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

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

Honors Lecture Series poster

Click on the poster to see a larger PDF version.

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

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

The lecture series ends April 10.

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

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

Dr. Kaylene Gebert

Dr. Kaylene Gebert

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feb. 20 Honors open house targets high-ability prospective students

Most public and private secondary schools are closed for the Presidents’ Day Holiday. MTSU happens to be open.

That’s why the University Honors College and the Office of Admissions host public, private and homeschool students for the annual Presidents’ Day Open House.

John Vile, standing right, the Honors College dean, visits with incoming Buchanan Fellows and their families during the Honors College Presidents' Day Open House in this February 2016 file photo. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

John Vile, standing right, the Honors College dean, visits with incoming Buchanan Fellows and their families during the Honors College Presidents’ Day Open House in this February 2016 file photo. (MTSU file photos by Andy Heidt)

More than 500 prospective students and their parents will be attending the open house from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20, all across the MTSU campus.

For more information about the open house, including the full schedule, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/honors/open-house.php. To register, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/schedule-a-visit/special-events.php. Parking is available in the Rutherford Lot (http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap), where visitors will be shuttled to campus.

The Honors College offers personalized teaching, smaller classes and a competitive edge in a more interactive learning environment for high-ability scholars. Take advantage of this opportunity to meet people who can answer questions and show you the campus and academic departments, including honors students, financial aid and scholarship staff and academic advisers.

“This has been one of our most popular events during the past few years,” said Honors College Dean John Vile.

Vile said the open house comes early enough for “high school sophomores and juniors to get an idea of MTSU before they begin applying for colleges and universities and late enough for seniors who are trying to decide which of the colleges or universities that have accepted them are the best fit.”

Honors College logoFor Vile, who is a political scientist and presidential historian, the open house provides the opportunity “to give my famous Presidents’ Day Quiz,” he added.

Optional events for attendees include a demonstration by the MTSU Mock Trial team, a “mad science” demonstration by physics and astronomy professor Eric Klumpe and tours of campus housing, recording industry, the Center for Innovation in Media, the Mobile Production Lab, Walker Library and aerospace’s air traffic control lab.

Attendees also are welcome to take in the 3 p.m. Honors Lecture Series led by Nashville’s Keel Hunt with The Strategy Group.

For more information, call 615-898-2152.

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

Dr. Eric Klumpe performs a physics demonstration for an audience attending the Honors College Presidents’ Day Open House in this February 2016 file photo.

Dr. Eric Klumpe performs a physics demonstration for an audience attending the Honors College Presidents’ Day Open House in this February 2016 file photo.

Register now for MTSU’s upcoming accelerated Spanish course


MTSU is again offering a breakthrough learning experience during spring break with its accelerated language program that will get participants excited and confident about speaking Spanish.

Registration is open for the five-day program, which will run from 6-9 p.m. March 6-10 at the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building.

The course is offered by the Center for Accelerated Language Acquisition at MTSU. CALA Spanish instructor Brian Roberts said that the course structure is based on brain research to give learners a special interactive experience that results in accelerated knowledge of the language.

Click the image to see class offerings and to register for the 2016 Summer Language Institute.

Click the image to see class offerings and to register for the upcoming five-day accelerated Spanish class.

“The course aims to develop conversational abilities in a fun, low-stress classroom, and you will use movement, songs, games and stories to acquire the language naturally,” Roberts said.

“CALA courses develop participants’ abilities in some of the most commonly used communicative tools. At the end of the course, participants are able to recognize the rhythm of the language and are capable of producing enough language to compose basic communicative needs in Spanish.”

One student who took the course last semester shared this feedback with course organizers: “What I liked most was the laughter and high energy through storytelling. Everyone seemed to build off each other, and we were all excited about learning, which got me excited.”

Discounts are available for MTSU students, alumni, faculty and staff. To register or for more information, including course fees, visit www.mtsu.edu/cala or contact Roberts at brian.roberts@mtsu.edu.

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

VA health leader brings ‘Trusted Leadership’ talk to MTSU campus

Jennifer Vedral-Baron, Tennessee Valley Healthcare System director, spoke on “Trusted Leadership” Jan. 26, in the Simmons Amphitheatre, Room 106, of the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building at MTSU.

