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.

Holiday Greetings from Middle Tennessee State University

In this season of gratitude, we are thankful for your friendship and support.

Wishing you and your loved ones peace, health, happiness and prosperity in the coming New Year.

Press play for a special holiday greeting from Middle Tennessee State University.


Sidney A. McPhee


Homecoming 2015

MTSU Homecoming vs Vanderbilt Sat October 3, 2015 6PMI could not be more excited about our upcoming Homecoming Week, which will culminate on Saturday, Oct. 3, with a home football game against Vanderbilt University. The theme of this year’s Homecoming Week is “The Big Blue Easy.” The new Homecoming parade route will begin on East Main Street at Maney Avenue and will continue down Baird Avenue.

Join me to watch the 2015 Homecoming parade from the best place on campus—the president’s lawn at Mixer on Main. The lawn will be filled with alumni and friends gathered for an event that could only happen at MTSU. This year’s party will feature parade announcers, music, floats, light snacks, and souvenir photos of your group. After the parade, stay for the tailgate lunch at Mixer on Main, Raider Walk in the Grove, and, of course, the 6:00 p.m. kickoff vs. Vanderbilt!

A complete listing of all events can be found at our website or people can call the Alumni Office at 898-2922 for more information.

MTalumni.com is the premier Homecoming 2015 schedule for alumni and the community.

★ Monday, Sept. 28

5:00 p.m. Annual Chili Cook-off (community event)

★ Wednesday, Sept. 30

9:30 p.m. Homecoming Party

★ Friday, Oct. 2

10:00 a.m. Golden Raiders Reunion and Induction Ceremony Honoring the Class of 1965. All alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago are invited to the reunion. Induction into the Golden Raiders Society is open to those who graduated in 1965 or before who have yet to be officially inducted.

4:00 p.m. Distinguished Alumni Awards Reception. Join alumni, faculty, staff, and friends to honor the 2015 Distinguished Alumni and True Blue Citation of Distinction Award recipients in MT Center at Sam Ingram Building.

(RSVP at www.mtalumni.com.)
MTSU 2015 Homecoming Parade Map

Construction Projects Update

MTSU is an exciting place to work and study, largely because so many renovations and new buildings are underway, taking shape, or opening for use. Here is the latest on recent and current projects.

Construction continues on MTSU's new Science Building

Construction continues on MTSU’s new Science Building

Science Building

Construction on MTSU’s new $147 million Science Building, which began in May 2012, remains on schedule, with move-in set for summer and fall 2014 and classes opening in spring 2015.

Student Services and Admissions Center

Construction remains on schedule for the new Student Services and Admissions Center east of the new Student Union and adjacent to Campus Recreation. The new $16 million building will relocate all functions related to Admissions, Records and Enrollment, Financial Aid, Scheduling, the Bursar’s Office, and also house the new MT One Stop to the new center of campus. It will serve as a starting point for campus tours and as the primary visitors’ center for prospective students and their families. The building includes a bridge from the new student parking garage through the Student Services and Admissions Center and extending across Blue Raider Drive to the second-floor ballroom level of the Student Union. Construction began in spring 2012 and is scheduled to be completed for move-in during spring and summer 2014. The building and the reconstruction of our service model for enrollment management will completely change the way students experience the University, significantly decrease frustration, and increase students’ ability to successfully continue toward graduation.

Football Field Turf Replacement

The replacement of the field turf will begin this month and will be completed this summer.

Parking and Transportation

The widening of the Champion Way entrance to campus, the widening of Lightning Way, and the addition of a third rotary at the intersection of Champion and Lightning Way will complete major entrance and primary roadway improvements. All improvements are designed to improve traffic flow in and out of campus, improve shuttle bus schedules, provide bike lanes around the campus academic core, and improve pedestrian safety with enhanced crosswalks and lighting. Champion Way and the rotary are scheduled for completion in late spring 2014, and Lightning Way is scheduled for completion in fall 2014.

