Student Life Update

Hands Across MTSU event featuring students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters across campus joining hands to form a human chain to promote unity and solidarity.

The formula for student success involves more than just ensuring students make it to class, fulfill course obligations, and get consistent and proper academic advising on their journey toward a degree. After all, college life is more than just books and classrooms.

Connection Point

The Connection Point program continues to be an effective initiative to engage our first-semester freshman students with exciting out-of-classroom involvement activities. Fall 2017 marked the beginning of the program’s fth year! More than 80 percent of our first-semester freshmen participated in the program during Fall 2017, which reflects an attendance increase. Large numbers of upper-class students also attended many of the events.

A new addition to the slate of programs included Freedom Sings, featuring musical artists performing popular songs that at different points in history were banned or censored due to controversial social or political issues during the time of their release.

Connection Point Spring 2018 will include motivational speakers, free movies, sporting events, a free concert for students, and much more! Visit www.mtsu.edu/connection for a complete list of events.

Other Activities

Student Organization Fair: This event will provide students with an opportunity to meet members from many of our 250-plus student organizations and learn how to get involved with one or more of these groups. The fair will be held Wednesday, Jan. 24 at 2:00–5:00 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom.

Women’s History Month: Celebrated throughout March, the month of activities always includes a well-known keynote speaker who inspires audience members to support worthwhile causes. An events calendar will be available by mid-February at mtsu.edu/jac.

MT After Dark: Come out and enjoy FREE first-run movies at this annual event, which takes place at the Premier 6 movie theater in Murfreesboro on Thursday, March 22. Doors open at 11:00 p.m., and movies start at midnight.

Hands Across MTSU

Hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and alumni joined hands and formed a human chain across the campus of MTSU on Nov. 6 in a strong show of unity and as a demonstration of solidarity across a diverse campus.

Participants linked hands for about 15 minutes in between classes. The event was one of several programs and activities on campus recently as an outgrowth of a meeting between President Sidney A. McPhee and the MTSU Intercultural and Diversity Affairs Advisory Board.

The event mirrored the 1986 Hands Across America event where Americans embraced each other in a human chain to show their support in the ght against hunger and homelessness.

Hands Across MTSU celebrated the University’s strength through its diversity.

Preparations for Saturday’s downtown protest rallies

Update Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017

To the University community,

We have received word from the City of Murfreesboro that the organizers of the protest planned for the downtown square this afternoon decided to cancel. As of 4:15 p.m., the remaining protesters and counter-protesters assembled were leaving the square. Fortunately, no related activities occurred on our campus.

We will continue to monitor the campus closely. However, assuming all remains well, this note will be the last I will send on this matter until next week. We owe our thanks for the proactive work done by our city and county leadership, campus officials, and law enforcement, which I feel made a difference in the outcome of today’s events.


Sidney A. McPhee




Update Friday, Oct. 27, 2017

To the University community,

A quick update: It’s just before 10 p.m. Friday and it is quiet on the beautiful campus of Middle Tennessee State University. There were no protests.

My thanks to the dedicated officers of the MTSU Police Department, who provided safety and security for our students, faculty and staff. My deepest appreciation for the assistance from the fine officers of Austin Peay State University, Tennessee Tech University,  and Tennessee State University; the Murfreesboro, LaVergne and Cookeville police departments; and deputies from the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.

The largest gathering on campus tonight was at the Student Union Building for the Fall Festival, sponsored by our Student Programming and Raider Entertainment. I had an opportunity not only to chat with our students, but also enjoy music from student performers, visit the craft and game tables, and walk through the haunted house.

My thanks to all for showing the world what it means to remain True Blue.


Sidney A. McPhee




Update Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017

To the University community,

The City of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County issued a statement that says both protesters and counter protesters, as groups and individuals, are expected to assemble on the downtown Murfreesboro square between 1:30 p.m to 4 p.m. Saturday. You can read the full statement by clicking here. ​​MTSU has not received verified reports of any related activities set for campus on either Friday or Saturday. Nevertheless, we are aware, and are closely monitoring, social media comments and posts that have referenced our campus. As such, we want to put forward information that states clearly our expectations of conduct and behavior:

— The MTSU Police Department, and all law enforcement agencies acting in concert with our officers on our campus, will take immediate law enforcement action at the slightest indication of disruption or violence. We will do so to uphold the rights of citizens and ensure their safety.

