‘Out of the Blue’ TV show targets research opportu...

‘Out of the Blue’ TV show targets research opportunities for MTSU faculty, students [+VIDEO]

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MURFRESBORO, Tenn. — The Middle Tennessee State University Office of Research and Sponsored Programs works to mentor and coach faculty members in finding and securing grants for projects.

Andrew Oppmann, vice president of marketing and communications
Andrew Oppmann

In the July edition of “Out of the Blue,” MTSU’s television magazine show, Rachel McGinnis, ORSP director of research services, discusses the growth in research and opportunities for faculty members with program host Andrew Oppmann, vice president for Marketing and Communications at the university.

“We help faculty, staff and students find grants on campus,” said McGinnis. “We also do training for grants (regarding) new regulations that are coming out. And we help them once they get grants to process the grants all the way to closure.” To learn more, visit

You can watch the segment here:

McGinnis said the launch of the Grant Enhancement Program marked the highlight of her first year at MTSU, with nearly 40 faculty members bringing in new research opportunities. This aligns with MTSU’s leap to elite R2 high research activity status gained in March 2022 as designated by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

Rachel McGinnis, MTSU Office of Research and Sponsored Programs director
Rachel McGinnis

“Grant Enhancement Program actually takes you all the way from finding grants that you might be interested in in year one to submitting the grant before the first year is over,” she said. About halfway through the process, new faculty “get really excited, so it’s great to see them grow throughout the program.”

The Raider Research Series “is a presentation of two faculty members each month telling you a little bit about the research,” McGinnis said. “We’re trying to get the research out there so the community knows more about it. It is community — students and faculty that are welcome to it. There are networking events. That started this year and will continue into next year.”

McGinnis said the university “has a lot of grants that we work with community partners and institutions across the state so, really, what we’re doing is making a difference not just here but throughout the state.”

Dr. Ben Stickle with the MTSU Criminal Justice Department
Dr. Ben Stickle

One example is professor Ben Stickle from Criminal Justice Administration. His work has generated $14 million in funding, helping others achieve positive outcomes.

“Out of the Blue” is available anytime on the university’s YouTube channel, the True Blue TV channel, Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV. It also airs on Murfreesboro cable Channel 9 daily at 6 and 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; NewsChannel5+ at 3:30 p.m. Sundays; via streaming on MTSU’s Jazz Network on WMOT HD2 and through at 7 a.m. on the first Sunday of each month; and on other cable outlets in Middle Tennessee, so check local listings.

It is also available as a podcast on iTunes and Google Play and as individual interview segments on Spotify at

Watch previous episodes of “Out of the Blue” at

— Randy Weiler (