Midpoints – Summer 2012

Midpoints – Summer 2012

A look at recent awards, events, and accomplishments involving the MTSU community

compiled by Kayla Bates, Gina E. Fann, Gina K. Logue, Paula Morton, Drew Ruble, Tom Tozer, Randy Weiler and Doug Williams

A Happy Work Place

MTSU’s Industrial/Organizational Psychology master’s student Jaye Murray won the prestigious national outstanding graduate student of the year award from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). MTSU’s I/O Psychology program has an unprecedented distinction: two MTSU students have earned this national award in the past four years. The MTSU SHRM chapter was also named by national SHRM in 2010 as one of the top ten university chapters in the country.

You’re Going to Hollywood!

Erica Doyle won second place for “Video Magazine” at the 33rd annual College Television Awards, presented by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation. Doyle produced and directed her project, “Koure TV—Pushing Boundaries,” for the University’s television channel, MT10. Doyle accepted the award at a black-tie gala in Hollywood on March 31. See the project at

From the Ground Up

For the second time in six years, MTSU’s Land Development/Residential Building Construction Management team won the National Association of Homebuilders Student Chapters Residential Construction Management Competition. Students were given a 22-acre plot in a flood plain area to develop a subdivision in Huntsville, Ala. MTSU also won the competition in 2007 and has placed in the top five in seven of the past eight years.

The Future’s So Bright

Anna Yacovone, currently employed as a post-graduate adviser in the MTSU Office of Education Abroad, was named the recipient of a Fulbright U.S. Student Program Scholarship to Laos. Yacovone, who graduated from MTSU in December 2011 with degrees in global studies and organizational communication, is now teaching English in the capital city of Vientiane, working mostly at the National University of Laos. The U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright Program is one of the world’s most prestigious international educational exchange programs. This is the third successive year in which two MTSU students have received Fulbright scholarships. The other 2012 recipient is Whiteside, Tenn., native Daniel Gouger, who will be conducting research in Spain.

Having a Ball

MTSU captured a fourth consecutive Vic Bubas Cup, given annually to the Sun Belt Conference all-sports champion. It marks MTSU’s eighth win in 12 years and the first time a school has won four straight Bubas Cups since South Alabama did so from 1991-94. Leading the way were the Middle Tennessee men’s and women’s basketball teams, which put together a year to remember for Blue Raider supporters in 2011–12. The MTSU basketball programs finished in the top 10 nationally in combined wins with its 53 victories and a 79.1% winning percentage. Both the men’s and women’s teams won the Sun Belt regular season title. The women posted a perfect 16-0 record against the league.

The Big Reveal

A record 331 students presented posters during Scholars Week, a University-wide celebration of research and creative expression. Dr. Eugenie C. Scott, executive director of the National Science Education Center in Oakland, Calif., kicked off the weeklong celebration with a press conference emphatically calling on the Tennessee General Assembly to drop bills allowing religious and politically motivated statements in public middle- and high-school classrooms. Lawmakers passed a bill that same day that would encourage classroom debate over evolution.

Going for the Gold

MTSU sophomore Jordan Dodson was named a recipient of the prestigious Goldwater Scholar Awards. Only 282 sophomores and juniors at colleges and universities nationwide are 2012 recipients. Dodson, 20, who has a 3.97 GPA as a double major in professional chemistry and professional mathematics and a minor in biology, received a two-year, $15,000 Goldwater Scholarship. Dodson, an Oakland High School graduate who shoots golf in the 70s, joins a growing list of Goldwater Scholars at MTSU, including (currently) Evan Matthew Craig, who received a Goldwater in 2011, and alumnus Taylor Barnes, MTSU’s first Goldwater recipient in 2007. The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established by public law in 1986 and designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering.

Good Partners

The best video projects from students in Metro Nashville Public Schools were celebrated at the MTSU-sponsored Academies of Nashville Video Awards show in April. MTSU College of Mass Communication students (alongside Metro students) directed, produced and performed in the inaugural awards show using MTSU’s $1.4 million Mobile Production Lab, which has been used for events ranging from Music Row’s “Capitol Street Party” to ESPN coverage of Blue Raider athletic contests. The hourlong MNPS video awards production was aired on Nashville’s NECAT, Channel 10. “We are pleased to partner with Metro Schools because we see the great things happening in their schools and the caliber of students they are sending to college,” said Dr. Sidney A. McPhee, MTSU president.

Mutual Benefits

MTSU and Nashville State Community College (NSCC) signed an agreement in March to make it easier for students to earn degrees from both institutions. The Concurrent Enrollment provision allows students to enroll at both institutions simultaneously and get financial aid for the total number of credits, if needed. The Reverse Transfer provision gives former NSCC students, who enrolled at MTSU without receiving an NSCC associate’s degree, the opportunity to transfer MTSU credits back to NSCC and receive a two-year diploma.

