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Professor examines inmates’ grief, mortality on next ‘MTSU On the Record’

The next “MTSU On the Record” radio program will look at how older inmates deal with the deaths of friends and relatives as well as their own mortality.

Dr. Ron Aday

Dr. Ron Aday

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Ron Aday, a professor of sociology, will air at the program’s new weekday and time from 9:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, and replay from 6 to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org.

Aday is co-author of “Older Prisoners’ Experiences of Death, Dying and Grief Behind Bars,” which was published in the September 2016 edition of the Howard Journal of Crime and Justice. (You can read the report at this link.)

The report paints a grim portrait of a rapidly aging inmate population who often dare not give expression to their feelings when they learn that a loved one is dead.

WMOT-new web logoWhile some fear becoming targets if they show any emotional vulnerability, the report notes, others try to come to grips with the realization they might not get the health care they need as they approach the end of their own lives.

“When I started studying this decades ago, we didn’t have 30,000 or 40,000 people that were over age 50,” said Aday. “Now it’s almost 300,000, and in another five years or so we’re going to have a half a million people over age 50, inmates that have three or four chronic illnesses.”

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.

VSA Tennessee’s Young Soloist Competition set for Feb. 22 at MTSU

VSA Tennessee is excited to introduce six young individuals competing in vocal and instrumental music at its Feb. 22 Young Soloist Competition at MTSU.

The annual event will last from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, in the Hinton Music Hall of the Wright Music Building on MTSU’s campus. Tickets are $5 at the door, and those age 13 and younger will be admitted free.

Competitors are vying to represent the state of Tennessee in the International Young Soloist Competition at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts later this year.VSA national logo web

The musicians performing at MTSU are part of VSA Tennessee, the state organization on arts and disability that was established in 2001 on the MTSU campus. Students in MTSU professor Lori Kissinger’s Organizational Communication in Communities EXL Class are once again handling logistics for this year’s event.

The statewide event is open to any vocalist or instrumentalist under the age of 25 with any form of disability. In addition, bands and musical groups can apply as long as one of the members of the group has a disability, according to the vsatn.org website. The state contest is part of an international competition, which will be held May 25 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and will feature winners from across the nation.

Lori Kissinger

Lori Kissinger

Laura Dodd

Laura Dodd

JP Williams, country music artist

JP Williams

Sen. Jim Tracy

Sen. Jim Tracy

Hosts for the state contest include state Sen. Jim Tracy as well as VSA’s International Young Soloist 2003 and 2004 winner, Laura Dodd, who will perform a song. Dodd has shared stages with some of country music’s best, including George Jones, Travis Tritt, Rascal Flatts, Patty Loveless, Bruce Hornsby, Josh Turner and Ben Vereen.

The Young Soloist event will also feature Nashville singer/songwriter JP Williams as a special guest for the night. Williams has built his solo artist resume, including openers for Charlie Daniels, Ricky Skaggs, Randy Travis and Jo Dee Messina, as well as a headliner spot for a college tour singing his original tunes for students throughout the northeastern U.S.

The 2016-17 Tennessee VSA Young Soloist program is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Diane and Dr. David Black and the First Tennessee Foundation as well as fundraising efforts of the Kissinger’s fall 2016 and spring 2017 ORCO 3250 classes.

For more information about VSA Tennessee, visit www.vsatn.org or contact Kissinger at userk7706@comcast.net or 615-210-8819.

— Jessica Allen, jlh2gd@mtmail.mtsu.edu

VSA Tennessee will choose the top performers from among the six young individuals competing in vocal and instrumental music at its Feb. 22 Young Soloist Competition at MTSU. (Submitted photo)

VSA Tennessee will choose the top performers from among the six young individuals competing in vocal and instrumental music at its Feb. 22 Young Soloist Competition at MTSU. (Submitted photo)

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.

MTSU student shows True Blue leadership at statewide level

MTSU student Nick Lembo joined over 500 other students representing Tennessee colleges and universities this past fall at the legislative chambers of the State Capitol in Nashville to share ideas and opinions, all while getting the opportunity to learn how the government works.

