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Learn how students are tackling local homelessness on ‘MTSU On the Record’

MTSU students’ efforts to devise a better way for Murfreesboro to help the homeless are the topic of the next “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Dr. Michael Sherr

Dr. Michael Sherr

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Michael Sherr, chair of MTSU’s Department of Social Work, will air from 9:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, and from 6 to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, April 2, on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org.

Sherr and his students are working with the city of Murfreesboro to study the concept of a centralized campus where social service agencies could establish satellite offices, creating a “one-stop” environment for many types of assistance.

WMOT-new web logoCoordinating with the Homeless Alliance of Rutherford County, the MTSU contingent hopes to have a proposal to present to the City Council in May. One graduate student and two undergraduate students have been working with Sherr since January on the project, which is being funded with a $15,000 grant from the city.

The social work majors are gaining valuable internship experience at The Journey Home, 308 W. Castle St., working 20 to 25 hours each week with homeless individuals.

“The problem is getting worse,” said Sherr. “The city is getting bigger … [and] there are enough people, enough stakeholders from different parts of our community that need and want to make something happen.”

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.

MTSU research is focus of annual Scholars Week March 27-April 1

Research, special events and performances are being showcased March 27-April 1 during the annual MTSU Scholars Week, which recognizes the ongoing scholarly efforts and research at the university.

MTSU senior photography major Kirsten Coutts, left, of Russellville, Ark., receives help in flying a drone simulator online from Jacob Andrews, a sophomore aerospace unmanned aircraft systems major, at the Drones iVue table March 27 during the Jones College of Business Scholars Week Business Plan Competition in the Student Union Building. (MTSU photos by Randy Weiler)

MTSU senior photography major Kirsten Coutts, left, of Russellville, Ark., receives help in flying a drone simulator online from Jacob Andrews, a sophomore aerospace unmanned aircraft systems major, at the Drones iVue table March 27 during the Jones College of Business Scholars Week Business Plan Competition in the Student Union Building. (MTSU photos by Randy Weiler)

Colleges, centers and departments hold Scholars Day activities during the week. The universitywide Scholars Day runs from 12:40 to 3:15 p.m. Friday, March 31.

To conclude the week, the Department of Human Science’s textiles, merchandising and design program will hold its annual Garden Party 2017 TXMD Runway Show at 5 p.m. Saturday, April 1, in the Miller Education Center on Bell Street.

Tickets are required and can be purchased through https://tinyurl.com/lksgggq.

For more information and the full schedule, visit www.mtsu.edu/scholarsweek. All events are open to the public.

To find parking, visit http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap. To learn about parking regulations for visitors, visit www.mtsu.edu/parking/visitors.php.

Helping kick events off March 27 are:

  • Dr. Tim Odegard, Murfree Chair of Excellence in Dyslexic Studies at MTSU, speaking at 5:30 p.m. in College of Education Building Room 160.
  • Scholars Week web bannerNoted author Nicholas “Nick” Carr, presenting the Scholars Week keynote adress at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom. His talk is expected to center on the influence of the Internet.
  • A free performance by traditional string musicians Bobby Taylor on fiddle and Ken Perlman on banjo at 8 p.m. in MTSU’s State Farm Lecture Hall, Room S-102, in the Business and Aerospace Building, presented by the Center for Popular Music.

The Strickland Visiting Scholar Program and the MTSU Distinguished Lecturers Fund are sponsoring Carr’s keynote with additional support from the Department of Computer Information Systems, the Department of History, the Office of the Provost, the Office of Research and the College of Liberal Arts.

Faculty and Scholars Week committee member Andrienne Friedli reports the number of posters for the universitywide Scholars Day March 31 “has grown by 25 percent over Scholars Week 2016.”

Performances are scheduled for 11:30 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. March 31 in the area just outside the ballroom.

For more information, call 615-494-7600.

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

MTSU senior organizational communications major Brooke Greene, left, of Knoxville, Tenn., offers faculty member and Scholars Week committee member Andrienne Friedli the opportunity to smell carpet treated to eliminate odors March 27 at the Smells Don't Sell table as part of the Jones College of Business Scholars Week Business Plan Competition in the Student Union.

