Professor discusses childbirth education on ‘MTSU On the Record’

The tactical tightrope that childbirth educators must walk when trying to help women through pregnancy and labor was the subject of a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Dr. Barbara Turnage

Dr. Barbara Turnage

Click on the cover to visit the magazine website.

Click on the cover above to read the magazine. The article begins on page 18.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Barbara Turnage, a professor in the Department of Social Work, first aired Aug. 8 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their conversation below.

Turnage, along with assistant professor Justin Bucchio and department chair Rebecca Smith, authored the article “Child-birthing Practices on a Global Level” for the April 2016 edition of the “International Journal of Childbirth Education.”

In the article, the professors pointed out the role of childbirth educators in assisting women in making birthing decisions and dealing with cultural and family issues that might affect the health of the mother and child.

“We want them to make the best choice based on this information they have,” Turnage notes during the WMOT interview. “But sometimes, even though the woman might want to go and get the medical services, they might not have the ability to make that decision. And you have to accept that.”

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.

Alumnus’ new book on ADHD is focus of ‘MTSU On the Record’

An MTSU alumnus is taking a nontraditional approach to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder on a recent edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Terry M. Huff

Terry M. Huff

Huff book cover webHost Gina Logue’s interview with Terry M. Huff, author of “Living Well with ADHD,” first aired March 21 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their conversation below.

Huff, a licensed clinical social worker who practices in Nashville, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work at MTSU before working with people with mental health and developmental disabilities in the early years of his career.

Diagnosed with ADHD himself in 1994, Huff turned his private practice to the treatment of others with the disorder.

He came to realize, however, that conventional treatment of ADHD does not make progress any easier.

“I think we need to change our language a little bit and think about concepts that point in a direction like ‘activating your attention’ … and to create conditions where you can sustain your effort and keep the wheels on the track so you can finish what you start,” Huff said.

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.

In the News: Faculty share info on history, interns, Beatles, more

The modernization of a classic Russian building and tips for taking the first steps into the job market are among the topics tackled recently by MTSU personnel in national publications.

Dr. Benjamin Sawyer

Melissa Wald

Angela Pharris

Dr. Benjamin Sawyer, lecturer in the MTSU Department of History, was quoted in the February 2014 edition of Forbes Magazine on the Hotel Ukrainia. The former location of Soviet intrigue in Moscow under Josef Stalin is now the Radisson Royal after a glitzy capitalist makeover. The article is available here.

Angela Pharris, field coordinator for MTSU’s Department of Social Work, and Melissa Wald, internship coordinator for MTSU’s music business program, shared their expertise on how college students can land the internships that are right for them with TheChoiceBlog.com in a Nov. 26, 2013, post. The article may be viewed here.

Dr. David Penn

Dr. Paul Fischer

Dr. Don Roy

Dr. Don Roy, an MTSU professor of marketing, commented for Medill Reports on the promotional potential of a Super Bowl cruise with several commercial tie-ins compared to a 30-second television ad. Read the article here.

Dr. David Penn, director of the MTSU Business and Economic Research Center in the Jones College of Business, shared his insights for an online article on the National Conference of State Legislators website about how lawmakers can help promote job growth. Read the article here.

And Dr. Paul Fischer, a professor of recording industry, participated in a live panel discussion Feb. 5 at o.Canada.com on “How the Beatles Changed the World.” You can read the archived chat conversation here.

Reporters seeking expertise from MTSU personnel, as well as members of the campus community with expertise for media, may contact Gina Logue in the Office of News and Media Relations at 615-898-5081 or via email at gina.logue@mtsu.edu.

MTSU gives national social worker market big boost

MTSU’s partnerships with two other universities are paying off by providing the labor market with even more highly qualified social workers.

The Council on Social Work Education issued initial accreditation for the Mid-TN Collaborative Master of Social Work Program administered by MTSU, Tennessee State University and Austin Peay State University on June 13.

The accreditation is retroactive to 2009 to cover those students who have already begun their degree track.

Dr. Rebecca Smith

Dr. Rebecca Smith, chair of the MTSU Department of Social Work, says the three-institution collaboration for a master’s degree in social work is the first of its kind in the nation.

“The sharing of resources will help to provide education to a wider range and network of students,” Smith said.

It comes at a time when MTSU has the largest undergraduate bachelor’s degree program for social work in the state, and people are clamoring to get in.

“The master’s degree program is designed for the working professional,” said Smith. “All classes are either at night or online.”

Vicki Williams, director of the Social Work Program at Tennessee State University, added that “the demand for advanced generalist social workers within the U.S. labor force is greater than ever with … recent immigration, changes in the economic system and implementation of the Patient and Affordable Health Care Act.”

Both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees require internships in which the student is supervised by a social worker and monitored by a social work faculty member.

“This field work experience occurs in an agency setting, allowing students to combine classroom learning with real-world experience under the supervision of agency personnel and mentored by faculty,” Smith said.

MTSU alumna Yvette White, who obtained her master’s degree in May 2013, is the beneficiary of three of those internships.

Born and reared in Philadelphia, White said she saw many areas of need, including substance abuse, crime and poverty.

Yvette White

As the mother of one son with Down syndrome and another with mental health issues, White said she was inspired by a social worker to enter the profession.

“When she came to my home, she focused on me, and it was very impactful,” White said.

“Social work is really advocating for people, connecting individuals with different services and just being there with empathy and compassion.”

White worked for an agency that advocated for people with developmental disabilities in Philadelphia for seven years before she entered college.

At MTSU, she interned with 100 Black Men of Nashville, the Tennessee Rehabilitation Center in Smyrna and a Nashville facility that helps prostitutes turn their lives around.

White says she will take a licensure exam in October. She then would like to find a job working at a drug and alcohol abuse rehabilitation clinic.

Her prospects are bright. According to the Tennessee Department of Labor, mental health and substance abuse social workers are one of the two hottest careers in the state requiring a master’s degree.

For more information, contact the MTSU Department of Social Work at 615-898-2868 or Dr. Ann Callahan, associate professor and master’s degree program coordinator, at 615-898-2477 or ann.callahan@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu

Shaw-McEwen nominated for ATHENA Award

Dr. Sharon Shaw-McEwen, a former professor in the Department of Social Work at MTSU, is one of the 28 nominees for the 2012 Nashville ATHENA Award.

Shaw-McEwen, who retired from MTSU at the end of the fall 2011 semester, is president and chief executive officer of the Centers for Family Life, a nonprofit organization that provides in-kind professional social services such as family counseling, education and prevention. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Pi Nu Omega chapter, sponsored her nomination.

Dr. Sharon Shaw-McEwen

A native of Humboldt, Tenn., Shaw-McEwen has served as an expert consultant for the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention in Washington, D.C., and provides technical assistance to substance abuse, mental health and educational programs that serve African-American families and children.

Shaw-McEwen holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Bradley University, a master’s degree in social work from the University of Tennessee-Nashville and a doctorate in education from Vanderbilt University with a focus in administrative leadership and human resource development.

In 2001, MTSU presented her with both the John Pleas Distinguished Faculty Award and the Ebony Achievement Faculty Award.

The ATHENA Award and Scholarship Program has honored outstanding Nashville women “for their skills in business, leadership and service to their community” since 1991, since 1991, according to the group’s web page at www.nashvillecable.org.

The statuette will be presented at a gala event scheduled for March 26 at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville.

— Gina K. Logue (Gina.Logue@mtsu.edu)

Secured By miniOrange