As the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, the impact of COVID-19 has no doubt been the top story of 2020. But within that context were stories of perseverance and even triumph throughout the year on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University.
Here are some of the top news stories for the Blue Raider campus for 2020:
Perseverance through COVID-19
MTSU recently wrapped up its fall semester, not only with the first outdoor commencements at Floyd Stadium in decades, but also with the largest year-over-year fall enrollment gains among the state’s locally governed institutions — fueled in part by an almost 28% jump in the College of Graduate Studies and record retention efforts of currently enrolled undergraduates by faculty and advisers.
“Our growth during these challenging times was not an accident — it came from deliberate, focused, and relentless work by our faculty and staff during a global crisis,” said MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee. “We are determined to persevere in our educational mission.”
And so were MTSU students in fulfilling their part in that mission. As thousands of students returned to campus for fall classes, they did so while following an ongoing face-covering mandate and single-person campus housing guidelines; attending modified classrooms to ensure social distancing; and having access to coronavirus testing through health services.
Before that, thousands of students and their families joined faculty and staff in embracing the sudden shift to all-remote learning back in March as it became apparent that the pandemic was quickly spreading throughout our community and state. “Zoom” became the order of the day, and traditional on-campus activities such as campus tours were revamped for a virtual-only audience.
In announcing the move to online delivery, McPhee would charge Provost Mark Byrnes to lead a universitywide task force in formulating plans on how the university would respond to the pandemic in the short and long term, resulting in a cancellation of all on-campus events for the foreseeable future, an all-remote summer session and a plan to offer a mix of in-person and online course offering for fall — the first university in the state to announce plans to return to in-person classes for fall.
Such a transition required a tremendous commitment by faculty throughout the university to enhance or develop new virtual teaching skills, and also required a major investment in new technology. Using federal coronavirus relief funds as well as university funds, MTSU, through its Information Technology Division, invested several million dollars in technology and training to allow faculty to deliver classes remotely. Also, MTSU loaned out hundreds of laptops and hotspots to students in need.
New Academic Classroom Building, more
And while spring and summer commencements were held virtually as on-ground classes took an extended pause, MTSU forged ahead with preparations for student return by opening the new $39.6 million Academic Classroom Building for three departments within the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences — criminal justice, psychology and social work.
During the August outdoor ribbon-cutting ceremony, with attendees masked and socially distanced, McPhee noted the country’s need of skilled personnel in these three disciplines.
“With the wide-ranging health and economic impacts associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and the call for social justice, we are teaching frontline workers to become trained experts in these intersecting disciplines,” McPhee told the attendees.
The university also continued design and planning for a new School of Concrete and Construction Management building with an estimated fall 2022 completion date; and is set to open in January the recently completed new Parking Services Facility that will house vehicle registration, bus maintenance and personnel offices.
Top national rankings, partnerships
Such ongoing institutional enhancements are why, for the second consecutive year, MTSU was the only locally governed institution to be included in Princeton Review’s national Best College list, an honor only afforded to 13% of the nation’s higher education entities.
Also, U.S. News and World Report ranked MTSU as the top public school in Tennessee (and No. 80 nationally) in social mobility for its track record of success in helping “economically disadvantaged students” graduate.
It’s in that tradition that MTSU also continued forging new partnerships with entities throughout the community:
- a pre-pandemic statewide Data Science initiative announcement in February in partnership with the Nashville Technology Council, including the university offering a new bachelor’s degree of data science as well as a graduate certificate geared toward working professionals in the emerging field.
- a fall partnership between the School of Concrete and Construction Management and the Music City Grand Prix will provide hands-on learning and student internships in advance of the scheduled August 2021 event in Nashville;
- and a fall partnership with the 118th Wing of the Tennessee Air National Guard to collaborate in several areas, notably in research of unmanned aircraft systems operations and computer science.
MTSU planned to wrap up the year honoring the late Charlie Daniels, veterans advocate and longtime friend of the university and veterans center that bears his name. MTSU’s True Blue TV and social media channels will air an encore presentation of the Veteran Impact Celebration in tribute to Daniels, who passed away in July at age 83.
Here are more snapshots of other top university stories throughout the year, listed chronologically:
As keynote speaker of MTSU’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance, state Rep. Harold Love Jr.challenged those gathered Monday evening, Jan. 20, inside the Student Union Ballroom to look deeper into the legacy of the slain civil rights leader to apply his wisdom to today’s societal challenges.
“Where do we go from here, chaos or community? In the summer of 1967, Dr. King asked this question of our nation,” said Love, who represents Tennessee House District 58, which encompasses a part of north central Metro Nashville and Davidson County.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Middle Tennessee State University now has a noticeable presence inside the Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee’s newest contribution to teaching Middle Tennessee secondary school students about financial literacy.
