March ‘Out of the Blue’ spotlights new True Blue C...

March ‘Out of the Blue’ spotlights new True Blue Core general education curriculum [+VIDEO]

Out of the Blue True Blue Core March 2024

True Blue Core, Middle Tennessee State University’s new general education curriculum that launches in fall 2024, was featured in March’s “Out of the Blue” television magazine program.

Susan Myers-Shirk, a history professor and director of MTSU General Education/True Blue Core, and General Education Committee chair Ann McCullough, associate professor in the Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures, explained the details of the new curriculum.

You can view the segment below:

The project was years in the making and better prepares students for the changing world.

“We hadn’t reviewed our core (curriculum) in decades,” Myers-Shirk said. “So we wanted something that was responsive to students, that was distinctive to MTSU that would give our students skills that were relevant to contemporary issues.”

General education encompasses 41 hours of courses each MTSU student must have on their transcript, such as English, math and history.

“It’s meant to give students the breadth of knowledge and the skills they need to succeed academically and professionally,” Myers-Shirk said.

But the newly revamped curriculum provides students more choices and allows them to enroll in courses that interest them — especially ones related to major and minor areas of study — while still fulfilling the general education requirements.

The curriculum has two main sections — foundational skills and knowledge domains — that are each broken up into four subcategories.

“Students select courses from an approved list,” Myers-Shirk said, and that list will be updated and changed as the general education curriculum evolves. “We have new courses that we hadn’t offered previously, and we have new student learning outcomes.”

Those outcomes are based on skills employers say they want students to have when they graduate.

The General Education Committee, led by McCullough, did market research and brought together students, faculty and staff from across campus to map out the details.

“One of my favorite opportunities I found really helpful to me were the faculty learning communities,” McCullough said. “The faculty came together in groups to discuss what we’d like students to know and be able to do.”

Faculty talked about how they wanted “to send our students out into the world communally,” McCullough said.

“The core gave a renewed attitude of having a collaborative process across the board. So when a student graduates, many, many faculty have been involved in getting that student to walk across that stage,” McCullough said. “I think it revolutionized how faculty interacts with each other.”

A True Blue Core center, located in Peck Hall Room 216/217, oversees the process so changes can happen incrementally, Myers-Shirk explained.

To learn more about MTSU’s True Blue Core, visit

Andrew Oppmann, vice president of marketing and communications
Andrew Oppmann

Hosted by Andrew Oppmann, vice president for marketing and communications, “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 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; NewsChannel5+ at 3:30 p.m. Sundays; and streamed on the MTSU Jazz Network 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 

— Nancy DeGennaro (