Faculty/Staff Update


Dr. Jackie Gilbert

Dr. Jackie Gilbert

Dr. Jackie Gilbert (management and marketing) is sharing an award with fellow members of MERLOT, an international online-learning organization for their work in contributing high-quality web-based, interactive teaching and learning materials. The Business Editorial Board, one of several collaborative bodies of MERLOT—Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching—received the MERLOT House Cup at the 2011 MERLOT/Sloan-C Emerging Technologies Conference in July in San Jose, Calif. Gilbert serves on the MERLOT Business Editorial Board with university colleagues from around the world.



The following MTSU staff members have received their Certified Professional Secretary designation: Anita Carter (accounting services), Chad Carter (economics and finance), Jennifer Perry and Susan Quinn (Bursar’s Office) and Sharon Smith (Office of Research Services).

Dr. Wandi Ding (mathematical sciences) attended the National Science Foundation-Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences Lecture Series on Mathematical Epidemiology with Applications July 25-29 at East Tennessee State University. She also received funding through CBMS-ETSU to attend the lecture series.

Dr. David Schmidt


Dr. David Schmidt (international affairs) has received a Presidential Fellowship for the 2011-12 academic year from the Association of International Education Administrators. Schmidt will visit a mentor’s campus for one week to develop plans for meeting several key objectives. After the work is completed and Schmidt submits his final report next May, AIEA will forward a stipend to MTSU.



Dr. Sandra Poirier (human sciences) and three student representatives have two new honors following their participation in the 102nd annual American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Conference in Phoenix, Ariz., in June. Poirier, a family and consumer sciences professor and adviser to the AAFCS student unit, received the Outstanding Adviser Award. Students Markeisha Hayward of Murfreesboro, Lauren Miller of Gainesboro, Tenn., and Charlotte Smith of Charlotte, Tenn., accepted the Student Unit Progress Award for the group.

Dr. Jackie Gilbert (management and marketing) is quoted in “Clear Your Desk, Clear Your Mind,” a June 20 article by Andrew Katz at

Dr. Virginia Hemby

Dr. Virginia Hemby (business communication and entrepreneurship) was part of “It’s No Game When Screening Résumés by a Name,” a May article in Workforce Management Online by Jennifer J. Salopek.

Lance Ikard (University College) was recognized in the “Leaders and Innovators” section of the July issue of Recruiting & Retaining Adult Learners.

Dr. Sandra Stevens

Dr. Teresa Robinson (human sciences) was quoted in an Associated Press article by Jamie Stengle, “Modern debutantes: Car repair and ball gowns,”  that was published in more than 155 international media outlets the week of July 28.

Lisa Schrader and Dr. Eric Clark (Student Health Services) were guests on the July 9-23 airings of “Health and Today’s Woman” on NewsChannel5+.

Dr. Sandra Stevens (health and human performance) and her work with spinal-cord injury patients on an underwater treadmill in the Alumni Memorial Gym was the subject of a June 29 feature story on WSMV-TV by reporter Larry Flowers.

Dr. Debra Sullivan (nursing) was a source for “Nurses Continue to Delay Retirement,” a June 11 story by Debra Wood at about the profession’s job prospects and retirement.