Cope Administration Building

A $3 million renovation project inside Cope Administration Building will begin this summer after designated offices relocate to the new Student Services and Admissions Center. Among the changes will be the relocation of the President’s Office from the first floor to the second floor, and the Provost’s Office moving into the vacated space. The Business Office will be relocated to both sides of the first floor, and improvements will also be made to restrooms, lighting, and signage. The relocation of Financial Aid to the Student Services and Admissions Center will also allow Information Technology Division offices to expand on the second floor.

McFarland Building Renovation

Once the Student Services and Admissions Center is opened in fall 2014, the Photography Department, now located north of the new Science Building, will move to the McFarland Building following a $2 million renovation. The old Photography Building will then be razed.

LRC 101: College of Education Professional Development Center

Construction is scheduled to begin next month and be completed this summer on a new development center that will allow the College of Education to host up to 150 K–12 teachers in a comfortable, professional setting where they can focus on the newest methodologies and standards in teaching.

Interior of the Bell Street Medical Center

Interior of the Bell Street Medical Center

Bell Street Center Renovation

The design of a $6 million building renovation is underway. Future occupants include Graduate Business Studies for the Jennings A. Jones College of Business; the University College; the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Planning, and Research; the Tennessee STEM Education Center; the Aquatic Therapy Center in the Health and Human Performance Department; the Center for Counseling and Psych Services; and general classroom and training space. Construction will begin by fall 2014, and move in is expected by summer 2015.

Flight Simulator Building

Design is underway for a $700,000 flight simulator building at the Murfreesboro Airport. The building will support the Aerospace Department’s flight training coursework.

Murphy Center Renovation

The original four buildings of Middle Tennessee Normal School are still in use after 100 years. But, for many, Murphy Center may hold more memories than any other building on campus. Now in its fifth decade as a multipurpose arena, efforts are under way to renovate it and ensure that it continues to be a vibrant part of campus life.

The renovations, which began earlier this month, include updated bathrooms and concessions, a new HVAC system, new arena lighting, and a new roof. The project is expected to be completed before the start of the 2014–2015 basketball season.

As with every construction project of this magnitude, there will be disruptions and complications for visitors, fans, and tenants. The project will be broken up into four stages, with each corner of the arena worked on one phase at a time. Temporary walls will be put up during the process that will limit foot traffic in certain areas. We appreciate your patience with this important renovation!

Blue Print Solutions opens for business Monday, February 3, 2014

Blue Print Solutions opens for business Monday, Feb. 3

Blue Print Solutions

With the opening this semester of the University’s first retail printing center, BLUE print Solutions, MTSU brings state-of-the-art printing capabilities to campus.

The name is quite intentional: the printing center will do more than simply fulfill customer orders. The idea is to also provide creative solutions for a wide variety of graphic arts projects.

Combined with significant upgrades in equipment at the existing Greenland Drive print shop, MTSU has now added color printing options to its black-and-white printing choices. All services are offered at highly competitive prices.

Much like its commercial counterparts, BLUE print Solutions offers an array of auxiliary services ranging from publication binding, large-format posters, passport photos, and the like.

BLUE print Solutions is focused on meeting the needs of students first and foremost, but it will also cater to the needs of faculty, staff, and the administration. It will also serve alumni and the general public.

BLUE print Solutions will also greatly enhance MTSU’s relationship with Apple Inc.—there will be an Apple retail presence in the new facility.

BLUE print Solutions is located in the Student Union and will operate seven days a week with both day and nights shifts.

Capitol Street Party, President's Report Get Top Honors

MTSU’s Nashville partnerships, including its work with Capitol Records and Metro Nashville schools, received top honors from the Tennessee College Public Relations Association, the university announced Friday.

MTSU received 19 honors from the Tennessee College Public Relations Association in its 2012-13 competition among marketing and communications operations at the state’s public and private higher-education institutions.