— Any student, visitor or guest found to be in violation of laws related to weapons, or MTSU’s policy on weapons,which you can read by clicking here, may be subject to immediate law enforcement action.

— Any student, visitors or guest found to be in violation of MTSU’s safety policy on open flames, which you can read by clicking here, may be subject to immediate law enforcement action. The policy prohibits the unauthorized possession, ignition, or detonation of any object or article that would cause damage by fire or other means to persons or property.

— Any student, visitor or guest found to be in violation of Tennessee state law against civil rights intimidation, under statute 39-17-309, which you can read by clicking here, may be subject to immediate law enforcement action. The law defines as civil rights intimidation when anyone injures, threatens to injure, or coerce another with the intent to unlawfully intimidate another from the exercise of their constitutionalrights. The statute also includes any action to damage, destroy or deface any real or personal property.

The University remains open Friday. However, we are closing all parking on Military Memorial (behind McCallie Dining Hall and Forrest Hall) and in the Jones parking lot after 4:30 p.m. today. No one will be able to park in these locations Friday and any vehicles there after 2:30 p.m. Friday will be towed. In the interest of reducing tension and avoiding conflicts, the City and County are strongly encouraging community members to avoid the downtown square on Saturday. I concur with this recommendation.

You can read my previous notes about this weekend by clicking here. The groups initiating Saturday’s rally do not reflect the values of our University and we are heartsick that so many of our plans and activities set on campus have been disrupted out of an abundance of caution. Nevertheless, we share the commitment by our partners and friends in the City and the County governments both to the Constitution and to ensuring the safety of our community.

I urge us all to remain True Blue.


Sidney A. McPhee




Update Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017

To the University community,

I wanted to provide you with an update regarding Saturday’s planned protest rally in Murfreesboro. In consultation with law enforcement officials, the University has decided to cancel Saturday’s Contest of Champions band competition and postpone the Expanding Your Horizons science event due to the protests scheduled or planned for the downtown area. We decided it was wise to reduce traffic to the surrounding area Saturday and these decisions will allow our police and other security personnel to be available elsewhere on campus if needed.

The MTSU Police Department and our partners from city, county and state law enforcement have not received any verified information regarding any potential activities on campus related to the protests. However, as the downtown rally approaches, we are monitoring a variety of sources, including from social media, about potential concerns before, during and after Saturday and we are ready to respond if situations warrant. Meanwhile, we are also reaching out to sponsors of on-campus activities on Friday and Saturday to ensure they are aware of the situation.

As I said in my earlier note, please do not hesitate to call 615-898-2424 (Ext. 2424 for on campus phones) if you need assistance or see anything that causes concern for your safety — or 911 in emergencies. Also, if you’re not already receiving text alerts and/or voice alerts from our MTSU Alert4U and Emergency Response system, please consider signing up for the service by visiting http://www.getrave.com/login/mtsu. You can log in with your Pipeline credentials to change or update your notification preferences. MTSU residence halls and apartments will lock at 5 p.m. Friday and will remain locked until 8 a.m. Monday. Residents should plan to carry their keys and IDs.

Again, we all must remember what it means to be True Blue and conduct ourselves accordingly.


Sidney A. McPhee


Update Monday, Oct. 23, 2017

To the University community,

As we approach Saturday (Oct. 28), the day when outside groups plan to hold protest rallies in the region and our city, I want to assure our students, faculty, staff and alumni that the MTSU Police Department and our partners in law enforcement agencies in the city, county and state are prepared and will continue to keep our campus safe. While we are not aware of any plans for associated activities on our campus, we remain vigilant.

Local authorities have advised downtown merchants to close Saturday and the morning Farmers Market on the square has been cancelled as result of the planned rallies. Officials are strongly advising citizens to avoid the downtown area on that day. It is also anticipated that regular traffic routes will be disrupted as well. Students seeking services from that area should consider going before or after Saturday in order to avoid delays or difficulties.

Please do not hesitate to call 615-898-2424 (Ext. 2424 for on campus phones) if you need assistance or see anything that causes concern for your safety – or call 911 in emergencies. Also, if you’re not already receiving text alerts and/or voice alerts from our MTSU Alert4U and Emergency Response system, please consider signing up for the service by visiting http://www.getrave.com/login/mtsu. You can log in with your Pipeline credentials to change or update your notification preferences. MTSU residence halls and apartments will lock as usual on Friday night and will remain locked until Monday morning. Residents should plan to carry their keys and IDs.