Mrs. Oletha Baldwin

Mrs. Oletha Marie Baxter Baldwin (admissions), 84, passed away July 29. She was employed at MTSU as a graduation analyst in the Admissions Office from August 1971 until her retirement in September 1991. A native of Oklahoma, Mrs. Baldwin was preceded in death by her parents, Nelda Marie Hillman Baxter and Arthur Dennison Baxter of Greeley, Colo. As a child, her family moved from Oklahoma to Greeley, and she graduated from Greeley High School. She married Harold L. Baldwin in September 1948 after he returned from serving in the Navy during World War II, and the couple had their two daughters in Colorado. The family moved to Murfreesboro in 1959 when Dr. Baldwin accepted a teaching job at Middle Tennessee State Teachers’ College. Mrs. Baldwin attended classes at the University while also serving the community as a room mother at Reeves-Rogers Elementary School, president of the Dames Club and secretary of the Murfreesboro Central High School Marching Band Boosters Club. Mrs. Baldwin was an excellent cook and avid cookbook collector as well as a superior seamstress. In addition to her husband, Mrs. Baldwin is survived by her daughters, Sandra Deyo (Ray) of LaGrange, Ga., and Jill Canono (Manna) of Tallahassee, Fla.; two grandchildren, Joshua Adam May (Ashley) of Dallas, Ga., and Ashley Lauren May Seman (DJ) of Concord, Ga.; one great-grandchild, Daniel John “Trey” Seman III; her brother, Virgil Newton Baxter (Billie) of Greeley; and niece, Pamela Gayle Baxter Neville; brother and sister-in-law, Jacob and Helen Hergenreder; a nephew, Richard Hergenreder (Gayle); and niece Linda White (Keith). In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Diabetes Association in care of Allnutt Funeral Service, 702 13th St., Greeley, Colo., 80631.


Dr. Tom Berg

Dr. Thomas “Tom” R. Berg (electronic media communication), 64, passed away July 10. The son of the late Orvis and Joan Berg, Dr. Berg was born in Sioux City, Iowa, and earned degrees at Grandview College in Des Moines, the University of South Dakota in Vermillion and at Iowa State University in Ames as well as his doctorate in mass communications from the University of Georgia in Athens. A collector of TV Guides and an avid reader since childhood, Dr. Berg’s near-encyclopedic knowledge of radio and television stood him in good stead as he taught at St. Bonaventure University in Olean, N.Y., and the University of Texas at El Paso and at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. He had served since August 1991 as an associate professor in the Department of Electronic Media Communication for MTSU’s College of Mass Communication. His love of travel and teaching took him to universities in Germany and China, where he lectured as a guest professor. Dr. Berg was baptized and confirmed at Augustana Lutheran Church in Sioux City. He is survived by his son, Jason Berg of Nashville; two sisters, Barbara (Larry) Dunlap-Berg, Nashville, Tenn., and Deb (Jeff) Sypersma, Sioux City, Iowa; and several nieces and nephews, as well as his former wife, Sandra McIntosh, and many other friends in Middle Tennessee and around the world. Preceding Dr. Berg in death in addition to his parents were his grandparents, Jacob and Maude Huber and Tom and Minnie Berg, and several aunts, uncles and cousins. Memorial gifts may be directed to the MTSU Foundation and designated for the “Tom Berg Memorial.”


Dr. Gene Smith

Dr. R. Eugene “Gene” Smith (interim president), 76, passed away July 21 in Memphis. A 1957 graduate of MTSU, he became the second alumnus to serve as president of MTSU when the Tennessee Board of Regents named him to the interim post in 2000. Dr. Smith led the University until MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee took the reins in August 2001. A native of the Walter Hill community in Rutherford County, he attended school in Lebanon, Tenn., and after graduation from college, he worked as a state auditor. Dr. Smith earned a master’s degree from Memphis State University and a doctorate from the University of Mississippi. He joined the Memphis State administration in 1963, and by 1968 he was business manager. In 1971, he was named vice president of business and finance, a position he held until his retirement from the University of Memphis in 2000. He also combined the duties of an administrator with those of a professor, teaching educational administration at UM, and he served on numerous committees for that university, the TBR and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. Dr. Smith received MTSU’s Distinguished Alumnus Award for Professional Achievement in 1997 and was the only Tennessean to ever be elected president of both the Southern and National Association of College and University Business Officers. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Anne; his children, Daniel Eugene and David Lynn Smith and Genie Anne Smith Williams; his grandchildren, October Williams, Sedona Williams and Grace Smith; and his step-granddaughter, Cassidy Teague. Memorial gifts may be made to the R. Eugene Smith Assistantship in Higher and Adult Education via the University of Memphis Foundation.