MTSU senior organizational communications major Brooke Greene, left, of Knoxville, Tenn., offers Dr. Andrienne Friedli a chance to smell carpet treated to eliminate odors March 27 at the “Smells Don’t Sell” table in the Jones College of Business Scholars Week Business Plan Competition in the Student Union. Friedli is an MTSU chemistry professor and Scholars Week committee member.


Noted author Nick Carr helps kick off MTSU Scholars Week March 27

Best-selling author and culture critic Nicholas “Nick” Carr will deliver the MTSU Scholars Week keynote address at 7 p.m. Monday, March 27, in the Student Union Ballroom.

A group of MTSU students will meet and visit with Carr — 2011 Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of New York Times bestselling book “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains” in the general nonfiction category — before his talk.

Nick Carr

Nick Carr

The lecture is open to the public. To find parking and the Student Union, visit http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap.

Scholars Week emphasizes the research, scholarly efforts and collaboration of undergraduate and graduate students and faculty. To learn more about Scholars Week at MTSU, including a complete schedule of events March 27-31, www.mtsu.edu/scholarsweek/index.php.

Carr is a stimulating and thought-provoking speaker on issues related to technology, culture and business, according to his website, www.nicholascarr.com.

In his presentation, Carr will provide an examination of how the Internet influences the brain and its neutral pathways, concluding with a petition for balancing our human and computer interactions.

Dr. Susan Myers-Shirk

Dr. Susan Myers-Shirk

“He’ll be talking about the Internet and how it has changed the way we read, write and think,” said Dr. Susan Myers-Shirk, interim chair in the Department of History. “It’s an ideal keynote lecture for Scholars Week because the Internet has clearly changed how scholars work.”

Myers-Shirk said she and other Scholars Week leaders look forward to Carr’s appearance.

He has spoken to professional and academic audiences around the world, including providing the keynote address at Google’s first Atmosphere conference in London, England; at the Seoul Digital Forum; at Futurecom in Rio de Janiero, Brazil; Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, California; and at MIT, Dartmouth, Harvard, NASA and other schools and institutions.

Carr’s books have been published in 30 countries.

The keynote lecture is presented by the Strickland Visiting Scholar Program and the MTSU Distinguished Lecturers Fund with additional support from the Department of Computer Information Systems, the Department of History, the Office of the Provost, the Office of Research and the College of Liberal Arts.

You can listen to Myers-Shirk discuss Carr’s visit on a recent edition of “MTSU On the Record,” which aired on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org, below.

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

Nick Carr, center, author of "The Shallows" and 2017 MTSU Scholars Week keynote, visits with students Lydia Harris, left, and Matthew Clements. Carr had dinner with history and computer information systems students in the BAS Sun Trust Room. Harris is a master's public history major from Antioch, Calif., while Clements is a senior and CIS major from Mt. Juliet, Tenn. (MTSU photos by Eric Sutton)

Nick Carr, center, author of “The Shallows” and 2017 MTSU Scholars Week keynote, visits with students Lydia Harris, left, and Matthew Clements. Carr had dinner with history and computer information systems students in the BAS Sun Trust Room. Harris is a master’s public history major from Antioch, Calif., while Clements is a senior and CIS major from Mt. Juliet, Tenn. (MTSU photos by Eric Sutton)

MTSU senior Titus Ballentine, left, and freshman Haley O'Neal, right, are shown with Scholars Week keynote speaker and noted author Nick Carr just before a dinner Carr had with computer information systems and history students March 27 in the BAS Sun Trust Room. Both are history majors.

MTSU senior Titus Ballentine, left, and freshman Haley O’Neal, right, are shown with Scholars Week keynote speaker and noted author Nick Carr just before a dinner Carr had with computer information systems and history students March 27 in the BAS Sun Trust Room. Both are history majors.

Siemens officials tour MTSU mechatronics, engineering facilities

Representatives from Siemens and other interested parties visited MTSU March 22, touring the Department of Engineering Technology’s mechatronics and other lab facilities as it considers building on the current partnership.