The Right Note

Marlee Matlin, winner of the 1986 Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Children of a Lesser God, delivered the keynote address for MTSU’s National Women’s History Month celebration. Deaf since the age of 18 months, Matlin is a member of the National Association for the Deaf, communicates in sign language in her acting and public appearances, and travels with an interpreter.

A Pulitzer Perspective

Leonard Pitts Jr., 2004 Pulitzer Prize winner for commentary, presented “Owning What You Know” at MTSU. Pitts, a syndicated columnist for the Miami Herald and author of three books, became a published writer at 14 when the Los Angeles Sentinel published one of his poems.

Supreme Authority

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court when President Ronald Reagan named her as an associate justice in 1981. During her almost 25 years on the high court, she cast tie-breaking votes in more than three-fourths of the panel’s 5–4 decisions. “It took 191 years to get the first woman on the Supreme Court,” she told an MTSU audience. “That was quite a wait. And frankly, I’m still astonished that I was that woman.” Topics ranged from the pros and cons of an elected judiciary to her status as a member of the Cowgirl Hall of Fame (thanks to her Arizona cattle-ranch upbringing).

Spring Speakers

Mark Emmert, NCAA president, served as the morning commencement speaker at the spring 2012 ceremony. Ribo Huang of the National Engineering Research Center for Bioenergy at Guangxi Academy of Sciences in China was the speaker for the afternoon ceremony. At the morning ceremony, MTSU awarded its 100,000th undergraduate degree.

Field Lab

The Harpeth Wetland Bank recently donated about 220 acres of rural property in the Rockvale area of Rutherford County to MTSU. The land, previously known as the Puckett Farm, was donated with the support and encouragement of the property’s previous owners, former MTSU employee Betty Rowland and her sisters, Mary Taylor and Ann Hartmann, in honor of their father, Clarence William Puckett (’41). It will be used as an environmental field laboratory for programs in biology, environmental science, botany, conservation, and other sciences.

Good Company

Three accomplished alumni were added to the growing roster of the College of Mass Communication’s Wall of Fame at MTSU. Alumni Carrie Dierks (’99), the vice president for B2B operations for True North Custom Media, Luke Laird (’01), Billboard magazine’s No. 3 “Hot Country Songwriter of 2011,” and Mikki Rose (’05), Hollywood animator turned Sony Pictures Imageworks’ cloth and hair technical director, were honored with plaques and photos installed on the northwest interior wall of the Bragg Mass Communication Building. Also recognized were Friends of the College Dale and Lucinda Cockrell of the University’s Center for Popular Music.

Young at Heart

RCA recording artist, Murfreesboro native, and former MTSU student Chris Young produced a public service announcement for MTSU lauding the University for its academic programs. With the sounds of one of his No. 1 hits playing in the background, Young states that his time spent at MTSU as a student helped make him the “Man I Want to Be.” Young also recently donated a selection of his touring audio equipment and accessories to MTSU Production Services, a unit within the Division of Business and Finance that provides event services. In the past year, Young was nominated for a Grammy and had five consecutive number-one singles.

Join the Club

MTSU became a member of Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), an Anderson County–based nonprofit that operates like a chamber of commerce for universities across the globe. Through ORAU, these institutions of higher learning work together to advance scientific research and education by getting their best and brightest students working on projects with the government, in private sector industries, and at other universities. Students from any of the member universities can apply for a seemingly endless list of programs, many of which could land them at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. At any given time, there are more than 1,000 students in Anderson County taking classes. The result is more top-level science professionals with the academic prowess to keep the United States competitive with other countries.

Grammy Time

Lady Antebellum’s second Best Country Album Grammy in as many years meant more accolades for MTSU after the 54th Grammy Awards ceremony in February. Own the Night, the trio’s third album, garnered the win for Hillary Scott, a 2004–06 MTSU recording industry major and member of the group, as well as for engineer Clarke Schleicher (’80). Both were Grammy winners in 2011 for “Need You Now.” Scott and Schleicher were two of nine MTSU alumni and/or former students nominated for their work on musical releases ranging from country to contemporary Christian to bluegrass. Music by 14 current and former MTSU School of Music professors was included in the catalog that earned a classical Producer of the Year nomination for Blanton Alspaugh. Blue Raiders nominated for Grammys this year included Brandon Epps (’01), Jason Hall (’00), Brandon Schexnayder (’05), Dave Barnes (’00), Brandon Heath (’03), and Brandon Bell (’04).