Honors College logo cropped

Jennifer Vedral-Baron

Jennifer Vedral-Baron

“This presentation is another example of director Vedral-Baron’s commitment to MTSU and our students,” said Dr. Hilary Miller, director of the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center, one of the co-sponsors along with the University Honors College and the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society.

“Since moving into her new position, the director has already attended a Graduating Veterans Stole Ceremony and been instrumental in providing academic and career opportunities to our students,” Miller added.

“The director’s leadership and military experience as well as her medical background should make the presentation appealing to many groups.”

The event was open to the public.

In 2016, Vedral-Baron retired as a captain after 30 years of active military service with the U.S. Navy. She most recently served as director of the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, where she was awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal.

Daniels Veterans Center logo webDuring her service, she also received the the Legion of Merit Award three times, four Meritorious Service Medals, four Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals and five Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.

Vedral-Baron also holds the distinction of being the only U.S. Navy Hospital commanding officer to have led her teams to five Military Health System Patient Safety Awards.

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners selected her a fellow in 2011, and she also was recognized as a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. She maintains certification as an adult nurse practitioner.

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

As MTSU students and staff members listen, guest lecturer Jennifer Vedral-Baron discusses "Trusted Leadership" from her 30-year military career Jan. 26 in the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building's Simmons Amphitheatre. She is director of the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System. (MTSU photos by Eric Sutton)

As MTSU students and staff members listen, guest lecturer Jennifer Vedral-Baron discusses “Trusted Leadership” from her 30-year military career Jan. 26 in the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building’s Simmons Amphitheatre. She is director of the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System. (MTSU photos by Eric Sutton)

Jennifer Vedral-Baron, right, talks to a group of MTSU students following her "Trusted Leadership" talk Jan. 26 in the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building.

Jennifer Vedral-Baron, right, talks to a group of MTSU students following her “Trusted Leadership” talk Jan. 26 in the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building.

Tennessee Valley Healthcare Director Jennifer Vedral-Baron, top left, and event attendees listen as an MTSU student asks a question following her "Trusted Leadership" talk Jan. 26.

Tennessee Valley Healthcare Director Jennifer Vedral-Baron, top left, and event attendees listen as an MTSU student asks a question following her “Trusted Leadership” talk Jan. 26.

 

‘MTSU On the Record’ takes listeners to ‘Marguerite’s Landing’

An MTSU professor emerita, author of several prize-winning books, discussed her newest publication on a recent edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Dr. June McCash

Dr. June McCash

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. June Hall McCash first aired Jan. 16 on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org. You can listen to their conversation below.

McCash Marguerite cover webMcCash’s latest historical novel is “Marguerite’s Landing,” which is based on the true story of a woman who fled with her family to Jekyll Island in the late 1700s as revolution created social upheaval in her native France.

The book’s protagonist, Marguerite du Bignon, is depicted as a plucky woman who endures setbacks and hardships while trying to create a home in a strange new land.

“She was the only woman, aside from her servants, on the island,” said McCash. “She had to come into a brand new culture she knew nothing about, learn a new language, and, I think, weave her way through a very difficult period of time historically.”

McCash is the author of 13 books, including four novels, eight nonfiction works and a book of poetry. She was named Georgia Author of the Year in 2011 and 2013 for her novels.

WMOT-new web logoA former professor of French in the MTSU Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, McCash is a recipient of both the MTSU Foundation’s Distinguished Research Award and Career Achievement Award. She also was the founding director of the university’s Honors Program, which evolved into the current University Honors College.

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.

Immigration’s role in American history is focus of ‘MTSU On the Record’

The impact of immigration in shaping the American experience is the topic of the next “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Dr. John Vile

Dr. John Vile

Vile immigration book cover webHost Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. John Vile, dean of the University Honors College and a political scientist, will air from 8 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 9, and from 6 to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 15, on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org.

Vile is the editor of “American Immigration and Citizenship: A Documentary History.” In this book, using a mixture of statutes, constitutional provisions, speeches, judicial decisions and interpretive essays, Vile traces changes in immigration policy over the years.

WMOT-new web logoIn the interview, Vile also comments on contemporary attitudes toward immigration stemming from current political controversies such as “sanctuary cities,” where mayors have refused to prosecute undocumented immigrants solely for violating federal immigration laws.