Junior Achievement, a volunteer-driven organization that provides programs focused on work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills, hosted a grand opening Tuesday, Jan. 14, of the JA Finance Park, a state-of-the-art program that will serve seventh- through 12th-grade students across Middle Tennessee and is the organization’s first such venture in the state.
Located inside Junior Achievement’s facility on Powell Place in Nashville, the roughly 8,000-square-foot park incorporates hands-on classroom activities along with a real-world simulation, providing students with a solid foundation for making intelligent personal finance decisions throughout their lives.
Techie college students creatively collaborate at MTSU’s Hack MT [+VIDEO]Hack-MT attracts tech savvy students
One of the winning MTSU “Hack MT” teams created an online app that can provide free food for the needy and help feed the homeless. Another would work in tandem with Toys for Tots and the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program at Christmas.
Joined by industry mentors and alumni, imaginative college students from across the region collaborated for 36 hours during the fifth annual Hack MT, which wrapped up Jan. 26 in the MTSU Science Building.
LOS ANGELES — Middle Tennessee State University students and senior administrators were in full gear Saturday for Grammy weekend, going behind the scenes with recording industry leaders and rolling out the True Blue carpet for Southern California alumni.
This is MTSU’s seventh annual Grammy gathering, where alumni and former students were saluted and current students travel with faculty and staff to learn firsthand about the awards in both backstage and pre-show events.
MTSU honored its nine alumni nominated for Grammys at a brunch Saturday afternoon in downtown Los Angeles. The event celebrated the appointment of alumna Beverly Keel as dean of the College of Media and Entertainment.
MTSU’s Alumni Memorial Gym was a buzz of activity Saturday, Feb. 8, as high school and middle school students brought their creative A games to the second TNFIRST First Tech Challenge.
Teams wore matching T-shirts and outfits. One team even brought its saluting, red-eyed mascot — a knight in shining armor.
Nearly 30 teams from across Tennessee competed in the robotics event, hosted by MTSU’s Department of Engineering Technology, where students in seventh through 12th grade design, build, program and operate robots in head-to-head competition.
The Middle Tennessee State University community showed what it really means to be “true blue,” smashing this year’s fundraising goal through the annual “True Blue Give” 72-hour donor drive.
Almost 700 MTSU alumni, friends, faculty and staff and even some current students donated more than $450,000 toward scholarships, student emergency funds, academics and athletics during the Feb. 12-14 online campaign. The initial goal was $375,000.
During an era defined by segregation and unequal rights, eight African American student-athletes came to MTSU not fully aware of the lasting impact they would have on the university, athletics and each other.
They got a sense of their trailblazing impact when they returned to campus Thursday, Feb. 6, to see proud family, friends and a host of supporters welcoming them to a special ceremony, hosted by MTSU Athleticsin the Student Union Ballroom, to honor them as “True Blue Pioneers.”
Former Blue Raiders Jerry Singleton, Art Polk, Lonnell Poole, Terry Scott, J.W. Harper, Ray Bonner, Ed Miller and Mary “Beanie” Secrest were among those recognized in a panel discussion moderated by MTSU’s Ed Arning. (Polk chimed in from Africa via Skype.)
Middle Tennessee State University’s insurance program was ranked best in the nation among industry professionals, according to a survey by the global ratings agency A.M. Best.
MTSU’s No. 1 ranking was highlighted in an article for the A.M. Best Best’s Review magazine, which outlined how the Jones College of Business Risk Management and Insurance Program transitioned from a concentration to a full major four years ago when MTSU professor Dave Wood came to the university as the new Martin Chair of Insurance.
The Regional Science Olympiad celebrates its 25th anniversary at MTSU this Saturday, Feb. 22, with 11 middle schools and 10 high schools sending nearly 30 teams altogether seeking berths in the State Science Olympiad.
Science Olympiad is an American team competition in which students compete in 23 events pertaining to various scientific disciplines, including earth science, biology, chemistry, physics and engineering.
With less than a few hours’ notice, the Rev. James McCarroll delivered a powerful message to several hundred people attending the 24th annual Unity Luncheon Thursday, Feb. 20, at MTSU.
McCarroll’s 15-minute talk, titled “The Call to Come-Unity,” shared how the local “community” can come together in unity and harmony.
“Where There is Unity, There is Strength” was the theme of the 2020 Unity Luncheon, held in the Student Union Ballroom. The Unity Luncheon honors African American “unsung heroes” who have devoted their lives to serving the Middle Tennessee community.
Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett officially presented MTSU with its top award in the 2019 Tennessee College Voter Registration Competition.
The award, given to the top four-year university in the voter registration challenge, was presented to Student Government Association President Delanie McDonald Thursday, Feb.12, in the Student Union Parliamentary Room. Winners were announced in the fall.
