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MTSU recognizes four as top ‘Employees of the Year’

MTSU honored four of its top employees during a special Employee Recognition Award Reception held Wednesday, April 23, in the James Union Building.

(MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

(MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Honored were (above, left to right) Technical/Service Employee of the Year Tammy Hughes, Secretarial/Clerical Employee of the Year Irma Mae Melton, Administrative Employee of the Year Samantha Cantrell and Classified Employee of the Year Jason Pankey.

Hughes is key shop coordinator in Building Services; Melton is secretary for the Department of Electronic Media Communication; Cantrell is a proposal development specialist in the Office of Research Services; and Pankey is a shipping and receiving clerk in the U.S. Post Office inside Keathley University Center.

The winners, who received engraved crystal awards and monetary gifts for their work excellence and commitment to making MTSU and its students successful, were chosen from nominations made by their fellow university employees during the 2013-14 academic year.

Hilary Miller, manager for recruitment and resources for the College of Liberal Arts and chair of the employee recognition committee, shared some of the comments from the nomination forms, with honorees described as “always prompt and pleasant” (Hughes), “always has a positive attitude” (Pankey), “has worked tirelessly to promote the success of faculty” (Cantrell), and “goes way over and beyond to assist students in every way” (Melton).

For more information about MTSU’s Employee Recognition Programs, or to nominate an administrative, secretarial/clerical, classified or technical/service co-worker for an award, visit www.mtsu.edu/hrs/relations/recog.php.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Earn credits at May 1 Accounting Alumni Appreciation Day

The 23rd annual Accounting Alumni Appreciation Day at Middle Tennessee State University will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 4:50 p.m. Thursday, May 1, in the State Farm Lecture Hall of the Business and Aerospace Building.

The event targets those interested in accounting, taxation and computer training. The fee will be $125 for MTSU alumni and $175 for all others. Net proceeds will be earmarked for accounting scholarships. Lunch will be provided in the Student Union.Dept of Accounting logo web

Participants will earn eight hours of Continuing Professional Education credit and have the opportunity to visit with alumni and former professors and see how the campus is changing. Seating is limited, so participants should register early at www.mtsu.edu/accounting/appreciation_day.php.

Scheduled speakers and topics include:

  • MTSU alumnus Phil Williams, an award-winning investigative reporter with NewsChannel 5 in Nashville, who will speak on fraud.
  • L. Rene Brison, assistant director with the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, Special Investigative Unit, who will present a session on accounting and internal controls.
  • MTSU professor Paula Thomas, who will present a Financial Accounting Standards Board update to finish the morning sessions.

During the afternoon general sessions, Matt Kefauver with LBMC Technologies LLC will discuss cloud computing. David Tiller with the Small Business Administration will end the conference with a session on “Tennessee Small Business Issues.”

Breakout sessions and leaders will include:

  • Advanced Excel and Microsoft Access — Tammy Bahmanziari, MTSU associate professor.
  • Professional Skepticism — Rebekah Heath, MTSU assistant professor.
  • Issues in Taxation — Kim Honaker, MTSU assistant professor.
  • Governmental Accounting Standards Board Update — G. Robert Smith, chair, MTSU Department of Accounting.

For more information, call the MTSU Department of Accounting at 615-898-5306.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

MTSU group plans free May 4 concert with Baroque tunes

“Ensemble 1720,” an MTSU School of Music faculty period-instrument group, will perform Baroque chamber music in a special free community concert set for Sunday, May 4, at 7 p.m. at Murfreesboro’s St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

St. Paul’s is located at 315 E. Main St., just three blocks south of the Public Square and less than two miles from the MTSU campus.