“For all practical purposes, the national government does set immigration policy,” said Vile, “but once they’re here, that does present a little bit different issue, and I think it will be sort of one of the flashpoints that we’ll just have to watch for and see how it’s resolved.”

The fall 2016 Honors College Lecture Series, which focused on “Citizenship, Refugees and Immigration,” featured Vile as one of the presenting scholars.

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.

This circa 1905 photo of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, created by the Detroit Photographic Co. and the focus of countless immigrants’ hopes since it opened in October 1886, is part of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division and is featured on the cover of MTSU political scientist John Vile’s book “American Immigration and Citizenship: A Documentary History.” (photo courtesy of the Library of Congress)

This circa 1905 photo of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, created by the Detroit Photographic Co. and the focus of countless immigrants’ hopes since it opened in October 1886, is part of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division and is featured on the cover of MTSU political scientist John Vile’s book “American Immigration and Citizenship: A Documentary History.” (photo courtesy of the Library of Congress)

MTSU Honors Transfer Fellowship has Feb. 15 application deadline

A special incentive in the form of a $3,500 scholarship for up to four semesters awaits prospective MTSU transfer students who meet the eligibility criteria and apply by the Feb. 15 deadline.

The MTSU Honors College is offering 30 Honors Transfer Fellowship awards, which are patterned after the highly successful Buchanan Fellows Program.

Dr. John Vile

Dr. John Vile

To apply, visit http://mtsu.edu/honors/transfer.php.

Chosen applicants will be a part of the fifth class of transfer students. The transfer fellowships began in 2013. In the previous four years, the Honors College awarded 15 such awards.

“In talking to President Sidney A. McPhee, this is two years after implementation of the Tennessee Promise (free community college tuition),” said John Vile, Honors College dean. “We are anticipating that significantly more community college graduates will be benefiting from that this year.”

The fellowship is open to students who anticipate having completed 60 hours of college or university coursework with a 3.5 GPA or better by the fall of 2017.

Honors College logoRecipients will gain special consideration for support for study abroad and for making presentations at scholarly conferences. Students who are accepted as fellows will complete a common class together during their first semester at MTSU.

For up to six out of state transfer recipients, the award will be $7,000 per semester because they pay higher tuition and fees, Vile said.

For those who do not receive the Honors Transfer Fellowship, MTSU Financial Aid also offers a guaranteed Transfer Promise Scholarship of $1,500 a semester to students with a 3.0 GPA who complete their application by Wednesday, Feb. 15.

Applications by mail must be postmarked by Feb. 15. Applications must include official transcripts of all college and university work, two letters of recommendation from college professors and/or honors administrators and a personal essay.

For more information, call 615-898-2152.

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

MTSU on WGNS: The Founders, security boosts, consumer polls

MTSU faculty and staff took to WGNS Radio recently to share information about recent efforts to boost campus security, a spring break honors course to study the Founding Fathers, and a recap of recent results for our quarterly statewide consumer survey.

The details were shared during the Dec. 19 “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 were as follows:

MTSU faculty and staff appeared Monday, Dec. 19, on WGNS Radio’s “Action Line” program. Pictured are, top left, University Police Chief Buddy Peaster; bottom left, Dr. Tim Graeff, director of the MTSU Office of Consumer Research; and Dr. John Vile, dean of University Honors College. (MTSU photo illustration by Jimmy Hart)

MTSU faculty and staff appeared Monday, Dec. 19, on WGNS Radio’s “Action Line” program. Pictured are, top left, University Police Chief Buddy Peaster; bottom left, Dr. Tim Graeff, director of the MTSU Office of Consumer Research; and Dr. John Vile, dean of University Honors College. (MTSU photo illustration by Jimmy Hart)

• MTSU Police Chief Buddy Peaster discussed recent campus security upgrades, including the creation of “active shooter” pocket guides and installation more surveillance cameras throughout campus.

The university has created and begun distributing an active shooter pocket guide while also increasing video surveillance and announcing plans to install emergency call stations around campus.

The multi-year camera project represents a $1.1 million investment that will allow police to better investigate incidents captured on video as well as better respond to situations in real time. Read more at www.mtsunews.com/active-shooter-guides-cameras.

