The Entertainment Industry, "LIVE" Concerts, Freshman Students in College and a Library - All part of MTSU in our Morning Interview

Feb 15, 2021 at 09:03 am by Producer


INTERVIEW ONE: Dr. Ryan Korstange, (KOR-stanj) Assistant Professor of University Studies and First-Year Experience Specialist

TOPIC:  MTSU receives $100,000 grant from Tennessee Board of Regents for developing Open Education Resources to lower cost of student textbooks

An interdisciplinary team at Middle Tennessee State University has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Tennessee Board of Regents to support the adaptation, adoption, and creation of Open Educational Resources to increase student success by significantly lowering the cost of textbooks.

The one-year grant, Embracing Equity through OER, supports the goals of Quest for Student Success 2025 and President McPhee’s continued commitment to social justice. It will run from January 2021-December 2021 and include workshops and faculty learning communities to support the development and use of OER across MTSU. 

Open Education Resources can greatly decrease the cost of textbooks for college students by making access to textbook information available online. College students sometimes don’t factor in the significant cost of course textbooks and that financial barrier sometimes leads to students not continuing their educations.

Part of MTSU’s effort will focus on “gateway” courses, which are those courses that most students have to take in order to progress within their major. With MTSU having a significant population of first-generation students, this OER effort is expected to help minority and underrepresented student populations close achievement gaps and increase the likelihood of earning their college degrees.

INTERVIEW TWO: Frank Baird, assistant professor of audio production and the new director of the Chris Young Cafe
TOPIC: Chris Young Café is officially open!

Multiplatinum entertainer and former Middle Tennessee State University student Chris Young returned to his hometown Wednesday, Jan. 27, for the grand opening of a MTSU learning lab and live entertainment venue that bears his name.

The Chris Young Cafe, a renovated cafeteria tucked amid MTSU dormitories alongside the university’s library,  expanded from its previous 3,200 square feet of usable space to nearly 4,100 airy square feet, features a single large stage along its distinctive east-facing windows, backed by a Department of Media Arts custom LED video wall.

Visitors will find two club-type seating areas for listeners and a VIP-type zone, near the audio and lighting control boards, that features artwork, framed gold and platinum records and other memorabilia.

Inside the facility, students will learn skills from nearly every facet of the business of entertainment: music business, audio production, songwriting, venue management, sound reinforcement, and lighting and rigging, along with radio broadcasts, comedy shows and other events produced with help from all of MTSU’s academic colleges.

In July 2019, the university announced that Young had donated $50,000 to update the Woodmore Building as a teaching and rehearsal space for College of Media and Entertainment students and as a performance venue to put those students’ training to use.

Students and faculty in MTSU’s Department of Recording Industry had been using the facility as a live-event classroom to prepare and stage daytime and evening live shows since the college began presenting events there in fall 2018.

“The cafe is a classroom for the live event production industry, which gives us a unique status. It’s very much like our recording studios and very much like Tucker Theatre,” said Baird, who’s teaching three sections of his “Sound Reinforcement” course there his spring, plus an advanced class that delves deep into live event setup, performance and load-out.

“We’re trying to find a balance between using it during the day for classes and then have these labs in the evenings where we want to bring in bands and give the students more opportunities.”

Learn more at young-cafe-opening/.

INTERVIEW THREE: Kathleen Schmand, new dean of the James E. Walker Library
TOPIC: Schmand’s new role as library dean, which she assumed in January

Most recently, Schmand was director of development and communications at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California, a master’s from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s from Northern Arizona University.

While at NAU, Schmand helped launch a crowdfunding effort that raised more than $6,000 to buy electronic textbooks. She said continuing the Walker Library’s practice of making textbooks available to students is a priority for her.

Schmand was a student at the University of Pittsburgh, her father invited her to spend Thanksgiving with him in Murfreesboro, telling her she had to see Middle Tennessee State University during her visit.

Schmand’s father, a Navy veteran, had moved to Murfreesboro in 1995 because of his interest in the area’s Civil War history and access to the Alvin C. York Veterans Administration Medical Center. Although her father has died, Schmand said she is excited to be back in Murfreesboro. 

“I know he would be so excited to see that I’ve circled back around and now landed at MTSU for a new position, and particularly a position as dean,” Schmand said.

Given the variety of formats and delivery methods used to convey information today, Schmand said she sees the librarian’s job as one of making sure the user knows what’s relevant, authentic and accurate.