Originally from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the junior political science/pre-law major served as a delegate to the Tennessee Intercollegiate Student Legislature. TISL “is a forum for the top echelon of the state’s campus leaders to exchange ideas, express their opinions and learn how government works,” according to its website.

Lembo represented MTSU and MTSU’s Student Government Association by being elected the TISL’s Speaker of the House.

MTSU student Nick Lembo, shown here, joined over 500 other students representing Tennessee colleges and universities this past fall at the legislative chambers of the State Capitol in Nashville as a delegate to the Tennessee Intercollegiate Student Legislature. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU student Nick Lembo, shown here, joined over 500 other students representing Tennessee colleges and universities this past fall at the legislative chambers of the State Capitol in Nashville as a delegate to the Tennessee Intercollegiate Student Legislature. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Lembo said he was humbled to be elected by his peers. He was required to give a speech outlining his qualifications, experience and who he is as a person. His campaign platform centered on consistency and core values.

“My first experience was groundbreaking,” he said. “I became familiarized with the process of debating, sponsoring legislation and the duties of being an elected official.”

Lembo got involved in TISL during his sophomore year, when he was encouraged by another student to see what it was all about. The organization strives to give students a better understanding of how government procedures are handled. At a student level, responsibilities of leadership, parliamentary procedure and logical arguments of bipartisan debate are discussed and practiced.

Dr. Danny Kelley

Dr. Danny Kelley

Lembo serves as a committee chairman for internal affairs in the SGA, and he knows that the experiences he had with TISL in November 2016 will help him with any obstacle he may face while holding a leadership position in the SGA.

“SGA is a driving force for learning about politics and law. It teaches students how to utilize those skills to make the most of their TISL experience,” said Dr. Danny Kelley, SGA faculty adviser and assistant vice president for student affairs.MTSU SGA Logo web

“Anyone can make an impact. Attending TSIL has opened my eyes to the realities current politicians and citizens face,” he said. “I encourage you to research a current problem, reach out to others for their opinion, find a solution and present it.”

Lembo is exemplifying his True Blue spirit while attending MTSU, also pursuing a philosophy minor. His future endeavors include law school so he can make a change in people’s lives through pen and paper.

“As it’s often said, it’s not about the letters on the paper as much as it is about the people behind the letters,” he said.

For more information about MTSU’S SGA and how to get involved, visit www.mtsu.edu/sga. For more information on the TISL, visit www.tislonline.org.

— Faith Few, student writer (news@mtsu.edu)

MTSU unveils ‘Science Corridor’ with renovated science buildings [+VIDEO]

MTSU geosciences students feel like they attend another university. Students in the nationally acclaimed Forensic Institute for Research and Education, physics and astronomy, and mechatronics engineering programs love their expanded laboratory and classroom spaces.

With a grand reopening Wednesday, Feb. 15, the university publicly unveiled Davis Science Building and Wiser-Patten Science Hall, which underwent renovations totaling $20 million to $25 million the past two years.

To accompany the $147 million Science Building that opened in fall 2014, MTSU now possesses some of the finest science facilities — being branded as the Science Corridor of Innovation — in the South and nation.

University leaders say the renovations of Wiser-Patten Science Hall, which opened in 1932, and Davis Science Building, which opened in 1968, will add to MTSU’s stature in research, help recruit students and faculty and boost entrepreneurial efforts and future job placement for undergraduate and graduate students.

“With these renovations, we now have what I consider some of the best science facilities in the country, offering students a wide variety of innovative programs, research spaces and learning environments,” said MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee.

Students and faculty have gained about 110,000 square feet of science space. Wiser-Patten maintained its historic look and has refurbished front steps, while planners and construction crews created additional natural lighting and kept much of the original wood floors.