Dana Soukoup, vice president of Siemens Building Technologies Division in Chicago, Illinois, was joined by fellow Siemens officials Judith Bevels of Murfreesboro and Sara Mould of Nashville; Jimmy Davis of Murfreesboro-based The Davis Groupe; and Keith Hamilton, who retired in 2016 from Bridgestone Americas Inc. and continues to promote mechatronics engineering at all levels.

MTSU junior mechanical engineering technology major Tony Cheatham, left, discusses information about one of two lunar rover entries the Experimental Vehicles Program will have in an upcoming NASA-sponsored world competition March 22 in a Voorheis Engineering Technology building lab. Obsrving are, from left, Dana Soukoup, vice president of Siemens Building Technologies Division; Jimmy Davis of The Davis Groupe; Judith Bevels and Sara Mould of Siemens; and Keith Hamilton, a 2016 Bridgeston Americas retiree who promotes mechatronics engineering at middle school, high school, community college and university levels. (MTSU photos by Randy Weiler)

MTSU junior mechanical engineering technology major Tony Cheatham, left, discusses one of two lunar rover entries the Experimental Vehicles Program will have in an upcoming NASA-sponsored world competition in a Voorheis Engineering Technology building lab March 22. Observing are, from left, Dana Soukoup, vice president of Siemens Building Technologies Division; Jimmy Davis of The Davis Groupe; Judith Bevels and Sara Mould of Siemens; and Keith Hamilton, a 2016 Bridgeston Americas retiree who promotes mechatronics engineering at middle school, high school, community college and university levels. (MTSU photos by Randy Weiler)

Mechatronics engineering is a multidisciplinary field of engineering with a combination of systems in mechanical, electrical, telecommunications, control and computer engineering.

Mechatronics is based on a three-level international certification program created by Siemens, a German engineering company. To date, MTSU is the only Siemens-certified Level 3 four-year mechatronics program in the world.

Engineering Technology Chair Walter Boles led the entourage on the tour of mechatronics and engineering facilities. College of Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Bud Fischer joined them for tours of the new Science Building and just-renovated Davis Science Building.

In a hands-on lab, MTSU graduate assistant Joel Clements of Murfreesboro and junior mechanical engineering technology major Tony Cheatham of Knoxville, Tennessee, shared about the Experimental Vehicles Program in engineering technology.

The group had a business lunch with MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, interim Provost Mark Byrnes and other MTSU officials.

Later, they toured the mechatronics facility at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Smyrna, Tennessee, and met with state officials in Nashville.

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

MTSU junior Tony Cheatham demonstrates how the Experimental Vehicles Program's lunar rover collapses for storage. Department of Engineering Technology graduate assistant Joel Clements, back left, Jimmy Davis of The Davis Groupe, Judith Bevels and Sara Mould of Siemens and Keith Hamilton, a Bridgstone Americas Inc. retiree who promotes mechatronics engineering at all levels, watch and listen March 22 at MTSU. Siemens officials, including vice president of BT Americas Dana Soukoup (not pictured), learned more about MTSU's mechatronics and engineering technology facilities.

MTSU junior Tony Cheatham demonstrates how the Experimental Vehicles Program’s lunar rover collapses for storage. Department of Engineering Technology graduate assistant Joel Clements, back left, Jimmy Davis of The Davis Groupe, Judith Bevels and Sara Mould of Siemens and Keith Hamilton, a Bridgstone Americas Inc. retiree who promotes mechatronics engineering at all levels, watch and listen March 22 at MTSU. Siemens officials, including vice president of BT Americas Dana Soukoup (not pictured), learned more about MTSU’s mechatronics and engineering technology facilities.

Jimmy Davis, left, of the Murfreesboro-based Davis Groupe, shares how his company utilizes MTSU mechatronics graduates March 22 at MTSU. Listening are, from left, Sara Mould and Judith Bevels of Siemens, MTSU Department of Engineering Technology chair Walter Boles and Dava Soukoup, vice president of Siemens Building Technologies Division. Siemens visited MTSU's mechatronics engineering and other facilities.

