Sometimes you think you know, but you don’t.
As a professional journalist working in the middle Tennessee market for more than nine years, I had plenty of opportunities to cover Middle Tennessee State University. As editor of BusinessTN magazine—the only statewide business and public affairs magazine in Tennessee—and its successor, Nashville Post, I covered aspects of the University ranging from its strong business and educational ties to China to its signature recording industry, aerospace, and concrete management programs. I considered myself more aware than most of MTSU’s value to the area, whether through economic impact or in its role as an institution.
In retrospect, I had no idea how significant MTSU was to the local market area—and specifically to the business community. MTSU is roughly the size of Vanderbilt, Tennessee State, Belmont, Fisk, and Lipscomb universities combined. It produces more graduates for Nashville’s workforce than those other five institutions put together. And to top it off, MTSU students actually stay and work in the middle Tennessee market at a much higher rate than graduates of the other schools.
In Rutherford County—in recent years, a national leader in job growth—MTSU is a linchpin of economic and cultural vibrancy. A good-sized city each day during the school year, the county’s second-largest employer, also plays an integral role in the quality of life in Murfreesboro.
MTSU’s future promises to be just impressive—if not more so—than its past. From bringing new buildings online to growing important new Ph.D. programs to the exciting research being conducted by its faculty, MTSU is a university on the move. Even amid budget cutbacks, MTSU’s momentum has not stalled.
My first few months as the University’s new senior editor for University publications opened my eyes to the richness of academic and social life here at MTSU. The stories in this edition represent some of those findings. In preparing this inaugural edition, I’ve also discovered what many have known for a long time—MTSU is the best-performing university in all of Tennessee. Among TBR schools, MTSU’s graduation rate ranks second—even though the University boasts the largest undergraduate enrollment in the state at more than 26,000 students. This has been accomplished despite the fact that the amount of taxpayer funds appropriated to MTSU during the 2009-2010 fiscal year was almost half that of UT-Knoxville. The bottom line? MTSU lives up to the hype as “Tennessee’s Best” performing university.
Sometimes you think that you know, but you don’t—and then you learn.
Sr. Editor of University Publications