While we detest actions and behaviors that are contrary to our True Blue values (you can read about our values here), we also respect the First Amendment, which allows the freedom to express all views – even those that may be repugnant to what many of us hold dear.

I do ask that each of us remember what it means to be True Blue and conduct ourselves accordingly.


Sidney A. McPhee


Ripple Effect

Murat Arik, director, Business and Economic Research Center, and assistant professor

You work for a university that is growing in prominence and impact. Witness the recent study by MTSU’s Business and Economic Research Center (BERC), a center housed in MTSU’s Jones College of Business, on MTSU’s economic impact on the region.

According to BERC’s report:

• 90 percent of MTSU students are from Tennessee, and 78 percent of MTSU alumni live in Tennessee. This means that we are more than fulfilling our mission to educate Tennesseans and, even better, most of those we educate stay in Tennessee. That means a better educated, more capable workforce for our state. And in the area of skilled workforce development, MTSU graduates account for one in every two adults with a higher-education degree (bachelor’s and above) in Rutherford County.

•MTSU is responsible for about 8,400 jobs across the state, which generate $1.12 billion in revenues and over $408 million in wages and salaries.

•The University is Murfreesboro’s second- largest employer, resulting in $88 million of local, state, and federal tax revenue.

•MTSU is responsible for more than $300 million in student spending, along with more than 1,800 jobs tied to student spending.

•MTSU is the overwhelming education choice of Rutherford County and the Nashville MSA.

•MTSU is a source of diverse cultural, academic, business, community, educational, and sports events and activities. That not only contributes to the quality of life of our citizens, but also brings dollars to these areas.

•The study shows MTSU brings nearly 500,000 people to Rutherford County each year. Spending by visitors accounts for more than $56 million, and that translates to almost 830 jobs.

•One of every five adults in the Nashville metro area with a higher education degree (bachelor’s and above) graduated from MTSU. In other words, we’re not just keeping students from Rutherford; we’re keeping many of those college- educated students who hail from other parts of Tennessee. That means our entire area benefits from this continuous flow of graduates.

There is no question that MTSU is unrivaled in what we bring to the table for our city, county, and region. Much of who we are now, and what we want to become in the future, depends upon the continued health and prosperity of your University. I hope each and every one of you appreciates the vast and significant economic impact that our student population brings to the local economy.

Campus Safety

In response to a series of off-campus incidents at nearby apartment complexes that house some of our students, MTSU has worked closely with the City of Murfreesboro in recent months to develop strategies to improve safety at these complexes and reduce criminal activity.

While MTSU has no authority over these off- campus apartment complexes, the University does recognize that many of these nearby complexes, while marketed to students, are becoming increasingly populated by non-students and are rented by the bedroom rather than full apartments.

Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland and I, along with city and University officials, have met directly with complex owners and managers in recent months to discuss our concerns. We’re pleased that some complexes have already increased safety measures such as adding security guard check-ins at main entrances.

I have worked directly with Mayor McFarland and his administration to develop a number of proposals, including a pending agreement that would allow our University Police Department to support and assist Murfreesboro Police as requested by the city in off-campus areas.

It would likely start with MTSU Police aiding inspections of complexes as part of a safety program that also is being developed. MTSU Police Chief Buddy Peaster is working with Murfreesboro Police Chief Karl Durr on this effort.

This safety program would allow apartment managers to invite police to assess security measures and practices in place at their complexes. Facilities that meet criteria and implement recommended best practices for safety would be eligible for a special emblem that could be displayed to prospective tenants.

The city is also working on an easy-to-read online resource so that prospective students and parents can quickly see how many police calls and violent crimes have been recorded at complexes on a quarterly and annual basis.

In addition, the city and University group is working to allow city police to refer criminal and noncriminal cases involving students off campus to the University’s Office of Student Conduct for review under MTSU’s Code of Conduct.

MTSU Police employs 44 full-time officers, five full- time dispatchers, and about 20 part-time student workers to patrol MTSU’s 500-plus-acre campus. Our officers are commissioned, have full arrest powers, and meet the same employment and training requirements as other law enforcement in Tennessee. The University has put forward several proactive and preventive actions in recent years to reduce crime, including more security cameras, improved campus lighting, increased foot patrols, and community policing, as well as public awareness campaigns through Student Health Services and MTSU Housing and Residential Life.

