MTSU honors retiring employees with ‘joyous’ campus reception

MTSU’s annual ceremony recognizing its retiring employees was a springtime celebration even more joyous than usual, perhaps because of those 57 workers’ 1,205 combined years of service devoted to students and the campus community.

Instead of a staid, formal affair marked by the drone of names, the April 16 event honoring employees retiring in the 2013-14 academic year featured happy reunions with former colleagues, raucous laughter, family videos, standing ovations, thank-you presentations from students and even a “selfie” snapped with University President Sidney A. McPhee.

MTSU Wordmark“This always is one of the best events of our year, because it honors the best of our family,” University Provost Brad Bartel told a crowd of almost 200 current, former and retiring employees and their friends and loved ones gathered in the James Union Building for the ceremony.

“It’s bittersweet, in a way, because people are leaving us, but it’s also a celebration of their service to the university. … This year seems like it’s even more joyous than usual, and I believe that signifies our family atmosphere here too.”

McPhee noted that of the four universities where he’s been employed, MTSU is the only one that celebrates its retiring employees each year.

“This is the only one that takes the time to say ‘thank you,’ and it’s only right that we do,” McPhee added. “We appreciate you, and we want the world to know it.”

The president singled out a handful of retirees he called the “Hall of Famers” for their longevity of service, led by the Department of Business Communication and Entrepreneurship’s Dr. Dwight Bullard with 48 years at MTSU.

“I’ve enjoyed it all so much,” the former associate dean of the Jennings A. Jones College of Business smilingly told a well-wisher who stopped his table to offer congratulations.

Other “Hall of Famers” recognized were Dr. Bob Eaker of the Womack Department of Educational Leadership and a former College of Education dean, with 41 years of service to MTSU; Carolyn Verge, a Library Assistant 3 in MTSU’s Instructional Media Resources Department with 38 years of service; 35-year veterans Dr. Robert Colvard of the Department of Accounting, Georgia Dennis of the University Honors College and Donna Marie Reed of the University Business Office; and Caneta S. Hankins of the Center for Historic Preservation with 34 years of service.

“While we’re happy that these employees are beginning another phase of their lives, we’re also a bit sad to be losing all this talent,” McPhee said. “All this talent literally helped to build this university.”

Some of the nearly five dozen MTSU employees retiring this academic year gather for a group photo at a recent reception on campus. Shown seated are, from left, Bob Eaker, Dwight Bullard, Carolyn Verge, James E. Rogers Jr., John L. Harris, Bertha S. Clark, Linda Watson, Debbie Simpson, Janice Benson, Jacqui Wade and Karen Case. Shown standing are Lewis Gray, Peggy Jo Brandon, Susan Taylor, Sue Farmer, Robert Colvard, Vicki Pitts, Steve Scott, Lynn Rice-See, Myra K. Norman, Bonnie Rushlow, Rhonda Wimberly, Ernie Austin, Cathy Weller, Martha Millsaps, Mark Anshel, David L. Rowe, Ollie Garrison and Mary L. Nichols. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

The complete list of MTSU retirees for the 2013-14 academic year is below.