Jimmy Davis, left, of the Murfreesboro-based Davis Groupe, shares how his company utilizes MTSU mechatronics graduates March 22 at MTSU. Listening are, from left, Sara Mould and Judith Bevels of Siemens, MTSU Department of Engineering Technology chair Walter Boles and Dava Soukoup, vice president of Siemens Building Technologies Division. Siemens visited MTSU’s mechatronics engineering and other facilities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Signs of the times: MTSU ‘flips’ over free tutoring success [+VIDEO]

To spread the word about finals in six weeks and the fact free tutoring is available at MTSU’s Tutoring Spot in the James E. Walker Library, campus Student Success officials threw a party for students Tuesday, March 21.

“MT Flips Over Tutoring” featured university President Sidney A. McPhee, interim Provost Mark Byrnes and other campus leaders flipping signs promoting the Tutoring Spot in the quad in front of the library.

Tutoring is available in more than 200 courses and 9,000 students participated last fall, said Vincent Windrow, vice provost for student success and master of ceremonies.

“Free tutoring is an amazing advantage that we offer to our students,” McPhee said. “It is easy to find, easy to schedule and proven to provide a boost to grades. It’s an opportunity that should be used and used frequently.”

Byrnes explained “the large range of services” available to students as the audience enjoyed cake, cookies and lemonade and took home “MT Flips Over Tutoring” stylus pens and printed material about the options.

Imani Joyner, a 19-year-old sophomore multimedia journalism major from Memphis, Tennessee, said she just discovered the Tutoring Spot and free tutoring by attending the event.

Students wait in line for cake and cookies as MTSU officials hold an "MT Flips Over Tutoring" event in the quad outside the James E. Walker Library March 21. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Students wait in line for cake and cookies as MTSU officials hold an “MT Flips Over Tutoring” event in the quad outside the James E. Walker Library March 21. (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

“I need tutoring,” said Joyner, who is minoring in entrepreneurship. “When finals come around, I’ll be there. We all should take advantage of a great opportunity. Finals will be a good time for everybody to get tutoring help.”

College of Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Bud Fischer, Department of Journalism Chair Greg Pitts and University Counsel Heidi Zimmerman were among the MTSU officials flipping signs for two hours.

The Tutoring Spot is hitting the spot in terms of students’ increased academic success.

An initiative launched last fall, Study Skills and Learning Strategies, is paying dividends, said Cornelia Wills, director in the student success office. Feedback from students led to the tutoring plan.

Students who received tutoring in study skills had significantly higher midsemester grades than those who did not receive tutoring, Wills said. Tutoring Spot topics included time management, note-taking, where and when to study, and memory and learning principles.

The Office of Student Success has been tracking the impact of tutoring, Willis said, and “we are excited about the early indicators.

Collected research information shows the study skills aspect is “one of the highest-attended tutoring sessions” and science-focused tutoring, including biology, chemistry and physics as well as math, had the highest attendance among all disciplines.

Highlights of the impact analysis include:

  • Twenty-six percent more freshmen and 90 percent more juniors made an A when they received study skills tutoring compared to a matched sample of those who did not.
  • Forty percent more sophomores and 26 percent more juniors made a B with study skills compared to counterparts who did not attend study skills tutoring.
  • Fall-to-fall retention rates for students who made use of tutoring “are on an upward spiral,” Wills said. Her statistics revealed retention rates of 97 percent (sophomores) and 86 percent (freshmen) and an overall 83 percent retention rate for all students participating in tutoring, compared to a study of students not receiving tutoring (80 percent sophomores and 70 percent for freshmen).

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

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, right, flips a free tutoring sign as Vincent Windrow, vice provost for Student Success, revs up the crowd attending the “MT Flips Over Tutoring” event March 21 outside the James E. Walker Library.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, right, flips a free tutoring sign as Vincent Windrow, vice provost for student success, revs up the crowd attending the “MT Flips Over Tutoring” event March 21 outside the James E. Walker Library.

Tyesha Manuel, 21, an MTSU junior business administration major from Nashville, Tenn., samples the cake given to students attending the "MT Flips Over Tutoring" March 21 in the quad outside the James E. Walker Library.