The Strobel Connector and other areas will provide more collaborative space for students and faculty. Both have first-class labs, and many flat-screen televisions will add to the learning experience

McPhee said the two “magnificent structures, restored and improved to a state far beyond the condition they enjoyed in their former prime, join the jewel of our campus — the 250,000-square-foot Science Building that houses our biology and chemistry departments, as well as home to many of our key research laboratories.”

Noting that he’s extremely pleased with the work performed by Turner Construction Co., McPhee told the crowd that the company has agreed to sponsor the “Great Tennessee Eclipse Event” this summer that “will give students from area schools a chance to see these buildings up close, engage with our faculty and see a once-in-a-lifetime event. Vice president and general manager John Gromos represented Turner at the ceremony.

Dr. Robert “Bud” Fischer, College of Basic and Applied Sciences dean, said he’s ecstatic about the present and future.

“When you talk about the Science Innovation Corridor, I think of it as science, but science in a broader sense,” Fischer said, adding that the corridor includes James E. Walker Library, with all of its science holdings and Dean Bonnie Allen’s implementation of the new Makerspace area, and continues to the John Bragg Media and Entertainment Building, home to recording industry, “where music is an art, but there is also the science of music.”

Members of the Strobel family and MTSU staff and administrators watch as university President Sidney A. McPhee, left, joins Department of Physics and Astronomy chair Ron Henderson, College of Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Bud Fischer, Turner Construction Co. VP and general manager John Gromos and MTSU interim provost Mark Byrnes to cut the ribbon on the front steps of the newly renovated Wiser-Patten Science Hall Feb. 15. (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

Members of the Strobel family and MTSU staff and administrators watch as university President Sidney A. McPhee, left, joins Department of Physics and Astronomy chair Ron Henderson, College of Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Bud Fischer, Turner Construction Co. VP and general manager John Gromos and MTSU interim provost Mark Byrnes to cut the ribbon on the front steps of the newly renovated Wiser-Patten Science Hall Feb. 15. (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

Interim Provost Mark Byrnes said the “renovation of these historic buildings will enable them to continue to be centers of scientific learning.”

“As interim provost, I am excited about the learning that will happen in these newly refurbished spaces,” Byrnes added. “As an MTSU alumnus who took his required science courses there around 1980, I am excited about the buildings looking so good in 2017.”

Dr. Hugh Berryman, nationally recognized director of the Forensic Institute for Research and Education, said FIRE’s staff and students are very pleased to have space in Wiser-Patten.

“We are especially excited about our new forensic anthropology laboratory, which provides an area to consult with law enforcement and medical examiners on forensic skeletal cases,” he said. “It also provides the space to educate students in osteology and forensic anthropology techniques using our newly acquired skeletal collection.

Berryman noted that the space will facilitate student research projects by providing technical equipment, including an X-ray fluorescent analyzer, surgical microscope with digital photographic equipment and microscribe digitizer. The proximity of the research laboratory to the smart classroom will promote training of MTSU students as well as presentations to area middle and high school students, he said.

For Department of Geosciences chair Warner Cribb, the difference between their space in Kirksey Old Main to their new home in the renovated Davis Science Building is like night and day.

“Our students feel like they are going to school at a different university,” he said. “It gives them a sense of community.”

Physics and astronomy students and faculty adapted quickly to their space and the fact they are now in one building: Wiser-Patten.

The crowd attending the Feb. 15 grand reopening ceremony in the new Strobel Lobby for MTSU’s Davis Science Building and Wiser-Patten Science Hall listens as MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee discusses the completion of the work by Turner Construction Co.

The crowd attending the Feb. 15 grand reopening ceremony in the new Strobel Lobby for MTSU’s Davis Science Building and Wiser-Patten Science Hall listens as MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee discusses the completion of the work by Turner Construction Co.

“Our space nearly doubled,” said Dr. Ron Henderson, chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. “Our teaching labs and faculty research labs are in one building.

“We are happy with all the dedicated student study areas. … About 40 giant windows were unbricked, bringing in natural light. This completely changed what the building feels like.”