Professor Bob Gordon, shown standing fourth from right in the second row, and his student team from MTSU’s Department of Electronic Media Communication pause early Oct. 17 in their prep for the 2012 Capitol Street Party in Nashville featuring headliner Luke Bryan. The College of Mass Communication’s Mobile Production Truck was located at the corner of Second Avenue and Broadway. (MTSU file photo)Professor Bob Gordon, shown standing fourth from right in the second row, and his student team from MTSU’s Department of Electronic Media Communication pause early Oct. 17 in their prep for the 2012 Capitol Street Party in Nashville featuring headliner Luke Bryan. The College of Mass Communication’s Mobile Production Truck was located at the corner of Second Avenue and Broadway. (MTSU file photo)

It was the third consecutive year MTSU was at the top of the TCPRA honorees list. The University of Tennessee-Knoxville tied MTSU with 19, followed by Austin Peay State University with nine and Tennessee Tech University with eight.

Two of MTSU’s six Gold Awards were for its contributions to the 2012 Capitol Street Party in downtown Nashville (Best Special Event for less than seven days) and ongoing work with Metro Nashville schools (Best Special Event for more than seven days).

Students from MTSU’s College of Mass Communication held key production roles for the 2012 Capitol Street Party, which drew 14,000 on Nashville’s Lower Broadway on Oct. 17. More than 50 students modulated audio, staffed HD cameras and recorded the outdoor concerts by Capitol Records artists Luke Bryan, Jon Pardi and Kelleigh Bannen.

With Metro Nashville schools, MTSU was the lead sponsor of the Academies of Nashville Video Awards Show, the Nashville Career Fair and a partnership with The Tennessean to provide W.H. Oliver Middle School students with unique learning experiences and hands-on resources.

“Our efforts with the Capitol Street Party and Metro Nashville schools represent only a fraction of the good works done by MTSU throughout the region,” said Andrew Oppmann, associate vice president for marketing and communications. “We’re pleased those partnerships, along with the other work done to tell the university’s message, were recognized by our peers.”

The university received four other TCPRA Gold Awards:

  • President Sidney A. McPhee’s biennial report to the community, which detailed the university’s standing as the No. 1 producer of graduates in the Tennessee Board of Regents system, was honored for Best Report.
  • An episode of “Middle in a Minute,” the series of one-minute radio features that air on WMOT and the Blue Raiders Radio Network, was honored for Best Radio Public Service Announcement.
  • MTSU’s work to promote “Spring into Middle,” the annual April open-house weekend staged by the university’s Alumni Relations Office, was honored for Best Advertisement.
  • MTSU Magazine’s iPad edition and app, now available for free download on iTunes, was honored for Best Electronic College/Alumni Magazine.

MTSU’s Billy Pittard and Metro Nashville Public Schools administrator Dr. Chaney Mosley present the Best in Show check for $1,000 to the Academy of Health Science and Law at McGavock. The presentation was made in April at the second annual Academies of Nashville Video Awards Show. Left to right are Mosley; Elise Taylor, a student at McGavock; Barclay Randall, broadcasting teacher at McGavock; Robert Bagwell, student at McGavock; DeLaney Williams, a student at McGavock, and Pittard, chair of MTSU’s Department of Electronic Media Communication. (MTSU file photo)MTSU’s Billy Pittard and Metro Nashville Public Schools administrator Dr. Chaney Mosley present the Best in Show check for $1,000 to the Academy of Health Science and Law at McGavock. The presentation was made in April at the second annual Academies of Nashville Video Awards Show. Left to right are Mosley; Elise Taylor, a student at McGavock; Barclay Randall, broadcasting teacher at McGavock; Robert Bagwell, student at McGavock; DeLaney Williams, a student at McGavock, and Pittard, chair of MTSU’s Department of Electronic Media Communication. (MTSU file photo)

The university received seven Silver Awards from TCPRA:

  • Best Special Event (more than seven days) for MTSU’s True Blue Respect campaign;
  • Best Overall Promotion Campaign for the “I am True Blue” branding campaign;
  • Best Banners/Outdoor Media;
  • Best Photography for MTSU Magazine’s feature on the university’s Horse Science program;
  • Best Media Success Story for national outreach on professor Cliff Ricketts’ coast-to-coast trip with vehicles powered by hydrogen;
  • Best Radio Public Service Announcement for an episode of “Middle in a Minute;”
  • And Best Special Publication for the MTSU National Women’s History Month 2013 calendar.