Tyesha Manuel, 21, an MTSU junior business administration major from Nashville, Tenn., samples the cake given to students attending the “MT Flips Over Tutoring” March 21 in the quad outside the James E. Walker Library.

MT Flips72

Make reservations by March 24 for MTSU scholarship ‘Equali-TEA’

The American Association of University Women is inviting the community to raise a cup of tea in tribute to equality at a special “Equali-TEA” Tuesday, April 11, at MTSU’s Andrew Woodfin Miller Sr. Education Center.

Click on the image to reserve a place before March 24 at the Equali-TEA event.

Click on the image to reserve a place before March 24 at the Equali-TEA event.

The AAUW’s Murfreesboro chapter is celebrating the economic contributions of women in the workforce at the “Equali-TEA,” set for 4:30 p.m. April 11. The Miller Education Center is located at 503 E. Bell St. in Murfreesboro.

Reservations are required and must be made by Friday, March 24, at this website.

Hats are optional at this high tea to raise money for scholarships for MTSU women students who are returning to college to complete degrees. Attendees can make donations to the scholarship fund at the free public event.

The keynote speaker will be Rebecca Price, president and chief executive officer of the Nashville-based nonprofit organization Chick History.

Rebecca Price

Rebecca Price

MTSU first lady Elizabeth McPhee will deliver the official welcome. The organization also will present former Murfreesboro Mayor Tommy Bragg with its Tempest Award for his work to promote women’s equality during his tenure.

The 2017-2018 recipients of the Ruth Houston Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship and the Butler-Fouts Memorial Graduate Scholarship also will receive their awards at the event.

“The Ruth Houston Memorial Scholarship has provided some financial relief for my family so I can work less,” said Bethany Jackson, a prior recipient.

“It is motivating to see how AAUW lifts others up in their community, and it inspires me to do something great after I graduate.”

Eligible applicants for the Houston scholarship are nontraditional female undergraduate students, age 24 and older, who demonstrate academic promise and financial need and who have successfully completed their freshman year at MTSU.

The Butler-Fouts scholarship is available to female graduate students from underrepresented ethnic or racial groups who demonstrate academic promise and financial needs.

AAUW Mboro logo webButler-Fouts applicants must currently be enrolled in or accepted into an MTSU graduate program. Preference will be given to applicants who are close to completing their degrees.

Co-sponsors include the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students and Timmons Properties Inc.

For more information, contact Dia Cirillo, president of AAUW-Murfreesboro, at 773-677-4238 or President@AAUW-Murfreesboro.org.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

MTSU Experimental Vehicles Program earns national recognition

The Middle Tennessee State University Experimental Vehicles Program has received national acclaim with the 2016 Clips & Clamps Industries Educational Institution Award from the Precision Metalforming Association.

MTSU Experimental Vehicles Program adviser Saeed Foroudastan, left, accepts the 2016 Clips & Clamps Industries Educational Institution Award from company president Jeffery Aznavorian. (Submitted photo)

MTSU Experimental Vehicles Program adviser Saeed Foroudastan, left, accepts the 2016 Clips & Clamps Industries Educational Institution Award from company president Jeffery Aznavorian. (Submitted photo)

The Department of Engineering Technology program, which gives students extensive hands-on experience by creating and assembling vehicles to compete in collegiate competitions, earned the organization’s sole educational recognition in its Awards of Excellence in Metalforming.

Dr. Saeed Foroudastan, adviser for the program and associate dean in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, accepted the award and a $1,500 grant in Las Vegas, Nevada, from Jeffery Aznavorian, president of Clips & Clamps.

“This is a very prestigious award because Precision Metalforming Association is a nationwide organization with more than 900 member companies and represents $137 billion of the metal forming industry in North America,” Foroudastan said.

MTSU students in the EVP program “are devoted to excellence and working as team members to prepare their projects for competition,” Foroudastan added.

The program includes four experimental vehicle projects that divide students into peer-led teams, where they must research, design and manufacture original vehicles. On average, 70 to 80 students per semester participate in the program.