The competition took place in September in honor of National Voter Registration Month. Of the 2,000-plus students who registered at 48 participating schools, MTSU pulled in 381 new voters. Northeast State Community College and Carson-Newman University were the other schools selected in the community college and private university categories respectively.
In celebration of Black History Month, MTSU has bestowed one of its top faculty honors on a professor described as a “Renaissance woman.”
Leah Tolbert Lyons received the John Pleas Faculty Recognition Award Thursday, Feb. 13, in a ceremony at the Sam H. Ingram Building on the MTSU campus. The plaque is presented annually to a black faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in teaching, research and service.
The academic for whom the award is named, Professor Emeritus of Psychology John Pleas, referred to Lyons as a “Renaissance woman” in his address, praising the selection committee members’ choice of Lyons.
MTSU’s Black History Month keynote speaker urged her audience members to do more than just register to vote if they really want to bring about change.
Angela Rye’s mantra, which she repeated several times in her Tuesday, Feb. 25, address in the James Union Building, was “Elections matter, and elections have consequences.” She referred to the upcoming Super Tuesday primary in March and the November general election as “the most consequential elections of our lifetimes.”
Last fall, at their kitchen tables and in their backyards, garages and classrooms, 828 Middle Tennessee youngsters saw 426 different needs — for a learning game, or a way to make life easier — and devised 426 different solutions.
At MTSU’s 28th annual Invention Convention, those fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students proudly put those solutions to work, explaining and demonstrating them for fascinated judges, teachers, friends and passers-by and earning certificates, ribbons, trophies and praise for their creativity and ingenuity.
“I want to just say one more time how proud I am of you,” convention director Tracey Huddleston, a professor in MTSU’s Department of Elementary and Special Education, told the excited young inventors.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Nashville Predators stepped forward Monday to raise money and awareness for Middle Tennessee State University student veterans in distress and whose educational benefits have either expired or have been exhausted.
Predators President and CEO Sean Henry joined MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Country Music Hall of Famer Charlie Daniels, who has financially supported the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center through his foundation, announced the creation of The General’s Fund during a news conference at Bridgestone Arena, kicking off Ford Military Salute Week.
Henry said the fund, raised to help veterans at MTSU in need of support, recognizes retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Huber, who now serves as MTSU’s senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives.
It was no coincidence that MTSU’s National Women’s History Month Committee kicked off its annual celebration on the day of the Super Tuesday presidential primaries.
In connection with the March-long theme of “Nevertheless She Persisted: Valiant Women of the Vote,” the committee screened “By One Vote: Woman Suffrage in the South,” a documentary about events leading up to passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, at the opening ceremony March 3 in the James Union Building.
Nashville Public Television Producer Emerita Beth Curley, the driving force behind the film, said it was not enough to focus on the all-male Tennessee General Assembly’s approval of the amendment on Aug. 18, 1920.
MTSU and first-year Rockvale High School signed a partnership agreement Thursday, March 5, that will encourage the university and Rockvale to create additional dual enrollment opportunities for high school students.
MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Rockvale Principal Steve Luker, an MTSU alumnus, signed the agreement in the school library, with Rockets’ students, faculty and staff and MTSU staff and student teachers present.
The dual enrollment partnership allows Rockvale students to enroll in MTSU courses taught on-site at their school or on the MTSU campus while they are still enrolled in their secondary school, and earn credit from both institutions. Dual enrollment falls under the MTSU University College.
Middle Tennessee State University will close most offices Monday, March 9, to encourage employees to spend a “True Blue Day of Service” to volunteer with recovery efforts underway after this week’s deadly Midstate storms.
The closing will allow many of MTSU’s about 1,200 full- and part-time nonfaculty employees “the ability to provide a helping hand in our region,” McPhee said.
A more than $2.5 million in-kind donation by Petroleum Experts Limited will assist MTSU geosciences undergraduate students in becoming more proficient at geomapping and, in turn, enhance their job prospects.
It marks the second major, in-kind donation by the Edinburgh, Scotland-based company in two years. The donation, on the heels of Petex’s $2.18 million in-kind gift last year, means MTSU students are recipients of more than $4.7 million in software licenses that can help strengthen their resumes.
With both donations, Petex is granting access to the educational licenses of Move Suite, an industry-leading software whose applications current and future MTSU students will have access to on campus.
If the COVID-19 pandemic ever forces collegians to practice distance debating, the MTSU debate team will take an impressive record into the online environment.
The Blue Raider debaters topped off a successful debate season by winning the top team sweepstakes and the overall tournament at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, Arkansas. ATU held its tourney Feb. 28-March 1.
Moreover, MTSU finished second in the nation as a squad in the International Public Debate Association, which had almost 100 schools participating in the 2019-20 tournament season.