The latest campus crime statistics from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation show drops in most major categories at MTSU. The annual TBI report showed the number of sexual offenses reported dropped from seven in 2015 to two in 2016, weapon law violations remained the same (with four reported in both years), theft/larceny was down 18 percent, assaults decreased 20 percent, DUI went down 50 percent, burglary incidents fell 47 percent, and trespass declined by 77 percent.

A True New Era

Everywhere I go these days, the No. 1 question I am asked is “How significant is the new governing board structure at MTSU?”

Picture of MTSU Board of Trustees

I think it is fair to say that the creation of the new board and our newfound independence as an institution is the second-most important event in the history of the University, behind our founding. This represents a true new era for MTSU, as well as an opportunity to invigorate and inspire the entire MTSU community about the impact this will have on our University.

The 10-member board stems from the FOCUS Act, championed by Gov. Bill Haslam and signed into law last year. The law established local governing boards for MTSU and the other five former Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) universities. The state’s creation of individual governing boards was the next logical step in better aligning our postsecondary education system to ensure Tennessee reaches its Drive to 55, a goal to have 55 percent of residents with a postsecondary degree or credential by 2025.

Formal oversight of MTSU shifted from the TBR to the local Board of Trustees after our new governance board met
for its inaugural session in April. Joined by Gov. Haslam and with faculty, staff, and community members on hand, I
was honored to convene the group for the first time inside the Student Union Ballroom and to call that historic meeting to order.

In his remarks, Gov. Haslam reminded our trustees that MTSU remains a vital part of the larger state higher education system, yet the new local structure will allow greater latitude in setting our own strategic priorities and lets each institution play to its strengths. Haslam also commented that one of the most critical responsibilities for the MTSU Board was
its singular focus on the University, and that in nominating potential board members he was looking for men and women who got up each day thinking about ways to make MTSU better.

When you are part of a diverse system like we were with the TBR, it’s simply impossible for board members to have that type of focus and commitment to the needs of a single campus. With six universities, 13 community colleges, and 27 colleges of applied technology, the TBR had to consider a vast array of differences in needs, missions, and student demographics. Decisions were often focused on the larger general needs of the entire group. As such, the TBR was not always capable of addressing the unique needs of our campus.

In looking at our new, independent board, I find it very comforting that almost all of our members have some history and experience with our campus. We have several alumni on the board, as well as representatives of some of the state’s leading corporations who have been involved with MTSU for many years. They know the University and understand the important role MTSU plays in educating Tennesseans. Also, and I think this is important, they have a sense of what MTSU can become.

It’s a little too early to talk about specific actions; but, as we move forward with this new form of governance, and as
our board gains an even deeper understanding of our great institution, I believe you will see them begin to help shape our mission and identify new opportunities that will complement the quality programs and activities we have on our campus.

While I think it’s safe to say that we’re going to see some new directions and changes over time, I’m confident that our board understands that our first and most important priority will always be our students and providing them with the support and skills they need to be successful. MTSU has been recognized as the state’s top comprehensive university, and our board is committed to maintaining that status.

What changes if any will people see quickly? Without question, one of the most immediate changes our students and faculty will note will be the speed with which certain things get accomplished. Being able to address issues here on campus allows us to be more responsive and timely in our decision-making. In addition, having our own board will help remove one layer of bureaucracy, since we’ve transferred some of the decisions formerly made at TBR to our campus.

One unknown in all of this is how this change will affect higher education funding and support from the state. Gov. Haslam has been very clear that he doesn’t expect this to become a “free-for-all” with the legislature. However, there undoubtedly will be some competition among our universities as everyone seeks what’s best for their institution. We’re very fortunate that the Tennessee General Assembly has long recognized the important role that MTSU plays in our state’s higher education system, but we will have to expand our efforts in educating the legislature and keeping our needs in front of them. I expect our new board will play a critical role in assisting us in that area.

In the end, I believe this new level of independence for the former TBR universities is truly bold and potentially transformational for MTSU. I look forward to learning and exploring the opportunities it could provide toward our mission of ensuring student success and providing more graduates for the state’s workforce.

Accreditation Update

The SACSCOC review to consider reaffirmation of our accreditation represents a critical benchmark in the life of this University, as it independently validates every 10 years that our institution is providing a high-quality academic experience for our students that meets the most rigorous standards.