MTSU’s School of Music group Ensemble 1720 will use this harpsichord, a 1990 reconstruction by Willard Martin of Bethlehem, Penn., of an instrument depicted in Marin Mersenne’s 1637 treatise “Harmonie Universelle,” a landmark series of books on the physics and practice of music, in a May 4 concert at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in downtown Murfreesboro. (Photo submitted)

The Ensemble 1720 musicians play string and wind instruments in use during the Baroque era, the 17th- and early 18th-century period when Bach, Handel, Vivaldi and their colleagues created their masterpieces.

The group made its debut in January 2011; you can listen to a sample of its music here.

“The orchestral instruments that we know today were altered significantly in the 19th century,” said Dr. George Riordan, retired director of the MTSU School of Music and the oboist for Ensemble 1720.

“We’ll be recreating the style that the composers would have expected, so that the music may be heard in all its original color and passion.”

The concert will include a variety of music by Baroque masters, including Georg Phillipp Telemann’s “Quartet in G Major,” “Trio Sonata in G Major” by Pietro Locatelli, “Golden Sonata in F Major” by Henry Purcell, “Trio Sonata in F Major” by Arcangelo Corelli and “Trio Sonata for Oboe, Violin and Continuo” by George Frideric Handel.

Other performers in Ensemble 1720 include MTSU School of Music faculty members Andrea Dawson on violin, Christine Kim on cello and Lillian Pearson on harpsichord and violinist/violist Karen Clarke, Florida State University professor emerita. Each of the Ensemble 1720’s five members actively performs around the country on both modern and period instruments.

For more MTSU School of Music concert information, call 615-898-2493 or visit www.mtsumusic.com and click on the “Concert Calendar” link.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Folk singer offers lunchtime concert Friday at Center for Popular Music

Anne MacFie, a folk singer, songwriter and storyteller from eastern Kentucky, will present a lunchtime concert at MTSU’s Center for Popular Music at noon Friday, April 25.

MacFie CPM concert poster webThe free public event inside the university’s Bragg Mass Communication Building will feature MacFie’s versions of the traditional ballads and stories she learned from her Appalachian foothills neighbors.

She has also worked with and learned from artists such as Lily May Ledford, Jean Ritchie and Almeda Riddle.

A professional musician since 1969, MacFie has performed internationally and has recorded three solo albums as well as works as a member of the Twa Sisters duo and with the Civil War ensemble, Privates By Choice.

MacFie has given summer concerts and directed music festivals for many years in the Kentucky State Parks, including Pine Mountain’s Great American Dulcimer Convention, and for the National Parks and Forests.

She has taught classes and workshops for festivals and folk camps, including Kentucky Music Week, Swannanoa Gathering and Yellowbanks Dulcimer Festival, and is the folksong instructor for annual Road Scholar programs on Appalachian culture.

She is also an accomplished and acclaimed songwriter; artists such as Kentucky Standard and the Gallier Brothers Band regularly perform her songs.

The Center for Popular Music at MTSU is a research center devoted to the study and scholarship of popular music in America. Established in 1985 by the Tennessee Board of Regents as one of 6 Centers of Excellence across the TBR system, MTSU’s CPM maintains an archive of research materials stretching from the early 18th century to the present and develops and sponsors programs in American vernacular music.

For more information on the Center for Popular Music and its projects and special events, visit http://popmusic.mtsu.edu.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

MTSU professor to chair international business communication panel

When people say a message “got lost in the translation,” they’re not always talking about a language barrier.

To build bridges across cultural and geopolitical boundaries, an MTSU professor will lead a group charged with creating high standards for international communication.

Dr. Janet McCormick

Dr. Janet McCormick, an associate professor of organizational communication in MTSU’s Department of Speech and Theatre, will chair the Global Communication Certification Council of the International Association of Business Communicators.

The 10-member panel will hold its first meeting April 25-27 and will meet again at a global conference in Toronto June 6-8. Other meetings in the interim will be conducted via email or Skype.

Her colleagues on the panel hail from India, Nigeria, Canada, Great Britain and Switzerland.

McCormick said the goal is establishing a single set of criteria for designating qualified individuals as certified global communicators.