As coronavirus precautions continue to necessitate more time at home for everyone, Rutherford County residents are urged to check their mailboxes and stacks of mail for their 2020 census forms that for the first time can be filled out online as the April 1 Census Day approaches.
For one of the fastest growing counties in the state and nation, this year’s decennial U.S. census means tens of millions of dollars could be gained for public services such as schools, roads and health clinics for the next decade — if an accurate count is captured of the thousands of new residents that have moved into the community since 2010.
Middle Tennessee State University is supporting students who need technology assistance as the university finishes the semester with remote courses as a coronavirus outbreak precaution.
Like many other schools in the state, the COVID-19 crisis prompted MTSU to move most of its usual on-ground campus classes to a new remote delivery of instruction.
But as the state’s No. 1 choice of first-generation students, and serving more students from low-income families than any other four-year institution in Tennessee, many MTSU students lacked ready or easy access to the Internet.
MTSU’s Information Technology Division came to the rescue by reaching out to T-Mobile to secure 1,000 Chromebooks, which they are loaning to students while supplies last. That’s in addition to 300 laptops that came from MTSU’s existing inventory.
MTSU faculty members Seth Jones and Hanna Terletska hold a distinction no other Middle Tennessee State University professors have ever obtained — National Science Foundation Early Career Development, or CAREER, grant recipients.
The NSF CAREER awards support junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through research, education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organization. Jones is in the Womack Educational Leadership Department; Terletska is in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
The MTSU Creamery made a much-needed special delivery of its famous chocolate milk Wednesday morning, April 1, to keep the Murfreesboro City Schools’ CHOW Bus properly stocked to serve children outside Hobgood Elementary School on Baird Lane.
CHOW, which stands for Combatting Hunger on Wheels, was launched by Murfreesboro City Schools several years ago to provide meals for students throughout the city during the summer. With schools closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, the converted retired school buses are now serving bagged breakfast and lunch to-go meals to any students under 18 at multiple schools and apartment complexes around the city.
MTSU recently attracted a worldwide audience with a conference that expected to attract about 400 people.
The Tennessee Center for the Study and Treatment of Dyslexia at MTSU transformed its Fox Reading Conference from a hybrid of in-person and cyberspace communication to an all-digital endeavor because of the COVID-19 virus outbreak.
Some 5,500 people on four continents logged in for all or part of the March 21 videoconferencing session, which had reached its on-campus registration capacity. Dyslexia Center staff facilitated the conference, which included online participation from its three main invited speakers.
MTSU’s Department of Recording Industry is on Billboard‘s annual list of America’s top music business schools for a seventh year, touted once again for its longevity and its renown for producing ready-to-work music industry pros.
In the article “Revealed: Billboard’s 2020 Top Music Business Schools,” the magazine acknowledges MTSU’s status as “one of the nation’s oldest and most highly regarded music business programs” as the department winds down its 46th academic year.
Its alphabetical listing of 28 U.S. schools in the April 25 print and April 27 online editions also adds index newcomer and Tennessee neighbor Rhodes College in Memphis alongside recognized programs at Berklee, New York University, the University of Southern California and Nashville’s Belmont University.
Coronavirus distancing restrictions couldn’t keep fraternities and sororities at MTSU from using online tools to continue their annual support of a popular student resource.
As part of the annual Greek Week Celebration, MTSU Fraternity and Sorority Life sponsored an almost weeklong fundraising challenge that brought in $3,163 through online donations for the MTSU Student Food Pantry, a free resource of nonperishable food items for any enrolled student in need.
Recent MTSU graduates Jessica Shotwell and Samuel “Sam” Remedios have received notification they are among 2,000 U.S. students named as winners of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program Award.
NSF Fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $34,000, plus a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees paid to the institution where they will conduct their research, opportunities for international research and professional development and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institutions.
America’s news media play an invaluable role in keeping the public informed, especially when the nation — and the world — are facing a deadly and dispiriting pandemic.
That’s the message of a new national public service campaign launched by the Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University. The center is teaming up with state and national press associations around the country with a blunt, on-deadline point about the importance of journalism.
The campaign’s ads feature a diverse group of Americans, each wearing a protective face mask, above text reading “Reliable information when we need it most. Protect freedom of the press.”
Middle Tennessee State University’s administration will not seek tuition or fee increases for the 2020-21 academic year when the institution’s budget goes to its Board of Trustees for consideration in June, President Sidney A. McPhee said Friday, May 1.
“We must do what we can to help our students and their families as we come to terms with the economic impact caused by the COVID-19 crisis,” McPhee said. “It is vital that we identify and remove as many obstacles as we can, so that we can welcome our new and returning students to campus this fall.”
