In the News: Jehovah’s Witnesses, Russia, China, N...

In the News: Jehovah’s Witnesses, Russia, China, Nashville police, pensions, tattoos and more

Local, national and international news outlets recently relied on MTSU faculty experts for their perspectives on tattoos, Jehovah’s Witnesses, foreign policy, pension programs, social media and the construction industry, among other topics.

Beka Crocket, employer relations supervisor, Career Development Center

Beka Crocket

Dr. Aaron Deter-Wolf, Tennessee state prehistoric archaeologist and MTSU adjunct professor of sociology and anthropology

Dr. Aaron Deter-Wolf

Beka Crocket, director of the Career Development Center, addressed the unique challenges today’s college graduates face in the job market due to the COVID-19 pandemic in a March 18 article by Tennessee Lookout/States Newsroom. Her comments are available here.

• Dr. Aaron Deter-Wolf, an adjunct professor of anthropology, participated in a videoconference titled “Reinventing the Tattoo,” a discussion of prehistoric tattoos, on March 23. The video can be viewed here.

Dr. William Canak

Dr. William Canak

Dr. Emily Baran, interim chair, Department of History

Dr. Emily Baran

• Dr. William Canak, a professor of sociology, chaired a virtual symposium titled “The Old Gig Economy: The Extent of Payroll Fraud in Construction, its Cost to Society and Approaches to its Regulation” March 23 for the Labor and Employment Relations Association. The video can be seen here.

• Dr. Emily Baran, chair of the Department of History, said the demise of Communism in Russia did not result in improved treatment of Jehovah’s Witnesses there in a March 23 panel discussion that was recounted in a March 24 article at Her remarks can be read here.

Baran also explained that, while Russia sees Jehovah’s Witnesses as a threat, the religious group refuses to be controlled in a March 26 article at Her comments are available here.

Dr. Andrei Korobkov, professor, Department of Political Science and International Relations

Dr. Andrei Korobkov

Dr. Sekou Franklin, associate professor of political science

Dr. Sekou Franklin

• Dr. Andrei Korobkov, a professor of political science and international relations, said President Joe Biden’s attempt to show toughness toward Russia and China might be an attempt to distract attention from domestic issues in a March 24 article by the TASS Russian news agency. The story can be accessed here.

• Dr. Sekou Franklin, an associate professor of political science and international relations, wrote a column critiquing the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department’s relationship with the African American community that was published March 24 in the Nashville Scene. His essay can be read here.

Beverly Keel, dean, College of Media and Entertainment

Beverly Keel

Dr. Katie Foss, associate professor of media studies in MTSU's School of Journalism and Strategic Media

Dr. Katie Foss

Beverly Keel, dean of the College of Media and Entertainment, commented on the sexism and misogyny that still impedes women’s progress in the music industry in a March 25 article in Main Street Nashville. Her views are available here.

• Dr. Katie Foss, a professor of media studies, commented on the impact of social media in encouraging people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in a March 26 report by WTVF-TV in Nashville. The video and transcript can be accessed here.

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

Dr. Daniel Smith

• Dr. Daniel Smith, director of the Political Economy Research Institute and an associate professor of economics, co-authored an editorial warning about possible future federal bailouts of state and local pension systems that was distributed March 29 by Tribune News Service and published in numerous newspapers. The editorial can be read 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 (