MTSU has been reaccredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, with the announcement made at the annual SACSCOC meeting in Atlanta

in December. We received reaccreditation after the Commission

on Colleges reviewed the University’s Compliance Audit Report and its Quality Enhancement Plan, MT Engage. The review examined MTSU’s academic programs, policies, and operating procedures against standards based on best practices

in higher education. The University was found in compliance with both the audit standards and the QEP by the on-site peer review team that visited the campus as part of the two-year-long review process. A finding of compliance with every standard, including those related to the QEP, is rare among institutions that go through this review process. This accomplishment reaffirms the University’s quality endeavors by its peers and recognizes its commitment to excellence.

MT Engage

Our new Quality Enhancement Plan, called MT Engage, launched in Fall 2016 with broad support from

University faculty, students, and administrators. I keynoted a kickoff celebration for those who contributed to the development of the QEP under the leadership of Dr. Dianna Rust and recognized the leadership of Dr. Mary Hoffschwelle in implementing the plan. Over 1,500 students enrolled in 98 MT Engage-designated classes taught by 59 faculty. These classes featured high- impact teaching practices, beyond- the-classroom experiences, and assignments that fostered integrative thinking and reflection that students saved in electronic portfolios.

Engagement was the buzz across campus during MT Engage Week,
Sept. 19–23. The College of Basic and Applied Sciences held Science Café informal discussions, and Behavioral and Health Sciences hosted a symposium on gang violence reduction and a lecture for its American Society of Interior Designers student chapter. The College of Education promoted education beyond the classroom with

campus and community partners, and students learned about volunteer and paid employment opportunities from Facilities Services staff. The

College of Liberal Arts hosted a foreign language film festival and a debate on the value of a college education. Media and Entertainment students performed at Engage-a-palooza and screened films at First Look 2016. Alumnae discussed how they bridged college to careers at a panel hosted by University College, while University Honors had Timothy Huebner speak about black constitutionalism. The Jennings A. Jones College of Business incorporated MT Engage into Donuts with the Dean, and Student Programming designated Bash the Rec as an MT Engage event.

Construction Update Spring 2017

I often say that MTSU is such an exciting place to study and work due to all of the campus construction projects and improvements that are ongoing or were recently completed. Here is a brief update on those recent and current projects.

Davis Science and Wiser-Patten Science Renovations

Renovations of Wiser Patten and Davis Science Buildings.

Full renovations of Davis Science (75,500 gross square feet, constructed 1967) and Wiser- Patten (41,500 gross squarefeet, constructed 1932) are now complete. A new, central Strobel Lobby connects the two buildings and provides a direct path to the new Science Building for a new Science Corridor of Innovation comprising the three buildings—an important concept for the functional neighborhoods of the campus. ADA access was also part of the genesis of the building connector concept, with ramps leading from the central lobby up to Davis and down to two new elevators in Wiser-Patten.

Renovations of Wiser Patten and Davis Science Buildings.

Occupants of the buildings include:

•Davis Science—Geosciences, a Mechatronics Engineering lab, new Fermentation Science Lab, and new academic advising offices for the College of Basic and Applied Sciences

•Wiser-Patten—Physics and Astronomy, Anthropology, and Forensic Science

Equipment and furnishings were installed this fall, and the new and returning occupants moved in over the holiday break before the Spring 2017 semester.

Academic Building for College of Behavioral and Health Sciences

On July 14, the State Building Commission approved full planning of the proposed academic building for the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences. The SBC signed off on $1.6 million to complete the design and bid-ready documents, plus appointed Bauer Askew Architecture as designer for the project.

The building will serve the Criminal Justice Administration, Psychology, and Social Work departments, with 14 classrooms, 19 labs, 63 faculty offices, an area for advising offices, and a dean’s suite. The site is located east

of the McFarland Building and will form the beginning of a new academic quadrangle and outdoor green space north of MTSU Boulevard and the Student Union.

Middle Tennessee Boulevard Widening

Road construction on Middle Tennessee Boulevard continues to progress on schedule. The roadway was redesigned to improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety, with landscaped median and dedicated turn lanes, improved pedestrian walks and crossings, bike lanes, better lighting, additional signalized crossings at Lytle and Division, and new underground utilities. Additional enhancements to the roadway will include campus monument entry walls and signage, pedestrian and vehicular improvements to the Faulkinberry intersection, and a new drop-off drive at Murphy Center.