Trustees Chairman Stephen B. Smith said the board will consider MTSU’s budget plan at the board’s next quarterly meeting on June 16. The chairman said he supported and encouraged McPhee’s recommendation to keep tuition and fees flat. Trustees approved the recommendation in June.
It is a new Middle Tennessee State University Creamery chocolate milk label from a new labeler. And it’s a new-style bottle.
“People will notice the change, but the MTSU chocolate milk will be the same. It’s the same great taste,” said Matthew Wade, director of the MTSU Farm Laboratories, including the Creamery.
MTSU‘s spring Class of 2020 graduated from home offices, kitchen tables and living rooms across the country Saturday, May 9, instead of Murphy Center, but they met the challenge with the same “vigor and dedication” they applied to earning their degrees, university President Sidney A. McPhee said.
During MTSU’s first virtual graduation, streamed to mark a long-awaited day of celebration after a pandemic-truncated semester, McPhee praised the 2,519 new graduates for their “True Blue” perseverance.
MTSU media students are celebrating a successful spring semester with national, state and regional honors for their multimedia reporting, including an astounding 28 awards that comprise a national Society of Professional Journalists’ college award and 14 first-place wins and three Best of Shows in the Tennessee Associated Press Broadcasters and Media Editors College Contest.
The new honors also include two first-place and four finalist wins in the SPJ Region 12 Mark of Excellence Awards.
Twelve current, newly graduated and former School of Journalism and Strategic Media students earned recognition for their 2019 writing, reporting, radio, video and online work, including Best of Show honors in radio and in TV.
MTSU’s WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 will join a nationwide remembrance of slain Minnesota resident George Floyd this Tuesday, June 9, when the station plays the Sam Cooke classic “A Change is Gonna Come.”
Set to air at 2 p.m. CDT both at 89.5 FM and online at www.wmot.org, the station’s local memorial moment joins those of more than 150 stations coast to coast honoring Floyd.
Floyd’s gruesome May 25 killing on a Minneapolis street has been the impetus for repeated national and international protests focusing on racial injustice and police misconduct.
The June 9 radio commemoration follows a planned private memorial service set earlier in the day in Floyd’s Houston, Texas, hometown.
“Music is healing and speaks for us when there are no words,” said Val Hoeppner, WMOT executive director. “We’ll come together with stations nationwide to grieve, act and heal as a community and a nation.”
MTSU Phillips Bookstore, now operated by Barnes & Noble College, reopened for business Tuesday, June 16, as the rest of the university began a Phase I resumption of more on-campus activity since moving to remote courses and work in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
MTSU alumnus and new bookstore manager Natalie Karousatos said store hours will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday for the time being.
Because the Student Union will remain closed for now, Karousatos said the best entry way will be an exterior entrance for customers on the side facing MTSU Boulevard.
Barnes & Noble College was awarded the contract to operate the bookstore through a competitive bid process, but was unable to open in early April with the university scaling back on-campus activities because of COVID-19.
Coronavirus health protocols for MTSU Phillips Bookstore will include all customers and visitors wearing face coverings and social distancing — Karousatos said the store floors are well marked with arrows and signage to keep at least six feet apart.
Middle Tennessee State University’s Department of Aerospace recently received delivery of six new Diamond Aircraft 2020 DA 40 XLT aircraft to its student training fleet and the Austria-based manufacturer also refurbished 13 aircraft in the university’s existing fleet.
The final two new planes arrived Friday, June 19. Diamond imported them to the U.S./Canadian border and university officials picked them up near Detroit, Michigan. MTSU received the first four planes from Diamond in April.
The Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University wants all Americans to know and use their First Amendment rights, and its new awareness effort has some star-studded support to get out the word across the country.
Nashville’s taking center stage in the center’s new 1 for All Campaign for the First Amendment with help from artists, authors and athletes including multiplatinum-selling and multi-award-winning musician Kane Brown; the legendary Loretta Lynn; multi-Grammy Award-winning musicians Rosanne Cash, Jason Isbell, Brad Paisley and Darius Rucker; Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton; and bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize finalist Ann Patchett.
They’re among nearly two dozen Nashvillians sharing the critical need nationwide for Americans to know, and practice, our First Amendment rights to free speech, a free press, peaceable assembly, religion and petitioning the government.
Tennessee’s arts-focused high school juniors and seniors spent most of June learning exactly how and why the show must go on at the 2020 Governor’s School for the Arts at MTSU.
Normally they’re a bustling presence across campus as they live in dorms and work long days — and nights — collaborating on and refining their art, dance, film, music and theater abilities.
This year’s pandemic-forced changes affected every facet of the summer residency program for the first time in 36 years, except the basics: creating, teaching and learning.
Middle Tennessee State University is mourning the sudden death of country music legend and longtime supporter Charlie Daniels, a passionate advocate for military veterans and for whom the university’s veterans center is named.