And MTSU received six TCPRA Bronze Awards:

  • Best Feature Story for MTSU Magazine’s article on the university’s Horse Sciences program;
  • Best Social Media Success Story for the short film, “Santa Goes to College;”
  • Best Radio/TV Show or Newscast for WMOT’s “On the Record;”
  • Best Video Advertisement;
  • Best Print Advertisement;
  • And Best Media Success Story for national outreach on the groundbreaking of MTSU’s $147 million Science Building.

— Andrew Oppmann (andrew.oppmann@mtsu.edu)

MTSU Welcomes Delegation from China

As they stepped off the bus Tuesday outside MTSU’s Kennon Hall of Fame, many members among the delegation of 30-plus visitors from Hangzhou, China, had their smart phones in hand to capture a slice of American culture.

They were met by plenty of smiles, handshakes and music as band members and cheerleaders from Siegel High School, the Discovery School at Reeves Rogers, Central Magnet School and MTSU performed along a balloon-lined entrance to the Hall of Fame.

Once inside, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee officially welcomed the delegation of Chinese elementary and middle school children and educators to campus. They are visiting to develop student exchanges and cultural ties with Tennessee schools.

With translation assistance from Dr. Guanping Zheng, director of the MTSU Confucius Institute, McPhee noted that the visit “is the continuation of a partnership that began several years ago” when a former president of Hangzhou Normal University visited schools in Murfreesboro and East Tennessee to discuss collaboration between rural and urban schools in China and the United States.

MTSU cheerleaders welcome a delegation of elementary and middle school children and educators from Hangzhou, China. The university is hosting the special guests this week to develop student exchanges and cultural ties with Tennessee schools. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

The goal was to “exchange best practices in teaching and learning, to look at the resources and leverage the expertise of both the United States, particularly Tennessee, and China, and it has resulted in a wonderful partnership between Dongcheng Education Group, MTSU’s Confucius Institute and the schools in this area,” McPhee added.

The Chinese students will be paired throughout the four-day visit with Rutherford students who visited Hangzhou in July 2012. That visit was facilitated by the Confucius Institute, which works to develop cultural and educational ties between China and the United States.

Principal Liu Jinbin of the Dongcheng Education Group of Hangzhou Normal University expressed appreciation for the hospitality shown thus far. On Tuesday, that included some light-hearted ice-breaking activities such as teaching the Chinese students the Cupid Shuffle and a game of musical chairs.

“I see many familiar faces of those of you who visited China last year,” Liu said. “Our visit is to further our collaboration and partnership with Middle Tennessee State University and the school systems in Middle Tennessee. It will help us get a better understanding of the schools and education system.

“It’s my first time visiting the U.S., but I already feel like I have a lot of friends.”

Sally Smith, a seventh-grader at Central Magnet School, joined Central eighth-grader Eshan Patel in sharing historical and cultural facts about the local community with the Chinese delegation as well as sharing the group’s itinerary for the week.Hangzhou Normal logo

Chinese students will visit the homes of local children, tour historic and cultural sites in Nashville and Murfreesboro and participate in educational workshops. Stops include the State Capitol Building, the Grand Ole Opry, the Stones River National Battlefield and Cannonsburgh Village.

“It will truly be hard to live up to our visits to your homes,” Patel said.

Elizabeth McPhee, MTSU’s first lady and a retired teacher from the Discovery School at Reeves Rogers, was part of a committee of teachers, parents and administrators that organized the cultural exchange effort.

“The No. 1 thing we’re trying to accomplish is a merging of the cultures, getting our kids to learn from the Chinese and getting the Chinese to learn from us,” said Mrs. McPhee.

“It’s not just textbooks. Our students have had the opportunity to go to China, and not just go as a tourist, but to go and actually be in the homes of the families, and now we’re doing the same thing (for the Chinese delegation). They’re going to come and be in our homes, they’re going to go to some of our schools … and they’re going to see some of our best practices.”