Students use the skills they gain from the program, including problem-solving, innovation and resourcefulness, in their careers in the metal forming industry.

Engineering Technology logoForoudastan said students learn valuable job functions, including tensile forming and bending and shearing, and are exposed to fabricating machinery while they manufacture and develop the experimental vehicles.

Students in the program also must present their design reports and technical work, which allows them to learn communication skills alongside their technical expertise.

MTSU’s NASA lunar rover team placed first nationally and third in an international competition, earning the Safety Award and Neil Armstrong Outstanding Design Award in 2015. That year, the MTSU solar boat team placed second in the nation and earned Outstanding Workmanship, Outstanding Electrical System Design and Outstanding Drive Train awards.

More than 90 percent of MTSU engineering technology students involved with experimental vehicles have a job lined up in the metal forming industry when they graduate or soon thereafter, Foroudastan said, adding that the students are in demand by metal forming industry recruiters because they need less training and have more knowledge and problem-solving ability learned in the program.

The MTSU program receives financial support and mentoring from companies in the industry.

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

MTSU lunar rover drivers Zack Hill, left, and Nichole Wanamaker pedal toward the finish line at the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge in Huntsville, Ala., in this April 2015 file photo. MTSU placed third in international competition and was best in the U.S. (Submitted photo)

MTSU lunar rover drivers Zack Hill, left, and Nichole Wanamaker pedal toward the finish line at the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge in Huntsville, Ala., in this April 2015 file photo. MTSU placed third in international competition and was best in the United States at the event. (Submitted photo)

MTSU debate team hosted Irish champions for March 21 exhibition

MTSU’s Blue Raider Debate team again hosted the Irish Times National Champions for a friendly rhetorical exhibition as the team continues an impressive season that has led to top finishes around the region.

Debating the topic of whether university education should be free, this year’s exhibition with the three-member Irish team from University College Dublin’s Literary and Historical Society took place at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, in the State Farm Lecture Hall of the Business and Aerospace Building.

The event was free and open to the public.

Dr. Pat Richey, MTSU Debate coach, right, welcomes members of the Irish Times National Debate Champions Dara Kennan, seated left, Asling Tully, and Leah Morgan prior to their debate against members of the MTSU Debate team. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Dr. Pat Richey, MTSU Debate coach, right, welcomes members of the Irish Times National Debate Champions Dara Kennan, seated left, Asling Tully, and Leah Morgan prior to their debate against members of the MTSU Debate team. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU debaters Skye Irish, a junior from Rockwood, Tennessee; Christopher Cowherd, a freshman from Marietta, Georgia; and Tristan Horn, a freshman from Pleasant View, Tennessee, debated the Irish team of Aisling Tully, Dara Keenan and Leah Morgan.

The Irish team’s MTSU visit is part of its U.S. tour that includes stops at several other universities.

MTSU also hosted the Irish Times champions in 2015. This year’s visit comes after the Blue Raider debate team’s stretch of successes since November 2016.

The MTSU team has competed in five tournaments, including a win in the Southeast Debate Tournament against the best team in the region.

“They have become the No. 1 debate team in Tennessee since the 1980s,” says debate team coach Patrick Richey, director of forensics at MTSU.

Dr. Patrick Richey

Dr. Patrick Richey

“Tennessee is the most competitive state in the nation,” Richey adds. “They compete in individual as well as team events and also public speaking events. They’re even breaking into forensics and have done really, really well.”

MTSU debate team member Skye Irish says that being on the team will help her with her future endeavors, which include law school.

“It doesn’t matter what views you have,” she says. “Debate is unique and welcoming, and we do as much as we can to help anyone out.”

“Debate team has been the most stable part of my college career,” says MTSU senior Alex Lempin, who serves as the team’s captain of individual events. “I have become a better public speaker, and it has helped me with my interview skills and to really think critically.”

“We have done really well in our team events and our individual event,” Lempin adds. “We made our presence known regionally and statewide and have placed at both levels.”

MTSU’s Blue Raider Debate team has about 15 to 20 active members who represent a variety of majors from political science to communications to religious studies. Team members say they hope to continue their success throughout the 2017 season.