  • Mark H. Anshel, Department of Health and Human Performance;
  • Ernest E. “Ernie” Austin, Department of Aerospace;
  • Janice C. Benson, Office of the Senior Vice President;
  • William K. “Bill” Black, James E. Walker Library;
  • Peggy Jo Brandon, Phillips Bookstore;
  • Dwight Bullard, Department of Business Communication and Entrepreneurship;
  • Karen A. Case, College of Basic and Applied Sciences;
  • James E. Chancy, Building Services;
  • Bertha S. Clark, Department of Health and Human Performance;
  • Robert G. Colvard, Department of Accounting;
  • Carl R. Conway, University Studies;
  • Terry M. Cooper, Walker Library;
  • Jan G. Dayton, Department of English;
  • Georgia K. Dennis, University Honors College;
  • Robert E. “Bob” Eaker, Womack Department of Educational Leadership;
  • S. Sue Farmer, Jones College of Business;
  • Cheryl D. Floyd, Department of History (posthumous);
  • Regina G. Forsythe, Walker Library;
  • Ollie Garrison, Information Technology Division;
  • Lewis Gray, Career Development Center;
  • Caneta S. Hankins, Center for Historic Preservation;
  • John Lee Harris Jr., Disabled Student Services;
  • Mary J. Lavender, School of Nursing;
  • Linda M. League, Nursing;
  • Janice M. Leone, History;
  • D. Lorne McWatters, History;
  • Martha A. Millsaps, Creative and Visual Services;
  • Dorothy Ann Myers, Procurement Services;
  • Su Thanh Nguyen, Housing Administration;
  • Karen E. Nichols, Admissions and Enrollment Services;
  • Mary L. Nichols, Department of Electronic Media Communication;
  • Myra K. Norman, Research Services;
  • Brenda C. Parker, Department of Computer Science;
  • Elizabeth Perez-Reilly, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures;
  • L. Neal Pistole, Walker Library;
  • Vicki L. Pitts, Phillips Bookstore;
  • Donna Marie Reed, Business Office;
  • James W. Reed Sr., Custodial Services;
  • Lynn Rice-See, School of Music;
  • James E. Rogers Jr., Housing;
  • Wayne C. Rosing, Department of Biology;
  • David L. Rowe, History;
  • Bonnie B. Rushlow, Department of Art;
  • Stephan P. “Steve” Scott, Public Safety;
  • Debbie C.Simpson, Department of Elementary and Special Education;
  • Robert H. Smith, Building Services;
  • Robert F. Summar, Housing Administration;
  • Mayo R. Taylor, Walker Library;
  • Susan Turner Taylor, Jones College of Business;
  • J. Douglas Timmons, Department of Economics and Finance;
  • Carolyn B. Verge, Instructional Media Resources;
  • Jacqueline E. “Jacqui” Wade, Department of Social Work;
  • Steven L. Walker, English;
  • Linda Watson, Athletics Department;
  • Cathy R.Weller, Resource and Operations Management;
  • Wanda Sue Williams, Financial Aid and Scholarships; and
  • Rhonda J. Wimberly, Resource and Operations Management.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

‘Russophobia,’ Ukraine crisis explored on ‘MTSU On the Record’ (+ VIDEO)

The next edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program features a scholar who sees a unique connection between “Dracula” and the current crisis in Ukraine.

Dr. Jimmie Cain

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Jimmie Cain, a professor of English, will air from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, April 27, on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ).

Cain is the author of “Bram Stoker and Russophobia,” which explores the role that fear and mistrust of Russia played in Bram Stoker’s novels.

Stoker, who published “Dracula” in 1897, had a brother who fought in the Crimean War. The conflict lasted from 1853 to 1856 with the Russians losing to a Western alliance.Russophobia book cover web

Stoker’s brother kept a war journal that inspired Stoker’s creation of his famous vampire character. Thus, Dracula became a symbol of Russia’s belligerence and terrorism.

Cain sees the “Russophobia” prompted by the Crimean War and validated by Stoker as analogous to the post-Cold War “Russophobia” prompted by Russia’s recent annexation of Crimea.

“I would contend that many [Russians] see the way the Crimean crisis was played up as evidence of the same kind of thing the British would have noticed in the 1830s as people … were beginning to ramp up this anti-Russian fervor in the press,” Cain said.

To listen to previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to the “Audio Clips” archives here and here.

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

A video clip of the interview may be seen below.

MTSU professor to share expertise on Russia at Washington think tank

An MTSU expert on Russia will take part in a renowned research institute’s exploration of educational issues in the country.

Dr. Andrei Korobkov, a professor of political science, will be a panelist for “Innovation, Brain Drain and the Politics of Russian Higher Education Reform” Wednesday, April 23, at the prestigious Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Andrei Korobkov

The topic arises from concerns about the domestic and international challenges facing Russian universities.

“Russian higher education has done more to integrate western norms and standards than virtually any other national institution,” information on the event’s webpage at www.wilsoncenter.org notes.