Utility work is progressing along the northbound lanes and is nearing completion along the southbound lanes from Lytle Street to Greenland Drive. Work will remain focused along the southbound lanes throughout the spring of 2017, when work along the northbound lanes adjacent to campus will begin. Construction completion is expected by fall of 2018.

Pedestrians are encouraged to exercise extreme caution when driving or walking in proximity to the construction zone through the course of the entire project.

Parking and Transportation Projects

The next phase of Parking and Transportation projects will focus on pedestrian walkways and lighting in the core of campus. The designs include ADA walkway improvements from the Livestock Lot; a dedicated walkway from Blue Raider Drive connecting to the south side of the Media and Honors buildings; a new sidewalk and lighting on the north side of Alumni Drive; and a widened walk on Founders Lane. A widened sidewalk and additional lighting are planned from Business and Aerospace to the north side of KUC, with intersec- tion improvements at Champion Way and Military Memorial. In addition, the Murphy Center lot will undergo resur- facing, along with new lighting and ADA parking improvements. The project is expected to bid in the spring, with construction beginning early summer.

Saunders Fine Arts HVAC Update

The second and final phase of the Saunders project consists of the removal of all window air conditioning units, replacement of the window systems in the building, and completion of the connection of the Saunders building to the campus central heat and cooling system. The work is planned to begin in early summer and to reach substantial completion by mid-August 2017.


Student Success Update Spring 2017

Our collective Quest for Student Success efforts are designed to ensure that every student who comes to MTSU with the drive to achieve is met with the best instruction from excellent professors who care for their success, and provide extra support and assistance when our students encounter unexpected difficulties or when roadblocks arise that negatively affect their persistence toward graduation.

We are excelling in the areas of retention and graduation over the past few years. Here are the latest updates on our student success efforts.

MTSU Spring 2017 Budget Update•Our full-time freshman retention rate increased to 76.1 percent for the Fall 2016 semester, up from 68.7 percent for Fall 2013. This increase of nearly 11 percent over the past three years is the fastest rate of increase in the history of the institution. This also represents the highest freshman retention rate in the history of MTSU, based on available data.

•The new transfer student retention rate rose to 73.8 percent, an increase of 4.7 percent in the same three-year period.

•Our sophomore retention rate increased to 80.6 percent, up 3.1 percent between the Fall 2013 and Fall 2016 semesters.

•The percentage of freshmen completing at least 30 hours during their first two semesters of study increased to 50.4 percent during the 2015–16 academic year. Just two years prior, only 42 percent of freshmen completed at least 30 hours. This means that more freshmen are on track to finish their degrees in four years, an accomplishment in sync with both state and national initiatives.

•In summer 2016, a record 312 new students participated in the Scholars Academy, a two-week summer bridge, early-arrival program designed to enhance the success of at-risk students. One in every 10 MTSU new freshmen, therefore, participated in the Scholars Academy support program. The average retention rate for students who went through the Scholars Academy is 83 percent, well above that for other students. In addition, 54 percent of students in the Scholars Academy completed at least 30 hours in their first year of study, a rate that surpasses that of other students.

•Free tutoring was available during the Fall 2016 semester for more than 200 courses, a new record level of support at MTSU. More importantly, more students are going for tutoring and spending more hours in tutoring sessions, while tutoring usage already has surpassed that of all last year. The total number of tutoring sessions increased by 20 percent for Fall 2016 compared to Fall 2015. The number of hours spent by students in tutoring sessions increased by 23 percent from Fall 2015 to Fall 2016.

•MTSU was invited to join 44 other leading universities from across the country to participate in the Re-Imagining the First Year (RFY) initiative last semester. This initiative, sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, seeks to increase student success rates by focusing on improving the first-year experience for students. MTSU’s participation in RFY was made possible by a special invitation from AASCU.

•A Supplemental Instruction (SI) pilot program was implemented starting with the Fall 2016 semester. The program provides students enrolled in some of MTSU’s most challenging courses with additional instructional support. MTSU’s SI kickoff, like so many initiatives at the University, was “big,” involving 21 course sections, across three colleges, and serving more than 1,500 students. The program is already showing very promising results and has the support of our faculty and students.

•After receiving requests from students and others, our Office of Student Success started offering tutoring in Study Skills and Learning Strategies during the Fall 2016 semester. Early results show that Study Skills tutoring has a significant and positive impact on students who went for Study Skills tutoring compared to a matched sample of those who did not.

