MTSU faculty organize ‘Graduate Studies Night’ for...

MTSU faculty organize ‘Graduate Studies Night’ for online students

Faculty at Middle Tennessee State University organized a “Graduate Studies Night” event from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 27, at the Mayday Brewery in Murfreesboro, Tenn., for online graduate students to celebrate the end of the semester and connect socially. (MTSU graphic illustration by Stephanie Wagner)

Students taking online courses through Middle Tennessee State University’s College of Graduate Studies now have an in-person outlet to make deeper connections with fellow virtual learners.

Bethany Wrye
Bethany Wrye

Based on student survey results, Dr. Bethany Wrye, an associate professor in MTSU’s Community and Public Health Program, and her fellow faculty in a learning community group organized an event to enhance a sense of belonging and community for graduate students who take online courses.

What resulted was “Graduate Studies Night,” an event that will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 27, at the Mayday Brewery, 521 Old Salem Road in Murfreesboro.

The event’s open to any graduate student taking at least one online class this semester. Those interested in attending must register at by Friday, April 21. 

Students can also reserve a spot for up to two family members or guests to join them. 

“In a survey, some students indicated that they would be interested in casual social gatherings,” Wrye said, “so we (faculty group) decided on a casual, come-and-go event designed to be an opportunity for students to celebrate the end of the semester and connect socially.”

Wrye said attendees can expect several varieties of complimentary pizza, including a gluten-free option; complimentary nonalcoholic drinks; and prizes and games to help create a laid-back and celebratory atmosphere.

Faculty are also invited to the event.

“Faculty who organized the event will be present,” Wrye said, “and other faculty who teach online graduate level courses are also welcome to RSVP.” 

College of Graduate Studies logo

Along with Wrye, faculty who organized the night include Christopher Dye, an associate professor in the School of Music; Danielle Lauber, lecturer in the Department of Health and Human Performance; Don Roy, a professor in the Jennings A. Jones College of BusinessCollege of Education associate professors Holly Hebert and Ashlee HoverSally Ann Cruikshank, an associate professor in the College of Media and EntertainmentDepartment of Mathematical Sciences assistant professor Ramchandra Rimal; Sara Kapp, a Jones College academic advisor; and Vickie Harden, coordinator of MTSU’s Master of Social Work Program.

To learn more about the opportunities at the College of Graduate Studies, visit its website at To learn more about opportunities for online learning at MTSU, visit

— Stephanie Wagner (