A country music and southern rock legend and hall of fame member, Daniels died Monday, July 6, at Summit Medical Center in Hermitage, Tennessee, following a hemorrhagic stroke. He was 83.
The Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center is home to 1,000-plus veterans and military family members. MTSU renamed the center in 2016 to honor Daniels, who had a lifetime of supporting veterans and military members, and his wife, Hazel. They also were a part of the center’s November 2015 grand opening.
The Casualty Actuarial Society recently announced MTSU’s actuarial science program as one of the recipients of its international 2020 CAS University Award Program.
All four recipients were selected by a panel of judges from among a competitive field of applicants for the innovative and exemplary ways they are preparing students for a career in the property and casualty insurance industry.
Middle Tennessee State University’s new vice provost for international affairs is taking the helm and steering the ship through what he calls a “perfect storm.”
Robert Summers assumed his new post July 1. Most recently, Summers was assistant provost for global engagement at State University of New York-Buffalo State in Buffalo, New York; he previously held leadership positions at universities in Alabama, New York and Florida.
Though he’s working under the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic and national foreign policies over which he has limited control, Summers said he still wants to focus on increasing the number of international students on campus.
Middle Tennessee State University announced plans Tuesday to rebrand its educational resource cable TV channel to “True Blue TV” and add more campus events to its programming schedule.
The channel, which airs on Comcast Xfinity channels 9 and 1096 in Murfreesboro, was launched in 1999 as a television lesson delivery system for primary and secondary schools across Tennessee.
That educational mission, which later expanded to include capturing MTSU academic events, as well as professional development and children’s programming, will continue for True Blue TV, said university President Sidney A. McPhee.
Assisted by family and friends, Nevaeh Carter and Simone Edmondson found themselves “excited but nervous” as they arrived at the MTSU campus Wednesday, Aug. 19, moved in to high-rise dormitories and prepared to begin life as college students while the COVID-19 pandemic continues across the country.
Students from all across Tennessee — from Cordova in the Memphis area, and Maryville and Chattanooga in East Tennessee — and from as far away as Milwaukee, Wisconsin, drove to campus on the first official day of move-ins into campus housing.
Normally a two-day event, Housing and Student Affairs officials have turned the move-in into a quieter, less stressful six-day event. About 450 new and returning students were scheduled to move in on Wednesday.
This time, however, health protocols — everyone required to wear masks and face coverings and maintaining social distancing — are in place.
Joking that even though she’s a “lab rat” who often savors the solitude of her research, MTSU biology professor Mary Farone acknowledged that accepting the university’s highest faculty honor alone, in a pandemic-forced virtual celebration, isn’t how she prefers to work.
Farone, a microbiologist who began her MTSU career as an adjunct in 1996, is the 2020 recipient of the MTSU Foundation’s Career Achievement Award, recognized Thursday, Aug. 20, at the university’s Fall Faculty Meeting for her teaching, research and service to students.
University President Sidney A. McPhee presented Farone with her award in MTSU’s Tucker Theatre, the traditional site for the annual faculty gathering before each new academic year begins.
Instead of the usual full house of hundreds of congratulatory colleagues from across campus, however, the audience comprised fewer than a dozen carefully distanced guests and staff members.
Michigan pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha used science-based research in a five-year Flint water crisis battle that resulted in a $600 million settlement for primarily young victims announced last week.
At the MTSU Convocation, Saturday, Aug. 22, held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic, Hanna-Attisha brought a motivating message to new students. They heard details about her and her team’s investigative work with the Flint saga and she told them how college students inspire her.
The 2019-20 MTSU Experimental Vehicles Program lunar rover teams couldn’t compete along with the elite international field at the 2020 NASA Human Explorer Rover Challenge, as the in-person event was canceled in April because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the 14-person MTSU Team No. 2 earned the top engineering achievement prize — the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Neil Armstrong Best Design Award — in the university division for the second time since 2014.
The agency recently announced the winners of the competition during a virtual awards ceremony. The event formerly was called NASA’s Great Moonbuggy Race.
The award, named in memory of the late astronaut Neil Armstrong, recognizes the team with the rover that has the best ability to take on the punishing elements in the rover challenge course.
John D. Hood, MTSU alumnus and current director of the university’s government and community affairs, was recognized Friday, Sept. 11, by having the Rutherford County Emergency Communications District’s 911 administration and training center named in his honor.
As the 911 center’s longest-standing board member and treasurer, Hood was honored in an unveiling of the signage for his namesake in a livestreamed ceremony held Friday just before the 911 Board meeting at the facility on Fortress Boulevard. The new signage reads the “John D. Hood 911 Administration and Training Center.”
Civic-minded MTSU students, faculty and staff lined up Thursday on campus to celebrate the 233rd anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution.
