MTSU is already a great university. The largest provider of college-degreed workers in the Midstate, MTSU has experienced significant growth in recent years, including over $700 million in construction. But the University is not done building.
Here are 10 initiatives taking shape at MTSU, resulting in a campus growing in quantity and, most importantly, in quality.
1 BUILDING A NEW FOUNDATION
MTSU’s distinguished Board of Trustees, now steering the University as an independent governing body, is comprised of accomplished alumni and other prominent business leaders. This new structure promises a more entrepreneurial approach to guiding the University.
2 BUILDING OUR REPUTATION
MTSU’s newest degree programs and majors match curricula with real-world preparedness, as well as student interest with industry needs.
The Fermentation Science degree program, the first of its type in Tennessee and rare in the Southeast region, was created to meet the demands of the booming world population—as well as the flavor, textural, and cultural tastes of consumers.
Our Religious Studies major helps prepare students to succeed in an increasingly diverse and multicultural society and workforce, from jobs as wide-ranging as international business leader to elementary school teacher. The program is the first for a public university in middle Tennessee.
MTSU’s new Dance degree, the only Bachelor of Science in Dance at a Tennessee public university, rigorously trains the body and engages the mind. Students can focus on either performance/choreography or a teaching track.
MTSU is just one of two universities in the state offering a major in Japanese. Japanese companies such as Nissan and Bridgestone account for 62 percent of direct foreign investment in Tennessee, while globally Japan is the world’s third largest economy.
The recently renamed Media Arts Department recently elevated its Animation, Interactive Media, and Video and Film Production programs from concentration to degree status.
MTSU now provides the first Africana Studies major in the middle Tennessee region. Roughly 20 percent of MTSU’s student population identify as African-American, yet there has been no degree program that studies people of the African diaspora.
The Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Operations major launched at MTSU is one of only five such degree programs in the nation. Expected to contribute $13.6 billion to the U.S. economy by 2018–20, the rising business sector is projected to create 70,000 new jobs with starting salaries of $50,000 or higher.
MTSU also offers now a Master of Library Science, training librarians to work in any setting in an age of information overflow.
3 BUILDING CREATIVITY
Walker Library underwent a major upgrade this year. Creation of the Makerspace—equipped with creative technology previously only available on campus to Art or Engineering Technology students—has granted access to any MTSU student, staff, or faculty member who goes through free training to operate the machinery.
“The addition of fabrication technologies in Makerspace extends our ability to support research and learning,” Walker Library Dean Bonnie Allen said. “Students now have the opportunity to experiment and incorporate the use of technology and design to solve problems.”
Location: 2nd floor, inside the Digital Media Studio
Equipment and supplies include:
- Laser etcher
- Vinyl cutter
- Filament 3D printers
- Resin 3D printer
- CNC machine
- Electronics parts and test equipment
- Raspberry Pi3 and Pi touchscreen
- OSVR headsets
- Makeblock parts
- Soldering station
- Oculus Rift virtual reality kit
- Vive virtual reality kit
- Arduino kits
- Odroid C2
4 BUILDING INNOVATION
5 BUILDING A BETTER MODEL
MTSU is a thriving, innovative research community composed of undergraduate and graduate scholars supported by faculty experts in a variety of disciplines.
Engineering Technology students are working to improve the design and performance of heavy-duty battery chargers for road construction equipment.
MTSU has distinguished itself among Tennessee colleges and universities for the high-level research opportunities offered to undergraduate students in particular.
An analysis of 52 plant extracts used in traditional Chinese medicine identified 29 with promising results for drug development including anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
The qualification is based on the number of Ph.D. degrees conferred during the previous two years—an important indicator of the growth in our graduate education and sponsored programs.
As of July 2016, we are no longer considered a PUI (Predominantly Undergraduate Institution) by the National Science Foundation.
The College of Education launched a first-of-its-kind doctoral degree—the Ed.D. in Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement— and graduated its first 10 doctoral students in August 2016.
MTSU agriscience and unmanned aircraft experts Song Cui and Doug Campbell have landed a $714,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant and are collaborating with two Texas universities as part of MTSU’s growing research in precision agriculture. About 100 MTSU students will be involved.
MTSU just became the 10th university affiliate with the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles.
6 BUILDING PARTNERS
- The examples go on and on of partnerships being forged between MTSU and industry that are beneficial for everyone involved. Employers have a pipeline to workers trained with the latest advances in their field. Students get real-world work experience and job connections. The University expands the classroom into the business world and gains sponsors.
- MTSU launched a new degree program in leadership, developed in concert with global tire and rubber company Bridgestone Americas.
- The College of Education positively impacts communities and economies across Tennessee Through its professional development partnerships with school systems.
- Metro-Nashville Police joined hands with MTSU’s criminal justice and adult learner programs to give officers greater incentive to get their college degrees.
- The College of Media and Entertainment partners with the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Music City Roots for WMOT 89.5-FM Roots Radio, the Americana Music Association, and The Tennessean.
- MTSU’s new Fermentation Science program boasts a corporate partner in Steel Barrel Brewery, an 82-acre agribusiness enterprise with cutting-edge facilities including fermentation and sensory labs.
- The University formally established a corporate partnerships program recently. Potential new corporate sponsors can make a connection with MTSU to get involved through Paula Mansfield, director of strategic partnerships in the Office of University Advancement.
7 BUILDING CHAMPIONS
Blue Raider student-athletes are putting MTSU on the map and excelling in academic and athletic arenas.