“To have one credential that does that across the globe versus state by state, school by school, country by country, will just be phenomenal,” said McCormick. “I think it will be groundbreaking, actually.”

McCormick said those who meet the exacting standards must be competent in both verbal and nonverbal communication with a variety of cultures.

Click on the logo to learn more about the IABC’s Global Communication Certification Council.

The panel will decide on standards for ethics, analysis, examinations, payment structure, maintenance and the establishment of continuing oversight.

“Different schools and universities are trying to move people with experience through programs a little quicker,” McCormick said. “With a global credential, there’s a similar line of thinking.”

In addition to serving as faculty adviser to the MTSU student chapter of IABC, McCormick teaches courses in intercultural communication, small group communication and gender and communication. She has lectured in Singapore, Argentina and Great Britain and said she is looking forward to traveling again.

While McCormick’s area of expertise is a relatively new degree field, she said she thinks her work on the panel will pay dividends at the university.

“This is opening tremendous doors for us at MTSU and for our students in organizational communication,” she said.

The panel aims to complete its work by January 2015.

For more information, contact McCormick at 615-904-8208 or janet.mccormick@mtsu.edu, or visit the IABC website’s page on global communication certification.

Gina K. Logue (Gina.Logue@mtsu.edu)

MTSU moon buggy team earns 2014 Neil Armstrong Design Award (VIDEO)

The 14-member MTSU moon buggy team brought home the Neil Armstrong Best Design Award, bestowed by judges on the MTSU Team 2 entry nicknamed “The Beast,” in the recent NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge in Huntsville, Ala.

 

 

The event challenges high school, college and university students to design, construct, test and race lightweight, human-powered rovers capable of performing in the demanding environments to be explored by future space voyagers.

Team captain Ryan Miller, a senior electro-mechanical engineering major from Chattanooga, Tenn., led the design effort, which began in the summer of 2013.

To learn more about the project, visit http://mtsunews.com/moon-buggy-team-earns-award.

Learn a new language muy rápido at Summer Language Institute

Learn a foreign language in no time this summer by signing up for accelerated classes through MTSU’s Center for Accelerated Language Acquisition.

Click the image to see class offerings and to register for 2014 Summer Language Institute.

Click the image to see class offerings and to register for the 2014 Summer Language Institute.

Classes for the 12th annual Summer Language Institute include Spanish 1 and 2, Arabic 1 and 2, German 1 and 2 and Latin 1, as well as teacher training classes. Most classes are scheduled for June and July, with some Spanish classes also offered in August.

The center, also known as CALA, is the official language training operation of the University Honors College at Middle Tennessee State University.

CALA has spent years researching how the brain learns language best with the experts in the field of psychology and brain research, according to Dr. Shelley Thomas, an associate professor of foreign language and founder of the institute.

Research shows that the best way to learn a language is the same way you learned your native language — with lots of hands-on methods that are fun and enjoyable.

The center has spent over 10 years perfecting these methods through feedback from its students. These classes have been offered to students from all walks of life — from age 8 to 80 — and CALA customers rave about the fun and ease with which they learn a foreign language.

Learn more about CALA, view video clips of classes, see the summer schedule, costs and registration at www.acceleratedacquisition.com.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

In this undated file photo, youngsters learning English in Coimbatore, India, get their first taste of Total Physical Response language education from MTSU's Dr. Shelley Thomas, right. (Photo courtesy of the Center for Accelerated Language Acquisition)

In this undated file photo, youngsters learning English in Coimbatore, India, get their first taste of Total Physical Response language education from MTSU’s Dr. Shelley Thomas, right. (Photo courtesy of the Center for Accelerated Language Acquisition)

MTSU moon buggy team earns NASA’s Best Design Award (+VIDEO)

The 14-member MTSU moon buggy team wanted to capture first place in the recent NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge, previously known as the Great Moonbuggy Race, held in Huntsville, Ala.