• Dr. John Vile, dean of the University Honors College and well-respected Constitutional scholar, discussed his spring 2017 Constitutional course that includes a trip with students to Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Vile, a political scientist and native Virginian, will teach the spring 2017 course “Junior Interdisciplinary Seminar: The Constitutional and Political Legacy of America’s Founders.”

During spring break, March 4-11, the class will visit numerous locations in Virginia and the District of Columbia. You can learn more about his plan at www.mtsunews.com/vile-on-the-record-dec2015.

• Dr. Tim Graeff, director of the MTSU Office of Consumer Research in the Jones College of Business, discussed the latest Consumer Outlook Survey that shows more optimism this holiday season.

The Tennessee Consumer Outlook Index soared to 113 from 47 in September. The quarterly survey consists of a series of questions that measure areas such as how consumers feel about the local, state and national economies as well as their personal financial situations and the job market.

When asked about the possible effects of the recent presidential election on the economy, the majority of Tennessee consumers expect that Trump’s victory will have a positive effect on the future of the overall American economy.

Read more and see the full survey report at www.mtsunews.com/tenn-consumer-outlook-dec2016.

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.

In the News: MTSU experts weigh in on election, Obama legacy

MTSU faculty experts recently expressed themselves for national media outlets on several hot button topics, including various election-related issues and Russian perspectives on American politics.

• Kent Syler, assistant professor of political science, commented on the lack of yard signs by political candidates for www.expresstelegraph.com Oct. 13. His views may be read here.

Kent Syler

Kent Syler

Dr. Andrei Korobkov

Dr. Andrei Korobkov

Dr. Andrei Korobkov, professor of political science, wrote an article titled “2016 Presidential Race Reveals the Systemic Crisis in American Society” for www.rethinkingrussia.ru. It was posted on Nov. 14 and is available here.

Korobkov also was interviewed about whether Americans are happy with Donald Trump on the program “Morning Ireland” on Ireland’s RTE Radio 1 on Nov. 11. The podcast can be heard here.

Russia Direct published Korobkov’s comments on President Barack Obama’s legacy in an article titled “Obama’s legacy: Not that bad after all?” on Nov. 24. It may be read here. Russia Direct also published Korobkov’s editorial titled “What Obama’s foreign policy legacy means for Trump” Nov. 25. It is available here.

Dr. John Vile

Dr. John Vile

Dr. John Vile, professor of political science and dean of the University Honors College, appeared on “Inside Politics,” a program on WTVF-TV’s sister channel NewsChannel5+ Nov. 14 to discuss the American presidential election. His analysis may be viewed here.

Vile also provided information Nov. 11 on the transition of power between U.S. presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson for the British Broadcasting Corp. The article is available 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 On the Record’ takes historic road trip to America’s origins

A deeper look at what motivated our Founding Fathers to build a new nation is ahead on the next “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Dr. John Vile

Dr. John Vile

WMOT-new web logoHost Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. John Vile, dean of MTSU’s University Honors College, aired from 6 to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 18, on WMOT-FM/Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org. (Listen to the full interview below)

Vile, a political scientist and native Virginian, will teach the spring 2017 course “Junior Interdisciplinary Seminar: The Constitutional and Political Legacy of America’s Founders.”

During spring break, March 4-11, the class will visit numerous locations in Virginia and the District of Columbia.

The itinerary for the spring break trip includes:

  • Poplar Forest, President Thomas Jefferson’s private retreat in Forest, Virginia.
  • Monticello, Jefferson’s estate, and Ash Lawn, President James Monroe’s home, both in Charlottesville, Virginia.
  • Montpelier, President James Madison’s home, in Orange, Virginia.
  • St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia, where Patrick Henry delivered his famous “give me liberty or give me death” speech in 1775.
  • Several sites in Williamsburg, Virginia, including the College of William and Mary.
  • Mount Vernon, President George Washington’s home, in the Virginia community named for it.
  • Gunston Hall, the Lorton, Virginia, home of George Mason, a delegate to the first Constitutional Convention and the acknowledged “father of the Bill of Rights.”
  • The National Archives and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

“We’re primarily concentrating on the period from 1776 to roughly 1791, you know, some of the early presidents,” said Vile. “We are going to try to integrate some work related to women and African-Americans, who sometimes get overlooked in the period.”

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.

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