In the News: Conference realignment, coffee beans,...

In the News: Conference realignment, coffee beans, inflation, music education and more

MTSU faculty and staff recently provided their analyses of various issues for journalists on topics including the Fisk Jubilee Singers, the True Blue Tour, porch piracy, a schism in the Republican Party, college athletic conferences and other subjects.

Jamey Simmons, MTSU Jazz Studies professor

Jamey Simmons

Dr. Daniel Smith, director of the Political Economy Research Institute; associate professor in Economics and Finance

Dr. Daniel Smith

Jamey Simmons, director of jazz studies, was interviewed by PBS Wisconsin about the importance of music education and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on teaching music. The transcript, which was posted Nov. 2 at, can be read here.

• Dr. Daniel Smith, a professor of economics and director of the Political Economy Research Institute, was interviewed about “Money and the Rule of Law” on the Centre for the Study of Government and Society’s “Governance Podcast.” The video, which was posted Nov. 3 on YouTube, can be seen here.

Dr. Andrew Polk

Kent Syler, assistant professor, political science

Kent Syler

• Dr. Andrew Polk, an associate professor of history, expressed his views on religious propaganda in the November/December issue of Liberty Magazine. His essay is available here.

Kent Syler, a professor of political science and international relations, said the Republican Party’s split with the National Federation of Independent Business on COVID-19 protocols in a Nov. 3 article in The Tennessean and other Gannett newspapers. His views can be read here.

Syler also explained why Georgia is transitioning from a red state to a blue state in a Nov. 5 article in the Knoxville News Sentinel. His insights are accessible here.

Dr. Charlie Baum, MTSU Department of Economics and Finance faculty

Dr. Charlie Baum

Dr. Crystal deGregory, research fellow, Center for Historic Preservation

Dr. Crystal deGregory

• Dr. Charles Baum, a professor of economics and finance, analyzed inflation’s impact on the prices of consumer goods in a Nov. 4 interview with WTVF-TV in Nashville. The video and transcript can be accessed here.

• Dr. Crystal de Gregory, a research fellow with the Center for Historic Preservation, wrote a column about Fisk University’s Jubilee Singers that was published Nov. 4 in the Knoxville News Sentinel and other Gannett newspapers. The editorial is available here.

Linda Olsen

Linda Olsen

Dr. John Vile

Dr. John Vile

Linda Olsen, director of undergraduate admissions, explained the benefit of the True Blue Tour’s stop in Jackson, Tennessee, in a Nov. 4 interview by WBBJ-TV in Jackson. Her remarks can be seen here.

• Dr. John Vile, dean of the University Honors College and a political scientist, provided analysis of the off-year November elections around the country and President Joe Biden’s struggles with the Congress Nov. 5 on “Inside Politics” on NewsChannel5+. The video can be seen here.

Leah Soule, Instructor, Department of English

Leah Soule

Dr. Benjamin Stickle, associate professor, Department of Criminal Justice Administration

Dr. Ben Stickle

Leah Soule, an instructor of English, explained how her husband and she started their own coffee bean roasting business in a Nov. 8 article by Main Street Nashville. Her remarks are available here.

• Dr. Ben Stickle, an associate professor of criminal justice administration, explained what types of locations are most vulnerable to porch piracy in a Nov. 8 article at His comments can be read here.

Chris Massaro, MTSU director of athletics

Chris Massaro

Dr. Kimball Bullington

Chris Massaro, athletic director, expressed reluctance to be specific about whether MTSU will jump to a different athletic conference in a Nov. 8 article in the Nashville Post. The story can be accessed here.

• Dr. Kimball Bullington, a professor of management, explained MTSU’s new supply chain management degree and its significance as the United States experiences supply chain problems in a Nov. 9 report by WTVF-TV in Nashville. The story is available 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