The world’s longest surviving written charter of government was signed Sept. 17, 1787, ratified in 1788 and in operation since 1789. The MTSU community celebrated Constitution Day by reading portions of the nation’s bedrock legal document aloud at two locations.
MTSU students tuned up to Rock the Vote with bands from Nashville-area universities Tuesday, Sept. 22, during a nationwide National Voter Registration Day virtual event to get Americans registered and ready to vote in the Nov. 3 elections.
For the MTSU Police Department’s K-9 handler and patrol specialist Zachery Brooker, the “loyalty” he receives from his K-9, Bobby, “can’t be compared.”
This month marks the dog’s first year of service for the campus police department, and Bobby and Brooker have been “very fortunate to have a really good first year” and that the other officers “love having Bobby here,” Brooker said.
Bobby is a 2-year-old German shepherd and Belgian Malinois mix. He met his MTSU handler for the first time at K-9 training school in Smyrna Beach, Florida.
Top administrators from MTSU and Blackman High School celebrated the academic success and research pursuits of nearly 100 Blackman Collegiate Academy students during a virtual pinning ceremony Thursday, Sept. 24.
MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, Blackman Principal Leisa Justus and Assistant Principal Justin Smithgave livestreamed remarks from the McWherter Learning Resources Center Studio A as students watched and interacted virtually via Zoom. The ceremony was broadcast by MTSU’s True Blue TV via Livestream and Facebook.
For six years, MTSU and Blackman have partnered with the collegiate academy as a way for students to gain access to university faculty and resources and grow academically through research projects and other ways.
In fair Verona, where MTSU Theatre lays its scene Oct. 1-4 in the fall 2020 season-opening production, saints have hands, but pilgrims won’t be touching them, and masks will conceal the blushes of those saints and pilgrims’ lips.
Theatre lecturer David Wilkerson is directing a new production of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” airing live — and free — at MTSU.edu/live, MTSU’s True Blue TVchannel and two Facebook Live sitesThursday-Saturday nights beginning at 7:30 p.m. CDT and a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.
MTSU students also can attend the live shows, seated six feet apart and at no charge, inside Tucker Theatre in the Boutwell Dramatic Arts Auditorium.
How do you stop the True Blue spirit of the MTSU community?
It seems you can’t, even in a pandemic. Despite an off-campus site and a bye year for the annual donation competition with an old football foe, students, faculty, staff, alumni, neighbors and friends still turned up to “Bleed Blue” during the university’s three-day community drive to replenish area blood supplies.
American Red Cross organizers reported that 273 donors masked up and joined the Sept. 28-30 drive, held at the neighboring North Boulevard Church of Christ, giving 269 units of blood and potentially helping up to 765 people across Tennessee and parts of Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri.
Middle Tennessee State University announced Thursday, Oct. 1, that it will reinstate untapped academic scholarships awarded to new freshmen and transfer students for fall 2020 who paused their educations because of the pandemic or chose another college or university and are reconsidering their choice.
“We believed in you and wanted to recognize your academic record as new students joining the MTSU family for fall 2020, and we still believe in you now,” President Sidney A. McPhee said in an announcement broadcast on the university’s social channels.
“We want to provide a strong financial incentive to get you back on track toward your goal of completing your bachelor’s degree.”
Believed to be the only such program in the state, MTSU’s “Bridging the Gap”campaign reinstates scholarships for certain students who took a gap year or semester off and deferred enrollment because of COVID-19 or other reasons.
The weather was perfect, but because of COVID-19, a lot was different about MTSU Homecoming 2020.
Tailgating was not allowed. The pregame Homecoming Parade became an “MTShUbox Parade,” with dozens of homemade entries showcased virtually. The announced crowd of 6,500 at Floyd Stadium had to socially distance and wear face coverings to maintain Centers for Disease Control and Prevention health protocols.
MTSU normally drives hundreds of miles across Tennessee and major cities in three states to recruit several thousand prospective students and court their counselors on its annual True Blue Tour.
Things are not totally back to normal because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, academic deans, advisers and other campus leaders will be meeting and greeting and interacting with high school and transfer students virtually this fall.
The university has scheduled four Virtual True Blue Tour events — for East, Middle and West Tennessee and the finale for any out-of-state students — instead of taking MTSU on the road as it has done for about 25 years to personally engage with prospective students.
Middle Tennessee State University renewed its nationally acclaimed efforts to retain and graduate its students on Wednesday, Oct. 21, unveiling an ambitious set of new goals and initiatives for the university over the next five years.
President Sidney A. McPhee and University Provost Mark Byrnes said the plan, called Quest 2025, expands MTSU’s campus support efforts from the original Quest for Student Success initiated seven years ago.
They made the announcement during a live broadcast on MTSU’s True Blue TV and its social media platforms.