“Yet Russia’s universities and research institutes continue to face economic and political headwinds that raise questions about their ability to compete in a global marketplace.”

Korobkov is a former short-term research scholar with the institute. He worked on a project titled “Migration Aspects of the Post-Soviet Transition” from Oct. 1 to Nov. 1, 2007.

The project focused on how residents of the former Soviet Union moved among the former republics after the USSR’s collapse in 1991, one of Korobkov’s research specialties.

Korobkov is a faculty adviser for MTSU’s Russian studies minor. He teaches courses in the former Soviet Union, international law, eastern European politics, world politics and American foreign policy.

He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Moscow State University and his doctorate in economics from the Institute of Economics of the World Socialist System, USSR Academy of Sciences. Korobkov‘s doctorate in political science is from the University of Alabama.

For more information about the conference, visit www.wilsoncenter.org .

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

Honors College unveils ‘Last Lecture Series’ for retiring professors

The University Honors College at MTSU is initiating a new lecture series to offer retiring honors faculty members an opportunity to speak to both the campus community and general public.

Dr. Bob Pondillo

Dr. David Rowe

At 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 23, retiring history professor David L. Rowe will present the second in the “Last Lecture Series”  in the Simmons Amphitheatre, Room 106, of the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building: “Today’s Emergence Culture and its Impact on American Religious Life.”

Rowe has been an MTSU faculty member since 1981.You can learn more about him and his academic efforts here.

Dr. Bob Pondillo, a retiring professor of electronic media communication, provided the inaugural talk, “Why College?”, in the “Last Lecture Series” April 16.

An MTSU faculty member since the fall of 2001, Pondillo’s emphasis is in multimedia journalism. His creative work includes writing and producing short narrative films. You can learn more about Pondillo and his academic pursuits here.

The lectures are free and open to the public. To find parking near the Honors College, a printable campus map can be found at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap13-14.

“I’ve been reading about such a series on other campuses and thought that a way to begin ours and keep the number manageable was to focus specifically on members of the honors faculty who were retiring,” Honors College Dean John Vile said, adding he had the full support of Provost Brad Bartel in this endeavor.

“We sent out a notice to all honors faculty about the series, received responses from what I believe to be the only two faculty members in this category, and have set aside time for both of them,” Vile said.

The dean added that both Rowe and Pondillo have reputations as excellent teachers, and both have been deeply involved with the work of the Honors College.

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

MTSU President McPhee honored by Tennessee Senate

NASHVILLE — MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee was recognized Monday by the Tennessee State Senate for his efforts to expand and strengthen the university’s international partnerships and educational outreach.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey welcomed McPhee and his wife, first lady Elizabeth McPhee, into the Senate chambers for the reading of a resolution, authored by state Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, which lauded the president for his international work.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee (left), state Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) and first lady Elizabeth McPhee stand in the well of the Senate chamber with state Sen. Bill Ketron (center) as the clerk reads aloud a resolution honoring the president for his international outreach. Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (above) presided over the Senate as its speaker. (Photo by MTSU Marketing and Communications)

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee (left), state Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) and first lady Elizabeth McPhee stand in the well of the Senate chamber with state Sen. Bill Ketron (center) as the clerk reads aloud a resolution honoring the president for his international outreach. Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (above) presided over the Senate as its speaker. (Photo by MTSU Marketing and Communications)

Under McPhee’s leadership, Ketron said, MTSU “has strengthened its international undergraduate and graduate student enrollment; expanded its study-abroad and cultural opportunities; and developed research collaborations with international partners.”

Ketron, a MTSU graduate, also said McPhee coordinated and hosted numerous cultural exchanges between China and the state of Tennessee, including reciprocal visits by delegations of students, officials and artists “that have strengthened and created academic, economic and cultural opportunities for both entities.”

And, last December, McPhee was among 30 university presidents or heads of the more than 400 Confucius Institutes worldwide to receive its Individual Performance Excellence Award, known as its “Person of the Year” honor.