Area and Chinese educators will participate in roundtable discussions about educational and leadership styles used in their respective schools and systems.

Later this week, officials from Murfreesboro City Schools, Rutherford County Schools, MTSU and the Dongcheng Education Group of Hangzhou Normal University hope to sign agreements to formalize future cooperation, including:

  • promoting institutional exchanges by inviting faculty and staff to participate in teaching and research activities and in professional development;
  • developing exchange programs, such as summer camps, in both China and Rutherford County; and
  • organizing symposia, conferences, short courses or programs, and meetings on educational issues or other topics of mutual interest.

— Jimmy Hart (Jimmy.Hart@mtsu.edu)

This sign outside the Tom H. Jackson Building welcomes members of a Chinese delegation visiting campus and the community this week as part of an ongoing cultural exchange with MTSU. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)


MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, right, jokes with Liu Jinbin of the Dongcheng Education Group of Hangzhou Normal University today during a welcoming ceremony in the Kennon Sports Hall of Fame for a delegation of elementary and middle school children and educators from Hangzhou, China. The group is visiting to develop student exchanges and cultural ties with Tennessee schools. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)MTSU First Lady Elizabeth McPhee, a retired elementary-school teacher, speaks to a delegation of elementary and middle school children and educators from Hangzhou, China, today. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)


MTSU Paints the Town Blue for C-USA

Two hundred fourteen days since the initial announcement, it’s finally official: Middle Tennessee is a full-fledged member of Conference USA after 13 years in the Sun Belt Conference, and a citywide celebration, “Paint the Town Blue,” is underway today.

MTSU head football coach Rick Stockstill, center, talks with media during a “Paint the Town Blue” event today at Sam’s All American Sports Grill to celebrate the Blue Raiders’ official move to Conference USA from the Sun Belt Conference. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU fans filled the Sam’s All American Grill at the Stones River Mall to overflowing for the historic first-day event to celebrate the university’s new membership in C-USA.

Coaches and administrators were overjoyed at the turnout.

“It’s phenomenal,” football head coach Rick Stockstill said. “The support, the buzz, the excitement at Sam’s has been amazing.”

“This is exciting,” added women’s basketball coach Rick Insell. “I’m starting my ninth year here and I’ve never seen this much excitement and enthusiasm. The students, faculty, the players … it’s unbelievable. I could see this coming, and we’re not through yet.”

Director of Athletics Chris Massaro called it “a historic day for the university and it’s fun to share it with the fans. You can feel the excitement. I know our student-athletes and staff are excited. It’s a chance to elevate the entire university.”

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee said that the university and the surrounding community are collaborating in a great partnership.

“To see the community come out and support the university and its athletic program, I’m really excited to see this kind of response,” he said.

“The university depends on this town and this town depends on the university. It’s a mutual relationship that is beneficial to both. And it’s great to see it working the way it is working.”

McPhee added that he had heard “reports of many of our fans wearing our (MTSU) shirts at the various businesses” holding events throughout the day.

Employees and owners of more than 50 businesses and restaurants wore specially designed T-shirts with the inaugural C-USA logo today throughout Murfreesboro.

“I think it’s really going to help us build our brand better and help grow athletics at MTSU,” Jonathan Sisco, a fifth-year senior pitcher/infielder from Murfreesboro who is currently recovering from shoulder surgery, said today at the Boulevard Bar and Grill across the street from the MTSU campus.

“I think the top-tier teams are definitely going to be a lot better competition for us.”

Head baseball coach Jim McGuire admitted that the travel in the new conference will be a bit tougher, but he noted that there will be two C-USA teams the Blue Raiders will not have to play each year they’re in the conference. Those teams will rotate and won’t be the same teams each season.

“Conference USA is one of the top baseball conferences in the country,” McGuire added. “It’s always rated somewhere from fifth to seventh.”

Jonathan Sisco

Football players distributed posters and schedule cards around town, and a handful were at Reeves-Sain Drug Store and at Chick-fil-A at the Murfreesboro Town Centre, signing autographs and providing information on the move to Conference USA.