Advising space for the College of Basic and Applied Sciences also increased immensely, officials said. Fermentation science, a new School of Agribusiness and Agriscience program, has featured space.

With a gift from presenting sponsor Turner Construction, MTSU and the Department of Physics and Astronomy will host the Great Tennessee Eclipse Event Monday, Aug. 21. Thousands of pairs of safety glasses with the Turner logo will be given to every student in Rutherford and surrounding counties.

The solar eclipse will offer a rare view of nearly 100 percent across the Midstate, including Nashville and Murfreesboro. Schools from the region will be invited to campus to view the eclipse and visit the science buildings.

Tours of the Davis and Wiser-Patten facilities and the College of Basic and Applied Sciences advising office followed the program, which included recognizing the family of Dr. Eugene Strobel, former associate professor in biology. Professor Emerita Katherine Strobel and their daughters Amy, Jane and Mary Ann Strobel attended the event in the Strobel Lobby.

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

Holding special eclipse glasses, MTSU Department of Physics and Astronomy chair Ron Henderson explains the university’s planned Aug. 21 ”Great Tennessee Eclipse Event” to the audience attending the Feb. 15 grand reopening ceremony for the Davis Science Building and Wiser-Patten Science Hall.

Holding special eclipse glasses, MTSU Department of Physics and Astronomy chair Ron Henderson explains the university’s planned Aug. 21 ”Great Tennessee Eclipse Event” to the audience attending the Feb. 15 grand reopening ceremony for the Davis Science Building and Wiser-Patten Science Hall.

John Gromos, vice president and general manager of Turner Construction Co., discusses the construction partnership with MTSU and the company's sponsorship of the university's "solar eclipse event" Aug. 21. His company built the Science Building and completed the renovations for Davis Science Building and Wiser-Patten Science Hall.

John Gromos, vice president and general manager of Turner Construction Co., discusses the construction partnership with MTSU and the company’s sponsorship of the university’s “solar eclipse event” Aug. 21. His company built the Science Building and completed the renovations for Davis Science Building and Wiser-Patten Science Hall.

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

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)

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)

Daniels Center’s Transitioning Home will link student vets, jobs [+VIDEO]

Expanding the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center will further help veterans — on campus and in the community — in making the transition from the military to civilian life.

MTSU held a ribbon-cutting for the Daniels Center Veterans Transitioning Home Tuesday, Feb. 14, in Keathley University Center Room 316, thanks to repurposed office space donated by MTSU’s Division of Student Affairs. Activities during the event also took place in KUC Theater and the Daniels Center in KUC 124.

The nearly 600-square-foot Veterans Transitioning Home facility will allow Shane Smith, interim employer search agent, and recent MTSU graduate and transition manager Sean Martin to match veterans and other MTSU students with prospective employers. Smith and Martin also are veterans.

If student veterans’ matches don’t fit, they will collaborate with the MTSU Career Development Center to help land jobs for other MTSU students.

The new addition ties in to the center’s “E” mission — enroll student veterans and family members, encourage them while at MTSU, assist with employment, educate the university community and expand the veteran-education knowledge base, officials said.

“The annex we open today is the next logical step in that philosophy of proactive service for our student veterans,” university President Sidney A. McPhee said.

MTSU officials cut the ribbon Feb. 14 for the Daniels Center Transitioning Home office to assist student veterans and others. Celebrating the expansion are, from left, center director Dr. Hilary Miller; MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee; The Journey Home Project co-founder David Corlew; Tennessee Higher Education Commission Executive Director Mike Krause; Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs Director Many-Bears Grinder; Keith Huber, MTSU senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives; and Ed Hardy with The Journey Home Project. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

MTSU officials cut the ribbon Feb. 14 for the Daniels Center Transitioning Home office to assist student veterans and others. Celebrating the expansion are, from left, center director Dr. Hilary Miller; MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee; The Journey Home Project co-founder David Corlew; Tennessee Higher Education Commission Executive Director Mike Krause; Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs Director Many-Bears Grinder; Keith Huber, MTSU senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives; and Ed Hardy with The Journey Home Project. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

“Through the generosity of Mr. (Charlie) Daniels and The Journey Home Project, and a grant given to MTSU by Gov. (Bill) Haslam and Mike Krause, this additional space will be the bridge between our student veterans and businesses who want to hire graduates with strong academic credentials and proven leadership abilities,” McPhee added.