•MTSU launched the SSC Campus student information and analytics system, which is an important tool used by multiple campus partners in their work with current MTSU students, in March 2016. The very successful launch of this powerful technology platform, developed and supported by the Education Advisory Board (EAB), represents the culmination of many months of ongoing planning and coordinated efforts across multiple University divisions. For an introduction to SSC Campus, contact Brian Hinote in the MTSU Office of Student Success at brian.hinote@mtsu.edu.

•MTSU continues to be studied by other entities with an interest in learning more about the Quest for Student Success. Visits have been made by representatives from the Lumina Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Community College Resource Center at Columbia University.

Campus Safety Update Spring 2017

Students Amanda Leachman and Ginny Whaley talking to MTSU Police officers Jason Hicks and Adam Wortman.

Students Amanda Leachman and Ginny Whaley talking to MTSU Police officers Jason Hicks and Adam Wortman.

Our University Police officers have been hard at work implementing some new campus safety initiatives to help broaden and sustain a safe environ- ment at MTSU. These efforts are assisted by other on-campus departments such as Campus Planning, Facilities, Student Affairs, and ITD. Some of the new or expanded services and developments include:

•Additional walking patrols by officers during the evening hours especially in the higher trafficked areas of campus

•Two additional Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) officers
who focus on positively interacting with students, patrolling residence halls, providing crime prevention programming on campus, and being available to help faculty, students, staff, and visitors with any concerns or issues

•Reintroduction of Emergency Call Box/Call Stations to be located in various areas around campus

• More exterior surveillance cameras around the Floyd Stadium/Murphy Center complex area, with more planned for the Womack Lane Apartments

•Replacement of security guards with University Police Raider Patrol to provide a bigger security presence, encourage more community engagement and cooperation, and emphasize consistent security processes and communication

• Emphasis and focus on more safety-conscious educational programs like Active Shooter Response training for student, staff, and faculty including redesigned Fact Cards and updated information on MTSU’s Alert 4U website

•Hiring and implementation of a sexual assault intervention liaison to increase advocacy for victims of sexual or dating violence and to maximize the ability of victims to receive resources including support from campus or local police.

Budget Overview Spring 2017

Our overall enrollment for Fall 2016 was relatively flat compared to the previous year, which reflected our hard work to hold steady in the second year of the Tennessee Promise, a last-dollar scholarship program that covers tuition and fees for high school seniors wishing to enroll in the state’s community and technical colleges. I was encouraged to see we had almost a 2.5 percent increase in domestic freshmen this fall and an uptick of more than 5.25 percent in new graduate students.

We received an increase of more than $3.7 million in state appropriations, which is based on outcomes formula adjustments and new funds for outcomes improvement. That new money, coupled with about $2.48 million resulting from tuition increases, helped offset the $1.5 million reduction that came as a result of our .98 percent decrease in full-time equivalency. These new funds were allocated to pay for:

• A 1 percent pool salary increase fully funded by MTSU

• Faculty promotions

• Increased cost of software maintenance agreements

• Cost increases in utilities and in operations and maintenance

• Scholarships, tuition discounts, employee fee waivers and dependent discounts, and graduate assistant fee waivers

• Funding for college deans’ requests for continuing improvements on the MTSU Quest for Student Success initiatives

• Funding for three critical faculty positions

• Funding for personal computer replacement for faculty • Supplemental Instruction

Looking toward Fiscal Year 2017–18, MTSU’s share of the THEC outcomes formula adjustment will be a decrease of $1,907,300. THEC voted at its November meeting to propose new state funding totaling $48 million for the higher education formula institutions. MTSU’s share of the proposed new funding will be $4,581,900. Thus, MTSU’s state funding could actually increase by $2,674,600.

The commission also voted to recommend $12.22 million in capital maintenance funds for MTSU projects, including alarm system updates, piping and manhole replacement, roof replacements, Keathley University Center mechanical and HVAC upgrades, elevator modernizations, domestic water- sewer system updates, Miller Education Center roof replacement, and Stark Ag Center mechanical updates. No MTSU capital project was proposed for new capital outlay funding for 2017–18.

THEC’s recommendations have been submitted to the Department of Finance and Administration for consideration in the proposed state budget that Gov. Haslam will be submitting to the state legislature in the coming weeks. At that point, we will have more information regarding our likely 2017–18 state appropriation.

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