On Sept. 21, the Blue Raiders will have their first competition against a Conference USA opponent when football travels to Florida Atlantic. Six days later, soccer hosts UAB, and volleyball travels to Rice. The first C-USA football game at home is Oct. 5 against East Carolina.

The C-USA membership also includes the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, East Carolina, Florida International, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, North Texas, Old Dominion, Rice, Southern Miss, Tulane, Tulsa, UAB, the University of Texas at El Paso and the University of Texas at San Antonio. The league office is located in Irving, Texas.

As proud members of the Sun Belt Conference, the Blue Raiders dominated the conference by winning nine All-Sports trophies and 58 conference championships.

MT, which joined the Sun Belt on July 1, 2000, leaves the SBC with a league-best 50 conference football wins while also ranking first in victories over automatic qualifying conferences. Other notable milestones in the MT-Sun Belt partnership include:

  • MT’s four Overall Sun Belt Athletes of the Year and 40 Coach of the Year winners.
  • Men’s basketball head coach Davis’ status as the SBC’s all-time winningest coach.
  • The MTSU’s women’s basketball program winning more than 80 percent of its conference games.
  • The Blue Raiders also played on national television 46 times since 2004.


MTSU cheerleaders pose with golf coach Whit Turnbow, front right, and his daughter, Reagan, today during the university’s historic first day as a member of Conference USA. The citywide event was headquartered at Sam’s All American Sport’s Grill at the Stones River Mall. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)MTSU Blue Raiders Blaine Sidders, left, and Cody Clark sign a MTSU Football poster for a young fan today while celebrating the first-day Conference USA “Paint the Town Blue” event at the Chik-fil-A restaurant on Old Fort Parkway. (MTSU photo by Darby Campbell)


You also can watch a video from the day’s events as well as one from last fall’s official C-USA announcement below.



Take a Digital Tour of the New MTSU Science Building

MTSU’s enrollment has almost quadrupled in the last 43 years—from 6,779 students in 1968 to 26,442 in fall 2011—with no increase in space for science education. The University’s existing Wiser-Patten Science Hall and Davis Science Building were built in 1932 and 1967, respectively, and have a combined total of only 75,332 net square feet.

The new MTSU Science Building will provide more than 250,000 gross square feet of teaching, faculty and student research laboratories and collaborative learning spaces. At least 80 percent of all MTSU students will take at least one class in the new building.

MTSU broke ground for the new Science Building May 3, 2012. (Watch the video below.) The facility is being constructed on the south side of campus adjacent to the James E. Walker Library on the site of the old Wood, Felder, Gore and Clement dorms.


Requested funding:

  • Gov. Bill Haslam included a $126.7 million capital-outlay funding request for the MTSU Science Building in his fiscal year 2012-13 budget. The General Assembly approved the budget April 30.
  • The new Science Building was the No. 1 priority in the MTSU Capital Outlay Funding Request, the No. 1 priority in the Tennessee Higher Education Commission’s Five-Year Capital Projects Plan and the No. 1 capital project request of the Tennessee Board of Regents.
  • The University’s 1991 and 1998 Master Plans identified the significant need for additional science space. The MTSU Science Building project was placed on the TBR Capital Outlay Priority List in 1998.
  • About $20 million has already been spent to prepare for construction of the Science Building. That money funded a new campus chilling plant, distribution lines, planning, site preparation and demolitions of the old dorms.

Cost and comparisons:

  • MTSU modeled 12 science buildings at other institutions in developing the plan for its new Science Building. The average cost for those 12 comparison facilities was $463.42 per gross square foot. MTSU selected the most similar example, the science building at the University of Alabama-Huntsville (bid January 2005). UAH’s comparative cost was $379/GSF, and MTSU’s target cost in planning was $380/GSF.
  • The MTSU project is only 16 percent larger than the Science Building at Austin Peay State University, yet MTSU has three times the number of APSU’s full-time enrolled students. With the new Science Building at MTSU, the density factor, or space available for each student, will be 149 square feet per full-time enrollee. The TBR’s current average density factor at its universities is 210 square feet per FTE.