- MTSU Athletics continues to experience unprecedented success academically with an all-time high for the 2015–16 school year with a score of 988 out of 1,000 on the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate (APR).
- Men’s basketball recently ranked in the Top 25 and enjoyed another fantastic March run, winning an NCAA Tournament first-round game for the second straight year and elevating MTSU to the level of a national brand. The Blue Raiders joined elite programs Butler, Duke, Kansas, Notre Dame, and Villanova as the only teams with a 100 percent graduation rate to win a tourney game.
- Football teams have been bowl-eligible eight out of the last 11 years.
- Sophomore golfer Jenna Burris just won the Conference USA individual championship, and women’s golf captured the two previous C-USA team titles.
8 BUILDING BRIDGES
MTSU has strengthened its international initiatives both on campus and around the world. Those efforts boost student success through creating opportunities for travel, exposure to culture, and research opportunities. From an institutional perspective in recent years, our international presence has been nothing short of amazing.
Our faculty led a record number 24 MTSU signature programs in taking students abroad for classes during the 2015–16 academic year including many new, first-year programs—even one in Africa and one in the Middle East.
Those inaugural MTSU-led study abroad programs for our students include:
- History in Senegal
- Concrete Industry Management (United Arab Emirates)
- MTSU in Japan
- Fashion in Italy
- Tropical Biology in Costa Rica
- Archaeological Field School in the Brazilian Amazon
- MTSU in Scotland
- International Management in China
- Advertising, Public Relations, and Tourism in Mexico
- Cuba in the 21st Century
These were offered in addition to longstanding MTSU signature programs in countries including Argentina, Belize, Canada, the Dominican Republic, England, Finland, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
MTSU and its United Kingdom partner institution, the University of Salford, participated in a scholar-in-residency exchange program in Fall 2016 with the School of Music and the College of Media and Entertainment. In addition to an active student exchange, the two universities also co-sponsored a Mad Men conference at MTSU in 2016 and a Prince conference at Salford this May.
Efforts related to China alone included several trips abroad and new partnerships. One highlight was MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee keynoting the 16th International Congress on Ethnopharmacology in Yulin, China, in May 2016, where MTSU’s research into using traditional Chinese herbal remedies in modern medicine took center stage before academicians from 35 countries.
Study abroad in 65 countries
MTSU hosts the most foreign students of any other university in Tennessee:
- MTSU 1,545
- Vanderbilt 1,543
- Tenn. Tech 1,428
- UTK 1,370
- ETSU 537
38 university partnerships in 17 countries
9 BUILDING A SKILL SET
Several new centers on campus are broadening MTSU’s areas of expertise.
Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center
The creation and ongoing expansion of this student-veterans hub on campus assists in every step of the journey from uniform to campus to the workforce. The mission focuses on five areas: to enroll student veterans and family members; encourage them while in college; help them find employment; educate the MTSU community; and expand the student veteran-education knowledge base. The Daniels Center is just the latest development in MTSU’s long history as the most military-friendly college in Tennessee.
Jennings A. Jones College of Business Center for Executive Education
The University’s executive education programs have a new home in the beautiful Miller Education Center on Bell Street just off campus. Through the center, the Jennings A. Jones College of Business provides continuing professional development to meet the needs of the business community. Workshops range from areas like project management, analytics, marketing and sales, leadership, and finance to topical subjects such as workplace violence.
Center for Student Coaching and Success
This center promises to boost the professional prospects of soon-to-be graduates by coaching them on how to systematically bridge the gap from graduation to gainful employment. A seven-figure financial gift from real estate developer John Floyd helped launch the center as part of the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences. Director Colby Jubenville coaches students to make the leap from college to career by focusing on “The Five to Arrive”: academic skills and critical thinking, emotional intelligence, personal branding, persuasion, and career development.
Center for Chinese Music and Culture
The only one of its kind in North America, the center works to enhance understanding of Chinese culture in Tennessee, as well as promote language, business, and trade. Hanban Confucius Institute provided a $1 million donation to create the center at MTSU. The Chinese center offers outreach to schools and the community including concerts; houses indigenous instruments; and collaborates with liberal arts and recording industry programs at MTSU.
Established centers at MTSU:
- Albert Gore Research Center
- Business and Economic Research Center
- Center for Economic Education
- Center for Energy Efficiency
- Center for Environmental Education
- Center for Health and Human Services
- Center for Historic Preservation
- Center for Organizational and HR Effectiveness
- Center for Popular Music
- Confucius Institute
- Forensic Institute for Research and Education
- Interdisciplinary Microanalysis and Imaging Center
- Middle East Center
- Tennessee Center for the Study and Treatment of Dyslexia
- Tennessee Small Business Development Center
10 BUILDING A MODEL
Launched by MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee a few years ago, our Quest for Student Success plan is designed to ensure that MTSU excels in keeping students in school and earning their degrees. The Quest has won numerous national awards for its out-of-the box nature and effectiveness, has drawn major media attention, and has been studied and copied by several universities nationwide.
Based on available data, the freshman retention rate is the highest and fastest rate of increase in MTSU history.
Freshmen (^7.4) 76.1%
Transfers (^4.7) 73.8%
Sophomores (^3.1) 80.6%
More freshmen are on track to finish their degrees in 4 years. We’ve seen a 9.4% increase (in 2 years) of those completing 30 hours in their first 2 semesters (2015–16): 50.4%
(Numbers calculated since Fall 2013)