Krause, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and a veteran himself as a member of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, has made a number of visits to MTSU since Haslam named him to lead THEC in 2016.

“Today’s dedication of the Daniels Veterans Transitioning Home is another tangible step by MTSU to support our veterans and military connected students,” Krause said. “As we continue to find ways to serve those who have served the country, MTSU’s efforts are an example to the rest of the nation.”

Dr. Hilary Miller, director of the Daniels Center, said the new office area is courtesy of Dr. .Deb Sells, vice president of student affairs and vice provost for enrollment and academic services.

The additional space “is a wonderful gift from Dr. Sells,” said Miller, referring to the room formerly used by College of Basic and Applied Sciences advisers.

“We also want retirees to know they, too, can come here and we will help them transition to civilian life … even if they are not an MTSU student.”

Keith M. Huber, senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives, and David Corlew with The Journey Home Project also spoke at the event.

“Once they achieve their degree, what do they do in their next chapter?” Huber said. “This will assist veterans in their transition. It serves the community and businesses.”

Musician Charlie Daniels is chairman of the Journey Home board. Through the veterans’ endeavor, he and his wife, Hazel, have donated $125,000 to the MTSU veterans center.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, shown at far left, is among the front-row dignitaries listening to a speaker during the Daniels Center Veterans Transitioning Home event in the Keathley University Center Theater Feb. 14.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, shown at far left, is among the front-row dignitaries listening to a speaker during the Daniels Center Veterans Transitioning Home event in the Keathley University Center Theater Feb. 14.

“This is a wonderful experience,” Corlew said. “It’s Valentine’s Day and there’s a room full of love and compassion. The music was unbelievable. … This is the final piece, to take a veteran, help them, be there and let them know somebody cared. This is the journey. We want them to continue the journey.”

Operation Song co-founder Bob Regan and Cory Fischer performed veteran-inspired music, and MTSU senior Mary Vaughan sang the national anthem.

Representing Quilts of Valor, Jill Shaver, Janice Lewis and presenter Ginger Fondren gave handmade quilts to MTSU alumnus Terry “Max” Haston, adjutant general for the Tennessee National Guard; Jennifer Vedral-Baron, director of the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; and Krause.

Attendees also included Many-Bears Grinder, Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs commissioner, and numerous VA officials.

Daniels Veterans Center logo webTwo offices, a conference room and a reception room with two computers for students are part of the room’s configuration.

The 2,600-square-foot Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center opened on the first floor of the KUC in November 2015. It is a one-stop shop for MTSU’s approximately 1,000 student veterans and family members.

MTSU has the largest dedicated space for veterans on a Tennessee campus. Staff members assist student veterans with the transition into college, academic plans, career goals, G.I. Bill benefits and counseling needs.

To learn more about the center, its services and resources, visit www.mtsu.edu/military or call 615-904-8347.

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

Speaker Mike Krause, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, gestures while making a point as he addresses the audience while attending the MTSU Daniels Center Transitioning Home event Feb. 14 in the KUC Theater.

Speaker Mike Krause, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, gestures while providing remarks at the MTSU Daniels Center Transitioning Home event Feb. 14 in the KUC Theater.

Shane Smith, left, swaps business cards with visitors from the corporate world attending the ribbon-cutting for the Daniels Center Veterans Transitioning Home Feb. 14 in KUC Room 316. Smith is interim employer search agent.

Shane Smith, left, swaps business cards with visitors attending the ribbon-cutting for the Daniels Center Veterans Transitioning Home Feb. 14 in KUC Room 316. Smith is the Daniels Center’s interim employer search agent.

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