For more information about the debate team, visit www.mtsu.edu/debate, or contact Richey at Patrick.Richey@mtsu.edu.

— Faith Few (news@mtsu.edu)

Dara Keenan, left, of the Irish Times National Debate Champions, asks a question during the first rebuttal speech as his teammates Aisling Tully, center, and Leah Morgan watch during a debate against members of the MTSU Debate Team. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Dara Keenan, left, of the Irish Times National Debate Champions, asks a question during the first rebuttal speech as his teammates Aisling Tully, center, and Leah Morgan watch during a debate against members of the MTSU Debate Team. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Christopher Cowherd, a freshman member of the MTSU Debate team, delivers his address as teammates Tristan Horn, freshman, seated left, and Skye Irish, a junior, watch. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Christopher Cowherd, a freshman member of the MTSU Debate team, delivers his address as teammates Tristan Horn, freshman, seated left, and Skye Irish, a junior, watch. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Leah Morgan of the Irish Times National Debate Champions speaks during the March 21 exhibition debate against MTSU Debate regarding the topic of whether university education should be free. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Leah Morgan of the Irish Times National Debate Champions speaks during the March 21 exhibition debate against MTSU Debate regarding the topic of whether university education should be free. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU students urged to attend MT Engage portfolio workshop March 21

MTSU students have a golden opportunity to learn more about how to maximize the MT Engage e-portfolio process by attending a March 21 workshop on campus.

Entitled “The Portfolio Process,” the free workshop begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, in Room 160 of the College of Education Building. Light refreshments will be served at 5:30 p.m.

The presentation will be given by Dr. Melissa Peet, director of integrative learning and knowledge management at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business.

Dr. Melissa Peet

Dr. Melissa Peet

Dr. Mary S. Hoffschwelle

Dr. Mary Hoffschwelle

Peet, who has worked with a variety of higher education, nonprofit and business institutions, has conducted research that focuses on understanding the types of knowledge and learning methods that support students in becoming effective leaders, entrepreneurs and change agents.

MT Engage, the university’s latest Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) to improve student learning, 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.

MT Engage logo-webThe motto of MT Engage is “engage academically, learn exponentially, showcase yourself.” A key aspect of the initiative is an e-Portfolio created by students throughout their academic careers that will serve as an important tool for students in marketing themselves toward a career or graduate degree.

“We are very excited to bring Dr. Peet to campus because her work at the University of Michigan was one of the models for MT Engage,” said Dr. Mary Hoffschwelle, faculty fellow director of MT Engage and a history professor. “Students who come to her presentation will acquire new tools for meaningful learning that they can apply in their classes and toward their professional development.”

Peet’s presentation will show students how they can: distinguish between different types of knowledge and learning and identify how these affect day-to-day life; ask questions to tap their own and others’ hidden sources of strength, passion and purpose; and document their purpose, strengths and learning in ways to showcase their abilities and increase employability.

The presentation is being sponsored by the Distinguished Lecture Fund, Jennings A. Jones College of Business, College of Education, Office of Student Success, and MT Engage.

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.

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)

‘Creating Global Change’ is focus of Gender Studies Conference March 23-25

Compelling conversations, artistic expressions and explorations of important issues are on the agenda of MTSU’s 12th biennial Women’s and Gender Studies Interdisciplinary Conference.

WGS conf 2017 header

Click on the graphic to see a PDF of the complete conference agenda.

With the theme of “Creating Global Change,” the March 23-25 conference on the second floor of the MTSU Student Union will attract scholars in women’s, gender and sexuality studies from around the world.

Academic experts hailing from Germany, Jordan, Canada, China, Bangladesh, Nigeria, India and United Arab Emirates are slated to present their research.

“The conference theme and emphasis on social movements is appropriate in these political times when many women believe that it is our season to lead and to have our voices heard as we redirect the political agenda of our country, and, indeed, of the world,” said Dr. Vicky MacLean, director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at MTSU.

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

Included on the conference agenda are the keynote address, a spoken-word art performance, an empowerment workshop and the screening of a documentary on sexual shaming.

