In the News: Tennessee politics, ginseng, potatoes...

In the News: Tennessee politics, ginseng, potatoes, hot weather, college football and more

MTSU faculty and staff recently provided the media with their perspectives on various issues, including Tennessee politics, extreme heat, the printing industry, college football conference realignment, the Jan. 6 insurrection and ginseng, among other topics.

Dr. Ralph Williams, Management faculty, College of Business.
Dr. Ralph Williams
Dr. Dan Morrell, professor, Department of Management, Jones College of Business
Dr. Dan Morrell
Dr. Tim Moake, assistant professor, Department of Management (MTSU photo)
Dr. Tim Moake

Dr. Ralph Williams Jr., an associate professor of management; Dr. Dan Morrell, a professor of management; and Dr. Tim Moake, an assistant professor of management, participated in a July 27 virtual discussion titled “Recruitment, Retention, and Realignment: The Printing Industries Employment Crisis and What Printers Are Doing About It,” presented by Printing Industry Midwest. The video, which was posted to YouTube, can be viewed here.

Head Football Coach Rick Stockstill
Rick Stockstill
Dr. John Vile
Dr. John Vile

Rick Stockstill, head football coach, said he anticipates more movement of college football teams from conference to conference in a July 27 story published in the Morristown (Tennessee) Citizen Tribune. His comments can be read here.

Dr. John Vile, dean of the University Honors College and a political scientist, penned an editorial on the challenges law enforcement personnel face following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade. The column, which was published July 27 by the Daily News Journal of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, can be accessed here.

Vile discussed the possible voter turnout for the Aug. 4 election in an Aug. 4 report on WKRN-TV in Nashville. The video can be seen here.

Ethan Swiggart, a researcher for the International Ginseng Institute (Photo by WPLN News)
Ethan Swiggart
Dr. Adelle Monteblanco, professor of sociology, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Dr. Adelle Monteblanco
Ken Paulson, director, Free Speech Center at MTSU, College of Media and Entertainment
Ken Paulson

Ethan Swiggart, a researcher for the International Ginseng Institute, talked about how he searches for ginseng in a July 28 report by WPLN-FM in Nashville. The audio and transcript are available here.

Dr. Adelle Monteblanco, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, discussed the impact of extreme heat on pregnancy in a July 29 story at The report, which originally was published by Yale Climate Connections, can be read here.

Ken Paulson, director of the Free Speech Center, penned an editorial stating that former President Donald Trump’s words on Jan. 6, 2021, might have risen to the level of criminal conduct. The column, which was published Aug. 1 in the New York Daily News, can be accessed here.

Dr. Kevin Downs, School of Agriculture professor, poultry science and animal science
Dr. Kevin Downs
Keith Vroman, track and field coach
Keith Vroman

Dr. Kevin Downs, a professor of poultry science, and Dr. Samuel Haruna, an assistant professor of plant and soil science, co-authored a research article on the impact of the enzyme phytase on young broiler chickens’ diet. The report, which was published Aug. 1 by the academic journal Animals, is available here.

Keith Vroman, head track and field and cross country coach, discussed his coaching career in an Aug. 3 article in the Ludington (Michigan) Daily News. His comments can be read here.

Dr. Hongbo Zhang, assistant professor, engineering technology
Dr. Hongbo Zhang
Dr. Song Cui, professor of agriculture
Dr. Song Cui

Dr. Hongbo Zhang, an assistant professor of engineering technology, co-authored a study about the growth of cracks in transparent materials after they are subjected to laser wavelength irradiation. The article, which was published Aug. 3 in the academic journal Applied Sciences, can be accessed here.

Dr. Song Cui, an associate professor of agriculture, co-authored a research paper to determine the impact of genotypes on the degree to which potatoes can resist drought. The article, which was published Aug. 3 in the academic journal Plants, is available here.

Dr. David Nelson, biology
Dr. David Nelson
Dr. Erin McClelland
Dr. Erin McClelland

Dr. David Nelson, an associate professor of biology, and Dr. Erin McClelland, an expert on animal and human compliance, worked on a video to examine the measurement of capsule diameters in Cryptococcus neoformans, a fungus that can cause disease among the immunocompromised. An abridged version of the video, which was posted to YouTube Aug. 3, can be seen here.

Kent Syler, a professor of political science and international relations, discussed politics on Aug. 3 on WGNS-AM in Murfreesboro. The audio can be heard here.

Kent Syler, assistant professor, political science
Kent Syler

Syler assessed Tennessee Republicans’ efforts to put parts of Davidson County into three different districts in an Aug. 4 report on KPBS Radio in San Diego, California, courtesy of WPLN News in Nashville. The transcript can be read here.

Syler analyzed the Democratic gubernatorial primary results in Tennessee and looked ahead to the general election in an Aug. 5 report by WSMV-TV in Nashville. The video and transcript can be seen here.

Dr. Sekou Franklin
Dr. Sekou Franklin
Dr. Christine Isley-Farmer, professor emerita, music
Dr. Christine Isley-Farmer

Dr. Sekou Franklin, a professor of political science and international relations, analyzed the impact of redistricting on Nashville’s Black voters in an Aug. 4 report by the Washington Post. The story, which was reprinted at, can be accessed here.

Franklin said a proposed amendment to the Metro Charter in Nashville set the bar for petition-led referendums too high in an Aug. 4 article in The Tennessean. His views can be read here.

Dr. Christine Isley-Farmer, a professor emerita of music, talked about her “Boomer’s Tales” series of children’s books in an Aug. 4 story in the Murfreesboro Pulse. Her comments are available here.

Dr. Tom Brinthaupt, MTSU psychology professor
Dr. Tom Brinthaupt

Dr. Thomas Brinthaupt, a professor of psychology, said research shows most people who talk to themselves are not mentally ill in an Aug. 7 report by Future Zone. The article can be accessed 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 615-631-8322 or via email at

— Gina K. Logue (