McPhee, in remarks to the Senate, thanked Ketron and state Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, for their service to Rutherford County and the region.

“I am humbled that this honorable Senate has bestowed this recognition upon me,” McPhee said of Ketron’s resolution.

— Andrew Oppmann (andrew.oppmann@mtsu.edu)

Craft of creative writing explored on ‘MTSU On the Record’ (+VIDEO)

A recent edition of “MTSU On the Record” explained the university’s noncredit certificate program in creative writing.

Karen Alea Ford

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Karen Alea Ford, director of The Writer’s Loft, aired earlier this month on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ).  You can listen to their conversation here.

The Writer’s Loft is a creative writing program of the MTSU Department of English designed to help budding authors improve their skills by pairing them with mentors who are already successful published authors.

After three semesters of work, students who meet the criteria will earn certificates in creative writing from MTSU.

“It is just the student and the mentor,” said Ford, who also is an adjunct professor of English at MTSU.

“They work (through) either phone calls or the Internet. There is no class to attend. There is no fighting for attention. So you are not the only person invested in your work.”

You can learn more about The Writer’s Loft at its website, www.mtsu.edu/theloft.

To listen to previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to the “Audio Clips” archives here and here.

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

A video clip of the interview may been seen below.

In the News: MTSU personnel weigh in on Ukraine, farm bill, more

MTSU experts recently expressed themselves for national media outlets on several hot button topics, including the crisis in Ukraine, federal agriculture legislation and Facebook’s progress.

Dr. Andrei Korobkov

Dr. Justin Gardner

Dr. Andrei Korobkov, professor of political science, participated in a live online chat Feb. 24 for www.canada.com on the ongoing turmoil in Ukraine and its relationship with Russia.

Korobkov’s archived conversation is available here.

Dr. Justin Gardner, associate professor of agribusiness, stated his views on the 2014 Farm Bill for www.CNBC.com.

Gardner’s comments are available here.

Dr. John Vile

Dr. Joonghwa Lee

Dr. Joonghwa Lee, assistant professor of advertising, offered his perspective for Medill Reports on where the social media website Facebook stands after 10 years in business.

The story with Lee’s comments is online here.

Dr. John Vile, dean of the University Honors College and a constitutional law expert, wrote an editorial for the Orlando Sentinel on the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Vile’s column may be read here.

Nancy James, director of the MTSU Child Care Lab, provided alternative methods of praising toddlers instead of merely saying “good job” for www.OwnADaycare.com.

James’ comments are here.

Nancy James

Dr. Mary Farone

Dr. Mary Farone, associate professor of biology, told www.weather.com that new research shows germs travel much farther than originally believed after we sneeze.

The story with Farone’s comments is 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.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Professor’s murder mystery novel to be revealed April 12

More than two years after his passing, an MTSU professor is still making his mark on the literary world.

“The Sheriff of Hell’s Murder Case,” the third novel in a Cumberland Mountains-based trilogy by Dr. Jack Justin Turner, will be revealed and celebrated from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 12, at Phillips Bookstore in the Student Union. A printable campus map with parking instructions is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap13-14.JACKTURNERPDFWEB_edited-1

Turner, who died Dec. 29, 2011, in Lexington, Ky., was a professor of international relations at MTSU for 35 years. Turner’s latest novel was completed post-mortem with the editing assistance of his friend, Steve Allen. 

Dr. Jack Justin Turner

Dr. Jack Justin Turner

Decorated with colorful descriptions of the mountain life Turner knew growing up in Maytown, Ky., “Hell’s Murder Case” tells the tale of Sheriff Jacob Newton Herald, a lawman with a mangled arm and a complicated psyche, who wrestles with love while trying to solve a homicide.

“Jack obviously knew and loved the setting and its inhabitants and put the lie to the work of a litany of literary carpetbaggers,” Allen said.

The other two mystery yarns in the trilogy are “The Sheriff’s Murder Cases” and “The Sheriff of Frozen’s Murder Cases.” All three were released by Lexington-based Chestnut Hill Publishing.