What they brought home — the Neil Armstrong Best Design Award bestowed by judges on the MTSU Team 2 entry nicknamed “The Beast” — may have made a more profound impact on the team at the event.

The April 11-12 event challenged high school, college and university students to design, construct, test and race lightweight, human-powered rovers capable of performing in the demanding environments to be explored by future space voyagers. You can watch a video about MTSU’s participation below.

 

 

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee sent his congratulations to the entire team, saying, “I am proud of this remarkable accomplishment.”

Team captain Ryan Miller, a senior electro-mechanical engineering major from Chattanooga, Tenn., led the design effort, which began in  summer 2013.

“I’m very pleased we got the best design award,” Miller said. “Only one team (in the university division) receives the design award. That made me very happy.”

The award, which was presented during the awards’ ceremony, is “for outstanding achievement in the design of a human powered exploration rover and contributions toward the next steps in human exploration of the solar system.”

It is named in honor of the late Armstrong, an American astronaut and first person to walk on the moon in 1969 during the Apollo 11 space voyage.

Professor Saeed Foroudastan, who oversees the MTSU Experimental Vehicles Program and serves as a mentor, said it was a well-deserved honor for such a dedicated, hard-working team.

The MTSU moon buggy team is celebrating their win of the 2014 Neil Armstrong Best Design Award in the university division at the recent NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge in Huntsville, Ala. (Photo submitted)

After a third-place showing in the 2013 race, two MTSU teams placed fifth and 12th overall this year.

MTSU Team 2 finished with an overall best time of 5 minutes, 6 seconds in the two-day rover challenge competition. The University of Puerto Rico Humacao Team 2 finished first in 4:09.

MTSU Team 1, with the modified 2013 entry nicknamed “The Model T,” earned a time of 10:25, which included penalties.

“I’m proud of the team,” Miller said. “We had a lot more team spirit and camaraderie.”

Forty-six teams competed in the college and university division.

The competition is designed to teach students to solve practical design and engineering problems and demonstrates NASA’s continuing commitment to inspire new generations of scientists, engineers, technicians and astronauts.

In addition to Miller, team members include co-captain Dustin Taylor of Murfreesboro and formerly from Baton Rouge, La.; Team 2 drivers Devin Raines of Murfreesboro and Josh Calvin of Nashville; Team 1 drivers Jasmine Johnson of Humboldt, Tenn., and Zack Hill of Hendersonville, Tenn.; senior Thomas Cox of Nashville; juniors Beau Hallavant of Bell Buckle, Tenn., Steven Chaput of Manchester, Tenn., Les McGuffey of Nashville and Thomas McKinney of Franklin, Tenn.; freshman Alec Urban of Murfreesboro and formerly from Richmond, Va.; and graduate students Jeremy Posey of Adairville, Ky., and Dianna Prince of Estill Springs, Tenn.

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

MTSU moon buggy team members and others are shown following the presentation of the Neil Armstrong Design Award recently at the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge. (Photo submitted)

MTSU junior Josh Calvin, left, and graduate student Dianna Prince take the moon buggy nicknamed “The Beast” on a ride through campus before the team departed for the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge in Huntsville, Ala. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

MTSU senior Zack Hill, left, of Hendersonville, Tenn., and sophomore Jasmine Johnson of Humboldt, Tenn., perform a timed practice to quickly unfold the moon buggy, reach their seat with both feet in the pedals and lock their seat belts. Viewing the attempt are freshman Alec Urban, far right, and Dr. Saeed Foroudastan, associate dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, who also serves as director of the Experimental Vehicles Program.