“We celebrate the next steps in strengthening our commitment to a deeper, broader and more equitable academic and student life experience that extends learning well beyond graduation,” McPhee said.
Middle Tennessee State University’s in-the-field training offered through its undergraduate elementary teacher preparation program has been ranked among the nation’s best by the National Council on Teacher Quality.
MTSU’s clinical practice program stands out as among only 33 traditional elementary programs out of more than the 1,100 evaluated to earn an “A” grade in the NCTQ’s 2020 “Teacher Prep Review.”
Bobbi Lussier, executive director of professional laboratory experiences in MTSU’s College of Education, credited collaboration with the school’s pre-K-12 partners for its score on the clinical practice, also known as in-classroom experience and student teaching.
Middle Tennessee State University has hired Trey Martindale as chief online learning officer, a newly created position that will focus on maximizing a growing area of instructional delivery for Blue Raiders both near and afar.
With more than two decades of experience in instructional technology and online learning, Martindale comes to MTSU from Mississippi State University, where he most recently served as an associate professor and department head in Instructional Technology and Workforce Development and was developing a completely online doctoral degree.
Martindale also served various leadership roles during 12 years at the University of Memphis, including a three-year stint as that institution’s first fellow for the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning and four years as program coordinator for instructional design and technology.
Knowing that their peers, and they, were aware of — and fatigued by — COVID-19 information as they prepared to return to campus in August for fall 2020 classes, the “Safe Return Campaign team,” led by professors Leslie Haines and Matt Taylor, wanted to reinforce MTSU’s campuswide mask mandate.
Even as the ongoing pandemic has limited social interactions for months on end, Middle Tennessee State University employees strengthened connections with the wider community by again pledging a record amount of donations during this year’s Employee Charitable Giving Campaign.
The pledge total — $136,558.81 — represented 101.15% of the $135,000 goal, with 843 participants taking part in the annual tradition of supporting a host of area nonprofit organizations.
MTSU’s annual Charitable Giving Campaign is a monthlong effort by faculty and staff to support worthy causes, primarily through monthly payroll deductions over the next year, but also allows one-time, lump-sum gifts at the donor’s discretion.
Middle Tennessee State University’s Board of Trustees endorsed Tuesday the creation of a master’s degree in physician assistant studies that could be offered as soon as Summer 2022.
The governing board unanimously approved the recommendation from the Academic Affairs, Student Life and Athletics Committee following a report from committee chair, Trustee Pam Wright.
MTSU’s Tennessee Miller Coliseum was the set for country music legend Reba McEntire and rising artist Cody Johnson’s new music video that debuted in early December for their single “Dear Rodeo,” a production supported by university students and alumni.
“I knew that once they (McEntire’s team) saw the Tennessee Miller Coliseum that they would fall in love with it, and that it would be their choice,” said Beverly Keel, dean of the university’s College of Media and Entertainment.
“I am so super appreciative of the university allowing us to be here,” said the video’s producer, MTSU alumna Christen Pinkston. “They’ve been so accommodating, and it’s been really nice to see students and people excited about a video and an opportunity.
Shooting the video at her alma mater was “really a full circle moment,” she added.
Middle Tennessee State University alumni and former students may need their own virtual seating section at the upcoming 63rd annual Grammy Awards.
The MTSU-trained professionals will be recognized in multiple genres in the ceremony set to air Sunday, March 14, at 7 p.m. Central on CBS, including one category where the university’s grads had a hand in all but one nominated project and others where they’re competing against themselves.
The Recording Academy had planned the annual ceremony for Jan. 31, but on Jan. 5, the organization announced the rescheduled date because of pandemic restrictions.
AUGUSTA, Ga. — An MTSU ROTC alumnus has become the U.S. Army Reserve’s first cyber officer to be promoted to brigadier general.
Robert Powell Jr., who graduated from MTSU’s College of Liberal Arts with a bachelor’s degree in international relations in 1991, was promoted from colonel to the one-star rank of brigadier general during a ceremony on Dec. 15 at Fort Gordon, Georgia.
Including about 15 MTSU Health Services and Pharmacy staff members, dozens of area health care workers and first responders received the first round of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday, Dec. 23, at the Siegel High School gym in Murfreesboro.
Wednesday’s vaccinations are believed to be some of the first to be administered in Rutherford County.
MTSU academic officials are wrapping a new present — in time for the holidays — for students wanting to study and earn college credit rather than taking a break.
For the first time, MTSU will be introducing a Winter Session term for students. Classes, with plenty of variety, will be available for students beginning Dec. 21 and ending Jan. 21, just before the spring semester.
All Winter Session classes will be online, with sport psychology, the judicial process, history of country music and principles of marketing just a sample of the dozens of course offerings.