Turner’s widow, Judy Gibson Turner, will be on hand with copies of all of her husband’s published books.

This event, which is free and open to the public, is presented by the College of Liberal Arts and the Department of Political Science. For more information, contact Connie Huddleston at 615-494-7628 or connie.huddleston@mtsu.edu.

To learn more about Dr. Jack Justin Turner’s novels, go to www.chestnuthillpublishingllc.com.

–Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)


In the News: Dean Urban featured at RutherfordCABLE event

Dr. David J. Urban, dean of the Jones College of Business, will be the featured speaker at the April 8 meeting of the RutherfordCABLE networking organization.

The group’s upcoming breakfast meeting will be held 7:30 to 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 8, at Stones River Country Club, 1830 N.W. Broad St. in Murfreesboro. Urban’s message is titled “The Entrepreneurial Spirit,” according to a RutherfordCABLE news release.

Dr. David Urban

Dr. David Urban

Urban, who became dean in July 2013, will discuss current entrepreneurship initiatives within the Jones College and also draw on previous research to describe the entrepreneur’s mindset and will provide real-world examples of entrepreneurship in action. According to Urban, entrepreneurs often transform perceived disadvantages into advantages, and the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs might be surprising to some.

“Many times, we think of entrepreneurs as people who start new business ventures, but they are also found in other arenas as well — such as public service, large corporations, and education,” Urban said in the release. “Entrepreneurial thinking is not confined to one industry or a particular type of organization. It is pervasive — and that’s why forward-thinking organizations actively promote and support it.”

RutherfordCABLE logo-newThe deadline to register for this event is 5 p.m. Thursday, April 3. Registration fees are $15 for members and $20 for guests. To register, visit rutherfordcable.org.

RutherfordCABLE is a 5-year-old organization of more than 200 members providing professional and personal development as well as business growth through building long-term relationships, structured networking and referrals. The organization is the first chapter of the 30-year-old NashvilleCABLE. Monthly breakfast meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month. The organization’s mission is “Connecting Women and Opportunity.”

Read The Daily News Journal’s full story here.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

WGNS features MT One Stop, Jones College, Alumni Spring Weekend

MTSU faculty and staff again shared their expertise with listeners of WGNS radio during the March 17 “Action Line” program with veteran host Bart Walker.

Top to bottom, Dr. Laurie Witherow, associate vice provost for admissions and enrollment services, Dr. David Urban, dean of the Jones College of Business, and Paul Wydra, assistant director of MTSU Alumni Relations, at WGNS radio downtown. (Photo by MTSU News and Media Relations)

Top to bottom, Dr. Laurie Witherow, associate vice provost for admissions and enrollment services, Dr. David Urban, dean of the Jones College of Business, and Paul Wydra, assistant director of MTSU Alumni Relations, at WGNS radio downtown. (Photo by MTSU News and Media Relations)

The live program was broadcast on FM 100.5, 101.9 and AM 1450 from the WGNS studio in downtown Murfreesboro. Don’t worry if you missed it: you can listen to a podcast of the show here.

Guests included:

  • Dr. Laurie Witherow, associate vice provost for admissions and enrollment services, discussed the latest phase of MTSU’s emphasis on student success with the March 10 opening of the $16 million Student Services and Admissions Center and MT One Stop. Read more about the new building and see a video tour here.
  • Dr. David Urban, dean of the Jones College of Business, discussed the latest happenings, including an emphasis on professional development skills, in the college as he approaches his first year on the job. Urban became dean of the Jones College of Business on July 1, 2013. Urban oversees an MTSU business program that boasts more than 125 full-time faculty, more than 3,000 undergraduate majors and more than 500 graduate students. For information about the Jones College, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/business/.
  • Paul Wydra, assistant director of MTSU Alumni Relations, talked about the upcoming Alumni Spring Weekend 2014, which will be held Thursday through Sunday, April 10-13. Alumni Spring Weekend is dedicated to alumni and friends and encourages everyone to become re-acquainted with MTSU.

For more information and to see a schedule of events, visit www.mtalumni.com.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)