General information:

  • Grounded in MTSU’s rich tradition of teacher training, the new MTSU Science Building will make full use of technology and contemporary research in teaching cognitive science. The entire facility will feature pedagogical design attributes nationally recognized as Project Kaleidoscope Initiatives, including discovery-based, group learning environments and spaces for informal discussion and collaborative interaction, all promoting an enhanced, 21st-century science education and research continuum.
  • Nearly all of MTSU’s 26,000-plus students will benefit from the improved science facilities. During fall 2010, more than 13,200 students, both majors and non-majors, were enrolled in biology, chemistry and physical science courses. Biology is a general-education requirement at MTSU, and science courses produce about 60,000 credit hours annually at the University.
  • Science courses to be offered in the new building serve academic programs beyond general education, biology and chemistry. Those additional programs include aerospace, agribusiness/agriscience, engineering technology, nursing, physics and astronomy, elementary education, teacher licensure in science education, wellness and exercise science in health and human performance, human sciences nutrition/food science/dietetics, geology, social work, and recording-industry production technology.
  • During the academic year 2009-10, MTSU granted almost 700 degrees in biology, chemistry and related fields. The University estimates that number could increase by 25 percent after the new Science Building is in operation.
  • Construction of the new Science Building will begin immediately after the May 3 groundbreaking, and the facility could be ready for use by spring 2015.

The new Science Building will:

  • enable the University to address needs identified in the America Competes Act by creating additional science graduates to fill high-technology jobs and teach science and math in K-12 schools;
  • enhance middle Tennessee’s regional economy by providing technical entrepreneurs and researchers who launch small businesses through ideas and research;
  • make MTSU and the state more competitive for federal grants and contracts in all areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics; and
  • support greater collaboration with Oak Ridge National Labs through MTSU’s new science doctoral programs.

Click on each of the thumbnails below (exterior, interior and campus-map location) for larger views.

New MTSU Science Building MTSU Science Building - Interior 

State Budget Formula Rewards Retention, Graduation

Fiscal year 2013–14 will be the third and final year of implementation of the state’s new outcomes-based funding formula, as called for in the Complete College Tennessee Act. Under the act, productivity rather than sheer enrollment drives state funding distribution. 

Based on this final phase, MTSU’s 2013–2014 recurring state funding will be reduced by $1,752,100. However, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) voted at its November 2012 meeting to propose new state funding totaling $35,500,000 for higher education institutions. MTSU’s share of the proposed new funding will be $3,470,600. Thus, MTSU’s state funding could actually increase by a net of $1,718,500.

The commission voted to recommend $7,590,000 in Capital Maintenance funds for MTSU projects, including the Murphy Center roof/ceiling replacement project; the Central Plant cooling tower replacement project; the Absorption Chiller/ Tower replacement project; the Jones Hall plumbing update project; and various projects entailing electrical updates to campus buildings.

THEC’s recommendations have been submitted to the Department of Finance and Administration for consideration in the proposed budget that Governor Bill Haslam will be submitting to the state legislature in the coming weeks. At that point, we will have more information regarding our likely 2013–14 state appropriations.

Searches Underway to Fill Dean Vacancies

The searches for new deans to lead the Jennings A. Jones College of Business and the College of Mass Communication began in early fall with the announced retirements of Dean Jim Burton and Dean Roy Moore.

The searches, now in full swing, are remarkable in two ways. First, in order to cast the broadest net possible to find a dynamic, visionary, and collaborative dean for each college, industry and community leaders are chairing the searches. Paul W. Martin Jr., chief managing member of Clarity Resources, is chairing the search for a new dean in business; Peter Fisher , vice president and general manager of the Grand Ole Opry, is chairing the mass communication search.

Second, the University has hired a private executive search firm, funded by private dollars. Parker Executive Search is actively soliciting nominations from academic and industry circles. The positions are being advertised nationally and internationally. When candidates are selected, the search committees, comprised of faculty, students, staff, and community representatives, will begin reviewing them. The goal is to have new deans selected by the beginning of April and for them to assume their posts by July 1, 2013.


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