WGNS' Scott Walker talks to professors at MTSU about a number of topics (see show outline below):
SEGMENT ONE – 8:10 a.m.
GUEST: Dr. Jackie Gilbert, management professor in the Jones College of Business
TOPIC: Combatting workplace bullying and why it continues to be a problem
Gilbert, who has done extensive research into bullying in the workplace, is the author of“How to Transform Workplace Bullies Into Allies,” a new book that includes exercises for supervisors and employees in private-sector businesses, universities and other institutions to use to increase their emotional intelligence.
The experiential learning endeavors outlined in the book include web quests, learning modules and role-playing scenarios designed to promote greater civility and respectfulness in the workplace.
Gilbert said this kind of training is valuable because businesses might not realize they need to change their internal cultures.
“For companies, it’s a matter of assuming that professionals come pre-packaged with internalized personal codes of ethics when, in fact, that may not be the case,” Gilbert said.
Among Gilbert’s involvement in this area, she’s served on a task force to pass the Tennessee Healthy Workplace Act, the first workplace bullying legislation in the U.S.; served on TACIR Workplace Civility Workgroup to craft the Model Abusive Prevention Conduct Policy; and served as a Fellow in the U.S. Academy on Workplace Bullying, Mobbing, and Abuse.
SEGMENT TWO – 8:25 a.m.
GUEST: Dr. Ryan Otter, biology professor and co-director of the MTSU Data Science
TOPIC: MTSU’s partnership with two other state universities to secure a $250,000 National Science Foundation grant focused on regional workforce development and collaborative research in the tech sector
Middle Tennessee State University has joined with two state universities in a grant-funded project that aims to bolster regional workforce development in the tech sector, promote collaborative research and build a foundation for future public and private partnerships.
MTSU, through its Data Science Institute, along with Tennessee Tech University and the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga were awarded an almost $250,000 National Science Foundation grant for an 18-month initiative that began this month.
Data Science Institute Director Charlie Apigian said he and Co-Director Ryan Otter feel the grant’s purpose fits perfectly with the institute’s core principles: workforce development; projects that help the community; and partnerships that enhance research, programs and other opportunities for MTSU students.
The three universities are equal partners in the grant, with Otter serving as the co-principal investigator for MTSU.
Otter, a biology professor, said the concept behind the grant is to “bolster a regional area by taking similar-sized institutions that have different strengths and weaknesses and forming a collaboration that’s greater than the sum of the individual entities.”
SEGMENT THREE – 8:40 a.m.
GUEST: Dr. Katie Foss, a professor of media studies in the School of Journalism and Strategic Media,
TOPIC: The COVID-19 pandemic and plans to reopen schools this fall
Foss’ new book, “Constructing the Outbreak: Epidemics in Media and Collective Memory,” will be out later this year from the University of Massachusetts Press. It analyzes seven epidemics spanning more than 200 years and the various journalistic approaches to informing the public about them.
Foss said those previous epidemics can inform the public today about how best to address the current coronavirus pandemic. She said that when observing coverage of the current COVID-19 response and plans to reopen schools in the fall, she believes measures like mandatory masking are critical in efforts to bring the spread of virus under control.
And for parents like herself, it’s important to consider strategies to help train children on the importance of wearing masks such as buying masks with their favorite characters on them and practicing wearing masks in public right now.
She notes that the current divisiveness across the country right now has made it difficult to form a more comprehensive strategy on a regional, state and national level, which is quite different from how the nation handled past outbreaks. But today’s fragmented media landscape has added to the confusion among the populace because the public has access to so many different sources of information.