President sets 4th student success town hall for April 28 (+VIDEO)

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee has set a fourth and final town hall meeting to discuss the ongoing Quest for Student Success initiative with the campus community.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee will host a fourth town hall meeting Monday, April 28, inside the Student Union Parliamentary Room about the Quest for Student Success initiative. Three town hall meetings were held last week. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee will host a fourth town hall meeting Monday, April 28, inside the Student Union Parliamentary Room about the Quest for Student Success initiative. Three town hall meetings were held last week. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

The town hall meeting will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. Monday, April 28, in the Parliamentary Room of the Student Union.

It follows three other well-attended town hall gatherings at the same location held earlier in the month.

Launched in the fall, the Quest for Student Success reforms are aimed at helping MTSU students stay on track academically, resulting in more students completing their degrees. The effort is in line with Gov. Bill Haslam’s “Drive to 55” goal to extend the reach of higher education and includes a top-to-bottom review of university operations.

McPhee said he’s holding the town halls to give stakeholders across campus an opportunity to ask questions, give feedback and gain a better understanding of the initiative. An ultimate goal is for MTSU to raise its graduation rate from the current 52 percent to 62 percent by 2020.

“This is everybody’s initiative,” McPhee said. “It’s important to know what role you can play as a member of this university in student success.”

Among the changes being prompted by the initiative:

  • Stepping up recruitment of students who have greater potential to succeed at a four-year comprehensive university.
  • Enhancing the academic experience of enrolled students to better ensure their success, including greater tutoring, enhanced advising and an emphasis on more “high-tech and high-touch” approaches.
  • Using more innovative, data-informed best practices to facilitate success.

For more information about the Quest for Student Success, go to www.mtsu.edu/studentsuccess.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

MTSU offers Prescription Drug Take-Back Day April 24

MTSU Campus Pharmacy Director Tabby Ragland (partially hidden) reaches to receive a package of prescription drugs from MTSU James E. Walker Library administrative assistant employee Gwen Williams during the MTSU Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in October 2013. The third drug take-back day will be from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, April 24. (MTSU News and Media Relations file photo)

MTSU Campus Pharmacy Director Tabby Ragland, partially obsucred at left, reaches for a package of unwanted prescription drugs from Gwen Williams, James E. Walker Library administrative assistant, during the MTSU Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in October 2013. The third drug take-back day will be from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, April 24. (MTSU News and Media Relations file photo)

Got drugs? Got drugs you need to dispose of properly?

The third MTSU Prescription Drug Take-Back Day will be held from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, April 24, on campus.

The drug take-back event will be held at the drive-up location next to the Campus Pharmacy drive-thru on the south side of the Student Health, Wellness and Campus Recreation Center on Blue Raider Drive. A printable campus map can be found at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap13-14.

Representatives will be accepting unused, expired or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medicines for proper disposal.

No sharps — needles, scalpels, syringes and other sharp objects — will be accepted this time. Event organizers request that when possible, visitors try to keep medicines in their original packaging, mark out any personal information, but leave the name of the medication visible on the label.

“In each of its two previous take-back events, the MTSU community has turned in approximately 30 pounds of medicines for disposal,” said Lisa Schrader, director of MTSU Health Promotion. “We have been incredibly pleased with these amounts, considering how new these events still are and how much confusion still exists regarding proper disposal processes.”

Schrader said she and other event organizers “consistently get thank-you notes and calls from campus community members who appreciate having such a convenient way to dispose of their unwanted medicines.”

MTSU Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is a collaboration between Public Safety, Campus Pharmacy, Health Services and Health Promotion. Students from the Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy will be among the collection representatives for the third time.

Drug take-back initiatives address a vital public safety and public health issue. Prescription drugs that languish in home medicine cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse.

Nationally, 1,700 tons of medicines have been disposed of through drug take-back events since 2010.

Public health officials say the rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high. About 6.8 million Americans currently abuse prescription drugs — a figure almost twice that of the number of those using cocaine, heroine and other illegal drugs combined.

For more information, call 615-494-8704 or 615-494-8900, or visit the U.S. Drug Enforcement Association website at www.justice.gov/dea/index.shtml.

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

Drug Take Back Flier