Professor Charlotte Smotherman

Professor Charlotte Jane Wiley Smotherman (home economics), 92, passed away June 18. She was an assistant professor in MTSU’s then-Department of Home Economics from September 1966 until her retirement in May 1979. Professor Smotherman, a native of Coffee County, was the daughter of the late John Drennen and Zora Mason Bailey Wiley of Manchester. She was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Kelly Bealer Smotherman; her sister, Doris Wiley Rollins; her brother-in-law, Winston Rollins; her nephew, Judge John Wiley Rollins; and her infant sister. She is survived by her son, Dr. Mark Kelly Smotherman, and daughter-in-law, Sharon Caudle Smotherman, and her grandchildren, John Mark Smotherman and Sara Elizabeth Smotherman, all of Clemson, S.C. She is also survived by her niece by marriage, Linda Coppinger Rollins of Manchester; her great-niece, Sarah Charlotte “Sally” Rollins Palmer, and her husband, David Michael Palmer, and sons Benjamin Dylan Palmer and William Andrew Palmer, all of Murfreesboro; and her great-nephew, John Drennen Wiley Rollins, and his wife, Shannon Harrell Rollins, and son, James Keith Wiley Rollins, all of Chattanooga. Professor Smotherman was a member of First Presbyterian Church in Manchester and attended Northminster Presbyterian Church in Murfreesboro. She was a graduate of Coffee County High School and received her bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Tech in Cookeville and her master’s from George Peabody College in Nashville. While at Tennessee Tech, she was named Miss Tennessee Tech, an honor she shared with her sister. Professor Smotherman also taught home economics at Central High School in Murfreesboro before joining MTSU’s faculty. Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of your choice.


Personnel Changes

Greg Grensing

Greg Grensing (men’s basketball) has joined the Blue Raider men’s basketball team as an assistant coach. He spent the last six seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and was on the Creighton University men’s basketball coaching staff for the preceding 11 seasons, including the 2004-05 season as associate head coach.

Dr. Phillip Phillips

Dr. Philip Phillips (English) is serving as interim associate dean for the University Honors College while associate dean Dr. Scott Carnicom attends Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, on an American Council on Education Fellowship. Phillips has been employed at MTSU since 1999 and has been a member of the Honors Faculty since 2000. In addition to continuing his own active scholarship, Phillips will oversee the Lecture Series for the coming academic year and supervise Buchanan Fellowships.

Cindy Speer (Creative and Visual Services) has joined the MTSU family as production manager for CVS and will be a primary point of contact with the office as she takes orders for design and photography, answers questions and provides updates. She brings more than 21 years of production-management experience to her new post.



Eight members of the MTSU School of Nursing faculty made juried platform presentations at the Western Social Science Association’s 53rd annual conference held in Salt Lake City in April. They included Drs. Cathy Cooper (“Maximizing Efficacy in Managing Hypertension”), Debra Sullivan (“Nursing Care for Children with Spina Bifida”) and Debra Rose Wilson (“The Benefits of Breastfeeding on Health”) and Professors Jennifer Frizzell (“Traumatic Brain Injury in Children”), Janice Harris (“Mobility and its Implications in the Geriatric Population”), Brandi Lindsey (“Case Studies of Cystic Fibrosis Patients”), Shelly Moore (“Structural Empowerment in Nursing Work and Educational Settings”) and Deborah Weatherspoon (“Facilitating Decision Making for the Elderly in Residential Care”). Wilson also presented a paper, “I Am Proud to Be A Nurse: The Botswana Pin Project,” at the same conference.

Professors Debra Sullivan and Deborah Weatherspoon and Dr. Lynn Parsons (nursing) made a refereed presentation, “Implementation of Advanced Simulation in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Curriculum: Grounded within Quality and Safety Education for Nurses Competencies,” at the 2011 National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses Annual Congress in Baltimore, Md., May 14-18.

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