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McPhee to Board of Trustees: MTSU top choice of Te...

McPhee to Board of Trustees: MTSU top choice of Tennessee Promise transfers

Middle Tennessee State University is the No. 1 choice of Tennessee Promise students who have transferred from one of the state’s community colleges to a four-year institution.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee made the announcement at the Tuesday, June 18, Board of Trustees meeting held inside the Miller Education Center on Bell Street.

McPhee shared with trustees recent data from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission that showed MTSU in the top spot for Tennessee Promise students seeking to earn a four-year degree.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, left, reports at the Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday, June 18, that MTSU was the top choice for Tennessee Promise graduates from community colleges who wanted to continue their educations at a four-year university. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, left, reports at the Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday, June 18, that MTSU i the top choice for Tennessee Promise graduates from community colleges who want to continue their educations at a four-year university. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

“More Tennessee Promise students have transferred to MTSU than any other state university,” McPhee said. “This is consistent with our standing as the No. 1 choice for transfer students overall.”

The data shows MTSU received 21.5 percent, or 542, of the 2,528 students who took advantage of the free community college tuition through the Tennessee Promise program to seek an associate degree.

MTSU’s partnership with Motlow State Community College was also the most productive relationship between a two-year college and a four-year institution, McPhee said.

Motlow sent MTSU 255 of its students, THEC’s 2019 report on the Tennessee Promise shows.

MTSU math professor Mary Martin, right, attends her first meeting of the MTSU Board of Trustees on Tuesday, June 18, at the Miller Education Center. Martin begins her two-year tenure on the board as faculty trustee. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU math professor Mary Martin, right, attends her first meeting of the MTSU Board of Trustees on Tuesday, June 18, at the Miller Education Center. Martin began her two-year tenure on the board as faculty trustee. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

In other business, trustees approved a slight increase in tuition and fees this fall.

Undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees will rise 2.37 percent, still below the 2.5 percent cap set by the THEC. For a student taking 15 hours, combined tuition for the Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 semester will go from $9,206 to $9,424.

Joey Jacobs, chair of the Finance and Personnel Committee, said trustees “have given careful consideration to the impact that any increase will have on student affordability.”

Joey Jacobs, MTSU Board of Trustees member.

Joey Jacobs

He also said the committee “reviewed the tuition rates of other Tennessee public institutions, as well as peer institutions and found that even with the proposed fee increase, MTSU ranked as very affordable in comparison.”

MTSU has the lowest undergraduate tuition of the state’s three largest universities, behind the rates at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and the University of Memphis.

The measure passed Tuesday also raised graduate college tuition by 3 percent and set a special tuition rate for certain corporate relationships.

In other business, trustees approved a new academic program, the Bachelor of Science in Public Writing and Rhetoric, a four-year interdisciplinary degree housed in the College of Liberal Arts.

Pamela “Pam” Wright, MTSU alumna and member of the MTSU Board of Trustees

Pam Wright

Pam Wright, chair of the Academic Affairs, Student Life and Athletics Committee, said the degree will be the first of its kind in the region.

“Similar to degrees offered at many institutions, the degree will provide students with in-depth training in writing and rhetorical studies,” she said.

Wright said the degree will prepare students “for a range of writing-focused careers that involve analysis, creation, and editing of texts as well as for graduate study.

Trustees also learned about the creation of the Free Speech Center, a First Amendment advocacy hub that will be led by Ken Paulson, who is stepping down as dean of MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment this summer.

“The center’s primary mission is one of public service, educating students and the public about the value of the First Amendment to a free society,” Wright said.

The center will be integrated into campus life and academics, fulfilling the university’s stated mission to educate students so that they “understand the proper role of free expression and civic engagement in our society,” she said.

Trustees also:

  • Unanimously approved the recommendation of McPhee and University Provost Mark Byrnes that 39 faculty be granted tenure and 75 faculty be promoted, effective Aug. 1.
  • Endorsed asking for state support in the next budget cycle for a new Applied Engineering Building for its Mechatronics Engineering and Engineering Technology programs.
  • Welcomed Mary Martin, a professor of mathematics, to a two-year term as faculty trustee. She replaces outgoing faculty trustee Tony Johnston, agriculture professor and fermentation science program director.

For agenda details, to view the meetings livestreamed or for other information, go to www.mtsu.edu/boardoftrustees.

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

MTSU’s Board of Trustees and those attending the Tuesday, June 18, meeting recognize longtime university employee Faye Johnson, associate provost for strategic planning and partnershi initiatives. Johnson is retiring after 50 years of service to the Blue Raider campus. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Attendees at the MTSU Board of Trustees’ Tuesday, June 18, meeting applaud longtime university employee Faye Johnson, associate provost for strategic planning and partnership initiatives, as she stands to be recognized. Johnson is retiring after 50 years of service on the Blue Raider campus. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Copies of author Tara Westover’s book “Educated”, shown here, were distributed to members of the MTSU Board of Trustees at its Tuesday, June 18, meeting at the Miller Education Center. Trustees were invited to read the book along with incoming freshmen as part of the traditional Summer Reading Program. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Members of the MTSU Board of Trustees received dopies of author Tara Westover’s book “Educated”, shown here, at their Tuesday, June 18, meeting at the Miller Education Center. MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee invited trustees to read the book along with incoming freshmen as part of the traditional Summer Reading Program. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU Board of Trustees Chairman Stephen Smith, center, makes a point Tuesday, June 18, during the board’s quarterly meeting inside the Miller Education Center on Bell Street. Seated next to him are MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, left, and board Vice Chairman Darrell Freeman Sr. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU Board of Trustees Chairman Stephen Smith, center, makes a point Tuesday, June 18, during the board’s quarterly meeting inside the Miller Education Center on Bell Street. Seated next to him are MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, left, and board Vice Chairman Darrell Freeman Sr. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)


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