Urvashi Vaid

Urvashi Vaid

Attorney and LGBT+ activist Urvashi Vaid will deliver the keynote address, “Irresistible Revolution: Understanding the LGBT Movement Today,” from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 23, in Ballroom A, B and C.

Wagatwe Wanjuki

Wagatwe Wanjuki

Andrea Gibson

Andrea Gibson

Vaid will sign copies of her book “Irresistible Revolution: Confronting Race, Class and the Assumptions of LGBT Politics” for an hour after her talk.

Spoken word artist Andrea Gibson will deliver a performance on Thursday at 3 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. in Ballroom A, B and C. Gibson’s poetry and her most recent book, “Pansy,” balance themes of love, gender, politics, sexuality, illness, family and forgiveness with an exploration of what it means to heal.

Feminist blogger and anti-violence advocate Wagatwe Wanjuki will facilitate a workshop, “Beyond Hashtags: Using New Media to Combat Campus Rape Culture,” from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, March 24, in Ballroom C.

Wanjuki is a founding co-organizer of the “Know Your IX ED ACT NOW” campaign, which works to hold schools accountable for protecting students’ right to a violence-free education.

The documentary film “UnSlut” will be screened from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday in Ballroom C. The motion picture examines sexual bullying and the usage of the word “slut” as an insult, as well as the resulting ramifications. A discussion will follow the screening.

The conference is free to MTSU faculty, staff, and students. All of the featured conference events are free and open to the public.

For more information about the 2017 conference, visit www.mtsu.edu/womenstu/conference or call the Women’s and Gender Studies Program office at 615-898-5910.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

MTSU students getting the message about April 3-14 priority registration

Last fall, MTSU students received a friendly reminder from McCallie Dining and Raider Zone cashiers and servers that it was time to register for spring semester classes.

Those same smiling faces may be at it again as it’s almost time for students to register for summer 2017 and fall 2018 classes.

MT Dining cashier June Campbell, left, checks with a trio of MTSU students, asking if they have taken care of their priority registration, which runs Nov. 15-18.

MT Dining’s June Campbell, left, and other cashiers, food service personnel and academic advisers will pitch summer and fall class priority registration, which runs April 3-14, to MTSU students. (MTSU file photo by Randy Weiler)

Priority registration will be April 3-14. Students can access the current MTSU Registration Guide here.

“Dining staff were so helpful last year; they were professional, collegial and their assistance is much appreciated,” said Dr. Rick Sluder, vice provost for student success and dean of the University College.

“We have received several comments from colleagues from across the country about the work going on at MTSU to involve all areas of campus to change the culture about the importance of early registration for the next semester,” Sluder added. “They especially appreciated our engagement of dining staff in this endeavor.”

Sluder said other methods of providing friendly reminders about registration include university residence halls staff, advisers and digital signage in advising centers and the James E. Walker Library.

Tyler Henson, assistant director in the Scheduling Center in the Student Services and Admissions Center, said priority registration for summer and fall is crucial for currently enrolled students because they can register ahead of thousands of new incoming first-year and transfer students.

“Those who wait risk losing their seats as early as the Monday after priority registration, when the new students can register for summer courses,” Henson said, “so it’s in their best interest to register at their assigned time and not wait until August, or even May, to sign up for fall classes.”

Dr. Richard Sluder

Dr. Richard Sluder

Advisers have been working since the fall 2016 semester began to help students prioritize having a plan, mapping their degree progress and staying on track, Sluder said.

“Part of this educational process is to encourage students to get their courses set by taking advantage of priority registration,” he added. “MTSU’s complete focus on the student, keeping them on track and facilitating their success, is what has made a difference and brought the university national prominence.”

Sluder said MTSU makes a special effort to inform students about summer classes  because they can enroll in summer 2017 classes when they enroll for fall 2018.

Organizers will provide a variety of giveaways, including fans, flying discs, T-shirts and cups, all containing summer school messaging.

“Students who attend summer school have higher rates of degree completion and finish their degrees quicker than students who do not attend summer,” Sluder said.

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

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